Friday, January 29, 2016

Netflix (and 2 Amazon) Documentary Hits & Misses: Vol. 15 (January 2016)

I've been trying to lay low and not mention the buzzword "documentary" because then you guys might notice that I haven't done a Netflix doc roundup November. My life was wrapped up with Making The Murderer for an intense couple days and then well The Bachelor clearly my priorities for "non-fiction" were there...just maybe misplaced. [Tangent: I may or may not have needed a bit of a detox after Making the Murderer. That dragged me down a bit. Why did it have to be such an addictive wormhole!??! Why did it have to leave me feeling so angry at humanity? ]  Also, somewhere in there I gained access to a HULU account so you may never hear from me again. Luckily, when snow befell the midsouth, I got my ass in gear and cranked out some quality time with me and Netflix. I even threw in a few from Amazon Prime movies because I decided to ring in the new year getting 20 kinds of crazy. I may throw in a couple each month, we'll see. I don't like to be tied down.

The Imposter- B+ (Netflix)
This is one that had been recommended to me by several people and god knows I love a good mystery. The basis of this one is simple. A boy from Texas goes missing and years later, his family gets a call that a teen in Spain is claiming to be their son. Pretty early on you realize something is amiss...the dude has a french accent and has dark skin, so is likely not the blue eyed blonde haired Texan. But what happened? Which side is fishier?  It played out a bit like a Dateline Mystery, so it's a nice transitional doc to watch after your post Making The Murderer rage has died down.

Meet the Patels- A+ (Netflix)
Absolutely loved this doc and am very glad I got the reinforcement from Mary Evelyn to move it to the front of my queue post haste not passing go. I had heard the filmmaker,  Ravi Patel, talk about this film on a podcast that I listen to and I recall being super intrigued with the premise: an American decides to give in to his Indian parents and give arranged dating/marriage a try. Aside from Khourmas and Tika Masalas, I hate to say that I am completely ignorant to most aspects of Indian culture and I had very biased views on the topic of arranged unions. After watching this- that is completely changed. Arranged marriage is basically like online dating. It seems fairly awesome. I won't let you know how it panned out for him, but I will tell you that his parents are the cutest, and the storytelling is incredibly engaging.

Fresh Dressed- B (Netflix)
This movie dedicated to the rise of hip hop fashion in the 80s and 90s was the perfect pick for my snowbound weekend. Like Meet the Patels, it mixed in animation with interviews and I always like that juxtoposition because apparently, I am 8 and can't look away from the screen when toons are involved. I learned a lot from the doc! [Tangent: Given my baseline of hip hop fashion knowledge is what I have gleaned from Damond John's intro on Shark Tank,  it could only go up from there.] The parts that I found the most interesting (besides the fact that Mark Echo is indeed a white man) was that each of the bourroughs of NYC had a distinctive and identifiable look. It's something I had never really considered, but since then have placed it under the lens of the different styles for different Nashville neighborhoods. If you like other fashion or music documentaries, this is a good one to add to your list. 

I Am Big Bird- A (Amazon Prime Streaming)
OK, I'm halfway cheating because I saw this one in theaters, but it's on Amazon Prime free streaming now and I couldn't recommend it enough. I may have cried multiple times [Tangent: If you've even seen the footage of Big Bird singing at Jim Henson's funeral...then you feel my pain on a deep level.] and liked it as much if not more than Being Elmo [Tangent: Which is still streaming on Netflix and I would absolutely recommend as a double feature...if you ignore the fact that the Elmo puppeteer was accused of sexual abuse. That kind of put a bit of a dark cloud over the story.] I am Big Bird is the life story of Big Bird, and in turn the man inside the bird, Carol Spinney, who has been portraying him for decades. Spinney is now in his 80s and still performs inside that cumbersome unweildy bird suit, which is especially impressive once you see the puppetry logistics and how awkward the body has to sit inside it. I grew up in the 1980s, when Big Bird was at his peak, but the doc explores how his character fell out of vogue with the rise of Elmo. Muppet politics are a bitch. 

