Monday, January 27, 2014

Downton Abbey Season 4, Part 4

A note on spoilers: I won't hold back from anything current to the US, of course, and if you have already seen season four through to the end, please keep the details to yourself!

  • I understand that Anna feels "soiled" now, but her behavior is only making Bates more determined to find out what happened! For this I am glad, but girlfriend needs to act more normal if she doesn't want him finding out and murdering someone. Look at her eyes in this photo...they're haunted by the memory and she looks so so sad:
  • Also, bless Mrs. Hughes heart for trying to help. 
  • Usually I covet everything Lady Mary wears, but I'm going to have to pass on the shapeless dresses. Michelle Dockery is so slim in real life yet she ends up looking downright frumpy on the show. Fashion is weird.
  • Doesn't Lady Mary have the best speaking voice you've ever heard?
  • Baby George is precious! And I love to see Mary with him.  Finally! 
  • Ew, why is every lady's maid that Lady Grantham gets so evil!? 
  • "Mrs. Patmore, is there any aspect of the present day that you can accept without resistance?" 
  • So do you think Mrs. Hughes should have told Bates? I do. Sometimes secret telling with best intentions has to be okay. 
  • Whenever I watch this show, I am sad that I can't wear fancy dresses every day and simultaneously happy that I don't have to change for dinner. 
  • OMG Anna's Claire Danes chin when Bates says he knows:(
  • "Because I knew the suffering it would bring you." Wow. Says the woman who was raped. That's so sad. 
  • Violet, the Dowager, and the Dr. are getting a little too "British mystery" at the moment. 
  • And, of course, Bates vows to get revenge. Oy, this won't end well.
So, what did you think? A little too light on the Mary story (my fave!), but I'm so happy Bates finally knows about Anna.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Australian Open 2014

Hi, My name is Scarlet and I am addicted to tennis.

Now that we have that out of the way...

We are down to the semifinals of this year's Australian Open and WOW is it not what I would have predicted at all!

There was a lot of talk when the draws came about a stacked men's side with Nadal, Federer, and Murray on one side and Djokovic just chillin' on the other. I'm not sure why anyone was surprised since Nadal is 2 and Murray is 4 so of course they'd be on the same side and Federer is not a top 4 player anymore and was bound to match up with a big player in the quarterfinals. But none of that ended up mattering because our last four players are: Nadal, Federer, Berdych, and Wawrinka. NOT completing shocking, but I would have bet money that Djokovic would have made it to the semifinals.

So, let's go through who is left in reverse order of who I want to win:

Roger Federer:

I go through phases where I am okay with Federer, but this is not one of those times. He beat my favorite player, Andy Murray this morning and, while it wasn't a huge shock since Murray is on the comeback from back surgery, I never like for Federer to go farther in a tournament than my guy. I tend to only like Federer when he is losing, to be honest. I don't like for anyone to dominate (except for Murray, of course), and Federer has enough Grand Slam titles and I do NOT want to see him get another! Federer fans are also really weird and act like they've been brainwashed in a cult. When I saw Federer play in Cincinatti, Ohio last summer, the crowd was obsessed with him. I know I am obsessed with Murray, but I've liked him since his first year on the pro tour. I have a theory about Federer where because most people just watch the finals on tv, they've seen him play a lot since he has won so much. Unless you're a die hard tennis fan like I am who wakes up at 4am to watch tennis, you probably don't often watch the early rounds of tennis where you get to see some great matches with some lesser known players. I think that if more people watched earlier rounds, they'd find more players to like and not all just obsessed over Federer. Anyway, that's a very long-winded way to say that I definitely do NOT want Roger Federer to win the Australian Open!

Rafael Nadal:

Nadal is such an intense, insane player that I have to like him sometimes. He is the type of player who literally never gives up and that deserves mad respect. However, like I said when discussing Federer, I don't like anyone but my guy to dominate, and Nadal has been doing that since coming back from knee surgery last year. I don't want him to win anymore majors either, but I kind of can't wait to see Federer fans squirm if Nadal gets closer to Federer's numbers.

