Sunday, February 24, 2013

My Red Carpet - 5 Most Iconic Movie Looks of All Time

It's that time of year...when cinema's best is announced. The awards are bestowed. And for some of the winners, they become household names.

No, I'm not talking about the movies. I'm talking about the fashion! All hail the red carpet and Joan Rivers! (Guilty pleasure confession: I love watching Fashion Police!) Who cares how well you acted in the movie, it's all about how you look and "Who Are You Wearing?".
Thinking about tonight's grand entrance of the glamorous movie stars at the Academy Awards got me waxing nostalgic on how the movies costumes influenced the general public.

For instance, did you run out and buy a sweatshirt only to rip it all up and wear it ala "Flashdance"? Were you styling a tight white t-shirt like Stanley (i.e. Marlon Brando) in "Streetcar Named Desire"? Or did you simply add an accessory or two to your everyday outfit like the Wayfarer sunglasses Tom Cruise wore in "Risky Business"?

Looking back I can see there were a few movies that greatly influenced how I dressed then and how I dress today. Here are my top 5 iconic movie looks of all time.

          5.   Karen Lynn Gorney "Stephanie" - Saturday Night Fever
          4.   Melanie Griffin "Tess McGill" - Working Girl
          3.   Julia Roberts "Vivian Ward " - Pretty Woman
          2.   Diane Keaton "Annie Hall" - Annie Hall
          1.   Audrey Hepburn "Holly Golightly" - Breakfast at Tiffany's
Audrey Hepburn (1929 - 1993)
Of course there were other fashionable movie characters that I adored (but could never pull off their looks): all the women in "Devil Wears Prada", Kate Hudson's character Penny Lane in "Almost Famous" and Elle Woods (i.e. Reese Witherspoon) in "Legally Blonde" come to mind.

Your turn. What movies or movie characters influenced your fashion choices?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Tale of the Princess and the Louboutin

Boys 3. Girls 0.
I have 3 wonderful sons. No daughters. I've been asked if I wished I'd ever had a girl. "Nope," I say. "I grew up with 5 sisters and I don't need that kind of drama in my house." I welcomed boys. It was kind of new territory for me. (I have 2 brothers but they're 10 years older than me so there wasn't too much interaction.)
With boys there's always an adventure. They're little tornados. There's a magnet on my fridge that perfectly describes them:  "A boy is a noise with dirt on it". Little bundles of energy churning up the dust wherever they go. My boys kept me on the move. And I loved it!

However...confession...there were a few times I secretly wondered what life would have been like if I had a daughter. Maybe I wouldn't have felt so outnumbered around the house. Maybe I would have had a shopping partner to share my love of designer fashion. I thought if I ever had a granddaughter I'd get to find out.

Friday, February 22, 2013

16830360 Minutes

11,688 days
280,506 hours
16,830,360 minutes
32 years

Yesterday was my 32nd wedding anniversary. Yikes! How'd that happen? Where'd the time go? Seems like only yesterday I donned an inexpensive mall prom gown and sauntered down the aisle of my childhood church towards a handsome smiling young man attired in the uniform of a U.S. Navy seaman.

In this time of high divorce rates, hubby and I appear to be bucking the trend. After all this time, we're still married. First and only marriage for both of us.  Even I have a hard time believing we've been married this long (never mind the few years we were together before we tied the knot).

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sweet Suite Judy Blue Eyes - Heaven's New Angel

Yesterday a beautiful vibrant woman left this earth. Left her family. Left her friends. Way too soon.

I didn't know her as well as I would have liked. Time and space kept us apart.
Music and Collective Soul brought us together. And kept us connected.

This isn't the end of our song. Not a goodbye ... but a "so long, until we meet again".
I know we'll forever be joined by the soul ... soul sisters to be exact.


by Edgar Eugene Roland, Jr.
The sky now divides
To bring you back into the fold
Welcome home
Still my need to recognize
Any comfort you may show
Only grows
Guess I'll learn to accommodate
While my heart just sits and waits
Maybe God you found
Maybe is all that you can offer now
Where am I to take refuge
When the storms of pain release
Shelter me
This blessedness of life
Sometimes brings me to my knees
I call on thee
I have not the words to write
A Farewell to you tonight
Maybe God you found
Maybe is all that you can offer now
I know hearts are weeping
While your voice is now singing
On high, angel on high

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Day - Spending Time with Mom

Usually I blog about a topic and try to incorporate a story and/or info into it. Today is different. No big topic. No profound info to impart on all of you. Just wanted to share.

My mom turned 81 last month. When it comes to gifts for my mom, I keep my ears peeled for clues as to what she may be wanting. Something she desires but hadn't gotten for herself or something she had wanted to do but hadn't. This past year she's mentioned problems with her hair a few times. Don't know why she hasn't made regular visits to a hair salon a part of her normal routine. Sometimes I think she may believe that because of her age it's not important or high on her list of priorities. Maybe living on such a small fixed income has kept her from spending money on herself for things she thinks are frivolous. I don't know.

