Hot Stuff

How was your Christmas, my lovelies? I hope you had a fab time surrounded by those that make you happiest, and I hope that Santa was super-good to you as well. :-) As we charge towards the end of 2014, I want to do a wee round up of some of my favorite stuff from this past year. Are you ready? Here we go! :-)

1) The LG G3 Phone

LG G3

LG G3

I got the Samsung Galaxy 5 when it was released amidst a flurry of hype and hope in April…and I bloody hated it. Completely. Totally. Hated. It. :-( So, I wasn’t terribly bummed when I tripped and dropped it in August, breaking the screen – with no insurance replacement available. I did some maneuvering and worked my way into a new phone – this time, I let the sales guy talk me into the G3, and I’m pretty glad I did. I kind of LOVE this phone – the camera is awesome, the Bluetooth sound quality is really good, and it’s overall pretty damn decent. I use my phone for EVERYTHING, so I tend to be very hard on them…but this one is holding up remarkably well so far. I’m optimistic, friends! :-)

 

2) The new show “Girl Meets World” (the theme song, in particular)

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I am SO happy that my child can watch this show, that she can revel in the offspring of Cory and Topanga and that she gets to partake in a character with the name of Farkle. Love. ❤️ (PS: Bonus points for the Christmas episode – Shawn and Cory were reunited!!!)

 

3) The Instagram Stream of Beth Stern, Howard’s Very Lovely Wife

Yoda when they first rescued him - and Yoda now. See the difference love can make? :-)

Yoda when they first rescued him – and Yoda now. See the difference love can make? :-)

My Wee One and I are obsessed with the lovely Beth and her foster kittens – we love their names, the kitten room, their adventures…the whole nine yards. Love. The big love story of the year has been Yoda, a fluffy white cat that they took in; he was abused, sick, in terrible shape, and suffering from a heart condition. The Sterns nursed him back to health, and they gave him a purpose – he raises their foster kittens, giving them baths, caring for them, and showers them with love. It’s just gorgeous to watch via Instagram – Beth wrote a children’s book ‘Yoda: The Story of a Cat and His Kittens’ which my Wee One got for Chistmas. It’s a sweet book, and raises money for the North Shore Animal League, so a very worthy cause. Yoda is straight-up the most adorable cat ever…and Beth’s Intagram is guaranteed to make your heart feel as fuzzy as Yoda’s tummy. :-)

 

4) Andy Cohen and his book “The Andy Cohen Diaries”

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I knew who Andy Cohen was because I watch “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Vanderpump Rules” (don’t judge me), but I’ve never seen his show and I knew zero about him. Then I heard an interview with Andy on Howard Stern, and got really interested in him and decided to give the book a read…I friggin’ loved it!! LOVED IT!!! Andy is my spirit animal and has the life that I want!! No lie!! I think he’s got a hell of a gig, his work is varied and so bloody interesting it’s not even funny…and his social life is the stuff of my dreams. For. Real. And don’t even get me started on his dog Wacha. Love. ❤️ (***Note: I watch “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Vanderpump Rules” for a very stupid and selfish reason – while these people are much thinner, richer, and more beautiful than I will ever be…the majority of them are DUMB, and very, very ugly on the inside, which brings me unspeakable joy and makes me feel better about myself in a really shallow, superficial way. I’m horrible. I know. Sorry.)

 

5) Trader Joe’s

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I continue to be madly in love with every single thing from Trader Joe’s…the food, the wine, the cleaning products, the everything. Madly. In. Love. It’s ridiculous. The Wee One and I make trips there all the time to stock up on bags of teeny apples (that she worships), bottles of wine (that I worship), and all sorts of goodies. :-) They have magical chocolate, an assortment of appetizers that’ll change your damn life, and don’t even get me started on the cheese. I could live in the cheese cooler there forever and die one happy (though constipated) girl. ;-) If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, go and check out the affordable goodies – you won’t be disappointed! :-)

 

6) Vinatarta

God bless the Icelander who thought of this!!

