Sunday, February 27, 2011

And the Oscar goes to ... {Oscar night}

To any movie-aholic like me, you look forward to Oscar night like most American's look forward to the the Superbowl. You see all the movies (yes ... I have obviously seen the 10 best pictures nominees, among countless others), you make your own predictions (see Friday's post) and you block your calender for the best Sunday night of the year. Then on said Sunday you spend 4+ hours screaming at your TV, clapping along with the audience, critiquing fashion choices and tabulating your prediction scores.

And here we are, Red Carpet Live and then the Oscars. So bring it on! Below are reviews of the fashion, the winners, and my own opinions on the show itself.

Oh ... and my predictions from Friday were 17 for 20. Missed in Best Song, Costume and Director (but I was so happy to be wrong on Director!)

Overall, I think the show this year was a success! There were a lot of great movies nominated, and the great news is that most people had not only heard of them all, but they had actually seen them! In trying to draw in a younger and wider audience, the Academy Awards made a good move in choosing the talented Anne Hathaway to host with James Franco. Anne's natural energy and great performance was perfect. For the fashion, it was all around good. No big OMG wonderful dresses, but no really over-the-top bad one either (though Melissa Leo's was up there). As for the winners, I think the right people won all around. So very excited for the King's Speech and happy that Colin Firth is finally getting the recognition he deserves!

The Good:
  • Hailee Steinfeld of True Grit - She is only 14 and here she is nominated for an Oscar in a role that pretty much was the saving grace of this movie for me (I didn't enjoy True Grit). She looks so good - great dress and love the hair, and really age appropriate!
  • Marisa Tomei - I love all things vintage. Though the top seemed a bit ill-fitted.
  • Anne Hathaway (Red Carpet archival Valentino in red) - OMG! such a gorgeous dress and she wears it so well!!!
  • Helen Miren -
  • Colin Firth - I have loved him for so long! Just so long. He looks so dashing in a classic tux!
  • Robert Downey Jr. - Looks so good in his navy suit, love the white on white tie and shirt.
  • Jennifer Hudson - First of all, she looks good! Go Weight Watchers. The color is incredible on her, and the dress has a great shape for her, though the plunging squared neckline dip is a bit awkward.
  • Christian Bale - Black on black on black. Can't go wrong. But the facial hair is a bit wrong.
  • Sandra Bullock - What can you say ... it all works!
  • Halle Berry - Such a dreamy dress!
  • Cate Blanchet - Not everyone could pull off an artsy dress like that with the yellow splashes against lavender - but she wears it beautifully!
  • Anne Hathaway - All of her dresses during the actual show! Just beautiful! She can even pull of a tux with sparkly shoes very well!!!
The Not-So-Good:
  • Melissa Leo - It just didn't really work. The dress was like a giant starched white doily tablecloth overlaid on top of a gold wrapping paper. And I didn't enjoy her speech either.
  • Nicole Kidman - Looked too much like a wedding dress, and a wedding dress with too much going on. Why would you want to add hips to your figure?
  • Mark Ruffalo's wife - The one shoulder thing was not working for me; too big on one side.
The Hosts:
I thought that Anne and James did a nice job together, but what really stood out to me was Anne herself! James did not really seem to do all that much, but Anne just stole the show with her natural enthusiasm, great singing, and beautiful dresses!

The Moments:
  • Opening sequence = great!
  • Anne Hathaway singing! Fabulous!
  • James Franco in a dress! Hehehehehe.
  • Russel Brand and Helen Miren. Loved it!
  • The year of the musical ... hehehe.
  • Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr.. Great bro-chemistry.
The Winners:
  • Best Picture - The King's Speech
  • Leading Actor - Colin Firth for The King's Speech
  • Leading Actress - Natalie Portman for Black Swan
  • Directing - Tom Hooper for the King's Speech
  • Supporting Actor - Christian Bale in The Fighter
  • Supporting Actress - Melissa Leo in The Fighter
  • Adapted Screenplay - The Social Network
  • Original Screenplay - The King's Speech
  • Original Song - Toy Story 3
  • Original Score - The Social Network
  • Sound Mixing - Inception
  • Sound Editing -Inception
  • Film Editing - The Social Network
  • Cinematography - Inception
  • Art Direction - Alice in Wonderland
  • Visual Effects - Inception
  • Costume Design - Alice in Wonderland
  • Animated Feature - Toy Story 3
  • Foreign Language Film - In a Better World
  • Documentary Feature - Inside Job

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Mankato Photo Project

I went back to Mankato this weekend and was feeling a bit reminiscent as i drove into the city on hwy 169. So, I decided to drive around a bit and do a little photo project. So using the handy-dandy camera bag app on my iPhone (helga camera) I took the below photos of memorable Mankato landmarks. Ah ... the memories ...

