Saturday, September 22, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

A tea for September

I miss talking about tea.

In these stressful times, taking a moment to celebrate the soothing and fortifying ritual of afternoon tea seems a good idea, doesn't it? In fact, I'd like to start a tradition of monthly tea recommendations. Please feel free to join in with your own recs -- either in the comments or in a post of your own!

So without further ado . . . September's tea recommendation is Pleine Lune, from Mariage Frères.

Inspired by that heavenly body and the realm of dreams, this poetic blend combines fragrances evoking the feast of the full moon: fruits, rare spices, and the sweet taste of honey.

Don't the cornflowers make it gorgeous? For me, however, it's the honey and spice, and that hint of almond, that give this tea an early fall taste. (I also love that reference to "the feast of the full moon" in the description.) Best of all, you don't have to go to France to purchase this tea. It's available from various online merchants, including Dean & Deluca.

Chocolate chip scones from Iveta make the perfect companion to the Pleine Lune tea. These scones are a cinch to make -- just add heavy whipping cream and shape into a six-inch disk. Cut into six wedges and bake! (Order the scone mix directly from Iveta.)

Because I'm a tea nerd, I lke to be fancy and drink my French tea out of a French tea cup. In this case, it's the Gien "Raphael" set that Steve gave me as a gift many years ago.

How about you? Any tea recommendations for September?

*The above photos were taken with my iPhone using the CameraAwesome app and the "More Cowbell" filter. Christopher Walken would approve!

[Cross-posted at Livejournal]

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

TV Tuesday: it's FALL!

If you've tuned into my blog today in hopes of finding meaningful content . . .


That's because I want to talk about Fall TV. Shall we compare notes?

I'm definitely watching:
Homeland: Just finished season 1 and I NEED MORE CLAIRE DANES. And Mandy Patinkin. And yes, Damien Lewis (argh, argh argh!).

American Horror Story-Asylum: Loved the first season, so I gotta see how they're rebooting it.

Fringe: Bittersweet that it's ending, but how nice to have proper closure. Loved what Joshua Jackson had to say at Comic Con.

I'll give these a chance:
Elementary: I am quite fond of Jonny Lee Miller and actually have heard great things about this. There's plenty of room in my life for multiple incarnations of Sherlock Holmes.

Last Resort: I still carry a torch for Ben Scott Speedman (check out the military 'do!), and you gotta love a premise that involves a rogue nuclear missile sub, right? RIGHT?

Revolution: Steve wants to watch, so I'll give it a go even though I'm feeling a bit of post-apocalyptic fatigue right now.

Will you be watching any of the above with me? What have I left out?

[Cross-posted at Livejournal]

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

All the lovely creepy things

Sorry it's been rather quiet here on the blog lately. My days have been all about writing/revising, with occasional breaks for DVD viewing to feed the muse. This morning I turned in a final draft of my next book, The Dark Between, and I've been told it's going straight to copy-edits. Huzzah! It's so close to being an actual BOOK. Before long I'll be able to share the cover and all that fun stuff. I'm very excited about this story, you guys!

I've been craving ghost movies lately, partly because of another story I'm working on, so I indulged in some of the B&W classics featured on Martin Scorsese's Top 11 Horror Films. Great stuff, but I'm going to blog about that later . . . as we get closer to Halloween. (*cue maniacal laugh*)

For now I'll talk about current ghost movies. When David Edelstein recommended The Pact on CBS Sunday Morning (see recap here), I knew I had to see it. (It's available for rental at iTunes and Amazon, or perhaps it's at a theater near you?)

The trailer for The Pact makes it seem more like a slasher film, and yes, the poster says "scream out loud scary," but it actually falls along the psychological end of the horror spectrum. Low on cheap scares and gore, high on dread and goosebumps. (Also, it features one of the best uses of hair in building tension--you'll see what I mean if you watch!)

Speaking of ghosts, it also has come to my attention that the lovely British film The Awakening is in theaters in the U.S. (Very limited release, I'm assuming.) I own the DVD, but I'd definitely go see it on the big screen, if only it were in a theater closer than Dallas. Argh.

Check out the trailer for The Awakening. Sadly, it's not getting great reviews. Entertainment Weekly was rather "meh" and Ebert gave it 1.5 stars, which just befuddles me. Then again, he gave 4 stars to Knowing, which I found vacuous and over-acted. (I give it credit for high production values, and that's about it.) Ebert and I agree less and less these days.

I certainly wouldn't claim the film is perfect, and I'll go so far as to confess mild disappointment after the first viewing because the final reveal was underwhelming. After subsequent viewings, however, I saw how carefully it was put together, and I grew to love it so much more. But I understand that you can't ask film audiences to watch a movie several times before they decide whether or not to like it. [Are there any films that improved for you upon subsequent viewings? Like at first you were just "it's okay" and then you became obsessed? Spill the details!] In the meantime, if you do come across The Awakening, check it out for the gorgeous setting and atmosphere, and for the endearing, nuanced performances from Rebecca Hall and the always-delicious Dominic West. Man, I'm jonesing to see it again myself!

[Cross-posted at Livejournal]