God bless the Icelander who thought of this!!

This Icelandic Christmas cake would make the list of my favorite things every single year for the entirety of my life, no exaggeration….I love it THAT much. :-) It’s made of layers of sugar cookie-type rounds, with a slightly sweet prune filling (which sounds gross to people, but SO isn’t – trust me on this one). It also contains the tears of angels, and every good memory of my childhood. Vinatarta was a staple in my largely Icelandic community growing up, and to me, it’s not Christmas without one. Luckily, I got one sent to me from home (yaaaaa!!!!!), and I’ve been eating that bad boy like it was my bloody job (which it should be – I am damn good at it!!). I love vinatarta, and all the beautiful memories that each bite conjures up. Now, if I could just master the art of making the brilliant Icleandic pancakes called ponnokukur, we’d be set! :-)

 

7) Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb Perfume

Heaven :-)

Heaven :-)

I got a bottle of this perfume for Christmas this year, and I had forgotten how much I loved it. I had it a few years ago, and thought it was gorgeous…and I am even more in love with it now than I was before. Beautiful!!! :-) ❤️❤️❤️

 

8) The Documentary ‘REM by MTV ‘

Click on the link for REM's amazing "Losing My Religion" :-)

Click on the link for REM’s amazing “Losing My Religion” :-)

This 2014 documentary, made by MTV, spans the amazing career of music greats REM, a band that’s often overlooked…but really ought not be. They made a lot of great music, including the soundtrack of my life for about ten years, and watching this program took me right back to the late ’80s – late ’90s…and how I longed for it again. The fashion (those bloody baby doll dresses call to me every single night in my dreams, I want them so badly), the hair (although, let’s be real – my hair today is still pretty bloody big, so….perhaps I’m still doing ’80s/’90s hair. But, like I always say, ‘the higher the hair, the closer to God!’), the deep lipstick colors….I bloody love it all. The documentary featured extensive interviews, footage of shows, everything….it was fantastic. You really ought to check it out! :-)

 

9) What I’ve Been Reading

Love the book - LOVE the man! :-)

Love the book – LOVE the man! :-)

Reading is always awesome, but this has been a great year for books – I’ve read a bunch of awesome ones! A real highlight was the Neil Patrick Harris ‘Choose Your Own Autobiography’ – such a great read, and a seriously clever concept. Written in the style of those choose your own adventure books from your childhood, the book was such good fun, with more than a dose of cheek and great stories. I loved it! I love him and think he is the very best example of what a person should be – such a gentleman, and so much talent! :-) Amy Poehler’s book ‘Yes, Please!’ is great, too…a really good story of the long build to success, and not having your big break happen over night. I also left Amy’s book with a really strong sense of the importance of  believing in yourself – she always knew that she was doing precisely what she was meant to be doing, and she never deviated from that, even when success seemed about a million miles away. I friggin’ LOVE that self-belief, don’t you? I need some of that. :-) Apparently I’m getting old or something, because the bulk of my reading this year was non-fiction: autobiography, biography, that sort of thing. I have ‘The Goldfinch’ ready to go on my Kindle, but haven’t got to it yet….I will. :-) After that, I’ve got nothing lined up to read, so….I’m always looking for great book recommendations – fiction and non, so if you’ve got some great reads to share, send ‘em my way!!! :-)

 