Tomas Berdych:

I used to really like Berdych until he played Andy Murray in the extreme wind a couple of years ago at the US Open and complained after he lost that it wasn't fair. He made it seem like the wind was only on his side and it's taken me a couple of years to even consider cheering for him again. (I know. Way harsh, Tai.) One thing that has really made me like Berdych again is his tweeting! He is hilarious and one of the best tennis players on twitter. I would love to see him win over both Federer and Nadal.

Stanislas Wawrinka:

Wawrinka is one of those players who you just can not dislike. He plays so hard every time he steps onto the court and he has been around forever, just plugging away. He made his first Grand Slam semifinal at the 2013 US Open and this is his first Aussie Open semi. I would LOVE to see him win the title!

The semifinals are Nadal vs Federer and Berdych vs Wawrinka so I'm very torn about who I want to win between Nadal and Federer. I don't want Federer to make it to the final, but I also think he is the one that one of the other guys has a better chance of beating. So let's go: Federer vs Wawrinka in the final, which will be super awkward for them because they're friends and from the same country.


Now, the women's side.

We have Eugenie Bouchard, Li Na, Dominika Cibulkova, and Agnieska Radwanska. My favorites (who had a shot), Sharapova and Azarenka both got knocked out already so here is my reverse order of who I want to win the title:

Li Na:

A lot of people really like Li Na, but I find her to be incredibly boring. She is good, but I never get excited to see her play. And, I'm not sure if it's just me, but her off court interviews come across like she is a 30 year old trying to sound like she is 15. Soooo yeah, that's my way of saying that I don't want her in the final.

Dominika Cibulkova:

A Slovak player, she has been around since 2004, and has had some good runs, but this is her first Grand Slam semifinal since 2009. I don't totally dislike her, but I've never seen much of her personality so she is kind of just there. Sure, it should just be about the tennis, but it's not. I want to cheer for someone I like! Let's hope that in her next match she really lets loose.

Eugenie Bouchard:

I actually saw Bouchard play briefly last summer in Ohio and she has really had a breakout tournament down in Australia! She's from Canada, loves Justin Bieber, and plays like she never gets nervous. It's incredible! I want her to make it to the final, but breakthrough wins are not always my favorite. It's kind of like the Oscars: I want her to be nominated (finals), but not win until another year.

Agnieska Radwanska:

Radwanska is awesome. I love how she is an unconventional, crafty player who doesn't always have success once up against the Williams and Azarenkas of the tour, but she competes so hard and seems to invent new ways to play. I also love that she has a sister on the tour and seems like she would be a lot of fun to be friends with, too. But in a bitchy way. Like, you better be cool if you think you're gonna hang with Aga.

I am really hoping for a Bouchard vs Radwanska final! Then I can just watch and enjoy and not care who wins. Perfect!

Who are you cheering for??


Tuesday, January 21, 2014


People in the DC Metro area love to complain about snow. Even people who love the snow complain about it!

"Why are things closing early? It's just a little snow!"

"Northern VA drivers can't drive in a little snow!"

"Why aren't things closing early!? It's snowing!"

Well, here's how I feel about it:

It rarely snows around here anymore. I have great memories from my childhood of days off from school when we would wake up at 5am in the hopes of seeing "Fauquier County" scrolling across the bottom of the screen of closures. When it would snow so much that we could actually make snowmen and go sledding on the hills behind our house. I remember it snowing as early as Thanksgiving and as late as March several times. But in the last 10 years, our snow levels have dropped dramatically, much to my disappointment. I've never even driven my current car in any substantial snow. I have no idea how it will handle in several inches of the beautiful white stuff so yeah, I drive slower when it snows and I limit my time on the roads. How is that a bad thing? And I know I'm not the only one who doesn't like to drive in the snow. I don't even like to drive when the conditions are great. I've been rear ended three times and most recently had a flatbed trailer disconnect and hit me while on 66! I haven't even had a bad accident and I'm apprehensive about how other people drive. Add in slick conditions and I definitely want to stay off of the roads. It's not like we live in Vermont and I have a lot of practice and experience driving in snow. Are you from Vermont? Well, good for you- drive all you want, but you're in the Mid-Atlantic now and we don't get snow very often so stop making comments about how we "handle the snow."

