Saturday, August 11, 2012

And may all your Sassurdays be... SASSY!!!

You are so beautifullll to meeeeeeee!!!!!!! (x)
Dear readers, 

As you all well know by now, we love our good King Fassy. We love the ALL CAPS FEELINGS his sharky smile gives us, a swoon worthy period piece with our tea, inspirational heroines, and an ever-growing list of fictional boyfriends. Basically, we love everything about Victorian Swag from melty chocolate eyes induced by Mr. Darcy to the smelling salts we bust out any time Prince Eddie graces the screen and, yes, even the arguments we get into over which adaptation of a classic is best. We have so enjoyed fan-flailing about all these things to you and hearing what you have to say. But with a busy fall creeping up on us, new jobs, and all the adult-life chaos Peter Pan won't seem to save us from (despite peanut butter cookie and thimble kisses bribes), we have come to the heart-breaking conclusion that it's time, for now at least, to say goodbye to the blog. We hate that this is so abrupt, but this week proved that as a group we simply can't produce the kind of material we want to be able to anymore. That being said, you can find us all on tumblr (see links below) and we'd love to stay in touch and simultaneously *heart-clutch* over Masterpiece Classic and Tom Hiddleston's face!

Thank you for being such a superb audience! We have truly enjoyed every moment of it.

Keep it sassy!


Ali, Mariah, Sally, & Sarah

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday We're in Love!

(1, 2, 3, 4)

Mariah's Pick: Wednesday night, in the midst of a great life-changing adventure, I was able to take a much needed break and head to The Fabulous Fox Theatre. What for, you ask? Why, to see none other than the great Cathy Rigby as the boy who never grew up (I'm so excited I can cross that childhood dream off my list!)

Sally's Pick: Um WOW, out-of-left-field Teen Wolf, where have you been in my life? This week I caved and jumped the fan-wagon and... can I get a fist pump for bromance and witty scripts and paranormal activity?! I can't believe how much I love the underdog Stiles and bad boy Jackson in so little time! *heart-clutch*

Sarah's Pick: Sarah's pick:  I love zumba.  It makes me feel like I actually have rhythm (which I don't), and it doesn't feel like exercise.  This week, though, something happened that made me love it even more.  We did the wobble as our warm up.  Yeah, that happened. 

Ali's Pick: This past weekend I got to go home to St. Louis to see my friend's brand new baby boy!  I also had the honor of taking his newborn pictures and, let me tell you, he is a CUTIE!  New babies are just awesome.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Aww yeah, Baltimore bullet! (x)
Perhaps it was obvious to the world when I went to see you swim in Disney's Swim With the Stars tour after the Athens Olympics and sah-wooned when you high-fived me afterward. Goodness knows it was evident to everyone who ever walked in my room and saw the Wheaties box, the signed shirt, the newspaper clippings, collaged agenda, and life-size poster of your wingspan on my wall. Or maybe it was at its most glaring when I declared you to be a Greek god during an oral presentation in a college French class. But... ya kinda coined FAN-FLAILING for me! Yours was a household name long before I was jumping on a couch watching you swim on television, before you changed the face of the sport forever and graced the cover of Sports Illustrated with eight incredibly won gold medals after Beijing. And just when the world seemed to be making way for a new star, you go and win four golds and two silvers, proving that you're still a force to be reckoned with just like I knew you would. Now the most decorated Olympian of all time, we must say the ridiculously obvious thing here... Congrats, Michael! Congratulations on a stellar career, those races that kept us on our toes, your priceless reactions, and, of course, congrats on your face! You're golden.

Monday, August 6, 2012

M'Lady Lois Lane

Consider this post an unbridled fan flail dedicated to one of my favorite and most kick-ass fictional female characters of all time: Lois Lane. Not only was she Superman/Clark Kent's girlfriend (and for most of us mere mortals, that would have been enough) she was also a brilliant and fearless investigative journalist for the Daily Planet, a trusty sidekick to the Man of Steel (when she disnt need rescuing, of course) and was incredibly sarcastic. I admit that I am a bit of a lady nerd and I harbor a soft spot for comic book heroes and their supporting characters.  I spent most of my free time in grad school making my way through every season of Smallville available online. I have seen every Superman movie ever made (and most of the Saturday cartoons as well); I even watched the awesome series Lois and Clark for years.  My dedication runs deep.  That being said it should come as no surprise that I am beyond smelling salts excited for the upcoming Man of Steel starring Henry Cavil. Two trailers have already been released!  At the end of the day it really comes down to the fact that I just want to be Lois Lane.  I enjoy hanging around the newsroom in pumps and pencil skirt, just waiting to nail Lex Luther while my boyfriend changes into his cape in a phone booth. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

It's Sassurday!