The Flat- C+ (Netflix)
I didn't love this one. Maybe it was because I was trying to multi-task and watch a documentary that is mostly subtitled. That is probably the culprit. It reminded me a lot of Finding Vivian Maier in that it is about a man unraveling the mystery of a person based on their discarded artifacts. Unlike Maier, which involved a total stranger's storage locker, this doc is about a man cleaning out the apartment of a deceased relative. At first I was riveted, mostly because of the tone being almost ominous, [Tangent: Even the cover photo looks like it could be a sequel to The Conjuring.]  but then I got a little bored halfway in (after the "big reveal"). I thought it was interesting, and I halfway blame my own mentality on that day for the C+, but it just didn't keep my attention as I had hoped.  

Tyke: The Elephant Outlaw-B (Netflix)
I can only equate this movie as the Blackfish for Elephants. If you have no existing ill-feelings towards circuses, you probably will after this movie.  The story revolve around Tyke, an elephant that basically lost his shit on performers and the crowd at a Honolulu circus. The movie shows real footage, which is both terrifying and somehow I couldn't look away, interlaced with interviews with witnesses and his trainers exploring Tyke and how it got to that point. I love the trainer in the mesh shirt!

Being Ginger- A (Netflix)
Obviously, as soon as this was added to Netflix, I was all over it like freckles on a redhead (see what I did there?). The movie mostly centers on a ginger fella's quest for love as he interviews women on their opinions of redheaded men. [Tangent: Some girls are bitches! I couldn't believe the horrible women the filmmaker came across while working on the project. One blondie told him that she found freckles gross and his eyelashes creepy. I wanted to punch her square in her perfect nose!] The protagonist, who is adorakably charming, tries redhead dating sites and Ginger festivals all to land that perfect gal who is enamored with red hair! WHY DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THESE PREVIOUSLY!?!? What kept it from getting an A+? Well, at points it veered into dealing with him reflecting on his bullied childhood, which I thought was a little outside of the main thesis. I thought that could have been a whole other movie, and one that I wold probably watch. 

Finders Keepers- B+ (Amazon Paid Streaming)
Yes, I paid for this movie. I had heard and read so many positive reviews that I gave in. How could I resist a film based around a custody battle over a human leg? The movie starts off really strong with the story of a cooky Carolinian who finds a severed leg in a barbecue grill in a storage one does. I quickly fell for that dude's breed of crazy and loved his enthusiasm over finding random body parts and viewing them as buried treasure! You're also introduced to the original owner of said leg and his story is a bit sad, which I didn't see coming. It got a little slow and heavy in the middle, but definitely is a quirkfest! The end also brings it all home to crazy town. I recommend it, but maybe hold out until you can get it for free.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Snowpocalypse 2016: Oh the weather outside is weather

This Snowpocolypse is just not for people that rely on wheels. I hate it. I mean in theory, it's lovely and makes me feel like I am living inside a claymation special or some kind of magical dreamland, but the logistics of it can eat it. With the on again off again record snowfalls in middle Tennessee, I have been fairly trapped in my house for several days except for a brief intermission Thursday when it cleared and I went to work. In the meantime, I'm dealing with it by vacillating between getting work done and avoiding work altogether. [Tangent: Jamie's frozen in at his house across town and we are both starting to go separately insane from cabin fever despite access to internet Netflix and Amazon Prime.]

