Monday, March 2, 2015

Top 10 March Arrivals

The  Get Blued! Photo Contest enter to win a possible gift card to the CCA online store.

Celebrate Women’s History Month Who is your favorite female hero?

Hoops there it is! March Madness Selection Sunday is March 15. Print out your Grids!

March 15 is also the IDES of March.

Trending in stores this month pistachio muffins (love them), Irish scones, Irish soda bread , Irish Potatoes. Are you noticing the trend "50 shades of green"?

March 17 if you missed it enclosed is my secret recipe for corn beef and cabbage and other delectable treats, most you can pick up at any supermarket during this Irish Month. delcotopten.blogspot.com/2014/03/top-10-steps-to-irish-feast-for-foodies.html

March 20 at 6:45 p.m. The First Day of Spring Mark Your Calendars! 

March 20 - April 12 The National Cherry Blossom Festival. Look for upcoming events locally too.

Soon to be tip toe through the tulips time. Have you seen any bulbs popping up through the soil yet?

Start your indoor seeds now!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Top 10 Wondering About the Downton Abbey Season Finale

What do you expect? Questions, questions??

Will this one end tragically?  I am still not over what they did to Matthew Crawley.

Who will walk down the aisle next? Will it be Violet the Dowager? How about the doctor and Isobel?

Is Mary getting too snarky for a suitor? Are there any more distant "rich" cousins in the wings?  That may sweeten her up!

Will Tom really go to America? Does he have a new project? Forget Edith and Mary, I'll miss him.  He needs a girl, maybe a nice American girl.  Any interest in an Irishman ladies?

Which actor/actress will you spot in different television shows or movies in the off season? Which actor appeared in one of the Oscar nominated films this year? Hint the movie was Imitation Game. Not to give that away but his character will shock you.

Who is your favorite character? Favorite couple? Carson and Mrs. Hughes belong together but the dialog between them and the spark between them would be missed if they got married and lived happily ever after but they really are a couple in many aspects of the show.

Is Thomas, Mr. Barrow the footman, not to be confused with Tom "Branson" the former chauffeur turned family member getting nice? I almost liked him helping out the new "temporary" recruit with the gambling issue. Nice move.

Do you miss O'Brien? Maybe she killed the rapist. How about the Dowager's new ladies maid?  She needs a Donald Trump moment, "You're Fired". I like her interaction with the butler Spratt the brat. I thought he was the problem but seems she's not very nice either. Denker is a drinker!

Are all the blondes subject to sadness and hard luck? Edith? Anna? Tom? Matthew? Is Rose safe? She is currently the lead role in Disney's Cinderella. It is not out yet, it opens March 13th. She does seem to be charming. See the Disney  Cinderella Trailer on YouTube. Anna  (Joanne Froggatt) did win the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Supporting role so maybe all her drama is just and act.  I was happy for her. You can't help but like her. I spotted Tom (Allen Leech) and Edith (Laura Carmichael) at the awards table with her for support! Where was Bates? Isn't that always a question?

I hope Rose stays local after getting married and I hope her nasty mother moves far, far away. Visitor's to the mansion do not get as much screen time with the exception of Isobel and the Dowager. You can see both of them in upcoming movieThe Second Best Marigold Exotic Hotel, you can spot a lot of familiar faces in this movie including, Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire and Newsroom) and Richard Gere still sexy after all these years and Judi Dench returns.

