Sunday, February 24, 2019

My Top Twenty from the 2019 Academy Awards Red Carpet

“I can’t think of any better representation of beauty
than someone who is unafraid to be herself.”
~Emma Stone


I fully planned to pick ten favorites from tonight's red carpet at the Oscars, but even after paring down my initial pick, it turns out that I still ended up with twenty. So, in no particular order, here they are.

**All photos from oscar.go.com and vogue.com**


Adam Lambert made the list tonight because he caught my eye while in the audience. He was certainly decked out to be pretty. And the orchid boutonniere and those cuffs. Great look.




Allison Janney's black gown is classic with a twist. I would have liked it better if the neckline didn't go all the way down to her waist. A deep V neck looks great, but two or three inches higher would have been my preference.




Ashley Graham and her black gown get a vote from me simply because she can successfully walk in that mermaid skirt! Impressive.




As usual, Dame Helen Mirren looks wonderful. This pink gown with shades of coral, fuchsia, pink, and orange was a beautiful choice. And the flow of that skirt! Every little girl's dream of endless twirling.




Billy Porter is fierce in a bespoke Christian Siriano tuxedo gown. I love this surprise look.




David Oyelowo looks sharp in his velvet tux.




Jessica Oyelowo sparkles. And I loved seeing her extremely fair skin. I have extremely fair skin and usually tanned skin is seen as most desirable or beautiful, so seeing her milky white porcelain skin is fantastic!




Elisa Pagliese's gown reminded me of a push-pop. The blocks of color caught my eye and though it's probably not something I would choose for myself, it is fun.




Emma Stone's Louis Vuitton gown is unusual enough that it kept catching my eye.




Fatma Al Remaihi glows in this beautiful navy blue caped beaded gown.




Gemma Chan wowed in this high-neck tiered fuchsia gown by Valentino Couture. The tiers. The floral neck. And... pockets! And fuchsia! She looks great.




While not my favorite evening gown on Glenn Close, this gold caped gown is a good choice. I'm liking the trend of cape-dresses.




Henry Golding in Ralph Lauren. Love the white vest and tie.




Lady Gaga in a bespoke sculptured gown by Alexander McQueen. Take a look at those hips. I guess that's one way to hide or accentuate your hips. And that 128-carat Tiffany diamond necklace!




Marie Kondo is just delightful in this pink gown, reminiscent of a Japanese cherry blossom tree.




Marina de Tavira in another ruffly tiered skirt.




Octavia Spencer looks lovely in this navy blue gown. The sparkles make her look like a beautiful midnight sky.




Stephan James in red velvet. The shape of his bowtie. The red velvet. The sunburst lapel pin. The vest. Sharp with a twist.




Tina Fey in custom Vera Wang. love the brilliant blue.




Trevor Noah, in Salvatore Ferragamo, is simply handsome.





Monday, February 11, 2019

2019 BAFTA Red Carpet Favorites

"What is beautiful is good, and
who is good will soon also be beautiful."
~Sappho


The BAFTA Awards (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) always bring out great looks on the red carpet and also they reliably bring out The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. If you don't know already, I have a bit of an obsession with the BRF (that's the British Royal Family, for those not in the know) and especially the younger royal generation.

As with most of my red carpet posts, here are some of my favorite looks on the red carpet in no particular order. Okay, let's be honest, the order is particular because I'm starting with the Duchess of Cambridge. #royalfan

All photos found at eonline.com or today.com.



Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge swept the red carpet with a white gown that seemed to simply glide. The movement of the skirt was wonderful and I love the floral detail on the shoulder. I haven't been a big fan of one-shoulder dresses in the past, but they are growing on me, as I've seen a number of stunning one-shoulder gowns in the past several years.




Next, we have Glenn Close, a woman who rarely disappoints with her fashion choices. Simple. Great v-neck. Love the peplum. Interesting sparkly adornment.




Letitia Wright looked great in this minimalist look. I love the white, the ankle pants, and the statement shoes and clutch.




Margot Robbie's gown looks a bit like ... well, I don't know. Angel wings maybe? It's definitely a departure from my own personal style, but it's working for me. I like it.





The cut of Michelle Yeoh's gown is my favorite part of it. The attached train/cape is a favorite evening gown look of mine these days. I wish the blue color were a bit bolder so that the contrast between with the gold was more prominent. However, she does match the logo in the back pretty well.




Olivia Colman's black and white classic look has an added twist with the bateau neckline and 3/4 bell sleeves. I think the bell sleeves would have looked better if they were full-length or wrist-wrist length, simply because added width right at one's hips/waistline serves to make one look wider than they really are. However, I still like the look. I find that I'm especially drawn to gowns that have more coverage. I myself like to be more covered. I don't like my upper arms and I also don't like getting cold, so I think more coverage is usually my style.




