Friday, June 27, 2014

Read It, Watched It: Charlie St. Cloud

I decided I really want to get back into reading. I find it challenging with the kiddos, but to incentivize myself I've set aside this summer to just read (and then watch) books that have been turned into movies. Actually, that category could include some pretty tough stuff. After all, Moby Dick is a book and a movie. I will probably be sticking to a little bit lighter fare! Anyway, I thought it would be fun to write a little review/compare-and-contrast after each book/movie is completed. First up:



I picked up Charlie St. Cloud at a garage sale a couple years ago. I remembered the movie coming out back when I worked at Borders, and we had a display of the novel with the tie-in cover that had Zac Efron's handsome boyish face on it. I had intended to borrow it from the store but then I got pregnant and then the store closed and then I never read it after I bought it at the yard sale so... yeah that about catches us up to the present day. 

For a quick, light read, I enjoyed the book enough. I will be purposefully vague because although somewhat predictable, there is a plot twist that I would rather not give away in case anyone wants to read it too. The plot and the writing are very Nicholas Sparks-adjacent, but there's nothing inherently wrong with that. Like Sparks and his various North Carolina settings, this book had a vivid sense of location that is embedded in the story and characters. The author's description of the small Massachusetts costal town and its inhabitants was probably the strongest part of the writing. 

Which is why it is odd that the movie did away with that and set it in the Pacific Northwest instead. I'm sure it was just cheaper to film in Vancouver but still. If I hadn't read the book of course I wouldn't have known the difference but it made the movie seem more generic to me. For example, in the book Charlie and Sam are on their way home from a Red Sox game when the accident happens. It isn't critical but it adds more to the brothers' story and their relationship than the movie's version. 

I also felt it was lacking something that the movie version made the time jump only five years instead of (I think) twelve in the book. There's a sadness and loneliness that the book's timeline cultivates and Zac Efron's youthfulness didn't really jive with the novel's version of Charlie. Efron does a nice job with what the role as written, although he at times seems to be heavily channeling The Notebook-era Ryan Gosling. And who can blame him, given the material? 

The actress who played Tess must've been cast when they couldn't get Kristen Stewart. Her acting was serviceable, but something about her look and often her mannerisms were so K-Stew-esque that it was distracting. I didn't think - whether because of her performance or the way the character was written - that she conveyed the spunk and spark that the book's version of Tess had. Those qualities and the way they stirred Charlie's interest were one reason why it was even somewhat believable that he would fall so hard so fast. In the movie it's a little eye-rolly and while they tried to give them a "we-went-to-high-school-together" backstory to make up for it, there wasn't enough chemistry to drive the plot forward.

Finally, this might seem trivial, but the original title of the book was The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud. I am not sure if it was changed to just Charlie St. Cloud for the film and then for subsequent publications of the book but in a word, BOO. The first title is SO much better in every way! It's more interesting, it's more descriptive, and the ordering of the words - not "life and death" but "death and life" are much more meaningful in terms of the plot and message of the book! It would have been a much more intriguing title for the movie, too. A shame none of the Hollywood producers asked my opinion beforehand. Hmph.

So in conclusion, read the book if you're looking for an easy breezy sort of novel, and skip the movie unless you just feel like eyeballing Efron in henleys and assorted other blue shirts. Which, I mean, there are worse ways to spend two hours.



Next up: Like Water for Chocolate, Something Borrowed, and more! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

India Ruth: Behind the Name



As I mentioned in my first (and only, sorry second child) blog about this pregnancy, the day I found out I was pregnant was the same day Ben landed in India for a two-week mission trip in the red light district of Mumbai. In that very bewildering, wonderful, surprising moment, it crossed my mind: if it is a girl we could name her India.

It stuck with me, and when Ben returned - that's another story completely, worst airport reunion EVER - and I told him the news, I also mentioned that name idea. He told me he'd have to think about it as he processed all he had witnessed on his trip. Plus, we wouldn't know for another twelve or so weeks whether it was even a girl.

