Comfort Entertainment

Ugly-Cry2

Sometimes, things just aren’t going your way. It’s been a tough day, or a tough week, or a tough forever. Sure, you can stock up on chocolate, or ice cream, or drink all the wine. But oftentimes, what you really need is some nice, comfort entertainment. It’s always there for you, it probably won’t give you a stomach ache and it never goes to voicemail. We’ll be honest with you, it’s been a difficult little while for the Sisters lately, so we thought we’d share what movies and TV shows we’ve been marathoning to get us through.
AryaFinalFirefly– I reach for Firefly when I feel vaguely hopeless, but I’m not really sure why. Because I want to laugh, cry and feel a sense of adventure. It’s my go to show for when life is feeling unfair and difficult. So, you know, Tuesdays.

West Wing– West Wing is for when everything is just going to hell in a handbasket. Or when it’s election season here in the US and I can’t handle the nonsense anymore. Fictional nonsense is just sooooo much better. West Wing is comforting because it gives me hope. And because CJ is the best.

Stand By Me– Not that I’ve ever needed an emotional excuse to watch this movie, because its awesomeness is enough, but I find myself pulling this one up when I truly want a good cry, or when I want to feel 12 again. And when I want to quote something with utter abandon.

The Hunger Games– I’m cheating a bit here, because I usually go straight for the books when I really need a cathartic punch in the existential gut. Or if I’m overstocked on Kleenex and really need to burn through my supply. But the movies make me ugly cry every time too, so I’m listing it anyway.

Deep Impact– I love this movie, and I don’t care who knows it. It’s overwrought and the science is….questionable at best. But, I don’t care. Elijah Wood is adorable, Morgan Freeman is amazing and (spoiler alert) humanity mostly survives being hit with a giant frakking asteroid. Deep Impact gets bonus points for only giving Earth a partial victory, which couches the film in just enough realism that I don’t drown in saccharine sweetness. It’s my go to for when I just need a win.

Dollhouse: Epitaph One and Epitaph Two– I treat these two episodes of Dollhouse like a mini series and just watch them as stand alones. I like to pretend they were the whole show, sometimes. They are so dark and bleak and post apocalypse. They have crazy Topher, and caring Adele and Felicia Day. They give me a weird sense of hope sprouting in the deep darkness, the same way that all of Joss Whedon’s work does. They tell that I’m going to get through this.

 

KayleeFinal When I’m dealing with things being unideal and not very nice at all, I like to binge watch shows that are way over the top. It is the only time I’ll really watch drama dramas. You know those dramas when everything is so serious and they’ve all forgotten how to laugh, and everything is about to end right now because CRISIS. Those make me feel relaxed when my life is a bit tough. Especially when I am laying on the couch watching people freak out, it is almost comedic. I may be strange.

Scandal goes from one crisis to another. It is a great example of what I hope my life never is. Also the clothing is really great. Alright, I’ll take the clothes, but not the crisis. Great for relaxing couch watching when blue. Your life is not as hard as theirs.

Damages I’m not sure drama gets more drama then this. Everyone is about to get caught by the cops or the feds for something, and murdering and law things have to happen to stop it!

The Good Wife Politics and law. There are funny episodes, mostly involving Elsbeth. She is ridiculous, and those episodes are fast paced and silly. The other episodes are often direly serious, especially if you get invested.

Hannibal is beautiful and insane. Perfect for when you are off kilter, but don’t watch so many episodes that killing and eating people seems normal. Stop just short of that.

Hayao Miyazaki movies don’t fit the mold of super dramas, but they are beautiful and make me feel curious, optimistic, and happy. Even though an army or dark magic is usually coming the main characters have hope.

 

HermioneFinal Mostly I like things that make me cry. It’s cathartic. But not, like, hopeless crying. I prefer the over-the-top “OMG everything turned out okay in the end!” cry.  Here are a handful of my crappy day go-to flicks:

Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King: Mostly I’m just watching it for that scene towards the end, when Aragorn is crowned king, and makes his way into the crowd, and first is reunited with Arwen, who has appeared with a number of elves; together they continue through the crowd and come upon the 4 hobbits. The hobbits ready themselves to bow before the king, and Aragorn holds up his hand and says “NO. You four… bow to no one.” And then the whole crowd bows to the four hobbits. I can run through half a box of tissue on this scene alone, nevermind the rest of the trilogy.

