"I've discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it."
- William Faulkner

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

it's all about the dress

It is upon us, ladies and gents. Oscar season, or for the hoity-toities, The Academy Awards. The time for movies both poignant and pointless, divine and disappointing, uplifting and ubiquitous to fight and claw for recognition. The time for the fancy-pants Academy to stroke the egos of directors, producers and actors everywhere, and often times totally ignore the favorites of the real folks. There will be films or pictures (what we real people call “movies”) that we loved, hated or didn’t know existed up for the highest award in Hollywood – that naked gold guy. I have arrived at the conclusion that whomever chooses these pictures (they were most likely drama geeks in high school now on a power trip…I can say that as I was in a couple of productions myself) pick ones that they don’t even get or like just to make themselves look smart. At least that’s what I would do in that position. But, as usual, I digress.

My main reason for this post is to focus on what people really like about the Oscars – the fashion. We always hear of these inconspicuous knock-off designers with their pen and pad ready to sketch copies of the best get-ups to sell to department stores across the nation. Some of the dresses are outstanding, some are horrific and many are boring, but all are undoubtedly loved by those wearing them. Oh, and I believe none of that business of the nominees choosing their dress an hour before the ceremony. Seriously? So as the Oscar girls (who really cares about the tuxes?) get ready to glam up before the biggest night in the film industry, I’d like to share with my stylish readers my favorite Oscar gowns of all time (or the past 15 years or so) in no particular order.

Forgive me for this one – I couldn’t find a good picture of Nicole in this one minus her couch-jumping ex. This dress is so perfect for her, it’s not funny. It looks as stunning today as it did back in ’97. Who could pull off that color but her? And that embroidery! Can you say “tall drink of water?” And leave it to her to match the perfect jewels. I have always thought of Nicole Kidman as one of the Untouchables – she just seems other-worldly, and this dress confirms it.

When I started working on this post, this dress was one of the very first I thought about. First of all, how do you not love Kate Winslet? She is so amazingly beautiful and talented, and she looks every bit the movie star in this red number she rocked in 2002. Those flowers on the shoulder are exquisite and check the pink bow on her red clutch – genius! And I bet she doesn’t even need Spanx.

I know red hair, green dress has been done, but Amy Adams has done it the best so far if you ask me. From her antique bag and understated jewels to her wavy hair, she is Old Hollywood glamour all the way, baby. It doesn’t hurt that she’s adorable, too. Have you ever seen Junebug? She was perfect.

Is there anything Cate Blanchett can’t do? Her ability to portray anyone – man or woman – onscreen is only matched by her ability to pull off anything on the red carpet. Even though it’s not nearly as off-the-wall as some other stuff she’s worn, this dress is just so right for her and the occasion. The maroon velvet belt is just ideal against the crisp, yellow silk. Again, an Untouchable.

Many of you will not be surprised that Hilary Swank ended up in this list. I have always liked her and appreciated her style – rarely, if ever a misstep (plus she loves Stella McCartney!). This dress got some negative reviews, but I loved it. She’d just finished filming Million Dollar Baby and wanted to show off her million dollar bod. Can you blame her? The front of the dress was really simple, but check out that back! Yowzaaa! And I love that she went right to In-and-Out Burger after the ceremony and chowed down. A girl after my own heart.

And now for my favorite Oscar dress EVER. Drumroll, please...

Ok, so this dress was in a particular order. It is my absolute favorite dress of the Oscars – hands down. I would like to think that I would wear something like this should I ever get the opportunity to go. A girl can dream, right? But alas, I would never in a million years be able to pull off this color or be that thin. Her hair, lips, jewels, neckline – all insane. And seeing Michelle Williams in this dress does make me a little sad – she was with Heath Ledger here, both nominated for the movie that brought them together. Still, this dress goes into the Oscar Gown Hall of Fame. Period.

What are your fave Oscar (or any red carpet) gowns?

Monday, January 26, 2009

monday, monday...

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I love a short week myself, even though it makes the next week even harder.

Kell and I had been waiting on pins and needles for Frost/Nixon to finally come to Jackson. Friday, it did, and we saw it. It was pretty good – I wanted it to be a little more intense than it was. I was also not blown away by the actor portraying Nixon – he was nominated for an Academy Award; he was good, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not sure there weren’t others that were maybe more deserving. The actor portraying David Frost (Michael Sheen – he was also PM Tony Blair in The Queen – another GREAT movie) was really excellent, I thought.

Arguably the best part of the night was learning about buying the movie tickets online. Sure, they’re an additional $1.25 per ticket, but you don’t have to wait in line, and you can pick them right up at a little ATM machine-type thing. Plus, you know you’ll get in. So worth it, if you ask me. In fact, it might even get me over my aversion to seeing movies by myself before Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince comes out. Needless to say, Kell will not be taking me to that one. Other movies I want to see: Revolutionary Road, The Reader, Doubt, Push, Slumdog Millionaire, Gran Torino and He’s Just Not That Into You.