Funnily enough, we never even discussed boy names. I said that I thought it would be another boy, but her name never left my mind. India. India. India. And then at my 20 week ultrasound, there she was. Our daughter! Ben said he thought we should do it. So India she became. 

The middle name took a little more work. One syllable sounded best. Vowel heavy sounded bad - India already had plenty of "i" and "a" and "e" sounds in it. Ruth was always a name I had liked, and it has significance for our family. It was the middle name of my aunt, my dad's sister Mary, who died from breast cancer at 40. Since Hudson carries my dad's middle name (Patrick), it seemed like a perfect fit.

So that's how we came up with India Ruth. I hope her name always helps us to think of the beautiful and hopeful and precious, that which shines out despite the darkness.

Monday, February 10, 2014

India Ruth: A Birth Story

Since I only wrote one blog in the entire duration of my pregnancy, the least I can do for this poor second child is get her birth story down before I forget it! And yet even that is taking me forever - this is probably the fifth time I've sat down to type this. Maybe I'll get further than the first paragraph since both kiddos are napping!

Saturday (January 11) I could tell I was having contractions but they weren't organized into anything regular and I slept comfortably all night. Well, as comfortably as a ginormously pregnant lady can sleep. When we got up Sunday morning, I debated whether I should go to church or not, but since Ben had to go, and I didn't want to be home by myself in an emergency, off we went! John Piper happened to be guest preaching at our church and so the place was packed. Hudson and I sat in the back on the floor with his little friend Jack and his mommy. I reinstalled my contraction app on my iPhone and kept tabs on them throughout the service. They were still all over the place - sometimes 10 minutes apart, sometimes 8, sometimes 15 - and not painful.

By the time church was over, I was (per usual) starving and ready for lunch! As I drove (we had separate cars because Ben had all his camera gear), I noticed that the contractions were getting closer together. Still not enough to keep me from chowing down on some delicious McDougalls chicken! At lunch we talked about if we should call our parents or not, and if/when we should tell them to come down from St. Louis. We finally texted them to let them know they should get their bags ready but not head out just yet. Ben wondered if we should stay in town (we were already very close to the hospital), but I wanted to go home - we didn't have our bags or anything anyway. I could tell Ben didn't think I should drive home but seeing as how we had two cars I insisted. I kept hitting start/stop on my contraction app as I drove home and by the time I got all the way to Franklin they were closer to 6-7 minutes apart and happening more consistently.

When I got home I packed up the rest of our bags and we tried to pin down what we would do with Hudson. I went to lay down for a little bit and when I did that the contractions slowed down to 9-10 minutes apart, but at the same time they got longer, lasting closer to a minute each time. We told our parents to go ahead and come on down, and that way even if she wasn't born that night, someone would be here to be with Hudson regardless.

About 5:30 I got up and started walking around. When that happened the contractions got very sporadic again: 10 minutes, 5 minutes, 8 minutes, 3 minutes. But they definitely didn't seem to be going away and the intensity/duration of each one was similar and increasing. It was a bit frustrating but we called the on-call midwife and after talking with her and reviewing our first delivery experience, we decided we should go ahead and come in. Our friends Elliott and Kadie came over to be with Hudson until the grandparents arrived - we are so thankful for them! Hudson loves them and so it worked out perfectly.

I held Hudson on my lap and told him we were going to the doctor so that baby sister could be born, and that she would come out of my tummy so she could live with us. It was so bittersweet to hold my first baby and know that everything was going to change! I don't think he really cared too much - he just wanted to go upstairs and play! About 6:30 or so, we finally left for the hospital.

As Ben drove I tried to make a playlist of music to listen to during labor and delivery (turns out we would never get to use it) and texted updates to our families and friends. I didn't know what would happen when we got to the hospital but I was just relieved I wouldn't be having my baby at home or in the car! When we got to Vandy, we were able to go straight up to L&D since it was still during regular hours. (When you come in after 9pm you are forced to go through the ER, which is what we had to do with Hudson.) This ended up being a huge blessing because I didn't have to wait in the ER triage to be admitted. I don't think I would ever have even made it upstairs to give birth if that had been the case!

