Ramblings

Untitled?

I know, I know. Blog hiatuses have become more repetitious than a gregorian chant…. yes, I do know that was a weird reference…. no, I don’t know why it came to mind. Rather than lengthy excuses let’s (attempt) to reduce the overall rambling of this post and get down to the meat so to speak. As I edge closer and closer to the end of my student years I’m starting to feel that quintessential ‘quarter life crisis,’ – now don’t worry this isn’t going to be some self indulgent ‘isn’t life so hard’ type of post, however in my stress over the unknown I’ve started to crave more simplicity.

If you’ve been a reader of my blog for a while (and if anyone has kept up with the constant hiatus I salute you!), this isn’t a new concept for me. I’ve been decluttering certain aspects of my life since April of 2012; on a side note is it weird that I remember that moment in time so clearly? I can’t remember what I wore last week or what I ate two nights ago but somehow that moment this moment remains etched in my mind. What was that moment exactly? Well, to be honest its more of a feeling. The feeling of being overwhelmed by possessions – in my case this was makeup. If you type in the search term makeup collection onto youtube, you might feel like you’re watching a mini episode of hoarders instead. Mind you my collection wasn’t nearly that bad, honestly it was probably 1/10th the size of the average youtube video. Nonetheless I was overwhelmed and needed to take control back in an aspect of my life that I embarrassingly had let fly off the rails. Fast forward 2 years later and I find myself craving that same simplicity in all aspects of my life.

Now I don’t mean to turn this into an essay or thesis, but this is the direction I want this blog take. What that direction is exactly is something I haven’t quite figured out, more so this is just one girl’s minimalism journey. I’m not about to turn into an extreme minimalist and live out of a suitcase or par all my possessions down to 100 items but there is something soothing about less – less stuff, less tightly packed, more empty space.

 

Less stuff, less stress.

Bag Lust

I don’t know what’s come over me today but I can’t stop window shopping (side note can it still be called window shopping if its online?) bags! After perusing brand after brand I somehow found my way to the Roots online shop. Now every Canadian loves their signature Roots sweatpants but I for one had never thought much of their leather accessories….boy was I mistaken! The bags are a simple elegance and for the quality (100% leather!) are at a very affordable price point. You better believe that I will be heading up my nearest Roots store to see some of these in person!

Village Satchel Tribe
a great casual bag, I’m obsessed with the look of this leather. A beautiful aged patina look. Perfect for casual errands, a light hike or a small travel bag.

Small Grace Bag Tribe

another bag in this gorgeous leather tone. Albeit the crossbody (which I happen to love) this would be a great work bag. Its less casual than the Village Satchel Tribe in its shape which lends itself well to a more formal setting.

Vintage Bag Tribe Leather Strap/ Side Saddle Tribe

Can’t decide between the two! Another great casual errands bag, perfect for heading out to the grocery store or the mall where all you need are a few essentials…have I mentioned enough how much I love the tone of this leather?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annie Bag Box

And last but not least the big one. I will almost be running to the nearest freestanding Roots store to see this bag in person. I love the fringe detailing and the subtle accordion fold out, much less pronounced when compared to the infamous celine luggage tote which I actually prefer. My only gripe is the silver hardware but I’ve already fallen head over heals for this bag. AND it has a crossbody strap, I mean really could it be more perfect!?

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.

Scandal: White Hat’s Back On

Dad

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!?!

Scandal Season 2: Who is the mole?

As we inch ever closer to the season 2 finale of ABC’s Scandal (airs May 16th 2013), the question on every fan’s mind is: Who is the white house mole!? With the second to last episode of the season airing in just under 5 hours, I thought I may as well put pen to paper  fingers to keyboard (?) and write out my possible subject combinations. With rumblings over the interweb (particularly over at tvline.com) that the identity of the mole is truly shocking, so much so that the actors themselves have said they were shocked during the table read. It only makes sense that the identity of the mole and their associate must be both someone who has a relatively active role on the show and has been portrayed as innocent. My head has been spinning over possible combinations, and my yearing for information hasn’t exactly been helped by the fact that I’ve just re-watched all of season 1. Side note I would have much rather had Olivia date Billy as opposed to the bore that is Senator Edison Davis…of course before he turned out to be the enemy. Billy’s dialogue has been full of one-liners that add some comedic flair to an otherwise heavily dramatic show. Anyways I digress….back to the potential mole candidates!

