Monday, September 30, 2013

Snapshots of September

Sifting through my stack of September issues.

This is what happens when you go on eBay spree right before going out of town for a week!

Rally caps x2 on a stressful Saturday night.
Thinking of my little on her 22nd birthday.

Watching the Emmys with Jimmy Fallon's hilarious Bingo cards.

Supporting my playoff-bound Tigers over breakfast.

P.S. I've retroactively published my snapshots of July and August tonight, as well (whoops!). Sorry to bombard any readers who follow my RSS feed, but I really wanted to get them up. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Summer Vacations

With summer coming to a close, I thought I'd take a look back on the highlights of the past few months - all of which have been vacations! I don't travel as often as some people do, but I was lucky enough to have three fun trips lined up this summer. I was so excited by the opportunity to see some new places (and revisit some old favorites) while reuniting with family and friends.

In July, I hopped on a plane to meet some of my favorite sorority sisters in Las Vegas. It was the first time we would all be together since we graduated from college, and I couldn't wait to see everyone again! We were joined by some of our friends from Triangle Fraternity, and the 12 of us decided to reserve a suite at Caesar's Palace rather than booking separate rooms. I'd been to Vegas before, but I'd never stayed at Caesar's and I was very impressed by our beautiful suite. (Although to be honest, I'm sure any suite in a hotel on the strip would be equally as impressive!) We spent a long weekend together hitting the clubs and the pools, but more importantly, catching up on the past year and sharing some laughs. Vegas is obviously incredible, but I would've been just as happy staying in a hotel in Idaho if it meant that I got to spend time with my girls. We're spread out all over the country now, and I definitely miss the days when they were only a few feet down the hallway. We tossed around the idea of having a reunion like this every summer, and I very much hope that we will!

Top Left: A beautiful sight to see upon landing. / Top Right: The casino floor at New York, New York.
Bottom Left: Gorgeous chandeliers near the concierge at Paris. / Bottom Right: "Did, umm...did Caesar live here?"

 Top Left: Swimming at one of Caesar's five pools - far too hot to lay out! / Top Right: Another pool featuring swim-up blackjack.
Bottom Left: Dueling pianos playing "Hail to the Victors." / Bottom Right: Girls taking in the Bellagio fountains.

Top Left: Our first night in town at Pure Nightclub at Caesar's. / Top Right: Waiting for our complimentary limousine.
Bottom Left: Napoleon's Piano Bar at Paris. / Bottom Right: VIP at Haze Nightclub at Aria. (Just the girls, sorry boys!)
In August, I made my first trip to the northeast for my cousin's wedding. My mother insisted that we should drive instead of fly, so what could've been a two-hour flight became a hilly, rainy, boooring 14-hour drive (thanks, Mom). After a stop to pick up my sister in Philadelphia, we made our way into Connecticut for the wedding. I couldn't believe how beautiful it was! We stayed at Dolce, a hotel that used to be a monastery and was completely surrounded by nature. It was simply gorgeous and I'd highly recommend it to anyone looking for a romantic weekend away - it's only 45 minutes away from you NYC friends! We had a great time catching up with family before the wedding, and we loved meeting my cousin's wife's family, who were so welcoming to all of us Michiganders. The wedding itself was absolutely beautiful (I adore all weddings - I'd probably tear up watching strangers get married!), and the reception afterward was a blast, complete with a DJ, a polka band, and a Michael Jackson impersonator. I think all of the younger set had a little too much fun - our waiter overheard that I love champagne and kept my glass full ALL NIGHT - but that's the hallmark of a good wedding, right?! It was such fun to see everyone and to celebrate a lovely couple!

We spent our first morning in Connecticut enjoying a beautiful brunch on the waterfront.

Top: Family fun and birthday celebrations at the rehearsal dinner.
Bottom: Waiting to see the brides on the big day!

