Belgravia

Happy Easter!!!!  So excited that a new show starts today that is from the creators of Downton Abbey.  It looks amazing..you will need the new channel Epix.  I added it to my AppleTv subscription (there is a free trial) and the first episode is already available to view.

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“Belgravia,” a six-episode British period drama from “Downton Abbey” creator Julian Fellowes (adapted from his 2016 novel), is everything you want it to be, but not one bit more: a pedigreed, crunchy-gravel story with all the trimmings and light melodramas, set in London’s most affluent neighborhood in 1841, where an old family secret is just dying to get out.

The viewers are in on this secret almost from the beginning, which turns the series into a protracted exercise of hurry-up-and-wait, to see if things turn out all right. The real tension in “Belgravia” (premiering Easter Sunday on premium cable channel Epix) is attuned to class and status, as it usually is in Fellowes’ work.

Here, a successful building developer, James Trenchard (Philip Glenister), and his instinctively circumspect wife, Anne (Tamsin Greig), have risen to a comfortable rung on the ladder during a time of progress in the early years of the Victorian age.

The Trenchards carry a potentially ruinous secret, however, dating back to Brussels in 1815, where, on the eve of Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, their lovely but socially ambitious daughter, Sophia (Emily Reid), fell in love with Lord Edmund Bellasis (Jeremy Neumark Jones), the sole heir of the Earl and Countess of Brockenhurst (Tom Wilkinson and Harriet Walter, respectively).

This flashback prologue (and its tragic outcome) occurs in short order in the first episode, so it’s not a huge spoiler to simply note the unplanned birth of a baby boy, who is spirited away by the Trenchards to an adoptive family.

Decades later, in more mutual social orbits, Anne feels compelled to tell the Countess about the grandson she never knew she had. Rather than keep a lid on it, the Countess sees an opportunity. As in “Downton Abbey,” the focus is on the old rules of rightful vs. presumed inheritance, hidden paternity and the measures people will take to retain what they think they are owed – including the servants, who can be coerced to spy on their employers.

John Bellasis (Adam James), the Countess’s greedy nephew (and “Belgravia’s” designated villain), can’t wait to get his hands on the family fortune. But, in another “Downton”-esque move, the true heir begins to emerge: a solid, hard-working, middle-class gentleman, Charles Pope (Jack Bardoe), that secret baby, all grown up and puzzled as to why half of Belgravia is suddenly desperate to make his acquaintance.

“Belgravia” is often more basic than captivating, even with all its 19th-century grandeur and two shipshape performances from Walter and Greig, whose characters ally themselves to stage-manage a standard-issue conclusion. It’s the sort of ending any viewer will have already heard coming from several clip-clops away.

HAPPY WATCHING!

XOXO, KP

 

Megxit

Holy cow…what is happening with the Royal Family this week is straight out of a dramatic movie- unprecedented events in the last few days. Several people have asked me what I think and the truth is I didn’t know right away but now some facts have emerged and I do have an opinion…

While all the dust settles on this bombshell announcement that Harry and Meghan are retiring from their Senior Royal roles opting for a more private life while still supporting the monarchy, it’s still a little fuzzy on how it all went down. After a couple of days, info has leaked that Harry had been telling his Father since Christmas of this plan and Prince Charles told him they would need time too work this out to see how it could be done (meaning done without upsetting the Queen). The financial part is also tricky and obviously he wanted time to figure that part out as well. This answer prompted Harry to contact his Grandmother asking for a meeting. She has always had a soft spot for Harry and granted his request but informed him that she would not discuss his situation without resolution from his Father (Prince Charles holds the purse strings for his family from the Duchy of Cornwall and pays for most of their expenses from this purse). Her courtiers blocked the meeting and when he felt backed into a corner, he obviously thought announcing this on Wednesday via Instagram would be the way out and let them know right before it happened. So, it was shocking the way it went down, but they knew it was in the works. I honestly don’t think they fully thought through all of the ramifications of this big move, but I think there is more here than meets the eye.

