Monday, August 31, 2015

Sketching Madonna

Somehow I get the feeling that her dad more than just helped with this sketch...



Sunday, August 30, 2015

Weaknesses

If you have weaknesses, that doesn't make you flawed. It makes you complete.

-Deepak Chopra

I like this quote because when I heard it, I immediately felt a small sense of relief. Like, all the stuff that I dislike about myself, everything I wanna change is really just the stuff that makes me who I am. I mean, I still want to grow and become the best me that I can, but hearing this made me feel like I am on the right path and that I shouldn't be so hard on myself.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Jones'

Iman, David, and 17 day old Alexandria!


Friday, August 28, 2015

Alice Temple

More torn out pages from Out magazine. Even though I still have yet to hear Alice Temple's music, I had to scan and post this mini-article because she looks so unbelievably sexy and cool.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Zachariah!

The reason that men are wonderful is that they start out as boys like my nephew Zach.

 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Is this fella single?

This is seriously the best dressed man I have ever seen. Dapper, professional yet slightly casual, unique but not odd, youthful and fresh, yet timeless. Bishop emailed me the link for the site and accompanied it with the words: HE IS KILLING IT! Ya know what? He totally is. Hats off to you, Günther Krabbenhöft. You are the cat's meow and the dog's tuxedo. Stay gold.

 

(photos kidnapped from boredpanda)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Vegan Choc Zuke Bread

Lovely Miss Anne gave me a big-ass zucchini the other day, straight from her boss' garden. The next day I went online to search for a vegan zuke bread recipe and I discovered one that was dark chocolate and gluten free, too. I immediately enlisted my mother's skills so as to create this masterpiece. Sadly, it wasn't as yum-yum-delicious as we had hoped, as it is not terribly sweet. Yes, I realise it is bread and not cake, but still. So...like the fatty fat piglet I am, I sprinkled (read: dumped) some dark brown sugar on it and it's pretty delightful. I would definitely give it another go and maybe mix the brown sugar in before hand. Regardless of the outcome, Mama Rosie and I had fun in the kitchen together and then watched half of the first season of Last Tango in Halifax. And Mum really liked it! But, I mean, what's not to love about that Derek Jacobi...

 
 
Ingredients:
  • 1½ cups Teff Flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tsp xantham gum
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1½ cups grated zucchini
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 2 flax eggs (2 Tbsp ground flax seeds + 6 Tbsp water)
  • 1¼ cups coconut milk
  • ¼ c cacao nibs (or vegan chocolate chips)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. In large bowl, mix together flour, xantham gum, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. Add grated zucchini, maple syrup, flax eggs and coconut milk. Stir until just mixed. Do not over stir.
  4. Add in cacao nibs and stir to mix.
  5. In a parchment lined bread pan, carefully pour the batter, ensuring that it is evenly distributed amongst the pan.
  6. If adding walnuts, sprinkle over top of batter and gently press into the top of the batter so that they are about half way covered by the batter.
  7. Bake for 55 mins, or until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean.
Notes: Due to the moisture content of the zucchini, this bread should be enjoyed within 2-3 days and is best to be stored in the refrigerator. But you can totally slice it and toss it in the freezer.

Nutritional Information:
Serving size: 1 slice Calories: 166 Fat: 6g Saturated fat: 1g Carbohydrates: 28g Sugar: 9mg Sodium: 343mg Fiber: 5g Protein: 4g Cholesterol: 0mg
Created by

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Walk to Gravediggers

Last year I snapped this en route to the best pub in Dublin. Heading back, Ashlee and I were way too giggly and a bit buzzed to do anything but find our way to the flat, which we somehow managed to do. Can't wait to return and have a pint!



Sunday, August 23, 2015

Thanksgiving Day Parade 1971

I'm sure that the photographer was intending to snap a photo of Santa, but all they did was get a killer snapshot of my mother dressed as a clown.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

SJP in Mizrahi

This is one of my all-time favourite Isaac Mizrahi designs. And Ms. Parker wears it beautifully.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Being a Teen

This book is chock full of information and seriously fantastic tips for teens. I hang out with MJ tomorrow and seeing as his father most likely does not have serious one on one conversations with his son about what it's like to be a fifteen year old boy, I'm gonna bring this book and try to have a heart to heart with him and let him know that he can ask me (and Jane Fonda) anything. I feel like the kids in my life are fairly comfortable with me, even with normally uncomfortable topics, and maybe if I'm not afraid to answer questions, hopefully they won't be afraid to ask them. Fingers crossed!

