Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Carolina Panthers Love Me Again!

OK, so they never hated me. But still, they proved it on Sunday. Of course, I thought I would have a heart attack in the process as they kicked a last second field goal (by my beloved John Kasay! Seriously, I've loved that man since I was 8 years old) to defeat the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome. I still don't know why John Fox left 6 seconds on the clock for the kick, giving the Saints another shot to score, but whatever. We won and I'm not going to complain! They secured the No. 2 seed in the NFC and earn a first round bye and a second round home game.

My brother has been plotting how he is going to get tickets when they go on sale Thursday. We have a secret Ticket Master location where we got our tickets to the Monday night game this season. We were the only ones there! At our old haunt, there were tons of people clamoring for tickets. I would really like to go to the game, but I'm planning on going to my uncle's in South Carolina for his 50th birthday with my mother and grandmother. I could probably make it to both, since his birthday is on Friday, January 9 and the game is Saturday night, but I wanted to spend the weekend with my family. Besides, I have to be back in Chapel Hill by Sunday since classes start that Monday.

Then again, playoff games are AWESOME! The atmosphere is the best. We went when the Panthers played Dallas at home in 2003 and it was one of the best Panther games I have ever attended.

We'll see. I still have a couple days to think about it. Ugh. Why can't I be in two places at once!

Anyway, speaking of Chapel Hill and football, my Tar Heels broke my heart losing to West Virginia in the Meineke Bowl in Charlotte on December 27. The game was amazing, and so close! In better news for the Tar Heel Nation, the men's basketball team is kicking ass and taking names. They defeated Rutgers by 22 the other day, but they've also got a couple of tough tests coming up. Tomorrow, they play No. 3 Pitt and then head up to No. 2 UConn. I think those games will determine how good the Tar Heels actually are. So far, they've looked great. Even Rutgers coach Fred Hill praised them saying, "They have no weaknesses."

So, things are looking good in my sports world. The Panthers are headed to the playoffs, the UNC football team played admirably in their first bowl game since 2004, and the men's basketball team are ranked No. 1 and undefeated. I only hope things stay this good!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Consumerism at Its Best

Well, it's the day after Christmas and I'm here at my grandmother's house perusing my favorite stores online for awesome deals. Who doesn't love after-Christmas sales?! Nobody, that's who! So let's dig in!

Brooks Brothers

Brooks Brothers is having their amazing semi-annual sale until January 5! Plus, on top of their already marked down prices, Brooks has been offering an additional 15% off today and yesterday. I know! Buy, buy, buy! Some things that caught my eye:

Wool Solid Dress (Sale: $199.00, Reg.: $398.00):

I'm fond of most of Brooks' dress collection, but I'm too lazy to post pictures of them all. If you're interested you can find them here.

However, it seems my favorite dress must be sold out since it is no longer listed. But I managed to find a picture for posterity.

Oh my God. LOVE!

Classic Single-Breasted Blazer (Sale: $291.00, Reg.: $388.00):

I love this whole look. Crisp and classic. It's similar to this other blazer (Sale: $194.00, Reg.: $388.00) below that is in their Country Club line.

I bought my mother this seersucker pajama set (Sale: $32.00, Reg.: $65.00) for Christmas.

They're more summery than wintery but, trust me, my mother already has enough winter pajamas!

Accessory time! Silk scarfs can add a little drama to any outfit and I love this luggage/travel-themed one (Sale: $114.00, Reg.: $228.00). And it's on clearance!

Ah, jewelry! When it comes to jewelry, I'm of the philosophy that less is more. I'm all about simple and elegant. So, naturally, I'm drawn to pearls. I can't help it. They're like crack to me. And I covet this bracelet (Sale: $149.00, Reg.: $298.00).

Now, shoes! Brooks has so many quality, classic, and stylish shoes. They make a woman feel like she's died and gone to heaven.

Alligator Pump (Sale: $1498.50, Reg.: $1998.00):

Aren't the red ones fabulous?! They just pop! Not exactly for the animal-conscious, but they certainly are gorgeous.

Kiltie Pump (Sale: $144.00, Reg.: $288.00):

Perfect shoe for the career woman. Classy and practical, but still stylish enough to be fashionable.

Tassel Pump (Reg.: $288.00):

OK, so this wasn't on sale. But isn't it fabulous?!

This final bit has nothing to do with Christmas deals, but I adore Brooks' ad campaigns. Every e-mail I get from Brooks is like a little slice of a classic, American lifestyle.

