Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Oscars 2012 Fashion - Part 2

Moving right along...

Here is the beautiful Viola Davis (she was robbed!).  This dress has gotten such a range of reviews, but I love it.  I do wish there was an extra inch of fabric on the bodice because I think it looks like she in danger of spilling over the top, but I think it's fabulous.  I really like the color on her skin tone, it shows her fab body, I like the detailing at the bottom.  I also really like that she's not wearing a wig and rocking her real hair, but I don't like the color of her real hair.  I think it's too similar to her skin color and I think she's more striking with darker hair.  But overall a win from me.

I LOVE this dress on Glenn Close.  And apparently it's a dark green color, not black, which is not very obvious.  But I love the take on a tuxedo here.  I think she looks stunning in it.  I like the jacket on on older woman.  I like how she still looks exactly like herself even dressed up.

I'm not a fan of the dress Rooney Mara wore, or her hair.  First the hair - I know she needs to keep the cut because they're filming the rest of the Girl/Tattoo movies, but I think it looks a TON better when she slicks the bangs back.  Now, the dress.  I don't like it at all.  I don't think it's very flattering to her.  Those weird fins on the boobs are one of the strangest things I've ever seen on a dress.  I like that she's not in black, like she's worn on every other red carpet, but I don't think the lace is right for her.  I don't think the top of the dress is fitted very well, which could be because she said she chose this dress on the morning of the Oscars. The back is better because it's sexy, but still a little weird.  Kind of looks like bandaids.

I really like this dress on Octavia Spencer.  It's styled similar to most of her red carpet dresses, but I think this one is a bit more successful.  I think there's less fabric, so when it's gathered in the middle, it doesn't add too much bulk.  I like her drop earrings, too.  I do like her hair better when it's down, though.  I think this up-do makes her look older.

Now, the first of two guys, Jonah Hill.  I don't like this black on black on black - especially on him.  I think it makes him look larger, which is strange because black usually makes you look thinner.  Compare it to this pic from the Oscars luncheon the day before:

The white shirt and the pop of color in the tie has a slimming effect on him.  So much better.  I know this is too casual for the Oscars, but he could have adapted his formal look to achieve this.

Sean Combs, Diddy, Puffy, whatever his name is, he is SHARP here.  Very nice.  He looks great in a tux.  And I really like the little slash of a pocket square.  Very cool.

I've got one more set of photos that includes my other favorite dress and the most talked about thigh, so stay tuned!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Oscars 2012 Fashion!

Since I'm still home from work recovering from the flu, I figured I'd write my fashion review of the Oscars before I hear too much on the fashion blogs and shows, and let their reviews color mine.  I actually sat in front of the tv for the entire red carpet and the show itself so that I could immerse myself in the dresses.  I even took notes so that I could remember my first impressions! :)

First I have to say that the E! red carpet coverage cracked me up.  The last awards show red carpet was co-hosted by Giuliana Rancic and Ross Mathews (who has to be one of the most annoying people on tv).  It was VERY obvious that Giuliana did not like sharing the spotlight with Ross and REALLY didn't appreciate him trying to take the lead in interviews.  Ross was conspicuously absent last night.  It was great.  But Guiliana and Kelly Osbourne (with her hideous grey hair) thought everybody looked great.  It was like they couldn't find anything wrong with anybody and forgot that they'd ever had an opinion on the Fashion Police.

With that said, I'll start with Guiliana.

I did not think this dress was flattering at all.  The feathered shoulders look like they belong in another decade, the silhouette makes it look like she doesn't have a waist at all, and the color (or lack of) washes her out completely.  What I do actually like is that her hair is up for once.  I am so sick of her hair.  It was nice to see that she can change it up occasionally.

Now, going in order of how I saw people on the red carpet...

Milla Jovovich looked amazing!  This dress was fabulous on her.  It flattered her body and actually made her look slightly curvier than she is.  I like the one shoulder gown, even if the giant shoulder pad-like thing is a little weird.  Her hair was appropriate for it and her makeup was dramatic enough so that she didn't look washed out.  Compare it to Guiliana above - they're both in sparkly white dresses, but Milla looks a hundred times better because the cut is more flattering and her makeup is more dramatic.