But I decided it was high time she got her hair to a salon and get it whipped into shape. Her hair has turned a soft white and has grown past her shoulders. She doesn't seem comfortable with the color or the length. I can relate. I think all us women can. We know what styles work on us and when we aren't able to maintain the look, it can make us feel way off our game.

I gave her a card last month with a homemade gift certificate that bestowed a color and cut to the birthday girl. She laughed when she saw it and thanked me. I told her to let me know when and where she wanted to go. Since I'm not working I have plenty of time on my hands.

Well, a month has passed and not a word from her about the gift. So I told her we weren't waiting any longer; I'd make the appointment and decide where and when we were going. She had no choice but to go along for the ride which came for her this morning when I went to pick her up. And there she sat, coat on, purse in hand. Anxiously waiting for me. She showed me a picture she cut out of a magazine. The style she wants.

So we headed to the salon. We went to a place neither of us had been before (I did some checking and found good reviews). I could tell she was a bit nervous so I helped her voice what she wanted to the stylist. She showed my mom a hair color swatch and asked her if it matched the color she had in mind. When I saw my mom nod emphatically, I felt my confidence in the stylist rise and knew this appointment was going to work! As the afternoon wore on, I could feel my mom relaxing and the smile I caught here and there reassured me she was very happy with how the visit was proceeding. As we all made small talk, I took pictures. My mom chatted easily with the young stylist who I think was having as much fun as we were.

When the cutting started, I could feel my mom tense again. And I could relate. Young or old. Haven't we all been in that moment? When we hand over the power in the scissors to a hairdresser who we hope will duplicate the style we've found in a picture?

But as the stylist continued her cutting and snipping, my mom's hair was slowly drying. A beautiful warm honey color was emerging. And I knew the young girl had nailed the first part. And I knew my mom would love the color. So now I waited with bated breath for the style to be complete.

And there it was. Finis! And...beautiful! I watched the smile spread across my mom's face. It was what she had envisioned. And I could relate. I know that feeling. The feeling you get when the stylist says "Ok, all done" and you open your eyes, gaze in the mirror...and a new look stares back at you. Is it what you wanted? Is it the right look for you? Did you make the right choices, in color? in cut? Did the stylist get it right? And when your face stares back at you and smiles, it's such a sense of relief!

I could feel my mother's spirit lift. She eyed herself in the mirror. She ran her fingers through her hair. She primped and fluffed it a bit. She struck a pose for my camera. As we said goodbye to our stylist (who I think is about to become my mother's new go-to hairdresser), and headed out to my car, I could tell she walked a bit taller. She couldn't wait to get home and show off her new look to my dad. To have him look at her with a new appreciation. And I could relate. Can't you? Haven't you left the hair salon and was excited to show off your new self to hubby, boyfriend or girlfriends? It's a proud moment for sure. When you KNOW you look good and as a result FEEL good.

That was my day. With my mother. Sharing a simple common activity but one that as women we are on common ground. It makes my happy to know that today I made my mom feel beautiful. And made some great memories.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

My Cinema - Les Miserables


Everything I'd heard about "Les Miserables" is so true! The movie is trés magnifique! From the opening scene to the closing credits, I was mesmerized...hooked!

The movie stars Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Amanda Seyfried, and Russell Crowe, directed by Tom Hooper and is set in 18th century France.

Truth be told, I went to see this movie not knowing what it was about. I heard all the hoopla and buzz but never saw a production of it nor had I read the story anywhere. I  kind of liked it that way. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the epic tale unfold before my virgin eyes. And for that reason, I won't go into great detail about what the story is about in case you haven't seen it yet; don't want to spoil it for you! But I will tell you the story is captivating and superb.

Admittedly, this probably isn't seen as a manly kind of film, but guess what? Hubby accompanied me to see it! (He's such a great guy, eh? Think I'll keep him!) And....he liked it too! Maybe not as much as I did, but he thought it was very well done and he wasn't turned off like he thought he'd be with all the singing. I believe he was pleasantly surprised to find that he liked it as much as he did. (Think he went in believing he was sucking it up and being the good hubby and that it was going to be a "ho-hum" loooong movie but voila! It wasn't so bad!)

So yeah, there's lots of singing. Matter of fact, it's all singing. There's very very little spoken dialogue (a few words that were more spoken than sung). But the music and songs really keep the action moving along. Not to mention every now and then, between scenes, the screen would have a paragraph or two of information about events occurring outside the scope of the film that aren't being depicted (but are pertinent to the storyline); the words helped to pull the story into the next time period or chapter. 

