Vegas, Fine Dining, and a Wedding!

A few weeks ago, my guy and I escaped to Vegas for a little vacation… and a wedding!  After almost ten years together, we decided to finally tie the knot.  And, being blessed to have the friends and family that we do, we were able to celebrate the weekend with our nearest and dearest.

Seriously, everyone who made the trip went above and beyond… considering we didn’t give anyone more than four weeks to plan.  We’re inconsiderate that way. 🙂

Adorable wine labels one of the bridesmaids made for us...
Adorable wine labels one of the bridesmaids made for us…

But in all seriousness, it was a perfect weekend.  My family, his family.  My best friends, his best friends.  Bachelor and bachelorette parties.  And the Craps tables…

We kicked everything off Friday night … while the boys ran off to go play, my girls hosted a fun little lingerie shower for me.  With a few hilariously funny games here and there.

You see, this picture is still funny because I'm still not quite sure what it is I'm holding up.
You see, this picture is still funny because I’m still not quite sure what it is I’m holding up.

Saturday morning, my two girls whisked me away to the hotel salon for pedicures and then treated me to some relaxation time in the spa.  The three of us don’t get to spend all that much time together, making the morning of my wedding absolutely perfect.

Something blue...
Something blue…

Then Saturday night, we all gathered outside at the Bellagio fountains for the ceremony.  All five minutes of it.  Remember my mentioning that everyone who attended went above and beyond?  Yeah; they did.  It was 114 degrees at the time of the wedding.  Luckily, our little alcove was already in the shade by the time the minister started.

Getting ready to say “I do.”

Following the “I dos” and a few tears here and there, the real party began.  At the Craps table.  We had barely cut into the cake before everyone was ready to go back downstairs and start gambling.  And that is why we decided to get married in Vegas!

Red and Black.. it was a Red Raider Wedding after all!
Red and Black.. it was a Red Raider Wedding after all!

Once everyone left, we headed over to Paris for our first date night as husband and wife.  Being the HUGE Hell’s Kitchen fans that we are, we’ve been dying to dine at one of Chef Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants.  And since we were in Vegas, we finally had that opportunity.

Gordon Ramsay Steak
Gordon Ramsay Steak

Our experience at Gordon Ramsay Steak was phenomenal from start to finish.  The wait staff is extremely professional and friendly.  The food is flat out amazing.  And thanks to Chef, I now have a favorite new oyster… kusshi.

Just look at that precious little bottle of Tabasco!
Just look at that precious little bottle of Tabasco served with the east and west coast oysters!

Now, for anyone who watches Hell’s Kitchen with us, you know that Beef Wellington is one of the dishes the chefs on his TV show constantly mess up.  Therefore, my guy and I knew exactly what we wanted to have for dinner.  Let me just say that I do not eat my meat medium-rare, but since this is the only temperature the Beef Wellington is served at, I had no choice.  Was it good?  Yeah.  I have never had a steak melt in my mouth the way this did.  One might say it was a tiny piece of Heaven.

Beef WellingYUM!
Beef WellingYUM!

Oh, and if we weren’t already full from our appetizers and main dishes, the coffee and desserts leave you wishing someone were there to carry you out.  Sadly, we inhaled the Sticky Toffee Pudding and the brown butter ice cream it was served with before taking a picture.  We did, however, snap a picture of this coffee sexiness.

Gordon Ramsay Steak Coffee Sexiness
At Gordon Ramsay Steak, they like to know if you prefer chocolate dipped Amaretto, Baileys, or Chambord with your coffee… Coffee Sexiness.

I know this is not the usual Friday blog post everyone is accustomed to here at The Ooo Factor, but I thought I’d share the news and a few pictures.

One of the "silly" poses the photographer put us in that actually turned out kinda cute...
One of the “silly” poses the photographer put us in that actually turned out kinda cute…
Waiting for the limo after the ceremony... at the Bellagio bar where most married couples go after they get hitched.
Waiting for the limo after the ceremony… at the bar, where most married couples go after they get hitched.  Right?

Oh, and if anyone is considering a wedding in Vegas, check out the On the Spot package offered by The Wedding Place.

Did you plan a traditional wedding?  Or did you run off and plan a destination wedding?  And more importantly, would you choose to do it all over again or change it up a bit?  I’d love to hear from you!

