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7 not so traditional ways to prepare yourself for Christmas

Published November 27, 2014 by The Feminist

Now that we have had Halloween and Thanksgiving, we can start to look forward to the most festive of holidays: Christmas

There are plenty of ways to prepare yourself for Christmas – like buying presents, decorating your house and listening to Mariah Carey’s notorious earworm- but I decided to look past the clichés (well, sort of anyway) and give you a list of all the other not so traditional ways to get ready for the Holidays.

  • Dance around the house in your PJ’s

I’m not sure why this reminds of Christmas, actually. Maybe it’s the PJ’s. Maybe it’s the dancing. Maybe it’s both. I just know that if you spend half an hour dancing like a complete and utter doofus, suddenly the entire Christmas season will not seem so crazy after all.

Plus: it is just so much fun! You should try it, dear readers

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  • Drink hot chocolate, red wine and eggnog

Maybe it is not advisable to drink all of the above at once– because throwing up in a bucket is anything but a great way to kick off the X-mas season – but if you want to, I’m not going to stop you. Just Let me know how it turns out.

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  • Light your house with a thousand candles

Okay, so maybe this is one of those Christmas clichés, but there is simply no getting around it. Because everything starts with candles! It creates warmth, encourages love and friendship and if you opt for the scented version your house will smell heavenly too.

  • Watch this video of a cute dog wearing a teddy bear costume and running on a treadmill

Yes, you’ve read that correctly. A dog. Dressed as a teddy bear. Doing a workout. On a treadmill.

Why would I want to watch it, you ask? Well, cuz it’s darn awesome! But also because watching this video has a very therapeutic effect on body and soul.

First of all, try watching this without starting to oooh and aaaah because of the dog’s insane cuteness. Seriously, watching this has suddenly made me want to throw a pre-Christmas My Little Pony-themed slumber party.

I wish I were joking, but I’m not.

Secondly, this cute dog might actually inspire you to wear an animal costume as well. Just for fun. (Admit it! I know you want to!)

And finally, this dog will make you feel so f***ing lazy –because you’re watching this from behind your laptop whilst wearing sweatpants and eating Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream – which will hopefully encourage you to hit the gym more often to prevent having to buy gigantic holiday pants.

  • Do Burpees

This one is closely linked to the previous item on the list. If you want to avoid those holiday love handles, you have to start now! So come on, do those burpees! Yes, I’m aware that they are absolutely awful. They are absolutely terrifying. But will they have an effect? Absofuckinglutely.

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  • Listen to Frank Sinatra

Since it is not even December yet, some people may consider it to be a bit early to start listening to Wham or Ricky Martin Christmas songs. Not to mention singing along to Christmas carols! That is why I suggest you start getting into a Christmas mood by listening to dear oll’ Frank. Mister Sinatra is able to recreate that lovely, cozy Christmassy atmosphere without actually having to use words such as “Christmas tree” or “Santa”.

  • Make soup

Although there is no direct correlation between soup and Christmas, stirring in a large pot of soup makes me feel all fuzzy and warm inside, just like Christmas does. These past couple of weeks I’ve gone all out on the soup front. I’ve made some exotic Garam masala and coconut pumpkin soup with peanut butter. I’ve made Russian beetroot soup with pink peppercorns and vodka (yessss) and yesterday, I conjured up some insane turnip and saffron soup with harrissa roasted pecans.

Sigh.

Needless to say that I couldn’t be in a better mood. A soupy state of mind truly is the best way to roll into the Christmas season.

So these are my seven weird ways to get into a Christmas spirit. What are yours?

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Shonda Rhimes: the Queen of Awesome Television

Published September 29, 2014 by The Feminist

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Maybe I watch too much television.

I probably watch too much television.

I honestly watch too much television.

How else would you explain the state of utter euphoria I’m in when a brand new series airs on television? No matter how many times I try to reduce my daily dose of drama, there is always something (or in this case: someone) that keeps pulling me back to my beloved screen. And that person is Shonda Rhimes.

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Seriously. I wish I had that woman’s imagination. Just when you thought she couldn’t possibly create something more brilliant/show stopping/jaw dropping than the television wonder that is Scandal, she went on to creating a brand new TV drama, which pilot episode alone was enough to take my breath away and bombard my best friend with “OMG, you’ve got to watch this” texts.

