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For the Love of the Games

I am a fan of the Olympics.  They are a time of great endeavors & national pride.  They are a few weeks chock full of excitement, during which years of training may or may not come to fruition for thousands of athletes.  They are simply awesome!

Living in the host country of the 30th Olympiad had some serious perks.  Back home in the States, you generally catch the highlights in the evenings.  The most popular events are played for you with dramatic commentaries and the iconic trumpeting of the theme song – so good!  However, the BBC went all out for coverage of London 2012 with 24 channels (48 total if you HD & non) literally labelled “BBC Olympics 1 HD” and so on.  These channels would be dedicated to whatever sport was happening with non-stop coverage…no commercials!  If there weren’t 24 sports happening at a certain time, the higher channels would play a never-ending loop of the day’s coming schedule with it’s own fantastically dramatic song.  You could watch every single heat, match, or round of whatever you like.  Also, our Sky coverage let us push a certain button on our remote that took us to an interactive menu for the Olympics – fancy!  What this basically boils down to is that I got very little accomplished in the way of productivity for two & a half weeks.

I did miss the Olympic fanfare & the excitable commentators of NBC.  The BBC would usually get someone reputable to commentate the sports (like Michael Johnson for athletics), but sometimes the UK perspective was just too much for me, or too little.  They would openly cheer for their athletes instead of keeping up with the action, or once the results were in they would focus on the British athlete who did not win instead of the actual winner, and something about their attitude towards the US athletes sometimes would rub me the wrong way, sort of like how it feels to be a Razorback on Fox Sports.  (I’m probably just being sensitive since all I wanted to know about was how awesomely we were dominating the Games, and they weren’t too keen on that.  I pretty much stalked the London 2012 website every day to track our medal standings – China had me worried quite a few times there, but we pulled it out in the end, or crushed it you could say with our 104 medals!  Yes, I am an obnoxiously proud American; I’m aware that it’s stereotypical.)  And sometimes they were just boring … but seriously, you can’t beat being able to surf 24 channels of all Olympics, so my overall impression is very positive.

The other A-mazing perk of living in the host country is actually getting to attend Olympic events – check that one off the Bucket List!  It was a once in a lifetime experience, and I am extremely grateful for it.  I got to go to 3 events: gymnastics, beach volleyball, & wrestling.  Most of our tickets came from friends already living here who were then able to enter the tickets lottery over a year ago.  We were able to buy some re-released tickets once we were living here as well.

In order to attend the events in London, we drove to our nearest outlying underground station & used the travel passes that came with the tickets to get to our venues.  Good call #1 for the London planners – a day pass included with each ticket that covered all public transit within London.  This encouraged people to use the abundant transport resources of London without dealing with tons of people having to figure out buying their own passes & such.  Actually there were a lot of points on which I was thoroughly impressed at how logistics were being handled.  The flow of traffic was shockingly smooth throughout our experiences.  Lots of things aided this including but not limited to: an extensive planning & marketing campaign to prepare locals for the increased numbers, excessive signage (England is always very good with signage – check back with my driving post for more proof), and an army of volunteers directing visitors at all of their steps along the way that included actual Army personnel, police, & civilians.  Every tube station had police officers which was a good move for security as well (some bobbies even had guns which is not standard practice here).  As you exited the tube & at all areas around Olympic venues, there were volunteers with vests & ID tags & the polo/khaki combo denoting themselves to visitors & giving assistance without even being asked most of the time; they kept up a steady stream of general instructions & information.  There would even be volunteers on raised chairs like lifeguards with megaphones directing traffic with useful information, like “Please stay to the right if you are proceeding to the Olympic Park.”  Even more amazing was the general attitude of the volunteers which was light & happy that made you feel very welcome.  They weren’t all stressed out & barking orders; they were joking around & smiling at you.  One lifeguard chair guy was even jovially welcoming people over his megaphone.  It  was pretty great!  Oh, I forgot about the Army members running the security checkpoints that were also friendly & at ease – maybe a little too much because I got hit-on a couple of times by the uniformed gents.

The atmosphere was energetic & thrilling.  All around were people dressed brightly in the colors of their country.  Everything from t-shirts, scarves, & hats to the cape-like wearing of flags to face-paint or full spandex body suits.  Not to mention the matching track suits of the team members!  For one trip into the city, we ate lunch at a place in the shopping center located just outside the entrance to the Olympic Park, and our entertainment was “Spot the Athlete.”  They were there, just mixed in with all the other people trying to get place to place.  From our different trips, we got to get a picture with a US boxer named Jose Ramirez, & I got a shot with gold medalist wrestler Jordan Burroughs.

Quick rundown of the events I got to see: First, Women’s Gymnastic Team Finals at the North Greenwich Arena, my friend, Katie, lucked out with these tickets from the lottery & took a group of us to revel in the amazing performances of the Fierce Five.  It was a surreal experience to be there, watching the US girls solidly take home the gold.  You almost need the repeat of performances in slow motion three times like on TV to cope with the awesomeness of what just happened.  In real-life, it happens almost too fast to take it all in!