Tune in for the Season Finale Sunday on PBS! If you suffer from DA withdraw symptoms when the season ends, I have some picture from the great Downton Costume Exhibit at Winterthur, if you missed it at this link.  delcotopten.blogspot.com/2014/08/top-10-downton-abbey-in-delaware-at.html 

 Many libraries across the country are having teas to celebrate the season.  Tickets are going fast so if you see one advertised grab that ticket in a lady-like manner. Go and gossip, these people leave a lot to talk about! Dress accordingly with hat and gloves of course.

and 

Highclere Castle and Garden is having a drawing. See if you can answer the questions.  Click around the website to see more about the history of the location where Downton Abbey is filmed.  They offer tours to the public too!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Top 10 Things To Do This Weekend Feb 28

February 28 ANTIQUE APPRAISAL EVENT 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. at Historic Sugartown.Wondering what that prized family heirloom might be worth? Here’s your chance to find out! Antiques expert Sarah Shinn Pratt will provide informal appraisals on your fine art, antiques and collectibles. Bring your items to Historic Sugartown on Saturday, February 28th from 10 to 5 for an informal verbal estimate. Space is limited and registration is required! There is a $15 per item, or $35 per 3 items appraisal fee. Proceeds from fees will benefit the Historic Sugartown. Historic Sugartown’s Carriage Museum is located at 273 Boot Road, Malvern. Call 610.314.4048 or email margaret@lofty.com

February 28 - March 8 The Philadelphia Flower Show at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Repeat after me, Spring is just around the corner.  Tap those heals too! I think I may be in the minority but I like all the seasons and the changes and I love the white stuff, maybe not so much if I lived in Boston.

February 28  Kitchen Herb Garden at Linvilla Garden Center 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The price includes 3 herb plants, a quality terracotta planter, hearty soil and the guidance from an expert Garden Center staff!  Call 610 876-7116 to register. Fee $35 
  
February 28 iCare enough 2 #BeTheOne Concert 8 p.m. to 11:55 p.m. at SJU.

March 1 Bucks County  Designer House and Garden Empty House Party before the makeover. Villa d'Braccia, has been selected as the 40th Bucks County Designer House and Gardens. Tours begin April 26. Check out all the additional events at buckscountydesignerhouse.org/events/ website.

March 1 Betsy Ross House Meet Mary Crathorne, Chocolate Maker Discover chocolate's patriotic history with 18th century entrepreneur, Mary Crathorne, and enjoy FREE samples of American Heritage™ Chocolate. 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.



Get Tax Help 

PathWays VITA offering free tax preparation in Greater Philadelphia, Camden, and Delaware County from January 26 to April 15 2015.  Schedule your appointment online today! Our services are available to individuals and families earning less than $53,000 per year. To schedule your free tax appointment, visit the scheduling page or call 610-543-5022 or 1-800-209-2914.

February 28 Free Federal and State Income Tax Prep at the Aston Library appointments required call 610-494-5877. The Aston Public Library will host free Federal and State Income Tax preparation services from PathwaysPA on February 28th (a Saturday). Families or single persons with income below $53,000 per year are eligible for the free filing assistance.

Community Action Agency is offering free tax prep from locations in Boothwyn and Media by appointment call 610-891-6327 or 610-891-5101.

AARP is offering free tax prep (not just for seniors) at the Granite Run Mall 8:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays on the upper level of Granite Run Mall near Boscov's.  This program is a first come, first served.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Top 10 Ways to Zip through your day!

Zip your pants

Zip your coat

Zip the pocketbook

Zip the backpack

Zip the code

Zip the lips

Zip along

Zip the tent

Zip the sleeping bag

Zippity Do Da Day mission complete!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Top 10 Reasons why you should see all the Best Picture Nominations

No one really likes a job critique and let's face it none of these films or the people in them would have been selected if they were not award winning quality. I am just one of the billions and billions of opinions out there. They all received at least one "Oscar".

The asterisk at the end indicates "Academy Award" wins.