(ps - success! We openly and with zero awkwardness discussed spontaneous erections, masturbation, porn, lesbian love scenes in movies, Toxic Shock Syndrome, tampons, practicing safe sex, genital herpes and lastly, I told him that his mother had been gay for the last year and a half of her life. Something that he had no clue about. Full circle - I was the first person Donna came out to and I'm grateful that I was the one to tell the only person she wasn't able to share this part of her life with and guess what - he was not the least bit upset or bothered. I seriously have the best nieces and nephews ever created. Wouldn't trade a single one for anything.) 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

How To Get Away With Murder

To be fair, I am only late in seeing this show because I don't have TV. I first heard about How to Get Away With Murder when it came out last year and then of course, it was all over the place and I couldn't escape hearing about it. And ya know what, it is all true, this show is incredible. Ms. Davis is astounding. Uh duh, like when isn't she? Has a role been created yet that she couldn't take on and blow us all away? I doubt it. What I like most is that her character is real. She is angry and short-tempered, kind and rational, intelligent, but does stupid things, she is emotional - imagine that! - and isn't ashamed when she yells or screams, throws things, becomes frustrated or cries. Such a brilliant performance of a richly multi-faceted female. I particularly admired and loved the scene where she stripped off her wig and all of her makeup to show what's underneath. What a gorgeous gal. (BTW, when I first saw the poster for this I thought it was starring Taraji Henson. I don't think the below photo really captures Viola Davis. Just this lil' lady's opinion, tho...)


Honestly though, the entire cast just stuns. They all meld together and form a unit that moves the story further and further and keeps you right there with them. Each character is unique and adds their own certain something that makes this show what it is. It definitely lived up to all the hype, and then some.

And lastly, oh my goodness, and be still my heart, Jack Falahee? A dreamboat if ever there was one. I'm not usually one for pretty boys or super young dudes, but Jeez Louise, this fella is just a joy to watch. (Looks and acting included in that statement.)

(photo of poster kidnapped from subscene - of cast, from huffingtonpost - of jack, from dailyjackfalahee)
(post script - Matt McGorry as Ashton is a complete and total clown. A douchebag, as we say in Jersey; but man, oh man, does he make me bust up laughing every time he's on screen. And Charlie Weber as Frank? Oh sweet Jesus...that beard, those eyes, that dapper dress code he is forever sporting, all totally makes me weak at the knees...)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What's Underneath

I love, love, love this project. I guess I first heard about the site StyleLikeU at the beginning of the year. The section What's Underneath is sensational. Essentially it focuses on women, mostly, although I have seen a man here and there, that talk about themselves as they undress. As someone that is constantly comparing every female I see to myself, it is so refreshingly wonderful to see real live people talk about when they feel the most vulnerable, the most beautiful, and how they feel they fit into the world. And to see them with scars and stretch marks and aging skin and no makeup is so empowering for me. Their honesty and openness encourages me to see the good in myself and try to love the me that's underneath.


(The most recent segment featuring Lea DeLaria and was super fantastic. Oh, and Ms. DeLaria, you are indeed handsome, but in my opinion, you are without a doubt bea-utiful.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Frozen Face

Mateo is bonkers over Frozen and as soon as the songs start, his eyebrows go up, his mouth drops in awe and excitement, and his eyes become as large as saucers. A couple weeks back, while Mama Marina cut Teo's hair, I managed to capture this hilarious and endearing expression on video. Watch and smile.


Monday, August 17, 2015

All Growed Up

Yesterday I had lunch with Jaeden and right after I snapped this pic, I looked at it, then at Jaeden and realised, holy shit, Jaeden is practically a man! We had a totally fabulous time together, discussing the upcoming Fear the Walking Dead as well as the next season of The Walking Dead. I told him all about the book A Walk in the Woods which led to talk of bears and then, inexplicably, to sharks and the terrifying basking shark. I'm so looking forward to the fall when we can spend a whole day in Philadelphia, checking out funky museums, new pizza joints in South Philly, the Keith Haring mural in West Philly that I am dying to see, plus wander through Magic Gardens, visit some comic book shops and score me some vegan goodies at Sweet Freedom Bakery!! I really can't wait.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

How to Steal a Million

When doesn't Miss Hepburn look chic and fabulous? This movie is silly to it's core, but I love it so.

 

(photos kidnapped from: classiq.me -bluevelvetvintage - fanpop - rareaudreyhepburn - filmnoirphotos - doctormacro - thefashioninformer)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

That's Dancing!