I’m talking about Shonda Rhimes’ brand new How To Get Away With Murder. This show is in every possible way the awesomest of all awesome television.

Why?

  • Viola Davis. Viola. Davis. Vi-o-la. Da-vis.

Needless to say, I love her.

  • The plot is absolutely bonkers. It’s exactly what the title suggests, but in an academic(!) setting. Yes, in this series you actually get taught how to get away with murder. Ha! I’ll tell you one thing, you don’t have an MBA like that here in Belgium!
  • Paris from the Gilmore girls is back! … With a blond bob!

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  • Fiery dialogues full of eloquence and wit (It’s a Shonda Rhimes show so…duh!)
  • Alfred Enoch.

“Who?” I hear y’all ask.

Alfred Enoch!

Those of you who watched the first episode of How To Get Away With Murder probably were searching your memory to find out where you knew one of the main characters – Wes- from.

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Well, dear readers, search no more! Because Wes, Alfred Enoch in real life, is none other than Dean Thomas from the Harry Potter series!

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Whereas little Alfred used to be cute as hell, grown up Alfred is not only cute but smoking hot as well (blimey, that rhymes!)

And Alfred isn’t the only handsome, swoon-worthy fella on the show. On the contrary, there is plenty of man candy to choose from!

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Conclusion, thank you Shonda Rhimes, for once again creating a show that makes us forget about real life and immerses us into a world full of drama and intrigue.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

With the wonderful Grey’s Anatomy, the marvelous Scandal and now the downright brilliant How to Get Away with Murder, there is really no reason left to feel guilty about my TV habits and why I shouldn’t be sitting in front of my tellie each Thursday.

My Quest Is Finally Over: I Have Found My Very Own Olivia Pope Coat

Published September 17, 2014 by The Feminist

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Loyal readers will know by now that I am probably the biggest Scandal fan on the planet.

I honestly love that show. It’s intrigue. It’s drama. It’s Kerry Washington in all her stylishness wearing the most power-exuding clothes imaginable.

I love it.

Love it, love it, love it, luuuvvv it.

I even based my thesis on stereotypes of African American women in US television on the character of Olivia Pope and Scandal. That’s how much I love it. (Shonda Rhimes, If you’re reading this, I’ll gladly come to ‘Merica to discuss the remarkable results of my research with you, if you like. )

Those of you who are as passionate Scandal fans as I am (hard to imagine someone can be as big a fan as I am, but hey…)will already have highlighted September 25 in their agenda (or in my case, I circled the date with glitter and surrounded it with pink fluffy cat stickers)

On that day, season 4 of Scandal will finally premiere and I have been looking forward to that day ever since last season had its very awesome yet earthshattering final last Spring.

The question that is probably on all of your minds right now is why the hell am I telling you all of this??

Well, dear readers, because something amazing happened yesterday that is intrinsically linked with Scandal. You see, for the past year I have been looking for my very own (read: affordable) Olivia Pope coat. Especially that one coat with the big envelope collar truly made my fashion-beating heart melt. As you can imagine, Olivia Pope’s designer coats are not within my budget (uhum), but that didn’t stop me from embarking on a quest to find a more affordable version.

I looked everywhere, but never ever found what I was looking for. Either the coat was way too expensive, or just not as elegant/sharp/ I-am-a-career-woman-looking as Olivia Pope’s.

I had even given up on my seemingly impossible quest and was trying to get the image of me looking all powerful and important with a starbucks coffee in my hands out of my head.

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And then yesterday, as if God was rewarding me for my patience, I found my very own Scandal coat.

I bought it at Mango, it’s a charcoal grey colour, has a soft fabric and it makes me look like a sharp and elegant career woman.

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And it has an amazing collar:

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Conclusion: Miracles can happen!

Warning: I’ll be looking real Scandalous this winter!

PS: Yes, I’m aware hers is light and mine is dark, but with my pale skin, a cream coat is just not the way to go.

Another Good Reason Why You Should Watch Scandal: An Ode to Harrison Wright

Published February 26, 2014 by The Feminist

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Gladiators, rejoice! In exactly one day the greatest TV series on earth returns for a brand new episode. That daunting period in which we were forced to #CopeWithoutPope has been going on for far too long; not just because I want to know what happens next, but also because my friends are tired of hearing me randomly sneaking phrases like “I am a Gladiator in a suit” or “If you want something done, get Olivia Pope on it” into every conversation.