Love, Actually: Yeah, you know what? I don’t care if you hate this movie. I don’t care if you think it’s stupid. It’s not my fault you have a cold dead heart. There is nothing in this movie that I don’t like. Sure, it’s cheesy and no one really lives like any of these people… probably. But whatever. This movie has Emma Thompson and Colin Firth and Martin Freeman and Liam Neeson and Laura Linney and Alan Rickman, and a ridiculous scene where Hugh Grant shakes his ass to a Pointer Sisters song, for heaven’s sake. You say they’re slumming. I say they’re performing a valuable public service by cheering me up always.

Sliding Doors: This movie never gets old and it never gets boring and even people who hate Gwyneth Paltrow love this movie because it is awesome. Sometimes, I will finish watching it and then go right back to the beginning and watch it again. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! NOBODY!

Star Wars – Original Trilogy: I feel like Han Solo and Princess Leia and even that whiny boy Luke Skywalker were my childhood friends. So it’s only natural for me to turn to them when being a grown up is bringing me down. Bonus: the Death Star gets blown up. Every. Single. Time.

Harry Potter: I’m not a huge fan of the first two movies but the rest are some of the best had-a-bad-day fun a girl can have if she’s too depressed to read a book. These movies have everything: Weasley twins; Hermione Granger punching Draco Malfoy in his smug face; Neville Longbottom getting more and more attractive as each year passes; Ron Weasley one-liners; Minerva McGonagall’s disapproving glare; dragons; Sirius Black; even Professor Snape! Oh, and magic. They also have magic.

Go forth and binge, dear reader. Hugs from these TV shows, movies, and from us.

EDIT: It has been pointed out that we forgot all of Jane Austen. So we’d like to add all of Jane Austen. Well, mostly BBC Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility. Oh and for period piece things, North and South too. Good wallowing stuff.

Our Massive To-Be-Read List

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We have a massive To-Be-Read list. Books books books! Here are the ones that we’re most excited about. Comment if we’re missing something new and exciting on our TBR lists!

KayleeFinalHere are authors that I love, and I need to read more of their work!

James S.A. Corey: The Expanse. I’m re-reading this series so that I understand anything happening in book 5. Syfy Channel is also creating a TV show of this series, premiering in December.

Ernest Cline: Armada. Ready Player One was a nerdy triumph. Armada sounds like it will be a very enjoyable read, or in my case listen. Wil Wheaton reads the audible book.

Brian K. Vaughn: Saga. Volume 5 comes out in a few weeks!

Octavia Butler: Seed to Harvest. She has beautiful sentences and fantastic ideas. This is a series of hers I keep seeing on everyone’s suggestion lists.

Jim Butcher: Furies of Calderon, The Cinder Spires. I haven’t gotten to furies of Calderon because I get distracted by the Dresden Files on audiobook. Book one of The Cinder Spires comes out at the end of September, but it is a series, so I may wait for some books to pile up.

Jenny Lawson: Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things. In one month we get more serious silliness from The Bloggess.

Brenden Fletcher: Black Canary, Bat Girl. Brenden is co-author with Becky Cloonan on the fabulous Gotham Academy.

Guy Gavriel Kay: Fionavar Tapestry. Guy Gavriel Kay books are always very involved. I’m looking forward to this series.

Brandon Sanderson: The Stormlight Archive. I am excited to read this series and his Reckoners series. I loved The Mistborn Trilogy, and his stand-alone books. I was just waiting for him to get further into these series before I started…

Peter V. Brett: The Skull Throne (Demon Cycle book four). The magic and battles in this series are both so vivid.

John Scalzi: Lock In, Old Man’s War. Scalzi has great, distinctive characters, and great readers on the audiobooks.

Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham: Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar tan line. I have the audiobook read by Veronica Mars, I mean Kristen Bell.

Daniel Abraham: Long Price Quartet. Book one in these series was great. Poetry is magic! I am definitely reading them all.

Noelle Stevenson: Nimona. Noelle Stenvenson wrote Lumberjanes, and volume one of Runaways: Battleworld comes out in December.

Ted Naifeh: Courtney Crumrin. So far this is my favorite type of book, a young girl getting into a ton of trouble and being surly to adults.