Venture Magazine has named Michael Fassbender number 95 of the "100 Most Valuable Movie Stars."  Ok, we all knew that, and I personally think that he should have been higher on the list.  However, they softened the blow by acknowledging that he was snubbed at the Oscars for his performance in Shame and by naming him "The Ascendant" that is the "actor's actor."  I have a feeling that his upcoming film schedule, he will rank a little higher on the list next year and win an Oscar.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday We're in Love!

(1, 2, 3, 4)
Sally's Pick: MUAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! To say I've been fist pumping like mad over my long-time beloved Michael Phelps this week would literally be the understatement of the year. While it's been an absolute thrill seeing him in the water (PHWOAR!!!!! esp. slow-mo replays of the butterfly- eeep!), breaking records, racking up more medals than any other Olympian, and being the total BAMF I know him to be, I can't wait to give the champion of my heart a proper Baltimore welcome-home! *purposefully fainting into the nearest pool*

Ali's Pick: I have lost so much sleep this past week staying up to watch prime time Olympic coverage and I have loved every minute of it!  Gymnastics is what I wait four years to watch and I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t tear up when the women’s gymnastics team won the all-around Gold Medal.   IT WAS BEAUTIFUL!  

Sarah's pick: I think I speak for most everyone in the world when I say that I have pretty much only gone to work and watched the Olympics all week.  I have also realized that a 25-year-old body does not bounce back as easily as a 24-year-old one when it comes to staying up late every night to watch gymnastics and swimming.  But honestly, Michael Phelps, Nathan Adrian, Conor Dwyer, James Magnussen (the honorary Aussie), Missy Franklin, and Gabby Douglas are all worth it.  GO USA!!!

Mariah's Pick: I have two words for you: DISNEY WORLD. Which means I'm going to be eating Dole Whip, Mickey-shaped rice Krispie treats, and turkey legs to my hearts's content. Try not to be too terribly jealous. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

To Judge or Not to Judge: The Glass Virgin

Next up we have The Glass Virgin. First off, can I just ask... Who is Catherine Cookson and why do all her novels-turned-movies have posters that look like they were chopped together in a middle school Photoshop class? They're all exactly the same! Except this one's lime green. Nothing says 'period piece' like lime green, am I right? I'm not sure whether I would question Ms. Cookson about these sad designs or the titles first. As you may see in Netflix, there are about a hundred of her same-poster movies. So how did I narrow it down? Simple: it was the title. The Glass Virgin? I mean, come on! How could I say no? What does it mean? I've been sitting here staring at the cover screaming, "WHAT DOES IT MEAN?" over and over again. Is she emotionally sensitive? Does she collect Mary figurines? I don't understand! But she obviously has one very big problem and that is a very creepy man with excessively curly, and thus excessively creepy, hair and chops. Is he some wealthy lovestruck fool intent on marrying her? Yes. I'm betting this girl has been saving herself not only for love, but a little adventure and Mr. Right-There-Leering is not who she had in mind. I'm further betting she meets a pauper with a delightful personality and sweet digs under the nearest bridge. Let's see how far off I am and press play!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

(Mostly) Obscure Fairy Tales: The Light Princess

Welcome back to the wonderful, and very often weird, world of obscure fairy tales!  This week's tale hails from Scotland.  Written by George MacDonald and published in 1964, it is a very funny take on many classic fairy tale principles. I really enjoyed this one because of its elements of anti-gravitational awesomeness and the fact that the princess loves to swim.  Those are my reasons and I am sticking with them.  I also found the premise hilarious:  case in point, the best punishment the villain could think of was to make someone "lose their gravity."  I don't know about you, but that sounds less like a punishment and more like a wish come true to me.  But I suppose it can interfere when you are trying to woo a prince.  (A quick note before I begin the commentary: I by no means claim that these fairy tales are at all obscure.  My judgement as to their level of obscurity comes from the fact that I have personally never heard of them.  If you are already quite familiar with a tale or two in this series, you get extra points.)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Maybe it's his ginger hair, or his hipster status. Whatever it is that attracts us to Race Imboden, it's undeniable. Perhaps we've been glued to the telly watching his every match in Men's Fencing during the Olympics this year, and HELLO, who wouldn't be? Next time you're in New York, you should check out one of his gigs, because not only does he compete professionally in what has to be one of the most Victorian Swag seal of approval worthy sports, but he's also a DJ in his spare time. CAN WE JUST GET MARRIED AND HAVE LITTLE HIPSTER KIDS WHO LOVE TO FENCE? If you're still not convinced, then I give you EXHIBIT A, because if that's not true passion and talent, then I don't know what is.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Golden Moments: The Olympics So Far...

Around here we love the Olympics, especially this year, since they're coming to us from the motherland of Victorian Swag, the United Kingdom. Besides the fact that there are suddenly hundreds of swoon-worthy men parading around our TV screens doing things like archery and horseback riding and fencing, we also love the over-all theatrical quality of the event. Which is why we simply couldn't let this recap opportunity pass us by. These are the top-ten Victorian Swag-worthy moments of the 2012 London Olympics thus far:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

It's Sassurday!