I have some freelance pitches line up and really need to get some writing done [Tangent: not unlike the above Mr. Jack Torrence.] but motivation is at an all time low. My type B mentality is all over the map and my focus is non-existant. For that reason, I choose to embrace some of the other milestone's I have accomplished in my snowbound day or so:
  • Actual Productive Moment: Messed around with the idea of putting content on Buzzfeed. I had no idea how that process worked, so I decided to post up a completed story that was not accepted elsewhere, a Valentine's Treat Yo Self Gift Guide. You can read it here.
  •  Huge Breakthrough: Discovered that I liked fried eggs, which is thrilling and opens up a world of culinary possibility.
  • Entertainment: Watched Ex Machina again, which I can never get enough of and ordered The Intern, because I am inherently a middle-aged divorcee, who lives for a Nancy Meyers movie.
  • Hoarded: Ordered a bunch of stuff for under $1 using my Elite Deal Club, which I subscribed to last week and obsess with. I love the idea of getting 2 potentially free things from Amazon every day...even if it's items I in no way need.
  • Marathoned: Watched WAY too much local news coverage of the weather,  which basically could be easily summarized in two words, "It's snowing." Nashville news is kooky though so there were lots of completely bizarre man on the street interviews for no reason and lots of conjecture and even a poor reporter who had a mucus issue and no one offered her a it was toddler/in your mouth snot. [Tangent: That last one is maddening and I feel for her. Clearly her face was frozen and she didn't feel it. I, too, am a snot machine this time of year. ] I halfway expected all the in-studio anchors to resort to cannibalism a la this SNL skit because of the insanity clearly brewing from 8 hours of straight coverage. They were running thin on content by the halfway point and it was highly entertaining for me.
  • Big Discovery: I worked on catching up on my doc watching since I have been a huge slacker in this area [Tangent: I'd hoped you hadn't noticed that I completely skipped the month of December with my movie roundups because I had only watched one. Damned Making The Murderer for filling all my non-fiction Netflix time.] and noticed an emerging trend among the covers; I call it  "The half face on the bottom third" trend.

So what have you been up to? 
Any big snowpocalypse achievements?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

I'm writing for Elite Daily, so am I an Elitist?

Exciting news guys! Because I am the biggest masochist ever, I agreed to take on a new freelance opportunity and write periodically for Elite Daily. You may be familiar with this site and not even know it because you've been reading their articles on viral Facebook posts for months. [Tangent: I mean they were the site that got the exclusive from the woman who adopted that cat that looks like Adam Driver. I mean that's journalism!] I got the email about a month ago asking me to contribute from a recruiter who had read my blog and apparently liked my voice. I was flattered, but am always leery because I've run into situations where the pressure had no payoff. [Luckily, so far, the transition has been easy and I don't have to hold my tongue too much because they don't cower from the edgy. I'm still excited about getting to do dream freelance with Hello Giggles, but I often see myself dialing back my weird and amping up my positivity. Apparently Elite Daily likes my weird, so it's nice to have another option to show the world how unabashedly certifiable I can be.] Case in point...this story I found on my best friend's FB page:
I mean, you guys, I have the potential to write about things like choco b-holes! How thrilling! [Tangent: I mean clearly by poaching me as a contributor, they knew the shamelessness they were dealing with.] Well earlier today, my first story went live and because I'm as predictable as the Sunday paper, I started off writing about things I know. Documentaries
 [Tangent: I know please conceal your shock and awe.] I'm super excited to be get exposure from another huge audience. [Tangent: They have a shit ton of fans and followers on social media, which could open this little dog and pony blog up to new folks! I would love new actual readers and not just people who stumble upon my web page because the are searching things like: "furry fupa" and "kavorkian sex tape." I wish I had made those two up!]

If you care to like my read my first post for Elite Daily...check it out here!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

It's 2016! Let's get weird.

....or it has been for roughly 20 days and I am just now getting around to the acknowledgement of a new year! I could do the natural blogger thing and be overly sugarcoating and optimistic, but the goals I alligned in my head for 2016 have already fallen a bit by the wayside, hence why I haven't written about anything remotely related to goals.  Because of this I will just talk ideas for 2016 and make this a little retrospective.

