This morning I drove to a Starbucks so that I could escape the house and put myself to work on this little blog I’ve got going on here. The last few weeks have been full of many hours of overtime and very little me time. Figured I needed to rectify that…
So I stroll into the Starbucks, order my grande cold brew (sweetened with 2% milk should you ever want to be generous…), sit down with my laptop aaaaand…
…two hours later all I’ve done is gleefully search for flights to London, create a little budget spreadsheet, scan Twitter because ADD, and somewhat daydream about celebrating my 30th birthday in one of my favorite parts of the world.
I’ve been to California several times–five times in fact. And only during this last trip did I have the chance to go check out California wine country. Took me long enough…
For an East Coast girl, visiting the West Coast, particularly California is slightly like visiting another country.
Let me explain.
Of course we’re all Americans–it’s nothing like that (though Cali does have it’s own unique vibe). But when you come from a coast that is made of many states, including the 13 original colonies, and then go to the other side, where it’s 3 states that take up the whole of the other coast, you don’t realize how far away things can be, even within the same state.
So while I was recently out in LA visiting my friend Melissa, we decided to take advantage of the great weather on Saturday and road trip it north. Originally that plan included Big Sur, with its epic views of the coast. Me with my east coast mindset and Melissa not being a Cali native both thought this was a good idea…until we realized what we thought was a fairly quick road trip was actually going to take us about 6 hours one way. Ha! Time for Plan B…
The Emmy nominations were announced last week and as much as I love TV, I’ve never really paid any mind to the nominations. I would be happy to hear that Game of Thrones or Downton Abbey received a few nods, but otherwise, it didn’t really seem to matter much to me. Not even the awards show itself.
But this year has been different. I’ve made it no secret that I love Outlander–the books and the TV series–and I’ve never seen acting that was so moving before. Never. So this year, I’ve been a supporter of the #EmmysForOutlander campaign, especially for Sam and Caitriona, but also costuming, set design, and many other categories that I would’ve thought were no brainers because they were just so good, so intricate, and completely on point with the story and the time period.
I’ve just moved in with some friends of mine. (And, yes, for those who know me, I did just move only a few weeks ago, and then a little over a year before that. For those who don’t know me, it’s a bit of a long story.) This is a bit of a transitional moment for me. I’m turning 30 in November. I’ve had many adventures in my 20s–traveling around the US and abroad, participating in some really nerdy things like movie premieres and conventions, made so many new friends, had cool job opportunities, and I got to be a New Yorker for a little while. And now I’m just trying to figure out what that next adventure will be. My sweet Nana, who I think about and miss all the time, once wrote in a birthday card that I was her “little free spirit” and that’s always stuck with me. I like that title, and I think I’m going to try to continue to embrace it.
It’s really funny how a number makes you have feelings. Being 29 going on 30 feels like something HUGE. If you had asked me when I was graduating college back in 2007 where I thought I’d be at 30, that answer would’ve been way different than what actually happened. And I don’t see that as a bad thing at all, but I’m only just realizing now in my last year of my 20s that there’s a big difference between dreams and expectations. I think I’ve made some decisions based on expectations as opposed to just living in the moment. I really don’t have regrets about it, but now I know better. In the last year, I’ve had some serious “ah ha” moments where I’ve realized I should embrace my incoming 30s, that it’s never too late for anything. And there’s nothing wrong with not quite knowing what I want next. That’s life, and mine can’t be the same as everyone else’s or then what’s the point?
So that takes me back to the here and now. I wanted to take a moment to recognize all of the dear friends who have been there for me while I’ve been reassessing what is next for myself, saving money, and working on a game plan. I’m one of those people who tries not to worry about what others think, but to be honest, I do. But these ladies have been so helpful and supportive, even as I’ve been a pseudo gypsy during the last month or so.
I’m very thankful for all of my friends for so many reasons particularly as a support system, and while I can’t name them all, I do want to give a big thank you to a handful who have really helped a sister out lately, lending an ear when I needed it, putting a roof over my head, and just being an all-around pal. So a big thank you to Megan, Debra, Ashley, and (yes, she’s my friend, too!) Mom.
I want to give a toast with a new wine called Sweet Bitch to all of my Sweet Bitches, and these four in particular, because the last couple of months could’ve gone a lot differently if they weren’t there for me!
I am writing this letter to you to express my undying love for your willingness to share British television with anglophiles like myself.
It was only with the rising fame of Downton Abbey a few years ago that made me take notice of you (except when I was a kid tuning in to the local PBS station for Reading Rainbow and Sesame Street). Apparently, Masterpiece has been around a while (40 years to be exact) and while that’s a fact, I still feel like it’s still a bit of a hidden gem for my generation.
