Category Archives: Uncategorized

Brit flicks for the Downton Abbey down time

Another season of Downton Abbey is over too quickly!Wisdom from Downton Abbey's Dowager CountessWhile this wasn’t my favorite year, I still think it’s one of the best things on TV, and I’ll be waiting for season five to arrive. What was your favorite part of season four?

The final episode delivered a lovely moment between the Dowager Countess and Tom as they headed onto the dance floor at the ball. They’re two of my favorite characters, and I like the relationship that has evolved between them as the family has adapted and accepted him. The party fashions were amazing, of course, in true Downton style.

Earlier in the season, I thought it was entertaining when Lady Mary and Charles Blake were on bucket brigade in the pig pen. Although her character has grown on me over the course of the series, it was still fun seeing a prim and proper member of the family getting filthy on the farm.

Now I’ll have to find other ways to get my English period drama fix. I have a couple of DVDs ready and waiting for me.

I think I’ll start with The King’s Speech. Since it won several awards, I have no doubt that it will be excellent. I also bought the 12-episode BBC adaptation of Little Dorrit, and I’m looking forward to seeing Charles Dickens’ London come to life through the miniseries.

Interestingly enough, both feature actors who have portrayed Mr. Darcy – Colin Firth from the BBC Pride & Prejudice adaptation and Matthew Macfadyen from the 2005 Keira Knightley Pride & Prejudice film. Coincidence? Well, I do love Mr. Darcy in both versions! It won’t be too long until I get around to rewatching each of them.

While we’re on Jane Austen, have you watched the BBC’s 2009 version of Emma starring Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller? It’s another Masterpiece Classic that I absolutely love and have to pull out to watch once in a while.

One other movie I have to mention since it’s the end of February: Leap Year with Amy Adams and Matthew Goode. It’s a lighthearted little rom com that takes place (mostly) in Ireland with likeable lead actors.

What’s your favorite British TV show or movie?

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Learning to capture Christmas bokeh

Christmas bokeh

As I’ve done some research to help improve my photos this Christmas season with my new DSLR camera, the buzzword I keep seeing is bokeh.  I’ve always liked those photos with the blurred lights in the background, but I never knew that was called bokeh until this year.  It’s a neat effect and definitely something I wanted to try with our Christmas tree.

I was glad to find a few tutorials in the blogosphere to help me figure out how to create these pics.  Today I finally decided to try it out.  I consulted the tutorial I found through Pinterest from the House of Hawthornes blog and pulled out my camera.

I set my camera to Aperture Priority mode and tried taking some photos just holding my camera, but they were all blurred.  I then realized the importance of the advice to use a stable surface.  Since I don’t have a tripod yet, I tried using my coffee table and a dining room chair.  It took several tries, but I got a couple of nice shots.Christmas poinsettia

These photos are so festive!  I love how they capture the beauty of the Christmas season!

Embracing the joy of a good-enough Christmas

When it comes to Christmas, every year I feel like I’m chasing perfection – and losing at it.

I want to have the perfect gifts for everyone on my Christmas cheerlist.

I want the decorations to be impeccable and the house to be immaculate.

I want the ideal picture of the kids for the Christmas cards.

I want to overcome the limitations of my current cooking and baking abilities and whip up amazing meals and desserts.

Each year I find that I can’t live up to the expectations I set for myself.  Then I think, “This year is good enough, and I’ll get an earlier start to make things perfect next year.”  It’s a silly cycle I’ve created.

It’s time for me to stop the madness!  This year is not perfect, and next year won’t be either.  And that’s OK.  I don’t want to spend the Christmas season feeling stressed and worn out because my goals are unrealistic.  I want to enjoy this special time of year, so today I’m taking a moment to reset my expectations and refocus on what’s important.

A “good enough” Christmas is good enough!  In fact, it’s probably better than perfect since it comes with less pressure and more time for family fun.  Time to appreciate the joy in everyday moments this Christmas season – not look for ways to improve them!