 Mellie and Hal: It would be incredibly shocking if the first lady turned out to be the mole. However Mellie has her own political aspirations and what better way to give them a kick start than to derail the Grant administration. I think it has become clear that Hal has, albeit secretly, shown his allegiance to the first lady rather than the president with subtle looks and gestures. As one of Fitz’s primary secret service officers he is exposed to many secrets within the administration and, along with the first lady, the two have a high degree of security clearance. We can’t forget that Mellie didn’t want Fitz to leave the limo the day of his shooting (was she having second thoughts?). Unless I’m mistaken we still don’t know who hired Becky as the shooter (…or robot-controlled shooter?)

Screen Shot 2013-05-09 at 5.56.23 PMSally Langston and Hollis Doyle: Though we haven’t seen VP Langston in a while, I don’t doubt that she is still plotting to become president. Again we haven’t seen Hollis Doyle stomping through the hallways of the White House in quite some time but sometimes an absence says enough. Since this is a Shonda Rhimes show, I can’t help but bring up Grey’s Anatomy‘s fifth season where George O’Malley (portrayed by T.R. Knight) was noticeably absent throughout the season so when it was revealed that he in fact was the John Doe they were operating on during the season finale, it came as a shock since viewers were accustomed to his lack of screen time. Although Sally has been the pinnacle of moral conduct, Hollis isn’t afraid to get down and dirty. Election rigging, the Cytron explosions, he has gone through a lot for the Grant administration and if he feels that he isn’t getting his end of the bargain, his record illustrates that he wouldn’t be opposed to implementing a change.  With Hollis’s resources (how many people really have the means to rig a national election) and Sally’s position, I can see how they would have access to such top secret information. If Billy Chambers was still alive I would definitely add him as a suspect but that requires many assumptions (assuming Charlie didn’t kill him for one) and many IF’s.

fitz jakeFitz and Jake: A truly shocking combination. However I could somehow see this duo come into fruition. Fitz wanting to prove to everyone involved in Defiance that he could overcome an adverse situation (on his own) and Jake of course has the the know-how to fill in the blanks. Yes orchestrating your own shooting, is a bit of a stretch but hey this is TV! Fitz came to Jake at a time when he didn’t trust anyone else, so it would only make sense for Jake to be his ally if he were to pull off this huge debacle! With Fitz coming out as the mole and Jake coming out as his accomplice (he did say he only took orders directly from Fitz), I have not doubt that Jake’s relationship with Olivia would in turn be revealed; causing another rift in the duo that is POPUS or Olitz whatever you want to call them.

David Rosen and James: The people you would least expect! The duo grew closer during the Defiance investigations and although James had the opportunity to condemn Cyrus, bringing down the administration may be closer to what he’s after? David who has been growing closer and closer to Olivia Pope and Associates has been in the office long enough to gather some dirty secrets of his own to use as blackmail. Losing his job, reputation and career are not feelings to be taken lightly. Although they both aren’t powerful enough to have the means or security clearance on their own, they are well connected to powerful people. Blackmail can be a powerful thing. I do think that its a bit convenient that James suddenly got his journalist job back in time to interview Mellie (could a James and Mellie duo be a possibility?) for arguably the biggest interview of the year. Although he has forgiven Cyrus, and it seems that David has forgiven Olivia, they are both men of integrity and may excuse their behaviour in the name of justice.

Other Possible Suspects

Cyrus Beene: Cyrus is a power hungry pitbull who would likely jump at the chance of having ultimate,unquestioned control of the White House. Although they basically told us last week that is wasn’t him, given that he now seems like the obvious choice. Again this is a Shonda Rhimes show and sometimes the obvious choice turns out to be the correct one (another Grey’s reference but Izzie having a brain tumour anyone? Shonda specifically said Izzie didn’t have cancer and yet look what was revealed). Cyrus was almost willing to kill his husband and who knows what he would have done to Olivia, this pitbull is close to jumping the fence.

Edison Davis: It seems that he has deduced Olivia’s relationship with the president and jealously can be a fickle friend. Although he certainly doesn’t have the security clearance  and  at the time Fitz’s shooting wouldn’t make much sense, never underestimate how far a jealous individual will go.

Top Chef Season 10 finale

Caution SPOILERS up ahead!!

So last night marked the crowning of the 10th Top Chef. Although I would have been happy with any of the top 3 winning, this season has almost been overcast by all the controversy, bias and potential rigging. I’m a big fan of Top Chef, I’ve been watching the show since its first season in 2006 and have watched every season since; except for one (passed on season 3, I found season 2 to be a disappointment).