Friday, February 25, 2011

And the Oscar goes to ... {my Oscar ballot}

Sunday night is quickly approaching and the excitment is almost out of control! I love movies ... and awards ... and seeing the stars all dressed up ... and the speeches ... and everything! And the fact that Anne and James are hosting is just icing on the cake!

So here they are, my Oscar predictions! I take this pretty seriously ...

Note: I reserve the right to update and tweak my predictions until the moment the actual Oscars start ...

And the Oscar goes to ...

Best Picture {{“The King’s Speech”
Leading Actor {{Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech”
Leading Actress {{Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”
Directing {{“The Social Network”
Supporting Actor {{Christian Bale in “The Fighter”
Supporting Actress {{Melissa Leo in “The Fighter”
Adapted Screenplay {{“The Social Network”
Original Screenplay {{“The King’s Speech”
Original Song {{“If I Rise” from “127 Hours”
Original Score {{“The Social Network”
Sound Mixing {{“Inception”
Sound Editing {{“Inception”
Film Editing {{“The Social Network”
Cinematography {{“Inception”
Art Direction {{“Alice in Wonderland”
Visual Effects {{“Inception”
Costume Design {{“The King’s Speech”
Animated Feature {{“Toy Story 3”
Foreign Language Film {{“In a Better World”
Documentry Feature {{“Inside Job”

Running Time {{3 hours 35 minutes
How many of the Best Picture Nominees have you seen? {{10

  • I admit, Social Network could get Best Picture, but I have hopes for King's Speech
  • Best Song could go to Toy Story 3
  • Although I like Social Network for Best Score, would be great if King's Speech could get it
  • Art Direction could be Inception

Thursday, February 24, 2011

10 movies that make me want to buy a plane ticket: Part 1

The first in a series on movies and books that inspire me to travel. These posts are inspired by two things: a fellow blogger's similar post and an article by Budget Travel today on the top 10 travel-inspiring movies of 2010 (link to Budget Travel article: The Top 10 Travel-Inspiring Films of the Year)

So here they are ... the first 10! A little bit of romantic comedy, a little bit of adventure. Some old, some new. A whole lot of Audrey Hepburn. And a lot of wonderful places to see in this world! Stick around ... there will be more entries!

Roman Holiday
The Place: Rome, Italy
The Story: Audrey Hepburn in one of her best roles as a young European princess in Rome for a goodwill tour. All she wants is a little bit of freedom, and that is what she gets for one beautiful day in Rome (with Gregory Peck none-the-less!). From the Trevi fountain to Vespa rides through Rome; the Colosseum to the people. She get's her day of freedom!
Been There/Done That: I have had my own personal Roman Holiday a few times. On my most recent trip, I actually followed Audrey's tour as closely as possible!

To Catch a ThiefThe Place: Cote d'Azur, France (Cannes, Monaco, etc)
The Story: Grace Kelly is an American heiress traveling in Europe. Cary Grant is an ex-thief turned respectable French Riviera resident. They meet and engage is a lite Alfred Hitchcock plot with romance, deception, jewel thieves and beautiful costumes. They romp around the French Riviera making this movie a feast for the eyes!
Been There/Done That: I have spent a few days on the French Riviera - beautiful! Want to go back and do it up right, driving a little convertible on the winding cliff roads!

The TouristThe Place: Venice, Italy
The Story: Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp engage in a romantic spy thriller comedy (cannot really decide what this movie is). From the canals to the Palace of the Dodges, this film takes you all over and is beautifully shot.
Been There/Done That: Spent a fantastic day in Venice and would like to go back. Unfortunately, I didn't look as elegant as Jolie ... nor did i get to attend fancy parties ... or engage in espionage activities.

Romancing the Stone/Jewel of the NileThe Place: Colombia/Middle East
The Story: Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner embark on two romantic adventures that take them exploring around the world. Great characters in great locations. Classics.
Been There/Done That: Haven't been to either - on the "to do" list!

Funny FaceThe Place: Paris, France
The Story: Fred Astaire is a fashion magazine photographer. Audrey Hepburn is a bookworm working in a shop in NYC. He discovers her. She is remade as the "it" girl. They go to Paris for a photo shoot/designer show and fall in love. Sigh. With a song like "Bonjour, Paris!" how can you go wrong!
Been There/Done That: I love Paris in the springtime ... and fall ... and summer ... and even winter! Been a few times, love it. Will always go back for more.