I was very impressed by the singing talent in the movie. Ok, so I know Hugh Jackman, star of stage and screen, has a great set of pipes. But Anne Hathaway? Really? She has a great voice! I don't think I would have guessed it. She totally deserves the "best of" nods at the awards shows. I was surprised by Amanda Seyfried's singing talent also. But who totally surprised me was Russell Crowe. No, he's not the best singer I've ever heard; not even close. But he did impress me. His growly, gravely low timbred voice really matched well with his character. Kudos to him!

I totally recommend this movie but maybe not for the younger set. The themes are very adult and might be a bit overwhelming and frightening for the kiddos, and not sure if the amount or kind of singing will keep them interested. (This is NOT Top 40 nor Justin Beiber-like.)

I also suggest seeing the movie in an afternoon showing or, if you're waiting on the DVD release set aside a few uninterrupted hours, as it's rather long. I just couldn't bear to think of seeing this at night knowing I wouldn't get out of the theater until after midnight.

The film has already won some honors and accolades leading up to the Academy Awards. I believe it's a strong contender for the Best Picture Oscar because of its talented cast, beautiful music, artful sets and scenery, and compelling storyline. But I'm puzzled and saddened to hear that the director was not nominated. How a movie could be considered the best but not its director is beyond me. The director is the captain of the film, and without a competent and talented leader, a film would most certainly flounder and suffer. And with this film, it's very evident Tom Hooper is a master of his craft and made what could have been a difficult movie to watch quite entertaining (even for hubby!).

Great film! Go see it if you get the chance!

Friday, February 15, 2013

My Music - From the Kinks to Mumford and Sons

Those who know me know how much I love music. All kinds. But mostly Rock, Pop, Country. Been going to see live shows since I was around 10 years old...way way way long time ago. Talked my older brother into bringing me to my first big-girl show when I was 12. The Kinks. They performed at what was once called "The Providence Civic Center" (now known as "The Dunk"). Poco and Henry Gross played that night, too. Good times. Ah, how I loved the Kinks. Still do. And thankfully they're still making music, although they do so as solo artists now.
Since then, I've seen many big acts: Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Cher, Queen, Aerosmith, Shania Twain, J. Geils, Pat BenatarToby KeithSammy Hagar (w/the Waboritas, Van Halen and Chickenfoot), Heart, Blake Shelton. I've seen many before they were household names: Kiss, Journey, Zac Brown Band.
These days, while I still like the famous artists, I usually like to listen to the mostly unknown. The indie band. The singer-songwriter. The music is more raw. Shows more intimate and personal. I'm really not that enamored with the 60,000 seat arenas where I spend more time looking at the band on a big screen than straining to see the little human specks on a stage a hundred yards away. And don't get me started on the astronomical ticket prices, process and handling fees, etc.
I put out the word recently to my friends. I need some new music. I feel like my iPod is getting a bit stagnant. I need new blood. Here's a list of some new (to me, anyway) acts I'm listening and grooving to.
How about you? What are you listening to? Care to share some good recommendations?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Backyard - Marble House, Newport, RI

Ah, another day in Newport....another Mansion tour. And what a glorious one it was, too!

In a previous post, I told you about my adventures at the Breakers. I promised myself (and you, my dear reader) that I would return to Newport to visit another grand old manse. That opportunity presented itself last December. (Ok, so I'm a little slow in writing this post about it....been a bit busy....but i'm trying to catch up...honest!)

continuing on....Hubby actually brought it up. "Let's go see one of the Mansions this week," he said. "They should all be decorated for the holidays. It'll be a good time to go."

Ok....hmmm....let me think bout this...twist my arm...ummm...weeelll...Of course I'd go, and with hubby along, too? Heck yeah!

So on a cloudy, cold day we headed to Newport and chose to visit Marble House on Bellevue Avenue. We parked across the street and, after buying a ticket for hubby, we strode up to the massive entrance to the mansion. While grand, we immediately recognized that this place is nowhere near as large as the Breakers. But maybe that's okay. It actually felt a bit homier to me, more comfortable. (If you can call a large, stone mansion built in 1882 homey and comfortable.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Nemo....Oh Nemo...A Rose By Any Other Name....

Nemo: Are you all right?
Dory: I don't know where I am...I don't know what's going on. I think I lost somebody but I...I can't remember
Nemo: It's okay. I'm looking for somebody, too. Hey, we can look together!
Dory: I'm Dory.
Nemo: I'm Nemo.
Dory: Nemo? That's a nice name...


A name....what's in a name? Ask anyone....and they'll probably tell you... alot! A name can forever conjure up an image, good or bad. A name can knowingly or unwittingly brand something or someone for a lifetime. For better or worse.

Take Nemo. Just a week ago I'm sure the name brought to mind a nice sweet image of a pretty little orange fish. With stripes. Young. Innocent. One who was lost and searching for home. Who eventually, in typical Disney feel-good infused fashion, was reunited with his family in tear jerker style. And all was well in the world that lives under the sea. (Or at least in the Great Barrier Reef.)