Rachel Brosnahan is lovely in her clean cut green gown ... if you remove the big bow. It's certainly a conversation piece, but it just gets in the way for me.




Regina King is bold with that bright pink. Love the color. Don't love the strap in the middle of her chest; I would have preferred an off-the-shoulder strap symmetrical to the other side. But I like the cut of the dress (minus the giant leg slit -- again with that coverage) and the flutter bottom of the skirt.




And lastly, another one-shoulder dress from Salma Hayek. I like the simplicity of this one. No slit. Long sleeve. Good cut. Weird lizard adornment, but to each their own.


Sunday, February 10, 2019

2019 Grammy's Red Carpet Favorites

"If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn't need to lug around a camera."
~Lewis Hine

It's been awhile since I've done a red carpet post. And while I have a ton of other stuff I want to blog about, that will wait for now. This is probably not the best red carpet night to start back with, since I don't even particularly love any of these looks, let alone know who any of these people really are(!) -- I'm getting old -- here we go in no particular order.

All images found on www.eonline.com.

First up: Camila Cabello's gown looks more like it should be a set on a set a china, not a gown, but I'm digging it. I love the blue hue and the solid shawl adds a bold pop that mutes the gown's otherwise dinner table vibe.




Ashlee Simpson's number was fun, if only because of the sparkles and the feathers.




Fatoumata Diawara's entire ensemble caught my eye. I love how the black dress creates a downplayed backdrop worthy to display all the color and patterns in her accessories.




Lady Gaga made my list because this was just an interesting dress. It's not really my style, but I like the funky ruffly piece sticking out. I'm sure there is a more fashion-friendly term for it. But you get my drift.




Zuri Hall won my vote for the bold two-toned color, varying textures, and the pleats.


And that was it, folks.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Three-day Fast; Take Three

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive,
nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."
~Charles Darwin


You may recall that I've completed a couple other three-day fasts in the last five years. Well, I've decided to do it again.

Previously, I thought I'd add it to my routine and do it every other month or so, but I haven't been successful at that. It's difficult to plan a 3-day fast because of the social and professional pressures of eating. So much of what we do includes or revolves around food.

So I'm starting tonight. Why tonight? Because I want the option of having dinner on Tuesday night or extending the 72-hour fast to something closer to 80 or 85 hours like I ended up doing last time. I recall it getting easier by the third day and thinking, "Why not just one more day?"

The benefits of a three-day fast are a cleansing of both body and mind. Your body begins to dump glycogen

Saturday 0-12 hours:
1:30pm: I ate a late breakfast and haven't eaten since, so I'm saying I'm starting my fast now.

2:00pm: Started making bone broth to eat when I'm coming off my fast. Bones of one whole chicken, several celery stalks, carrots, an onion, salt, parsley and lots of herbs like rosemary, thyme, etc.

7:24pm: Feeling hungry for dinner. Little headache. Drinking lots of water.

9:24pm: Took the bone broth off the burner. Cooled and strained it, pouring it into small containers. It smells delicious. Some articles about three-day fasts say that drinking bone broth (or even black coffee) are perfectly acceptable. I wish I believed that would be okay, but I feel like it's defeating the purpose. Especially since I make my bone broth with carrots which have sugar in them.

Total water intake on Saturday: 75 ounces


Sunday 12-24 hours:
10:42am: Technically this is still day one because it's within the first 24 hours. Feeling just fine.

Sunday 24-36 hours:
3:00pm: Brushed my teeth so I felt fresh. The taste of toothpaste also keeps me from feeling hungry or thinking about food.

11:40pm: Took a nap earlier today. Haven't felt hungry, but have been thinking about food. Didn't give KDJ a heads-up about me fasting, as I thought this morning that I should have. She made what smelled like a delicious artichoke dip for us to share tonight. I can hardly wait to eat it. It smelled so good. Thinking about food a lot. But not feeling like I'm going to die. Drank two cups of tea tonight. Traditional Medicinals Everyday Detox and one of Lavender Chamomile, which is my favorite.

Total water intake on Sunday: only 53 ounces. I think that was because I was at church and also took a nap. More tomorrow.


Monday 36-48 hours:
5:40am: Woke up and felt ready for the day. Forced myself to go back to sleep. Maybe my body doesn't need as much rest if it's not processing as much food?