10) What I’ve Seen At The Movies

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I’ve enjoyed some great movies this year – probably because I completely changed up my approach to movie going. I’ve pretty much stopped going to see big budget movies at regular theaters (unless they are based on books I liked – like ‘Gone Girl’ or feature actors that I absolutely adore), and I’ve stuck with going to see smaller movies at the Bijou Theatre here in San Antonio – and I could not be happier with my choice. I’ve seen GREAT movies, there’s no cell service down in the theaters (so nobody bugs me – yaa!!), they serve me wine while I watch the movies (always a good idea), and the place is never crowded. Win win WIN, friends!! I saw ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ there and loved it with every ounce of my being (I just watched it again this week – loved it again), ‘Boyhood’ (a friggin’ filmmaking revelation if ever there was), ‘Birdman’ (so so SO good), and ‘The Theory of Everything’ (Eddie Redmayne’s performance was breathtaking)…I would go there every week if my schedule would allow, I love that place – and the experience it offers – that much. It’s just so bloody pleasant and civilized – something that I find is becoming increasingly rare these days. I’m sure that makes me sound snotty, and forgive me if it does, but it’s true. I was in Starbucks today waiting for my coffee order (Tall Skinny Peppermint Mocha) when two kids started a fistfight in front of me – they weren’t rough housing, they were fighting, while their stupid parent was oblivious. I forgot that I wasn’t at work, put on my educator voice and barked, “Oy!!! What are you doing? Stop it! Now!!” They froze, moved apart, muttered, “Yes, ma’am”, and shuffled back to their parents. Now, while I was pleased that I hadn’t lost my touch in the week away from work, why should I need to sharpen my skills in a coffee shop on a pair of hooligans in training while their parent is stood right there? Uncivilized. I just don’t get it. Sorry…that was a rather long aside. Anyway – if you aren’t checking out the smaller movie scene, do yourself a favor and give them a look. You won’t be disappointed – and if you see me at the Bijou, be sure to wave. :-)

 

So….this was just a sampling of the things I loved about this year – this list could have easily been about 1479 items long, no joke. Not a day has gone by that I’ve not seen a bunch of things to love, I’ve tasted amazing food, consumed insanely delicious drinks, heard gorgeous music, smelled beautiful smells….there’s just a lot of beauty around us, folks. The magic is found in taking the time to look around and notice it. Thank you for taking the time to stop by Pretty Things and share some great moments with me – I treasure and value every second we spend together. :-) I’m looking forward to a brand new, shiny sparkly year full of great things for us to love. :-) Happy New Year, my lovelies!!! :-)

xxx

Cat Scratch Fever

I’ve written before about ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ - I understand that my watching this is rather ridiculous, but it keeps me entertained and off the streets, so…it’s all good. :-) Lately, though, the show has had me mighty fired up – let me explain. :-)

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Earlier this season, I thought that new housewife Yolanda was boring and arrogant – and I so need to retract that. Yes, she does have a rather high opinion of herself, but if I looked like that and had her life, I probably would be livin’ pretty large myself. ;-) However, that woman is not even a wee bit boring! She speaks her mind, and I think her honesty and straightforward-ness is super damn refreshing. She calls those two-faced witches on that show out on all of their bullshit – and let me tell you, there is a LOT of bullshit…she’s bloody fantastic! Love her!! I so enjoy the way she supports Brandi – at first, I was troubled about Brandi, too, but I have really grown to love her. There are times that I think she needs to – in her words – shut the fuck up, and think before she speaks, but.. I SO understand where she’s coming from. She doesn’t have the advantages and safety nets the other girls have, so I totally get her. I’m also pretty smitten with her friendship with Ken and Lisa – the love between those three may be my favorite relationship on TV. :-) Love it! ♥

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The show started introducing yet another new housewife this season – Marisa Zanuck. I’m still on the fence about her – I think she got swept away a few times in the whole gossip of it all and sunk herself to the shitty depths of the rest of those hags, but I do think she wasn’t too bad. However, the one thing I didn’t care for at all was the way she talked about her husband Dean. He seems to be a lovely, handsome man who deserves better press than her stupid remarks about her loins and how they burn to bone other men. Even if she thinks that, she doesn’t need to say it on national television!! Have some friggin’ respect you no-class harpie! Christ!! By the way – Dean, call me, I’ll hook you up. You can SO do better! (and, is it just me or is this chick way too long in the truth for such youthful, Heidi-esque braided hairdos? Yuck!)

