Charlotte’s Top Five + 3 For Lagniappe: Oscar Fashion

Last night was the Oscars and, as usual, I was tantalized by all the glitz and glitter. However, I skipped my ritual of watching E! for the pre-show red carpet arrivals in favor of a restorative nap while nursing an earache. I woke up feeling a bit better and settled in for what we know is always a looooong (and often boring) viewing of the Oscar show. I was glad to see Ellen hosting this year again. She is the only host that can make jokes that are actually funny instead of cringe-inducing. I love Ellen.

One non-fashion Oscar thought: I was happy to see 12 Years a Slave win Best Picture. It’s the first time a film shot predominately in New Orleans has won the Best Picture catagory.

Now on to my fashion  picks from The Academy Awards 2013.

cateblanchettCate Blanchette is my Number 1 pick for Best Dress. This gorgeous, spangly nude and white Armani fit her like a glove. Her earrings, hair and makeup complimented this dazzling look perfectly. Cate never disappoints and is one of my personal style icons.

Naomi-Watts-Oscars-2014#2 is Naomi Watts. This is another beautiful white dress, by Calvin Klein this time, that was tailored to Naomi’s body perfectly. White dresses can often come off as too bridal but both of these dresses avoided that cliche and just made these women look stunning. And I couldn’t take my eyes off her stunning diamond necklace.

Lupita.Prada

Lupita Nyong’o also made my best of the Golden Globes and her Oscar look didn’t disappoint. This flowing blue Prada is my third best pick. It was like a breath of fresh air and I’m sure headbands will be the next “new” thing for hair adornment.

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Sandra Bullock looked very goddess-like in this #4 pick navy draped  number by Alexander McQueen. Doesn’t she have the most gorgeous hair and eyes ever?

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What can you say about Meryl? Always classy, always impeccably dressed on the red carpet. This black and white Lanvin is pure, understated elegance. It may be my #5 pick but Meryl will always be my #1 favorite actress.

I think the fashion in general was really great at the Oscars this year and I didn’t see too much I didn’t like so I’ve only picked one look that didn’t make the grade, IMO.

glenn.zacposen

Sadly, Glenn Close is my pick for worst dressed. She wore a black Zac Posen dress which reminded me of an 1800′s widow,  all buttoned up from neck to toe on her way to the funeral- one long column of depressing black. There was nothing of the sophisticated black dress in this one for me.

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John Ridley (screenwriter of 12 Years a Slave) and wife Gayle get my nod for best dressed couple. I love his grey on black combo, very sleek, and her purple dress is beautiful on her. They compliment each other so nicely.

jared

Finally, for best dressed man I pick Jared Leto in this slightly unconventional look. The slim black pants are perfectly tailored, the white jacket is very Rat Pack and I love the pop of red bow tie. All together he looks hot, hot, hot in Saint Laurent.

Who were your  favorite picks?

The Scoop and the Skinny…A Day of Nyxcitement.

I had thee best time Wednesday! Sit down a spell and I’ll tell you all about my pretty darned awesome experience riding with the Mystic Krewe of Nyx.

me in all my nyx splendor!!
me in all my nyx splendor!!

My riding experience actually began Tuesday with float loading. All of the floats are pulled out of the barn and brought to a place undisclosed to the public. We’re given a 3 hour window to load and/or check our throws. You could feel the excitement around the floats as the sisters were busy getting their throws ready for the big night.  The men were just as awesome as ever….checking to see if anyone needed help carrying throws or putting bike hooks up (we use them to hold throws). We just needed the rain to hold up.

float loading
float loading
float loading time!
float loading time!
some of my nyx sisters getting ready to ride.
some of my nyx sisters getting their float together.
Navy Seal getting my area  hooked up for me!
Navy Seal getting my area hooked up for me!
My nyx sister on the float we'll be riding.
nyx sister on our float.
Moi
Moi

The weather wasn’t looking all that great for us. It rained Tuesday and light showers were expected around our time to roll.