The nurse at check-in actually asked me if I had come in for an induction - I guess because I didn't look like I was in labor. I think she was dubious but I explained that one of the midwives was meeting me so she went ahead and got me into one of the L&D triage rooms. She got me hooked up to the monitors so I could start my 20 minutes. Lori, the midwife, came in a few minutes later and we chit-chatted. She watched the monitors while I had contractions and said everything was looking good. She went ahead and checked my progress and I was at 4 cm. I admit I found this discouraging! My contractions were still 4-5 minutes apart and 1 minute or so long, but I was able to breathe through them and shake them off pretty quickly after the fact. Lori said we could go home if we wanted, or get a nearby hotel room. She also offered to stick around for an hour and check me again. I chose that option! After my experience with Hudson I did not feel like it was wise to leave the hospital, and I'm very glad I didn't! Lori left us to relax and walk around. I turned on the TV so I could watch the Golden Globes - funny, because earlier that day I'd joked with my friend Heather about that very thing. (We don't have cable at home so I was saying the only way I would be able to watch was if I went into labor and got to see it in the hospital. My joke came true!)

About 8:15 I decided I wanted to get up and walk. Ben and I just walked circles around the maternity ward. We kept passing one nurse who was charting in the hallway. Every time a contraction came I would just pull really hard against Ben's arm until it let up and we could keep going. I wasn't paying attention but I think they were probably 3 minutes apart at this point. We headed back to the room so we could meet up with Lori and get checked again. I was still at the same point, only about 4-5 cm. Now I was really frustrated because I was very clearly (at least to myself) in labor so why wasn't anything happening? She suggested we wait another hour or so and she could come back and check me again.

By 8:45 things were different. I didn't want to walk or sit up or talk anymore. I just laid on my side with my eyes closed and with each contraction I had Ben push down hard on my hip. Something about that counter-pressure helped me get through. I would breathe and try not to cry and I remember just wiggling my feet really fast until each one was over. I tried to breathe in time to the chorus of a song I had in my head - "Lord, Let Your Glory Fall," by Matt Redman. It just repeats: "You are good, you are good, and your love endures." This helped me for a little while. Suddenly on one contraction I felt this very distinct POP. It was so strong I almost felt like I could hear it! "Something happened, something happened," I told Ben. "I think my water broke!" There was no gush or anything, I suppose because I was laying down on my side. Ben stuck his head out the door and got help. Lori came back in and confirmed that my water had broken and I was now at about a 6 ("ONLY A SIX?!?!" I thought!) and they would go ahead and admit me and get me down to a delivery room.

I was excited to hear that one of the rooms with the birthing tubs was available and somehow managed to joke that I hadn't gotten to be in there but five minutes with my son. Somebody said I'd get to enjoy it more this time (I didn't). The contractions were coming fast and furious now, but it felt really relaxing when they wheeled the bed down the hall. Sort of like a baby in the carseat - I didn't want them to stop moving! I sort of wished they could've just pushed me around and around until she was born! They pushed me into the delivery room and Ben and I realized it was the same room where Hudson was born. I started crying, just overwhelmed and thinking back to that moment. Lori started filling up the tub and meanwhile I started the seemingly overwhelming task of crawling from the gurney into the actual bed. The contractions were so strong I didn't want to move! After what felt like forever of me saying, "Just one more and then I'll go" I somehow managed to get over there and then I was stuck on my hands and knees. I read later that this was one of the worst positions for people having extremely fast labor, but I was frozen and couldn't move!

