Month: May 2013

A Nail Polish Haul

As promised on my last Nail of the Day post, here is a quick haul of my recent nail polish purchases. Now I want to preface this post by saying that I haven’t purchased a polish in quite some time now, and that I realize that this is definitely not a normal amount of polish to purchase in such a small time frame. However these are polishes that I’ve had on my to-buy list for quite some time, and by finding them on a sale… I just couldn’t say no. Here is a quick overview of all the polishes I purchased.

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deborah lippmans
Here are my Deborah Lippmann purchases. From top left to right: Cuticle Oil, Good Girl Gone Bad and I’m Not Innocent. I have yet to use any of these polishes however I have swatched the two coloured shades on my swatch wheels. Good Girl Gone Bad is a gorgeous polish with a deep magenta base combined with a pink/purple shimmer. This polish dried pretty matte on my swatch wheel, but a top coat provided a smooth glossy finish. I’m Not Innocent is a light slightly-yellow toned nude shade; as I said I have yet to wear the polish however from the swatch this may take the place of ‘my perfect nude polish.’ These polishes were all purchased from nailpolishcanada.com. The site will no longer be carrying the Lippmann brand so polishes are deeply discounted. If you are a Deborah Lippmann fan I would definitely suggest checking out the site!

essieNext up are two Essie shades. I’ve had each of these polishes on my to-buy list for quite some time now and finally decided to bite the bullet and purchase. Beyond cozy is an interesting polish, in the bottle it pulls more gold however when swatched it is a very finely milled silvery gold. If silver toned gold was a word, this polish would be its most accurate description. This polish is ALL shimmer; surprisingly the formula seems to be quite good; the shimmer is incredibly dense! Topless and Barefoot is another nude shade, this one is darker and more pink-toned compared to the Deborah Lippmann. I’ve wanted this polish  for almost a year now, however it never seemed to be in stock at Trade Secrets (where I typically purchase my discontinued polishes). I tend to prefer pink toned nudes against my skintone so I’m anxious to see if this polish will have been worth the wait!

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These are the last 3 polishes of my haul. I’ve already done a post on Butter London’s
Queen Vic so I won’t talk too much about it. This is my first Butter polish and while at first I was a bit unsure; the longer I had it on, the more it grew on me! Revlon Colorstay‘s Top Coat has been my go-to top coat since I purchased it about a year or so ago. The proof that I love it so much is that this bottle is a repurchase! Its extremely rare for me to finish a polish; In all honestly I can probably count the number of polishes that I’ve actually finished! I haven’t tried the matching Base Coat and decided to go ahead and pick one up. I found the Colorstay polishes on an AMAZING deal at saleevent.ca. At $2 a bottle I really couldn’t pass this up, not pictured are the other 2 bottles of top coat that I purchased…yes this is excessive however my rationality was that now I won’t need to buy top coat for the next 3 years 😛 and with shipping costs being $5 flat, I wanted to order enough to make it worth it.

Crumb cookies with Blueberry-Cherry sauce

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Decided to be a bit more creative today! I’ve had a bag full of chocolate cookie crumbs, purchased from bulk barn, sitting in my pantry for some time now; and finally wanted to put them to use. The idea of cookie crumb cookies intrigued me, however I had no eggs in sight so instead decided to adapt this recipe for a cookie crumb crust.

Surprisingly I had exactly 1 1/4 cups of cookie crumbs so I didn’t need to change up the ratios. I did add some vanilla extract and powdered ginger to the mix. The mixture wasn’t coming together as much as I had liked so I added a heaping tbsp of peanut butter (I was contemplating between using peanut butter and almond milk so i’m sure they would both work). Again it just wasn’t combining together enough to make free form cookies so I pressed the mixture into a 9-inch pan and baked at 350°F for 8 min. Once cooled I cut the crust into smaller pieces and set aside so they would further harden. Now these cookies on their own are delicious enough, but again as I said I was feeling creative.

For the sauce I adapted this recipe, I cut each measurement in half and still had plenty of sauce for a generous helping with each portion. I had a couple cherries left over from my breakfast smoothie (maybe 6-8 cherries) which I pitted and tossed in with the blueberries equalling a total of a cup of fruit. I also added some of the powdered ginger to merry both components. The sauce was extremely easy to make, just make sure to frequently stir the sauce while it cools to prevent sticking to the bottom of the saucepan. I impatiently waited to add the sauce until it was almost entirely cooled. Delicious! Not overly sweet and a nice combination of flavours. Would definitely recommend!

Political TV Fever!