If –for some very odd reason- you have never watched an episode of Scandal, I can tell you that you are definitely missing out on a lot. The storyline is absolutely bonkers, Kerry Washington is the best thing to have happened to television since Oprah Winfrey and the Scandal wardrobe is to die for. (Think: fabulous women suits and elegant kick-ass dresses)

There is, however, one other reason why I believe everyone should watch Scandal (Especially those who like a bit of man candy to look at), and that reason is the character of Harrison Wright, played by too-hot-to-handle Columbus Short.

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Seriously.

Apart from the fact that his face looks like it was carved by angels using diamond chisels,  he also wears very gentlemen-like suits that would even make Justin “Suit&Tie” Timberlake blush.

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Sigh.

Moreover, Harrison is knee-wobblingly cool, has a toothpaste bright smile and can persuade even the most difficult clients just by staring at them.

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Some Scandal dummies among you might think things couldn’t possibly get any better than that… well… they can! Because besides his dashingly good looks and ridiculous charm, he is also good with words.

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Oh yeah, he’s a real smooth talker, that Harrison!

He rattles on at the speed of light, blowing people away with a combination of eloquently formulated arguments and a splash of humour.

Oh, and before I forget: he has a dark side.

Having said that, I would like to end this post with two short messages:

1)      To all the Scandal nitwits out there,

I hope this has finally convinced you to start watching the show. I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed!

2)      To all my fellow Gladiators,

Suit up! It is time to get scandalous!

My Women of The Year

Published December 11, 2013 by The Feminist

Well, it’s that time of the year again. A time when we are all drowned in year-end lists -from best music and best movies to most famous celebrities,…- but don’t really mind because it’s part of the Christmas fun.

I think you can guess that I absolutely love those lists. It is a very relaxing way to reflect upon the past year without having to look into your own accomplishments. (that list would- unfortunately- be rather short 😉 )

The following list is a list of all the women that inspired me this year. There are no female CEOs on there, or world-changing philanthropists. There is no Hilary or Michele. (For there are plenty enough blogs covering those fantastic women already)

This is my ultimate list. It’s very subjective. It’s me.

Deal with it.

So let’s start, shall we?

1)      Jennifer Lawrence

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I have a confession to make, dear readers. Until a couple of weeks ago, I never really liked Jennifer Lawrence. People kept telling me how awesome she was, but there was just something about her that I didn’t quite get. Something seemed off. So even though I absolutely loved Silver Linings’ Playbook, I never liked her as an actress. (I think it has something to do with the name Jennifer, because now that I think about it, I also have an aversion of Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Garner)

A couple of weeks ago, however, things started to change. Do you know why, dear readers? She cut her hair. Being a short-haired woman myself-and rocking it, if I may add- I am always jumping up and down in excitement if a famous celebrity decides to go short. I was so happy Jennifer cut her hair, I decided to make up for all my previous Jennifer hatred and I googled her.

Which led to the following realization: she is the most awesome and funniest person on the planet.

And then I saw the Hunger Games (I kept putting it off, because of my Jennifer aversion) and now I am completely smitten! Jennifer Lawrence for president!

2)      Angelina Jolie

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I’ve always been an Angelina-fan for one very superficial reason: I think she is just the most beautiful woman on the planet. Later on, I started to realize that she is not only very pretty and a good actress, but also has her heart in the right place as UNICEF ambassador.

This year Angelina deserves to be on my list once more. She inspired countless women when she decided to go public about her preventative double mastectomy. Her New York Times op-ed was an honest, sincere and emotional reflection, which is something we see far too little from world famous celebrities. Although there was quite some controversy about the necessity and cost of such a procedure, I truly believe she is a brave woman. Not just for going through with the surgery but –as a famous movie star- deciding to go public with such a personal and private matter.

3)      Kerry Washington

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I have written about Kerry Washington before, so I will keep this very short. She is beautiful. (The jaw-dropping kind) She is smart. She is a damn good actress. AND SCANDAL IS THE BEST TV SERIES SINCE…. WELL… EVER!!!!

4)      Sandra Bullock

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I can keep this one really short as well. Has anyone of you seen Gravity? If you have, you know why Sandra Bullock is on this list. Her performance in Gravity was indescribable. I remember sitting in the movie theater, looking at the screen, and thinking to myself: “If she doesn’t win an Oscar for this role, the world has gone mad.”