I wanted to push so badly and they kept telling me to wait because I still wasn't fully dilated. The contractions were so strong and fast and the urge to push was so great that I just felt overwhelmed and afraid. During the contraction I was yelling - not screaming, but yelling "ahhhhh" and crying and asking "help me, please, help me." I don't know what I expected anyone to do! After it was over I would realized that I sounded silly and start apologizing. Lori kept telling me to breathe it out and bizarrely it really helped me to blow through my lips like a horse snort type of sound. In a nutshell: transition is really weird and makes you act kinda crazy. The poor anesthesiologist had come in and was sitting in a chair by my bed (where I was still stuck on my hands and knees) and going through the whole spiel they have to give even though I very clearly was about to have this baby sans medications. I think she was trying to help distract me and she commented on my sailboat necklace that was dangling from my neck. "That's very pretty. Do you like sailing?" "IT'S FOR MY SON," I snarled at her. (After it was all over, I thought that I should find her and apologize but everyone insisted to me that it's their job to see people at their worst.)

Finally my arms got really tired and they convinced me to turn over and lay/sit on the bed. After another monumental effort I did it and then, the best part (so far): time to push! This was SUCH a huge relief after all that time (okay, not really very long) of feeling that urge. PUSH. "Her head it out!" PUSH. "Here she is!" Ben caught her (with an assist from Lori) and they put her up on my stomach. Hair! She had so much hair, all dark! And chunky cheeks! It was 10:16pm. I was in sort of a daze: 6 cm to holding my baby in just over an hour. Mostly I was just grateful that runaway train of a labor was over and my girl was out!

After a bit, Ben cut the cord and we got her wrapped up and weighed. 8 pounds, 15 ounces - another shock, since Hudson was only 7-10. Guess she knew she needed her winter coat to brave this bitter polar vortex! We were finally able to say her name, which I had pondered over since the very day I found out I was pregnant: India Ruth.

Just like with Hudson, the grandparents miraculously rode into town just a few minutes after she was born. They got to see and hold her and then went on to our house so they could be with Hudson in the morning. We moved to our postpartum room where we met our nurse for the evening - the same woman we had passed on our walk just a couple hours earlier. She was surprised to say the least to see me wheeling down the hall with a baby in my arms!

In comparison with Hudson's birth, India's was more difficult, even though it was (even) faster. Hudson's, while quick, seemed more like a steady progression where I was able to stay focused and calm. India's was like that for a while, but after my water broke, the aforementioned "runaway train" analogy best describes it. Everything was so fast and so strong that I couldn't get on top of it and I was just along for the super-intense, kind of scary ride. I am so thankful to God for Ben and Lori and the nurses who helped in bringing "little sister" into the world.

I can't believe I made it all the way to the end before the kiddos woke up! Quick, let me throw up some pictures - a reward if you read all the way to the end of this novel. :)












Monday, July 15, 2013

Hiya Baby #2!

Sweet Baby James,

Hello my darling! Well, I'm sorry to report that you are already suffering the dreaded second-child syndrome. I'm already almost 14 weeks pregnant and, unlike with your big brother, I haven't had time to sit around and write you long letters detailing our progress together. But that doesn't mean I love you any less, or am any less excited to meet you in six more months!

The news of your impending arrival surprised me at an unusual time. Daddy had just left for two weeks in India, and I was at my grandma's house in Kansas. On a hunch I bought a test and lo and behold, there it was - the evidence of your existence! I had to keep the news to myself for all that time, because I couldn't talk to Daddy very much while he was overseas. Then when I finally went to pick him up from the airport, we had a missed connection and lots of drama and... needless to say it did not go as planned! But once I finally got the news out, he was so surprised and excited, just like me!

Your big brother Hudson is also anxious to meet you! He loves to pat my tummy and talk to you. I know you will love him so much. I always wanted a big brother to look after me and I am thankful you will have that special relationship!

I'll keep this short and sweet for now. Just wanted you to know I was thinking of you. Can't wait until a few more weeks when I can feel you rolling and kicking inside!

Love always,

Momma

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Time Flies When You're Having Fun!


Wow, have I really not done a Hudson post since early December?! Zoinks. I swear I have three partially-written drafts since then but never one I actually finished! It's kind of like scrapbooking... I would get so behind that just the thought of trying to catch up would keep me from even bothering at all. So I think rather than try to encompass everything that has happened since Christmas, I'll just focus on what we are up to right now instead!