Going without breakfast wasn't difficult. My morning was busy, so that likely kept my mind off of food. But I also almost wrote myself a sticky note to look at all day to remind myself not to eat.

12:30pm: Had two glasses of tea for lunch. Lemon & Ginger and Sweet Dreams. Wanted more. But kept drinking water.

Monday 48-60 hours:
1:30pm: I usually eat something in the afternoon and it was difficult to get away from that habit. Especially since I hadn't eaten lunch and seeing our breakroom at work stocked full with food I wanted: avocados, hard boiled eggs, string cheese, and jelly belly! WHY do I love jelly bellys so much!?!?!--it's a curse, really. It's funny because today seeing my co-worker munch on a handful of jelly bellys was the first time in the last three days that I've really craved anything sugary. I've been thinking more about savory foods.

Mmm. Savory. Thinking about KDJ's artichoke dip that I'm hoping to taste tomorrow night. Maybe that's too soon after ending my fast tomorrow at 1:30pm. But we'll see. I know my stomach has shrunk, so tasting a little will probably be all I can handle. But I need to get celery or something, so I don't carb overload on crackers.

3:00pm: Was hungry by afternoon. Not so much physically hungry, as mentally hungry. Maybe even socially hungry. But it's a little hard to separate them all.

4:00pm: I'm already looking forward to what I'm going to eat tomorrow. So I stocked up from the breakroom. An avocado. A protein drink, which I probably won't even drink until Wednesday breakfast. But just getting food and putting it in my fridge in my office somehow soothed the disappointment of not eating this afternoon.

5:25pm: My acid reflux symptoms (tmi: burping) were felt this afternoon and evening. Probably also because I drank a full 17 ounces of water in one sitting right before I left the office to come home. I haven't been as good about sipping all day long. Not sure why. Maybe that's what's causing the hunger a bit.

8:39pm: I have the hiccups.

9:00pm: Going to bed early. A little tired and just feel like sleeping since I can't eat anything. Usually if I'm hungry late at night, I just go to bed anyway. Eating late isn't a great habit and for some reason I can go to be a little hungry and not have too much trouble with it.

But I'm already planning my first meal tomorrow: bone broth that I made on Saturday. Then my second meal is going to be half an avocado, 2 hard boiled eggs, some nuts, and spinach if I can get it. Oh and some artichoke dip. :)

Total water intake on Monday: 87 ounces

Tuesday 60-72 Hours:
Not that hungry. Again just mentally or socially. But it was easy for me to turn down a doughnut today since I knew I was getting my delicious bone broth. :) Haha.

Total water intake on Tuesday:76 ounces

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Visiting The United Arab Emirates: Old Dubai

"Sometimes one day in a different place gives you more than ten years of life at home."
~Anatole France




After a good night’s sleep in our luxurious hotel in Dubai, we had one full free day before we began our back-to-back business visits. We fought through jet leg by taking a tour of the city of Dubai, seeing both the old and new.

Dubai was well known as a fishing and pearl-diving community until the late 1920s when the invention of artificial pearls and the Great Depression led to the collapse of the international pearl market. They focused on alternative sources of money by leveraging their port to re-export goods from Indian and Iranian traders. 


We visited the Dubai Museum, which showcased what life was like during the fishing and pearl-diving era. Fishermen and divers left home early in the morning, came back at noon, and then went out again after afternoon prayers. A replica of one of the pearl-diving boats has a prominent place just outside the museum, which is housed in the original Al Fahidi Fort built in 1787, the oldest existing building in Dubai.








Continuing on our tour of Old Dubai, we crossed over “The Creek” in traditional boats to the Gold Souk.










From the dock, we walked over to the Gold Souk, (souk or suq means market in Arabic). What we found was an array of gold merchants for which the souk was named. Interestingly, the Emirati government has taken great care in maintaining standardization of the price of gold and requires vendors to adhere to these regulations so the market remains viable. The price of gold that day is always posted and all vendors stick to it.









Also at the souk were spice merchants, home d├ęcor and textile merchants, and all other goods, smells, and chaos you might imagine in a crowded market. Only a few shops (mostly the gold shops) were air conditioned and big enough to walk around without sharing personal space with an eager salesperson. But mostly, I just walked around taking in all the sights and smells that you might expect to find in a traditional Middle Eastern market.












Walking through the Gold Souk felt a little like walking through an obstacle course or the gauntlet. Merchants were constantly trying to get you to stop in their store. I walked out of there with nothing because 1) I didn't see anything immediately that I wanted and 2) I was so turned off by the constant in-your-face salesmanship that I didn't stick around long enough to see if I DID want anything they had to offer. Even so, I loved the experience.