Chloe M. O'Connor | Layout, Illustration, and Freelance Design

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Emmys Shout-Out To Fall TV And “Girls”

Some of the shows I’m glad are back this season include “Community,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “Revenge,” “Parks and Recreation,” and “The New Girl.” For a great new show, watch “Go On.”

The Emmy Awards are tomorrow night and the fall TV season has begun! I may be one of the rare viewers who’s glad the networks have spread out their premiere dates. I can dip my toes back into the waters slowly and figure out which new shows are worth watching.

Here’s how I realized I watch way too much television: As I wrote my viewing schedule by hand on a hotel notepad, I had to flip to the backside of the page before I got through writing Thursday’s shows. And those were just shows on the broadcast stations. The list didn’t even include my cable-to-online guilty pleasures (“Switched At Birth,” “Project Runway,” “Degrassi” and so on). Granted, I already crossed off “The X Factor” (sorry, Brit!) because I can’t watch it live or online, and a few new shows may get the boot a couple episodes in.

While in Colorado, Dad convinced me it would be perfectly all right for me to log-in to his HBO account. OK, it didn’t take that much convincing after we marathoned “Flight of the Conchords” on my last day in town. But there was one show I was eager to see: “Girls.”

Lena Dunham as Hannah in the HBO series "Girls"

Lena Dunham as Hannah in the HBO series “Girls.”

I dove into this multiple-Emmy-nominated, Lena Dunham-centric production without any expectations. All I really knew was Entertainment Weekly loves the show, Dunham is a spring chicken in the creating-producing-directing-writing world, and Brian Williams’ daughter is one of the stars. I also knew there would be loads of sex, but I didn’t give it two thoughts. You’re looking at the proud owner of this. Oh, and that’s not a click if you dare link. It a DVD set, sheesh!

On a Saturday morning, just after midnight, I fell head over heels for the pilot. Two days and 10 episodes later I finished the first season, but for days following I couldn’t stop thinking about the show.

Something about the intense relationships depicted at the forefront on “Girls” has stuck with me. I never thought about it so much before, but relationships — familial, friendly, romantic — are incredibly complicated. Think of how hard it is to begin a friendship. Now that you’re friends, try maintaining that when the two of you have opposite schedules, different tastes, a lower/higher income, clashing values and morals. Now move to a different state or country and keep that relationship going. Multiply that times the number of friends to whom you consider to be close. What about all the things that have to go right to transition from friendship to romance? How ridiculous is it to then wade that new territory and dance that dance?

As I said while dining with friends a few weeks ago, anyone who has even one friend is brave. I was told that was a good quote, so that’s why I’m repeating it here. I truly admire anyone who has strong, healthy relationships with other humans, because there may not be anything more terrifying to me than disappointing those I love.

Now while these friendships/familyships/loveships are bizarre, time-consuming, and a never-ending load of work, they are fantastic, beautiful, enriching, and completely necessary keys to living a full life. After all the heartaches, arguments, and bad days, I am thankful for family, for friends, for all the opportunities I’m given to show God’s love. I don’t always succeed in this, as I don’t always find success in my relations with others. But I’ll tell you what. I sure enjoy the time we have together, and while people may not be around forever, the imprint of the people I’ve known are on my heart. Like the subjects of Hannah’s essays weave together the pieces of her life, you, dear friends, are my thread.

Filed under: Colorado, Entertainment, Fall TV, Internet, News, Television, TV on DVD

Picks Of The Week

Obsession of the week: XXX Olympic Games hosted by London

I refuse to use the super ugly London 2012 logo, so all you get are the always amazing Olympic rings ...

I refuse to use the super ugly London 2012 logo, so all you get are the always amazing Olympic rings …

... and this photograph of the British Women’s Olympic swimming team, shown the day before the official opening of the Olympic Games in 1948. This was the first time the Games were held since Berlin hosted in 1936, as they were canceled because of World War II. It was also the second time London hosted the worldwide gathering, the most recent hosting gig until today!

… and this photograph of the British Women’s Olympic swimming team, shown the day before the official opening of the Olympic Games in 1948! This was the first time the Games were held since Berlin hosted in 1936, as they were canceled because of World War II. It was also the second time London hosted the worldwide gathering, the most recent hosting gig until today.

After the Academy Awards, the Olympics are my favorite television spectacle. Maybe it’s the fact it only happens every two years. Maybe it’s because it switches from sun to snow each time around. But mostly I think it has something to do with the most elite athletes on the face of the earth gathering to compete in their specialized sport.

Emotions run high. I know this because I watched NBC’s top 30 greatest moments special Saturday and cried tears of joy over about 93 percent of the selections. When someone wins — especially if their story is a particularly moving one — you feel like you have won.

