Oscar Picks 2012

One of my favorite days, Oscar Sunday, has finally arrived!  Not much time is left for getting ready and preparing tonight’s menu which includes pineapple chutney (The Descendants), weiners with stadium mustard (Moneyball), classic 50s cheese fondue (The Tree of Life), and black and white vanilla/chocolate pudding cups (The Artist–a stretch, I know).  So I absolutely must get down to business. Here are my picks for this year’s winners:


The Artist.  This really isn’t a contest.  Fabulous.  Other films that may come slightly close are The Help, The Descendants, and Hugo.


Jean DuJardin.  I am worried about a Clooney upset, and Hollywood loves Clooney, but I really want a win for DuJardin.


Viola Davis.  I think she will win and it will truly be well-deserved.  Also, I realize she’s a really dark horse but I LOVED Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander–just have to put that out there.


This has to go to the ohsodreamy Captain Von Trapp, aka Christopher Plummer.  This movie was so charming and he played the role beautifully.


Octavia Spencer.  She was great and she will win but it was hard for me to pick a favorite in this category–I love Jessica Chastain and I thought she was one of the best parts of The Help.  I thought Bérénice Bejo was brilliant too, who couldn’t love Peppy Miller?!


Scorsese could pull a win for Hugo, however my vote is squarely on Michel Hazanavicius.  Last year when people knew The King’s Speech would win for Best Picture but didn’t think that Tom Hooper would get the award for directing it (and that it would go to David Fincher for The Social Network), I stuck by Tom and he won.  So I’m rooting just as hard this year for Hazanavicius.


My pick is The Tree of Life.  I don’t think it will win.


The Artist.


Probably Sandy Powell for Hugo.  I feel like The Artist and Hugo are going to battle it out for a lot of these and they’ll throw maybe one award to War Horse, but with some many noms I feel like Hugo certainly won’t leave empty-handed.


I haven’t seen any of these, so I’ll guess Rango.  I did watch the trailer for A Cat in Paris though and it looked neat.


Buzz and its controversial background lead me to believe Paradise Lost 3 will win.


I didn’t get to see any of these this year–I hear it will be Saving Face.


The Artist.


Also a category in which I haven’t seen any films this year; a couple are coming to theaters here in Cleveland, but not for another month or two.  My guess is it will be A Separation.


Albert Nobbs.

MUSIC (Orginial Score)

The Artist.  And as a silent film, the music is so meaningful.  Fantastic.

MUSIC (Original Song)

Okay admittedly a weak category this year, with all of it’s two nominees, but DUH THE MUPPETS.

SHORT FILM (Animated)

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.  I sobbed like a baby watching a 15 minute film.  I wanted to hug my books and tell them I loved them.

SHORT FILM (Live Action)

Tuba Atlantic.  I like many of the animated short films–with the live action nominees I liked Tuba Atlantic FAR better than the rest.  I so hope it wins!!


Hugo.  Maybe War Horse.


Hugo.  Maybe War Horse.


Hugo.  Maybe Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

WRITING (Adapted Screenplay)

The Descendants.  Great story, great movie.

WRITING (Original Screenplay)

This will most likely go to Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris.  Although wouldn’t it be cool if two chicks got it for Bridesmaids instead?  It would be.

Who are you rooting for? If you’re watching tonight, enjoy!


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Because You’re Dying to Know What I Think: Oscars Fashion Edition

Do you think they will give me a job?