The blushing brides - congratulations, Nikki and Erin! 
Finally, my family spent the last week of summer enjoying a peaceful week on Brevort Lake in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. We've rented out homes in the UP before, but it had been awhile since our last trip so this was overdue. We traveled with two of my uncles and one of my aunts, but we also got to spend some time with some of my dad's cousins who live in the area. I had a lot of fun getting to know them and seeing how they live - both cousins had built their own (beautiful!) homes and were living pretty much off-the-grid, without many modern conveniences that I certainly take for granted. (One of my cousins doesn't even use indoor plumbing!) Our rental cabin was very pretty as well, and it had the most gorgeous yard backing up to the lake. We didn't spend much time on the water - it was a little too chilly - but we certainly enjoyed the view from inside. Highlights of the trip included lots of game nights, old Western movies, and good eats - and great company, of course! It was such a relaxing trip and the perfect end to a fun summer.

Our beautiful cabin rental on Brevort Lake.

Admiring the cabin's charming touches.

Enjoying idyllic September days with family.
Did you take any summer vacations? Tell me all about your trips in the comments!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fall TV & Emmys Fashion

With the return of regular programming on major networks (which I like to call Fall TV) this past week, I've got television on my mind. I think this "premiere" week used to be more exciting for me in years past, because most of my favorite TV shows were on the basic networks back then. I still do enjoy some network TV, but with the rise of Netflix and outstanding shows on cable channels like HBO, AMC, and BBC America - which don't follow the same schedule as the networks do - network premiere week just isn't as significant as it used to be. That being said, I was very much looking forward to the return of my two favorite comedy series - The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother, both on CBS - and I tuned into a handful of series premieres to see if anything seemed promising.

I also watched the Emmys last Sunday - I'm not usually a big awards show girl, but I really enjoy the Emmys and the Golden Globes because they feature TV shows that I actually watch. Whenever I watch the Oscars, I feel like I've seen maybe one movie that's up for an award, so I'm never really rooting for any actor or movie in particular. But at the Emmys, I always have favorites in mind, so it's a more of an exciting viewing experience. (I've decided that I like television better than movies, by the way, because you get to spend more time with the characters in a series than you do in a 2-hour film. Just a thought.)

So with all of this in mind, I thought I'd do a smorgasbord of a post on my thoughts on this week's premieres and last Sunday's red carpet style for TBBT and HIMYM. (Acronym overload!) There are SPOILERS ahead, but I've tried to separate my TV commentary from my fashion commentary in case you want to skip them. And if we don't share the same favorite shows, you can scroll down to the bottom of this post to see my picks for overall Best-Dressed. So, without further ado...

The Big Bang Theory

(Photo 1 / Photo 2 / Photo 3 / Photo 4 / Photo 5)
Emmys Fashion: Now tell me this isn't a good-looking crowd! All of the ladies look stunning, and while I doubt they actually collaborated on their gowns, I bet the girls got some beautiful group shots in their complimentary jewel tones. Kaley Cuoco (center) is ravishing in it-color oxblood - and while I always think she's a beauty, she's been panned in recent years for having some "misses" on the red carpet, and this outfit is definitely a hit. It was also announced this week that she's ENGAGED to her tennis player boyfriend and Emmys date, Ryan Sweeting, so hooray for Kaley! I've been a fan of hers since her time on 8 Simple Rules and she seems like a great girl. Mayim Bialik (left) looks gorgeous in green, and I love the sheer overlay and the touch of peplum at the waist. But I think I might have passed on the detailing on the shoulders and the elbows - it's a little distracting, and the dress is intricate enough without it. Melissa Rauch (right) played it a little safe in purple satin, but I like the asymmetrical neckline and I love the playful pops of turquoise in her jewelry. As for the boys (Jim Parsons, left, and Kunal Nayyar, right), my only comment is that they sure clean up good from their typical outfits on the show!

Season Premiere: I'd seriously been looking forward to this show's return, as I had binge-watched the entire series last spring after seeing a handful of reruns. And the premiere didn't disappoint - I found myself laughing along within minutes. The season begins with Leonard away at sea doing research for Stephen Hawking, forcing Penny and Sheldon to bond and look after each other while he's away. Raj is still reeling from his breakup with Lucy, and Howard takes him to a university function in hopes that he'll find a new girl. While he's now able to talk to women without alcohol, Howard notes that he might have been better off silent - now Raj won't shut up, and he makes unintentionally offensive remarks to a female colleague. And Amy and Bernadette attend a convention together, where much to their surprise, they're attracting male attention without the presence of Penny. The season is off to a good start, and I'm hoping we get to see some of the romantic relationships develop as it continues. I know we'll see more of Lucy - which I'm hoping will end in a reunion with Raj, because they were great together - and I'd like to see Sheldon continue to make progress in his relationship with Amy. And of course, I'm always rooting for Leonard and Penny - perhaps a proposal in the season finale?