Terry Pratchett: Everything. Terry Pratchett is always on my TBR list. I only have a handful of his books left that I haven’t read, and that makes me sad, but then again I’ve been re-reading, (or re-listening), to his books for years. Right now I’m doing the Discworld wizard books again, but my favorites are the Night Watch books.

New authors I want to read: Laline Paull, Robert Holdstock, Ann Leckie, Alastair Reynolds, Catherynne M. Valente.

 

HermioneFinalMy to-be-read piles grow ever scarier with each passing day, threatening to crush me under the weight of over 200 books… luckily this is mostly on my Kindle, so all crushing will be strictly metaphorical.

Despite that unwieldy list, this week sees the release the newest Louise Penny book, The Nature of the Beastand I will be bumping it immediately to the top of my list. This is the 11th installment in Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache series and I won’t miss it or put it off.

I’ve also got the latest by one of my chick lit faves, Jen Lancaster’s The Best of Enemies. I can always count on Jen Lancaster for some good snarky fun.

I have a couple of books by Holly Black that I’m anxious to begin — The Coldest Girl In Coldtown, a novel, and The Poison Eaters and Other Stories, a collection of short stories. Black writes about faeries and trolls and vampires and other fantastic creatures in a way that makes them more real than romantic, and I love that.

Joseph Kanon writes amazing spy novels — so well written and genre transcending that you nearly forget you’re reading a spy novel. I’ve got three on my Kindle just calling out “Read me, Shannon, read me!”: The Prodigal SpyLos Alamos, and Leaving Berlin.

Nick Hornby is one of my all-time favorite writers and I’ve had his Funny Girl: A Novel waiting around for some love for way too long.

I’ve also got a 3-book backup by another perennial favorite, Alice Hoffman: The Marriage Of OppositesThe Museum of Extraordinary Things, and one her older books that was re-released for Kindle in late 2014, Fortune’s Daughter .

After finishing Seveneves, I want to read everything else Neal Stephenson has ever written.

I have the first four books of Brian K Vaughan’s Saga to read before volume 5 is released.

And then if I finish all of those… I’ll have barely made a dent. But then I can add Lady Killer and Stumptown to the pile!

 

AryaFinalMy pile of books to be read would be a teetering tower of danger if it weren’t for my Kindle. Here are some of the highlights of what I want to read next.

Station 11 by Emily St. John Mandel. It has music, theatre, the end of the world, and dark, vivid language. I presume I will devour this book in a matter of days, if not hours.

The Martian by Andy Weir. Goal: read this book before the movie comes out. I’m hoping to laugh, possibly cry, and SCIENCE!

Time Salvager by Wesley Chu. Chu did a “Big Idea” post over at John Scalzi’s blog and I was absolutely fascinated by his concept of time travel for profit and avoiding paradoxes. I’m excited for this one.

Speaking of John Scalzi, I would like to read some of his actual books rather than just his epic Twitter feed and fantastic blog. But where to begin, is the question…

Much like Megan, I am absurdly excited for Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things. The Bloggess is The Best, and I expect this book to cause laughter, tears and cheering. Probably all at once.

I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells. The first is his John Cleaver series, about a young man who believes he’s a monster. As you all know, I loved the Partials Sequence, and I’m looking forward to more from Wells.

And I’m still sitting on Dancing Barefoot and Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton.

Not to mention the impending arrival of my Fantasy AGE Rulebook as well as the one for Titansgrave.

Help guys! I’m drowning in literature.

 

Hopefully, you’ll see lots of progress as these are converted into reviews on our Book Reviews, if not, send help!!!! Comment if we’re missing anything you’re enjoying right now!

Drink Your Way Through the Game of Thrones Finale

The Game of Thrones finale is tomorrow! We’ve already coached you on what food will help you survive the episode, but you’ll also need wine! Watching all those characters drink and die will give you a terrible thirst. And if you’re gathering for the finale, then what’s a Game of Thrones themed party without appropriately labeled booze? Cover your boring wine labels with these hilarious ones!

Print this page as landscape, cut out your wine labels and attach to your wine bottles! If you’d like to adjust the image size yourself, click on the image to get the full size version, download it, and size it as you like. 3×5 inches works great on wider bottles. Slightly smaller width for skinny bottles.