American Sniper Any movie that casts Bradley Cooper in a leading roll will get a wink and a nod from me.  I just like the guy, yeah he's sexy but he is also believable. Good at his job being precise and a good decision maker is certainly someone we all want defending us and our country and that quality and characterization is something we all want from our leaders. What I found hard to believe but maybe it is true is this. How can anyone experience the horrors of war, combat, conflict and anything else you want to call it without experiencing PTSD?  I can't imagine what his wife went through.  Was he really able to call her on the phone while he was right there getting ready to shoot someone? I am sure that does not happen in today's military. Even though she was not there, only on the other end of the phone, how can she not suffer from PTSD? It is a true story, the trial is going on in Texas right now. I find the timing a little off for the movie, maybe it should have waited till after the trial to be released. Sad but true it is not so uncommon to shoot down American heroes. It was hard to get tickets to this one, it was a box office smash with a big message about how much we do respect out military.  It is a tough job, the service they do for us. Some of the more poignant moments in the film were no sounds at all. Winner Best Achievement in sound editing. *

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)  I absolutely hated this movie. I felt attacked by it.  I didn't like the beginning or the ending or any of the people in it. The acting, however was excellent to invoke such distaste and this is  just my opinion, for what it is worth... The movie troubled me so much that it caused a lot of after thought.  A true sign of a good movie, provoking. While I felt  like I was being attacked in the movie, I was missing the point or was I? Here are just some of my crazy thoughts, we all have them : ).  We have demons, ideas of the way we want things to be and a conscious that we sometimes struggle with just about every day when we open our eyes to the new day. I would rather have a Jiminy Cricket character buzzing in my ear rather than a bird telling me to go take a leap. It is a tough job to live up to expectations of someone else let alone your own. Social media only seems to want a piece of you if you do something embarrassing or out of character. This is why people that did not see the movie were so critical of Neil Patrick Harris in his underwear. I saw the movie so I got it but it really didn't work.  I found the fine line between reality and fantasy in the movie a little confusing but very true to life as we know it today, especially the critic's message. A person's words (a critique) can destroy another person's character and life's work without even seeing their work just because they can.  I found this so dangerous and close to reality that was why I guess the movie was so disturbing to me.  I love Michael Keaton's work just as much as anyone else and I wish he took home a statue but I went with the guy from The Theory of Everything. I wish they both could have won. Birdman won Picture of the Year, Directing, Original Screenplay, Cinematography ****.

Boyhood I have to say this was not my favorite but I liked that I could "rent it" from cable and rarely will you find me saying something nice about cable.  I can be a critic too but I am not of the intention of ruining anyone's (cable companies) reputation.  I applaud the effort in this film and it was cool to watch this kid grow up.  It certainly lifted the curtain on a few struggles kids go through in those all important years. The one section that got most of my attention was the teacher and maybe I took it wrong but the teacher telling the kid he needed to focus on his real school work and things that were important. Maybe these were not the exact words but the kid said I am doing something important.  Of course as adults, we all know now that you get your education from all sorts of sources and rarely are the most crucial questions and answers on any standardized test. I am not faulting our educational system, I think it is tough to teach when you haven't gotten the proper training yourself, not everything is in a book. The teacher that teaches off book and strengthens the imagination to wander creates the transition in a more influential way in my opinion. It was interesting to watch how most of the people in the movie were too with adulthood to recognize the all important childhood years. I loved Patricia Arquette's acceptance speech and Meryl Streep's reaction. *

The Grand Budapest Hotel I am trying so hard not to be critical because you know, it's disturbing to me, but I probably wouldn't pay the big bucks to see this one in the theater but this is another one I enjoyed for $5 or maybe $6 on cable. The Academy disagreed with me, they loved it. I liked it. The story was zany but the scenery was spectacular so you know who got my cinematography vote. I loved the mountain scene. It holds your attention because you want to know just what will happen next. It was a fun show to watch which I can't say about any of the other nominations. Sad to say there isn't much fun in the other true to life films nominated so it was nice to mix it up with a zany one. Watch it on one of those evenings you want to escape the real world, some parts are really funny. I am a Big Finnes Fan, both Ralph and Joseph. It won Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Costume and Make-Up ****