And aside from the practicalities of being safe, what about the fun part of snow? The Snow Day! Who doesn't love a random day off? There was a big snow storm about five years ago that caused my job to close for the day, but one of my coworkers still went in and ended up getting stuck there! Was it worth getting stuck somewhere awful just to prove she wasn't a "wimp"  in the snow? Being careless isn't cool! Better safe than sorry is a saying for a reason. Stay home and relax! It's fun!


Sunday, January 05, 2014

Are You A Gilmore Girls Fan?

Well you're in luck, because Serena and I have a Gilmore Girl podcast and it is So Much Fun!

Check it out, I'll wait:



We're reviewing each and every episode and so far we have unearthed some awesome pop culture references and new things we've noticed while rewatching. (Have you ever noticed how many potted plants are in the beginning of season one?? We did.)

I hope you'll check us out and listen to us! If you want to be kept up to date, "like" our Facebook page! And be sure to let all of your Gilmore Girl friends know about us. We're about to hit some super juicy episodes!


Saturday, January 04, 2014

Day 5, Edinburgh to Kirkwall

I was sad to leave Edinburgh. It's such a magical city and I loved both the people and the sights. I really feel like I could dig deep into the city and be content for quite a long time. I will definitely be going back.

But, the time had come to hop on a tiny tiny plane to head north to the Orkney islands. As excited as I was to go to Edinburgh, I was off the charts ready for Kirkwall. There's something extra special about going somewhere that probably no one I know has been. There's nothing rustic about Kirkwall, but we also headed there without too much of a plan. The guide books tells you a few sights to hit and I checked out instagram to get a feel for the town, but much of our three days there was kind of up in the air.

Getting to the Edinburgh Airport was, of course, an adventure in itself. Our hotel called out cab, so that was easy, but the 20 or so minute trip was spent trying to understand our driver and giving up half the time and just laughing in the hope that it was an appropriate response.

Our flight was on a tiny plane that we walked on the tarmac to get to and had one flight attendant. It was also filled with people who obviously were just going home so we stuck out like sore thumbs as tourists. It was a quick flight with a lot of great views. (I couldn't get any photos since I had lost my little camera and didn't want to cause the plane to crash by turning on my iphone.) I got the following shots before taking off:

So, I didn't take the following picture, but imagine the grass being greener and the cliffs being cliffier and just feeling like you're about to land on Venus:

And check out this airport!

Once we had the plane portion of the day over, we realized we had another bus situation on our hands, but this time it went much smoother and we were on our way to town.

We stayed at the West End Hotel, which was super cute and had a Dragonfly Inn* feel to it.

Our room wasn't quite ready so we set off for town in the drizzle and found The Reel, which turned out to be one of our favorite places! A coffee shop/music store/bar/cafe, it had everything we needed, which at this moment was FOOD.

After doing a bit more exploring we went back to our room to relax and get ready for dinner, which we ended up having at our hotel that night. Our hotel pretty much had everything we needed: beds, shower, teddy bears, a bar, and a restaurant. My meal that night was a delicious scotch pie:

Oh, and Nessie joined us!

After dinner we made our way back to the church for traditional scottish dancing! Unfortunately, I don't have those pictures online just yet, but I'm sure you can imagine how hilarious it was for me and Ali to hit up the local dance night. It was epic.

I really liked Kirkwall. It was like nowhere I had ever been before and while, of course, the same could be said for Edinburgh, there was something special about Kirkwall. Maybe it was the stone buildings and cobblestone streets or the fact that we were on a tiny island, but being in Kirkwall felt really special and different.

Next up...WHISKY!

