Bingeworthy TV

I have been so uninspired to blog lately! I hate forcing a post, I like it when they just have to be written. Nothing like that in the past few weeks. Work, new house, not sleeping very well due to details of house equals one tired, uninspired gal. Here’s one of the things that has been keeping me going. No joke. Shameless on Showtime. It is entertaining and crazy, but so outlandish that it doesn’t stress me out. Parenthood, on the other hand, no can do right now! Yeah, I’ll pass on watching Joel & Julia’s heartbreaking separation and painful, tearful conversation with their kids about daddy moving out, thanks anyway!

Without further ado, I present my list of bingeworthy TV from the past few years. If you have as much time as I do to devote to this worthy cause, I’m giving you some grade-A beef. Note, this list is certainly not representative of all of my TV (duh!). This is literally a list of shows I have binged on via instant streaming over the past few years and loved.

Shameless – not available on Netflix instant streaming or Amazon Prime. I had to watch on-demand as a Showtime subscriber. William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum head up the cast, but the supporting Gallagher family members you will come to love. And Joan Cusack? She is amazing. 4 seasons.

Damages – Glenn Close and Rose Byrne. Lawyer show. Plot mostly contained per season. Lots of twists. Fantastic. 5 seasons.

Suits – Harvey. Spector. Enough said. Add in lots of witty banter, great movie references, another solid laywer show. 3 seasons.

Parenthood – I’ve talked about Parenthood ad nauseam. The Bravermans make for emotional, relatable TV, blah, blah blah. Watch it. 5 seasons.

Homeland – I mean, do I really need to give you a reason to watch the best CIA show around with some of the best acting and writing out there!? 3 seasons.

Dexter – Although the final season was a little bit shark jumpy, this show was addictive and kept me entertained the entire time. I love Michael C. Hall. Hot stuff. 8 seasons.

Felicity – True story, I watched all 4 seasons of Felicity last year in the span of 3 weeks. Personal record. This was one of the best when it came out in the late 90’s and I wanted to see if it held up. 100%. I would argue this is one of the best shows of all time (Jen, you may be the only person other than JJ Abrams to agree). I laughed, I cried. Ben is just so lovable (and hot), and so is Noel for that matter! If there is one show I would like to insert myself into, this is it, I just know that Keri Russell and I would be friends. #felicitydelusion

Orange is the New Black – I’ve talked about this a few times, how much more convincing do you need? If you have Netflix, you have to watch it. 1 season.

House of Cards – Ditto to above. 1 season (with season 2 about to premiere).

Scandal – It took me a few eps to get into this guy. It can be a little cheesy and I’m just not used to watching network TV. It’s different. But Kerry Washington and her wardrobe, both insanely beautiful, plus her chemistry with Fitz, make the show worth watching. 3 seasons.

You’re welcome.

Midseason TV Check In

I have been dying to do this post. There is so much good midseason television on right now, new shows and returning, I don’t even know where to begin. Click any of the images for individual trailers.

GirlsGirls (HBO) – season 3’s 2 part premiere was on Sunday. After the downer which was season 2, I was ready for some lightening up, and it paid off, Hannah and Co. were back to funny, rather than depressing.  The opening scene was so amazing, it was one of the best tell-offs I have ever seen.

True Detective2

True Detective (HBO) – also premiered on Sunday. This stars Matthew McConaughey (fresh off of his Golden Globe win) and Woody Harrelson and looks dark and gritty. The story – Two detectives, Rust Cohle and Martin Hart, become entangled during a 17-year hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana. I haven’t watched yet, but it’s sitting in my DVR waiting. Update, watched it last night. This show is going to be awesome, Matthew McConaughey is at the top of his game. Creepy murder plot. HBO just makes great TV.

ShamelessShameless (SHO) – season 4 premiered on Sunday. I have recently gotten into this comedy starring William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum. I’m on season 1 right now, it’s my current binge. I like it and recommend, it’s funny, not too dark. The gist – An alcoholic man lives in a perpetual stupor while his six children with whom he lives cope as best they can.

rake 3

Rake (Fox) – series premieres January 23. I love Greg Kinnear. He’s just real handsome and likeable. Plot – An outspoken and self-destructive criminal defense lawyer takes on the most challenging cases. Could go either way, but it’s going in the DVR queue.

RHONYReal Housewives of NYC – season 6 premieres on March 11. Yes, I am getting this on your radar early. It’s that important. I am very excited to watch this level of crazy. Very. Excited. Check out the season 6 preview here.

House of Cards3

House of Cards (Netflix) – season 2 premieres February 14. This political thriller was one of the best shows of 2013 (won the Emmy for best drama) and I cannot wait for the new season. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are both fantastic.