Saturday night, we went to the Phoenix Club of Jackson’s Speakeasy Soiree at the Capitol Club. I was a little disappointed to learn that the attire was cocktail and not flapper, but we did get pearls and a feather at the door. I am wearing mine in the picture, of course (also pictured: Haley and Clare).

And I’ve got a new Delicious Dish this week. These Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies are super-rich, but delish. I made them without the icing, and they were still quite sweet.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

1 box Betty Crocker® Original Supreme brownie mix (with chocolate syrup pouch)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® chocolate chip cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1 container Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy chocolate frosting

1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease bottom only of 13x9-inch pan. Make brownie mix as directed on box, using oil, water and 2 eggs. Spread in pan.

2. Make cookie mix as directed on pouch, using butter and 1 egg. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls evenly onto brownie batter; press down lightly.

3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out almost clean (I was out of toothpicks and had to use a chopstick). Cool completely, about 1 hour (yeah right). Frost with frosting. For brownies, cut into 8 rows by 6 rows.

Sorry for the boring post. Have a good Monday!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

God Bless America

Congratulations, America, you made history today. At 12:05 p.m. Eastern (that’s 11:05 a.m. to me), you elected a new President. Your 44th President. Today, a biracial man from Hawaii with a wife and two lovely daughters spoke his first words as President of the United States, completing a peaceful transfer of power from the man who held the office before him. And to any that argue that the United States is not the greatest country on Earth, I advise them to take a look at today’s festivities. No matter the politics, no matter the divisive words, speeches and ads of an election season, our country ushered in new leadership with dignity and harmony.

The embattled (now former) President Bush embraced the man that will next sit in the office and at the very desk in which he was forced to make more difficult decisions than we will ever comprehend. Though many disagree with the conclusions the ultimately reached, no one can deny that he loves his country, a country in which President Obama’s very success story was cultivated. The President’s address today was one of change and hope and looking ahead. He spoke to a country in crisis, weary and desperately seeking stability and guidance, and the world listened. Folks, our new President has an inconceivable weight on his shoulders now, and we should pray every day that he seek God’s wisdom and His will for our country. Godspeed, President Obama.

My personal fave quote of the Inauguration: “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silence of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

(photos from FoxNews.com and CNN.com)

On a much lighter note, I have a Weight Watchers-friendly Delicious Dish today, perfect for those looking to keep their New Year’s resolution to eat healthier. Thanks, Amy Eddleman!

Blueberry “Cobbler”

1 box yellow cake mix
2 bags frozen blueberries (or any frozen fruit you choose)
1 can of Sprite Zero

Empty both bags of frozen fruit into a casserole dish. Pour the bag of yellow cake mix on top of the fruit. Pour the can of Diet Sprite over the cake mix. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes uncovered and another 40 minutes covered. Serve warm with fat free Cool Whip. 2 points per serving!

Friday, January 16, 2009

i'd like to thank the academy...

I got an award from yaya earlier, and I neglected to post about it (ya, this does not mean I appreciate it any less, I was just so eat up with my Girl Crushes, it slipped my distracted mind). I’m not sure what it means exactly, but it mentioned the word “charming,” and that is one of my most favorite descriptive words. So, thanks for calling me charming.

I don’t know that I’ve ever received an award that that was partially in Spanish. Nevertheless, it is quite an honor that I have received this from my friend who creates and attracts quite a bit of blog traffic. But I digress. I’ve been instructed by the Spanish award creators to choose 8 exceedingly charming blogs that I follow regularly. I don’t know all of these people, but the ones I do, I like.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

i'm not a playa, i just crush a lot

The Girl Crush. It’s a subject I’ve not yet broached on this blog, but one I think everyone can identify with. In fact, MK and I were recently talking about a recent Girl Crush discovery of her own, and I was inspired to cover mine. If you’re not familiar with this phenomenon, it’s likely you’ve just never given your Girl Crush her illustrious title. It’s a simple concept really, and one that some are more adept at identifying than others. I, however, have had many over the years for many different reasons – some blatantly obvious, some a little more complex.

In my 5-year-old world, She-Ra was it. She was tall, blonde, a princess, had a brave steed and was a secret life as a superhero (Adora was her street name), complete with Sword of Protection. Not to mention she was He-Man’s twin sister. I had innumerable figurines, her horse Spirit (also a superhero horse) the sword, breastplate thingy and her golden boots (which were actually gold plastic shin guards worn on top of the shoe). She was awesome. Girl Power before the Spice Girls.

Fast forward a few years to Whitney Houston. Pre-Bobby Brown Whitney, that is. I knew every word to “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and thought the twirly skirt with the huge red ruffles was the single greatest item of clothing ever created. I mean, was there a better, cuter, more talented singer in the 80’s? And to think I really thought I could sing like her. I had The Bodyguard soundtrack on tape (even though I wasn’t allowed to watch the movie) and listened to the thing all. the. time. I even remember being told to put it away on the bus coming back from a choir competition in elementary. Dork? Perhaps.