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Let’s talk about Kyle Richards now, shall we? I used to like Kyle quite a lot, but I totally need to take that back – her true colors showed up loud and clear this year, and…it’s not pretty, friends. This woman is the biggest shit-disturber that I have EVER seen, and she seems to like nothing better than to cause trouble for everyone else. She never shuts her mouth, doesn’t hesitate to throw everyone under the bus, and she talks shit behind EVERYONE’S back! It’s vile! I always thought her hubby Mauricio was pretty foxy (still do), but I lost quite a bit of respect for him this year when he ran his mouth at Brandi – he’s a dude, and he really ought to know better than to get after a woman like that. Not cool, man. Frankly, I fear that all of his time around that batshit crazy wife of his has started to corrupt him – who’s in for joining me on an intervention???! Kyle is one of the ultimate ‘mean girls’ on TV – and NOBODY likes a mean girl. (NOTE: Did you watch the first part of the Reunion show on Monday? Girl looked CRAZY and acted appallingly!!! Embarrassing!!! I love it when Yolanda gives her hell – Kyle’s mad-Botoxed face doesn’t know how to react to somebody with the nuts to stand up to her!!!)

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Not the most glowing reference for her (now) ex-husband Paul’s plastic surgery practice, eh?

The above picture is just too funny for words – please forgive my cattiness, but…come on. How can I not comment on that??! While we’re on the topic of Adrienne Maloof, her behavior this year has been the height of ridiculousness! There was a whole big scandal involving some secret that Brandi said out loud about Adrienne (that everyone else apparently knew, so…what’s the big whoop?) – and then Adrienne and Paul threatened to sue Brandi (because there’s a fair financial fight if ever there was), even though last year when Taylor’s deceased husband Russell threatened to sue them, Adrienne was all, “But friends don’t sue friends!”…and then she, Princess Hideous of Hypocrite Island turns around and pulls the same shit on Brandi! Are you kidding me??! As well, she alienated pretty much everyone by acting like a raging hosebag, and the shitty way she treated her husband was appalling as well. Paul had his douchey moments (especially when he squabbled with Brandi at Mauricio’s event/function to try to force his friends to buy his real estate), but he has since apologized to Brandi – and if she’s good with him, then so am I. That man deserves a prize for enduring Adrienne, one of the shrillest harpies to ever darken our TV screens (I imagine that being in her presence is akin to that of the Death Eaters from Harry Potter – the air gets cold around you, and you begin feeling empty inside and bad about yourself). She won’t be back on the show (she didn’t even show up at the Reunion – hurray! – although Andy Cohen from Bravo was pissed) – and she’s currently dating Rod Stewart’s son Sean. ‘Cause that’s not weird at all.

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Words fail me. He looks like he would rather be locked in a passionate embrace with Attila the Hun than with her. He also looks like he let a little squeaker out his arse, don’t you think?

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I rather love Ken, Lisa, and their little dog, too (what up, Giggy?!?!!) – and the thing that I probably love most of all is the way they stand up for Brandi, and the way that Lisa calls out that lizard-like arsehole of a human being Kyle on her passive-aggressive shit. Go on with yo’ bad self, Lisa!!! :) Love that! :) I also find Lisa stunningly beautiful, and the way that Ken dotes on her makes me feel tingly inside…I want nothing more than someone (anyone? anyone? Bueller?) to feel that way about me! You can tell that Ken thinks that every day with his wife is his luckiest, he can’t believe how far above his pay grade she is, and he respects her and genuinely likes her a whole big bunch. I love that! Plus, I think Giggy is cute, too. :)

I came across a series of recaps from this season yesterday – and I have sadness in my heart that I have had to go up ’til now without them. They’re on the website Vulture, written by a woman named Julie Klausner – you MUST check them out!!! She is an AMAZING writer, and truth be told, I would probably read technical how-to manuals on Physics if this broad wrote them – she is FANTASTIC! :) Be sure to read them with delight, and be prepared to guffaw like a freaking idiot when you do (one of my favorites was her disdain for Kyle Richards shining through when she called her something like a ‘beet and goat-cheese fart’ – heehee!). :) She also shares my absolute and utter loathing of the MORALLY CORRUPT FAYE RESNICK (thanks again for that gem of a descriptor, Camille Grammer!) – that stupid woman has been spewing shit on the show this season like a fountain. somewhere along the way, Ms. Resnick developed this deluded notion that anyone cares what she has to say to the world. Guess what? We don’t! She needs to crawl back into the hole she slithered out of – and she needs to be quiet. Her opinions, quite simply, are nothing. She’s gross. (no wonder she and Kyle are friends)