Last year was an embarassment of riches in the world of Kimmie. For the first time I felt I had regained my footing after being repeatedly knocked down by huge life events since 2010. In 2015 I saw the following things:
  • I saw my best friend's baby girl become cancer-free after 6 months of inpatient chemo.
  • Jamie got a new job with a local liquor distribution company thus getting out of retail for the first time in his life. I love seeing him get respected and compensated for basically being the best worker ever. He also reunited with his band and started playing together once a week so he is happily drumming again. A happy Jamie is a happy Kimmie.
  • I began my role as a contributing writer for Hello Giggles, which is such a dream. My goal was to get one pitch acccepted by them (which it was), and months later- I have had 11 stories published on their site!  
  • I finally stopped being a compete indecisive puss and got the greatest foot tattoo for what would have been my brother's 40th birthday. (Thanks Rae for going with me!)
  • I got to see my baby nephew experience my favorite place, Holden Beach NC for the first time and got to witness my sweet niece and nephew meet for the first time.
  • I continued to love my part-time day job working with a disability non-profit. We launched a new website and I continued to see our social media pressense grow! 
  • I saw more awesome comedy: Doug Benson 2x, Michael Ian Black, Kevin Smith, Ellie Kemper, Nick Kroll and John Mulaney
  • I went to some amazing shows: Dr. Dog, Jack White/Loretta Lynn, Janet Jackson, Straight No Chaser, Beach Boys, Sturgill Simpson, Kacey Musgraves and probably more that I am forgetting. 
  • I had weird brushes with scooter made it's theatrical debut and my elbow was featured on the back of a Justin Townes Earl album. 
  • I finally got to live out my dream of being Lt. Dan for Halloween...setting the bar high for years to come. 
This year my goals are just to get back to do doing more of the things I love. Now that I get to write more, I want to remember my other loves. I set a goodreads goal to read 20 books this year and I am gonna try to draw and paint more. In October, I did this instagram challenge called Drawlloween where everyday you draw a certain predetermined thing. These were some of the favorites that I did over the month.
 I had completely forgotten how much I loved to doodle and draw...and that I wasn't completely terrible at it either. [Tangent: In college, I was an art minor and always felt like the worst person in the class. Being creative only to be graded on it is defeating. I look forward to doing art just for myself.]   

In the past, I have taken my annual mantras from my source of all biblical truths- Project Runway. [Tangent: In the past I have used "Make it Work", "Carry On" and "One Day You're In and One Day you're out" as annual words to live by.] I'm quickly scraping the bottom of the barrel of inspirational PR quotes, but I found this one from ol Timmy that seemed apropos with my intentions for the year. 


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

9 Times Lisa Frank Made us worry via Coloring Book

I have been super not fantastic at writing lately [Tangent: So "not fantastic" that I use clumsy sentence structure like the previous mishmash.] I wish I could say my free time has been usurped by glamorous goings on...but truthfully- I have mostly been laying low...hibernating...getting sucked into TV vortexes and coloring. Like the rest of humanity, I got the go-to stocking stuffer of 2015- an adult coloring book- for Christmas. [Tangent: Not to be all uppity about it, but I may or may not have discovered the meditative properties of coloring years ago. Remember this post from early 2014?  Glad society is catching up.] Needless to say I have spent many an hour (that I will never get back) meticulously coloring in overcrowded flower gardens and mandalas and similar kaledoscopic scenarios.  There really should be a warning label on these books because they do cause mini migraines if you stare at these intricate designs too long, [Tangent: NO? Just me and my wonky motor skills?] Luckily, because I am inherently a 11 year old girl, I have a drawer full of Lisa Frank coloring books to swap to when I need something with less intricacies and decidedly more shih tzus riding atop ice cream sandwiches. 

All of this time spent immersed in the world of Frank has actually inspired me to blog. I'm sure when I was a wide-eyed (and very awkward) youth and saw some of these technicolor images, I didn't think twice about it...but now I'm a jaded and cynical adult who can't stop laughing when I see a unicorn using a gumball machine machine. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's hard to be a logical adult and color a picture of a golden retriever and cat in a wedding scenario and not attempt to make heads or tails of it . [Tangent: Pun not intended..but I like it.]

Trust- this is not the Hollywood Bear and majestic Appaloosa that you have grown to know and love...these coloring books definitely pulled from the B-Squad of characters...the ones that never made it onto trapper keepers. I give you the most disturbing images dreamed up by the florescent mistress of whimsy- Lisa Frank. [Tangent: It was alarmingly hard to narrow down because it's clear hallucinogenics are being pumped through the air vents agent orange style.] I only wish I had the time to color all of you will have to use your imagination and pretend they are all filled in with wonderfully clashing color schemes.

1. Perverted Frog
This frog made me quite uncomfortable whenever he popped up amid the pages of my book. Like I would not be OK if a human stared blankly at me, stroking his lower stomach while sticking his tongue why am I OK when a frog does it?