And be sure to check out the Summer Crush Book Event happening now!  Football Sweetheart and 50+ other tiles are all on sale for 99 cents each!!

Tele-Tuesday: The Continuation of The Tamberny Awards

The Tamberny Awards are back!  Amber West and I didn’t like the idea of having the music play over our best banter or having some leggy model lead us off stage, so we stepped away for a bit to cut to the necessary commercial break.  Now, here we are, with the rest of our choices.

Isn’t it thrilling?  Can you feel the tension in the air?  

*****

First up, a category we can really get into… 

Lead Actor in a Drama
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Laurie, House
Timothy Olyphant, Justified

A: As far as I can remember, good ol Hugh has been nominated but not won the Emmy for House.  I think he does a great job in the role; so after all this time, I’d like to see him recognized for it. 

However, tough table to keep here.  These are all great actors. 

T: Hugh Laurie – brilliant.  Timothy Olyphant – brilliant.  Who will win?  Ugh, it pains me to say, but the cable channels.  I’m taking Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire.

A: Too much brilliant (and did we mention pretty?) in one category.  Steve Buscemi may get it for being brilliant AND not looking like a cover of GQ.  However, I’m still rooting for Hugh.  I got a weakness for a British funny man.  

T: As far as acting, I’m going to jump on the Hugh Laurie bandwagon real fast.  Did you see the episode this season where he performed surgery on himself in the bathtub to remove the tumors he gave himself by taking the unapproved meds from the rat lab?

 

A: YES.  Also, I should have preempted your comment with spoiler alert for those watching, but this is LIVE, baby.  Note: this is not live

Lead Actress in a Drama
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
Mireille Enos, The Killing
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law

A: For my same underdog reasons as earlier, Julianna all the way.  If not her, Elisabeth Moss. 

T: I don’t really care for these nominations – where is Kyra Sedgwick?  I pick Kyra.

A: Maybe that means I should watch the show Kyra is in. *ducks*   

I’m still pushing for Julianna.  This category is lacking.  I blame that on poorly written roles for leading ladies.  Come on, women’s lib, catch up! 

T: Lucky for you, I’m tall and you ducked just in time!  I have season 1 of The Closer on DVD; do I need to send it to you?

A: Not yet. I still have about 100 episodes of Bones to watch because of you.  Then I’ll watch another one of your recommendations.  See you all when I’m 80. 

 

T: Back to the nominations at hand, I do Agree 1000% – this category is lacking.  Women’s roles are lacking.  Where the heck is Kyra?  Rose Byrne? Glenn Close?

A: I’ll send you some math videos when I get your episodes of The Closer.  Glenn Close for the win.  I’m writing the Emmy peeps now. 

Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Chris Colfer, Glee
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family

A: I love the entire cast of Modern Family.  This show always makes me laugh, so I’d be happy with any of them.  Having said that, my views rarely reflect the majority, so it will probably go to Jon Cryer. 

Please don’t give it to Chris Colfer.  No offense, kid.  I just don’t think Glee is funny enough to be fighting in this category. 

T: Because the entire cast of Modern Family was nominated, and because of what he had to deal with this season, I’m picking Jon Cryer – 100%.  Not to mention, his comedic timing is perfect.

Oh, Ducky….

 

A: Ahem.  Remember my earlier mention of Chuck Lorre? So you can see why I’m not going with Jon Cryer.  Although, I like HIM and I’m sure he is great in that show that I have never and will never watch.  

T: Not even with the addition of Mr. Kutcher? Not even a peek?

A: Sweet Jeebus, no.  A thousand times no. 

I have to now quote something I heard in an interview involving Mr. Kutcher: 

“Ashton Kutcher should know every thought that goes through his head.  If he doesn’t, he’s liable to drop something, he can cut his feet, he won’t realize he’s been talking to a tree for an hour.   He needs to be aware of what he’s thinking.” 

T: Boooo, Amber!  Where did you hear that?  You realize that Ashton Kutcher is actually really smart, don’t you?  He studied biochemical engineering for crying out loud.

A:  I’m not listening.  Lalalalalala. 