The biggest change in the past five months has been talking. We have a straight-up jabberbox on our hands! It is so funny to me, because he was (except for all that crying at the beginning) always a pretty quiet baby and toddler. He was never much one for babbling or squealing but as soon as he found his voice, it seemed like the talking just exploded! He speaks now in little two and three word sentences which is so sweet and delightful to hear. He is very good at getting his point across and if you misinterpret a word, he says it over and over until you guess correctly what he means.

He also remembers a lot - or maybe he always did, but he now has the words to tell us. He will ask or talk about things that happened or people he saw in the past, which is really neat! For instance, when my parents were here a few weeks ago, my dad mowed the lawn. Now anytime we hear a lawnmower outside, Hudson asks, "B-pa mowing?"

He knows tons of single words - lots of animal names, all his toys, food he likes. And he will repeat just about anything we say. Mama better shut down her potty mouth, or I'm going to regret it soon! I just love hearing his sweet little voice and it is so fun to "converse" with my little man. I definitely think it helps us to defuse tantrums and frustrations by being able to talk and understand what he wants/needs.

As for stats, we don't go back to the doctor until his official two-year checkup, but on our scale at home he weighs 28 pounds. I'm pretty sure he has also grown several inches, just judging by how his clothes fit. He still has a cute little baby belly but his limbs are getting long and more lean. He has four molars, his four front teeth on top, and his two front bottom teeth. We've been stalled out on that many teeth for a couple months now, so I'm not sure when those others will show up!



Hudson is so adventurous and physical. He loves to climb, run, jump, and play! With the beautiful spring weather we've been enjoying, we go to the park almost every day. He will bravely attempt any ladder, tunnel, and slide the playground has to offer. Here is a little park video and some more pics of our glorious days outside:

video






He really knows and likes his little friends, and says all their names. It makes play-dates really enjoyable that they are at an age to actually play with each other. He asks for his friends a lot and even likes to include them when we say our prayers at night. So cute!



Hudson & Jack at the zoo

Hudson & Lainey are basically twins! Especially from the back.


Hudson & Tristrum. He lives right across the street so they play almost every day!

Hudson & Ansel at storytime.


Hudson is definitely getting more independent, and with that comes more willful disobedience! We have our share of tears and tantrums and time-outs. But for the most part, he is a thoughtful, sweet, funny boy and we are enjoying this time together as a family! Here's a few more pics to round out this long overdue post!










Monday, March 04, 2013

The Reading Mother


The Reading Mother

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
"Blackbirds" stowed in the hold beneath.

I had a mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.

I had a mother who read me tales
of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness blent with his final breath.

I had a mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings--
Stories that stir with an upward touch,
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold,
Richer than I you can never be--
I had a mother who read to me.

-Strickland Gillilan (1869-1954)
Painting: "The Fairy Tale" by James Sant (1820-1926)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Oscars 2013

Well that was one of the most tedious awards shows I can remember in a long time. It dragged on and on and seemed poorly produced... blerg. Seth MacFarlane was an uninspired host and the alleged theme of "music in the movies" was muddled, despite some pleasing enough performances. But hey, that's not why we're here! Rich famous people wore fancy clothes for us to look at! Shall we? This year we are going alphabetically for no reason at all.

I am choosing to highlight Adele's performance look because it was much more fun than her red carpet one. I know the retro bouffant-do is kind of her thing but I love her hair down like this. So gorgeous! So much body! This sparkly dress was also gorgeous, but in an interview she said it weighed a ton, which is why I'm sure she didn't wear it except on stage. 

Zzzzzzzz. Bring it back in an actual color and we'll talk, Amanda. She's so pretty, but this dress is pretty forgettable, non? I think that hairstyle is a touch aging, too.

Droopy dishwater. :( Dishwater is not a color, Amy! If I squint, I get the illusion that this could have been a sort of icy, minty blue color. And I might have been able to get behind that. But as is, it is just making me sad. 