It’s really an anglophile’s dream–free British television available right here in the States. And that actually goes beyond just the Masterpiece series. You have upped your Sunday night game with quality British television that rivals that of the ever-popular powerhouse networks.
Did I mention you give me great television for free? Okay, just checking. I mean, I can even count on being able to catch your programming while visiting my parents who are cable-free. It’s amazing.
I think perhaps you should consider renaming your network to Public British Service–just a thought.
My growing list of TV favorites include many series that you bring to the U.S.–Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife, Sherlock, and now 2 new series Poldark and The Crimson Field. Needless to say, please keep doing what you’re doing.
Also, send Darlene Shiley my thanks as well. Her $1 million donation to Masterpiece is only going to help bring those great British dramas for years to come.
And finally, your ads for Viking River Cruises makes me want to take my own voyage with them despite the likely age gap between me and the retired couples that seem to be the demographic. Perhaps I’m mistaken, but the lack of millennials in the commercials make me pretty positive I’d be the youngest patron by at least a couple of decades, and yet, I’m still interested in giving it a go.
In conclusion, I’d like to say thanks to YOU, public television. You’ve been placed up there with the other TV network “greats” and the best part is that I don’t ever have to worry about whether my cable package includes you or not. 😉
Let me start by saying this wedding was for my one and only sibling–my little brother. It was a great day full of friends, family, and lots of love (plus some tears). I’m proud of him and I know he and his new bride are very happy…
…I also know he tried to make it so there was alcohol at the reception, but that didn’t work out so here’s where my little story fits in.
This story begins and ends with a glass (or 2) of red wine. (Yes, I’m finishing the wedding contraband as I type this.)
I’ve been to my share of weddings. In fact, this particular wedding was the 6th one in which I was a bridesmaid (number 7 happens next year). Most of those weddings were overflowing with an assortment of beverages, but there’s always the odd wedding that doesn’t, for whatever reason. And no, I don’t think you need alcohol to have a good time. Anyone who knows me knows this. However, let’s all be honest here, it never hurts to have a little [insert your favorite alcoholic beverage here]. (It also helps to get people out on the dance floor. The Electric Slide is wayyy better after a glass or 2.)
So when my brother broke the news to my mom, who broke the news to me that there would be no alcohol served at the wedding, it was time for Plan B, or in our case, Plan V (for vino, of course).
Friends asked me what my game plan was, and it was simple: Get a favorite red wine of mine (so I didn’t have to worry about keeping it cold) and sneak it into the reception. I did contemplate more stealthy methods of executing Plan V including but not limited to a wine bra (not working with a strapless dress, but check them out on Amazon!), a flask (with the option of going prohibition-style with a guarder), and the wine that comes in the mini bottles (not available for my favorite wine). While the bra and guarder options would’ve made for a great story, they didn’t work for my purposes.
So I decided on the simplest form of sneaking my wine in–stick it in a bag and hide it under the table.
Did I mention I had an accomplice? That would be my Mom. She also brought her own bottle in a similar style. Mom dashed off to the dark, empty bar to crack open her wine and add ice (and this is why I chose red instead of white). I, on the other hand, chose to set up shop at the table, crouched down with my Trader Joe’s wine opener and empty cup in hand.
We also brought a few family members to the dark side. When I went to ask one of my aunts if she’d like to partake in a little vino, her response–in a very sassy tone–was, “Is it Saturday?” and actually, yes it was, so I said so. My aunt replied with “Well, okay then.”
And so the bridesmaid turned into a bartender and off I went to the sad, lonely bar with my 2 bottles of wine, pouring a few extra glasses on the sly as if I could be busted at any moment.
Truth be told, I don’t really think anyone cared–or was I just THAT good?
Either way, I was completely ready for the Cha-Cha Slide, The Electric Slide, The Wobble, AND The Cupid Shuffle (which, by the way, I had been calling The Cuban Shuffle for way to long with no one correcting me). Completely makes sense that it wasn’t actually The Cuban Shuffle–I had always wondered what was so Cuban about it.
So, kids, the moral of this story is that if you’re invited to a dry wedding and want to sneak wine in, first, be aware of your options in how to do it (someone please get that wine bra and try it out!), and, second, as long as you’re somewhat discreet, most people aren’t even going to notice. Also, make sure your sassy aunt gets a glass.
And, finally, if you’re a family member/member of the bridal party, you can kind of do what you want anyway, right?
PBS hasn’t made much of a fuss over The Crimson Field, a WWI drama that originally aired on BBC One last year. In fact, it’s been far off in the shadows of Poldark, a Masterpiece Classic and already-predicted fan favorite featuring the ever handsome Aidan Turner.
