Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's Sassurday!

(x)
Happy Sassurday and happy Christmas Eve, dear readers!  On this special Sassurday we thought we would share a new photo and the recently released trailer for Fassy's newest movie "Prometheus."  Now, we love ourselves some sci-fi at Victorian Swag (Star Trek, etc.) but we have to admit that the only reason this alien-studded flick has made it onto the blog is because it features King Fassy in a space suit.  As Sally so eloquently put it, "Fassy as an android . . . I'd still tap that."  The only disappointing thing about the trailer?  NOT ENOUGH FASSBENDER!



See you in the New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Classic List: holiday edition


This week I'm going to be paying tribute to one of my favorite Christmas movies. (Not It's A Wonderful Life, surprisingly...) Some people might argue of the relative merits of this film versus its popular re-make(ish), but since this is my list, I can play favorites. Without further ado, I give you the Holiday edition of The Classic List, and, yes, that pun was intended.

Friday We're In Love!

clockwise from top: 1234

Merry Christmas Adam, everyone! (I know, but I'm not sorry!) I hope, dear readers, that your Christmases/Hanukkahs/whatevers are merry and bright. To keep you entertained (for those of you who have smartphones) whilst buying those last-minute gifts and standing in hour-long lines, we give you this week's FWIL. Enjoy. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tacky Christmas Sweater Party!

'Tis the season for tacky Christmas sweaters!  To help get you into the Christmas spirit, I have provided both wardrobe and soundtrack ideas for any parties you may be throwing or attending over the next few days.  A big thank you to The Maine and Brighten for being so awesome!

First up is "Ho Ho Hopefully" by The Maine featuring Brighten.  Epic red suits and ironing skills.  Take notes.


Next is "Merry Christmas Baby" by Brighten featuring The Maine.  Please note the collar attached to the tacky sweater.  That is how it's done.  Make sure to follow their example, and let the Grinch in the group put the star on top of the tree.  


Merry Christmas to all!

Downton Abbey 1x5

Just warning you, we should probably be keeping track of how many times I want to use a poisoned dagger during this episode rather than how many times I break out the smelling salts. But oh well! We'll treat them like the silver lining to this in-an-oh-so-juicy-way monstrosity. We open with Anna, Daisy, and Gwen preparing Mary's room. Gwen drops something as she cleans the fireplace and the sound startles her. She's still rattled since she saw oh-yeah-him Pamuk being dragged out of there, but she doesn't say anything. At breakfast, Lord G has a letter from Aunt Rosamund and Mary says she envies rather than pities her, living in a house in London all alone. Lord G tells her to hold her tongue because "there will come a day when someone thinks you mean what you say." Sybil receives a letter as well. She applied to another position for Gwen. Gwen's surprised that she hasn't given up on her, but Sybil says, "I'll never give up and nor will you!" Because she has a heart of gold (smelling salts +1)!
Mrs. Crawley tells Cousin Matthew that they ought to go on another church outing with Edith after she made such an effort to arrange the last one. He tells her Edith's barking up the wrong tree (smelling salts +2)! Mrs. Crawley hopes there's a right tree for Edith somewhere. I'm sure there is... In Hell. Mr. B catches Thomas stealing wine, because of course he does. And he doesn't say anything, because that is the trend on this show. Dramz! Outside Lord G tells Lady G that his letter hinted that Mr. Napier had found Mary wanting... uh oh! She tells him Mary needs to get married ASAP. Downstairs everyone's asking Daisy what inspired her turn in Mary's room. She blames the Titanic, but evil duo Thomas and O'Brien are suspicious. The village prepares for the annual flower show and Mrs. Crawley finds out that the Countess always wins best bloom. Back at the house we find out that Thomas is responsible for spreading gossip about Mary. Of course he is!!! Gahhh!!!! He asks O'Brien not to tell anyone as Mr. B already caught him stealing wine. They decide it's time to get rid of Mr. B, because they are horrible human beings. Then they corner poor little Daisy and try to get her to spill the beans. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

cozy in his hoodie: the winter blend

I decided to pull an old yet reliable wintry mix from my music library to blast through the hallways of Neuschwanstein during our Christmas celebrations. It has a little bit of everything; enough to get us dancing by the fireplace, sipping cocoa in window seats as we watch the snow fall, and, of course, seeing which couple can last the longest under the mistletoe (*cough* Bradley and me *cough*). 


