Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Virtual Paintout: Liverpool Part 2

When I created my first sketch of Liverpool for The Virtual Paintout I really enjoyed drawing a place that I had actually visited, so I decided to create another sketch of Liverpool. This time I drew the site of the former Sgt. Pepper's Bistro at the roundabout on Church and Allerton Road. I remembered seeing this place on The Beatles themed Magical Mystery Bus Tour and I thought the building had an interesting shape. It was here at the roundabout that the "pretty nurse" (or more likely Nurse Cadet - not a full-time nurse) stood. It is thought that this nurse was in fact Beth Davidson, a childhood friend of John Lennon, and later to become Lennon's best friend Pete Shotton's wife. She would stand there and meet up with her friends while raising money selling poppies.

Church & Allerton Rd., Liverpool
watercolor, watercolor pencil, pen
6 x 6

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Virtual Paintout: Greenland

In March, The Virtual Paintout explored Greenland- which is surprisingly less green than the name suggests. Since Greenland is sparsely populated, there were only a few areas available to explore via Google Maps, and I decided to draw a Street View of Hvalsey Church. According to WikipediaHvalsey Church was a church in the abandoned Greenlandic Norse settlement of Hvalsey. The best preserved Norse ruins in Greenland, the Church was also the location of the last written record of the Greenlandic Norse, a wedding in September 1408. I took my time with this drawing and didn't finish it until the beginning of April, so it doesn't appear on the official website.

Hvalsey Church, Greenland
watercolor, watercolor pencil, pen
6 x 6

Sunday, April 19, 2015

What's Making Me Laugh: Matt Berry Does the Boat Race

Last weekend was the BNY Mellon Boat race between Oxford University and Cambridge University (spoiler alert: Oxford won). In honor of the races, the BBC released a television short called Matt Berry Does the Boat Race and I've been cracking up ever since. The clip is very similar to Matt Berry's Funny Valentine that I shared back in February, so if you liked that you'll enjoy this too.

Warning: This clip contains naughty language. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Virtual Paintout: Bhutan

Admittedly I didn't know anything about the country of Bhutan before I began exploring the country on Google Maps for April's Virtual Paintout feature, but I enjoyed the region's architecture and mountains and decided to focus on that in my drawing.  

Lingmethang, Mongar, Bhutan
watercolor, watercolor pencil, pen, & pencil
6 x 6 

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Belated Virtual Paintout Post: Liverpool, England

After completing 10 Virtual Paintout and Belated Virtual Paintout drawings, my 11th drawing is the first Virtual sketch of a place I've actually visited. In April 2014 The Virtual Paintout took a look at Liverpool, and in July 2014 I visited Liverpool with my mom. So in March 2015 when I started looking for places in Liverpool to sketch on Google Maps, I had a vague idea of where I wanted to sketch- somewhere Beatles related but not overly obvious. I chose 24 Church Rd which is the church cemetery where the real Eleanor Rigby is buried. The church is situated on the same street that John Lennon and Paul McCartney met for the first time. 

"Eleanor Rigby"
24 Church Rd.
Liverpool, England
6 x 6
watercolor, watercolor pencil, pen

Saturday, April 4, 2015

What I'm Listening To: Brotherhood of Man "Save Your Kisses for Me"

Hello everyone! This week I attended the live performance of the Eurovision Song Contest 60th Anniversary and it was amazeballs! Sixteen of the best Eurovision acts from the past 60 years performed such as Conchita Wurst, Loreen, Lordi (the Finnish band, not the singer), and Dana International, plus Graham Norton and Petra Mede hosted, and Riverdance was there.

Before attending the performance I tried to research some of the older Eurovision acts that would be performing, so I'd know what I was in for. One group I was really unsure if I would enjoy was Brotherhood of Man. I just didn't get it when I watched the clip of their 1976 performance! But after seeing the group in person and watching the crowds of people sing and dance along, I understood the appeal. Check out a clip of their 1976 performance of "Save Your Kisses for Me" above.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Best Dressed from the 2015 Academy Awards

This year I wouldn't let myself watch the 2015 Academy Awards (aka. The Oscars) until I had watched most of the film nominees. I was able to catch The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, Boyhood, Birdman, and most of the animated and documentary shorts just to name a few before I was satisfied that I could watch the Academy Awards without feeling like I was missing something. 

My Favorite Highlights from the Awards:
  • Neil Patrick Harris as the host
  • The opening sequence.
  • The Birdman spoof
  • Patricia Arquette's Oscar speech (watch here)
  • Lady Gaga's Sound of Music tribute (watch here).
  • Tegan and Sara and the Lonely Island's "Everything is Awesome" performance. 
  • John Legend and Common performing "Glory"

I'm not going to lie. I wasn't really blown away by any one outfit on the Oscar's red carpet this year, but here were a few of my favorites.