I do feel like this show goes in circles for me. I was about 14 years old when the first season of Top Chef aired, and I was hooked. In all honestly this is probably around the time when I first started becoming interested, and subsequently obsessed, with food.I found season 2 to be a let down, although a reality show there seemed to be a greater focus on drama as opposed to the food (don’t get me wrong season 1 had all kinds of drama). I mean do we all remember when Elia Aboumrad shaved her head pictured to to the left, or the distasteful moment where Cliff Crooks almost forcibly shaved fellow contestant Marcel Vigneron’s puffy locks as the rest of the cheftestants just watched?

loved each of these cheftestants from Top Chef: Las Vegas (ie season 6)

That season left such a bad taste in my mouth that I couldn’t bring myself to watch the 3rd. I watched the 4th and 5th season out of boredom, curiosity and habit. However all was redeemed with season 6, *sigh*, oh season 6. Undoubtably my favourite, where the focus really seemed to be on the food.  Unfortunately, in my eyes, the show seems to be on a downward again. Enough with my recap of seasons past, lets get to last nights finale!

I’ve had my suspicions of rigging throughout Season 10 of Top Chef. And I know what you’re probably thinking, this is a reality show…of course its rigged! Which may in fact be true however it seemed to be SO obvious this season that even a toddler could see it!

Now don’t get me wrong I am a big fan of Kristen Kish (Season 10 WINNER!) and was glad to see her win the big prize, however it all seemed a bit too planned. Kristen was clearly both a fan and a judge favourite throughout the show, however everybody loves an underdog story and I without a doubt feel that her elimination during Restaurant Wars (image below) was pre-planned for added drama.

Because there was such a strong backlash from the fanbase against both Padma and Tom, I don’t know if it was just the editing but Padma seemed to be gunning for Kristen to go home, it does slightly taint Kristen’s Last Chance Kitchen win. Particularly during her battle with Lizzie Binder. Tom was praising Lizzie’s dish up and down, going for a second and third bite and calling it a perfect dish. Kristen’s on the other hand was called chewy and too much of a mouth-full, yet somehow Kristen scored the win? Now I for one felt a bias from Tom as CJ Jacobsen kept winning challenge after challenge. And don’t even get me started on how poor Kuniko Yagi, didn’t get a fighting chance on either the show or on Last Chance Kitchen…she had to battle 2 chefs, how is that fair!?!?!

But back to the finale.

I HATED the format of the finale. It felt like an even cheesier version of Iron Chef but without the camera work or the play by play that make that show. If you’re going to blatantly copy another show’s format, you would think they would use the best aspects of the show. What I love about the finale of seasons past was the progression of the meal, giving chefs ample time just to cook great food for a reasonable number of guests without all the theatrics. Really, cooking for 300 people in 3 hours in a live stadium was someone’s idea of a good finale? I did like seeing all the past winners of Top Chef in the audience, however I would have much preferred a more intimate finale in a regular dining room setting with the 5 head judges, the 9 previous winners and (as is typical to Top Chef) the owner of the location/vineyard/restaurant. Leave the theatrics to Iron Chef or use them in a quickfire or an elimination challenge. Not the finale.

I love how I can recognize and name each of the past winners 🙂

I like watching the chefs get judged on their overall meal progression and how each dish goes along with the past course. It has a greater sentiment and as a viewer it truly feels like you’re witnessing a raw version of each chef on a plate. Somehow all of that was lost in this finale, which felt distant, cheesy and rushed. Why didn’t we get to see each chef during their menu planning? Why didn’t we get to see them purchase their ingredients, or like Iron Chef were they pre-provided? Why didn’t we get to see how the sous chefs were picked? I have a hard time believing Brooke would let Kristen have the last 3 eliminated contestants on her team in favour of chefs who were eliminated very early on.

I’ve read various comments on last nights finale, and many people seem to think that the actual judging of the finale was rigged. While it may have been, I didn’t find it to be that obtrusive. Brooke did serve burnt pig ears…and chicken wings. This is exactly what I was talking about with a lack of meal progression. Going from scallops to chicken wings to red snapper?? Not exactly a co-hesive menu. However by the end of round 3 it was clear that Kristen would be the winner, there just wasn’t enough time for a 5th round!  It took away any suspense from the already emotionless finale. I do think that Kristen is an incredibly talented chef and I have no doubts that she could have won on her own merit. However with all the producer and outside influence this season has definitely been tainted.

Snow Day round 2?

Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 10.19.24 PM

So tonight is supposed to be the second big storm to hit the GTA…which has me hoping (but trying not the jinx it) for another Snow Day (we had our first one of school year earlier this semester)! We’re supposed to get 20cm tonight, I just got back from my hot date with the library sarcasm about an hour ago and theres already an inch on the ground. Who would have known that you could have Snow Days in university? Yet somehow I’ve already had 2 throughout my undergraduate degree. Here’s hoping for number 3?