Sunday, May 31, 2015

What's Making Me Laugh: David Letterman's Final Farewell

On May 20th, David Letterman said his final farewell to the Late Show with David Letterman and late night TV- with a television career spanning almost 35 years. As I watched the final episode, it was hard not to get a little teary-eyed. Since David Letterman's Late Night Show on NBC started before I was born, he's always been on tv in some capacity all of my life and I have many fond memories of watching the show with friends and family, so not being able to see the show anymore is comparable to loosing a dear uncle or a good friend. 

Here are a few of my favorite moments from the show:


While I am sad for David Letterman's show to end, I am looking forward to seeing Stephen Colbert take the Late Night stage. What are your favorite moments from David Letterman's Late Show? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

What I'm Listening To: Florence and the Machine 'What Kind of Man'

I just watched Florence and the Machine perform on the Graham Norton Show and on BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend and she sounded fabulous! Her newest album, "How Big How Blue How Beautiful" will be released in the UK on June 1st and in the US on June 2nd, but in the mean time you can listen to her single, "What Kind of Man" below.

Warning: This video contains scenes of mild violence and brief nudity. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

What I've Been Reading in April

After the A Beautiful Mess Book Club decided to take a break after reading All The Light We Cannot See by Antony Doerr (see my post about it here), I was a bit at a loss for what to read next. I was really enjoying the process of just picking up each month's book club selection without overthinking about what to read next and discovering something new. But having this book club break did give me the opportunity to read some of the books that I'd acquired and just hadn't gotten around to reading.  


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn/ I had actually convinced my husband to read this book just before the movie came out, and when I was struggling to find something to read on my own he recommended this book to me. I thought parts of this book seemed a little too far fetched, but I enjoyed reading it none-the-less.


The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins/ This book was recommended to me through Amazon and Goodreads so my husband and I decided to listen to this book together on Audioble and WE LOVED IT! This thriller is about a woman who always looks out for her favorite couple (whom she has never met) on their back patio that she passes by each day as she commutes to work on the train. But when she sees something shocking during her daily commute the woman has an opportunity to become apart of the lives of the people she's watched from afar.



The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion/ I'd frequently seen this book at some of the major bookstores, so I scooped it up when I found it on the free-to-take shelves at the library. This was a fun read! It's about a geneticist who is approaching middle age but hasn't had a second date, so he comes up with a scientific test, called The Wife Project, to find his perfect mate. The lead character could easily be compared to Sheldon Cooper of tv's Big Bang Theory.


Next I decided to conquer my Roald Dahl box set that I purchased shortly before moving to England:

George's Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl/ What does Roald Dahl have against grandmas!?
Matilda by Roald Dahl/ I had a nightmare about the Trunchbull after reading this book.
The Twits by Roald Dahl/ Fun read!
The BFG by Roald Dahl/ This was my favorite book of the bunch!
Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl/ I was surprised how short the book was compared to the film, but I loved it none the less.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl/ I imagined it as a cross between the 1971 and 2005 film versions.
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl/ This was the odd book of the bunch. It's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in space with political undertones.

My overall take-aways: Roald Dahl must not have been a fan of TV; people that are proud, greedy, lazy, violent, or mean for no reason; and was wary of most adults.


Locke & Key by Joe Hill/ When visiting my local comic book store, one of the workers recommended I check out the series after noticing my interest in the True Blood series. The books are written by Stephen King's son and follow the Locke family who have recently relocated to a New England Mansion that has special doors that transform those that walk through them. It's a dark, scary fantasy that's hard to put down.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What are you reading now? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

What I'm Listening To: Rejected 2015 Eurovision Performers


Hello Everyone! It's one of my favorite times of the year- Eurovision season! I have been a huge fan of the Eurovision song contest for many years now (even when I was living in America). I just love the national pride, the flashy costumes, the special effects and all of the camp that goes with it! It's also the perfect excuse to host an international food party or make up your own drinking game.

If you haven't been following along, so far the 2015 Eurovision song contest has held the first 2 semi-finals where 17 country's musical acts were whittled down 10 in each episode. The big 5 countries (the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy), the 2014 winning country, Austria, plus Eurovision's special guest, Australia, do not have to perform in the semi-finals because they are the largest economic contributors to the contest and are automatically entered into the finals.

THE FINALS ARE TONIGHT!

The countries participating in the finals are:

Albania 
Armenia
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Belgium
Cypress
Estonia
France
Germany
Georgia
Greece
Hungary
Israel
Italy
Latvia
Lithuania
Montenegro
Norway
Poland
Romania
Russia
Serbia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
United Kingdom 


Even though the participants that made it to the finals are great (my vote is Sweden for the win), a lot of my favorite acts didn't make it into this year's finals. Here are a few of my favorite rejected countries performances:

Moldova- a.k.a. The hot cops.
 Moldova always brings out the campiest acts and this was no exception. This would have made the finals WAY more interesting!


Finland-
 The country that brought hard rock to Eurovision in 2006, brought out the punk this year and I thought it was great! Interestingly, all of the bands members are middle aged and mentally challenged.


Malta-
 I know that there were 2 singers with songs called "Warrior" but I thought this was pretty good.