I’m sure there were others in between, and my mom could probably help me identify them, but the next one that sticks out in my mind is Jessica Simpson. Whoa. And I loved her prior to Newlyweds. I thought she was so talented and real and beautiful, and she dated Nick Lachey! I loved the song she sang on the Dawson’s Creek soundtrack, which I still have, by the way. I had her book about wedding planning, which I thought was perfect and immaculate in every way. And when Newlyweds started, I watched every episode, the whole time thinking that we were really friends. Needless to say, when her marriage to Nick ended on Thanksgiving whichever year it was, I was heartbroken. You think you know somebody…

If I thought on this for hours, I could probably come up with more Girl Crushes Through the Years, but this somewhat brings you up to date. I couldn’t decide on just one, so I’ve decided on the top few. Don’t judge my Girls.

I don’t care what anyone says, I love Kim Kardashian. I’m not saying all the little girls in America should aspire to be her one day, but she knows who she is and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks about her. Plus, she’s gorgeous and dates a star athlete! Reggie! Reggie! Something about her is just fascinating to me. Maybe because I’ve been accused of having some junk in the trunk, and hers has made her a rock star.

Whatever Stacy London says, I will do. She could tell me to dye my hair green and cut it in a mullet, and I probably would (those of you that know Stacy know she would NEVER advise such a hot mess). I have been watching What Not To Wear since the Wayne and Stacy era, and I love her more with every episode. She’s got an amazing eye for fierce style and is so fun. I really think she would like me if she just gave me like one afternoon. Don’t you just want to BE her?

Have you ever pretended you are someone else when you are out of your element. My love and devotion to Scarlett Johannson led me to pretend I was her in Lost in Translation the first time I was ever in Tokyo. I think she is not only a gifted actress, but i love how real she looks – she’s got a fantastic figure with real meat on her bones. Not to mention a beautiful face. She’s a young’un, too and seems to have a good head on her shoulders. Imagine my excitement when she appeared on the cover of my Bazaar magazine this month.

Who are your Girl Crushes?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

feeling the love

Congratulations to The Closer's Kyra Sedgwick, British babe Hugh Laurie and the cast of House for all winning People's Choice Awards last night. America got it right this time!

Kyra portrays LAPD Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson on TNT's The Closer. How cute is she? A GREAT show for those of you that don't watch. New episodes coming very soon!

The British dreamboat himself. I don't think I need to elaborate.

The brilliant doctors (ok, actors) at Princeton Plainsboro Hospital. They are from l to r: some producer, some producer, Cuddy, Chase, Foreman, Cameron, House, 13 (she has a name, but this is what House calls her) and Taob. Where are Wilson and Cutner?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

transition time

2009 has begun. Like it or not. I bet Britney is glad to have 08 behind her.

Looking back, I did a lot in 2008. (I realize this is a little ego-centric, but hey, it is my blog.)

Shared some fave Delicious Dish recipes…attended Governor Barbour’s inauguration…escorted international journalists all over Mississippi…voted in a historic election…celebrated my one-year blogaversary…started wearing my hair curly (thanks, MK)…sponsored 3 dogs with CARA that got adopted…went to England…went to Japan (twice)…read each and every Harry Potter…saw one coach end a career as a Bulldog and another begin his…got my first David Yurman bracelet…saw Nadal defeat Federer after hours and hours of Wimbledon battle…was in Oxford for the first ever Presidential Debate to be held in Mississippi (which almost wasn’t)…lost a cell phone (twice in the same airport)...met an international music icon…listed my top 20 songs of all time…bought a house…saw LOVE...and I’m sure there are so many things I left off.

Now that we’re a few days deep in to the new year I’ve begun to think a bit about resolutions. I usually say I hate resolutions, but I end up making them anyway and being disappointed when I don’t/can’t/won’t follow through. But, as it is tradition, I’ll press on. It’s fun to think about anyway. Here’s what I’d like to accomplish in 2009:

Save more money. Now that we’re in a house with a real address, it’s time to act like a grown-up, and grown-ups save. I had a minor panic attack listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio the other day. Plus, Kell and I need a new car.

Learn to sew. I’ve always been sort of interested in sewing. My grandmother did, and she made clothes, quilts, curtains, you name it. And after seeing what it costs to make plain old curtain panels, I have even more desire.

Conquer at least one of my fears. I won’t list them here because a) there are too many and b) some are embarrassing. How ‘bout I just let you know when I do?

Find a church home. Kell and I have been doing some visiting around, but it’s kind of hard to strike out on your own. I’ll continue to pray about it, and hopefully we’ll find a church family we feel totally comfortable with.

Paint more. I had a good excuse not to paint when we lived in the apartment – absolutely no room. But now that we have some extra space, I can do more of what I love. I’m no Picasso, mind you, but I still get a sense of accomplishment when I complete one.

Ever noticed how so many of my posts end up being in list form? Huh. I just did.

(cute 09 pic from How About Orange? blog...check it out!)
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