Really? Not fair.
Right.  I'm not a huge MTV fan, and I haven't watched the MTV Movie Awards since...well, I can't really remember when.  However, if I could be Charlize Theron in this picture, then I would watch it.  Of course, I would never beat him up like she did, but I could be some serious arm candy.  Can I also just say that I recently realized that his next film, 12 Years a Slave, also stars Benedict Cumberbatch.  It will definitely be intense, but I'm looking forward to these lovely men attempting to have southern accents.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday We're In Love!

1, 2, 3, 4

Sally's Pick: When I heard that Sophie Kinsella had a new book published, I should have starting running to the closest bookstore immediately. Because I've been reading I've Got Your Number this week, delightfully basking in the wonderful world of chick-lit that I've been a stranger to for far too long now. Sometimes you just need a feel-good summery read full of mishaps, laughs, inappropriate texts, and chemistry/PROXIMITY galore i.e. ILU, Sam Roxton!!!!!!!! xxxxxxx 

Sarah's Pick: It's almost the weekend yet again, and it could not have come soon enough.  Of course, I think I say that every week, and every week, it's as true as the last.  This weekend is not shaping up to be an exercise in broadening my sophisticated sensibilities.  Rather, it looks like it will continue to follow the trend I have created of hearty laughter from completely un-classy movies.  This week: The Watch.  Oh yes, Jonah Hill is hard to resist.

Ali's Pick: My sister recently introduced me to a very exciting artist.  Apparently, I missed him when he was the runner-up on the UK's X Factor a couple of years ago but I won't miss his album that comes out in September!  All you readers out there NEED a little bit of Olly Murs in your life; this adorably talented goofball has even earned himself a spot on my next mix.  

Mariah's Pick: I've had a couple of Giver's songs for aaaages now, and, finally, I've broken down and bought their debut album In Light in its entirety. And man oh man, it's going to be on repeat for a long time. Because when you have what sounds like the musical love child of Vampire Weekend and RaRaRiot, then there's no question I'm going to love it!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

To Judge or Not to Judge: The Mill on the Floss

Why is it that period pieces have the worst movie posters on the planet? Here we go trying to convince the world that they're not 100% sap monster, that they're gripping and full of intrigue. And yet when we lend them to our friends, we're forced to say, "Don't judge it by its cover!" Of course, this is easy to say for the films you love. But what about when you're scrolling through the period piece section of Netflix aka cringe central? You can offer no excuses! So... are they as bad as they look? Over the next few weeks I will be digging out some of the ugliest looking period pieces on Netflix, judging them by their movie poster, and then telling you what lies beyond.
Holy horrific, Photoshop! (x)
We start with The Mill on the Floss. Obviously it's about a mill. But... "on the Floss"? What does that mean? Is it a river or a whore house? I'm sorry, but the question had to be asked. Because Miss Flossy here is wearing her hair down *GASP*! As we all know, in period pieces that either means the girl's not of age or she means business. The one thing this cover has going for it is that it obviously has a very sassy Emily Watson in it and she's always fabulous even if she's not playing a sassy character. Since I've never seen her doing a Victorian hip jut, I'm betting this movie is about a spicy whorehouse disguised as a  mill in the middle of nowhere, discoverable only by leaky canoes rushing down the River Floss when... there's no daylight left for sifting through rocks for gold! I mean, look at those evergreens in the background! Surely they're Californian. This means gold-digging on so many levels!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

(Mostly) Obscure Fairy Tales: East of the Sun, West of the Moon

(Illustration for East of the Sun West of the Moon by Kay Nielsen)
As has been happening of late, I was yet again inspired by my last post for this blog.  Last week I introduced you to the whimsically magical fairy tale illustrations of Kay Nielsen and in so doing stumbled upon a collection of pretty amazing and rather obscure fairy tales.  This week (and for the next few weeks), I would like to introduce you to some of my favorite obscure fairy tales because, while Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are pretty awesome, there are so many wonderfully quirky fairy tales out there that hardly anyone has heard of because Walt Disney only got his hands on a few of them.  

This week's pick is the Norwegian tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon, collected by  Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe.  Please let me gush over the title.  It may just be the most perfect fairy tale title EVER.  It is beautiful, whimsical, and suggests a tall tale of adventure and daring while at the same time hinting at the requisite magical component all fairy tales must possess.  The story itself does not disappoint.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


At the 2012 Tony Awards
Show me a girl who doesn't like a nerdy chic guy, and I will show you a liar.  My favorite of the nerdy chic: Josh Groban.  I mean, really, how can you not love the glasses, the Star Wars knowledge, and his commitment to saving the arts?  He was just named as one of the recipients of the 2012 National Arts Award.  Impressive, non?  Oh, and he has an amazing voice (did you know?) and a promising acting career ahead of him.