I decided to liven things up by including some pics of people who attended after parties but not the actual show itself. Like Amy Poehler here, who looks gorgeous in hunter green. I'm pretty sure everyone was secretly hoping she and Tina Fey would swoop in mid-show and take over hosting. Maybe next year, gals!

I am not an Anne Hathaway hater, as some are. But I do hate this dress. Word on the street is that she switched at the last minute, and that would explain why it seems so ill-fitting. And yet I can't really imagine what could've been so wrong with her initial choice that would've driven her to this. The column-style skirt looks so stiff and a little cheap, and the neckline is reminding me of some halter dresses I had in the early 90s. I don't even think this baby pink is a flattering color for her. Just. Not. Feeling It.

I actually much prefer this number she wore to the after party. The color is veering towards the dreaded dishwater, but at least there's some sparkle and it seems more flattering and fashionable. 


This dress isn't really all that interesting. On someone else it could be just okay, or maybe forgettable. But on Charlize Theron it drops jaws. I mean, c'mon... look at her. She has that kind of breathtaking beauty that you must appreciate like a sunrise or a majestic mountain. And with a grown-out buzzcut! 

 I don't particularly love this dress, but I'm awarding Halle Berry the coveted title of "Most Improved." This is the maybe the least skin she has ever had showing, but she looks gorgeous as ever, and maybe even more so for not trying too hard. Brava, HB!

Jane Fonda is 75 years old. Gotta get me some of her workout tapes. She looks fabulous and what a fresh color.

With an up-do, I might have had better feelings about Jennifer Aniston's voluminous Valentino. I get that this is her signature hair, but such a dramatic dress demands a little more elegance, I think. Love the red though.

I feel I need to start with a disclaimer, which is that I love Jennifer Garner and believe we could be friends and therefore am probably incapable of judging this gown objectively. But the color is SOOOOOO great - I don't think I saw anyone else wearing any shade of purple at all. And I know she might be in a strapless rut, but if you had those shoulders and arms, wouldn't you show them off constantly too? Yes that's a whole heckuva lot of fabric tacked onto her back, but it's so pretty and ruffly and I like it. I LIKE IT! I will stand firmly against those dyed-to-match shoes, though.

Like Adele, I far preferred Jennifer Hudson's performance dress to her red-carpet one. Don't you think she looks weirdly like Taylor Swift in the blue dress? Maybe it is the hair/bangs. Another dye-to-match shoe. Just say no, ladies! That sparkly performance dress was so va-va-voom and flattering. If anyone was ever going to sell me on Weight Watchers, it would be J-Hud.

As with Jennifer Garner, my affection for Jennifer Lawrence may overshadow my sartorial judgment. Let me start with what I do know: gorgeous hair and makeup. Just flawless. Love the very chic long necklace draped down the back. Now as for the gown itself... on-stage it appears to have been a blush color, which I like better than when I thought it was white. I was going to say that I don't know if it seems very "her," but upon further consideration, when else should you wear a giant Dior ballgown if not to pick up your very first Oscar? True, it caused her to trip going up the stairs, but that did little other than make everyone love her even more.

Also really liked this dress she wore to the parties - more fun, more spunky, more relaxed, but totally fierce.

Jessica Chastain looked very beautiful and happy. I didn't feel strongly one way or the other about this dress, except for maybe wishing it was a little bit bolder bronze color. This picture isn't really doing justice to how flawless her hair and makeup were.

A lot of people super-duper loved Kerry Washington here but I... was not one of them. Her makeup is lovely and soft, and the coral/hot-pink color is really fun. But the word I wrote down in my notes to describe that bodice was "barnacles." I think maybe if it did not have those fluttery pink bits? Why were they arranged so sporadically? Why is there also a bow involved? What if it was just sparkly/bejeweled? Also I don't know if this is her best hair? Apparently this look has left me with questions.

