Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscar Winners!

The envelope, please...

Seventeen of you tried to predict the Oscar winners.  The good news is nobody got them all wrong.  The bad news is nobody got them all right! 

There were six major categories.  Three people got five (out of the six) categories correct.  The category that stumped most of you was Best Director, which was won by Tom Hooper ("The King's Speech").

Here are the results, starting with the best predictors/guessers:

Five correct answers: Tracy; Cammie; Tiff
Four correct answers: Sheila; Emily (Tinfoils); Johanne; Sue; Krista; Marie
Three correct answers: Emily (Ruby); Dimi; Brett; Jen
Two correct answers: TwentySomething; Nynga
One correct answer: Bonnie; Freeda

The prize for the winner is supposed to be a crisp $100 bill.  There were three winners.  I'm not gonna be a cheapskate and divide it up; instead, each of the three winners gets a full hundred bucks.  That's just the way I roll...

Thank you for playing!!

After The Oscars...

Had a great party tonight!  A dozen close friends joined me in watching the award ceremony and having fun.  Hope you had a good time, too.  Here are some pics. 

I'll post who won the blog award contest tomorrow after I get some sleep.  :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Oscar Party

Do you want your Oscar in milk chocolate or dark chocolate?

And look at the wine I found!  How suitable to the occasion. :)

Have fun Sunday night!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Red Carpet

Ah, dreams... how sweet your nectar...

I like to experiment.  Here's an example of something new.  A pretty red dress with ruching down the sides.  More elegant than I normally wear.  Your thoughts?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Female Life (Part 3)

Time again for you to tell me what you think.  I love hearing your thoughts, so this is one of my favorite features.  The topic for today is...

Do You Ever Let Fear
Stop You From Doing What You Want?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Alfred Hitchcock (Guest-Post)

Hi, My name is Brett and my blog is Silvergirl.

Ralph and I are guest posters via Ashley’s guest post group.
If you are interested in joining just click on the link above.


My topic today will be Alfred Hitchcock films.

My youngest son (17 now) and I started a movie tradition of watching all of the Alfred Hitchcock movies that are available on DVD.  My son is an avid movie lover and I wanted to acquaint him with older, classic movies.  I think that the fabulous writing styles and camera styles of that period are pretty much lost on today’s films.  I wanted my son to have an appreciation for this type of movie making.

Alfred Hitchcock was born in Leytonston, England in 1899.  His career began in 1919 as an illustrator for title cards for silent films.  He had many jobs within the film industry before he began producing and directing his own movies.  His first movie was in silent films in 1925, called The Pleasure Garden.  In 1926, his breakthrough film the Lodger, became the prototype of the classic Hitchcock plot... an innocent protagonist is falsely accused of a crime and becomes involved in a web of intrigue.

This formula led Hitchcock to become known as the Master of the thriller genre that he virtually invented.  His films draw on fear and fantasy and are also known for their droll humor.  Hitchcock has a distinct and recognizable directorial style. He perfected a way to mimic a person's gaze with the camera, forcing the viewer to engage in a form of voyeurism.  He was  a master at being able to frame shots to manipulate the audiences feelings of anxiety, fear and empathy.  His films are known for their “twist” endings and sexual undertones.
Mr. Hitchcock always uses the “ice” blond stereotype for his leading ladies.  His favorites being, Grace Kelly and Kim Novac.  His favorite leading men were James Stewart and Cary Grant.  He is also known for his cameo appearances in each film he made.

Mr. Hitchcock made 53 films in his lifetime.  His most inspired period is recognized as the period between 1950 and 1960.  Those films include: I Confess, Dial for Murder, To Catch A Thief, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Trouble With Harry and Strangers On A Train, (my personal favorite). 

As a Fashion Blogger, it would be remiss of me not to mention the fabulous fashions in Hitchcock movies.  The women wore divine clothing as well as the men.  Hitchcock worked closely with his costume designers and was very specific about the clothing that his leading ladies wore.  He was always trying to portray a certain look or meaning, even it it meant how a scarf was placed or a certain color that was worn.

I hope that this little blurb has inspired you to go and check out a Hitchcock film if you have never seen one.  Most of the films out on DVD have been digitally remastered and have commentaries by actors or other people working on that particular film.  His daughter, who was also in several of his films, does commentary on many of the DVDs as well.  Hitchcock kept everything, so it is fascinating to see storyboards, handwritten direction and even old receipts.

Thanks for letting me share my passion for Hitchcock Films and please stop by my blog anytime.

Seventies Fashion

I did some research and wrote a lengthy post about women's fashion in the 1970's.  The result was just put up as a guest-post on Brett's blog.  You can find it here.