I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this gown on Ellie Kemper!  I love the multi-colored copper/brass/rust sequins.  It looks great with her coloring and the silhouette is really nice on her body.  I do think her bangs are a little heavy, and some people have said that the dress is too matchy-matchy with her hair color, but I don't mind it.  And she is just too cute.  When Ryan Seacrest was interviewing her, she was so friendly and natural, it was endearing.

I really dislike this entire ensemble on Berenice Bejo of The Artist.  Blah.  Blah color.  Blah hair.  Blah makeup.  Blah dress.  It looks like something a much older woman would wear.  The color totally washes her out.  Her boobs are not supported at all.  The hair is not flattering to someone with a high forehead (from somebody with an equally high forehead).  With her coloring, she could have worn a much more saturated green and looked much better and more current.

I actually liked this on Melissa McCarthy.  I've been saying throughout the awards season that she needs to emphasize her waist and add a little bling and here she finally did!  I even liked the dusty rose color on her.  It seemed to make her hair look more red (though you can't see that here).  I liked her hair and her makeup looked nice when they did close-ups.  I loved the bit she and Rose Byrne did when they presented - the drinking game/Martin Scorsese thing.  Very funny.

Jessica Chastain pulled out the big guns!  She looked AMAZING!!!  I'm a little biased because of reading the Fug Girls reviews of her, but Jessica has been really hit or miss on the red carpet.  And though I've already read their review today, I felt the same way yesterday when I first saw this.  It was so regal and stunning and different than anything else she's worn or anything anybody else wore.  The gold and black was really nice with her hair and skin color.  And the fit was very nice as well.  She is so so sweet, too.  She brought her grandma to the show and even brought her into her interview with Ryan Seacrest.  She's incredibly humble and genuine.  I've liked her in the past, but now because of how real she seemed, I like her even more.

Really, Shailene?  Really?  How old are you?  Twenty.  Not seventy.  Though you say this dress is really "you", it shouldn't be.  It's way too old for you.  This look is boring in every way.  Boring hair, boring makeup, boring neckline, sleeves, color.  You're young, have a little fun!  Even if you kept everything the same about this dress but changed the color to something seriously fun, like a bright yellow, it would be TONS better.

Michelle Williams looked great last night.  It was so nice to see her in color, rather than black and white, and see her in a strapless dress, rather than something with sleeves and a crewneck.  I love the details on this dress - the little peplum flounce at the waist, the ruffles, the little jewled bow - all lovely.  I'm not a fan of her clutch, but I don't think she carried it for very long because I actually never saw it until I downloaded this picture.  Maybe she had her ever-present red carpet companion, Busy Phillips, carry it for her because she knew it was ugly.  It's also worth noting that this is not a red dress.  It's a bright orange-y coral color, which is really fun.

That's it for now.  But I have many more dresses to talk about, and even a couple men this time around!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Favorite Fancy Tile

I had to call this Fancy Tile because it's definitely not standard.  This probably isn't something I'd put in just any bathroom, or over a large expanse,or in the guest bath shower - it's just too special for those applications.  But it really is my absolute favorite fancy tile.  I've loved it for years.  I'm sure it's super expensive, but I think it would be worth it on one wall in a powder room.  Boss man said that I'd get sick of it, but I don't think I would.

This is Ann Sacks - Beau Monde Rose Mosaic.  It has Heavenly Cream Marble, Thassos Marble, Rosa Portugallo Marble, and Rainbow Onyx.  Really - those are all individually cut pieces of stone to make up the rose pattern.  So much work.  So beautiful.  I LOVE it!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I Actually Made Something I Pinned on Pinterest

If you haven't wasted time on Pinterest yet, you're really missing out!  Such an addictive site!  I love it.

I am not a cook, nor am I a baker.  But I have found some of the yummiest looking things on Pinterest, and have actually made a few things.  They're all relatively easy so far, but I'm sure I'll get more adventurous soon.

The first thing I made is called Addictive Caramel Corn Puffs

We had something like this on Christmas and I absolutely loved it, so I was super excited to see it on Pinterest.  It's not the easiest thing to make as it requires constant attention.  My version did not come out anywhere near as yummy as the stuff we had on Christmas.  I'll try it again because I'm not sure I made it quite right and if it doesn't come out the way I want it again, I'll ask my aunt for her friend's recipe.