Monday, July 23, 2012

M'lady Anne Elliot

Not all Jane Austen heroines are created equal, some are fearlessly feisty and some hopeless romantics, but of all of them, I think Miss Anne Elliot may be my favorite. She's surely fearless in her own way (and romantic as well), but above all she's got the perseverance thing down pat. No matter that her totally crazy family thinks she hasn't got the looks or much else to make her worth their time, unless, of course, they need someone to play maidservant. Anne silently bears everything that is thrown upon her. And she waits, longingly, for years to set right what should never have gotten thrown off track to begin with: a chance to be with her soulmate, the dreamy Capt. Wentworth. (If there's one thing we can appreciate around here, it's "THE GRAND GESTURE.") In fact, I think Miss Elliot should start giving lessons on: "How to Persevere: The Victorian Swag Lady's Guide to Making Men Swoon." I don't know about y'all, but I'd be the first person to sign up.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

It's Sassurday!

It's simply never too early to start dreaming on a Sassurday! For starters... can you imagine being on the receiving end of that sharky smile and intense gaze? I feel like I'm being devoured just looking at a picture of it! That's power! And the ginger beard and dapper navy suit on top of everything else? Ahhhsdjsjfls!!! *fainting fit*

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Friday We're In Love!

1, 2, 3, 4
Mariah's Pick: If it hasn't yet become apparent (over the course of my postings here at VS) that I am a MAJOR geek Lady Nerd, then let my pick for this week's FWIL be an indication to you. We have, in all their complete and utter FABULOUSNESS, a glimpse at two of my favorite fictional characters: Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey on this week's EW. This gives you free reign to go stand in the magazine section of your local bookstore/grocery store and let your little fangirl hearts go crazy (i.e.: squealing, heart-clutching, and the ensuing Instagram posts are all to be expected). 

Sally's Pick: Last weekend my friends and I took a little 16-hour road trip out to Wisconsin for our friends' wedding. We had three days of non-stop FEELINGS and I don't know if I've ever laughed and cried that much in that short amount of time before. But from it's perfect-for-each-other bride and groom to the to the 35 pies we picked up in Milwaukee and the 18 piece band with swing dancing, it's still making me squee, "I love love!!!" 

Ali's Pick: I am not going to lie, the only thing that has made me smile this week is the thought of sitting in a darkened theater, popcorn and soda in hand, watching The Dark Night Rises tomorrow night.  I have loved every version of Batman that they have ever thrown at us, and I wouldn't miss this one for the world.  I am really looking forward to my Friday night date with Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon Levitt, and the side of myself that just can't seem to get enough comic book superhero goodness.   

Sarah's Pick: I have been homesick for France lately. I have been attempting to self medicate with wine, cheese, French movies, and anything I can think of.  It may be pathetic, but I got super excited when I saw this brand of French bottled water in my trusty Publix.  For the moment, my France-asizing has been kept at a manageable state.

Kay Nielsen's Fairy Tale Illustrations

(Scene from In Powder and in Crinoline.  How lovely is that flamingo?)
Once again, in my research for this blog, I stumbled across something highly interesting and extremely beautiful.  It was an illustration by artist Kay Nielsen for the book of fairy tales In Powder and in Crinoline (called Twelve Dancing Princesses in its English release) by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch.  The illustration was so whimsical and detailed that I had to know more about the artist and his work.  What I found was an artistic style that I had never realized even existed as well as the story of an artist whose talent was cut short in its prime.

M'lady Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins may have gone to London to help Jane and Michael Banks, but she also made a huge impact on my life.  Some of her lessons have stayed with me my whole life, and some I remember but never actually implemented.  For example, I am still patiently waiting for my clothes to magically hang themselves up and everything on my floor to put themselves away.  However, I also carry a deceptively large purse that holds everything you could possibly want on a night out.  As a child, I loved her whimsy adventures with Bert and the children through the chalk drawings, but I always found her a bit intimidating with her no-nonsense attitude.  Now that I'm an adult, I still love and envy their merry-go-round pony rides, but I am inspired by the same no-nonsense attitude that scared me when I was younger.  I find comfort in it, actually, since I am a very loving yet relatively serious person.  Her distance and seriousness is really just her way of helping the children without becoming overly involved (which would defeat the purpose of her attempt to reunite them with their father).  I'm always so sad that she has to leave in the end, but I seriously envy her ability to fly and her talking parrot umbrella.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Importance of Being Earnest

Program from the opening night on February 14, 1895. (x)
As you all know, when it comes to classics, I am well versed in the bad habit of watching cinematic adaptations before reading the original work. Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest was no exception- tsk tsk on me. And while I have giggled over the most recent film for years, last week I thought it was high time that I put my money where my mouth is and read the play. A long-time lover of Wilde's delightful turns of phrase, it came as no surprise to me how little the original text was altered for the film. No one can touch his witty banter. Period. How could you think otherwise? This is a man whose last words were, "Either that wallpaper goes, or I do." Clever till the very end! But the thing that's so astounding is how his voice has managed to stay so modern and sharp over 100 years later. It's mind boggling! The Importance of Being Earnest first graced the London stage in 1895, yet it remains laugh-out-loud funny today. 