If everyone showed up in jeans and t-shirts I would still be ridiculously excited for the Academy Awards because that is how much I love movies and the fanfare and glitz surrounding them in February.  But they don’t show up looking like slobs:  celebrities go all out on Oscar night and this adds another layer of joy to what, for me, is already an evening nothing short of rhapsodic.  When I was young and too little to care about the films, most of which I hadn’t seen (or wasn’t allowed to) the gowns still made the Academy Awards compelling.  Now when I watch, while simultaneously tweeting my thumbs off, I’m still just as captivated by choices made in costume and can’t help but remember favorite dresses from years past (and the horrid ones of course).  This year I set out to compile a Top 10 Best/Worst Dressed List from the annals of Oscar fashion.  I soon realized that 83 years worth of Oscars was too big to digest, and therefore decided to focus this assessment on the period from 2000-2011.  (I could definitely myself see doing an analysis of the 90s, during which I became an avid Oscars-watcher, but probably wouldn’t go back further (it would sound something like…Grace Kelly is gorgeous, Audrey Hepburn is gorgeous, Cher and Bob Mackie whatthefuckisgoingon, blah blah blah…) because it would be impossible to offer my own opinions from my own memories.)  Oh!  That’s another thing–these are my own opinions from my own memories.  I’m not trying to be right (but I mostly am), I just offering up what I believe to be the most memorable (and successful or unsuccessful) gowns.  I also acknowledge that I occasionally like dresses that most people HATE–for example, I totally love everything January Jones wears.  Let’s just say I’m offering up some fun observations, k?

But seriously, January Jones, Versace, the Globes, 2011?  Fucking amazing.

Note: I haven’t covered what the guys wear.  I’m just not terribly interested.  (Although I do expect them to show up looking dashing in their tuxes.  And I appreciate the well-dressed men.)

And these aren’t in any particular order.  I’ve already thought hard enough about this, I don’t care to make my head hurt.


1.) Anne Hathaway, Armani Privé, 2009

While not intentional, it has turned out that a lot of my picks are white/off-white/silver gowns.  I have no idea why this happened, I didn’t even know I had a preference.  But she just looks stunning.  Also, though not an Oscars gown, it has to be said, Anne’s 2011 Armani Privé gown for the Golden Globes is another of my all-time favorites.  My approval of a number of looks by Ms. Hathaway can probably be explained by both my love for her and my undying obsession with her stylist, Rachel Zoe.

2.) Kate Winslet, Ben de Lisi, 2002

Bill Blass said: “When in doubt, wear red.”  Kate Winslet probably says: “When you want to show off your perfectly flawless ivory skin and delicious collarbone, wear red.”   I also give points for overall styling, but in this case I had to choose a picture where her clutch is not fully visible.  I thought it was uggo.  But any-hoo, how can you not love Kate?!

3.) Michelle Williams, Vera Wang, 2006

This is truly one of my favorites.  She was perfectly styled, love the red lips, love the jewelry.  She had mega-cutie Heath Ledger on her arm (sad times).  An all-around win.  Yellow has had quite a few home runs on the red carpet.  (See: Cate Blanchett, Valentino, 2005/Renee Zellweger, vintage Jean Desses, 2001/Rosamund Pike, Roland Mouret, 2008<—this landed on some Worst lists, I LOVED IT, LOVE HER.)

4.) Charlize Theron, Dior Couture, 2006

Many people hated this dress, but I say this is what it’s all about!  She looks over-the-top-fabulous, and where else could you take yourself looking like this but to the Oscars?!  (And hey, I didn’t pick her Dior disaster from 2010–I do have half a brain.)  I think I nurse an unhealthy obsession with oversized bows.

5.) Penelope Cruz, Atelier Versace, 2007

I love this because it’s big and poofy and girly and fancy.  It’s fan-say.  I can remember really disliking Penelope Cruz for a while, but I can’t remember why.  I totally love her now.  Maybe it was when she was dating Tom Cruise?  That would make you question a gal…

6.) Hilary Swank, Guy Laroche, 2005

Don’t really care for Hilary Swank.  Hated Million Dollar Baby (Gasp!….Sorry, hated).  I seriously doubt she had anything to do with picking this dress and give full credit to a very good stylist.  Because she looked totally amazing.  Focusing on this beautiful dress almost makes you forget about her grating-Jillian Michaels-man-voice.