I put a lot of work into the post and am eager to hear your opinion of it.  Please make a cup of tea, get comfortable and go take a look.  Thanks!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

It's Oscar Week!

It's Oscar Week!  As an avid cinemaphile, I look forward to the Academy Awards the way some people anticipate the SuperBowl.  It's the high point of my movie-viewing season.

This year, in fact, I convinced Robin to let me throw a big party at which a dozen of our friends are going to watch the ceremony on our big-ass TV while dining on fancy food.  I'm inviting all of our guests to try their luck at guessing the winners and giving a prize for the best ballot.

Since you, too, are my friends, I thought it'd be fun to play with you guys as well.  If you want to try your luck, just pick who you think will win the major categories.  After the ceremony, we'll see who chose the most winners.  The winner will get one of these...

The way to play is simple.  The choices are listed below.  For each category, pick one (by letter) and leave a comment with your selections.  For example, your entry should look like this: 1.a. 2.b. 3.c. 4.d. 5.e. 6.f. 

If you have any questions or prefer to play privately, you can e-mail me at  If you don't want to play but just want to talk about which movies you like, go right ahead.  Let's have fun!

1. Best Picture

A. 'Black Swan'
B. 'The Fighter'
C. 'Inception'
D. 'The Kids Are All Right'
E. 'The King’s Speech'
F. '127 Hours'
G. 'The Social Network'
H. 'Toy Story 3'
I. 'True Grit'
J. 'Winter’s Bone'

2. Best Actor

A. Javier Bardem, 'Biutiful'
B. Jeff Bridges, 'True Grit'
C. Jesse Eisenberg, 'The Social Network'
D. Colin Firth, 'The King's Speech'
E. James Franco, '127 Hours'

3. Best Actress

A. Annette Bening, 'The Kids Are All Right'
B. Nicole Kidman, 'Rabbit Hole'
C. Jennifer Lawrence, 'Winter's Bone'
D. Natalie Portman, 'Black Swan'
E. Michelle Williams, 'Blue Valentine'

4. Best Supporting Actor

A. Christian Bale, 'The Fighter'
B. John Hawkes, 'Winter's Bone'
C. Jeremy Renner, 'The Town'
D. Mark Ruffalo, 'The Kids Are All Right'
E. Geoffrey Rush, 'The King's Speech'

5. Best Supporting Actress

A. Amy Adams, 'The Fighter'
B. Helena Bonham Carter, 'The King's Speech'
C. Melissa Leo, 'The Fighter'
D. Hailee Steinfeld, 'True Grit'
E. Jacki Weaver, 'Animal Kingdom'

6. Best Director

A. Darren Aronofsky, 'Black Swan'
B. David O. Russell, 'The Fighter'
C. Tom Hooper, 'The King's Speech'
D. David Fincher, 'The Social Network'
E. Joel and Ethan Coen, 'True Grit'

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bear Love


One of the coolest things about the Internet is how it can connect us to people around the world.  I was amazed when I discovered there are women following my blog from faraway places like Europe, Australia and even Africa.  Since then, I've chosen to follow several of their blogs and greatly enjoy seeing our cultural similarities and differences.

Periodically, I like to put some focus on the bloggers I follow, especially when they do something distinctive.  Here are two...

Poet is a student, poet (duh!) and seamstress who lives in Germany.  Her blog is interesting but what really blows me away is her sewing ability -- it is beyond description.  She can take an item and magically transform it into something completely different.  For example, a male-friend of hers gave her an old jacket -- and she turned it into a laptop bag!  How cool is that?!

Another blogger I enjoy who is half-a-world away is Angela.  Angela lives in Australia and has been complaining about the heat while the rest of us are freezing with Winter.  (Their seasons are the reverse of ours 'cause they're in the Southern Hemisphere.)  Angela's blog is a real fashion-blog, full of interesting clothes, nicely-presented and frequently updated.  Occasionally, I see a picture that captures my eye and this was one of them, from Angela's penultimate post...

The weekend is coming!  I've had a ROUGH week, so it can't arrive soon enough.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fashion Of The Times

Some people are embarrassed by the clothes they wore when they were young, but I find great enjoyment in viewing earlier fashions.  Even wild, short-lived trends are fun to look at.

I just wrote a long article on 1970's fashion which I'm going to put up soon as a guest-post.  It focused my eye on earlier trends so when I saw Natalie, whose blog I follow, reveal her outfit from 20 years ago, I jumped all over it!  Here's her outfit.  (Natalie is on the right.) 

I absolutely love the puffy sleeves.  Some might cring at 80's fashion but its novel touches amuse me greatly.  What do you think?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine Gifts

How was your day?  Mine was good -- I got stuff!