But remember, I said it wouldn’t rain on Nyx the year I rode with them.

And the rain held up!

Wednesday morning  began with a light breakfast at home. I had some last-minute float things to do which took some time so I stayed pretty close to  home until it was time to leave.  Around 10:30 a.m. I dressed in full gear and headed out to the float loading area once again to drop off my decorated purses.

The pre-party began at noon. I arrived around that time and checked  in to enter the hall. Security is very tight at the pre-party and you have to show identification to enter. Once checked in, I received my wristband and I was good to go! The pre-party was off the chain! It was held at Generations Hall … they did a wonderful job. The staff was excellent and there was more than enough food and spirits to keep over 1200 women happy!

Mardi Gras  music filled the hall as the ladies  talked, laughed and enjoyed  being around other nyx sisters.

 

Our totally amazing Captain and Nyx Sisters.

Our totally amazing Captain and Nyx Sisters.

pre-party fun!
pre-party fun!

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me and my nyx sisters
me and my nyx sisters
A Seas of Sisters
A  Sea of Sisters!

After a while, we could hear the sound of brass in the building. Well, with a brass band in the house, only one thing was  going to happen…

time to second line!

Did you notice all the different color wigs and headdresses? That’s because every year, there is a headdress competition. Each float comes up with an idea that’s related to the theme of their float and create headdresses to wear. There were some pretty spectacular  headdresses…there’s a lot of creativity in the krewe.

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representing my float, CHICKEN CORDON BLEU!  YEAH BABY!!!
representing my float,
CHICKEN CORDON BLEU!
YEAH BABY!

The pre-party was about 4 hours long. I enjoyed every last-minute of it. It was wonderful being around so many happy women who were eager to spread that happiness on to the City of New Orleans.  Shortly after the headdress competition, we were called to board the floats. Each float had a designated sister  holding a sign and we followed that person to the float.

That’s when it really hit me!

The waiting patiently to  receive  an invitation to join,  all the hard work and  dedication it takes to create purses..its all been for this moment,

TIME TO RIDE!

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making our way to the floats!
making our way to the floats!
My float mate showing us the way!
My float mate showing us the way!

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Float 16 rocked the night!
A few of float 16 riders with our driver.

Once boarded up  and ready to go, we were escorted by the New Orleans Police Department to the staging area. During this time riders began organizing more of their throws or  just took a minute to take it all in.

I took it all in.

Here’s a short clip I created of the ride and how the floats move to the staging area.

floats at staging area
floats at staging area

This is where the bands and dancing troupes  are waiting to “fall in line” with the floats.

Once we reached the staging area and the band  scheduled to march in front of us fell in line,

IT WAS ON!

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nyx coming down the street.
nyx coming down the street.

Here’s  a clip of the parade coming down the street

We began to throw like crazy to the crowd!  You go through sensory overload with so many people screaming for throws for 5 miles, but I enjoyed every single second of it.

The joy that you see when you give someone a throw is priceless. I particularly loved giving decorated purses to those who did not think they would get one from me.

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The crowd was very gracious!

Posters for purses were everywhere! It was spectacular!

A sinus attack kicked in on me around Lee Circle and by the time I made it to the end of the route, I was toast.

I’d do it all in a heartbeat though…sinus attack and all.

It was just that fabulous!

Thanks to all my wonderful friends,family and readers who came out in the cold to support me and the krewe.  It means so much to me that you were there for my inaugural ride.

The city showed the Krewe of Nyx so much love that night.

I’m  looking forward to many years of riding

with this wonderful krewe,

in this fabulous city.

photo courtsey of Streetcar PR.
photo courtsey of Streetcar PR.