7.) Helen Mirren, Christian LaCroix, 2007

Helen Mirren is a goddess.  She totally knows what she’s doing when it comes to the red carpet and always looks appropriately fantastic.  Mirren stands out often, but I think this dress was particularly flattering.

8.) Gwyneth Paltrow, Calvin Kelin, 2011

Ooooh, this is another one of my favorites!  Though she’s had some notorious hits and misses, I tend to love what Gwynnie wears.  I almost picked her dress from 2007 when she rocked the hell out of a sheer Zac Posen number.  But I love her in Calvin Klein, and it’s long been a fruitful relationship.  Additionally, I would totally wear this given the chance.  They don’t even have to let me into the Oscars.  I’d wear this to like, CVS.

9.) Kate Hudson, Atelier Versace, 2003

[Attention Charlize:  This is the warmly tanned face you were going for back in 2004 when you turned yourself orange.  I couldn’t put your gorgeous Tom Ford dress on my list because I cannot get over your too-orange face.]  Kate nailed it.  She’s got that perfect mix of Elegant and Hot going on–and I don’t even like her that much!  But here, damn, good job girl.

10.) Angelina Jolie, Elie Saab, 2009

Angelina is Perfection.  This is an Undeniable Truth, and people like to dog her because they know this Truth and it makes them uncomfortable.  I’m looking at you, Team Aniston.

While I’m at it……….HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Penelope Cruz, Chanel Haute Couture, 2008

Marion Cotillard, Jean Paul Gaultier, 2008

Sarah Jessica Parker, Dior Couture, 2011

Sandra Bullock, Marchesa, 2010

Camila Alves, Kaufman Franco, 2011

Are you still with me?  See?  That was fun!  Now let’s talk some shit:


1.) Tyra Banks, Vera Wang, 2000

Did she think she was going to prom?  It’s so bad, guys.  So, so bad.  This would only be mildly less horrendous if a young Latina wore it for her Quinceanera.  But Tyra is kind of nuts anyway so maybe we all should have seen this coming.

2.) Hilary Swank, Dior, 2003

If I saw someone wearing this on the red carpet I’m pretty sure I would not be able to contain a snarky chortle.  Yeesh.

3.) Kate Hudson, Chloe by Stella McCartney, 2001

It’s like she’s trying to look like a frumpy old lady.  A frumpy old lady who has 11 cats and knits them kitty sweaters and smells like cough drops.

4.) Gwyneth Paltrow, Alexander McQueen, 2002

We all remember this unfortunate incident.  When GP outfitted her saggy boobies in material that should have only ever been destined to become knee highs and then swathed the rest of herself in garbage bags.  Notice how many of these women occupy both the best and worst lists?  How the mighty have fallen.  She also had TERRIBLE hair.  It looked like the mess of french braids I’d sport each time I roped my babysitter into “doing my hair” for hours on end.

5.) Cate Blanchett, Givenchy, 2011

This is like if a Viking and Tinkerbell had a kid.

6.) Vera Farmiga, Marchesa, 2010

Some people liked this.  Crazy ones, apparently.  This disaster of a time warp is inexcusable.  What a shame, Vera.  (p.s. I even picked the least flattering picture to rub it in = Evil Genius)

7.) Uma Thurman, Christian LaCroix, 2004

I’ve tried to avoid the reeeeally obviously bad (Bjork as a swan, Celine wearing her clothing backwards) but I cannot let this one go.  Nothing here is working.  And this was not that long after Ethan left her!  She should have been looking all sorts of Unattainable and Hot.  Disgraceful.

8.) Juliette Binoche, Jean Paul Gaultier, 2001

Flapper Girl?  Victorian Socialite?  Dominatrix?  All three.

9.) Katherine Heigl, Escada, 2008

This is another gown that people loved.  Sure, it’s well-fitted and she appears to be following all the rules…but somewhere it just goes wrong.  I think she looks ridiculous and the hair and makeup are BAD.  Also, I can’t stand this chick which admittedly clouds my judgment, but ohwell.