I recently re-watched this film, made in 1985, and it was like looking through an old photo album. We had recorded (I say we but clearly it was my mother) this show when it was first televised and I watched that old VHS over and over and over. Dance has always captivated me. I sadly was not blessed with any talent and that has always, always bothered me. Like a bundle of burdens I had to carry on my back. I used to think that one day I would find that something and all of a sudden I'd unlock my hidden skill. As a child I would sit at pianos and hope that my fingers would hit the keys and I would amaze everyone with the beautiful sounds that I'd create. Never happened. I'm crap at sports, I can't sing worth a damn and as for dance, well, I have about as much rhythm as a can of tuna fish. I still kinda think that if I ever put on a pair of ballet slippers that something will erupt within me and I'll be able to dance. Yeah, that's what's known as a pipe dream. Anyway, watching That's Dancing reminded me of those early Saturday mornings when I would awaken before everyone, go downstairs, still in my jammie-jams, put the tape into the VCR, settle under the green and white afghan and hit the play button on the remote.

That's Dancing! starts with African dancers and leads into Gene Kelly and some super cool kids in the South Bronx breakdancing. Oh how I wanted to know how to breakdance! In the early to mid-1980s breakdancing was the height of fabulous, as far as I was concerned. To this day, it's still sensational to watch. I'm also pretty certain that this is the film that sparked my interest in musicals. Thankfully my Mum loves old musicals and she exposed us kids to Royal Wedding, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (a family favourite!), The Little Colonel (although we only saw this a few times - my mother disapproved of Lionel Barrymore's racist character and eventually wouldn't let us see it. I understand her point, but still feel angry that she took Bill Robinson away from me...), and Yankee Doodle Dandy. The truth be told, I think it was my father that favoured this flick, and me too. My Saturday morning ritual tended to involve very specific films that I watched over and over - Rear Window, White Christmas (at any time of year), and Yankee Doodle Dandy. Jimmy Cagney is still kind of hard to understand. I mean, how can one fella act just as good in dramas as he does in comedies, can dance superbly, sing pretty damn good, and play just about any character thrown his way, be it gangster, psychopath, evil Naval Officer, song and dance man, father, lover, you name it, he nailed it every single time. But I digress.

Watching this the other night triggered an old memory that was lost in the far recesses of my file cabinet of a brain. Beat It. My family didn't get MTV until 1990 and I vividly remember one of the network stations (channel 6 maybe?) airing the new Michael Jackson video called Beat It. I had no idea who Michael Jackson was and I think this may have been the first music video I ever saw. My whole family sat and watched it and we (my brother and I) couldn't tell if he was a boy or a girl because of his long-ish jheri curl locks and androgynous features, but soon we were, along with the rest of the world, obsessed with Thriller and all things Michael Jackson. Oh, and Matt Kinsey (cutest boy in fourth grade EVER!) totally had a red zipper jacket and was immediately deemed the coolest of the cool. He was my first long-term crush. What a dreamy kid...

Anyways, That's Dancing! has made me look up Eleanor Powell and Ruby Keeler and I definitely need to go back and see some of my fave Astaire/Rogers films again. Man, was I bananas for that pair! There were so many artists that I nearly forgot completely - Busby Berkley! My mother loved his aerial shots and inventive style. Who couldn't? He was incredible. Mikhail Baryshnikov! This was definitely the film that introduced me to him as well as The Red Shoes and the beauty that is ballet. Good lord is that fella gorgeous and talented and mesmerising to watch. Ann Miller! Definitely the first to be added to my Netflix queue is Kiss Me Kate. Cannot believe that I've never seen this. Ann Miller and Howard Keel and Bob Fosse? Dancing to the choreography of Hermes Pan? Unacceptable. To be remedied shortly. If you fancy old school Hollywood and love dance, and haven't seen this, it is certainly worth a look.

(photo kidnapped from design7studio)

Friday, August 14, 2015

Fifty Shades of...

...Brown. I gotta say, seeing this over on BlueQ made me snort-laugh out loud. I love that company.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Walk in the Woods

Technically this isn't my book, it's Melissa's, but we don't see eachother anymore and she never gave me her new address so I could mail it back to her, which means, in short, it's mine. Melissa loaned it to me about a year and a half ago after we talked about my wanting to walk the Camino de Santiago. It should be known that I do not like when people recommend books to me. I have a library full of books that I purchased with the intention of one day reading. Why would I want to read something that you think I'll like, when more than likely, I won't. So A Walk in the Woods sat on my coffee table, then in my closet, then on my desk and finally to a side bookcase that I never touch.