* Gilmore Girls

Friday, January 03, 2014

Day 4, Loch Ness, Glen Coe, and The Highlands

We decided on a whim to take a bus tour from Edinburgh because we wanted to see more of the country, but weren't going to be renting any cars. Highland Experience was perfect for us because for a relatively low price, we got to see The Highlands, the famous Loch Ness, and a lot of countryside we would have missed out on if we had just stayed in the cities. It's also a LONG tour (12 hours!) so we knew we would get our money's worth.

We departed Edinburgh at 730am and after an informative trip out to the highway (seriously, our tour guide James knew so much!), we immediately saw a beautiful rainbow!

Now, let me tell you about our tour mates who we would be with allll day:
  • James- Our precious tour guide from Glasgow who knew so much information about Scotland. He drove and gave information at the same time, which is pretty impressive as he was driving a 24 person van. 
  • Talkative Guy- We found out later that this American's parents live in VA, but he, of course, was more worldly and made sure we all knew it. He literally did not stop talking for 12 hours. And he was loud! He was seated diagonally from us so we heard all about the girl he had broken up with and his plans for school and how he didn't miss living in America. 
  • Aussie Guy- This guy started out as "Good Looking Guy", but after drinking an entire bottle of scotch, he was just Aussie Guy. Plus, he was married. We later figured out that his wife and kids were back at their Edinburgh hotel and that they lived in London. 
  • Impatient Guy- Every time the bus stopped, he was the first one off, despite being seated in the back. 
  • Spanish Girl and Gma- They sat in front of us so, despite not really adding to the trip much, they're still in my memories. Plus, Aussie Guy kept trying to get Gma to drink his scotch.
We started our trek by heading West and then North on the way to Stirling and immediately we saw beautiful countryside and cute little towns. It was tough to get good photos, though, as we were moving. Thank goodness for mental pics!

We also saw a bridge just like in Harry Potter!

Because the tour was so long, James was required to making certain length stops through out the day so our first one was at a little cafe/convenience store where we picked up a bite to eat and enjoyed the many people dressed up for Halloween already. (That was actually pretty amusing.)

What came next was one of the most breathtaking views of my life. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:

After the awesomness of that view, we hopped back into the bus and continued through the Highlands  and Glen Coe on our way north to Loch Ness. It was about at this point that Aussie Guy leaned over and held out his coke bottle asking, "Spirit?" So yeah, I took a swig. It was strong. I had a few more sips throughout the day, but at a certain point, my fear of not knowing where the next bathroom would be won over my enjoyment of scotch.


We were just going around a roundabout when some old Scottish guy totally t-boned our bus! I don't think he was going that fast, but the impact caused the entire door to completely shatter! It also meant that we had to wait around for the cops to come:( It ended up causing us to miss the Loch Ness boat ride, but I think it kept us from getting caught in a really bad traffic jam that was a few miles up the road. After about 30 minutes, James gave us the update that the police were dealing with a car wreck fatality and that in Scotland, when those happen, they shut the road down for hours!

Soooo, we took a back way. And by back way, I mean middle of nowhere Scotland where the road is often barely wide enough for one vehicle, let alone two. As you can see from the following picture:

Aussie Guy jumped out and began directing traffic with a guy in an Audi wouldn't go past us! I think we would still be sitting on that road if he hadn't done so. My favorite part of this, though, was when James said, "Do you smell alcohol?" after Aussie Guy jumped through the broken door. Actually, now that I think about it, I think it was right after this that I had some spirits and not before because I remember not realizing until James mentioned it that Aussie Guy was drinking.

Oh hey, it's us!

After the traffic jam, we had to stop again (it's the law!), but we got some more breathtaking views in.

And then we went to Loch Ness!!!!! Which is beautiful and huge and completely magical. Aussie Guy invited us and Talkative Guy to go to a bar with him in the small town there and, at first, we went, but then we realized we'd rather go find Nessie than drink brews!

And it's a good thing we didn't get those brews or we never would have found Nessie!

After finding Nessie, we stopped at a castle a few miles up the road, also on Loch Ness.