Wilde's final play follows two friends leading double lives. There's John "Jack" Worthing, a country gentleman with a fictitious younger brother Ernest whom he pretends to visit in London, and Algernon Moncrieff, a self-indulgent young gent with a fictitious invalid friend named Bunbury whom he pretends to visit in the country. Chaos ensues when Algernon, intent on meeting Jack's pretty ward Cecily, shows up unannounced at his country manor, declaring that he is Ernest. Jack's, or rather Ernest's, almost fiancee Gwendolyn arrives soon afterward and is in for a shock when Cecily announces her own engagement to the newly-arrived Ernest (but actually Algernon). All hell breaks loose and hell, as it turns out, is rather hilarious.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


A huge and heartfelt CONGRATULATIONS goes out to one of the loveliest lads in London, George Craig!  I'll also throw in a belated "Happy Birthday, George!"  Now that he is 22, our deep appreciation for his face, hands, voice, etc. no longer seems as creepy as it did when we first discovered him at 18.   In his brief 22 years, our dear Mr. Craig has accomplished so much.  From adorable lead singer of the amazingly talented and quintessentially British band One Night Only (listen to them they are amazing) to a plaid-clad, furrowed-brow Burberry model, I can't seem to get enough of this face (and voice, ahem).  I know we harp on voices here at Victorian Swag, but we can't help the FEELINGS that perfectly accented English gives us.  I hereby declare that we need to begin a Congratulations on Your Voice series; no doubt George would be at the top of my list.  His ridiculously cool voice, boyish good looks and from-another-era attitude make him utterly, adorably, irresistible.  Funny story: while creating this post, I accidentally saved a picture of George under my "Recipes" file folder.  I opted not to delete it because I really wish I could whip up a little bit of George Craig in my kitchen.  Um, so, yeah . . . bring on the FEELINGS.

Monday, July 16, 2012

How to Beat the Mean Reds


Sometimes, no matter how lovely the weather is, no matter how fabulous of a hair day you're having, no matter how many Fassy pictures pop up on your Tumblr, the "mean reds" just hit you, and there's little you can do, especially if there isn't a Tiffanys nearby. But I'm almost 99.9% positive that this playlist will do its darndest to give you a little shot of nostalgia and you'll be singing along and shaking off those mean Monday reds in no time. 

1) Put On Your Sunday Clothes- Michael Crawford and His Company
2) Life In A Northern Town- The Dream Academy
3) Without You- Eddie Vedder
4) Why Georgia- John Mayer
5) You Never Can Tell- Chuck Berry
6) Pencil Full of Lead- Paolo Nutini
7) The Bare Necessities- Brian Wilson
8) Heart Attack- Raphael Saadiq
9) Go do- Jónsi
10) Wonder- Emili Sandé 
11) Royal Blue- Cold War Kids
12) Long Distance Call- Phoenix
13) Ceiling of Plankton- Givers
14) Itchin' On A Photograph- Grouplove
15) Pickin' Up The Pieces- Fitz & The Tantrums
16) Our Day Will Come- Ruby & The Romantics
17) Gentle On My Mind- Glen Campbell
18) Ghosts- Casey Abrahms
19) Twist and Shout- The Beatles
20) When Your Lover Has Gone- Eddie Condon & His Orchestra

*Buy the playlist here.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

It's Sassurday!

Posting this picture may be considered cheating a tiny bit since there's another person in it with Fassy, but as Sally suggested to me, if we scribble her out, THIS IS PHOTO PERFECTION. Look at his come hither IAMFASSYHEARMEROAR face. Scrumptious Sassy, but when is he not? Feel free to make this your new screen saver/desktop background/phone lock screen/phone main screen picture. Why you ask? WHY THE HECK NOT?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday We're In Love!

1, 2, 3, 4
Sally's Pick: Who would have thought that this week's episode of The Bachelorette, of all guilty pleasure things, would be the thing to get me shouting, "LOVE IS REAL!!!" from the rooftops?! But do you see this boy? Since the moment Jef rolled in on his skateboard, I have been head over heels and declaring his adorable self to be my future husband (you know... if Emily doesn't pick him at the end). And while you see guys repeating how moral they are on this show time and time again, I've never actually witnessed one of them gracefully turning down the overnight saying, "There's a time and a place," thus leaving me fist-pumping and heart-clutching with ALL THE SMITTEN FEELS and my roommates in desperate need of hearing aids. Ah! 