Look at all of our pride!  Next, I watched a couple of Beach Volleyball matches at HorseGuards Parade with Tina.  We caught men’s Norway v. Latvia & women’s Netherlands v. Brazil on a beautiful sunny day.  These tickets Sam & I purchased a few weeks prior, but he ended up being unable to attend.  Luckily, Tina could come, & she is more than enough fun to make up for my missing hubs.

Check out our awesome headgear!  The neat thing is that I went home & watched the television coverage of our match to catch some screen shots of us in the background:

Awesome!  Lastly, Sam & I got to go watch some Freestyle Wrestling finals, including seeing Jake Varner win the gold at the ExCel Centre.  We learned a lot about the sport & had a blast finally going to London together.

It was truly remarkable getting to attend these Olympic Events, but I have to stop talking about them because I’ve run out of adjectives & cannot let myself use amazing one more time.  Luckily, I’ve already got some tickets lined up for Paralympic Athletics for a chance to get inside the Olympic Park finally & see the astounding efforts of people who have not let physical disability keep them from aspiring for greatness.  If Olympic athletes impress you at all, I dare you to not be inspired by Paralympians.  Read up on the history of the Paralympics & get yourself psyched up for some more great sport!  Otherwise, we’ve got a long countdown until the next Olympics, brought to you by Casa Brasil:

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Wiig-ing Out!

I love Kristen Wiig!  She is at the top of my hilarious women list. She’s nutty & adorable & doesn’t let worrying over appearance hold her back from going all-in for her comedy.  She pulls off some of the most awkward characters & makes me laugh until I can’t breathe.  Just look at this presh pic by Terry Richardson that I found at Joe’s Daily.  She’s just too much!

My first encounter with Kristen was in March of 2007 during the Peyton Manning episode.  I’m fairly certain that this was the first full episode of SNL I had ever watched (don’t judge me, I was sheltered).  A Penelope skit came on, and I was hooked.  Why not take something annoying, like a one-upper, & take it to the amusing extreme?  Add the personality quirks of hair twisting & trailing off every boast with a sooo…. and you’ve got something that’s fun to watch & fun to mimic.  After all, good comedy lives on through repeating it whenever possible in your day-to-day life.  Side bar, example: Sam’s way of telling me he was glad to have one of our friends as a roommate on a trip was saying they were going to bunk their beds, so they had more room for activities.  Here’s another Penelope skit:
Penelope Therapy

Over the years since, Kristen has had so many fantastic characters on SNL.  My ultimate favorite is Sue the woman who just really LOVES surprises.  It’s like she’s spoofing me in those skits; I cannot hold in a good surprise & have repeatedly told my family & friends their gifts or surprises prematurely.  I should start wearing turtlenecks to Christmas, so I can use them to cover my mouth.
Surprise Party
Engagement Surprise

Other great characters & impersonations include the Target Lady (it’s a match!), the deformed sister on the Lawrence Welk show (is that weird?), Kathie Lee Gifford (what am I doing?), the Secret Word actress (when I see a word, I have to say it), Judy Grimes (just kidding), Paula Dean (booter & oyil), Two A-Holes with Jason Sudeikis (you look like a rabbit), and Garth & Kat with Fred Armisen (please, Mr Meyers?!).  I could go on & on.  Check out ScreenCrush.com’s choice’s for her top 10.  Just watch them all!  You really have to for me because I can’t watch most of them – Hulu is not available in the UK : (

Even though she’s not always looking her best in her sketches with crazy wigs, prosthetics, & faces, she certainly does clean up nice & has really come into her own on the red carpet.
Fashion photos courtesy of JustJared.

Sadly, this past season was her last on SNL, but hopefully, we’ll continue to see lots of her.  I’m really upset that I moved out of the US before her final show & have still yet to see it.  I expect the farewell was fitting for the only major female player since Amy Poehler left 3 seasons ago.  Some ladies are going to have to step up in the coming seasons!  Oh well, for now we can revel in the gems of comedic genius she gave us and hope for a Best of Kristen Wiig collection & many movies to come!

*Sorry the videos aren’t imbedding correctly – I blame the UK block! Hopefully, all the links are working though. : )

Look Out, Katniss!

I want to take up archery. That would be a neat hobby. I promise that this isn’t entirely due to The Hunger Games. Although, you must admit that Katniss looks pretty bad-A:

Before her, Romola Garai was making archery look posh & lady-like in Daniel Deronda:

I couldn’t pick, so I included both. British period movies had me before this as well with Gwyneth’s Emma:

Nothing like shooting stuff in a dress. That’s definitely how I’m going to do it.  But the earliest thing I can think of that impressed me with bow & arrow was Orlando Bloom in LOTR:

I’m still not sure how he pulled off that white-blonde wig.

Today, I kick-started my new hobby with a bow my husband made years ago. Yes, I said “made.”  Isn’t my hubs cool?  I think so!  So, we shot the homemade bow & hodgepodge of arrows at a small cardboard box, & miracle of miracles, I hit it!  Definitely taking this up in England, in a dress, with a tiny hat.  For how, here’s me looking a lot less nice:
For funsies, here’s hubs showing off his shots, too.
Hahahahahahahaha!! I love that man!