10.)  Beyonce Knowles, 2009

No one can tell me who designed this, so obviously it was her mother.  Fail.  She looks like a Chinese lacquer vase.  It’s horrible.

I can’t wait to see what everyone is going to wear this year.  I’m particularly dying to see what Rooney Mara cooks up.  Now that this business is out of the way, I’ll be spending my days watching nominated films,  looking forward to making my picks for all of the categories, and continuing to feel pissed off that Kirsten Dunst was not nominated for Melancholia.  Cheers, everyone!

Oh, and I must add just one inside joke: #lifeofriley 😉

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Cartes postales

I came upon these charming post cards the other day.  My grandmother had saved these.  She passed away some time ago and a few years back I selected these along with some other keepsakes to have for my own.  I’m not sure who took the trips and collected them–it may have been her mother–and though some are labeled, others are places I haven’t identified….yet.

For now, I’ll just enjoy the view.

Yeah, I have no idea.

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Room Redo: Bathroom

Bathroom: AFTER!

I think “redo” is putting it lightly….this was almost an entire gut job.  We began demo-ing the bathroom the day we got the keys to the house (with still a month before we were to move in).

“We’ll have this ready to go by the time we have to live here!”

HA.  HAHAHA. HAHAHAHAHA.  Silly new homeowners dumbasses.   Full disclosure: we *just* put the final touches on the bathroom, like two weeks ago.  Oh well.  It’s DONE and I think it’s gorgeous.  Also I admit I have posted a buttload of pictures, but I wanted to show each phase of our redo and log it for my own memories as well as sharing it with others 🙂


The toilet actually smelled fine. NO.

Care for a luxurious soak?

It all had to go...

I accidentally breathed on this sink and one of the legs fell off.

Pink plastic tiles on the walls. Ohlala!

Phew. Ok, you still with me? Let's get to the good stuff...


We pulled up two, count em, two layers of vinyl and then battled the glue on the floor. Endless glue scraping. We sought to save the original floor peeking out here, but past remodelers had cut out entire chunks of it and alas, it could not be rescued.

Oh fantastic, more glue to scrape off! Stinky glue. Ick.

It gets messier before it gets cleaner...

Tearing out the shower surround and walls in tub area.

Down to the studs

The tiling has begun...

Penny rounds for our floor


Remember to have plenty of refreshing beverages on hand for any renovation project.

We got the tub surround done first so we could clean ourselves. The rest of the bathroom remained empty for a few more months...

THE AFTER:  (Finally!)

Shower curtain: World Market, Rug: Kohl's, Fixtures: Bed, Bath & Beyond

Cabinet: Target, Nudie pics: Streets of Montmartre

Old inherited nightstand used for storage; Sink, toilet, light fixture, mirror all Home Depot

Russ saved the original register by grinding off the old paint and grime and repainting. I've never been in love with a heat register before, whodathunkit?

Tub tilework, not bad for do-it-yourselfers!

And here we are.  I love our bathroom.  I also, somehow, still love subway tile.  But if I never have to stick up another one of those 3″ x 6″ little suckers ever again in my life it will be TOO SOON.

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Room Redo: Guest Bedroom

Guest Bedroom: After. TA-DA!

We marked our one year anniversary in the house at the beginning of April.  Things have come a long way since then, and while there is much to do (that will probably always be the case…) I’m so happy with how things have progressed.  This place needed a lot of love–“fixer upper” just scratches the surface.  When I went back to photos to find a “before” picture I was reminded of how dirty, grimy, neglected, dirty, and dirty the house when we first saw it.  Currently trying to re-forget all of that again.  *Shudder*

Guest Bedroom: Before. EW.

Fresh paint across the whole interior was the first big step in making this place livable again.  We didn’t need to purchase any furniture for the guest bedroom thanks to inheriting an old bedroom set from my parents and the dresser from Russ’s parents.  I repainted the dresser and added new knobs.  In came bedding, wall art, decor, and voila!

