Monday, December 26, 2011

Holiday Flair Part II

Happy December 26th! Do you have a case of the post Christmas weirds? I don't yet because I have two best friend reunions this week! Anyways, here's recap of some holiday outfits- inspired by a few of my favorite Christmas movies.

For a day at the Biltmore- fur inspired by Maureen O'Hara at the end of Miracle of 34th Street.

For dinner and a performance of A Christmas Carol- cozy scarf inspired by Amanda Woods in The Holiday.

For another holiday party- shorts and tights inspired by Vera Ellen in White Christmas. This movie really deserves an entire post for the gorgeous costumes. Perhaps next year!

Orangey red lipstick, black and white blouse inspired by Esther Smith in Meet Me in St. Louis.

And of course, side bun inspired by Ashley Greene.

For Christmas Eve- sparkly top inspired by anything festive I could find in my closet and headpiece inspired by reports that the Duchess needed to prepare FIVE outfits just for Christmas Day!
That sounds grand. The only wardrobe change I made was into my new sparkle Uggs. Thanks Handsome!
Do you like dressing up for the holidays?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

5 Rom-Coms- #1 It's A Wonderful Life

It's A Wonderful Life is also a wonderful love story.

When a young Mary whispers in George's ear . . .
"George Bailey, I'll love you till the day I die."

When they reunite, dance their way into the swimming pool and George lassos the moon.

"Why don't you kiss her instead of talking her to death?!"

The phone scene. Never has a movie captured this much tension and passion- in 1946 for heaven's sake!

"He says it's the chance of a lifetime."

The honeymoon at the old Granville house.
"Remember the night we broke the windows in this old house? This is what I wished for. "

Fortunately for us, It's A Wonderful Life is much more than a love story. It's about regret and redemption, missed opportunities and chances of a lifetime. About counting your riches (or lack thereof) and your blessings- the best of which are, as George learns, your friends.

We used to watch It's A Wonderful Life every Christmas Eve and although that's a tradition that has fallen to the wayside, I still watch the movie at least once during the holidays. It is my very favorite Christmas movie.

Despite all of the romance, for me the best part is when, after everyone in Bedford Falls has shown up to support George, his younger brother Harry walks in.

When he toasts with "To my big brother George, the richest man in town," I cry. Every Christmas Eve.

As Christmas ends and the new year approaches, I think we could all benefit from thinking about George Bailey. We can make all of the resolutions we like for ourselves, but how does that affect our friends and family? As Clarence the angel says "Each man's life touches so many other lives." Let's do our best to make those lives wonderful too.

Merry Christmas from CFC!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

5 Rom-Coms- #2 Love Actually

Omg. What to say about Love Actually? That it's a classic for our generation? That it's inspired Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve and all the holiday ensemble movies inevitably headed our way? That it's quite possibly a perfect romantic comedy AND Christmas movie?

When I sit down to watch Love Actually for the millionth time (as I am while writing this) my heart is overwhelmed with how much I love this movie. It's like my everyday affection for Christmas and romantic comedies is completely inadequate compared to my obsession with Love Actually. This movie causes my heart, like the Grinch's to grow three sizes.

I can nearly recite the entire movie which is fun for me and completely annoying for anyone watching it with me. So many good quotes! Some are heartwarming, some are hilarious and almost all are with a British accent, which as we know from the Milwaukee girls, makes everything sound better. (Except for table.)

Here are few of my favorites:

Thank you. That will be nice.
Yes is being my answer. Easy question.

It's Junction 13 that's just murder, isn't it? Total gridlock this morning.

I hate Uncle Jamie!

Life is full of interruptions and complications.

Sam, you've got nothin' to lose, and you'll always regret it if you don't! I never told your mom enough. I should have told her everyday because she was perfect everyday.

Ooohh would we call her chubby?

Hiya kids. Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don't buy drugs. Become a pop star, and they give you them for free!

You dont have a cute British accent. YES I DO!

But for now, let me say - Without hope or agenda - Just because it's Christmas - And at. Christmas you tell the truth - To me, you are perfect.

General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspicion... love actually is all around.

Friday, December 23, 2011

5 Rom-Coms- #3 Meet Me in St. Louis

Only 3 days of Christmas and 3 days left to finish out my movie list! Where does the time go? In retrospect, I should have titled these "The 5 Movies of Christmas" because most aren't actually romantic comedies. They do have sweet (and sometimes funny) love stories though.

You might know Meet Me in St. Louis as the film that introduced "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"- sung by the incomparable Judy Garland.