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Downton Abbey season 4, final episode

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*SPOILER ALERT*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

If I can sum up the season finale into one word, it would be “sweet”. The parting glance of Mrs. Hughes holding Mr. Carson’s hand as they waded into the water at Brighton Beach was a lovely note to end the season. Not that I believe the two of them would kindle anything, but who knows. Friends oftentimes turn into some of our best lovers…

Lady Edith is on a quest to reclaim her daughter to bring her closer to Downton. I have to admire her for doing that. It will be interesting to see where that story goes next season. And I am enjoying Branson meeting up with Miss Bunton the teacher, that should prove to be a story with legs, as should the building acrimony between Branson and Thomas. Seeing Thomas’ clenched fist as he attended Branson in the dining room revealed the hatred seething towards Branson.

Lady Mary’s menage a trois should prove to be interesting. It blows me away how civilized the men are acting in all this, giving each other rides and sharing space with her in the same room. Truly gentlemen, something that is quite foreign for American women to behold. I think now that the game has changed since its been revealed that Mr. Blake is quite the millionaire. I am glad that Mary decided to throw the one piece of evidence into the fire, linking Bates to Lord Gillingham’s valet’s death. Loyalty is a virtue that should be more pervasive. I am glad no one told Anna of this, so she can continue to move forward from her trauma.

Lady Cora’s mother and brother Harold’s appearance in the last episode were interesting. I think her brother began to grow on me by the end of the episode despite his pursuit of a much younger woman. I think her mother always provides such comic relief, albeit crass!

And Lady Rose’s coming out was a series of spendid events. I do hope she finds a good man that can love her and above all, handle her! Daisy proved that she is still a desirable mate, with Harold’s valet pursuing her to come to America. She refused but Ivy said she would go in her place! I’ll bet that next season Alfred will return from cuilary school in London and sweep Daisy off her feet and move to Mr. Mason’s farm hehehe! And of course Lady Violet was in fine form dispensing zingers with the utmost of love, to all. It will be interesting to see if her friendly nemesis, Mrs. Crawley hooks up with Lord Mehrten.

That’s all for season 4. Tune in next year, and in the meantime, peruse the Downton Abbey wiki to keep up to date on the Crawleys. http://downtonabbey.wikia.com/wiki/Downton_Abbey_Wiki

Now, bring on season 2 of Mr. Selfridge!

Confessions of a Book List Hoarder

Stitched Panorama

 

I’ve become a book list hoarder.

I love books. I love reading good books. But I don’t have the time (or patience) to read like I did when I was, say, 16 or 23 or even 35. Somehow, over the years, my life became more complicated. This surprises me because I thought by the time I reached this age (dare I say it: 50ish) everything would have slowed down. Life would have slowed down, I would have slowed down. Then, I thought, I would have time to read all the classics that everyone else has read. Those books I never read as a young adult because I just didn’t like reading stuffy old language about crap that happened so long ago I just couldn’t identify with it. Well. Guess what? I didn’t slow down and I still don’t like the old stuff. In fact, I’ve become even more discriminating about the books I read than I ever was before and I’ve made peace with the fact that I like contemporary literature. I just don’t like archaic language, I don’t want to work that hard. I want to be entertained when I read and I don’t want to have to reread entire pages to get what it’s all about. I don’t like Shakespeare, either. I’ve never read a single thing he wrote (ok, maybe in high school but I really don’t remember) all the way through and that’s ok with me.

I used to finish a book no matter what, back when I had plenty of free time. Now, if a story doesn’t capture my attention by about chapter 3, I’m out. No regrets, no second chance.