Robin gave me two wonderful gifts.  The first is cufflinks made from a real baseball that was used in a real Major League game.  How cool!  MLB sell 'em and there's a code on the box to see which game the ball was used in.

I also received some chocolate.  Not just any chocolate but organic chocolate from Equador, imported by a fancy new chocolatier in New York City.  Yumm!

And here is the shelf of cards...

Hope you had fun, too!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Best wishes to you all!  Enjoy the day.  Here are some pics from my life...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Favorite Clothes

Do you have any favorite clothes that you love to wear, simply for themselves?  I mean, clothes you enjoy wearing regardless of whether you're going out or being seen.

I do.  I love stockings and tights.  I always have.  When I was young, they epitomized femininity to me and I've never stopped loving them.  Simply touching them makes my heart sing.

It's thrilling that colored tights are fashionable these days.  That gives me an excuse to add them to outfits.  Here is a pair of cute cotton tights from Hue in a pretty shade of red...

Is there anything you like to wear, merely for the way it makes you feel?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Makeup and Math

I was aware of the transformative power of makeup, but I had no idea how extremely strong that power can be.  Before today, I only saw my favorite TV actress, Sofia Vergara ("Modern Family"), with heavy makeup on.  Then, when I saw how she looks without makeup, I literally did not recognize her.  She looks like an entirely different person!

Here she is in two pictures, taken only hours apart.  In the first, she's unadorned; in the second, a team of makeup and hair experts have done her over.  What do you think?

I just heard a math joke.  Did you know there were math jokes?  Well, there are!

What did the number 0 say to the number 8?  "Hey, nice belt!"

Going Too Far

We all know that clothing companies photoshop their pictures.  Sometimes, they go too far.

Here are catalog-pages from Victoria's Secret and Talbot's where they amputated the poor models' limbs!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Too Much

Sometimes too much is too much...  I still have a lot to learn about fashion.

I went on a wild ride yesterday: I took a bold mini-skirt, paired it with an equally bold shrug, and added a hyper-sparkly top. 

Yes, I know -- too much.  Way too much.  But I have to learn and it seems I learn fastest from mistakes. 

I realize, looking at the pictures, that the top is the problem: it pushes the outfit off the cliff.  I was already walking on the edge of good taste and the top took it too far.  I should have worn a plain, non-sparkly item.  Plain, however, is never my first instinct... 

Dressing for you guys is a lot of fun.  I'm slowly improving with my clothing choices.  I make mistakes, of course, but I hope you forgive them.  How else can we learn?

Do you ever wear wild outfits?  Or make any tragic fashion errors?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Returning To Our Regular Station...

I'm an upbeat person.  I find optimism and a positive attitude are the best ways to combat the crushing weight of adversity.  I've had a lot of hardship in my life, so I have practice with this.

My post yesterday was hard, sad and difficult.  If you're up for confronting it, please feel free to read it.  But I don't want to depress people.  I don't want my blog to be negative.

So, today we are returning to our preferred mode -- chipper and cheerful.  I have two things to change the mood: a dumb joke and a cute picture.

Have you heard about the new restaurant on the Moon?  The food is good but there's no atmosphere...

And here's the picture.  It's from my high school yearbook (1975).  I'm on the left in the bottom photo.  Back then, that was my hairdo.  Hey, it was the 70's!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I mentioned a ballplayer in my last post and later realized I should give you guys some background in order to understand me better.  This gets pretty personal so, if deep-rooted psychology scares you, now is the time to head toward the exit...

I've always had a complicated relationship with sports.  On one hand, there is intrinsic joy in all movement and athletics can celebrate physical grace.  On the other hand, sports as they are practiced in our society are too often corrupted by competition.  Competition can be destructive and sap all the fun out of playing.  You'd know what I mean if you saw angry fathers screaming at their sons playing Little League baseball.  Too many adult men torture little boys in sports.  The worst parenting I've ever seen has been on ballfields.

Sports are also deeply encoded with gender in our society.  While games themselves are not inherently gender-specific, they are often seen that way.  My parents, for example, viewed sports as the socially-approved activity for boys, so they imposed sports on me (and my brother) as a way to prove to the world that their sons were real men.  During my early childhood, I expressed repeated desires to be treated as a girl which terrified my parents.  They forcefully beat that out of me.  I learned my natural inclinations were completely unacceptable to my parents and that if I wanted their love, it was conditional on acting masculine.

The prime symbol of gender-normalcy in my family was participation in sports.  I was pushed into sports early on and learned that engaging in them placated my parents.  To gain my parents' love, I dove into athletics and worked feverishly at it.