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren sometimes gets a little too trendy for my taste (don't get me started on that big pony...thing...they've been into lately), but they still know how to rock the classics and I'm often able to find things I love. However, their Christmas/winter sale is nowhere near as good as Brooks Brothers'. Regardless, I found some things I liked.

Serana Calfskin Riding Boots (Sale: $1010.00, Reg.: $1100):

Brooks has a similar version that is cheaper (Sale: $748.00, Reg.: $998.00) and, honestly, probably better made, but for some reason I prefer Ralph Lauren's pair. I think it's the buckle at the ankle. It gives it a distictive riding boot feel, while Brooks' could just be regular old boots.

I also found this turtleneck sweater (Sale: $34.99, Reg.: $59.50) which I actually bought. I even got an additional 30% off the sale price!

I got it in this gorgeous icy blue which will go perfectly under the white cableknit sweater I already have. The little polo player on my sweater is the same color as this turtleneck. So, yay! A little post-Christmas present to myself!


J.Crew often has amazing online sales. Unfortunately, their site has been bogged down by glitches since the summer. Even today I experienced problems with their site. But they have great deals and are offering 20% off their final sale items. Some highlights:

Cashmere Ruffle Cardigan (Sale: $99.00, Reg.: $178.00):

Silk tricotine Rebecca short dress (Sale: $99.00, Reg.: $350.00):

Alabaster Tweed Coat (Sale: $249.00, Reg.: $395.00):

J.Crew also tends to veer into the "too trendy" territory for me, but they always have the classics I love.

Lilly Pulitzer

Lilly Pulizter isn't having a sale online, but her line can be found in major department stores. My brother gave me this sweater (Sale: $82.00, Reg.: $138.00) for Christmas (and when I say "my brother gave me," I mean my mother picked it out, paid for it, wrapped it and my brother stuck his name and a bow on it!). It was on sale in the store. That's how I'm justifying it's presence in this post!

L.L. Bean

I may be the only one (other than my mother), but I totally love this tartan flannel nightgown (Sale: $24.99, Reg.: $39.99) from L.L. Bean.

I grew up with my mother wearing flannel nightgowns in the winter, so I have a strange affinity for them and this one is just adorable!

I know I've only covered women's fashions, and in the interest of (quasi-) fairness, here's a (very) brief rundown of some of my favorite men's deals this holiday season:

Brooks Brothers Merino Argyle Button-Front Cardigan (Sale: $88.00, Reg.: $148.00):

Seriously. I have an argyle problem.

Ralph Lauren Cotton-Cashmere Fair Isle Vest (Sale: $179.00, Reg.: $325.00):

I'm of Scandinavian ancestry, so this fair isle look really appeals to me. I think it's gorgeous.

L.L. Bean Warm-Up Jacket (Reg: $59.00):

Now this is something my brother could handle. I really like it and it's a fantastic deal. I know, it's not really on sale. But $59.00?! You can't beat that!

These are my favorite holiday deals. I would have loved to include another one of my favorites, Vineyard Vines, but they aren't having a winter sale! Boo! I'll have to cover them in a different post. But there are definitely some great deals out there this holiday season. Makes this little shopper very happy!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Why Do We Play the Game?

Just the other day, I was bitching whining complaining opining that one of the big three networks hates me. Well that hate seems to have spread to my beloved Carolina Panthers. They just dropped their chance to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs by losing a game to the New York Giants they should never have lost.

OK, so it wasn't that bad. And the Panthers don't hate me (but ABC still certainly does). But it was dissapointing. The game was theirs to lose and they just blew it. Big time. When are coaches (Foxy, I'm looking at you!) going to learn that you can't play not to lose. Why do we play the game? Let me tell you why. WE PLAY TO WIN THE GAME! (End Dan Hawkins.) We don't play not to lose. Now, I love John Fox. He has done wonders for this organization since he took over. However, he often plays too conservatively. There are times when you just need to go all out. And if playing for the top seed in the NFC isn't one of those times, I don't know what is. This time, Fox and Company's conservativism, I would argue, lost them the game.

But, like I said, despite my overly dramatic post-title and introduction, I don't think this is that bad. OK, OK, immediately after the game, I thought it was terrible. End-of-my-NFL-football-world terrible. But that was just in the heat of the moment. Now I have time to mull it over (i.e. read the opinions of cooler heads online) and I've decided the outcome of the game is not that bad for the following reasons.

First, it was a great game. Sure, my team lost and that always sucks but the Giants didn't blow the Panthers out. In fact, the Panthers lead most of the game. They proved the could hang with the best the NFC had to offer. The Panthers were thisclose to winning. Just a yard closer and the infamous Meadlowlands wind wouldn't have blown John Kasay's field goal attempt left. Steve Smith's holding penalty brought back a tremendous DeAngelo Williams run. The game was close and it could easily have ended with a Panthers victory.