Mariah's Pick: What do you get when you combine a historic theatre and a classic musical that everyone knows and loves? A Grease sing-along complete with costumes, a themed dinner, and free beer (now that's my kind of night). There really is nothing better than a bunch of Pink Ladies and T-Birds coming together to raise their voices in a tribute to the John and Olivia classic- now lets get that hand jive going! 

Ali's Pick: This week I finally finished sewing my YELLOW CHEVRON CURTAINS!  I know I am one of about 5 billion people who are really into chevron right now, but I cannot help my love for this ridiculously fun pattern.  Now my room feels bright, happy, and complete!  

Sarah's Pick: This week has been possibly the most stressful week of my life, so I am so ready for Friday!  What I love is that tomorrow is Friday the 13th.  I know a lot of people are superstitious about it, but I love when they fall at the same time.  It doesn't hurt that it's my birthday either!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Young Goethe In Love

Guys, I think we just need to sit here for a moment while I bask in this fact: I've found a new favorite period piece. And you should know, that it takes A LOT for me to get all caught up in my FEELINGS and actually have a new favorite. You think to yourself, can it really get any better than North and South, Jane Eyre, or Pride and Prejudice? Let me tell you, dear readers, it can be just as good! JUST AS GOOD! Which should give us hope, because us Victorian Swaggers can not live on classics alone, sometimes it's nice to know that a new piece can be thrown into the mix and be just as jaw-droppingly amazing. So lets take the next few moments to appreciate this new smelling salts classic than I am oh-so-happy just happened to show up in my Netflix suggestions queue the other night.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Victorians Had Style (Lots of Them)

(Les Saisons by Art Nouveau artist Alfonse Mucha)
As somewhat of an art historian, I am only too happy to have the opportunity to brush up on all things Victorian for this blog.  From researching architecture for our Future Home of Victorian Swag series to discussing the cinematography of some of our favorite period pieces, I have found that I relish the opportunity to study Victorian art.  I think what has struck me most about it is not the continuity of the art and styles but the diversity.  The artists of the Victorian Era distinguished themselves from the artists of earlier time periods by the sheer multitude of different styles they created, used and adapted.  Between 1850 and 1910, artists were painting, sketching, sculpting, and building everything from neoclassical realism to post impressionism.  It was really the beginning of the "anything goes" philosophy among artists but still before the start of the modern movement (you know, when taste became questionable and tacky found its way into high-class art).  If you wanted to paint true-to-life, you painted it.  If you wanted to paint emotionally, you could do that too.  If you wanted to include three styles and four media into your portfolio, no problem!  Not only were there many styles, there was just plain a ton of style!  Needless to say, some of the most famous artworks in history were created during this period of unbridled creativity and artistic experimentation.  Don't worry readers, I really don't  wish to accidentally give an art history lesson on the blog today.  I would simply like to share with you a few of my favorite artists and a couple of examples of their particular styles, styles that solidified the Victorian Era as an era of quality taste as well as the prime time for diverse artistic expression.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Life ruiner! (x)
We've all been there. Your friend points out a cute guy at the bar for you and is flabbergasted when you shrug your shoulders. She asks you why and you say, "Ehh... He's no Alcide!" And while Joe Manganiello has had our undivided attention long before portraying the kind-hearted werewolf Alcide Herveaux on True Blood- like setting-unrealistic-standards-for-all-future-bartenders on One Tree Hill long ago- his gravely voice and scruffy looks still set our hearts ablaze like he's doing it for the first time even now. And who can blame us? He's the living embodiment of a mountain man! And in Magic Mike? Well... let's just say he's every woman's fantasy. Still, we can't help affectionately calling him Alcide 24/7. Because he makes a manly man with a you-can-always-depend-on-me persona so entirely believable, we're just going to keep right on believing! But finally, we just have to say it... We just like to look at him! *swoon*

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Princess of Mars

"And, with my back against a golden throne, I fought once again for Dejah Thoris." (original artwork)
"You look like a Martian princess!" My latest compliment to my friends has earned me a lot of strange looks, but it's been a long time since a book has captured my heart and imagination like A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I must admit that I have only dabbled in the literary realm of full-blown sci-fi, but when I discovered that Burroughs' Barsoom series was written a hundred years ago, I was too intrigued to resist. Before devouring the first of the series, I had not seen the recent film John Carter, which is based on the series... but we'll get to that later. Right now all I want to do is FAN FLAIL over the book. And before I begin I must confess that just like the characters in the book, I like to use everybody's full name!

John Carter's tale begins out west when, fearing that his friend and fellow gold digger is being followed by hostile Apaches, he runs to offer his aid. Skilled in battle thanks to his experience as a Confederate soldier, he manages to escape their advances and retreats to a cave in the hills. But the cave is not to provide the protection he had hoped for. As the Apaches come nipping at his heels, a strange growl echoes through the cave and the air fills with a mysterious gas that renders him unconscious. When he awakes to a dreamlike state, he wanders out of the cave to look upon Mars in the Arizona sky, feeling a pull towards it that he literally can't resist.