 

I can’t wait to cheer on Team USA. And watch Ryan Lochte, since he managed to do this at the Olympic trials. I am very much looking forward to seeing the 16-year-old flying squirrel fight for the women’s all-around gymnast title.

To kick it all off, and since I work tonight and do not have a DVR, I will catch the rerun of the opening ceremonies at 1:30 a.m. For those of you keeping score, I love the Olympics so much, I will be staying up until 4 a.m. just to watch the start of the festivities!

 

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Song of the week: “She’s So Mean” by Matchbox Twenty

I’m on a new-songs-from-old-bands kick. I was in love with Rob Thomas my senior year in high school, and I bought his first solo album with euros. So of course I’m over the moon that the band is writing new tunes! The new album, “North,” releases Sept. 4. I also just saw Thomas is mentoring with CeeLo Green on Season 3 of “The Voice.” Ahh! Photographic proof.

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Video stream of the week: Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen” on Netflix and Hulu

I don’t have cable and “Top Chef Masters” started Wednesday. Thus my stumbling upon this show starring an ex-Top Chef contestant.

Molecular gastronomy chef Marcel Vigneron was a big ball of crazy on “Top Chef” Season 2, as seen in this mildly funny, fan-made rap video. He’s still crazy on this show, which aired six episodes on Syfy in 2011. It’s easier to watch Marcel on “Quantum Kitchen” because he is in his own element, making his style of food with a couple of his friends.

The premise is Marcel runs a catering company, so there are clients and party planners with whom to deal, equaling a bit o’ drama. But the real drama happens in the kitchen when Marcel and Co. test the wacky dishes two days before events. Spoiler alert: Everything always works out in the end and the dishes are magical creations everyone loves.

Here’s one of the kitchen test fails:

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Remix of the week: “Cameo Lover” by Kimbra, remixed by Sam Sparro and Golden Touch

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You already know I love Kimbra. She’s my new favorite artist, and her debut album is the best of the year (so far). My littlest sister and I are going to see her and Gotye in concert come October. Until then I will play her record on repeat and download this remix. For free!

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On a side note, if you haven’t voted in my “I Quit Sugar” giveaway poll, hop over and give your input! I’ll be gifting one lucky commenter with something wondrous in an upcoming post, but first I need your help deciding what to give you!

Filed under: Entertainment, Internet, Music, Netflix, Television, TV on DVD, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Picks Of The Week

Obsession of the week: “The Bachelorette”

Emily Manyard, "The Bachelorette" Season 8

Emily Maynard, “The Bachelorette” Season 8

I’m only a little bit embarrassed this show is my weekly obsession since I already admitted to you guys I’m watching it for the first time. Love-huntin’ Emily Maynard is about to meet her top four gents’ family members and I can’t wait to see how they influence the way she feels about each guy.

The reason I am obsessed with this silly ABC reality show is because of the leading lady. She is Southern sweet, pretty genuine despite the demand to fall in love on camera, and it’s clear she really does want to find a nice man for her and a great dad for her daughter, Ricki. And I’ll tell you what, three of the final four dudes seem like darn good catches (go home, Chris!).

I like Jef… and Arie and Sean … but mostly Jef. I hope Emily doesn’t marry him so I can snatch him up. The roommate and I loved the scene below. I want to meet his family after hearing him talk about them!

Video stream of the week: “Battle Royale” on Netflix

If you liked “The Hunger Games” for its dystopian story, you will love this Japanese film from 2000. Based on a book — which, by the way, came out long before Suzanne Collins’ megahit — the movie follows a ninth-grade boy grappling with the death of his father. By government decree, the boy’s entire class of 42 students is dropped on a deserted island and are forced to battle to the death. The boy and his classroom crush team up in an attempt to survive, even though there can only be one winner.

What makes “Battle Royale” more successful than “The Hunger Games” (film and book, both) is the children don’t know about the yearly killing event. There is no time for the kids to prepare for what they face on the island. It is a terrifying concept, an ultra-gory flick, and so enjoyable you forget you are reading subtitles.

Carly Rae Jepsen news of the week: “Good Time” by Owl City featuring Carly Rae Jepsen

I can’t go a week without mentioning my favorite Canadian! Her featured role on Owl City’s first single from his new album, “The Midsummer Station” coming out Aug. 21, is summer-worthy. It has that driving-with-the-windows-down feeling. And the flash video is super cute. Being a design junky, I love that lyrics videos are the new thing to do before making an official music video.