Before I go, the best line of this current season came courtesy of Yolanda, when she said to Brandi: “Who is Adrienne Maloof in this world?” Excellent put down, Yolanda – and SO TRUE. Who are any of these ladies, apart from being some good, cheap entertainment that keeps me company when I’m alone at home????! ;)

xxx

PS: Lest you think I am taking this all too seriously and start circling the wagons and planning an intervention – I’m fine, all is good…and I solemnly promise to not watch another Housewives series EVER (sorry, Bravo) – but you have to allow me my RHOBH!!! I’m into it now – I have to see how it ends!! (my prediction? Probably not well.) :)

PS Again: This recap is one of Klausner’s best – bonus points for her usage of one of my favorite words of ALL TIME…’gunt’! :) Well played, master…well played! :)

Mean Girls

Good morning, friends – and happy Tuesday! :) I was feeling dreadful last evening, so I cuddled in bed with my cats (yes, I have officially become THAT person…the crazy cat lady) and watched “The DaVinci Code” (SIDEBAR: I loved that book, loved the symbology elements, Art merging with Science, History and Religion – and I love Audrey Tautou…but I didn’t love the movie, which really bummed me out. The Paris scenery was lovely, though. :) ) and went to sleep at a decent hour. While the early rest was a lovely treat, what wasn’t nearly so pleasant was this friggin’ pathetic insomnia that is plaguing me – I’ve been up since 2:00am!!! It is going to be the WORLD’S LONGEST DAY!!!  ARRGGGHHHHH!!!!! I tried to bore myself back to sleep by engaging in some spirited hate-watching – first up: ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’. Now, let me preface this by saying that this is the only series in the Housewives franchise that I watch – I have never seen an episode of any of the others, so I have no clue what they are like. However, I have seen some of the women on other programs (Teresa on ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ where she was sweet, but so dim-witted that I do believe that she is depriving a village somewhere of their idiot; Bethenny is bloody everywhere these days, and I simply don’t get why…what is the appeal to that evil, shrew-like little woman???! Somebody please enlighten me!!) – and I don’t appear to be missing much.

Anyway – back to the BH gals: I watched the first season of the show and loathed myself the entire time….I thought they were vicious, evil, shit-disturbing pot stirrers with more money than brains. I haven’t changed my opinion that much over the years, although I have softened a wee bit (and I’m still watching, so…there’s that). I think that Camille must have had a real eye opener after watching herself during the first season, as she is a COMPLETELY different person these days – thank goodness. She was pretty awful the first time around, so…I’m happy for her that her life is in a better place (plus, those digs that she makes at her ex Kelsey Grammer regarding his sexual inadequacies and tendencies towards panties? Hilarious!). As for the rest of the girls…I just don’t know. Kyle seems to mean well a lot of the time, but she always seems front and center in every mêlée on the show – of which there are many, so…perhaps she is a drama llama, bringing all of this nonsense on (you think?). Her sister Kim is a straight up airhead – sober, drunk, it doesn’t matter…Kim gets no smarter, poor thing. Adrienne is someone who most folks seem to like, but I find her to be shrill, mean-spirited, petty, and ridiculously spoiled. I’m not a fan (plus, has she had a lot of plastic surgery? She’s got a bad case of the Joan Rivers about her…and she was married to a surgeon for years!). This year, they brought on David Foster’s wife Yolanda – who is just plain obnoxious. That woman brags about herself SO much that it’s exhausting – bless David, he must have the music of his life running through his head at all times and be able to tune out her constant droning, because otherwise I can’t imagine how he endures her! Lisa is generally one of my favorites – she seems to have a much deeper sense of loyalty than the rest of the crew, and I find her relationships with her husband and children to be quite cute. :) Last year, they brought on Eddie Cibrian’s ex-wife Brandi Glanville – and man oh man, did she shake up the show! There are things that she says and does that make me cringe, and other things that make me want to cheer. Say what you will about her, at least she is a straight-shooter…and she generally doesn’t hesitate to say things to people’s faces that most of us would be reluctant to say behind their backs! I just wish we could stop talking about how her husband left her, and how he was unfaithful…surely there has to be more to her life than that. Shit happens, life goes on…I don’t think she should let this nonsense define her – I truly believe that there is more to her than what has transpired in her love life. (SIDEBAR: She is very, very gorgeous, too. I mean STUNNING. If she wasn’t so amusing, I would totally, like, hate her. ;)