Every readjustment imaginable must be made in order to survive on this new planet. Not only does gravity prove a challenge- a simple step forward causes him to jump hundreds of feet upwards instead- but he is soon taken captive by the Tharks (fearsome Green Martians) and must learn their language and customs.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

It's Sassurday!

Let's face it ladies; no one is ever quite as cool as the Fassbender.  So next year, I propose that the ladies of Victorian Swag replace this other gentleman in the photo at the Monaco Grand Prix!  I'll certainly drink to that!  

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday We're In Love!

1, 2, 3, 4
Mariah's pick: First, let's get this out of the way: Keira Knightley is one of my favorite actresses and I will sit through any film starring her; there, I said it, and all you haters can just shush. Second: HAVE Y'ALL SEEN THE OFFICIAL TRAILER FOR ANNA KARENINA?!?!?!?!??!?! Reaction: ASKLASKAKJSBAAJKDHBSAL FEEELINGS FEELINGS FEELINGS SOBBING CRYING OMGING; do you guys have any thoughts? 

Sarah's pick: Y'all, it has been one big "B" of a week, and while I did do the healthy bit of working out to relieve my stress, there's nothing like a large glass of wine.  I love wine of all kinds, but I am really a champagne or merlot girl.  I think that champagne can cure all manner of ills, but when the going gets really tough, you gotta go for the red.  In case you want a recommendation, I love the Cupcake merlot. 

Ali's pick: This heat wave might have the entire country sweating profusely, but all I have to say is "it's about time!"  I love the hot hot summer time; especially when it gives me an excuse to drink the occasional frozen Pinac Colada.  The week I enjoyed my favorite frosty drink with my sister at the Salty Dog Cafe!    

Sally's pick: On the 4th of July I went to see Magic Mike and I REGRET NOTHING! Only Joe Manganiello *SAH-WOON* and Channing Tatum could wield the power to put my insanely prudish ways aside for a whole two hours. I have admittedly pressed the play button on this little number *cough 52 second mark cough* more times than I care to admit already. Caution to those of you who haven't seen it: smelling salts will be rendered useless!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

M'lady Mérida

Dear readers, I don't know about you, but I think it's high time we start giving shout-outs to the heroines we love most. Sometimes all it takes is a fleeting thought of one of their inspirational moments to get you walking a little taller or put a swing in your step. And since the King of these Victorian Swag lands is Sassy Fassy, you can bet that every girl we spotlight is full of wit and sass.
Fierce!! (x)
We start with the most recent addition to our clique of fictional females we want to be, Mérida, the sharp-tongued Scottish princess in Brave. First off, look at her impressive locks! Me thinks our King Fassy heartily approves of an envelope-pushing gingersnap (even her hair has a mind of its own!). How refreshing it was to see a Disney princess step out from the masses declaring, "I am Mérida, firstborn descendant of Clan DunBroch, and I'll be shooting for my own hand!" Because don't we all need a little reminder from time to time that we are enough on our own? Our hopes and dreams are worth protecting and fighting for and settling for anything less is simply out of the question. Of course she's hopelessly flawed, but that's precisely why she's so relatable and easy to root for. Still, she's "living proof" that we are the masters of our fate, which is fantastic. And, dare I say, brave? Even if you're the oldest person in the movie theater, this stubborn lady-to-be will have you fist pumping in your seat in no time! You'll be pulling out your phone faster than you can scream "bullseye" to call your mom and say, "I love you!" and maybe to Google nearby archery lessons...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Period Piece Review: Enchanted April

In my continued attempts to (slowly) increase my period piece repertoire, I was searching for a film set in my favorite decade, the 1920s.  As luck would have it, I stumbled across something that was not The Great Gatsby (although I have to admit that this saddened me greatly as there really is no other story that fully encompasses the roaring 20s other than Gatsby.  See this post).  However, I wanted something fun and lighthearted to watch - as opposed to the death of a dream - and so I settled on Enchanted April.  I went into this film completely blind.  I knew nothing of the plot and very little about anything else.   I was not drawn by the promise of great acting - though Alfred Molina and Jim Broadbent play supporting roles - nor was I intrigued by action or mystery.  It's a good thing, because this film has neither.  But do not let that dissuade you.  While there was not anything terribly exciting about the film, nor anything even remotely surprising, it was (as I am becoming apt at saying) a lovely, evenly paced story about friendship, love, and the power of a much-needed vacation.  Need I say more?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Whether he's smuggling goods as an intergalactic space cowboy, or winning our hearts with his cheeky grin as a crime writer, Nathan Fillion ranks right up there with some of our favorite older "more mature" leading men. He's got classic good looks, JUST LOOK at those cheekbones and that perfect swoopy thing his hair does. He's simply irresistible. We're actually positive that in a past life he was Peter Pan, because he's got the whole "I'll never grow up" thing going for him. But we don't mind, because geeky guys who love sic-fi and video games just happen to be our favorites.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tea With Mussolini