I had wondered why I hadn’t heard too much about this British drama, only occasional mentions online. But alas, I finally got my answer. BBC chose to cancel this program shortly after its first season of 6 episodes ended. According to reports, writer Sarah Phelps had sketched out future plots and had all intentions of seeing this series last for at least 4 more seasons. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.
What a bloody shame!
I generally avoid shows I know have been cancelled or are rumored to be, but I was intrigued. I’m a total sucker for British dramas. My Twitter friends and fellow British TV fans were raving over this series…and well, they were right. It was a great first episode.
We follow an army medical team in the field on the coast of France as they care for the wounded. There are strong female characters, a couple of dashing gents (don’t get me started on my new crush Richard Rankin), and several familiar faces from shows like Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones. In the first episode alone, we deal with the affects of PTSD, a complex main character who is rough around the edges but clearly hiding something, and the daily dealings of war. Then, top all of that off with the lovely Scottish accent of Captain Tom Gillan, whom many fans call the Scottish Mr. Darcy (and I’m totally with them on that one).
As Sunday night drew near, I began to see Poldark being compared to Downton Abbey, and yet I would argue The Crimson Field may be the closer match. There’s the drama of war time, an ensemble cast of strong characters, and the potential for a love story or two.
How can a show with such great reaction by fans be given up on so quickly?
We’ve seen some networks show a little patience for new shows (though often they’re comedies, not dramas) and we’ve also seen them bring the ax down quickly on others. And in more recent years, some canceled shows are given new life by a new network–though it’s never been for a show that was canceled so early, nor for a British series. In the age of shows being rescued by other networks, here’s hoping that The Crimson Field will get that treatment as well. (PBS, are you reading this?)
In the meantime, I’m raising my glass to the upcoming 5 episodes. No matter the outcome, I plan to enjoy every second of it for the next 5 Sundays.
Within the last week, four different friends told me about Jennifer Lawrence’s new bodyguard and media outlets were having a field day over his good looks. Sure, he’s really hot, but he’s not THE hot bodyguard. That title remains with one man.
Let me take you back…back to the fall of 2010, when a couple of friends and I decided to start a completely silly little Facebook page about a celebrity bodyguard, which ultimately got me a job, got us (and him) a little bit of media attention, and prompted fans around the world to refer to him as the hot bodyguard, or HBG for short.
So we Twilight fans ran into JB–Kristen Stewart’s bodyguard at the time–by coincidence, thought it would be a good idea to create a Facebook page dedicated to him and, thus HBG was born! This poor man had no idea what was coming (and neither did we, to be quite honest).
With just over 100 Facebook fans, we did the ultimate fangirl thing and camped out for the Breaking Dawn premiere in LA. We made our own little iron-on T-shirts and prepared ourselves for whatever sort of reaction we may get, though we never expected to get as much attention as we did. Members of the Summit Entertainment team came up to us to say they loved our page and a ton of media outlets were intrigued with the idea and came by for a chat.
By the following year and final Twilight Saga premiere, we grew to nearly 5,000 fans, I got a new job thanks to my social media marketing experience with Team HBG and convinced my company to sponsor us, Kristen had mentioned our page in the UK version of GQ Magazine and on a segment for MTV, and HBG himself requested his own Team HBG T-shirts (paid for by our sponsorship, thank you very much!).
While the hype has died down now and HBG has taken on more high profile clients (though he still works with Kristen on occasion), it was an experience I’ll certainly never forget. And more than that, it’s a lesson on embracing the weird and taking chances on even the craziest of ideas, because quite frankly, you never know what it’ll get you. There are plenty of people out there who probably think this is the strangest thing, but you know what? It worked!
And on that note, should PopSugar or some other celebrity site point out another hot bodyguard, just remember there’s only one original. 😉
A special thanks to JB, who didn’t ask for it but has been such a great sport about the whole thing. (He also unknowingly got me a job, so thanks for that, too!)
It’s less than 3 days until I move out of my little 1 bedroom apartment. I should be packing as I write this, but wanted to take a moment to raise my wine glass in a toast to Apt 825.
…the first apartment I’ve ever lived in by myself–and the most expensive. To being able to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted without worrying about bothering a roommate. To Netflix and book series binges while hiding away in my little nest. To finding some delicious takeout and ordering from the comfort of my couch. To a year of ups and downs, and still figuring things out. To way too many online dates. To laughter and tears in the privacy of my little home…
And now? Now it’s time to save a little money and stay with friends for a bit. I turn 30 at the end of this year and want to make some big things happen. Even I don’t know exactly what that’ll be yet, but saving money for this next adventure is definitely the first step.
All etiquette aside, the idea of a completely dry wedding reception isn’t ideal. Desperate times call for desperate measures! More on this experience coming soon! (Yes, this is really going to happen…)