1. 30 Days ... Nevershoutnever!
2. Come Back Down (Ivory Cover) ... John O'Callaghan (of The Maine)
3. Ho Ho Hopefully ... The Maine
4. Virginia ... The Morning Light
5. Chocolate ... Snow Patrol
6. Fairytale of New York ... The Pogues
7. Sweet Sugar ... One Night Only
8. Revelry ... Kings of Leon
9. For the Widows In Paradise, for Fatherless In Ypsilanti ... Sufjan Stevens
10. Canal Song (End of Sentence) ... Iain Archer
11. There She Goes ... Ivory
12. Goodbye Philadelphia .. Peter Cincotti
13. Kisses and Cake ... John Powell
14. Kiss Me Like It's Christmas ... This Century
15. Swallowed In the Sea ... Coldplay
16. Merry Christmas Baby ... Brighten

Some of these songs are a bit difficult to find, so instead of putting it up on iTunes, I found a way for you to stream it here! Happy listening!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Downton Abbey 1x4

Grab your smelling salts, dear readers, because this one's a doozie! And they only get doozier from here on out! At the beginning, a fair is coming to town. Wandering around the fair grounds, Anna goes up to Mary to ask how she's doing after Pamuk's death (oh yeah, him). Mary says, "Haven't you heard? I don't have a heart. Everyone knows that." It's not true, Mary! Anna responds with a simple, "Not me, my lady" because she's fabulous and she knows what's up (smelling salts +1). Next it's- AHHHHH!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! IT'S BRANSON! THE NEW CHAUFFEUR!!!!!!!!!!! (smelling salts +3 because I am overwhelmed with a tidal wave of ALL CAPS FEELINGS!!!)
*attempts to climb through TV screen*
Ahem... I should mention that there's only one man I love on this show more than Cousin Matthew and that man is Branson. And that is saying something! Did I mention he's Irish? BECAUSE OMG HE'S IRISH! He expresses his interest in books because he's perfect to Lord G who invites him to help himself whenever he likes. Asking what his interests are, Branson notes history and politics. We have a smarty pants on our hands, people! Lord G's impressed and so are we. In the middle of a brainstorming session with Lady G, the Countess decides she needs to find a lawyer, a decent man, in fact, to help break the entail. She realizes she knows the right man for the job and I think we can all guess who it is... At tea Mrs. Crawley tries to diagnose a sort of rash on Molesley's hands. Mrs. Hughes is taking the night off, which is new, and Anna is sent to bed with a cold. Mrs. Crawley shows up at the hospital to get medicine for Molesley and the nurse isn't too happy about it. The Countess pays, you guessed it, Cousin Matthew a visit. Next, the question 'Does O'Brien always have a sour puss face?' is answered with a big fat yes. Cousin Matthew is asked if he thinks Lord G threw the towel in too early with the entail and the Countess has a slight, but hi-larious mishap with a swivel chair (smelling salts +4). The scene is so uproariously funny that I really just need to relive it this instant:

CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR FACE: Taylor Kitsch

X
Who misses Friday Night Lights?  And by that I mean, who misses Tim Riggins?  The truck, the sensitive bad boy... sorry, i had to go watch some reruns for a minute.  "How 'bout saving some of that jello for the other patients, Street?"  So much love.  BUT my love for Riggins stems from my love for Taylor Kitsch.  The shallow part of me totally enjoys the major eye candy, but you really do have to appreciate his exceptional acting skills.  From the crazy intense The Bang Bang Club  to the soon-to-be-released John Carter, Kitsch demonstrates amazing diversity.  And the fact that he has scruff in most of his films doesn't hurt either.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Future Home of Victorian Swag: Neuschwanstein Castle


(x)
Surprise, surprise, we're moving on to another castle for yet another week of revelry.  But honestly, do you ever get tired of them?  We don't.  This week's feature is extra special as it will be the site of the annual Victorian Swag Christmas Party.
Not only do we love it for its whimsy and architectural daring, we can't get over the fact that it inspired the castle in one of our favorite Disney classics, Sleeping Beauty.  One look at the turrets, towers, balconies, and pinnacles and it is hard to imagine that this place was built by a middle-aged German man and not a magical fairy princess. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's Sassurday!