The next thing I made looked so easy, I didn't even look at the recipe attached to the picture.  But I'll link it here.  It's Chocolate & Peanut Butter Filled Crescent Rolls

These were okay.  I think I should have put in more peanut butter as I thought the ratio of peanut butter to crescent roll wasn't quite right (maybe I should've looked at the recipe!).  And since I'm the only person eating anything I make, I got sick of these before they were gone, since you need to make the entire roll of crescents.  If multiple people were eating them, I think that would be better.

Next up was Berry Baked Oatmeal.  Which my coworkers and I actually called Berry Oatmeal Bake and then shortened to BOB.  "I had a little BOB for breakfast today." :)

This was so super simple and really yummy, too.  I threw all the ingredients together before I got in the shower before work and it baked while I was getting ready.  It's pretty dense, and stays really moist because of the applesauce and berries.  When I had my first taste right out of the oven, I thought I should have thawed the frozen berries first because it was a little soggy around the berries.  But that sogginess was gone when I brought it to work.  And heated up leftovers were better than right out of the oven.  I'll definitely make this one again.

The last thing I've made so far is Quick and Easy Restaurant Salsa

I'm always looking for good and easy salsa recipes because I absolutely LOVE salsa.  This one is totally easy and really good.  Everything goes in the blender.  Simple.  I will alter it a little next time I make it, though.  The first time I used a little too much cilantro.  And even though I love cilantro, it was a bit overpowering.  I used the entire bunch I bought which was more than the recipe called for.  Also, next time I will chop some extra onions and add them after everything goes through the blender because I like a little bit of chunky onions.  But overall, a Pin Win.

Next up I'm going to try Cheesy Cauliflower Pancakes.

I have everything to make these but haven't been around to do it yet.  I'll let you know how they come out.

Check out Pinterest if you haven't yet.  You can follow my pin boards by clicking on the button to the right!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Birth Control Bill Debate

I wasn't going to touch this story because it is such a hot-button issue for members of my family, but after I had a conversation with my mom about it all, I decided I needed to voice my opinion.  Basically, my opinion is that everybody should have the same rights and access to health care.  But here are the details...

What does the bill say?  It is a policy that would make contraceptives available free of charge as preventive care for women enrolled in workplace health plans.  The big debate is how the rules would apply to nonprofit organizations such as hospitals, colleges, and charities that are affiliated with a religion but serve the general public.  The bill was not going to require churches, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship to cover birth control.

In an article Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar wrote for the Associated Press, he addressed some of the bigger questions and I'll quote his information here.  What was going to change for hospitals and charities?  "Previously the administration had said that such affiliated institutions were basically going to be treated like all other employers and insurance plans.  They would have to cover birth control as part of a package of preventive services for women.  Obama has now walked that back.  Employers affiliated with a religion will not have to provide birth control coverage if it offends their beliefs.  However, the insurers that cover their workers will be required to offer birth control directly to women working for the religious employer, and do so free of charge."

Insurers are going to pay for birth control themselves?  "An administration report says the cost of providing birth control should be a wash for insurers.  It's a lot cheaper than paying for labor and delivery."  "A government report suggests the average cost to insurers ranges from $26 to $41 a year per woman for providing the coverage."

What is the reaction to Obama's concession?  "Some conservatives say it doesn't go far enough.  They would like a conscience exemption for any employer, not just religious ones.  Women's groups are relieved that Obama has proposed a plan that maintains access for all women.  Catholic hospitals are saying they can support the compromise, as are anti-abortion Catholics who helped pass the health care overhaul in Congress.  The bishops say they're still concerned but are reserving judgement until they talk with the administration."  (I'll get to their responses later.)

Here I must interject and say that this makes complete sense to me.  The bill is just making sure that all women have access to the same health care, regardless of where they work.  Catholic hospitals do not just employ Catholics - why should the people that work there have to adopt the religious morals of their employer?  Nobody would be required to actually take  birth control pills if they don't want to, they would just be able to have insurance pay for them now if they take them.

Another article in USA Today, by Nicholas Kristof, had some additional interesting numbers.  "Every dollar that the United States government spends on family planning reduces Medicaid expenditures by $3.74, according to Guttmacher.  Likewise, the National Business Group on Health estimated that it costs employers at least an extra 15% if they don't cover contraception in their health plans."

Shouldn't we be in support of that?  If our employers can save money in the long run on health insurance costs, they'll be less likely to lay-off workers, and may even hire more!  Makes sense to me.