Princess Rap & a Sloth AutoTune

Sophia-Grace & Rosie do it again! They were back on Ellen, singing Keri Hilson’s Turn My Swag On, & they busted out some original verses. Check out this awesomeness!


Had to add this (can you tell I’m catching up on Ellen). They autotuned the sloth meltdown!

I really should have learned to play the cello.

2CELLOS – have you seen them yet? They were all over my DVR last week, appearing on Ellen & then Glee. Pretty flipping amazing. I’ve always liked the cello and its cousin, the stand-up base…and really well all strings, but the cello in particular, with its deep smooth tones, has always been a source of fascination & admiration.

Do you remember the movie August Rush? Kind of different, but the music is stellar. Keri Russell’s character plays the cello, & it is usually meshed in with the rock band of Jonathan Rhys Meyers’s character – cool, right? I’m a fan of mixing things up. Here’s a rather long clip of music from the movie, but if you got from the 1.5 min mark to the 3min mark, you’ll see what I’m talking about. Also, if you’ve never seen the movie, click one of the links for Raise It Up & be blown away by that little girl’s pipes.

So, anyways, 2CELLOS: here are there performances on Ellen & Glee (featuring Naya Rivera, who’s got some pipes of her own). Since the hubs & I are fans, we went ahead and bought their new album on iTunes on which they cover U2, Muse, Johnny Cash, Michael Jackson, Coldplay & Kings of Leon, among others. Definitely worth checking out, and who knows, if I would have taken lessons, I could have been their 3rd cello  : )  Enjoy!

My new favorite saying…

After seeing this ridiculously hilarious video that my dear friend, Kel, posted on my Facebook, I have now decided that my new favorite saying is “sloth meltdown.”  For example, my status today was: “Just found out that the Paradise bakery in town is also a Panera. I don’t know how that works, but I don’t care. I’m so excited I’m having a sloth meltdown!”  Or when I realized the diamond had fallen out of some earrings the hubs bought me way back when we were dating in high school, I most certainly had a major sloth meltdown. Want to know what the heck I’m talking about? Check this out:

Globe’s Glam, Part 2

So, Part 1 got “reblogged” yesterday. I didn’t know there was such a thing, but it basically meant my blog showed up on someone else’s and said “reblogged from” me. I’m guessing that meant they liked it because there were no comments from the reblogger. I don’t suppose I mind; I was just confused. Anyway, back to the pretty dresses:

Kate Beckinsale: come on! If this woman was any prettier,
the world would implode. This dress looks great on her.

Kate Winslet: Love her, but I think she’s done better.
Like the red dress from last year’s Emmy’s:

Laura Dern: Not sure this picture does it justice,
but this was a very pretty dress.

Lea Michele: I am a Glee fan, but this is not right. It’s not right for her body or her age. This is what I would expect someone sexy & sophisticated to wear, and she is not that. She is young & cute & very popular, so she should be wearing something fresh & edgier. She could get away with it, but she can’t get away with this. I much prefer the green dress from the SAG awards. Fresh. She’s still showing some cleavage if that must be a requirement, but she looks more her age and like she isn’t trying too hard.

Michelle Williams: I like it! I’m not really into velvet,
but I like this & the headband.

Morena Baccarin: I saw this and thought it was fantastic,
and then I saw the front.

Note: I basically nixed all of my N’s because they were boring.

Octavia Spencer: Beautiful! Great color, great shape, great choice for her. Again, dressing your body right is this. Love that she won!

Piper Perabo: too big & too see-through. I just don’t like it.

Reese Witherspoon: Isn’t she great! I’m all for her dressing like a bombshell, but I actually don’t like this. It just isn’t the right bombshell choice. If you google her+dress, you’ll see she is the queen of looking hot in not-too-short short dresses, but my favorite of her’s in the long category goes all the way back to the Oscars ’06:

Rooney Mara: Is this her own style or has she become her character in GWTDT? Look how cute she used to be:

Sarah Hyland: How cute is she? I think this is fabulous.

Sarah Michelle Gellar: this one is painful. She said her 2yr old daughter picked it out. That’s sweet & all, but she’s 2 & you’re going to a legit awards show. She would have forgotten that she picked that one, and you could have looked stellar…Ms Gellar – oh come on, the rhyme was right there.

Shailene Woodley: the waist down is great, but the top is killing me. Look, if something is small, you don’t emphasize that it is small, but dress it to look its best. That’s the nicest way I could put that.

Tilda Swinton: look, I just don’t get her. She’s too weird or edgy or fashionable for me to keep up. That said, this outfit is actually better than most. I like the color, but I just really want to fix her collar for her.

Zooey Deschanel: I really like her! This is cute & the back is cute & the tuxedo nails are adorable, but I have to say that like Shailene Woodley, this needs chest support. That’s all & it would have been perfect.
Dressing your body right includes the proper undergarments. Do your girls justice, no matter what size they are. Ok, I’m done.

I think that rounds up the things I just had to comment on. Again, let me know what you think. Who was your big win or big miss? I promise I won’t do any clothing scrutinizing blogs until the Oscars (unless we are scrutinizing my clothes, which I could do so all day long). Happy Tuesday!