X
The wonderful Michael Fassbender was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama for his performance in Shame.  I don't think anyone is surprised, but we are all very excited!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Classic List: southern charm edition


The time has come for the fifth post in my series where I pretend to be a film critic and tell you what classic Hollywood films you should watch and why. But really, guys, I'm no professional. To tell you a secret, this list is as personal as it gets: movies that have defined certain periods in my life; films that have somehow changed my point of view, made me laugh or cry, or have astounded me with their beauty. I hope that in some way this list encourages you to explore the genre and find a new favorite or re-watch a much-loved classic. So, without further ado, I give you this week's pick: Tammy and the Bachelor.

Friday We're In Love!

(Clockwise from top left: 1, 2, 3, 4)

What is the Christmas season without endless opportunities to stuff yourself with your favorite homemade goodies?  That is a question we won’t attempt to answer here.  Instead, on this lovely Friday, we will share with you exactly which tasty treats we can’t live without at Christmas time. 

Sally’s Pick: To me, "white trash" is synonymous with Christmas. Chex cereal, green and red M&Ms, peanuts, and pretzels all covered in white chocolate... ugh! This holiday must-have is easy peasy to make and tastes especially good when it's made by your mother (hint hint, nudge nudge).

Mariah’s Pick: I love Christmas cookies as much as everyone else, but one of the things I really look forward to during the holiday season is making sweet potato biscuits from a secret family recipe that's been passed down from my Dad's side. They're the perfect little bite size piece of fluffiness to go with the Christmas turkey. They're even amazing with spicy Mexican hot chocolate- so versatile! 

Sarah’s Pick: I love every Christmas treat that is put in front of me, but I have a special place in my heart for eggnog.  I'm a bit weird in that I don't like alcohol in mine, but I think it is so delicious all on its own.  It’s so versatile too: eggnog cookies, eggnog cakes, eggnog scones, eggnog French toast...the list goes on.  Go grab a glass, curl on the couch with your loved ones, and watch a Christmas movie!

Ali’s Pick: Every Christmas Eve my mom, sister, and I spend a few hours in the kitchen slaving over giant bowls of dough, cinnamon and butter, wielding rolling pins and dental floss.  It is all worth it come Christmas morning when the scent of GIANT, hot, fresh, gooey, made-from-scratch cinnamon rolls are waiting for to enjoy while we unwrap our presents.  Mornings just don’t get any better than this.  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Downton Abbey 1x3

First thing's first, Mr. B bumps into the secretive Gwen at the post office. She comes home to find Anna poking around the room, finally demanding that Gwen spill the beans. In the gardens Lady G finds Mary reading a letter from a potential admirer, Mr. Napier. They decide to invite him to stay at Downton since he'll be passing through. Back inside, the suspense is over- it's a typewriter! Gwen's been taking a typing class by correspondence. Because she has dreams, darn it, and we say go for 'em! Unfortunately O'Brien walks in at that moment and she knows something's up. Then it's Cousin Matthew! Riding a bike and looking oh so adorable (smelling salts +1)! The beautiful scene is ruined by Edith. Don't stop for her Cousin Matthew! Don't do it! Nooo!!!! She wants to take you on an outing to see nearby churches? That's code for she wants to jump you when no one else is looking! Which I want to do too, but that's beside the point!
Then it seems O'Brien pulled an O'Bitch and has dragged Gwen's typewriter out of her room for everyone to see. Gwen, quite rightly, freaks out. Sweet Anna defends her saying, "She wants to keep it private, not secret. There's a difference." Her other half, Mr. B, follows that up with an "Amen" (smelling salts +2) because he's amazing. Gwen is forced to admit that she has hopes of leaving Downton to become a secretary, which everyone finds this strangely shocking. She has... dreams?! Unspeakable! Lady G receives a letter from Napier saying he will come and stay with them and he's bringing his Turkish friend. Then Mr. B walks into a strange shop to purchase a limp corrector. It looks kind hella scary. That night Mrs. Crawley informs Matthew that they've been invited to dine at Downton along with two male guests, one of which will presumably be flung at Mary. Matthew responds, "When it comes to Cousin Mary she's quite capable of doing her own flinging, I assure you." So cheeky (smelling salts +3)! The next day Gwen breaks down with a case of creyes for eyes during morning chores, overwhelmed by the impossibility of her dream coming true. Anna tries to comfort her, but it's Mr. B who gives her a pep talk (smelling salts +4) because, again, he's amazing. He then grimaces, obviously in pain from the limp corrector, but he keeps his mouth shut. The house is in a tizzy preparing for its guests and a glamorous looking fox hunt!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