How I Met Your Mother

(Photo 1 / Photo 2 / Photo 3)
Emmys Fashion: How cute is Neil Patrick Harris?! While I was hoping for some bigger laughs during his opening, you can't deny that this year's Emmy's host has style. Cobie Smulders (left) looked pretty in pink - while the dress is a touch unremarkable in the front, it had some beautiful lines in the back that really won me over. (I saw her from behind during the pre-show, but I couldn't find a good picture of the back of her dress - this is the best that I can come up with.) I love her hair and earrings, although I think she could've jazzed things up with a nice necklace. As for Alyson Hannigan (right), I must admit I'm not a big fan of this look - I don't know if it's a redhead thing or what, but she just isn't pulling off that deep purple. The dress has a drop-waist that I'm not crazy about, and the side-ponytail isn't doing her any favors. (Maybe if it were a bit lower? Or maybe side-ponytails are just better left in middle school.) She's a beautiful woman, though, and I'm hoping she'll have a better showing on the next red carpet! I wish we could've seen Josh Radnor and Jason Segel, too - it's a bummer they didn't show up.

Season Premiere: Well, we've reached the final season - thank God! I'll miss the show when it's over, I'm sure, but at this point I'm just dying for Ted to get to the good stuff. (Have you seen this clip of his "kids" from Comic-Con? It's so on-point!) We learned over the summer that this season will be entirely dedicated to Robin and Barney's wedding รก la 24, with all of the major characters meeting Ted's future wife before he does. I've gotta say that I like this idea, provided that we get to see enough of the mother to really fall in love with her like Ted will. It's a risky approach, but we're off to a good start with this premiere. Ted and Lily are driving to the wedding together, but Lily gets so annoyed with Ted's weird road trip antics that she ends up taking the train. It's here that she first meets "The Mother," who is still nameless as of yet. The two bond quickly over cookies, but a heart-to-heart gets interrupted once Lily realizes that Ted may have purposefully given her the slip to profess his love to Robin. Barney and Robin are discussing the wedding guests when they realize they have a mutual relative, prompting a frantic investigation into their family trees. And Marshall, who still hasn't told Lily that he's accepted a judgeship, panics when his mom posts the news on Facebook. It's interesting to think that at this point in the season, two members of the gang expect to be leaving New York after the wedding - the audience knows that won't happen, but I'm curious to see how long it'll take the characters to figure that out. I'm hoping we don't have 21 more episodes of Ted-and-Robin drama ahead of us! (But knowing Ted, we probably do.)

Emmys Best Dressed

(Photo 1 / Photo 2 / Photo 3)
On to the fashion highlights! In my mind, the clear winner was Allison Williams (Girls, center). Her Ralph Lauren dress sticks out from the crowd in the perfect shade of royal blue, and the design is simply classic - which is so refreshing to see on the red carpet, since many actresses tend to get caught up in "trendy." Allison said that she was going for relaxed glamour with this look, and I think she nailed it. Some fashionistas criticized the dress for being too boring, which I think is outrageous - when this picture gets pulled up in 50 years, she'll look just as amazing as she did on Sunday. My only comment would be that a diamond necklace would've really dazzled with this dress, but maybe that just wasn't in the budget. (Fun fact, in case you didn't know: Her dad is Brian Williams, the anchor of NBC Nightly News, and he's a sharp-dressed guy himself. So style must run in the family!) I also loved Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad, left) and Julie Bowen's (Modern Family, right) takes on pale pink. Anna's dress has an edge with that black lace overlay, but the overall look still manages to be elegant. Julie's dress has more of a princess-y glamour with the ruffles and the sweetheart neckline, and I thought it was a beautiful choice. I'd be happy to welcome any of these three dresses into my wardrobe!