Today, reports surfaced that Harry has been fearful of his mental health and his role as a Senior Royal jeopardizes this. I am sure, with Meghan’s encouragement, this plan was actually a precursor to what would have eventually happened to their roles in the Royal Family, but now they get to control how its handled. There have been talks of a more streamlined monarchy once Prince Charles becomes King and they saw the writing on the wall and figured they would get a head start on the inevitable. Harry is now so far down on the succession list, his role is really secondary compared to the house of Cambridge.

So, my thoughts on Meghan are… I actually like her and think that she has amazing plans for their future and all that they can accomplish together but were being tethered by a strong chain to their positions. Her capsule clothing line that debuted last year was a perfect example of how she knows how to use her station to benefit others, it was a rousing success. Some people who don’t like her balked at what she did, but in the end, she is helping many, many people and she is popular..not like Kate but popular nonetheless. Not sure how popular she will be after this week.

The trademark office releasing the applications for Sussex Royal listing all the items they wish to brand with their logo/name was very interesting. Their shiny new (beautiful) website launched the day of their announcement (www.sussexroyal.com). It is chock full of info on their roles and how the system they have been living in is run. Now, they can be free and do their good work without being pinned down by all the Royal rules and procedures. It makes sense for them. Maybe the writing was on this wall when they eschewed a Royal title for baby Archie earlier in the year??

I have so many questions (like everyone else):

  1. Will they live in Canada where she has a support system and, apparently, still a house?
  2. Will they still show up for big Royal events like Trouping the Color, etc…
  3. Is the Queen really going to punish them or is that what everyone wants to hear?
  4. Will the money they stand to make with their new venture fund their lifestyle or will the money be for charitable efforts or both?
  5. What do William and Kate think about this?

The coming days will most likely have lots more info on this story..stay tuned!!!

DNA + Inheritance

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro

This past Saturday, I downloaded the audible of Inheritance by Dani Shapiro. The author read her book and it was about 6 hours long. Funny how some audibles are 15 hours and then this one only 6. This book was praised by Elin Hildebrand recently so it was on my wish list. I vaguely knew what it was about but decided to listen to it while I was working on organizing my bedroom. I had read many novels by this author but this was a personal non-fiction book, her story about finding out that her Father was not her biological Father through Ancestry.com.

Dani Shapiro, born into a devout, religious Jewish family was very fair, blonde with blue eyes. All her life she had fielded comments about how she didn’t look Jewish and described how these seemingly benign observations had had an effect on her -chiseling away at how she viewed herself.

A quick Ancestry.com spit test started the unraveling of who she was or who she thought she was up to that point. The detail in which she describes the events and how she put all the pieces together are staggering. Her voice is so calm yet so full of emotion that several times in the book I had tears in my eyes, which doesn’t happen so often to me. I was so invested in her story and the outcome, that three moments in the timeline, described so honestly and with such care literally choked me up and made me cry.

What is so striking is that this happened to a famous author, one with a researcher’s mind, tools and the means to travel across the country to get to the bottom of her truth. I couldn’t help but think how many people are using these new genealogy tests to see where they are from and end up finding out way more than they bargained for. Parents having affairs years ago, producing children that show up and want to meet their siblings or..children put up for adoption at birth for all the right reasons and now they are coming looking for their parents. Being a sperm donor was a popular way to earn a quick buck years ago and that is what happened in this story. Dani’s Mother was having a hard time conceiving so she consulted a fertility expert. The “expert”, a sort of renegade, was mixing sperm from sperm donors with patients’ husbands to increase the positive outcomes. After she figured out this is what happened, her quest in this story was to figure out if her beloved Father knew she was not his actual daughter. She does find out this answer and is lucky enough to find her biological Father, who is still alive. The leading up to this amazing discovery is nail biting.

I don’t want to give any more away because I highly recommend reading or listening to this book. Recently, I have totally embraced audible books, listening to them while I drive back and forth to work. I try not to listen at home so they last longer and it makes me actually look forward to getting in the car and sitting in traffic.