The Imitation Game Wow is my first reaction walking out of this film. Those patterns in math class and solving puzzles do matter. I never read about Enigma in the history books and I am always fascinated to find out new information about secret war stories.  It is a fascinating story just imagine what technology can do today. There are a few other interesting components to the story as if this wasn't enough. We have improved on some of our beliefs and how we treat people yet we still seem to make judgements and decisions that do not compute. I really recommend this film. Imitation Game won Best Adapted Screenplay. I would have given it Best Picture, I was that impressed with the story it told. *

Selma despite all the hub bub and fact checking I thought this was a great film. For historical purposes, I suppose I should have paid more attention to the portrayal of LBJ but I didn't. I watched the film in a more personal rather than a political fact check.  I would have been approximately the same age, slightly younger, of those little girls that were killed at the 16th Street Baptist Church. I guess it shows how different information is relayed now than from back in those days. I don't remember my parents speaking of it. It was not breaking news on the Internet.  I remember having the opinion that George Wallace wasn't a nice man but never really fully aware of rights and "peaceful" marches. I remember the term being riots, it was good to get a clearer perspective.  I wondered why we were not taught about such things in school and then it dawned on me, it wasn't history at the time.  It was current news.  I hope today's kids are getting a more clear message and someday senseless acts and the suspicion  and mistrust will be part of the shameful and sorrowful past. Selma won best original song and the presentation at the Academy Awards was powerful, so was the movie, I think it deserved more recognition. *

The Theory of Everything I have nothing but respect for the characters and the people who portrayed them so eloquently. I wish they were acknowledged more but it was a powerful field to choose from this year. My favorite scene in the movie was when he (Stephen Hawking) went to receive his award from the Queen and he invited his wife whom he was no longer with and his children and he turns to her and says "Look what we have done, referring to his children". He really is a brilliant man. I don't know if this movie was what made the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge so popular this summer but ALS is such a nasty disease.  Mr. Hawking did not beat the disease but he sure did "outsmart" it. I thought Felicity Jones did such a great job in playing Stephen Hawking's wife Jane, she is just as much a hero as her husband.  It really was her story to tell.  Stephen Hawking has a website if you would like to catch up on him.  The Theory of Everything won Best Actor *.

Whiplash The music was great and I read the drummer, Miles Teller did his own drumming, quite amazing. He gets best musician in my blog to date for endurance alone, very intense. It is a tough movie to watch. Hard work should pay off and you should be able to achieve your dreams but I have never been a fan of someone that uses abuse and criticism to drive someone to achieve. There is a fine line separating the men from the boys. No doubt, J.K. Simmons earned that award, he's such a nice guy, from the movie you would never know it.  That is acting!  It is a tough movie to watch, especially if you know anyone like that who destroyed dreams. I got that one right. Whiplash won Supporting Actor, Film Editing and Sound Mixing ***.

An Award Waking Moment for me watching the Academy Awards was Lady Gaga.  Her tribute to the Sound of Music was show stopping.  Are their many if any movies today, where the majority can sing along and know almost all the lyrics to the soundtrack of a movie?  The closest I'm guessing is "Frozen".

The Short Films aren't as easy to find and watch.  I found a website, filmsshort.com and you can watch some of the older ones for free. You may have to first go to the Oscars website and see previous winners and google the name and maybe get to see parts on YouTube but their are copyrights especially on the winners so maybe just a clip. The Phone Call short Live Action this year had the most impact on me. It tore at me and brought me to tears.  This year I liked the International diversity of Tibet, Afghanistan, Austria, U.K and Israel and I always like the Irish humor, perhaps I am a tad prejudice. I like funny. I also thought "Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak)" (Hu Wei and Julien FĂ©ret) was a good translation of people.  It showed  people are the same no matter where they live in this case Tibet.  We get fears and phobias about people and places because all the bad gets amplified.  I read a review online where someone said, I was expecting something more to happen. I think if you look close enough there was a lot happening in that short time frame.

I got a little chatty today, lots of caffeine involved. I almost didn't make it to the end of the show but I had to see who won. It was over around midnight.  I was happy for all of them. I find it interesting how people pick up different things in movies.