2. Giant Terrifying Clown with Tiny Seal
 I am one of the small percent of Americans not suffering from coulrophobia so clowns really never troubled me...until now. I can only assume that the adults that suffer from it can trace their fear not to the Stephen King's It or to old episodes of Bozo the Clown...but this very image. I mean it's  safe to assume that he's gonna murder that seal, right? Those oversized pants can hide a myraid of weapons.

3. Dead Kitten
Adorable kitty...hearts stars etc...until you reason that this is a dead cat. This is actually a vision of kitty afterlife, which is a heady concept for a child to come to terms with.

4. Elton John Elephant
This one wasn't really disturbing...I just liked it so much that I wanted it included. Let's ignore the fact that due to their absence of fingers, elephants would make shitty pianists. This concert would be avant-garde at best. Instead let's embrace the personal homage to flair-driven piano men of years gone by. This pachiderm is giving me a little Liberace and a lot of Elton John and I love it!

5. Pig Bride
 This activity page is probably going to be the next one I color, because I can't wait to adorn the wedding day attire for a pig bride. I could be the Marchesa of pig brides. Is it just me or is it jarring/confusing to see a pig face on a human body with no explanation? Are you attracted or repulsed? I think that says a lot about you as a person.

6. It's raining hearts and clinical depression.
This looks like the life. It's raining hearts outside and you and your buddy are safe and dry under a watermelon umbrella! Seriously why are these pandas so smug and creepy in this dream scenario!??! 

7. Bear Sundae
 Lisa Frank has a way of mixing junk food and animals in the weirdest of ways and this page is no different. I mean it's a tale as old as time- your're eating a banana split and you happen to find a dead eyed bear with a tiny Wesley Snipes in White Men Can't Jump hat staring at you from under a pile of whipped cream. I will also contend that "bear sundae" would make a killer band name.

8. Disapproving Teddy Bear 
 While we are on the subject of bears ruining things...this teddy seems like a real wet blanket, no? This bedroom-eyed kittty (hopefully not the one that's in heaven) is just try to skamper around and YOLO in general and damned if disapporving lurk teddy is having NONE of it! Some may argue that he is harnessing some murder rage, too.

9. More Bear Hijinks
This is by far my favorite know just bears in space getting a little freaky atop a crescent moon. I know...I know... the lady bear is in the rear, but her their faces tell 1000 stories. [Tangent: Jamie said it looked as if someone had "faceswapped them"] Everything about this solidfies my assumptions that Lisa Frank made me the weirdo I am today. Thanks LF! 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Authorized Story of That Bear Dog Photo

My friend Ryan [Tangent: Who you may remember from this blog post where his Milhouse Van Houten Halloween costume got picked up by a gay tumblr and posted with the caption "F#*kable Milhouse." It's my favorite story. Period.] started working at The Dog Spot in West Nashville this past fall. Why does this matter to me? Well, I mostly enjoy his employment there because every day he's at work, he sends me, and all his other dog-friendly friends, a cavalcade of cute puppy pictures. It's a great pick me up to any day really.  Well last week, Ryan sent me this photo of a sweet little lady named Bounce who was dropped off for grooming and boarding:

Of course, once I had gotten finished squealing I forwarded it to several people, showed it to coworkers and uttered the phrase "I want it" about 30 zillion times.  I guess the other recipients had the same inclination because Ryan's friend,  Lanier, loved it so much she posted it to Reddit. Lest we learned nothing from the White and Gold or Blue and Black debacle of '15, an innocuous Reddit post can get outta hand...QUICK! On Wednesday the 29th, Lanier texted Ryan saying that little reddit post about a bear dog had 5000 up votes. And she saw it on Unilad’s Facebook (Lanier’s reddit handle got credit) where it had been shared over 5000 times and had over 86,000 likes. (now over 17,000 shares and over 200,000 likes). Also it had pretty much broken Tumblr with reblogs [Tangent: I think that's the terminology. I have no idea how Tumblr works. One platform at a time, guys!] DEAR GOD.