How many people have taken these tests? One friend from work thinks they are a way for the government to collect data on all of us and would NEVER do it. Someone told me that boys have a more accurate reading so I asked my brother to take one so we could really see where we are from. He has researched our family tree so didn’t see a need but I do think it would be interesting to have some proof. One side (my Mom’s) is 50% Italian and 50% Greek. Knowing both Grandparents and their extended families my whole life, it would be shocking if this information were not accurate. The other side (my Dad’s) is more of a wild card. We know there is English and Welsh roots but late in the game with a Grandmother on her deathbed, she blurted out that there was some Polish ancestry that was conveniently left out on paperwork years ago. Polish? Seriously? My Grandmother was on morphine so it was easy information to discount but the Ancestry.com tree that you build with the leaves proved that there was indeed some Polish relatives in addition to the English and Welsh. Talk about a turn of events. And that isn’t that serious of a curveball, imagine finding out some skeletons in your family’s closet, it could be so distressing and disruptive.

Have you taken one of these tests and been surprised by the results? I would love to hear about it!

Golden Globes 2020

I love that the New Year starts off with a bang with the always entertaining Golden Globe Awards. This year, I have actually seen a lot of the movies/shows nominated which makes it all the more fun. The red carpet was spirited…here are some favorites….

Margot Robbie in Chanel
Jennifer Lopez in Valentino

One of my favorite moments was when they announced Brad Pitt as the winner of Best Actor in a supporting role in a motion picture for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. His speech was great and he profusely thanked Leonardo DiCaprio (LDC), his partner in crime -the two of them are amazing together.

Another highlight was Tom Hanks receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award. His highlight reel is literally filled with so many of the very best movies. He is definitely a favorite.

There are a bunch of shows left before the Academy Awards..after tonight, look for Once Upon a Time in America, 1917 and Rocket Man to be heavy favorites. I loved Marriage Story-it was really good. I need to see more of these in the next two weeks!

That’s a wrap on the Golden Globes..back to the real world on Monday. I am not really ready to face it..are you????

Corroon Love

Since I am on Instagram almost 2 hours a day, or so my iPhone tells me, I am constantly finding new brands and seeing all that is out there for my purse obsessed self. The Corroon bags popped up and it was instant love. I love the look of them and the price is not too outrageous. I missed out on getting a Goyard and now this seems like a better investment for me. All of the bags are amazingly constructed and are reinforced on the bottom, which is great for me since my bags usually weigh as much as a baby.

There are ones with stripes and monograms, which are so great. You can even add some leopard, which is so cool.

The ones I am drawn to are the custom ones with extra things painted on them. The stars are awesome, I obviously love the hearts but look at the Swedish Fish one! That would have been so appropriate for me years ago before I found out about gelatin and how disgusting it is-thanks so much to Billy Buppert for ruining my favorite candy for me.

But the one that I am leaning towards is the camo one!

This is the one I am dying for..the camo with the hearts but I would have my initials in pink and might make the hearts not so pastel. SO FUN! Prices are in the $300-$500 range. Check out Corroon here.

Happy Shoppping!

XOXO, KP

Juicy Scoop

It seems these days that everyone is hooked on one podcast or another. I really can only attach myself to a small number of them. My number one is the Goop Podcast. To be completely honest, I really only listen to the ones Gwyneth leads, which is 20% of them. Her Chief Content Officer moderates the others and I fast forward to the last few minutes where Gwyneth does an “ask me anything” part and reads a question someone has written in and then thoughtfully answers it. I realize this is sort of cheating, but I am trying to be real here. The questions are all over the board so if you like GP, they are fascinating….