But my how a quick turn of the weather can change all that. Buh-bye sweet innocent little fishy Nemo, and hellooooo ominous scary winter storm Nemo. Really? Whose bright idea was it to name a dangerous winter phenomenon after a character that until recently evoked warm and fuzzy emotions in the minds and hearts of most Americans? Really? Shouldn't they give deadly blizzards monikers like "Satan" or "Hannibal"?

After the damage and havoc wreaked last weekend by Nemo, no one is ever going to utter the name again without remembering the damage, the power outages, the icy cold temperature, the deluge of snow, the total shutdown of a whole region of the U.S. No, it won't be forgotten any time soon.

What's next on the list? Cyclone Simba? Blizzard Bambi? Tornado Thumper? Hurricane Happy? Yikes!

So....we survived. No damage, no power outages at my home. Thank goodness. Was kinda cool seeing the world around us come to a standstill...even if just for a short time. It was eerily quiet this past weekend. And the 2 feet of glistening snow outside my window was kinda pretty.

Life goes on. The snow's been plowed. Travel ban is lifted. The local kids have abandoned their forts and snowmen and have gone back to the re-opened schools.

But for a brief moment in time, the world stood still. And quiet. All thanks to that sweet, innocent, lovable Nemo......

Paradise How I Love Thee......Boston & Blackberry Smoke

I wrote the following last week. I was out on a date w/hubby. Went to see a band we both love and hadn't seen in quite a while....

Sigh.....out. In Boston. Paradise Rock Club to be exact. Had to walk a mile to get here. It's freeeeeezing. No parking anywhere. Grrrrrr.... but I'm here. Praise the Lord...and pass the biscuits. My Mecca. My safe place. Music. It washes all my sins away...(well, some of them anyway). definitely raises the blood pressure and sets the toes a-tappin'. Glory be! My heart is singing. Rejoicing actually. I'm about to see one of my fav bands. They may not be household names....yet. But gosh darn they're good....Blackberry Smoke....yee-haw!

Can you tell I hadn't been to a concert in a while? Argh!

Friday, February 8, 2013

My Backyard - Quonset Air Museum; North Kingstown, RI

If you're a Rhode Islander you've probably heard of the National Guard Open House and Air Show. It's held every summer at the Quonset State Airport in North Kingstown; widely advertised and very well attended. Quite a lot of fun! Aircraft from all eras put on a dazzling display. There are vintage to modern warfare planes. There are skydivers. Demonstrations. Visitors can even get up close and personal to planes parked on the tarmac. There's always plenty of refreshments and interesting items for sale. It makes for a great family day!

At one of those shows, my husband ran into a former coworker who was talking with visitors about an old plane. He gave our then 2-year old grandson a thrill of a lifetime when he allowed him to go up into the cockpit with hubby. While we chatted, he mentioned he volunteered at the Quonset Air Museum. I think that might have been the first time I heard of it. We told him that we would make it a point to visit someday.

Flash forward 5 years. Someday finally came last month. I made it to the Museum. Let me back up a bit here and give you some history on how it finally came to pass.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Employment Update

One month into 2013. And......

Photo Credit - Khalilshah (Flickr)
jobless Unemployed.

Resumes sent. Applications submitted.

No response.....yet. For either of us.

Wish I had better news and a more cheerful update for you.

But we haven't given up.

I'll keep you posted when there are good tidings to share.

Wish us luck!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

My Backyard - Yankee Candle Village Shop

Are you a candle person? Do you search for just the right scent to please your senses or set a mood in your home? Do you mix and match or change them up depending on the season or holiday?

Ok, I admit. That's not me. Don't get me wrong. I DO like to use scented oils and warmers to enfuse a calming, feel-good warmth throughout my home. But when I think Yankee Candle, I think wax and wicks and flames and decorative holders to retain it all. It wasn't a store I normally would find myself in, unless I was looking to buy a gift for someone else,

All that changed recently, last Halloween, when my sisters invited me to accompany them to a local Yankee Candle store. While they oohed and ahhed over the latest in the "Boney Bunch" line of items, I perused the shelves and aisles and found much more than candles. I left the store with a bag full of goodies for myself and gifts for my daughter-in-law.

That got me thinking. I had heard about a very large Yankee Candle store. A Village Shop actually. In Deerfield, MA. Not too far from me. Maybe it was time for a visit. To find out what all the talk I'd heard for years about the place was all about.

Two months later, right before Christmas, I called my sisters with my idea. Let's plan a sister outing with our mother to the Village Shop. All agreed, a short time later, we set off on the two hour ride on a cold December weekday. We chatted and laughed like families do which made the hours seem like mere minutes.