I love movies that fit into the category: once is never enough, actually I'm pretty sure all of the Victorian Swag ladies love movies in that category. See, for example, my Classics series or Sally's Proposals series, there's just something about those films that make you smile or move you to tears and never fail to give you that cup of tea and warm blanket in front of the fireplace feeling. Bonus points for period pieces, because you know those are going to bring out ALL THE FEELINGS. And since we like to be nothing if not thorough in educating y'all about acceptable ways to swoon and other such Victorian appropriate pursuits, I feel it's only proper that I give one of my favorite period films its due. Let's raise our glasses (champagne, of course!) to Tea With Mussolini. Salute!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

It's Sassurday!

Well bonjour, Monsieur Fassbender!  I know we have already mentioned that Fassy was in the June issue of GQ France.  But when I ran across this particular picture, I couldn't help reminding you.  Because, I am sorry, but this vest is probably my favorite thing.  Oh Fassy, you can wear tweed vests and a pensive brow any day.  Joyeux Sassurday, tout le monde!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Spindle's End: A Book Review

It's pretty much a given that if you hand me some sort of fantasy book I'm going to love it. Maybe I'm just wired that way? Or could it be my propensity to daydream? I mean, if you skim back over our blog, a majority of the posts are about one of us riding off into the sunset with (insert the name of handsome leading man here). And I know that many of you lovely readers feel the same way us Victorian Swag ladies feel when it comes to dashing male leads, especially when they are the unconventional sort. So, what does one get when one combines fantasy novels and unconventional, swoon-worthy leading men? Why, none other than a Robin McKinley novel! Without further ado, I give you: Spindle's End.

Friday We're In Love!

1, 2, 3, 4
Sarah's pick:  The ladies at the office have taken a break from wondering who will be cast as Christian Grey and have instead focused on the upcoming Magic Mike.  It's not at all classy and will probably be really really stupid, but I just don't care.  I mean, how can you say no to beautiful men with well-sculpted abs?  It's impossible, so judge me for my weakness but don't deny that you are secretly jealous. 

Ali's Pick: My absolute favorite thing this week?  My sister is here to visit me!  She flew all the way from St. Louis to Hilton Head Island to spend a weekend with me at the beach.  I am SOOOOO HAPPY! 

Sally's Pick: This week I ventured into the dark side with the arrival of my Kindle Keyboard. Long have I, the collector of mismatched books, scoffed at the idea of eReaders; but when one was offered to me on a silver platter as a belated birthday gift, all I could hear was the devil on my shoulder whispering, "Think of all the free classics you'll read!" I'm still approaching it with a ten-foot pole, but I've got to admit there's something magnificently addictive about scrolling through all those pages of free books and the idea of my Kindle being a bit like Hermione's Undetectable Extension Charm in action! 

Mariah's Pick: Etsy is basically my kryptonite; I can't venture onto the site without finding at least fifty million different things that I need. There are, of course, lots of lovely little shops, but recently I've found myself trying very hard not to spend all of my money on Kaylee's (Retro Circus) magical Disney creations. Because a Flynn Rider necklace pretty much goes with every outfit. Don't you think?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

So adorable!
I was fortunate enough to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and I was so excited since it was a limited release!  I can't tell you the last time I've seen such a charming, moving, well-cast film.  It's about appreciating the love you have, being open to finding love in unexpected places, finding things you thought you lost, and learning to love things you once feared.

Oh, What's in a (Victorian) Name?

(Victorian authors Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning enjoyed popular Victorian names and influenced name popularity with some of their characters.)
Stemming from my recent stint of Victorian history related posts, I have been doing some research on said era and have run across dozens of stories, hundreds of facts, and thousands of names that have caught my fancy.  Names have always fascinated me.  They tell one so much about a character or a person and are able to evoke memories and judgments as easily as a Proustian madeleine.  Shakespeare’s Juliet famously posits, “that which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.”  I’m not entirely convinced that this is true.  I may put a lot of stock in names but I do not believe Romeo and Juliet would be the characters we know and understand today had their names been Joe and Rhonda.  In literary characters and even historical figures, names are essential components of personality and significance.
While I could really begin to wax philosophical (I’ll spare you), I just needed a segue into a post about historical celebrity baby names and popular Victorian era and Turn of the Century America and Britain.  Some of these names have endured but I am quite pleased to say that some have not.  You can be the judge on most but let me simply say that I am happy most royals were traditionalists and pleased that authors have traditionally been unafraid to use their imaginations when it comes to naming their characters.