However, I’m always looking for a good recommendations, which are plentiful on the internet, I save them on my Pocket account or my Goodreads account and I’ve recently realized, after saving this list, that I’m a book list hoarder. Probably  my favorite place for finding book lists is Flavorwire. They have compiled booklists by any subject you can possibly imagine under the sun. Here’s a few examples:

50 Sexy Books to Get You in the Mood (for Valentine’s Day)

Made for Each Other: Literature’s 25 Most Memorable Love Affairs

10 Wonderful Russian Novels You Probably Haven’t Read

10 Recent Nonfiction Books to Read for Black History Month

12 Curious Vintage Sex Books  !!!

50 Books by Women Authors to Read for #ReadWomen2014 !!!

25 YA Novels Everyone — Even Adults — Should Read

50 Essential Mystery Novels That Everyone Should Read

Snow Reads Are the New Beach Reads: 26 Books to Get You Through Winter

10 Must-Read Books for January

8 of the Best Genre-Busting Books About Writers and Writing !!!

Flavorwire’s 15 Most Anticipated Books of 2014

Flavorwire Staffers’ Favorite Books of 2013

10 of 2013′s Best Books of Poetry !!!

Flavorwire’s 15 Favorite Novels of 2013

Just reading the titles of these lists makes me salivate. Oh, the possibilities! The stories! The characters! The entangling situations yet to be discovered! It’s all so tantalizing. With so many books to choose from there’s absolutely no reason to slog through a bad one. (In the making of this list of lists I actually saved four more to Pocket = !!!) It all makes me tingle to the point that I wonder….am I addicted to book lists and not really books? Is it all just an obsession for anticipation’s sake? Nah. It’s knowing that all these books are out there whenever I get a yen to read. I never, ever have to worry about looking for a good book to read when I have my cache of lists just waiting to be perused and one more lucky book waiting to be chosen.

Originally published on Zouxzoux.

Downton Abbey season 4, episode 7

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*SPOILER ALERT*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The Dowager Countess is like an eagle that swoops in on her prey – she picks up on the subtlest of cues and then goes in for the kill. She got it out of Lady Rosamund and Lady Edith the real reason for their trip to “learn French” in Switzerland. She picked up on Lord Merton’s interest in Mrs. Crawley, and her ongoing sparring with Mrs. Crawley makes one bust out laughing. She has returned in full form.

And as I predicted last week, it did happen, Lord Gillingham’s valet is dead. And Mr. Bates disappeared from Downton, with permission, on the day it happened. I think too many people know, so it will be interesting to see if the secret keeps. Now I get the feeling that Anna is not happy with the outcome and seems to question Mr. Bates’ integrity.

I am loving all the other pairings too: Mr. Molesley and Miss Baxter, the “menage” pursuing Lady Mary, Branson and the teacher Sarah, love is definitely in the air. But not for Rose, her pursuit to prove a point has left poor Mr. Ross with a broken heart. Not for Alfred either: Ivy turned down his proposal of marriage and has left him broken hearted as well. Unrequited love is so hard, but it is better to have loved and lost, than not to have loved at all. I predict Alfred will resurface again…

Lord Grantham has returned, and it is now evident that he is quite the force and steward of the estate. It was evident in his absence how much he holds it all together. I want Lady Mary to marry a strong man to take his place. I would like to see Mr. Blake win out in the end. They can’t keep the audience on tenter hooks for THAT long until Mary decides who will win her heart.

So next week is the season finale. I hope it holds some good story, without the devastating cliffhanger. Tune in next week…

Downton Abbey, season 4, episode 6

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*SPOILER ALERT*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

 

All I have to say is one thing – Bates is going to kill Lord Gillingham’s valet. And if he does, I wonder what the collective response to a murder will be? Mrs. Hughes confronted him and I’ve never seen such wrath come from her lips and body. She is quite empowered and wise beyond belief. 

How does Lady Mary deserve the honor of all these eligible bachelors throwing themselves at her? Its a bit of a stretch, I can maybe see two, but three? Its like The Dating Game.

I am glad Lady Edith chose to not go through with getting an abortion. Now all we need is for Mr. Griegson to show up. I wonder what her mother’s reaction will be.

One person I want to find true love is Daisy. Hope she finds a nice man. And I hope Thomas gets laid while on the ship to America, lol!

That’s all I got in me for this week, see you next week…