All I Want For Christmas Is You!

Mini Christmas fan-fics? Yeah... we went there! But who's surprised? Nobody!
1, 2, 3, 4

Sally: "Nobody's perf-" the words caught in Sally's throat as Bradley James rounded the corner of the castle on horseback. She froze, blinded by gleam of his armor and the sudden shine of his smile, while Ali, Mariah, and Sarah dispersed throughout the courtyard like their lives depended on the impromptu study of gargoyles. All she could do was laugh, especially when he started singing "You're the Voice," purposefully hitting the wrong notes. "Now tell me, fair maiden-" he couldn't keep a straight face-"did you get everything you wished for this year?" Snow flurries began to fall, Bradley smirked like he had summoned them himself, and Sally stood on tiptoe for a big "yes" kiss.

Mariah: "The third, definitely the third," Mariah argued while Zachary Levi stubbornly shook his head. "Nope, the first is by far superior, how you could think otherwise is beyond me." He reached to grab a Christmas cookie off the still hot baking sheet, and she smacked his hand with her spatula. Pouting, he moved to poke her stomach while she brandished her culinary weapon in the air. "En garde," she giggled when he retaliated with her battered baking spoon. Alas, her triumph was short-lived when Zach pelted her with a handful of flour. "Victory is mine!" He gave her one of his famous grins, which, as always, rendered her speechless, and then leaned in to claim his prize. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Downton Abbey 1x2

We pick up where we left off, which is quite thrilling, because it leaves us cramped in an old fashioned car with the COUSIN MATTHEW! His eyes are so startlingly blue and he's so determined saying, "I won't let them change me," that... (smelling salts +1). He and his mother, Mrs. Crawley, have just arrived at their sweet new digs in Grantham where he'll be all spruced up to inherit Downton. It's immediately noticeable that he's not exactly thrilled about his change in situation and is having a difficult time dealing with new things like a butler (quelle horreur!). In fact, he's really unhappy at the prospect of having one of Lord G's daughters pushed on him as he wants to marry for love. In walks Mary, right on cue, looking dashing in her riding habit and our poor Cousin Matthew is struck speechless. Dare I say it? Is it LOVE?!
You are not allowed to have such blue eyes, Cousin Matthew, you are not allowed!!
She is asked to stay for tea, but she declines saying she "wouldn't want to push in," obviously having overheard the end of their conversation. Mary has gumption and I love her all the more! But Cousin Matthew immediately runs after her (smelling salts +2) and insists he was only joking. She agrees that the whole thing is a complete joke and it's immediately clear that it was not so much love at first sight on her side. Dang it! Back at Downton, the redheaded housemaid Gwen receives what looks like an important package. Alas, they will keep us in the dark. Lady Grantham reveals to Mary that Lord G doesn't think the entail can be undone, but that she and the Countess are trying to find a lawyer. Peeved, Mary says she finds Cousin Matthew to be rather full of himself and we can all see where this is going. They go downstairs to greet them along with the staff and Cousin Matthew is rather awkward turtle about all the pomp and circumstance.

CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR FACE: Jamie Dornan

x

We've already established that we here at Victorian Swag love a man that has some nice facial hair going on. So, it should come as no surprise that we're highly susceptible to Jamie Dornan's lovely scruffy face. And as if that wasn't enough to get our hearts beating a little faster, his swoon-worthy Irish accent certainly will. His turn as Sheriff Graham on Once Upon a Time has us glued to our TV sets every Sunday night. You might remember him as the Swedish count from Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. Either way, there's no denying that we need more of this handsome Irish actor in our lives.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Future Home of Victorian Swag: Balmoral Castle

(x)
We had a great time in South Carolina last week but we really couldn't resist showing off one of the other Victorian Swag castles in the United Kingdom today.  This one is in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland (ohmygosh Scotland is my favorite!!!) and is particularly appropriate for Victorian Swag because it was purchased in 1852 by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (ah, true love).  It has served as the Scottish home of the British Royal Family since that time.  Details, details; we all know that VS has an in with the Royal Family and can therefore stay anytime we would like.  So here we are.  Isn't it just lovely?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's Sassurday!

X
As much as we like to see Michael Fassbender being all broody and serious, it's nice to see his shark smile.  And the scruff just adds to the loveliness.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday We're In Love!

(1, 2, 3, 4)
Ah, it's Friday once again and time to celebrate those little things in life that we just can't do without.  Here are the picks for this week; have a great weekend everyone!


Sally’s Pick: As a Navy kid, I've pretty much been a fan of the Naval Academy's glee club my entire life; they have such a unique sound and spirit and, hello, they're in uniform! I drove to Annapolis this past weekend to see them sing Handel's Messiah and with all those Midshipmen singing like they invented wooing, in their chapel that I've long harbored fantasies of getting married in no less, you could visibly see me melting off the pew into a puddle of Christmasy bliss. "For Unto Us A Child Is Born" and "Hallelujah" gave me chills and, I'm telling you, I could have married the entire slew of them on the spot!

Mariah’s Pick: Perhaps I'm just transferring my love of LOST to a show written by the same writers (there are a TON of LOST-related easter eggs in this show), but Once Upon a Time has really sucked me in. I love that we're finding out all of this backstory to some of our favorite characters, and while it might not be canon, it's certainly interesting. And since Disney owns ABC, there are tons of wonderful Disney bits that have been snuck into the show as well, like a pet Dalmatian named Pongo...


Sarah's Pick: Oh, the sun!  We haven't seen it in a while but I know that it has to still exist.  I know this because I saw a b-e-a-utiful sunrise this morning!  I miss the warmth at times, but I'll take just seeing it over clouds and rain any day.  

Ali’s Pick: I have a confession to make. I LOVE wrapping presents – big, small, incredibly odd shaped; you name it, I can’t wait to wrap it!  I love picking out the pretty paper, folding perfect corners, and creating complicated bows with tons of ribbon curls; it’s just happiness. As Christmas gets ever closer and my gift shopping nears its end, it is finally time to start wrapping all of those carefully chosen gifts this weekend (Woohoo!).  

The Classic List: star-crossed edition


You know those films that everyone talks about and says they love, but you're convinced that they're just over-exagerrating because it's not possible for a film to connect with such a diverse group of people? This week's pick is one of those. Every classic movie fanatic worth their salt will list this as one of their favorites, and once you watch it, you will too. The gorgeous scenery, beautiful love story, and, of course, Cary Grant, make An Affair to Remember one of THOSE movies. This is required watching, people, and I'll tell you why...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Downton Abbey 1x1

Ever since Ali featured Highclere Castle the other week, I've had one thing and one thing only on my brain and that is cousin Matthew... I mean Downton Abbey! So in anticipation of season 2, which starts January 8th, I'm going to relive the glory, the mystery, the brilliance, the intoxicated madness, the unadulterated perfection that was season 1! Obviously, I'm doing this for the blog, not because I have an irrational attachment to fictional characters... *cough*. Each week I'll be obsessing over breaking down one or two episodes to get us all caught up for that blessed day in January. If you have no idea what Downton Abbey is, be gone! then all I can tell you is that if you like flawless things, this show is for you. I'd even venture to say it's blow-your-mind flawless i.e. we're going to have to keep track of how many times we break out the smelling salts. There are a lot of characters to keep up with, so just be sure to watch with your thinking caps on. Now put on a pot of tea, log into Netflix, and press play!
We open with morse code, a train, an already stellar score, and gorgeous countryside (smelling salts +1). If that doesn't scream instant BBC hit, I don't know what does! In the span of 15 seconds, you're already toast. Congrats! And, I believe, that's a record. N'est pas? The first person we see is that mill worker from North & South (who we shall now refer to as Mr. Bates) i.e. period-piece-worlds-colliding-double-whammy (smelling salts +2)! Then - *gaaaaaaaasp*