Second, I think the Panthers needed to lose. I realize losing is generally considered a bad thing, but the Panthers have been on a winning streak for a while. They needed a wake-up call and I'm sure this one was loud and clear.

Third, the Panthers have a tendency to defeat teams in the playoffs that they lose to in the regular season (See Cowboys, Rams, and Eagles in 2003).

Fourth, we still have Steve Smith who, last time I checked (barring that one holding issue), is still the best receiver in the NFL. As long as we have him, things will always be pretty good. Plus, the Panthers have a lot of talent and good leadership.

I still have high hopes for my team in the playoffs. Of course, I would love for them to be in the Super Bowl, but I won't go so far as to predict it at this moment. Not that I'm terribly superstitious or think they don't have a chance. I'm just taking a wait-and-see approach. However, I'm fairly confident that they will make an appearance in the NFC Championship Game. Heck, maybe we'll end up with home field advantage by default because I wouldn't be surprised if the Giants bite it in the second round.

Of course, the Panthers still have to play the Saints this Sunday and win if they want a first round bye. So let's hope things get back on track in New Orleans.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

ABC Hates Me

How is it that shows like Rules of Engagement, According to Jim, and Grey's Anatomy (you read that right, Grey's hasn't been interesting in two years and it's officially jumped the shark!) continue to pollute the airwaves, yet quality television programming gets the ax?! Why am I in such despair? You see ABC, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to cancel two of my shows. I know! The nerve! So, it is with deep sadness that I bid them farewell.

RIP Pushing Daisies and Dirty Sexy Money. I will cherish your few remaining episodes.

Pushing Daisies: You were a whimsical wonderland. Every episode made me smile from the sheer cuteness that radiated from my television screen. OK, also because of the hotness of Lee Pace as Ned the Piemaker. I will miss your quirky ways and your awesomely obscure references. I will never again wonder if Ned and Chuck will accidently bump into each other while rounding a corner. No longer will Emerson's greed, cynicism, and mastery of one-liners give me joy. Finally, Olive. Oh, Olive and her unrequited love for Ned. I will miss her spunk and apparent aversion to crewnecks.

Dirty Sexy Money: I didn't watch a second of season one, but ended up being sucked into this show this fall since it came on after Private Practice (yes, I watch that mess, don't judge!). It is pure soapy goodness. A guilty pleasure done right. It's what should have been the Dallas or Dynasty of this generation. It did soap better than every single one of the daytime dramas. And believe me, I'm no stranger to daytime. Judging! Stop! What will fill the void in my life for delicious soapy drama?! Well, you know, other than the über-awesome Gossip Girl? And the sometimes-awesome, but really more hit-or-miss Desperate Housewives? Isn't it enough that daytime is currently circling the drain? Why get rid of one of the good bits of soap in my life? Why have you slighted me again, soap gods?!

Serves me right, I suppose. After the loss of my beloved Men in Trees, I knew I shouldn't trust ABC. Fool me once...

Oh, but before I go I should mention that there is one bright spot on ABC. And that is the wonderful American adaptation of the British drama Life on Mars. I was vaugely familiar with Jason O'Mara because of his brief appearance in Band of Brothers (I'm a sucker for nearly anything WWII-related), but I forgot just how smoking hot he was until this show thrust itself into my life by being fortunate enough to take the timeslot after Grey's Anatomy. Finally, something good came from my roommate continuing to watch that drivel! So ABC gets some credit for keeping his beautiful face on my television screen. If you don't watch this show, watch it. Please! After all ABC has done to me, I don't think I could handle losing Jason O'Mara this show from my life too!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to see a professional for my over-attachment to these shows.

Oh, Christmas Music, How I Do Love Thee!

I was watching Live with Regis and Kelly the other morning and Enya performed "White is in the Winter Night" from her new album And Winter Came. Suffice it to say, I immediately downloaded the album and have been pretty much obsessed with it since. I love it. Classic Enya for Christmas. Very ethereal and just beautiful. I highly recommend it.

I also adore Josh Groban's Christmas album Noël and the song "Believe" from The Polar Express soundtrack (and pretty much the rest of that soundtrack as well).

But my absolute favorites are the classics, especially "Hark the Harold Angel Sings," "Angels We Have Heard on High," "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas," and "Sleigh Ride."


Well, this is my blog! I pretty much just plan to fill it with my random musings. Just whatever strikes and interests me. So mostly television, sports and fashion! And it'll kind of be an experiment to see how long I will keep up with this!