Earlier this week a fella at the office sent me a link to an upcoming film he thought I'd like. Wouldn't ya know, it's the film version of A Walk in the Woods, starring my pal and yours, Robert Redford and another fantastic actor, Nick Nolte. (Sidebar, I never gave Nolte much thought until I saw him in Warrior and was astonished. He's so much better than I ever thought.) Oh! And lovely Miss Emma Thompson is in it too! So I watched the trailer and thought, "Okay, that looks really, actually pretty great. I'll dig up that book from Melissa and give it a try." I went home and started chapter one, fully aware that I would probably not like it. The author, Bill Bryson, was a journalist in England, so I figured his take on hiking the Appalachian Trail would sound all hoity-toity. Ya know, "As I ascended the summit I looked out upon the wide expanse of the majestic woodlands of my homeland..." blah, blah, BLAH. But I was completely wrong. His writing is hilarious, literally causing me to bust out laughing, and it's real and informative and I am 100% sucked in and don't want to put it down. (It's also getting me excited to do the Camino. Eventually. At some point. It will happen. I'm sure of it. Especially since there are no bears on the Camino. Some ornery feral dogs, but thankfully, zero bears. The Appalachian Trail sounds utterly terrifying.) 


(post script - I am loving my way through this book but my only complaint is that Bryson uses the word Indian, which immediately throws me off because I, like most people, hear the word Indian and imagine the fellas at Palace of Asia, or my Nana's doctor, or the IT fellas at the office upstairs from me, or the lady at Dunkin' Donuts and not Jay Silverheels. Indians are from the country of India and I wish that Bryson would have said Native American or at the very least, American Indian. It doesn't come across as offensive, but it's kind of annoying.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Meet Bailey Elizabeth!

From a tiny navy bean to a lil' potater, Miss Bailey has arrived. Born at 7:05 this morning at 6 pounds 13 ounces and 18 and a half inches long. In't she just a wee lil' dollbaby? Ashlee and Sean, proud new parents, are both doing well and looking forward to getting some rest. Aw, poor kids, they have no idea that they shall never rest again...

(Clearly the new mother is barely twenty and has yet to learn how to properly pose with an infant that she just pushed forth from her body...)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Vintage Madge!


Monday, August 10, 2015

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Our Last Texts

It's almost two years since my cousin, confidante, former roomie, and dear friend/pain in the arse passed away. The last time we saw eachother was the night before Donna's last birthday (her 43rd) when I stopped over to help my niece, Nicole, Donna's daughter, clean up her shithole of a bedroom. The very next day I sent Donna a text, not knowing it would be our last communication. I'm just glad I was able to say I love you that one last time.

In the last year of Donna's life she went through a pretty heavy emotional change in finally coming to the realisation that she was gay. We had some deep conversations and I'm grateful that I was the one she felt that she could turn to and confide in. A couple months after coming out we were talking about an episode of Lost and she said that I was her constant. That person that's been there through it all and is always dependable. So in my phone she was listed as Penny and I was her Desmond. Here are the screenshots that I took from Donna's cell phone and sent to myself since I had already deleted them from my phone. I was sitting out back of the house in Fishtown, only hours after Donna's body was discovered and only a handful of minutes since she had been taken out of the house. I was smoking a cigarette with Nicole and trying to make sense of a totally and completely senseless loss that I still find hard to grasp.

 
 
(The photo in "Desmond's" contact info is the one I sent to Donna after Nicole and I arrived in Rome. Oh, and clearly I removed my phone number. I'm trying to deter stalkers...)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Brave Miss World

Beautiful, beautiful film filled with courageous people speaking up on a subject that is so much easier to dismiss or hide.


(photo kidnapped from bravemissworld)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Casting By

I first took note of the name Marion Dougherty when I was thirteen and watching Batman for the fourth time in my hometown's movie theatre. This was about the time in my life that I started to pay attention to directors and producers, screenwriters, costumers, and composers. If I saw that a film was directed by John Hughes, I knew I'd be in for a laugh and a life lesson. If a movie featured the music of John Barry, I knew it would be a film that would sweep me away from my everyday life and transport me somewhere I'd never been. After Batman, I kept noticing Marion's name and it got to where I would read in the opening credits "Casting by Marion Dougherty" and I'd settle back. I could relax because this was gonna be a film with some stellar acting. Marion Dougherty was the Edith Head of casting; she could do no wrong.