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Traditions: Film

  Clockwise from top: 1234

We all have things, whether they're movies, music, food, or even certain smells, that are a part of the Christmas season we simply cannot live without. Listed below are the scenes from some of our favorite Christmas movies that satisfy our nostalgia cravings and never fail to make us smile.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR FACE: Colin Morgan

(x)
It's our 100th post! And it's so incredibly magical that we just had to celebrate by congratulating Colin Morgan since he's the star of Merlin. In fact, I first came up with this series merely thinking about Colin Morgan's face, so it's pretty fitting. Just look at that face and tell me it isn't the most adorable face you've ever seen! Stir a little Irish accent into the cauldron mix and you'll be struck speechless. That was my experience anyway! Major fail. This guy is undoubtedly one of the most unassuming puppeteers jerking around my heart strings; his charm just snuck up on me one day and I was unabashedly smitten. From his funny moments on screen to heartbreaking scenes to antics behind the camera, I'm absolutely dying to see him in season 4 of Merlin in January. And, I'm not gonna lie, my Christmas wish might involve finding him waiting for me under the mistletoe! Eeep!


We hope you've enjoyed these first 100 posts, dear readers! Many more to come!

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

X
Growing up in Southern Germany has majorly impacted the way my family celebrates Christmas.  Like – it’s a big deal.  One of our favorite traditions, silly as it sounds to many people on this side of the Atlantic, is leaving one of your shoes outside your door on the night of December 5th.  Why would you do this, you ask?  It’s a tradition in many European countries to leave a shoe outside your door the night before Saint Nicolas Day, the 6th, so that St. Nicolas can leave the good children fruit and candy.  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Future Home of Victorian Swag: Martin's Point Plantation

(x)
While we could probably never get tired of dreary old England, it is time to move along for another week in a new estate.  The weather has been dank and cold up north as of late so we decided to take a jaunt south down to Martin’s Point Plantation on Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina. Built in 1772, this whitewashed Greek revival plantation home pre-dates the Declaration of Independence (Swoon!).  It also just so happens to be the house that – as Mariah would say, “Someone get the smelling salts" – Noah rehabs for Allie in The Notebook (Double swoon!).  Whatever your feelings are about the movie, you cannot deny that this house has swag, Victorian Swag, that is. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's Sassurday!


It has been QUITE a year for King Fassy.  Four major films, several awards, and his all around rise to international stardom in the span of the last year should be surprising.  We, however, are not surprised at all.  Watch the video and read this USA Today article featuring Fassy and you'll see just why we love this Irish enigma.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Classic List: historic hero edition


What would a list of my favorite classic movies be without the addition of a dashing hero? Particularly when this hero is played by my favorite Hollywood leading man. This week, we're getting really old school with a nice period/literary film. So get your smelling salts ready, because if the sight Hollywood's original swashbuckler/daring adventurer doesn't make you swoon, then I've certainly got my work cut out for me.

Friday We're In Love!

clockwise from top: 1234

This week there's no rhyme or reason to our Friday picks. Why is that, you may ask? Because we can. So enjoy the random things that have been keeping us going this past week.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Moveable Feast

My used copy cost a measly $2.98! Quel steal!
As if I need another excuse to be pining for Paris, I went and picked up A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway last week. If the title confuses you at all, look at Hemingway's quote to a friend in 1950, "If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." If this doesn't immediately strike you as fact, then you, my friend, have not lived in la belle France! I think, perhaps, Hemingway's genuine love for Paris is what swept aside my previous failed attempts at reading his work. It's more of a memoir of living, writing, and loving in 1920s Paris. Still, he prefaces the book by saying, "If the reader prefers, this book may be regarded as fiction." But who would prefer that? We're talking about a man who lived in Paris in the roaring 20s, mingling with the expat likes of Gertrude Stein, Sylvia Beach (she owned Shakespeare & Company, then a lending library as well as a bookstore), F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Fitzgerald! Can your brain handle that? Mine certainly can't! *swoon*

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

O Tannenbaum!