I seem to be gaining a growing interest in politics…well at least TV politics. What started as a mild curiosity last summer, has quickly turned into a full fledged political TV addition. I’ve increasingly found myself drawn to political dramas and dramadies (dramatic comedies), and keep my radar on high alert at the sign of a potential new series.


The West Wing
: I’ve just finished the second season; I know, I know I’m about 7 years too  late. But in my defence I was about to turn 8 when the series originally aired so I’m going to say I wasn’t exactly in their target demographic! This show has been really refreshing to watch. Its definitely more of an adult drama through its tone and writing and I appreciate the lack of love triangles, the use of older actors (not old!) and the focus on politics as the source of drama. I know the series has been highly praised by political science professors and critics alike and its really not hard to see why, the show comes off as a smart drama with intellectual ideals. I will admit there are times when the show comes off as a bit preachy however I commend Sorkin for using a devout religious democrat (President Bartlet) and a smart, eloquent republican (Ainsley Hayes) rather than resorting to common stereotypes. I also commend Sorkin for not resorting to stereotypes against the Middle East, the original run was during 9/11, or cheap republican comebacks against George Bush, the entire series took place during his presidency. I’ll likely do a more in depth post on the series (just started season 4!), so expect that in the near future.

Scandal: If you’ve read my most recent entries, you’ll notice that many of them seem to be Scandal related. The protagonist of the series is Olivia Pope, a crisis manager, and her complicated love triangle with the first family. Because Olivia works in crisis management, the show deals with more salacious events rather than the seemingly everyday events portrayed in The West Wing.  While I appreciate that Shonda has chosen a republican as her presidential protagonist, he seems to have some very democratic views. Fitz was a governor from California, a state which is recent years has been more on the democratic side, his chief of staff is an openly gay male, and he hasn’t appeared to have a deep sense of faith by any means. Really the only republican sense we’ve had from him is his connection to ‘Big Oil’ (Hollis Doyle). I seem to have a love/hate annoyed relationship with this show. In my opinion the writing has vastly improved from the long winded repititious soliloquy filled pilot episode. The show has a stronger focus on the personal rather than the workplace (which is completely fine!) however there is a growing amount of drama for dramas sake rather than to extend the storyline. For instance take the revelation of Olivia’s father; while part of my weekly must-see television the series is quickly venturing into soap opera territory.


Political Animals:
A 6 episode mini-series that originally aired last summer on USA. I did a previous post on my thoughts on the pilot episode.  The series follows  Elaine Barrisch (Sigourney Weaver), a once presidential candidate, who is now Secretary of State, trying to make a name for herself in politics away from her promiscuous husband Bud Hammond(Ciarán Hinds). Bud just so happens to be a former president himself (Hilary and Bill Clinton anyone?). Sigourney Weaver and Ciarán Hinds are just a drop in the bucket in naming the well known actors involved with the series. While I do wish the series had been renewed for a second season, with the heavy hitting cast I wouldn’t be surprised if funding or scheduling were the issue. The main focus of the show is the turmoil surrounding the Hammond family, however we do get to see a fair bit of politics when Elaine Barrisch is in her element.

VeepAn HBO comedy series I started watching a couple weeks ago. Veep follows Selena Myer (Julia Louis- Dryfus) a fictions vice president and her senior staff. I find the series to be a refreshing take on politics, most likely due to the lighter nature of a comedy vs an hour long drama. While the entire cast is well portrayed, in my opinion the scene stealer is Gary Walsh, the vice president’s personal aide, portrayed by Tony Hale. Gary is extremely loyal, Selena’s confidante and carries a briefcase which he nicknames Leviathan! The series currently airs Sunday at 10 and its in its second season.

The Newsroom: Another series I began watching last summer (the new season begins airing on July 14th!). The series revolves around the fictional news network Atlanta Cable News (ACN) and their attempt to change the way the news is presented. After a very public tirade, Will McAvoy (a news anchor played by Jeff Daniels) returns to work to find a new executive producer, his ex-girlfriend MacKenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer) who criticizes the way he had previously been anchoring the news. She tells Will (who is currently leading in the ratings), that instead of reporting the actual facts he is just trying not to step on anyone’s toes. The changes they have made to the fictional station are brilliant. Will acts as both an educator and as judicator, both educating the public on real news issues while holding politicians and big-wigs to the words that they’ve promised. While this isn’t a show about politicians per say, given the setting at a cable news station its almost impossible NOT to mix politics and the news. The show is quite different from the West Wing, while the tone is very much the same, we don’t see any representation of the White House. Similarly to Political Animals, I did a post last summer on my thoughts for the complete first season; you can read it here.