 

Stab-You-in-the-Back-Red          Cersei-Just-Pour2

 

 

Brienne's-Big-Bold-White2          jaime's-hand2

 

For skinny wine bottles:

 

Stab-You-in-the-Back-Red                    Cersei-Just-Pour2

 

 

Brienne's-Big-Bold-White2                    jaime's-hand2

Eat Your Way Through the Game of Thrones Finale

This has been an…intense season of Game of Thrones. So much violence, so much backstabbing, so many twists and turns. Sunday is the finale, and all the characters are at risk. Our advice to you: Throw a season finale party! Break out the nice wine, the tissues, and make a medieval-ish pie! Beef pie with a bacon lattice top, or a mushroom hobbit pie. Print some fun Game of Thrones themed wine labels and put them on your wine bottles! All this will make you feel better when your favorite character dies horribly.

Beef-Pie-with-Bacon-Lattice-Top

Beef Pie with a Bacon Lattice Top

4 strips bacon

2-3 onions

1 tsp. smoked paprika

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup flour (or only enough to coat the meat with)

3-4 pounds stew meat or beef chuck

2 cans (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes

3 red potatoes

1 bag baby carrots

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1-2 bottles Guinness extra stout, or use beef stock

1 chipotle pepper from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped.

Cook bacon, cool, crumble and transfer to slow cooker. Cook onions and garlic in bacon fat with paprika and chipotle pepper until the onions are soft. Transfer to slow cooker. Salt and pepper stew meat, and coat in flour. Sear outside of stew meat in very hot pan, and transfer to slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients to slow cooker. Cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 7-8 hours.

Pie Crust

2 ½ cups flour

1 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. sugar

8 tbsp. shortening

12 tbsp. unsalted butter

6-8 tbsp. orange juice

This is enough crust to make a top and a bottom crust. If you use the bacon lattice top, you can either halve this, or make pie crust cookies by cutting the remaining pie crust into cookie size pieces, coating lightly with sugar and cinnamon and cooking at 350 for 10-15 minutes until they are crisp. Here is a gluten free crust if you need it.

To make Crust:

Add flour salt and sugar to the bowl or food processor. Mix. Cut shortening and butter into small chunks. Add and use food processor or pastry cutter to combine with flour mixture until it looks like pebbles. Add orange juice slowly until barely holds together. Divide in 2, wrap in plastic and put in the fridge for 30 min. or longer to cool.

Bacon Lattice Top

Preheat oven to 350. Use all the bacon from a one pound package of thin or regular size bacon. On a cookie sheet weave the bacon together until it is a square, and all the bacon is used. Cook for 20-30 until it shrinks and is barely cooked.

Assemble the pie by rolling out one of the pie crusts. Put into a greased pie tin letting the edges lay over the sides. Add beef stew to pie crust. Add fresh rosemary and thyme if you have it. Put bacon lattice on top and fold the pie crust edges over the bacon lattice around the perimeter. Let cook in a 350 oven for 30 min. or until crust is done.

Pair this savory, bacon pie with a big, bold red wine or a fine stout if you’re more of a beer person. Some of our favorites are Predator Old Vine Zinfandel, Infinite Monkey Theorem Malbec. For a stout, we love Great Divide Yeti.

As an alternative make a mushroom hobbit pie without meat and with lots of cheese. For the Mushroom Hobbit pie, pair with a dry white dinner wine like Foxglove Chardonnay.

Need some more medieval food for your Don’t-Kill-My-Favorite-Character party? Check out The Inn at the Crossroads where we found the idea of making a bacon lattice top. Here is another fun medieval recipe site.

Introducing Super Best!

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People call their lists many things: Top 10, Your Desert-Island Picks, Must See TV, Must Read Books, Best of, The Classics. A list is a list, so what’s in a name? Restrictions! We don’t want to make Top 10 lists because sometimes the right number is 22, or 5. If you are stranded on a desert-island there probably isn’t electricity, so how does anyone watch movies or TV? And who are we to tell you what you must watch, read, or play?

We call our lists SUPER BEST so you know how enthusiastic we are, and that’s the only real restriction we’ll give ourselves, to love everything we put on our lists. That also means, when we find new things we love, we’ll add them to our lists.

Now we haven’t quite read and watched everything that exists yet, so help us out in the comments by calling out your own favorites.

To see our SUPER BEST! lists go to REVIEWS & SUPER BEST! and choose SUPER BEST!

Enjoy!

 

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