This green paint was the only color I was a little unsure of once it went up. Now that the room is decorated the color calms down--love it.

Bedding: Target, Curtains and lamp: World Market

Yes, I Put a Bird On It. More than once.

Refurbished dresser. Let me tell you how much fun I had removing kid stickers from the mirror courtesy of Russs little sister and her childhood. Okay, Ill spare you just this once.

New knobs for instant spunk! (World Market)

And pretty drawer liners. Smelly ones and everything!

Still need to paint and hang the mirror, and clean up the door that leads to a little balcony off the back of the house.

Elka would not get off the bed. Brat!!!

Dont let that cute mug fool you. She runs this place.


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My Own Personal National Holiday

I get very excited for the Oscars.  You know how people like to take an alternative holiday (by “alternative” I mean anything other than Christmas, because really, Christmas has Best Holiday on lock) and call it their favorite to be quirky and interesting?  HALLOWEEN has the most offenders.  I could care less about Halloween–THE OSCARS: perfection.  I love the anticipation, seeing as many of the films as I can and imagining how one will vie against another.  I love the red carpet, seeing (and of course judging) what the actors are wearing, and rooting for my favorite talents and films to win big.

So, without any further ado, here are my picks for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards:

Best Picture: The King’s Speech
CLEARLY.  Absolutely the best film of the year, and everything I ask a movie to be: uplifting, joyous, captivating, moving, and real.  I also loved The Fighter for many other things I ask a movie to be: wrenching, gripping…and of course captivating, moving and real.  But I just have to hand it to TKS for knocking it the hell out of the park.

Actor in a Leading Role: Colin Firth
CLEARLY.  Also, he’s a dreamboat.

hubba hubba

Actress in a Leading Role: Natalie Portman
There’s buzz that Annette Bening will upset, but I think that’s basically inconceivable.  People went both ways on Black Swan (PUN INTENDED hahaha), and though its missteps were obvious (obviousness being one of them: you have to make me try and think a little, I get it, she’s literally becoming the swan), I really liked the film.  And all that aside, it cannot be denied that Portman gave an incredible performance and deserves the win.

I have it all, bitches.

Actor in a Supporting Role: Christian Bale
No-brainer.  He completely transforms into Dicky.  Also, even MORE of a dreamboat.

Obivously, not in dreamboat-mode here. Oh hey, Mark!

Actress in a Supporting Role: Melissa Leo
Yes, the ad thing was off-putting and stupid on her part.  Critics have said she should have simply let the Academy judge her on her performance.  They still should.  And if they do, the award is hers.  (Also, let’s not kid ourselves here, members of the Academy don’t judge just based on performance.)  Dark horse would be Hailee Steinfeld.  She did a great job in True Grit, and whoever her stylist/handlers are they are doing a bang-up job because she has looked stunning, fresh, and perfect at every event so far (can’t wait to see what she wears tonight).  Didn’t consider her “supporting” in TG, she was clearly the lead role, but I can understand why she would be billed for this category instead–it gives her a fighting chance.

Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3
Duh.  Haven’t seen it, but duh.  I also won’t watch TS3 until I see TS2 because I don’t like doing things out of order.  This annoys Russ greatly.

Art Direction: The King’s Speech

Cinematography: True Grit
The film is just stunning.  I really want a win for Roger Deakins–this is his ninth nomination, but it would be his first win.

Costume Design: The King’s Speech
…although I would not mind True Grit pulling a win here.

Directing: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
I realize that he has a slim shot, and that most likely it will go to David Fincher for The Social Network, but I’m sticking to my guns and pulling for Hooper anyway.

Pweese? I nice.

Documentary Feature: Inside Job
I haven’t gotten a chance to see this yet and I want to so bad.  I think it has it in the bag.  I did see Exit Through the Gift Shop (meh) and Restrepo (depressing but well done).