Honorable Mentions 

(Photo 1 / Photo 2 / Photo 3)
Sofia Vergara (center, Modern Family) would look good in anything tight OR red, but the lace detailing along the neckline and at the hem really impressed me. I wasn't so sure about Rose Byrne (left, Bridesmaids actress and girlfriend of Boardwalk Empire's Bobby Cannavale) and her sleek, midriff baring dress, but it definitely got my attention with its understated sex appeal. It took me awhile to make up my mind, but after seeing the dress from a variety of different angles during the show and in pictures, I've decided that I like it. It's not really my style, but she looks stunning in it and I think it's a fun departure from the typical red carpet fuss. And I'm just in love with Kiernan Shipka (right, Mad Men) - she can do no wrong in my book. Yes, the dress is a little loud and has flowers stuck onto a tulle skirt, but considering that she's 13 years old, I think it's perfect. It's young and fun and bright and sassy, which is everything a 13-year-old should be on a red carpet. She manages to have fun with fashion without trying to look older than she is, which I think sets a great example for other young actresses. (Suri agrees.)

And just for fun...

Some of my favorite TV men celebrate their wins. Top Left: Jim Parsons, Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for The Big Bang Theory; Bottom Left: Stephen Colbert, Writing for a Variety Series and Best Variety Series for The Colbert Report; Right: Jeff Daniels, Lead Actor in a Drama Series for The Newsroom.

Let's end with a bearded Jon Hamm (Mad Men) in a white tuxedo - you can thank me in the comments :)

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Snapshots of August

A #TBT to my first day of first grade.

My parents looking sharp before a friend's wedding.

Making a killing at the Lilly Pulitzer online sale.

Enjoying the perks of volunteering at a used book store, like snagging this '70s handbook for housewives.

Expanding my collection of royal newspapers and magazines.

Celebrating a very special 10th birthday with a girl's day at the salon.

Are You Ready For Some Football?!

As I sit on my couch, writing this post to kill some time while eagerly awaiting the 3:30 kickoff, I find it hard to believe that I've made it nearly eight months without college football. Every January, I convince myself that I'll never make it - last season's shortcomings are still fresh in my memory, NFL postseasons never matter much to Lions fans, and baseball isn't yet available to numb the pain. But somehow, the Saturday mornings start to slide by, the weather warms up, and my Tigers have my full attention for the lazy days of summer. But once that autumn chill returns to the air, my mind snaps back to football in what can only be described as a Pavlovian response. Suddenly I'm poring over preseason reports, bringing my Michigan football t-shirts back into my wardrobe's heavy rotation, and spending my evenings watching hype videos and old Pregaming with Pat episodes and crying myself to sleep because I'm so old reminiscing on my college days.

And now, the first game of the season is finally here. I got up earlier than I intended to this morning, too giddy to go back to sleep. I'm covered in Michigan gear from head to toe (shirt, sweatshirt, and wrapped in a blanket - really, you can never be too safe), scrolling through Twitter posts from my undergraduate friends while peppering the Ohio game with expletive-laden remarks aimed at any player, coach, or fan who annoys me in the slightest way (so basically all of them). Am I concerned that I'm three cats and a pack of cigarettes away from becoming a shut-in? A little bit. Would I give anything to be dancing on the ledge at Chi Psi, wearing one of those "Go Greek" tank tops and catching up with all of my best friends? You bet your life I would. But the truth is, once the clock hits 3:30 pm, none of that will matter. Because once 3:30 rolls around, it doesn't matter whether you're at the Big House or in your own house, whether you're at a sports bar in Seattle or a friend's living room in New York - every Michigan fan gets into the same boat at that moment. We're all on that ride together, ready to rejoice over the season's first touchdown and erupt into rage at the first blown call and hold our collective breath when Devin Gardner drops back for his first pass as starting quarterback. And that's what makes college football really special - the collective sense of hope and pride that unites the Michigan faithful every Saturday afternoon.
It's good to have that back.

T-60 minutes to kickoff. Go Blue.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Snapshots of July

Flying the flag on the Fourth.

Getting a little carried away at the hometown bars.

Gotta love a good baseball brawl.

Tigers/White Sox game with the family.

Royal Baby coverage on as many platforms as I could find.