You might also know it as the dvd Louise gave Carrie for Christmas in the first SATC movie.

I know it as one of my very favorite Christmas movies. Meet Me in St. Louis actually takes us through an entire year of seasons, but the Christmas scenes are the best. Unlike Miracle on 34th Street, this movie does seem old fashioned. It was made in 1944, but is set in 1903 so it contains great lines like "Nice girls don't let men kiss them until after they're engaged. Men don't want the bloom rubbed off" and Gosh, Miss Esther, I hope I'm not too presumptuous, but you don't need any beauty sleep. " Isn''t that precious?

Meet Me in St. Louis is a wonderful musical, but it's also a love story. About Esther Smith and John Truett, the "boy next door" that she "can't ignore." About Rose Smith and Warren Sheffield, if only he would propose. Most of all, its about the love between the whole Smith family and their beloved St. Louis and family home. As someone who is unabashedly in love with my hometown and childhood memories, I can certainly relate.

I just finished reading a biography of Judy Garland (fascinating but devastating) and now I know there was another love story at the heart of this movie. Meet Me in St. Louis was directed by Vincente Minnelli who was so infatuated with Judy Garland that he couldn't help but film her in the best light possible. In nearly every shot she is framed . . . by a window pane, a mirror, a gorgeous hat, presented to the viewer the way Vincente saw her in his heart. (I'm sorry, so cheesy, I can't help myself!)

When Judy (plagued by self esteem issues all her life) watched the film, she cried that she'd never felt so beautiful. She married Vincente and they had a daughter, Liza Minelli, who you may remember from her performance at Stanford's wedding in the second SATC movie.

I hope you've enjoyed playing six degrees of seperation with Sex and the City movies, but really, I hope you'll watch this movie. And listen to the song below. And have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sherlock Holmes Game of Shadows Review

This review could be summed up in one sentence. If you liked the first movie, you'll like this one!

But, I'll continue. This time the main villain, Professor Moriarty, is trying to start a world war and profit from it, so that keeps thing pretty dramatic. However, there are a few times when things get a bit slow. I wish that Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler had more than cameo this time. And while Noomi Rapace is fine as the gypsy princess, her role seems sort of pointless. Kelly Reilly is lovely as Watson's new wife, but you have to wonder- how does she put up with it all? Although for the chance to be with Jude Law, women have put up with a lot. (Ahem, Sienna.)

The funny thing about Guy Ritchie's reboot of the Sherlock Holmes tales is that the movies don't take themselves too seriously. Holmes cracks jokes in near-death experiences and there's always some clever surprise around the corner. On the other hand. . . they take themselves very seriously. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are like Victorian-era superheroes. Normally I don't like action movies but throw in some 19th century suits and bowler hats, two British accents and a newfangled horseless carriage and I'm all "Oh what fun! How terribly exciting! What a bloody good time! Blast! I hope Holmes gets away!"

Slow motion fights aside, I think this movie is actually a bromance. It's really about the (platonic?) love between Holmes and Watson. During one dance scene towards the end, I honestly thought Sherlock was about to lean in for a kiss. I might not have minded.

Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, rated "PG-13," action, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, B

5 Rom-Coms- #4 The Holiday

Well, this is an obvious choice, isn't it? I remember seeing The Holiday my senior year in college with some girlfriends and knowing instantly that I would watch it for years on TBS. Isn't it great when that happens?

What's so wonderful about The Holiday is that it takes a very cute romantic comedy plot idea (quite common) but actually follows through with a great script and cast (unfortunately rather rare.) The 4 lead characters really make this movie.

Let's start with Cameron Diaz as Amanda Woods. First of all, she is just so SO pretty and I love all of her luxurious and cozy scarves and coats. Also she has the coolest job AND an enviable disorder that makes her incapable of crying. I wish I were her.

And Jude Law as Graham. Now I know Jude considers himself a serious British ac-tor but don't you feel he's missed his calling as a romantic comedy leading man? Not only is he charming and handsome- he's Mr. Napkinhead!

And Jack Black as Miles is a delightful surprise. He is super cute in this movie and the scene at the piano with Iris is one of my favorite parts. " We both said fruitily!"

But Kate Winslet . . . Kate's performance as Iris Simpkins completely elevates The Holiday from standard rom-com to one of my favorites. Not only is she effortlessly lovely the whole time but her monologue about unrequited love is so heartbreaking its almost painful to watch.