Nuremberg Christmas Market
Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  People are so kind, the air is clean and crisp, stockings hang next to a fire…I just love it.  Nothing says Christmas, though, quite like a Christmas Tree.  The look of them, the smell, oh! the smell, and all the decorations and lights make me smile every time.  Unfortunately, this year I will not be enjoying a real tree.  It’s a real tragedy.  The lack of the smell of pine has made me wonder where exactly the tradition of a Christmas Tree came from. 
X
Christmas trees, as we know them, came from Germany, as do most awesome Christmas things.  It is widely believed that Martin Luther was the first to place candles on a tree in the early 16th century, to show his children how they shine like the stars in the sky.  Tinsel also came from Germany in around 1610.  Silver was the material of choice due to its light weight and was used up until the mid-20th century.  Oh yeah, I have real silver on my tree every year…right next to my Target ornaments. 
X
So how did Christmas Trees leave Germany?  That is yet another thing we owe to the lovely Victoria and Albert.  Prince Albert brought a Christmas Tree to Windsor Castle, and in 1846, he, Victoria, and their children were depicted as standing next to a decorated tree in the Illustrated London News.  Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were so popular and well loved that everything they did spread like wildfire.  Anyone who was anyone had a tree after that illustration was published. 

So, is your tree fabulously fake or resplendently real?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

No Shave November: Michael Fassbender

It should be no surprise that our last No Shave November appreciation post features Fassy.  He is the man of many faces, not to mention, our reigning king at Victorian Swag.  This is going to be a tough one and we cannot wait to see what the votes will favor.  We, of course, love his face smooth and silky, subtly stubbly, masculinely mustached and everywhere in between.  Which do you prefer?

(1, 2, 3)

CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR FACE: Dougie Poynter

In plaid no less!
*FAN FLAIL*!!! Tomorrow my original celebrity husband and bass player de McFly extraordinaire, Dougie Poynter, is turning 24. So we just felt the need to say congrats twice over! Ever endearing with his antics and the outrageous-but-terribly-quotable (especially with that British accent) things he says, it's almost unfair that he's got woo-you-in-your-sleep good looks to match. What am I saying? It is unfair! If I were ever to meet him again, I'd be torn between the impulse to climb on top of the signing table and profess my love for him or run up and pinch his cheeks. Or, let's just be honest, tackle him to the ground... What can I say? He inspires ladylike behavior! Right now Dougie's fighting for the crown in I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! but I'd like to remind him that I crowned him in my heart with the nickname "my sweet prince" first! May his 24th year bring us bass slides galore, catchy tunes, and even more go-to quotes for our inside joke arsenal. Happy Almost Birthday, Dougie!

P.S. *pinches his cheeks*

Monday, November 28, 2011

Future Home of Victorian Swag: Highclere Castle

(x)

We are just coming off of an amazing Thanksgiving retreat and while recovering from that much fun won’t be easy, there is work to be done.  With only a few more days until December, the ladies of Victorian Swag need to start prepping for the Christmas Season! 
This week, the chilly weather and dreary days have brought us to our winter home at Highclere Castle in Hampshire, England.  This lovely, hugely impressive and impeccably maintained Victorian Castle is on loan to us from the Carnarvon family who has lived here since 1679.  While Highclere is the perfect place in which to embrace the wintry season that is upon us, it also happens to be the filming location for the Downton Abbey.  Hopefully, we’ll be introducing this delightful period television show on the blog very soon if for no other reason than to give you one more fictional boyfriend (Cousin Matthew) to swoon over. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

It's Sassurday!