My number two is Juicy Scoop. This hilarious podcast is all about comedian Heather McDonald (of Chelsea Lately fame) and her thoughts on pop culture, all things Bravo and other gossipy tidbits. She has lots of interviews and a regular cast of characters that join here, mainly her co-stars from her Chelsea days. She has a small habit of mispronouncing names and you just have to get past that and enjoy her enthusiasm for getting out the scoop. She also does amazing impressions-mainly of the Housewives and Jennifer Anniston. She is hilarious. A few months ago, my friends and I went to a stand-up show in Delray Beach and got to meet her. It was amazing.

She was super nice and chatted with our whole group. We were dying that she kept using the picture below to advertise her shows..that’s us in the bottom right corner-I am the only brunette with all my blonde friends.

The best part of listening to Heather is that she has back-end Hollywood knowledge after working for so many years, she offers a lot of insight to the gossip of the day. This is all on Juicy Scoop, which is free. If you want more in-depth info from Heather, she is also on Patreon, which is a fee-based subscription service and those posts come out on Fridays. She keeps the really juicy stuff for the paying customers. (I pay $5/month so I am in the “single scoop” level)

The other podcast I listen to is NPR’s How I Built This. This one is so interesting and it was recommended by a bunch of people. The first one I listened to was the Kate Spade one which they played after her untimely death. This has become a favorite.

I am open to other podcasts..let me know what I am missing!

XOXO, KP

Theranos

Lately, I have been on the Audible train. I have been sticking to biographies and try to only listen while I am in the car driving. My first ones have been two books by comedian Heather McDonald, biographies of Busy Phillips and Sally Field, Ninety Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret, Sisters First by the Bush twins, The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters and then before my London trip, I listened to 25 hours about the Queen Mother. Now I am listening to Bad Blood which is about Theranos and the crazy ride this start-up took up until its dramatic end. It is such an unbelievable story and it is hard to believe they were able to keep up the charade for as long as they did.

While I am listening to this Audible, I am trying not to google because I don’t really know the details of the ending. My timing on this book is fantastic because there is a documentary called The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley that is airing on HBO on March 18. Check out the trailer here.

Beyond the documentary, Jennifer Lawrence is signed up to play the main character Elizabeth Holmes in a movie based on the book I am listening to. That is still in production but is directed by Adam McKay who directed Vice and The Big Short. I cannot wait to see both of them!

Elizabeth modeled herself after Steve Jobs in many ways, wanting Theranos to have similarities with Apple and even started religiously wearing black turtlenecks like Steve. The whole story is fascinating!!!!! Read Bad Blood so we can talk about it!

XOXO, KP

Kitchen Update

After all the chatter about re-doing my kitchen, it is finally in the works!!  I keep wanting to pinch myself that it is happening.  Of course, it is more complicated than I thought it would be.  My kitchen is a tiny galley kitchen, how hard could it be?
Lucky for me, one of my BFFS re-did a kitchen not too long ago and had some good insight on a few things.  First, the appliances.  She picked the whole Kitchen Aid suite and I loved the way they looked.  They are kind of the nicest-not-crazy-expensive option.  All the appliances were purchased on Saturday at Best Buy and they are holding them for me until they need to be delivered.  One huge hurdle down…

Before I start on the kitchen, my bedroom closet needed to be done. It is about to explode.  The closet guy I wanted to use came to measure and came up with an easy solution for my falling-apart drop ceiling.  At this point, I am so tired of trying to figure out what do to with this closet, I just want it fixed.  The closet guy-Robert-is boxing in my air condition handler that is up there as part of the closet, freeing up most of the right side for more storage.  This is super exciting.  They are coming to start on June 6th.

When they came last week, they brought the whole team to talk about my kitchen and they quoted me a terrific price for wood cabinets with paneled doors all the way to the ceiling.  I am going to schedule that part next.  Somewhere in the middle of this plan, I have to commit to a contractor and have them help me get all the pieces together and pull permits, etc.. It’s all a little overwhelming.

But, I have some questions and would love some feedback:

(1) I want a white sink.  I grew up with a porcelain sink and we never had a problem with chipping but now there are a ton of new options, granite and composite. Should I stick with porcelain or does anyone have any feedback on these other options?  I have a stainless sink now and I do not want another one.