From the moment I spotted her on the red carpet, Naomi Watts was my best dressed. Even after sleeping on it, I'm still sticking with her. That makes two awards shows in a row, Ms. Watts! Give yo'self a pat on the back! This dress is that perfect blend of fashion-forward and yet totally beautiful and flattering. Plus, sparklessssssss!!! And apparently I wasn't the only one who thought she looked totally spectacular:
Husband Liev Schreiber taking her picture with his iPhone? ADORBS.

As I am looking over this picture of Nicole Kidman, I think I've decided I liked this MUCH better on screen as opposed to in still shots. Here it seems a little like... too many random details thrown together. Sequins! Black! Gold! Swirls! Outlining! The Batman Emblem over her belly button! On screen, however, it had this striking fluid effect, and if I may be permitted to say so, her boobs looked fabulous. It seemed like a dress that was safely in her wheelhouse (form-fitting, dramatic) and yet not quite as severe as some other looks we've seen her in. She seemed a little looser and freer than normal, which indicated to me that she was comfortable. Or maybe a little buzzed. Momma's big night out and all.

I thought this dress on Nina Dobrev at Elton John's after party was so striking I just had to include it. That is a bold print, but the sleek silhouette combined with her long and lean figure really works. Don't know about that clutch, but a girl's gotta have a purse. I've said this about her before, but I find it a relief that a young starlet on a CW show (which, full disclosure, I admittedly LOVE) continually shows up at these events looking so classy and gorgeous. There's hope for the rest of them, then.

Reese's dress, like Nicole's, worked better for me on screen than in pictures. There was a richness to the color and a cleanness to the lines of the gown that isn't translating here. Although I'm literally just now noticing as I'm typing this... is there a bow over her left boob? Oh dear. Mixed feelings are washing over me. Boob bow doesn't really need to be a thing on the gown of a grown woman. And this dress doesn't need it. Okay quickly, let's just focus on everything north of the neck, which looks gorgeous if uncharacteristically somber for the usually chipper Reese.

Love this on Sally Field. Age-appropriate without being dowdy or frumpy or dull. I like that she wore a big, dramatic gown. If not at the Oscars, then when?!

I really dislike what Salma Hayek did with her hair (or rather, what she paid a team of stylists to do with her hair). Definitely think an up-do is the right choice for a neckline like this, but simple and sleek probably would've been my choice. Why didn't you ask ME, Salma? Too busy being a successful actress married to a billionaire okay I see how it is. The dress itself is kind of cool and makes her shoulders look phenomenal, plus it is really quite different from the type of thing she usually wears. So, for that, I give kudos.

Y'all, Stacy Keibler was a professional lady wrestler and now she's been George Clooney's date at not one but two Oscars. UPGRADE. She was one of my favorites for the night. I loved the sort of 20s/flapper vibe this had, and obviously you can't tell in this picture but the dress had a great, slinky movement that added to the effect. Very cool dress, love the tucked under hair. Keep up the good work Ms. K.

If I put my hand over the top half of Zoe Saldana's dress, I am so in. I absolutely love the way the shades of gray waterfall out of the hem of this gown. But ugh, the top is a hot mess, like a Project Runway amateur challenge. A bow AND a belt AND a lace aplique AND some flowery business. Zoinks. Great earrings though. And, you know, she's totally gorgeous. I don't think she's probably going to cry herself to sleep over my critique here.


I totally loathed Zooey Deschanel's after-party dress. It was fugly and frumpy. That is why I am only showing you her head. Plus, I want to focus on the positive, and you guys! She did something different with her hair! The bangs are swept to the side and it is such a relief! I honestly can't remember the last time I saw even a fraction of her forehead. The pinned-under bob is cute, too (it isn't a haircut, at least not according to the internet). I'm sure with her tv show she can't just hack her hair off mid-season, but it is nice to know that if she ever does, she'll look just lovely.

Well, that's a fashion wrap! As always, leave your rants and raves in the comments! To close, may I offer this video of my favorite Oscar-related moment. Warning, after watching you may be seized with a violent affection for Jennifer Lawrence, if you haven't been already.