Were any of your favorite acts already eliminated? Do you with Conchita was running again (I do)? Have you been missing Graham Norton's commentary as much as I have? Let me know in the comments below. And remember to check out the 215 Eurovision finals tonight at 8pm UK time on BBC1, YouTube or www.eurovistion.tv

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Woollen Woods 2015


For the second year in a row, I am participating in the Woollen Woods Project, a wool themed outdoor instillation in support of the Campaign for Wool. This year the project is going nationwide across the UK with six different locations participating and showing displays from May 15-24th. Each location has selected their own theme and signature flower and are accepting donations of knitted, crocheted and felted plants, animals, and other woodland creatures. I knitted the Henry's Bunny, Spring Rabbit, and I crocheted the  Leaf Garland pattern using leftover wool yarn from my stash. This was a very satisfying and rewarding way to use up some yarn in my stash pile!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

What I'm Listening To: Alabama Shakes- 'Gimme All Your Love'

The new Alabama Shakes album called Sound & Color was released April 20/21, so in honor of it's release I thought I would share the Alabama Shakes' recent performance of their new song 'Gimme All Your Love' from Saturday Night Live (SNL).


The Alabama Shakes will begin touring the US, UK and parts of Europe in May. For full concert information, check out their website.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

What I'm Reading: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr


The last book that the A Beautiful Mess Book Club selected to read (in March) before taking a brief hiatus was All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I haven't read a lot of historical fiction, so this was a book I probably would not have chosen to read on my own but I'm glad I did. The author's writing style is very poetic and the chapters are short so it was easy to fly through the book. It was no wonder that this book is a Pulitzer Prize winner!

The book takes place during WWII and primarily follows the story of two characters, Marie-Laure and Werner. Marie-Laure is a blind girl from Paris who lives with her father near the museum of Natural History before the Nazi occupation. And Werner is an orphan who lives in a German mining town orphanage with his sister and has a talent for building and creating radios. Throughout the story we discover how their lives are effected and forever changed by the war.

Discussion *warning spoilers ahead*:

1. First of all, did you like the book overall? Why or why not? Along with that, did you like Doerr’s style of writing?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It was such a page turner! Even though it's a BIG book, I enjoyed the author's poetic writing style and flew through the chapters in less than a month.

2. Along with style, how did you feel about the time going back and forth between future and present?

I read the book so quickly, that the time flipping back and forth didn't bother me.

3. Favorite character?

My favorite character was Marie Laure. I loved how spunky and bright Marie Laure was and how she carefully observed the world around her through feel and touch. I liked that she was a female character interested in science and biology. And I loved how brave she was hiding in the attic, picking up messages at the bakery for Madame Manec and broadcasting messages with the radio when her uncle was unable.

4. What do you think? Do you agree with Madame? Is doing nothing a kind of troublemaking…as good as collaborating?

I think that one of the overall themes in this book is that doing nothing is as good as troublemaking- or that if you're not voicing yourself against the violence than your are for it. I think that there have been times in our global history where that has been easier said than done- like during WWII when being caught voicing your opinion against the Nazi's meant certain death, but that also made those who did voice their opinions more brave by doing so.

5. What did you think of the main character being blind? How did this change the story for you?

I think that Marie Laure being blind helped the reader to gain a broader and more detailed perspective of the world around Marie Laure, Paris, the museum, and Saint-Malo, as she described the number of drains she passed by, the sounds and feel of the creatures in the sea.

6. Is it easy or difficult for you to believe in curses and things of that nature? The supernatural, if you will? More specifically, did you believe that if Werner had had the stone at the end, he might’ve been saved?

I find it difficult to believe in curses and things of that nature, but the book does lead the reader to believe that Marie Laure and her family were cursed by the stone. I believe that if Werner had the stone in the end, he might have been saved but his sister and orphanage caregiver might have been lost.

7. Was anyone else annoyed by the conversations that happened at the end of the story???

Kind of. As I was reading I had thought (and hoped) that Marie Laure and Werner might end up together in some way. When it became apparent that that would not happen I began to hope that Jutte and Marie Laure's conversation might inspire a friendship or rekindle some unrequited love from Marie Laure towards Werner, but in hind-site I realize that the characters barely knew each other.

8. What did the title mean to you?

I initially read the title literally as pertaining to Marie Laure and her blindness and later referring to the good inside each of us. I didn't catch the radio reference as quickly.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

What I'm Listening To: Jessie Ware- 'Say You Love Me'

I've been hearing the song 'Say You Love Me' by Jessie Ware everywhere lately: from the Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer, to The Voice UK, to HBO TV series advertisements. Last week Jessie Ware performed this song on the Graham Norton Show and that's when I decided that I needed to share it with you. Check out the music video below:


If you like this song, you can find Jessie Ware's album, Tough Love on Amazon.

Friday, May 1, 2015

What's Making Me Laugh: Avengers Family Feud

A few weeks ago, Jimmy Kimmel invited the cast of The Avengers: Age of Ultron (including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, and Jeremy Renner) onto Jimmy Kimmel Live! for a post-premier interview session and a little game of drunken Family Feud. As a fan of both The Avengers and the game show Family Feud I was thoroughly amused. 


The Avengers: Age of Ultron was released in the UK on April 23 and I was able to catch it on the 25th, but my US friends have to wait until May 1 so I won't spoil it just yet. Have you already seen the film, or are you planning to see it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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