Nail of the Day

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Butter LondonQueen Vic

This is my first Butter London polish and I must admit I have mixed thoughts. Pigmentation was great, I used two coats for the above image. However I found the polish to be a bit on the thick side, something that I’m sure can be fixed with some nail polish thinner but that is something I would prefer to not have to do on a new bottle. While I love the bottle shape and the lack of certain chemicals in a Butter polish, for some reason I’m just not drawn to the colours they release. Queen Vic is a polish that has been on my to-buy list for quite some time however there’s only about 1-2 other polishes at the moment that I would consider purchasing. I don’t typically wear purple polishes so I was a bit hesitant when I first used this polish however it has considerably grown on me. I do perceive this as being more of a fall shade so this may be the only time I use it for the next couple months.

I’ve actually purchased quite a few polishes within the last 2-3 weeks so expect a polish haul post within the next couple days!

Scandal: White Hat’s Back On

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And season 2 has come to an end! Let me start off by saying that I basically jumped up and down in front of my screen when Olivia said that last eventful word. If you read my previous Scandal post, you would have read about my suspicions on Rowen’s identity being Olivia’s father. Now many seem to be unsure why Olivia’s own father would try to have her killed. The other common question seems to be who ousted Olivia as the President’s mistress? I have a couple theories for each so lets get right into the thick of things!

First off I loved how David Rosen was redeemed in this episode. Just a couple days ago I was watching an episode from Season 1 and found myself missing the dynamic between Olivia ‘the fixer’ and David ‘the attorney,’ it was a complex mix between friendship and obstacle with each carrying such an excellent rapport. I knew David had always had good intentions; at his core he always wears that metaphorical White Hat. However Pope and associates did ultimately ruin his career and completely embarrassed him. Its not surprising that he would experience  feelings of distain. One scenario I found odd was that it was never addressed that Olivia had opened the safe in front of David, I mean she didn’t try to hide the combination at all. If David hadn’t been talking to Billy Chambers, Charlie could have easily ousted the combination from him through threat alone. I also have a hard time believing Olivia doesn’t lock her office door at night. Considering the amount of confidential information she likely stores, it seems unlikely she would be that careless. On the other hand is no one else curious why the safe didn’t automatically lock up after that many failed attempts? You only get about 5 attempts to get the correct password for an email address, I would hope a safe would be a bit more secure!

Ok; onto my first theory! Why would Olivia’s own father try to have her killed!? Again I think this is a complicated scenario. On the one hand while in the hospital we see Cyrus questioning what Rowan will do to Olivia. Now Cyrus knows about B613, he knows the extents to which Rowan is willing to go; I mean if you’re willing to train individuals to drill into someones limb in order to get information theres no stopping what you might do. On the other hand we don’t know how many people know that Olivia is Rowen’s daughter. Considering his livelihood it doesn’t safe to have that information be public. I have a couple theories on the female assassin who was sent to Olivia’s house.

1. She was sent by Rowan to shoot Jake instead of Olivia. He knew Jake was going to disobey his orders and wanted to prevent any escape of confidential information

2. The gun she was going to shoot was more of a stun gun, releasing a sedative (rather than bullets) so she could bring Olivia to meet with her father without resistanceScreen Shot 2013-05-17 at 1.43.28 PM

I really have a hard time believing Rowan actually tried to kill his daughter. Considering Jake’s next task was to bring Olivia to him (to talk) it seems unlikely that he would suddenly go to such an extreme. I still believe that Rowan is doing all of this to, in his own way, protect Olivia and look out for her best interests. By having his agents available to safely move Olivia into his car after the release of her name as the Presidents mistress, he shows that in his own way he still cares.

I strongly believe that Rowan is sabotaging Olitz because he:
a) doesn’t believe Fitz is good enough for Olivia

b) doesn’t see the relationship ending well for his daughter

Consider what Jake said, his mission was to sleep with Olivia. Clearly Rowan has been gathering intel this whole time to sabotage the relationship; its lucky for him that Fitz killed Verna, adding more ammunition to his supply. As I said in my last post, this is a very soap opera-like turn for the series; but a Shonda show typically follows the extreme drama with unrealistic circumstances so its not too far off from something she would do.

Next: Who ousted Olivia as the Presidents mistress!? Again a lot of fingers seem to be pointing towards Mellie Grant Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 1.47.20 PMbut once again I don’t see her being involved here. It was evident during the second meeting between Hollis, Cyrus, Mellie, Fitz and Olivia that something was wrong between Olitz. They could barely look at each other! Mellie is power-hungry and if theres the slightest chance of a rift between Olitz, allowing her to swoop in and remain first lady, I can’t NOT see her taking that opportunity. She has the most to lose, in terms of her political career, through the divorce. Her public political views have been dormant at this time, and as the show mentioned by airing her dirty laundry to the public her approval ratings seem to be dropping. By airing your dirty laundry so publicly, there is no chance for an amicable divorce. Now that the public is involved and have their opinion on the matter its bound to become messy.

Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 1.49.44 PMIn my mind the two main suspects are Cyrus Beene and Rowan. Cyrus has a lot to lose by letting the secret out. If he was ever revealed to be the source, he would lose both Fitz and Olivia while at the same time almost single-handedly ruining Olivia’s reputation. However something he said in the episode struck a chord; he mentioned he was the only adult in the room. Mind you sneaking statements to the press isn’t really a mature tactic, but this relationship has been a thorn in his side for too long. He heard Olivia’s plan and this was his way to take back control, prevent public acceptance of Olivia. Leaving Fitz with no choice but to run for re-election with Mellie by his side. Lets not forget that James kept searching for information throughout the episode, it would be easy to ‘accidentally’ let Olivia’s name slip in front of him and let the cards fall where they may. By destroying the Cytron card Cyrus destroys the one thing that can bring down his political career, and while he does care for both Olivia and Fitz, Rowan’s words may have had an effect on him.

Rowan on the other hand is another very possible target. He seems invested in ruining Olitz and this way he is able to stop it Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 1.52.04 PMfrom ever coming out publicly. By painting the picture of Olivia as a home wrecker, she will never be accepted by the public if and when Fitz marries her. Yes its an extreme tactic to do to your own daughter, but as I previously mentioned its clear that Rowan has no bounds. The fact that he was waiting outside for Olivia with agents ready is another strike against him. Not that I would put it past him to have her followed, he is looking more and more suspicious.

Of course there is always the option that Rowan and Cyrus worked together to orchestrate this bombshell. And while I wouldn’t put it past Shonda to come up with something so shock-worthy this would be a completely different level of betrayal against Olivia.

General Thoughts on the Episode

1. Anyone else HATE the scene where Fitz crawls back to Mellie? He looked so spineless shuffling into that room. Hate seeing him that way

2. I’m suspicious at how fast Quinn picked up hacking. Huck has been trained for years so I don’t see how Quinn would be able to surpass his hacking skills in a matter of months.

3. I’m both curious and worried about the Dexter-like turn Quinn has made. I can understand why they are trying to develop this storyline; you can only write about a naive and confused girl for so long. But again it just seems SO sudden. While Huck did end up enjoying his torture methods and saw them as art, Quinn seems to be enjoying it much too quickly

4. Looks like Jake is getting the same treatment Huck had to ‘forget his family.’ Guessing Jake will need to ‘forget his relationship with Olivia.’

5. With the news of Billy Chambers being the White House mole, Fitz has stopped Sally Langston’s election bid in its tracks. Who would elect someone whose former chief of staff committed government treason?! Doesn’t exactly show the best of character. However with that baggage under her belt, will Fitz want her by his side once again as VP? With his own affair coming to light the pair are surrounded by a lot of drama.

6. So is Billy Chambers finally dead!?!

Cancellation Scorecard: What won’t be returning to your TV screens in the fall

Now that the majority of network television stations have announced their renewals and subsequent cancellations; its time to either rejoice or go on a binge marathon to remember your fallen favourites. Now of course this isn’t a complete list of all the cancelled TV shows, to see a complete list check out tvline.com’s post here. Unfortunately as with every television season there are some shows you grow attached to that won’t be returning *cue the sad faces and wailing.*

Lets get onto the chopping block:

ABC

Happy Endings: While this show did fair better than many others on the list, its one of the ones I’ll miss the most. Happy endings is about a group of 6 late 20-somethings living in Chicago. The crazy married couple, successful businessman Brad and the neurotic Monica-type Jane, Alex  Jane’s ditsy younger sister, Dave an aspiring restauranteur, Max the resident slacker who portrays an interesting and un-taped tv portrayal of a gay man, and lastly Penny the single klutzy serial dater.  Its hard to compare Happy Endings to other shows, it was kind of Friends meets How I Met Your Mother meets Cougar Town…with something else thrown in.