Cut to a week later every media outlet that believes in journalistic integrity has taken the story of the Bear Dog and made it front page news. [Tangent: Once again Ryan is going viral: F*#kable Milhouse strikes again.] 9gag posted it on their Instagram on the 3rd, and it has over 833,000 likes. To further prove the ridiculous proportions reached, over 92,000 actual humans have participated in a Buzzfeed survey to find out whether it is a bear or dog.
...and the comments on the buzzfeed run the gammut from people refusing to believe it's a dog to others accusing the owner of dying her dog to resemble a bear. My favorite is the actual owner's response comment:

"Hey guys! I'm the owner of this wonderful dog. Her name is Bounce, but she's actually not from Nashville. My family and I went on vacation there and boarded her at The Dog Spot. We adopted her at the Wake County SPCA in NC about 2 years ago, and she now lives in GA. She's a Pomeranian mix, but because we adopted her, we don't know what the other part of her is. And by the way, yes that is her natural color, and no, she is not a bear." - Elizabeth
 Once Ryan was somehow connected to the story about Bounce, he was being tweeted at by MTV news, E! online  as well as news affiliates all over the country. They had 120 questions about the mystery bog. [Tangent: In the words of OMC, "How Bizarre!"] You can click here to read his expose with a Philly ABC station which I can only assumed is called "Slow News Day, Philadelphia." 

I'm only upset I didn't think to pitch this to Hello Giggles [Tangent: who of course covered it here.] when it was still flying under the radar....I guess I underestimated how hard it would be to figure out it was a dog (and not a bear) at a doggie day care. Next time I won't assume it to be such was a cut and dry issue! The funny thing is that this is not the first time the internet has lost its damn mind over a mystical dog bear. There was another incident that hit buzzfeed hard last January. You can read about it here. Spoiler alert: Its a dog! 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Real Housewives VS Downton Abbey Part 2- Money STILL Can't Buy You Class

Sometimes I write a blog and think about it on an obsessive level...keeping notes in an iPhone app and revisiting it regularly thinking of my ways I could have made my point even more airtight [Tangent: Translation- leaving well enough alone was never my strong suit and I'm a hellacious nerd.]. Nearly three years ago, I wrote this post finding the strong similarities between two of my favorite series: Downton Abbey and the various incarnations of the Real Housewives. Besides boasting #RichPeopleProblems in droves, there are many specific parallels that I just cannot shake. True, Lady Edith has never dabbled in producing a club banger (despite having little experience in the area) or launched a line of pinot grigio...but there are lots of other examples that prove that the whole "Mo Money, Mo Problems" adage transcends time and space. [Tangent: It also leads me to believe Julian Fellowes and Andy Cohen are secretly having meetings.] Since Downton is back for it's final season [Tangent: Oddly enough airing in the same time slot at Real Housewives of ATL. Coincidence?] , I thought there was no time like the present to revisit this here goes.

10 Commonalities Between Real Housewives 
and Downton Abbey (Revisited) 

1. Disapproving Mamas

The Dowager countess is the harshest critic around the Abbey and no one ever seems to call her out on her flagrant shade throwing because well that whole "respect your elders" thing can be a bitch (and because it's highly entertaining). Such is the case with Kandi's mom Miss Joyce from Atlanta. She spent an entire season being none-too-subtle with her words against Kandi's fiancee, Todd. There were accusations about gold digging and infidelity...some even coming to a head in bridal shops! EEK! I guess no matter what the decade, when Mama is unhappy- nobody is happy.

2. Jail Time

 Jail time, whether warranted or not, is something the "real" families are very well acquainted with. Aside from the New Jersey prison power couple, Theresa and Joe Giudice [Tangent: The last name that there is no consensus on how to pronounce...even from the couple themselves. Is it Jew-Di-Che or Jew-Dice? Do they even know?] , there's one househusband from Hotlanta,  Apollo . There are some blaring differences between these folks and our sweet Mr. Bates. The major distinctions are Bates was convicted of murder...and not whatever fraud or money laundering BS I don't really fully understand. Plus Mr. Bates was innocent...and likeable. 

3. Bum Legs

 While we are on Mr. Bates, let's talk about his bum leg. Thankfully, his disability is rarely addressed (anymore!) and it's just kind of part of him. [Tangent: Talk about a progressive early 20th century attitude!] Perhaps Aviva from New York City could take a page from his book instead of throwing her leg troubles in people's faces ...quite literally.