Big ole bummer of the week: NBC fires Ann Curry

I have been an NBC fan for a long, long time, but after the showdown with Conan O’Brien in 2010 and now the ousting of Ann Curry — decisions directly tied to ratings — I feel my loyalty thread fraying. Curry has so much journalistic integrity, more than anyone on “Today,” and she deserved a lot more respect than she received from NBC after 15 years on the show.

As for her apology to viewers? No need for that, Ann. The only person who should be saying sorry is whoever kicked you out the door without tact.

Check out her heartbreaking goodbye on Entertainment Weekly’s site. I cried, of course.

Filed under: Books, Design, Entertainment, Internet, Movies, Music, Netflix, Television, TV on DVD, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Picks Of The Week

Obsession of the week: Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray.

Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray

Sea Salt Spray

I love this hair product! I can create easy, beach breezy hair in seconds. The seriously salty solution is sprayed into damp or dry hair. Comb through and twirl your strands a bit. I just let it dry naturally on the run. I feel like I have hopped straight from Lumahai Beach to work. I bought it for $6 on Ulta.com.

Free download of the week: The Northern’s “All I Live For”.

After a successful fundraising campaign, these talented dudes released their brand new album this week. You can download the first song off “The Shadowlands” for free, but you should probably pop over to iTunes or Amazon and snatch up the whole kit and caboodle. I can’t wait until my copy arrives in the mail!

Video stream of the week: “A State of Mind” on Netflix.

Most people know very little about North Korea, but not because we’re all ignorant. The communist country is completely closed off to the world and rarely lets in outsiders. In this British documentary, filmmakers were given an unprecedented look into North Korea in 2003 (when Kim Jong Il was still alive and ruling) as they follow two girls training for selection in the Mass Games, a gymnastics and dance performance of 80,000 children that cements nationalism into the country’s young participants.

The film is not so much about the Games as it’s about the loyalty citizens have to their ruler. I was shocked by the extreme hate for the United States, which is taught in schools, and the way privileged families live in close quarters and are rationed a chicken and five eggs per person per month. These facts are nine years old but I can’t imagine the country has progressed much with its internal way of life and power being passed down through family members, who are worshiped by the people.

Song of the week: “Keep Your Head Up” by Ben Howard

I just discovered Ben Howard. He sounds like a folksy James Blunt with better lyrics, and I’m not comparing them because they’re both British! He sounds Blunt-y. Sort of Tracy Chapman-y at times. She’s American.

It’s been a bit of a rough week, and this song is uplifting!

And because I can’t get enough of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” here’s Howard’s cover, which according to AOL Music’s blog, Howard wasn’t too thrilled to cover.

Filed under: Entertainment, Internet, Movies, Music, Netflix, Products, TV on DVD

Picks Of The Week

Obsession of the week: My new prescription sunglasses.

Elizabeth Arden sunglasses

Elizabeth Arden sunglasses

I was finally allowed to visit my optometrist last week (thank you, health insurance!). Thankfully my eyes have hardly changed, so I was able to forgo the purchase of new eyeglass lenses and invested in a pair of sunglasses. Prescription lenses are ridiculously pricey for a pair of shades (no thank you, health insurance), so thank goodness I had a $100 off a lens and frame purchase coupon from Lenscrafters. I am so glad I can protect my eyes from the summer sun. I even got to sport my newest fashion accessory at our company picnic Wednesday.

Video stream of the week: “Pretty Little Liars” on Netflix Instant.

"Pretty Little Liars"

“Pretty Little Liars”

Season 3 of this addictive ABC Family series began June 5, and Netflix is currently streaming the 22 episodes in Season 1. On July 3, Season 2 will be available. I hear the Rosewood girls find out who A is in Season 2!

Music stream of the week: “The Lion The Beast The Beat” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

AOL music is streaming this gem, the band’s fourth studio album. Grace Potter is a sweet-voiced rocker whose voice I had not taken the time to enjoy until this album, as I didn’t care for 2010’s single, “Paris (Ooh La La).” But I dig this good new-fashioned rock. Give a special listen to the upbeat “Loneliest Soul” and the killer ballad “One Heart Missing.”

I snatched up the album for $5 as Amazon’s daily deal Tuesday, but it’s worth the $10 it’s currently selling for on Amazon.

Viral video of the week: “Call Me Maybe” starring Jimmy Fallon, Carly Rae Jepsen and The Roots.

The most sugary pop song of the spring and soon-to-be summer hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart Wednesday. I venture to say this cutesy “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” version convinced enough people to request and buy the tune, causing Canadian Carly Rae to knock off Australian Wally De Backer aka Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know.”

Filed under: Entertainment, Internet, Music, Netflix, Television, TV on DVD, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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