X

Michael Fassbender was named one of GQ's Breakout Men of the Year in their latest issue, and we could not be more pleased!  While we all love him in suits and boots, it is refreshing to see him dressed like a normal mortal - even if his jawline defies description.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday We're In Love!

clockwise from top: 1234

We hope all of our lovely readers had a fabulous Thanksgiving! We're so excited that it's officially the holiday season that we're celebrating by listening to lots of Christmas music...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Victorian Swag Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers! We hope you've had a wonderful holiday full of friends, family, and second helpings. As you well know, we've been spending the week in our Victorian Swag digs du jour, Riven Rock, with our celebrity/fictional boyfriends. But come this morning, it was time to put the games of sardines and snuggling aside (dang it!) to open our doors for our honored guests and a Thanksgiving feast.

Whittling down our dream dinner party to 20 people (an idea which we were completely inspired by/stole from mixtapes & cupcakes) who we all loved and predicted would mesh well was a chaotic mess, but in the end we couldn't have been happier!

Concerned about keeping the conversation flowing and upbeat, we probably toiled over the seating arrangement as much as the food. Luckily, now we can tell you quite confidently that everyone got along splendidly! Obviously our royals King Fassy, Queen Audrey, and Prince Eddie were the first to be invited, closely followed by our respective dates. The rest of our guests were a smattering of fictional and non-fictional favorites that we positively had to have there no matter what. Ali was knee-deep in bribes to move to the UK from Henry Cavill and James McAvoy, though Fassy trumped them all proposing a secret getaway in his native Ireland. Mariah couldn't choose between being a sidekick on adventures with Doctor Who, Indiana Jones, or even the reserved but charming Captain America. The piemaker, Ned, gave Sarah baking tips to help her further wow Rupert Friend, though he was obviously quite smitten anyway. And I was about to combust with the mere proximity of some of my greatest inspirations including J.K. Rowling, Audrey Hepburn, and (ahem) Richard Armitage. Meanwhile terribly fascinating discussions were erupting from the middle of the table between our beloved Gilbert Blythe, Anne Shirley, Arthur Pendragon, Eddie Redmayne, and Elizabeth Bennet. By the time we took coffee and dessert into the living room and out onto the back porch, we all fell naturally into deep conversations with people we hadn't been sitting next to at dinner.

What a relief that all 20 of us felt like a tight-knit little unit by the end of the evening! We lit sparklers for a nighttime stroll along the beach and wrestled Christmas albums out of our dates' hands (it's not midnight yet!). In a word it was perfection... even if Peter Pan scoffed at his invitation saying he was far above soirĂ©es with adults. Still! We couldn't have asked for a more memorable Thanksgiving and we hope to see everyone together soon (a masquerade ball perhaps?)! Our only question is: if you were throwing your dream Thanksgiving, who would you invite? 

P.S. If you're wondering if we all held hands as we gave thanks before dinner... Yes! Yes we did! It's okay to be jealous!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Capture the Castle

(x)
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith is the story of a pivotal part of narrator Cassandra's life when a young American man inherits the estate next door. Her family lives in a crumbling castle in the 1930s, barely scraping by with the hopes that their once-acclaimed father will write another novel and change their fate. Unfortunately, they've been living off of hope alone for years, selling off most of their possessions in the process. So Cassandra's sister Rose, terribly sick of poverty, makes up her mind to marry into money i.e. marry their new American neighbor Simon. The story follows the string of mishaps, both hilarious and heartbreaking, which follow this decision.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR FACE: Tom Hiddleston

(x)
Oh great! Just what I needed! Another life ruiner! My love for this talented man has been gradually growing to a crescendo ever since I saw those curly locks and Bambi eyes above in Return to Cranford. This weekend, it completely exploded into a full-blown symphony composed of aww-ing at the thought of snuggling and eating pudding cups and squealing out declarations about how cute our future children will be. I mean... ahem... It takes a very special man to give me a heart for the bad guy, but when I finally got around to watching Thor this weekend, his complicated Loki had me hooked at first glance. Not gonna lie, he's the character I'm most looking forward to seeing in The Avengers. Those eyes! Those shark-like teeth (seriously, Hollywood gods, I'm demanding that he and Fassy play brothers on screen and soon)! Those expressions! That voice! Heck, even his impressive vocabulary makes me melt! I'll be the Zelda to his F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris any day! And can we just talk about how tears sprang into my eyes at the mere sight of him in uniform in the trailer for War Horse? You're turning me into a sap monster, Hiddles! What have you done to me?!?!