(2) Every pretty kitchen I see online has the sink in front of a window.  That is amazing but my kitchen is windowless.  Over the sink, the cabinets are raised so you don’t hit your head on them.  Do I just have whatever backsplash I use there or should I get a shelf built in.  Is the shelf a think of the past?

(3) What is a normal amount to spend on the faucet?  Of course the one I love is SUPER expensive.  I am trying to find a less expensive option.  I am dying for a bridge faucet.  This is what I want it to look like and this is the one that won’t bankrupt me but it is an investment.  Can you take it with you when you move?  That might help make my decision lol…

That’s where I am right now.  Any good ideas that I need to know, please share. I will be posting all my progress here in the coming weeks.
Thanks so much!
Xoxo, kp

Birthday Weekend

I’m still recovering from my birthday weekend! Friday (my actual birthday) started off with breakfast with friends, a birthday party for my little friend Jordan and ended with a Birthday Happy Hour at Villagio. 

My sweet needlepoint group got together and got me a gift certificate from the needlepoint store. So fun. A bunch of other friends got me a gift certificate to buy a new purse-super excited and grateful for all the love. 
Saturday night we had a little reunion of old friends. Our local group can’t seem to get together so it took a friend coming in town to rally the troops. We meet in the Grove and it was super fun. 
I rounded out the weekend with a fun Sunday brunch and then a slew of my favorite shows last night. All in all, an amazing weekend!
Older and wiser,
Xoxo, kp

T e l e v i s i o n

There is so much on television these days.  Thankfully for me, since I need to watch tv while I make jewelry.  Now that Homeland and The Affair have ended (sad face), I am looking for new things to watch.  I am always hesitant to get attached to new shows since so many of them get canceled right away.  Also, now with Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and other online sites, you can always catch up asap. Here is what I am/will be watching:
Downton Abbey
Downton started up again this past Sunday.  I used to watch online while it played in the UK, but got side tracked in the Fall and now am watching it for real with the rest of the US folks.  It does not disappoint and Sunday’s episode was great.  So sad that this is the last season!!!  View a preview here.
Shades of Blue

Starting on January 7th on NBC, this show is on my list because I am a huge fan of Jennifer Lopez.  I was surprised that she signed on to do a network tv show, but she has played a cop before in Out of Sight, so this should be good.  Also starring Ray Liotta and Drea de Matteo View a preview here.

War and Peace

This Lifetime mini-series is an adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel starting on January 18th.  Starring Lily James (Rose from Downton), Paul Dano, James Norton, Gillian Anderson and Jim Broadbent.
View a preview here.
Billions
Starting January 17th, this show promises to be amazing.  They have been running teaser ads on Showtime for weeks.  Brody from Homeland stars as Hedge Fund superstar Bobby Axelrod and Paul Giametti plays the U.S. Attorney who is determined to bring him down.  If this isn’t as good as the trailers, I will be so disappointed.  Watch the trailer here.
Girls

Girls returns to HBO on February 21st! See a preview here.

The Family
Starts March 6th on ABC, this story is about a boy that reappears after being missing for 10 years.  His return has a huge impact on his political mom (Joan Allen) and the rest of his family.  The story has lots of twists and turns and sounds fascinating.  I love Joan Allen.  Watch a preview here.
The Americans
Coming back for Season 4 in March on F/X, this show is so great.  If you haven’t seen previous seasons, they are available online.  Keri Russel and Matthew Rhys star in this story about Russian spies living in America in the 80s.  Having an arranged marriage, this couple lives in a DC suburb and has two children.  The story is set right after Ronald Reagan became President.  It is one to watch!

Game of Thrones

Returning to HBO on April 24th, Game of Thrones is new to my list.  I watch all previous 5 seasons this summer and loved it.  When I asked on Facebook for some show recommendations, this was by far the most discussed.  If you haven’t started, you could start now and finish up right when the next season starts! #savejonsnow

Glued to my tv,
xoxo, kp