I also love how The Holiday is practically a love letter to romantic comedies. I mean the whole Arthur storyline is precious- who (besides Amanda Woods) doesn't burst into tears when he walks into the room of applauding fans?!?! But it also brings us the definition of a "meet-cute" and some great advice for Iris to become a leading lady with "gumption."

If you even remotely enjoy this blog, chances are you've seen The Holiday. Many times. Well the holidays are about tradition, so it enjoy it again!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Trying New Things

Sometimes when you're at the movies, before the previews start, they show a promotion for Fathom events... things like opera or orchestra performances that are broadcast live in the theater. If you're like me you always think "who actually goes to those?" Well, I'm happy to report- now I do!

This past week I went to see the New York City Ballet's production of The Nutcracker- broadcast live from Lincoln Center and hosted by Kelly Ripa! It was really lovely and the dancing was gorgeous up on the movie screen. This was a one time thing so I cant really encourage you to go see it- but I would suggest going to see any production of The Nutcracker. Its a magical story and the music is the epitome of a perfect Christmas soundtrack. And I think every little girl (sometimes boy?) has wanted to be the Sugarplum Fairy.

Here's a casual outfit, inspired by the ballet, complete with sugarplum flats.

How do we feel about outfit posts? They're mainly with my iphone now and my bathroom as a backdrop. Is that okay?

So I tried something else new this week! I went and bought department store makeup at a department store. It's like I'm a grown up! I've really survived my whole life on drugstore cosmetics and hand me downs from my mom's Clinque gift bags. Well I got a MAC gift certificate for my birthday and went to get some new eyemakeup (and a bit of a makeover too!) The girl asked me what I was looking for and I was all "umm, shimmery... but smoky.. some liner.. maybe mascara...kind of natural...very dramatic..." In spite of those vague descriptors, it actually turned out well, although replicating it myself is a whole other matter.

Speaking of eye makeup, here are some of my favorite celebrity looks for eyes:

Kim K, of course

Mila Kunis, I'm pretty its not just her makeup but the actual shape of her eyes that is really gorgeous.

Adele of the perfect cat eyes.

Hillary Scott from Lady Antebellum

Speaking of Lady A, I watched them perform their newest single "Dancing Away With My Heart" on the CMT Artist of the Year ceremony. Taylor Swift (another artist of the year) was in the audience and the camera captured this really great moment when Taylor, listening to the song, was so moved she turned to her friends, tearing up and saying "awww." All of a sudden, I was besties with Taylor and found myself also doing the very girly, hand on chest, pouty face, teary eyed reaction! You can watch it here.

And that's pretty much how my life works- convincing myself that I'm friends with celebrities- and we can share makeup tips too!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

5 Rom-Coms: #5 Miracle on 34th Street

A lot of people enjoy old movies because it takes them back to a different era when people were nicer and times were simpler. But I often find the opposite- sometimes older movies make you realize that things really haven't changed at all!

Let's talk about Miracle on 34th Street. And if you think I'm talking about the 1994 remake with Matilda then turn off your computer and turn on the original immediately. This movie is about a little girl who is too sensible to believe in Santa Claus, but if she did, really wishes Santa would bring her a real house and real family for Christmas. It's about her mother, a cynical divorcee who has tried to prevent her daughter from disappointment by discouraging her from ever believing in anything magical. Its about major department stores competing for shoppers during the holiday retail madness. Its about everyone's concern that Christmas is becoming more about materialistic items and less about the spirit of giving. This movie was made in 1947!! Doesn't that make you feel like maybe we're all going to be ok after all?

The real heart of this movie are the scenes between a very young and very adorable Natalie Wood as Susan Walker (yes, that's actually her name!!) and Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle- the real Santa!

"For the past 50 years or so I've been getting more and more worried about Christmas. Seems we're all so busy trying to beat the other fellow in making things go faster and look shinier and cost less that Christmas and I are sort of getting lost in the shuffle."- Kris Kringle, Miracle on 34th Street

But there's also a love story between Maureen O'Hara as Susan's mother, Doris and John Payne as Fred- the handsome lawyer who is also their neighbor. John not only goes to court attempting to prove that Mr. Kringle is the real Santa (and the scene with the bags of mail is just so clever!) but also tries to bring some Christmas spirit into the Walker's lives. Of course everyone gets their wish at the end, and Doris and Fred share quite the passionate (albeit old fashioned) very dramatic smooch!

This is a movie for children and adults, for thinkers and for dreamers, and for anyone with Christmas wishes.

"Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to . . . it's kindness and joy and love and all the other intangibles."- Fred Gailey, Miracle on 34th Street