4. Parties with Mandatory Hats

Not unlike the Housewives, Downton has a lot of needless parties. Carnivals, polo know the usual things one would throw on their property. Well, it must be inherently British to throw oppulent backyard get togethers and foist weird hats upon your gusts, because Lisa Vanderpump is no stranger to that behavior. For her husband's 70th birthday, madame VDP threw a dinner at her own Abbey, Villa Rosa, where guests were given the most ridiculous of hats as they crossed the threshhold. After watching that party, I couldn't help but wonder how it would have played out if Cora gave Lord Grantham an awkwardly sexual toast and a set of mini horses as a birthday gift.

5. Beloved Pooches

 While we are on Mrs. Vanderpump, we can't ignore her animal obsession. [Tangent: Even her tagline so eloquently reinforces this: "I'm passionate about dogs, just not crazy about bitches."] Even though her managerie is not just just canine specific (lest we those pampered swans and aforementioned mini horses.), when you think Lisa, you immediately think of her little molting accessory of a dog, Giggy. Without Giggy, Lisa may come off heartless and at times, but that little thing makes her feel more human. The same can be said of Lord Grantham and Isis [Tangent: No...not THAT Isis.] who was thrown off his normally stoic perch when his lab was taken ill in season five. 

6. Polarizing Ensembles
From Phaedra and Porshe's shredded beachwear to basically anything Gretchen wore during her tenure in the OC, Housewives are fearless when making a bold statement with their clothes..and definitely lead to as much negative as positive attention. Although gorgeous and likely expensive as hell, the ladies of Downton usually skew more conservative with their dress...except when Lady Cybil made all of the estate spit in their tea when she wore... (insert gasp and pearl clutch!) a PANTSUIT! [Tangent: I know Cybil's look alongside an ass-out beach coverup seems pretty milquetoast, but people found it way more shocking. Maybe if she had been on vacay in Miami, it would have been a different story.]

7. Sage Gingers

I pay be partial, because I dating one, but gingers are pretty damned wise; and of course there is proof in places far and wide as the English countryside and New Jersey. Domestic goddesseses and general badasses Caroline Manzo and Mrs. Pattemore both kinda have that tough love thing nailed. Who knows? If technology had been in her favor, maybe the dame of downstairs Downton may have had her own sirius radio show, too.

8. Fighting an Illness Glamourously

We all remember when Cora came down with the sickness and dramatically made scarlett fever her servant several seasons back. Sure- she looked rough at times (I mean no updo!) but she weathered the storm and returned to corsetted life as normal in no time at all. We can only hope that a similar fate befalls Yolanda Foster from Beverly Hills. Her battle with Lyme disease has been front and center this season, and even though everyone gets all up in arms when she appears bare-faced and sans multiple layers of contouring...I think she looks amazing.

9. Dinner Parties where Special Guests Clash
When you bring a random to a party, it is safe to say their attendance could be a potential liability. This was never more front and center than when Branson invited his lady friend the teacher, Sarah Bunting, to eat with his adopted family at Downton. She broke the cardinal rule of cordial discourse and talked politics with his super conservative in-laws. Oopsie Poopsie! You made Lord Grantham raise his voice! Unfortunately, this faux pas pales in comparison to the shit show of all shit shows that took Beverly Hills when Camille Grammar invited the martini-swigging medium, Allison Dubois,  to her dinner party. The attendance of this plus one resulted in Kyle being told that she was going to be in an unhappy marriage and die alone. Fun party, Camille. [Tangent: Second place would have to go to the weird name change party Heather Dubrow threw in the OC where the random uninvited guest, also named Sarah, ate a piece of the bow off the cake before it was served and the party was rocked by the scanal.] 

10. And of course...the HEAVIEST NECKLACES AROUND! 
I know I touched on the statement necklace in volume one and its rampant use in Downton as well as all the Housewives Franchises, but It cannot be addressed enough. HOW HEAVY ARE THOSE THINGS!??! 

SO what did I leave off? 
Are ya'll happy/sad Downton is back for the final season? 
Which Housewife would be most at home in Downton (I vote Heather Dubrow!)
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