When I saw that someone had done a documentary on her I immediately hit Play (although, as per usual, I was late by three years). Tom Donahue's Casting By was spectacular (aside from Taylor Hackford's hurtful comments which made me angry and sad.). It was truly heart warming to see all those wonderful actors saying tender and loving things about Marion. Dontcha love when you like someone based solely on their work and then come to find out that they are the salt of the Earth and just an all-around fantastic person? Me too.


(photo kidnapped from jennreese)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Brussels Street Artists


(Video shot by Miss Ashlee, April 2nd, 2014.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Neil Peart Junior

My nephew, Jackson, has been heavily into drumming since the beginning of the year and is really getting good. He sets up his little stool in front of the TV and overturns his Tupperware containers and buckets to create his own drum kit. He loves Rush, thanks in part to his father's affinity for the band, and he will sit for hours watching concerts on DVD and try to follow along with Neil Peart. Xavier told me that Jax would use this one bucket as the cymbal but they had to hide it because it was unbelievably loud. Jackson asked for it and my brother told him, "No, buddy, it's too loud." "But Dad," Jackson protested, "I wanna rock 'n' roll!" "Damn it, now I can't say no. Okay, ya want me to put on Rush?" "No. I wanna watch the guy with the feather." The guy with the feather? Um, yeah, Jackson wanted to watch Stevie Ray Vaughan live at Montreux 1985. This three year old has some damn fine taste in music!

So here is the video I shot of Jax in his undies playing along to Rush. (It's dark as hell in the room, but I'm not a freakin' cinematographer and this video is basically being posted so that I can look back on it.) My favourite moment is when he holds up the one drumstick in between playing. "What's he doin'?" I asked my brother. "Showmanship." Well, alright, alright, alright!


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Matthew Broderick

Oh man, did I have such a crush on Matthew Broderick back in the day...


Monday, August 3, 2015

Seagulls Die in the Harbour


Meeuwen Sterven in de Haven was filmed in Antwerp in 1955, so clearly, I had to see it. I will sit through just about anything if there's even the slightest chance that I'll be able to catch a glimpse of my favourite city. Seagulls did not disappoint. Antwerp has clearly always been magnificent, but like a fine wine, it only gets better with each passing year. 


There were absolutely breathtaking shots of 't stad (the city), Linkeroever, the docks, and the streets, those beautiful, bumpy Antwerpen streets.


The cinematography reminded me of M and Pickup on South Street. You can tell that the filmmakers were inspired by film noir and definitely American music. The flashback moments, particularly those in the prison camp and in the dance hall were filmed (I thought) kind of like a stage play, with actors standing on their mark and remaining motionless. Only those that moved were the focus. It was so interesting and nearly hypnotic, laden with jazzy wartime music, heavy in bass, that played over the silent memories of the nameless man. Aside from a few blunt, sharp cuts from one scene to the next that were kind of jarring, it was stunning to watch from the first frame to the last.


The supporting cast was really good. I especially liked the gal from the boat, Erna, the Captain's lady played by Tine Balder. There was one scene where she is trying to seduce said nameless man and reaches the point where she can't take it anymore, and standing behind him, she grabs his hair and forces his head back then hits him with one of those hard smooches that one sees in old timey black and white flicks. She reminded me of Humphrey Bogart - it was that kind of a take charge, rough kiss. Steamy as hell. This is a gal that knows what she wants and threw all that 1950s ladylike behaviour out the proverbial window and went for it. Who could blame her? I mean, what gal can resist a tall, handsome, brooding, detached man who has clearly committed some sort of heinous crime?


Oh and the nameless man, Julien Schoenaerts, was excellent. I had previously only seen him in a few films, thanks primarily in part to his son, Matthias, who starred with him in Daens, and eLLektra, in which Julien appeared in an endearing cameo in the very last scene. But he really stood out in a short film Beauville, which I loved. (Sidebar, there is a scene in Beauville that takes place in a doctor's office where Julien's character is awaiting some test results. The door opens and the doctor steps in, seen from across the room. I instantly LOL'd and said, "Hey, look! It's the Belgian Richard Kind!" (I adore Richard Kind.) and then he spoke. In English. And it was Richard Kind!)  


Anyway, I thought Julien was so good, so real and true to life in this part and I wish more of his work were available for a strange girl in the States.

To sum up, Meeuwen Sterven in de Haven / Seagulls Die in the Harbour wasn't the most enthralling or riveting film ever created, mind you, but it's a slow build. Besides, I'm not one that needs to see shit blown up every five seconds or remain perched on the edge of my seat in suspense to enjoy a good film. And that's what this was, a solid, decent film that has exceptional acting, is gorgeously filmed, and set in Antwerp. If youse ask me, all signs point to perfection, kids.