Chasing LibertyThe Place: Prague, Venice, Austria, Berlin
The Story: Mandy Moore is the President's daughter in Europe and wants some freedom. So she runs away with random stranger ... but he (Matthew Goode) is actually secret service! From the streets of Prague they skip over to Venice and then up through Austria and onto Berlin. Perfection!
Been There/Done That: Check check check. Even made it up to the little rooftop viewpoint where they watch the opera from in Prague - it is a little restaurant called U Prince.

Leap YearThe Place: Ireland
The Story: Confession - I LOVE Matthew Goode. Here he plays the easy-going Irishman acting as chauffeur across Ireland to the (literally) lost Amy Adams. From the Dingle to the Cliffs of Moher. From the ruins of castles to Dublin, this movie shows some of the beauties of Ireland, but does not do it justice!
Been There/Done That: Roadtrip through Ireland is the way to go! Love it and want to go back - Dingle was my favorite area.

Up in the AirThe Place: Airports
The Story: Clooney travels for a living. That's it. Relationships. Life. Career. Etc. Although this movie does not take you anywhere too interesting (umm ... Detroit?), it does give me the itch to increase my frequent flyer mils and eat airport lounge snack foods. "We're just two people who get turned on by elite status."
Been There/Done That: Been in lots of airports in my days ... favorite is Schipol. Avoid Charles de Gaulle at all costs - only excuse is if you are actually going to Paris.

Vicky Cristina BarcelonaThe Place: Barcelona
The Story: Two girls spend summer holiday in Barcelona and fall for the same guy - Bardem. Enter ex-wife. Cue drama.
Been There/Done That: Studied abroad in Barcelona. It is (one of many) home to me.

Sisterhood of the Traveling PantsThe Place: Santorini, Greece
The Story: Four best friends go off on their summer adventures and stay connected with a pair of (shocking) traveling pants. On goes off to Santorini and we therefore get to enjoy beautiful scenery! Beaches, crisp white buildings against cloudless blue skies, the beautiful caldera. Sigh.
Been There/Done That: Spent three gorgeous days there! One of my favorite places in the world. Every place you go looks like a postcard!

And ... a few been there/done that photos:





Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Some of my favorite photos ...

This post was inspired by a fellow 20SB ...
Wanted to share some of my favorite photos I have taken ...

Site is ... but it is a work in progress ... meaning I have not had too much time to make any progress. Hopefully soon!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dining In: Healthy Stuffed Peppers

I love stuffed peppers! Yum. But I don't really like to cook that much ... and that amount of ground beef is not so healthy either! So this weekend I attempted healthy stuffed peppers. Healthy because they are made with lean ground turkey ... Yummy!!!!!

  • 5 medium sized peppers (yellow, red and/or orange best ... green is gross) - best if they can stand on their own
  • 1 lb ground turkey (lean)
  • rice - 5 minute brown kind
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 medium/large tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 oven-safe pan - deep enough so that when the peppers go in, there is still a finger left above the pepper before the rim of the pan
  • Greek yogurt and bread to serve

  1. Prep: preheat oven to 400 degrees and defrost ground turkey
  2. Peppers: Using a knife, cut into the top of the pepper(do NOT cut straight across, you want to leave a bit of a lid on the peppers). Remove the top portion of the pepper and cut the interior of seeds and the extra white stuff.
  3. Chop half of the medium onion very small. Brown in small amount of olive oil.
  4. In mixing bowl, mix defrosted ground turkey, browned onion, and a two tablespoons of rice. Mix properly.
  5. Taking the hollowed peppers, stuff with the turkey. Leave a bit of room at the top.
  6. Cutting the ends off the tomatoes, use these as "lids" to the peppers. Place on top of turkey and push edges under lip of pepper.
  7. Place peppers standing up in deep pan. Around peppers, empty contents of one can of tomato sauce. Fill pan with water to just under the top of the peppers.
  8. Cover pan with tinfoil. Heat in oven for 2-3 hours with tinfoil. Remove foil and and put back in oven for another hour to brown on top. NOTE: if liquid level ever gets to less than half, add more water!
  9. Serve with sauce and Greek yogurt or sour cream ... and bread for getting the yummy sauce!
  10. Enjoy!

Thanks go out to my mom for sharing her recipe and picking up the phone every time I called with random/frantic questions!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A nice little photo site: One PicADay

I want to direct you all over to a nice little photo site: One PicADay. Check often - a new entry is posted everyday! This photographer takes everyday items, details, and moments and turns them into a single snapshot, representing that one day in his life! They say a photo's worth a thousand words ... and this blog goes on that theory.

Click on the below link to check it out!
One PicADay

A selection of some of my favorites from the site:

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