5)      Miley Cyrus

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I know. I know. Miley Cyrus isn’t exactly someone to look up to. Between her ridiculously slutty performance at the VMAs, her God awful sense of fashion and her latest Twerking incident (She twerked on Santa Clauss the other day) it is hard to find anything positive to write about her. But then again, she is by far the most talked about and controversial artist of the year. Last year, I think 95% of all the people in Europe didn’t know who she was. (I, of course, did.) They might have heard about her but wouldn’t be able to describe her looks, let alone sing one of her songs. This all has changed. Everyone knows her. (although that has probably more to do with her tongue-sticking-out trade mark and in-your-face nudity than with her actual vocal capabilities)

Furthermore, I do like how she doesn’t give a damn about what other people think of her and that is –regardless of her behavior- something to admire.

And PS: Wrecking Ball is a great song.

6)      Lady Gaga

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Yes, she is a freak. Yes, she is completely bonkers. Yes, she wears the craziest clothes I have ever seen. And yet I absolutely adore her. In contrast to all the other female artists, Lady Gaga stands for something. She encourages people to stay true to who they are , to embrace their imperfections and to not be afraid to stand out and be different. I applaud her for that. (Ha! Get it? 😉 )

7)      Katy Perry

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The reason why I put Katy Perry on this list, is because of her song “Roar”. I truly believe this song deserves the title of “best women empowerment song of the decade”. The lyrics helped me get through difficult times and singing the song out loud still gives me an incredible rush of adrenaline.

8)      My Mom

Adding your mother to a list of celebrities is a bit cheesy, I know. Nevertheless, I honestly think she is the best woman on the planet. She is always there for me and I couldn’t have done it without her. She is the definition of a strong woman. She is better than all the female stars in this list combined. She is the true star.

(Feel free to throw up in a nearby bucket.)

10 (very good!) reasons why I’m looking forward to fall

Published September 22, 2013 by The Feminist

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Many people find the end of summer incredibly depressing: No more wearing flirty dresses (unless it’s your goal in life to be the next Marilyn Monroe with your skirt blowing up even when it’s actually minus three outside), no more drinking sangria (unless you want to look like a totally alienated ivory-tower-sticking twat)and no more eating gelato while sitting on the beach wearing a polka dot bikini (unless the combination of freezing gelato, a freezing wind and sand in many awkward places sounds appealing to you)

 
If you’re one of those pessimists, the months ahead of us can indeed seem quite gloomy…
But let me tell you something, dear my-glass-is-always-half-empty readers: your preconceived depressing idea of the bleakness of fall could be no further from the truth!
There are many things to look forward to. Yes, fall equals colder and gloomier weather but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing! On the contrary, there are many many advantages!
Here are my 10 very subjective reasons why I’m looking forward to fall and the accompanying cold weather:

 
1. You can drink hot chocolate without looking like a total doofus
Just like there is an unspoken rule that dictates you can’t drink sangria in the winter, there is an unspoken rule you can’t drink hot chocolate in the summer. To me, not being allowed to drink hot chocolate was complete and utter torture! I love hot chocolate and I could drink it every single day, regardless of which season I’m in. Lucky for me, I will no longer be stared at by people who think drinking hot chocolate when it’s warm outside is absurd. I’m no longer the oddity. I’m the rule!
2. It’s time for a well-deserved Bublé-bath!
It is by far the best form of relaxation (ask my friend Mr. Jack Whitehall): A long, hot bath, you’re favourite cinnamon-scented bath bubbles, candles everywhere, a glass of champagne and last but definitely not least Michael Bublé’s soft and soothing voice bursting out of the stereo, bringing you in a mood of utter tranquility and bliss…
3. All the best TV-series are back on air!
Although the end of summer marks the end of admiring Suits’ Harvey Specter, his razor-sharp comments and his divinely gorgeous behind, we shouldn’t get ourselves down. There are plenty of incredibly good TV-series to look forward to next TV season! (and almost all of them have cast drool-worthy actors!)