I am continuously loving Keria Knightley's Chanel baby-bump style.
Keira Knightley
Lupita always looks stunning on the red carpet and her white pearl dress was no exception.
Lupita Nyong'o
Rosamund Pike wore the dress I'd most like to wear if I attended the Oscars. I love the color red and I thought her dress was super figure-flattering.
Rosamund Pike
I thought Jessica Chastain looked lovely in navy!
Jessica Chastain
I've heard that there's been a bit of controversy over comments made about Zendaya's Oscar hairstyle, but I thought her look was totally classy and hip.
Did you watch the Oscars? What were your favorite moments? Who wore your favorite outfits? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

What's Making Me Laugh: The New Girl's Popcorn Machine Bit

I love the Fox TV show, The New Girl! The show just keeps getting funnier and funnier and this week they had one of their funniest bits yet. In the episode, Jess (played by Zooey Deschanel) thinks that her friend CeCe (played by Hannah Simone) has a crush on Jess's ex/ roommate, Nick Miller (played by Jake Johnson). It's not true!

Meanwhile, CeCe has been hounding Nick to purchase a popcorn machine for the bar they both work at, so when Jess approaches Nick to talk about CeCe, he thinks she's talking about the machine. Hilarity ensues! 

The clip below is low quality, but you'll get the idea.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

What I'm Listening To: Charli XCX "Boom Clap"

My husband has been playing Charli XCX's newest album, Sucker, on repeat in the car all week long.  One of the best things about Charli XCX is that she sings pop with some punk-rock inspired edge and she performs with an all girl band. This week I thought I'd share the most popular song from her latest album, "Boom Clap" (also on the Fault in our Stars movie soundtrack).  

Friday, February 27, 2015

ABM Book Club Discussion: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

In January the A Beautiful Mess Book Club read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. I opted to read the novel first even though there's a movie version of this book because skipping to the movie would feel like cheating.

Even though I come from Kansas, I haven't done very much traveling to the deep south, but this book painted a very intriguing and enticing image of Savannah, Georgia that's made me want to visit this city and see if the characters and places really do exists (FYI: My favorite character was the Lady Chablis because I enjoyed her attitude and sass).  

Book Club Questions:

-  Did Jim kill Danny? And while we’re talking about Jim, is he a sympathetic character at all? Is he funny and charming, or more deceiving and dark? 
Danny was no saint and appeared to have many flaws (struggles with drugs and anger), but I think that Jim became jealous when Danny began seeing the art student and the pair may have had an argument which lead to Jim killing Danny. 

It's easy to be sympathetic towards Jim because Jim is so funny and charismatic in addition to being smart, powerful and a pillar in Savannah's community, but I also believe Jim also had a dark, oppositional and secretive side. We're able to see Jim's oppositional side in the way he displays the Nazi flag in the window to disrupt the movie crew from filming his house. Jim also casually uses his status and wealth to turn over antiques, get better accommodations in prison and get his needs and wants met both in and out of prison. It's not so difficult to conclude that Jim easily could have manipulated the young, poor, recovering addict Danny into committing crimes for Jim in addition to becoming his lover. I think the most brilliant part of Jim's character is that Jim demonstraits many qualities reminiscent of Descartes evil demon , and is even able to manipulate the reader into considering Danny's murder to be justified.

-  Do we have a sense for what is good and what is evil in Savannah? My eyebrows are raised, and I’m not sure what’s what. 
I think that part of the reason that the author introduces us to such a vibrant and quirky cast of characters is to make us question what is good and what is evil. Some people might be quick to judge Lady Chablis as evil because of her sexual orientation, but she seems to have a great relationship with her boyfriend and didn't seem remotely evil to me. 

In this story, I think Jim is the representation of evil because he is so powerful, wealthy and charismatic that he is able to get away with murder.

-  Do you wonder how much Minerva really knows?  
Yes. I was skeptical of Minerva's style of magic throughout the book, but in the end she did get results. 

-  This story makes Savannah seem like such an insular and closed city. Could this story have taken place anywhere else?
I don't feel like this story could have taken place anywhere, but it could have taken place in any insular and isolated town or city. 

-  Lastly, how much do you wish that Luther Driggers' glow-in-the-dark goldfish worked?  
Glow-in-the-dark goldfish would be so cool! I guess I'll have to just settle for watching nature programs with bio-luminescent fish.

Have you read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil or watched the movie? Feel free to add your thoughts on them below.

Next the A Beautiful Mess Book Club is reading Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. It was a quick read and I'm already finished so check back soon for my discussion.


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