By this point the sun was setting and we were about to hit Inverness, which was our northernmost point before heading back to Edinburgh. And remember how the door to our bus had been shattered? Well, it got pretty cold on the way home. It wasn't unbearable, but it did make me wish I had maybe one more layer on:)

This part of the day was pretty long. It was dark out so we didn't have much to look at, we were cold, we were hungry (since on our Loch Ness stop we found Nessie and not food), and about 20 miles from our next stop, we had an urgent call from nature. And I don't think we were the only ones because the line for the restrooms was about 20 deep once we stopped.

I think it was Pitlochry where we stopped, which seemed like a really cute town, but we weren't there long enough to do much more than go to the bathroom and get some curry chips from a super obnoxious guy at the fish and chips restaurant.

It was a short trip back to Edinburgh from there and once James dropped us off, we made sure to tell him how much we enjoyed our day and we were off for the walk back to our hotel with a quick detour to grab some dinner at Wagamama before hitting the hay!

(Can you even believe that after all of those sights we saw all day that we thought a RAINBOW would be the best thing we saw all day??)

Next up...Kirkwall!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

The List

Oh how I love a good list. Let's go!

Favorite Actors:
  1. Brad Pitt
  2. Leonardo DiCaprio
  3. Michael Fassbender
  4. James Franco
  5. Ryan Gosling
  6. Christian Bale
  7. Jared Leto
  8. Bradley Cooper
Favorite Actresses:
  1. Jennifer Lawrence
  2. Amy Adams
  3. Rooney Mara
  4. Jessica Chastain
  5. Keira Knightley
  6. Emma Stone
  7. Gwyneth Paltrow
  8. Jennifer Garner
  9. Charlize Theron
Actors/Actresses Who Need Academy Awards NOW:
  1. Brad Pitt- Nominated for 12 Monkeys (lost to Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (lost to Sean Penn in Milk), and Moneyball (lost to Jean Dujardin in The Artist). He clearly came in 2nd to Kevin Spacey and I bet if that movie had come out later on in BP's career, he would have won. I think his Moneyball role was completely underrated and could have won it for him. Now, in looking at his upcoming work, I think Fury could be really good because Oscar loves a good warm film. I could also see his first Academy Award come from producing, though, too. His production company puts out really good stuff.
  2. Leonardo DiCaprio- Nominated for What's Eating Gilbert Grape (lost to Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive), The Aviator (lost to Jamie Foxx in Ray), and Blood Diamond (lost to Forest Whitaker in The Last Kind of Scotland). The thing about Leonardo DiCaprio's filmography, is that he should have been nominated several more times. No nominations for Django Unchained? The Departed? Nothing for Catch Me If You Can?? Some actors are just so good that people don't realize it because they make it look so easy. And I've never seen Ray (no desire) so I can't really comment on that, but I saw The Wolf of Wall Street today and he should totally be nominated for that insane movie. I actually think his work in The Great Gatsby was great, too, but TWoWS was a bigger, more sensational performance. Nothing listed on IMDB as upcoming so...I hope that changes soon!
  3. Michael Fassbender- HOLD THE PHONE! Has he never been nominated?! How is that even possible?? Did you see Hunger? Jane Eyre? SHAME? He better be nominated for 12 Years a Slave because he was incredible in that role. It'll be a tough category, but he was so good in that movie. 
  4. Amy Adams- I think that one day (soon) we will refer to Amy Adams like we do to Meryl Streep because she will have so many Oscar nominations. Unlike Meryl Streep*, so far I think Amy Adams has deserved each and every nomination. She has been nominated four times for Best Supporting Actress. For Junebug (lost to Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener), Doubt (lost to Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona), The Fighter (lost to Melissa Leo in The Fighter), and The Master (lost to Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables). I totally get who she lost to each time, but she needs to win soon! She was incredible in American Hustle, which I think she could win for so let's cross our fingers!
So, clearly this list could go on and on, but these are my top four. Anyone you'd like to add??

*I think they nominated MS sometimes because they think they have to.

+ Title from Metric