I played three sports at a serious level: baseball, soccer and wrestling.  I developed my natural talents to their limit and played on varsity teams.  While also being an academic overachiever (I finished 7th in my high school class of 860 kids), I won multiple sporting awards.  I was the only smart kid who played sports in my school, and the only athlete who was good at schoolwork.  Each year, I won the "Scholar-Athlete" award by a wide margin because I was the only kid with a foot in both worlds.

Here's an example from my youth of my fervor.  During a heated soccer-match, an opponent tried to kick the ball, missed and caught the inside of my kneecap, totally dislocating it.  In great pain and completely unable to stand, I was taken to a hospital where an immobilizing knee-brace was put on.  Two days later, I returned to practice where I "ran" laps around the field with a leg that couldn't bend and a 10-lb. brace on it.  The pain was excruciating but I pushed through it.  The coach and my teammates thought I was dedicated to the game; in reality, I was doing this to get my parents to love me.

My strongest impulse in my youth was to please my parents.  They were immigrants and anxious about their standing in American society.  When their first-born son achieved honors in sports and at school, they felt better about themselves as parents.  My successes were, in their eyes, reflections on them.

I didn't want to disappoint my parents, so I did the things they pushed me toward.  Sports was the biggest example.  Now, when I think about sports, I can't separate the activities from the often-negative role they played in my life.  Thus, I have mixed feelings about sports.  In some way, sports were a tool to oppress me and I resent them for being that.

Growing up, did you care about pleasing your parents?  And did that affect your upbringing?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Some Of My Favorites

Bonnie from Glam Kitten's Litter Box just tagged me with a few questions.  Sometimes I worry that I may be telling you guys more than you want to hear so, at the risk of overstaying my welcome, I accept Bonnie's offer.  I guess if I've outworn your patience, you can change the channel and watch pro wrestling or something...

Five Favorite Things Right Now:

1. Blogging, by a long shot.  Not just posting but commenting on others' blogs.  This fun activity brings big doses of happiness into my life -- and, with my ugly job, I need that antidote.

2. Making new blogger-friends.  You guys are the greatest! 

3. Manny Ramirez.  He's a famous baseball player who disregards the culture of his sport and is hated for his unconventional behavior (and long dreadlocked hair).  I love Manny precisely because he flouts convention.  Manny is so notorious that an expression emerged for his eccentric behavior -- "Manny being Manny."  Despite the unfounded vitriol hurled at him, Manny is one of the best players of all time.  He was a World Series MVP in 2004 (when the Red Sox won) and has innumerable batting records.  I follow Manny around from team to team.  He used to play with the Boston Red Sox, moved to the Los Angeles Dodgers, spent a month with the Chicago White Sox and just signed to play for the Tampa Bay Rays this year.  Go, Manny!

4. Colored tights.  I love 'em!

5. My new Nikon D3000.  Crisp pictures and easy to use.


1. Favorite makeup brand:
Lime Crime (owned by my friends Xenia and Mark)

2. Favorite clothing brand:
Whatever is on the racks of a thrift-store.

3. My indispensable makeup product:
Lipstick.  Gotta have it.

4. What country I would like to visit and why:
Italy, for the art and food there.

5. The last concert I have attended:
"Million Dollar Quartet" on Broadway.  Terrific musical performances.

Thanks, Bonnie!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Getting Older

In my mind, I'm 24 years old.  My driver's license says something else, but I plan to retain my youthful attitude.  Just because the clock ticks away doesn't mean we have to lose our "joie de vivre" (zest for life).

I'm older than you guys and can report some good news from that front -- getting old isn't necessarily bad.  There are some valuable advantages to it.

First, you're witness to history.  I remember JFK being shot.  I was only six years old so I didn't know exactly what was happening but I was stunned to see all the adults around me crying.  Really crying.  They were all in a state of extreme shock.  You remember an experience like that.

I saw the Vietnam War tear our country apart.  Families argued and teenagers left home.  Thousands of young men died.  Society was more chaotic than I ever imagined it could become.  The "generation gap" became real.  A rallying cry of the time was "Don't Trust Anyone Over 30."

A second advantage to growing old is that it gives you perspective.  Things that consume you when you are young -- like advancing in a career, getting married and fitting into society -- become much less vital as you age.   You realize the opinions and rules of other people matter little and you feel more free to do what you personally care about.

I just finished a book which made this point in reference to artists.  The book reports that most serious artists do different work in their later years than in their youth.  When they are older, artists care more about the intrinsic quality of their work than the social reception to it.  When you're young, you want everyone to love and respect you.  When you're older, you care less about that and more about doing what YOU think is valuable.

How old are you in your head?  12?  22? 46?

This is me at a Christmas Party in my childhood.

As hard as it is to believe, this is also me,
during my adolescent years, trying to look tough.