Flowers in the AtticFlowers in the Attic (Lifetime) – premieres January 18. Once in a while, a Lifetime movie comes along that I must watch. This is it for 2014. I mean, didn’t everyone read these books in middle school? I cannot think of one friend who didn’t read it. Very risqué for middle school. And this version stars Ellen Burstyn, Heather Graham and Kiernan Shipka (Sally from Mad Men). Done. Sold.

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey – season 4 premiered January 5. Coming off of the season 4 knife-in-the-heart ending, we pick back up to see how Mary is managing without Matthew. I’m 3 episodes in and it’s still so good. New characters this season, new storylines, it’s staying fresh and has had some pretty big surprises already.

Is there anything I’m missing? Hit me up! You know I hate missing out on good TV.

Faves of 2013 – Here’s What Worked for Me

I’m back at work after what seemed like a very long, almost too long, break for Christmas and New Years. Oliver is also back in school this week, my routine is being revived, my weight will hopefully go back down, and I’m ready to conquer 2014. As we kick this year off, I have been doing some deep soul searching and reflecting on 2013, but I’ll save that for my therapist. For you, I present my list of what worked best in 2013!

Books – both on the heavier side, stories that completely immerse you and characters that are deep and layered. My kind of reading.

Songs – Clearly, I like pop music. I swear, I have more depth in my musical repertoire than my selections show. For example, when my collection is on shuffle, you might hear Pearl Jam followed by Miley Cyrus followed by Led Zeppelin. But these are my fave jams of the year. Sorry not sorry.

TV Shows (New) – I know, I know, I had a really hard time narrowing down to 1 here, and this is limited to new shows only! Ray Donovan is really the top of my list, and not just because Liev Schreiber is the hunkiest man I’ve seen in a long time. Jon Voight is amazing, as is the rest of the supporting cast, it’s gritty and violent and funny and dark. Love it. The rest of the list are also must-watches. There is so much good TV to be seen! Get out there and do something about it!

Binge TV ShowI couldn’t not mention this show. If you are a human being with a heart and a family, you should watch this show because you will love it. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t cry every single episode. Note, I do not recommend watching multiple episodes during Christmas when you don’t celebrate and your son is with his dad. Just sayin.

Parenthood

Denim – Jeans are my favorite article of clothing and I never seem to have too many pairs. I am lucky enough to dress casually for work, which only makes my habit worse. These were my fave pair of the year. Love the light rinse after all of my dark denim. Skinny, not too skinny. Can wear with Nikes or booties or heels.

Citizens of Humanity Racer
Citizens of Humanity Racer

Restaurant – I had 2 of my best meals here this year with friends. One sitting outside in the summertime on their lovely patio and one with a larger group of ladies inside. Both fantastic. The Roasted Chicken and the Filet are both musts as entrees, they are staples on the menu.

The Whale Wins

Recipe Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad – I discovered this Bon Appetit salad via my friend Jenny and it has been such a hit, it has been all over Pinterest lately too. I made it for the Pi Phi Christmas party and several of my friends ended up making for their Christmas dinners. This salad impresses and even makes for good leftovers! NOTE – I subbed toasted hazelnuts for the almonds and highly recommend.

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Accessory – I’m not gonna lie, this bag has brought me some legitimate happiness and I have no regrets about the splurge.

balenciaga
Balenciaga Giant 12 Velo

Movie – I. loved. this. movie. I watched it twice in 48 hours, it’s that good. It might have something to do with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and that he is ridiculously hot/adorable and talented to boot. He wrote, directed, starred. Impressive. The story ends up being a really sweet love story and it got me.

Don Jon

Beauty – This has been the year of Laura Mercier. Skin, lips, eyes – all my new fave beauty products are Laura.

 

I am so excited to see what works in 2014 and hope you will be coming along for the ride!

Holiday Gift Giving for Normal People

Sorry for the absence! I’ve been a little…distracted…but I’m back and thanks to some inspiration from one of my fave pals and most loyal followers, Damiana Smith, I give you today’s post, Holiday Gift Giving for Normal People. I realize “normal” is a bit subjective, but I’m thinking of it in terms of not on Gwyneth Paltrow’s aspirational, out of touch, Goop gift giving list. Generally, these are gifts under $300.

Hard to believe, but the first night of Hanukkah is next week, on Thanksgiving! And Christmas is a mere four weeks away. It’s time to start thinking about who’s getting what and I hope my little list helps a bit! And please, please do me the favor of checking for coupons, there will be so many with Black Friday and holiday sales! Save yourself a little bit ‘o cash and use it towards yourself!