The last article I found was sort of a truth-o-meter for the study the bill referenced as its main source of facts that support this issue.  It looked at what the bill supporters claimed, what the bishops argued, and what the study actually found.  From Becky Bowers, Tampa Bay Times:

"The White House, defending a decision requiring many Catholic hospitals, schools, and charities to offer contraception coverage to employees, argues that most women - including most Catholic women use birth control.
The study, 'Countering Conventional Wisdom: New Evidence of Religion and Contraceptive Use' is based on government data collected in the National Survey of Family Growth.
The survey has been conducted seven times since 1973 by the National Center for Health Statistics, with the most recent cycle in 2006-10.  The survey includes women ages 15 to 44.  Researchers conduct personal interviews to gather information on marriage, divorce, contraception, infertility, and health of women and infants.
The source is regularly used for studies on contraceptives and religion, including one we found published by the Catholic Medical Association.  (The 2001 article found the high rate of contraceptive use by Catholic women 'not new or surprising.')
Researchers ask women for their religious affiliation, including details about how important a role religion plays in their lives and how often they attend religious services.
Guttmacher's study relies on data from the survey's interviews with 7,356 women between June 2006 and December 2008, focusing on those who called themselves Catholic, mainline Protestant, and evangelical Protestant.
The numbers are stark, according to the study:
'Among all women who have had sex, 99% have ever used a contraceptive method other than natural family planning.  This figure is virtually the same, 98%, among sexually experienced Catholic women.'
(Interestingly, the Guttmacher study noted that 'attendance at religious services and importance of religion to daily life are largely unrelated to us of highly effective contraceptive methods.')
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops responded with a post of its own on February 3.  It didn't directly dispute the 98% statistic.  But the post did  argue that it was irrelevant and used in a misleading way.
The study says 98% of 'sexually experienced' women, a distinction the White House didn't make. (Sexually experienced women accounted for most of the women in the sample, including 70% of never-married Catholic women.)
The more relevant Guttmacher statistic would be use of 'highly effective' methods of contraception covered by the new rule, such as the pill, IUDs, and sterilization among sexually active women who don't want to become pregnant - 68% of the Catholic women and 69% for all women."

The Tampa Bay Times article found that what everybody is claiming is accurate; the different parties just pull out the information they like and quote it instead of using all of the information.

I think it's also important to note that according to the EWTN, the Global Catholic Network, the Humanae Vitae** says, "unnatural and artificial means of birth control are immoral and blameworthy."  It says, "equally to be excluded, as the teaching authority of the Church has frequently declared, is direct sterilization, whether perpetual or temporary whether of the man or woman." (Humanae Vitae, 14) This condems tubal ligations, vasectomies, and the Pill. "Similarly excluded is every action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible." (Humanae Vitae, 14) Such unnatural forms include the Pill, intrauterine device, foams, diaphragms, condoms, withdrawal, mutual or solitary masturbation and sodomistic practices."  

The Humanae Vitae says that they only moral forms of "birth control" are using breast feeding as a way to space babies out, and Natural Family Planning, wherein a couple uses such things as cervical mucus testing and basal temperatures to determine fertile times, which would then allow a couple to either have more intercourse during fertile times in order to have a greater chance of conceiving, or avoid intercourse during fertile times to avoid conceiving.

It's interesting to me that the Humanae Vitae condemns withdrawal as much as the Pill. I have know many religious people who think that withdrawal was an appropriate and religiously moral form of birth control. 

Part of the reason I wanted to write about this was because of a conversation I had with my mom about this subject. She told me that back in the sixties, after my grandparents had had six children and multiple miscarriages, my grandmother decided that she could not have/did not want to have any more children. She talked to her priest about it and her priest approved of her going on the Pill to prevent any unwanted pregnancies. If it was okay for her, as deemed by her priest, why is it not okay for any other Catholic woman to have the choice?

If you believe in the teachings of the Catholic Humanae Vitae and practice Natural Family Planning, good for you. If you don't believe in it and want the option to take the Pill or use a condom, good for you. What is so great about our country is that we are free to choose! We don't have to abide by others beliefs here. We are free to practice our own religions and get the health care we want. I would never force my beliefs on somebody else and I don't want their beliefs forced on me.  

**For those who don't know what it is, Humanae Vitae (Latin Of Human Life) is an encyclical written by Pope Paul VI and issued on 25 July 1968. Subtitled On the Regulation of Birth, it re-affirms the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church regarding married love, responsible parenthood, and the continuing proscription of most forms of birth control.