So, I watched this week’s episode – the tail end of a disastrous dinner party at Kyle’s house where her very stupid friend Faye Resnick (think back to OJ Simpson on this one) treated Brandi appallingly…over something that was NONE OF HER BUSINESS!! The sickening thing is that Lisa was pretty much the only one who took up for Brandi – Kyle and Taylor (and her grotesque trout-pout) just sat there and did nothing. Kyle’s other friend Marissa did stand up for Brandi somewhat, but the fact that Kyle is so afraid of the venom of her snake-in-the-grass friend Faye that she kept her mouth shut is disgusting. Whether you think what Brandi has said or done has been right or wrong, you absolutely do not let a guest in your home be treated that way by anybody – you just don’t.

The other highlight of the night was that this episode rolled straight in to the spinoff program ‘Vanderpump Rules’, about the young people who work at one of Lisa’s restaurants, Sur. Now…this is where the REAL hate-watching began! Scheana, one of the main people on VR, had a fling with Brandi Glanville’s husband Eddie while they were married. (NOTE: It appears that I am one of the few women in America that did not have a fling with Eddie Cibrian over the years – just sayin’) She has been hired to work at Sur, and the other females working there LOATHE her because they think she’s a home wrecker. Why they have decided that what Scheana does is any of their business is beyond me…it’s disgusting. Who she shags is none of my concern, any more than my boning is her business – and that sanctimonious snotrag Stassi (stupid name, btw) and the way she treated her, well, it was appalling. Stassi is nothing but a stuck up wannabe who is one hell of a mean girl…and the very fact that she has any friends at all (not to mention a rather lovely boyfriend) is a miracle to me. The weirdest part of all is that Lisa hasn’t fired her ass from the restaurant – I can’t see Lisa having any interest in being an accessory to such bitchiness and douchebaggery (interesting sidenote: Stassia is friends with Lisa’s daughter Pandora, and she writes for their lifestyle website. I can’t imagine why we would want to read one word that she has to say – she’s vile.), and I hope that she eventually comes to her senses and cans her. She’s gross. The others on the show were just kinda there – while I don’t think Scheana is the sharpest tool in the shed, I don’t believe that she deserves to be treated the way they are acting towards her. Shows like this just piss me off, since they glorify this bullying culture that we desperately need to rid ourselves of in our society…and I’m sad that Lisa, who is generally one hell of a shrewd businesswoman, is party to this farce. I would have expected her to know better! However, I know that money talks, so…. that’s probably it. I hope. (I’m still crossing my fingers that Lisa will fire Stassi. Cross with me, will you?)

So, after two hours of hate-watching this morning, it was 4:00am, I still hadn’t gone to sleep…and it was nearly wake-up time, so that was the night for me. This whole hate-watching thing is so funny – I know that I shouldn’t watch this crap, and I know better, and I certainly realize that these vacuous jackasses and their pathetic problems are beneath me, but…it’s like the proverbial car accident – I can’t look away. I can’t be the only one who feels this way, can I? :) I hope not!! What do you hate-watch?

xxx