For all those Happy Endings fans out there, there might still be hope. Its been reported that Sony TV, which produces the show, has been shopping the show around to other networks. The cable network USA has expressed interest, best case scenario we get a move similar to Cougar Town (ABC to TBS). Now Happy Endings viewers know that the scheduling of the show has been off the rails this past year, it started off on Tuesday, got moved to Sunday, started airing new episodes on both Sunday and Tuesday before being banished to the Friday 2-episode burn-off. Confused yet? So were we! Forget trying to actually watch a show you enjoy, trying to keep track of when it was on proved to be a problem; anyways its nice to see Sony backing behind the series and I for one will be keeping my fingers crossed for another network pick-up! Here’s a clip from the show featuring Penny Hartz

CBS

Partners: I’ve mentioned this series cancellation in a previous post, however as you can tell I’m still pretty bummed by it. It was without a doubt my favourite offering of the 2012/2013 year and in my eyes it was cancelled much too soon. The series really hit its stride by the fourth episode but unfortunately it was cancelled after 6 episodes. I’ve heard that the show aired its full 13 episode season in South Africa, but for some odd reason those forgotten episodes haven’t managed to make their way online…yet. I know its likely a lost cause but I’d really love to see the last 7 episodes, I watched each of the 6 aired episodes on repeat and would like to see where they went with the storyline.

Tvline.com mentioned that NBC’s Do No Harm and ABC’s 666 Park Avenue and Zero Hour will finish out their Freshman season in the summer, a great move for fans who want closure to a series they’ve grown attached to. Come on CBS! Any chance for this happening with Partners??

FOX 

Fringe: I really can’t complain about this one, although the ratings weren’t great FOX gave the series a 5th season of 13 episodes to conclude the series. I’m a big fan of the science fiction genre and this show was so complex and well integrated. The series followed a team under the FBI who investigated ‘fringe events’ or strange scientific occurrences. The series  had a nice conclusion and gave viewers closure yet even in the finale remained true to its story. Although the finale was bittersweet, I’m still happy with the way the series ended.

 

Touch: Another show that I really became attached to. I’ve yet to watch the series finale (originally aired on May 10th 2013), however given that the series was only just cancelled I have a feeling it will be very open ended. The series revolves around former investigative journalist Martin Bohm and his special needs son Jake. Jake has never spoken a word in his life but is drawn to numbers and patterns and often uses numbers to communicate to his father. The series is unique in that although Martin and Jake move the story along, the real meat of the episode is through its guest stars. Every secondary character somehow relates to one another with everything coming full circle at the one hour mark. For all the Kiefer Sutherland fans out there, FOX has recently announced that the hit series 24 will be revived as a limited series, likely as a replacement to a possible movie.

NBC 

Guys with Kids: Although I wasn’t all that attached to this show its still one that I kept up with throughout the year. The series follows the lives of 3 friends as they raise their children in the city. Gary is a married stay at home father of 4 boys: Yoda, Clark and newborn twins  Robbie and GJ. Chris is a recent divorce who has partial custody of his newborn son Ernie; and lastly Zach is a married working father to pre-teen Violet and newborn Eddie. The series ran for 17 episodes, and although fun in my opinion wasn’t part of my must watch TV schedule.

The New Normal: Similarly to Guys with Kids, this show is another one that I’m not that upset about. The series follows a happy and successful gay couple Bryan, a television producer, and David, an obstetrician, and their relationship with their surrogate Goldie and her 9-year old daughter Shania. Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannalis definitely carried the series, and although it had a lot of heart, by the end of the season I just didn’t feel invested enough. Again not a series I’ll be crying over but a fun one to check out if you want easy summer TV.

Pasta with Spinach and Asiago Cheese

Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers out there in the world! Its become a tradition in my house to make homemade pizza for mothers day and fathers day so as you can tell I’m behind on these Food Geek posts! I made this pasta dish sometime ago, *cough* during my blog hiatus *cough* but this is definitely one that I’ll be going back too!

It all started off with a leftover wedge of Asiago, I didn’t know what to make or use it on and so it remained in my fridge. One day while google-ing recipes I came across this one by Giada De Laurentiis. Giada was probably one of the first chefs I came to admire, this was when I first started getting interested in cooking and started watching the Food Network. Although she quickly became my favourite Food Network personality, for some reason I don’t think I’ve made any of her dishes. Well theres a first for everything!

Let me just say if her other recipes are similar to this one I’ll definitely be looking up her recipe repertoire! The smell alone of the asiago, tomatoes and spinach heating over the stove top is amazing, an hour or so after I had finished my meal my housemate came over to ask what I had made; it smelled THAT good. This pasta dish is both light yet creamy and although minimal in number of ingredients the outcome is a complex flavour and aroma that leaves nothing to be desired. I pretty much made this recipe as is, however instead of the fusilli I used bow tie and I finished the dish with a squeeze of lemon juice. Trust me if you try out this recipe you will not be disappointed!