Sunday, January 31, 2016

tea time

For the rest of the world, today marks the end of International Hot Tea Month.

But for me, every month is Hot Tea Month.... I love the stuff and it's how I get my daily dose(s) of much-needed caffeine (because I hate coffee and soda).

However, I did celebrate tea this month in a few special ways.

I went to afternoon tea and a tasting (learning all about white, green and black teas) at Chado with my friend Leslie. This reinforced my previous opinion that light teas are meh.. and black teas are amazing! (My faves are chai, earl grey, english breakfast and Chado's Mauritius, which rhymes with delicious!)

Today, I also cleaned out and organized by tea shelf because it was getting a little out of control ;) Most of my loose leaf teas are now dry and secure in tins next to my hoarded and carefully rationed stash of Marks & Spencer shortbread petticoat tails from London (thanks Daryl, James and Susie!), which are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of hot tea.

If you want to celebrate with a hot cup of deliciousness, here are tips for brewing the perfect cup of tea from Twinings.

And remember...

Monday, January 18, 2016

music in mourning

The end of 2015 and beginning of 2016 have royally sucked, as every few days another music legend has passed away... shockingly, because most people had no idea these artists were even sick.

First, on December 28, two days after being diagnosed with an extremely aggressive cancer, Motorhead legend Lemmy Kilmister was gone.. and rockers everywhere mourned their idol.

Natalie Cole died on New Year's Eve from heart disease.

Then a week ago, the world was rocked by the death of David Bowie.

Today, another shock.... founding member  of The Eagles, Glenn Frey has died from a combination of rheumatoid arthritis, colitis and pneumonia.

What the heck? The last three weeks are going to take up the entire allotted time for the "In Memorium" tribute at the Grammys next month. Was God bored with heaven's current musical offerings? Were John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Elvis, Mozart and Bach not cutting it anymore so he needed to mix it up with some '70s metal, soul and rock? It's just so sad. I know people die, but this many greats dying so close together is just unbelievable. 

In announcing Glenn Frey's death this afternoon, The Eagles website posted the lyrics to “It's Your World Now," written by Glenn Frey and Jack Tempchin, from the Eagles’ Long Road Out of Eden album. So beautiful... yet so sad. 

Rest in Peace legends. Thanks for leaving so much good behind. And enjoy your freshmen class of heaven jam session... 

“It's Your World Now"

A perfect day, the sun is sinkin' low
As evening falls, the gentle breezes blow
The time we shared went by so fast
Just like a dream, we knew it couldn't last
But I'd do it all again
If I could, somehow
But I must be leavin' soon
It's your world now

It's your world now
My race is run
I'm moving on
Like the setting sun
No sad goodbyes
No tears allowed
You'll be alright
It's your world now

Even when we are apart
You'll always be in my heart
When dark clouds appear in the sky
Remember true love never dies

But first a kiss, one glass of wine
Just one more dance while there's still time
My one last wish: someday, you'll see
How hard I tried and how much you meant to me

It's your world now
Use well your time
Be part of something good
Leave something good behind

The curtain falls
I take my bow
That's how it's meant to be
It's your world now
It's your world now
It's your world now

Monday, January 11, 2016

dust to stardust

Last night as I was falling asleep with the 11pm news on, I was shocked awake with the breaking news that David Bowie had died.

Apparently, he'd been battling f*in cancer for 18 months. But it seems few people knew. Good for him for maintaining his privacy... but shocking for us to end up so rocked by the surprisingly sad news.

I never considered myself a huge Bowie fan, but I've always enjoyed his music, especially the '80s stuff I grew up watching on MTV (in between the Duran Duran videos I obsessed over.) So I was surprised by just how sad his passing made me and how much I've thought about him today. He was an artistic icon... a genius... a legend ... and I guess sometimes it takes losing someone to truly realize what they meant to your life.

Social media today has been filled with tributes and rememberences of David Bowie. Here are some that touched me:

This "Bowie through the Years" gif is awesome. Artwork by Helen Green

Conan O'Brien replayed some of his favorite moments with David Bowie on his show:

One of the first Bowie songs I remember, and maybe my favorite to sing along with:

My friend Lisa's friend Myriam Santos knew and photographed Bowie -- here's her tribute

Bowie and Queen's "Under Pressure," which is included on my favorite film soundtrack ever - Gross Pointe Blank. This song always makes me smile... and I LOVE this a-capella version that's popping up now! I hope David and Freddie are having quite the reunion concert in heaven today :)

They played this for the Dance-cam at the Kings game tonight as a tribute :)

And this amazing quote, immortalized in chalk art by the cool undercover artists DangerDust


Saturday, January 9, 2016

mad binge

As of this afternoon, I have officially completed my four-month binge of Mad Men.

Now what am I supposed to do?

What are the chances there is a third series out there as good as Mad Men and Breaking Bad for me to binge-watch?