Documentary Short Subject: The Warriors of Qiugang
I’m picking this because it is the only nominee I have seen and I like saving the planet.  Yay!

Film Editing: The Social Network
This is 1 of only 2 awards I think TSN should win–loved the pace of this movie, and the jumps between “before and after.”

I'm one snarky lil bastard!

Foreign Language Film: Dogtooth
Again, the only foreign film nominee I have seen, but SEE THIS MOVIE.  It is incredibly disturbing at times (lots of times) but truly an incredible film.  SEE IT.  (p.s….I will try to avoid saying “truly an incredible film” ever again.  God that sounds horribly snotty.)

Makeup: The Wolfman
My pick is based on the fact that, hey it must take a lot of work to dress a guy up like a wolf.  Kudos to you.

Music (Song): “If I Rise” 127 Hours
Sorry Mandy Moore.  Oh hey, girl!

"what the hell."

Music (Score): The King’s Speech

Short Film (Animated): The Lost Thing
Pixar will probaby get it for Night and Day but fuck that they always win (and I thought N&D was dumb, they don’t even have to try hard, seriously).  The Gruffalo could get it too.   Basically, I don’t know if The Lost Thing has a chance but I LOVED it.  Also LOVED Madagascar, carnet de voyage. That too probably won’t win.  Sigh.

I want a lost thing of my very own.

Short Film (Live Action): The Confession
I only saw Wish 143 (available online) but I’m basing this pick off buzz.

Sound Editing: Inception

Sound Mixing: Inception
One of these people is from North Olmsted–woohoo!

Visual Effects: Inception

We've got some double-hotness going on here.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay): The Social Network
The Coen Brothers could pull a win here for True Grit, but this is the other award I think The Social Network should win.

Writing (Original Screenplay): The King’s Speech
Though a win for Christopher Nolan for Inception would be nice with all the snub-talk re: directing category.

Phew, I’m exhausted!  And I’m not even the one slaving away in the kitchen making Oscar night fare (Russ is the one doing that–isn’t he sweet?!)  Pretty soon however I will be dressing up fancy (screw watching the Oscars in your pjs–that’s what every other night is for, I get fancy) and drinking a lot of champagne.  I’d like to start boozing in about…well now…but I can’t because I have a long night ahead of me.  Plus, if I drink too much champagne I face a possible repeat of New Year’s which means I will fall off my neighbor’s porch into their flowerbeds.  And they’re not having a party tonight so it would be especially uncouth.

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For February

A few weeks ago the weatherman on the news announced that we were “at the halfway point of Winter.”  Now, I really did not need to know this.  You can let me know when we’ve got about two days left, Bucko.  It was terribly depressing.  Now everyone is all abuzz with the big storm coming our way, a painfully apropos way to ring in February.

Poor February.

I feel like February is one of the most under-appreciated months.  It must be hard to be so under-appreciated.  February is the yellow mustard of condiments, the orange of the color spectrum.  (I personally think March is a total drag, but that’s just me.)  In an attempt to cheer myself up and keep moving swiftly towards Spring, I’m going to find a few things that are absolutely fantastic about February.   Here goes.

1)  In just over a week I will be flying to Virginia Beach to spend a long weekend with my best girlfriends from college (VA Beach being where one of them now lives).  We scored deliciously cheap flights a few months ago and I’ve been anxiously waiting a little getaway ever since.  We are going to laugh, and gab, and laugh.  A lot.


2) February is International Friendship Month.  Now isn’t that nice?  Not just national, international = reach out to your friends all over the world!  Humans everywhere could already stand to be a lot nicer to one another, but a good place to start would be to reach out to some friends, new and old, and remind them that you think they are just terrific.  I plan to!

Maybe I should re-learn how to make these...

3) February means it’s time to eat these:

I heart these. Hah! I'm so funny.

And most importantly…..

4) THE OSCARS. February 27th.  I can hardly fucking wait!

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