My favorite picture of Will, Kate, and baby George.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Bits and Pieces

A few site updates that I've been meaning to share with you for WEEKS (and kept forgetting to post!).

1. I've updated the tabs at the top of the blog to include a look at some of my blog's best posts. This idea has been on my mind for awhile, but I've had a hard time deciding just how to go about it. I didn't want to merely select my favorite posts, as the list is intended to benefit you, the reader - and it might not be very useful to you to see only a list of posts I enjoyed writing. But on the other hand, I didn't want to go strictly with the stats - some of my posts have an insane amount of pageviews, but it's only because they contain a specific word or phrase that brings in traffic from search engines. By far my most popular post, for example, is this write-up on Mindy Kaling's book. The stats are through the roof - not because it's an excellent post, but because it contains direct quotes from the book that people are searching for. (It never fails to crack me up when I see that somebody made it to my blog by searching "androgynous kids and puppets," which happens MUCH more often than you'd think!) So I've worked out a messy, imperfect compromise by selecting some of my favorite posts and some of the most popular and calling them my featured posts. I think it's a fun look back for regular readers and a good opportunity for newer readers to see what they can expect from my blog - so go check it out!

2. Calling all Tumblr users! I'm nearly finished revamping my Tumblr blog (also called The Roaring Twenties). I've had the blog for about 2 years, but I've been using it a lot less lately to focus on other accounts. Tumblr has some weird rules about "primary blogs" and "secondary blogs," and long story short, I decided that I'd get more use out of my Tumblr if it were a secondary blog. So I abandoned my old blog but quickly snatched up my old username, so it's a new blog with the same name. If you've visited my Tumblr before by typing in my URL, you'll still find it - but if you followed me, I'm gone! You'll have to search "smisarah" or hit the "follow" button on the right-hand corner of my blog to see my posts on your dashboard again. As a general plug, my Tumblr tends to feature lots of photos and gifs from my favorite movies and TV shows, as well as charming pictures and quotes from my favorite icons. I'll be reblogging some of my favorite posts from my old account as well as new posts you've haven't seen before.

3. I've added some buttons to my right-hand sidebar featuring three sites that I highly recommend. The first is for Her Campus, an online magazine for college women that I used to write for in college. I'm now honored to belong to their blogger network, a collection of blogs written by women aged 13-30 on a variety of lifestyle topics. If you enjoy my blog, I think you'd enjoy many of the other blogs in the network, so go take a look! The second button is for Being Greek: A Sisterhood of Bloggers, which I'm also honored to be a part of. I know many of my readers are sorority women, and this website provides a list of bloggers for every Panhellenic sorority (as well as some NPHC and MGC organizations) so you can connect with sisters all over the country. I've found some excellent blogs through Being Greek and I love how it promotes Panhellenic sisterhood. (And if you're a blogger in a sorority, you should sign up! The more sisters, the better.) Finally, the third button is a link to Megan's posts on the Semi-Charmed Summer Book Challenge, which you've all heard me talk about before. This is Megan's third reading challenge that she's hosted through her blog, and I think it's just the coolest idea ever. If you think it sounds cool, too, head over to her blog and check out the rules - it's not too late to join! The first check-in will be later this week (which means I have some reading to do!).

4. Last but not least, if you're as bummed as I was that Google Reader went away, I thought I'd let you all know that I've found some solace in Feedly. One of my sorority sisters recommended it as a good alternative, and after using it for a month, I'll admit that I'm impressed. It features most of the same functionalities that Reader did, but it also offers some more visually interesting ways to view your content (seeing unread posts as cards or in "magazine view" instead of just lists, for example). I've really been enjoying the "Preview" button, which lets you view a post as it appears on someone's blog without leaving your reading list. So if you're still looking for an RSS alternative, go check out Feedly - and follow The Roaring Twenties, of course!

Whew! That post was a doozy - I'd anticipated that being much shorter. Sorry for such a technical post, but I thought it was all worth noting - we'll get back to the fun stuff now :)

My deepest apologies to anyone who was expecting to learn more about androgynous kids and puppets - I feel like I've tricked you all twice! I promise not to use that phrase anymore - let's leave it to Mindy.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...