I've been very spoiled by these two well-written, superbly acted and highly-addictive series flying out of my Netflix queue the last 16 months...neither of which I watched when they originally aired, coincidentally both on AMC.

I actually had no desire to watch Breaking Bad until it was over and had won every award imaginable. I had to know why. How could a show about a high school teacher who gets cancer and decides to cook crystal meth so his family will be financially taken care of when he dies be that good? Well, I was hooked by the end of the first episode. It won all the acting and writing and series awards because all of that was that good.

And with Mad Men, many people I know were addicted to it the last few years. (Some even had viewing parties and bought props in an auction after the show wrapped.) I knew I'd end up watching it eventually, but I was too far behind by the time I realized that. So I purposely avoided social media about it and even totally skipped the year-end TV wrap-ups last month so as not to have Don, Peggy, Joan, Roger and Betty's end stories spoiled.

Now that I've learned them, I'm kind of at a loss.

With Breaking Bad, let's just say the ending for most characters left little to the imagination. My questions (well except for one) were answered and there is nothing left to tell.

With Mad Men, while they showed the paths the main characters were headed down, I still want more...I want to see them in those next chapters... especially Peggy and Joan (aka the "Unmarried Professional  Women" of the DVD extras featurette). They were just heading into their "kick some major ass and take names" phase. That would be awesome to watch. But alas....

So I ask again, now what?

I added practically no new shows this fall because my quality gauge was set at "Is this show going to be more entertaining than another episode of Mad Men?" The answer was no. 

What is? 

If I don't start binging another show, I might actually get bored enough to read my book pile :p  Help!!

Friday, January 1, 2016

the 2016 vision blog

My light reading pile for the year (collected over the last two years). What should I start with?*

*After I finally finish The Interestings... which I've been half reading for 16 months. Oy. 


A return to this view... which will help me get through the pile above :)


Two weeks split between here....

... and here


For a certain twosome who love complaining about my crappy front door, I will get a new one, sort of like this...


And this....

Thursday, December 31, 2015

my favorites of 2015


I'm sure this quote is not from 2015, but 2015 is when I saw it on the Word Porn Facebook feed, which I also love...

And for my new personal mantra... expanded this year as I've become of lover of more teas than just chai (shocker, I know, but "Mauritius is delicious" ;)

Memories of loved ones lost, in my happy place (aka my garden)

Lucky's painted rose
Granny's Cactus' Flowering



Truth. It's the thing this introvert goes to when I need something no one else can give... time with my thoughts.

... or when I need an amazing communal experience. I saw a lot of concerts this year. But these three by my two fave bands were the most amazing.

U2 i+e Tour live @ The Forum 

Foo Fighters #brokenlegtour + Love Ride 32

Adele "25" 
The new album I (and the world) had been waiting four years for made me feel happy, sad and sassy. It's amazing and has been on repeat in my car and office iTunes for weeks. And her promo appearances on SNL, her NBC special and this Tonight Show Classroom Instruments performance with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots made me love her and the album that much more.


I new very little about this film when I put the screener in the DVD player. It made me laugh, cry, swoon and cheer. Great performances. Great screenplay by Nick Hornby. A great emotional movie experience. 

The Martian
I didn't see this in the theater, but rather on my TV via screener on a sick day, months after everyone I know had already told me how great it was. I wish I had seen it on the big screen. It's big, bold, exciting and magnificent. Great performances. Great special effects. And a great STORY. I haven't seen everything yet, but right now I think this is my pick for Best Picture.


Most Pleasant Surprise ... (in that this was really good, but most definitely not pleasant)

The Revenant
I had no desire to see this movie. Every time the trailer came on in a theater I counted the minutes till it was over and a "better one" came on. But about week ago, I started to read the reviews. Then one night I decided to put the screener in to see if they were true. Wow. It's brutal, beautiful, sweeping, sad, enraging and excellent. Leonardo DiCaprio could finally win his Oscar for this amazing, heartbreaking performance (as long as the Academy refuses to give Eddie Redmayne two Best Actor Oscars in a row... he's Leo's only competition in my mind right now.)


This is the year I became a true binge-watching aficionado. I started the year finishing Breaking Bad, started summer with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and have spent the fall and winter with Mad Men -- I have four disks left with Don Draper. As f'ed up as he is, that makes me sad.

This is the year I also decided to no longer waste time watching shows I don't love... so I added exactly one half hour of new television this Fall, and deleted "How to Get Away with Murder," "Sleepy Hollow," Once Upon a Time" and "New Girl" from my Tivo season passes. My "Should I add a new show?" rule this TV season was: "Will I enjoy this as much as or more than another episode of Mad Men?" If not, then I didn't bother.

In the New Year (after Don and I say farewell), I will be focused on reading the pile of unread books I've accumulated in the last two years. (Anyone want to start a Book Club so I'm forced to do this? ;)