Nespresso Citiz
Nespresso Citiz

Nespresso Citiz Espresso Maker ($187) – All Nespresso machines are 25% off on both Williams-Sonoma and Crate & Barrel  right now, a great time to buy. The Citiz model I purchased doesn’t come with a milk frother, this is straight Espresso/Americano, but for me, it’s perfect as I like black coffee. There are several models out there with frothers if you’re into Lattes/Cappuccino. I am very particular about my coffee and think Nespresso pods taste pretty darn fantastic! I get the purple Arpeggio pods, which are a 9 out of 10 intensity. I order the pods from Nespresso directly at $.65/pod, but they come in one day, super easy. Making a cup of coffee in one minute is just preferable to brewing a pot, especially when it tastes this good. Now that I have one, I can’t imagine not!

Bose SoundLink Speaker
Bose Mini SoundLink

Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker ($199) – I reeeeeeeally want one of these guys, so take note Mom & Dad! This little bad boy goes wherever you do, no plugs, great sound, connects seamlessly via Bluetooth, and the battery plays up to 7 hours. It has 5 star reviews on Amazon. No brainer purchase for a dude or lady.

Juliet Roger Jewelry ($60 – $150) I stumbled upon local Queen Anne jewelry designer Juliet Roger about 5 years ago at a holiday bazaar. Her stuff is just gorgeous and very reasonably priced! I have two pairs of her earrings, both of the styles pictured, and I love them. And I don’t have one of her cocktail rings, but would like to! I have bought the earrings as gifts for friends/family and they’ve been a hit. Total winner.

Folle de Joie Parfum
Folle de Joie

Folle de Joie Perfume ($95)Alright, I’m giving away one of my secrets here, but this is my newest scent and I am obsessed. I have been wearing various Jo Malone scents for awhile now, so this was a really great change of pace with the layers. “The scent opens with a burst of freshness from an intimate blend of calming sweet citrus mixed and a light woodsy floral, giving way to playful hints of rich cognac. Folle De Joie’s mid notes of jasmine and rose add a feeling of summer’s carefree essence while exotic warm base notes of spicy and rich wood and leather nuances broaden the seductive scent.” Yum.

Nordstrom cashmere wrap
Nordstrom Cashmere Wrap

Nordstrom Woven Cashmere Wrap ($176) –  After losing the black cashmere pashmina my mom gave me years ago (yes, I said pashmina, does anyone have those anymore or have they just been rebranded as “wraps” now?), I purchased this in black at the Nordstrom Half Yearly sale. This one is a little weightier than a typical scarf, but I love that. It’s soft, warm, delicious, and big enough that you can also use it as a wrap if you’re wearing a dress.

Amazon Prime Subscription
Amazon Prime Subscription – 1 Year

Amazon Prime 1 Year Subscription ($79)FREE Two-Day Shipping on millions of items, no minimum order size, unlimited instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows with Prime Instant Video, a Kindle book to borrow for free each month from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Boom. Done.

Kindle Fire HDX
Kindle Fire HDX

Kindle Fire HDX 16GB with 4G ($329)If we’re talking about Amazon Prime, we might as well talk about a pretty sweet little gadget, the Kindle Fire HDX. I have a Kindle Fire from last year, mine is only Wifi, I wish it was 4G, but I love it. I use it for reading, watching movies on airplanes, and taking to dinner for Oliver’s entertainment. Great purchase, but the one catch is you have to buy/rent your movies on Amazon, either streaming through Prime or downloading via their marketplace.

Netflix GIft Subscription
Netflix GIft Subscription

Netflix 1 Year Streaming Subscription ($95) House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, thousands of other movies and TV shows (I am currently bingeing on Parenthood). Plus the added benefit of lots of great kids shows so you can keep them quiet while you make dinner or actually enjoy a glass of wine. I think $95 is actually ridiculously low for what you get. My Netflix obsession was documented in one of my first posts here.

Frye Toiletry Kit
Frye Leather Travel Kit

Frye  Logan Leather Travel Kit ($178)Spruce up your guy’s travel sitch. This is a gift he would probably never buy himself, but totally enjoy! There are lots of choices out there in various price ranges if you don’t want to spend this much.

Le Creuset Braiser
Le Creuset Braiser

Le Creuset Braiser ($290 for 5-Qt) On sale right now at Williams Sonoma, this is probably my favorite pan, rivaled by my Le Creuset Dutch Oven. Anyone who loves to cook will appreciate this! It is heavy, but I use to make sauces galore, so easy to clean! This is a staple.

Happy Shopping and I think I might do another post about stocking stuffers too, so please send any ideas!