e.g.: Glee ( with Darren Criss, aka the actor with the highest swoon-factor), White Collar (with Matt-why didn’t he get the role of Christian Grey?-Bomer), The Vampire Diaries (With Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley, Michael Trevino and many others sexy guys who are likely to take their shirts off at least once), Grey’s Anatomy (with the almost God-like Jesse Williams), Homeland (with Damian-is or isn’t he a terrorist?-Lewis)and Scandal (which may not have a drop-dead gorgeous actor, unless you’re into US presidents, but has Kerry Washington)
4. You can use a fuzzy TV blanket without looking like an Inuit-wannabe
I love TV blankets. I really really really do. Somehow I believe they enhance the incredibly relaxing activity of watching TV. TV blankets, however, are often frowned upon when the temperatures outside don’t reflect your inner need to tuck yourself in and enjoy a good fuzzy warmth of a woolen blanket. I would use TV blankets all year round if I could. Yes, even during heat waves. My brother often sarcastically remarks that I look like an Eskimo, covered in so much wool, but I never really cared about that. So I’m not gonna start now. Let’s all be blanket-lovin’ Inuit wannabees together!
5. It’s the time of pumpkin pies and carrot cakes!
I still have to meet the first person who doesn’t love carrot cake or pumpkin pie. I guess we’re all genetically programmed to be completely smitten by that spicy waft of cinnamon and nutmeg, that palate-clinging smoothness of the pumpkin filling, that sweet and earthy flavour of carrot and walnut in a cake batter… Carrot cakes and pumpkin pies epitomize what the fall is all about: comfort, warmth and love. Who wouldn’t adore that?
6. Fall fashion is way more exciting than summer fashion
When the weather gets cooler you obviously cannot keep wearing your boring old summer clothes. You need an entire new wardrobe! Although this fact may seem daunting to most men, to women it’s the perfect excuse for going on a guilt-free shopping spree.
7. You can leave your hat on…
Forget bad hair days! From now on you can simply wear a hat and no one will ever notice your hair looks like a Cruella Devil impersonation. Moreover, hats are by far the most fashionable accessory for this fall and can turn an ordinary fall-look into a showstopping outfit!
8. No more sweating!
Cooler weather may sound dreadful to some of you, but you simply cannot deny that you will all secretly be happy about the prospect of not having to check your armpits every half an hour. (Admit it!)Now we can all go on dates without having to worry about make-up sliding off our faces and hold hands without being totally embarrassed about sweaty palms. (I told you cold weather was a good thing!)
9. You can go on a date to Starbucks and look each other in the eyes over a giant cup of Pumpkin Spiced Latte
The return of the Pumpkin Spiced Latte is one the main reasons everyone should be looking forward to autumn. What could possible be better than indulging yourself with the delectable heavenly taste of spices and sweet pumpkin? Drinking a Pumpkin Spiced Latte while getting to know a mysterious guy you’ve just met? Consider it done!
10. Fall is beautiful!
The leaves are changing into vibrant colours. Amber, golden and scarlet hues turn autumn into a feast for the eyes and it seems as if –overnight- the country has changed into a gallery of autumnal beauty. Seriously, what’s not to love?

Kerry Washington: Beauty, Brains and tons of style

Published January 15, 2013 by The Feminist

63rd Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals
My message today is very simple: I love Kerry Washington.

Why?

Here are the four main reasons:

1) She is absolutely brilliant in the TV series Scandal. I’ve been hooked on the show since the first episode and Kerry is exceptional in portraying a powerful yet vulnerable woman at the top. The rapid-fire dialogues, the intense characters and plot twists that make my mouth drop: I’m always on the edge of my seat in anticipation of what’s going to happen next. Yes, it’s that good!

2) She is smart! Just watch the video below in which Kerry explains the importance of affirmative action: the woman’s got brains! She is also a huge supporter of President Obama and used her star power last November to encourage voters to vote for him.

3) She is BY FAR the most beautiful woman on the planet. I mean, look at her!
… I’m sure you’re all nodding in agreement now 😉

4) She has a great sense of style. She mixes traditional Hollywood elegance with magical modern twists. There is always a groovy edge to her outfits. Just take a look at all her magnificent looks at the recent Django Unchained premieres in Europe:

A breathtaking horse print gown from Giles

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A Prada cut- out dress

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A Blue floral print strapless dress from Rochas

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This is probably my favorite: An eye catching printed dress from Pete Pilotto. It’s different, adventurous, young, intriguing and elegant. In one word: WOW!

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