Supporting Actor in a Drama
John Slattery, Mad Men
Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age
Walton Goggins, Justified
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife

A: I’m remaining loyal to The Good Wife.  Mostly to ensure that the network doesn’t get any bright ideas and try to cancel the show.  Although, using that logic, give the award to Andre Braugher so another network will grow a brain and pick up Men of a Certain Age

T: Walton Goggins!  He plays the best antagonist on TV. Without Boyd Crowder, Justified just wouldn’t the same.  And, I do love Timothy Olyphant.

A: Haven’t watched Justified!  Guess I need to try.  But I still stick with The Good Wife boys.  Josh Charles and Alan Cumming are perfect in their roles.   

T: You haven’t watched Justified?  You know that FX has some of the best programming on TV, right?

A: Meh.  Also, I now have the urge to yell “Walton Goggins” randomly when engaged in boring conversation.  

T: WALTON GOGGONS.  I yelled it, but not because we’re engaged in a boring conversation.  I may have a crush on Boyd….

Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Jane Lynch, Glee
Betty White, Hot in Cleveland
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family

A: I’m kinda burnt out on Betty White.  Yes, I said that.  Sofia Vergara gets it since she has made me laugh more than the others in this category. 

T: Who will win? Probably Jane Lynch….that darn Glee.

Regardless, I am voting for Kristen Wiig here – talk about an underdog!  She is involved in almost every skit on SNL, and she makes me CRY sometimes.  Cry, good; not bad.

A: Jane Lynch IS funny.  BUT, I still don’t find Glee funny enough to be in this category.  It would be nice for an SNL person to get it, but I think it is unlikely as well.  I probably just voted for Sofia ’cause she is curvy and Latin.  Gotta represent for da’ peoples. 

T: I may let you win this one….If Modern Family wins anything, I bet it’s the hot Latin lady.

A: *dances to salsa and drinks inexcusably sweet black coffee to celebrate* 

T: Amber, stop dancing your little salsa.  We have a show to finish here!

Supporting Actress in a Drama
Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Michelle Forbes, The Killing
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Margo Martindale, Justified

A: What? I didn’t pick The Good Wife?  I know.  But, I think Christina Hendricks is perfect in her Mad Men role.  Go, curvy lady. 

T: Did I see a cable channel nomination?  Yep –  Boardwalk Empire’s Kelly McDonald takes it.

But, since you keep talking about underdogs, Amber, how about Michelle Forbes?  The Killing made a killing this season, but I’m not sure it will get any award love.  I’m sure they’ll say, “It was just an honor to be nominated….”

A: Again, I gotta stick with the shows I’ve actually seen. 🙂  

T: I’m just really not a fan of these nominations….

A: Not thrilled with this category either.  Again, I think that goes back to the lack of well composed female characters.  *Sigh* 

Mini-series or Made-for-Television Movie
Cinema Verite
Downton Abbey
The Kennedys
Mildred Pierce
The Pillars Of The Earth
Too Big To Fail

A: The only one I’ve seen is the one I am picking.  But, I DO love it –  Downton Abbey.  It makes me swoon.  I adore some of the characters, and others are so deliciously evil I can’t stand it. 

T: This one is up in the air – Downton Abbey has received great reviews, The Kennedys was controversial and axed from its original channel, and HBO (yep, again) rocked out with Too Big To Fail.  I have to go with it.

A: ..Downton…Downton…have you watched it YET?  How ’bout now?  

T: Not yet….it’s a period piece.  I’m not even sure our TV plays period pieces in our house.

A: Deliciously evil.  Come on.  You have to be curious? 

T: Curious, yes.  Curious enough to watch it now because I think it has a chance to beat Too Big To Fail?  No.

Variety, Music or Comedy Series
The Colbert Report
Conan
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Real Time With Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live

A: Please, please, please, PLEASE, for the love of funny, give it to Stephen this year.  Thanks.  But I won’t cry if Conan gets it. 

T: Colbert deserves this.

A: *nods in agreement*  Stephen we love you!  

T: Should we start an “Emmy for Stephen” website?

Lead Actor in a Mini-Series or movie
Edgar Ramirez, Carlos
Greg Kinnear, The Kennedys
Barry Pepper, The Kennedys
Idris Elba, Luther
Laurence Fishburne, Thurgood
William Hurt, Too Big To Fail

A: Haven’t seen ANY of these, so I’m going with Idris Elba.  That’s a pretty sweet name, and he is pretty. 

T: I’d like to see Barry Pepper win, but mainly because I like to look at him.  But, I bet you anything, William Hurt takes it for HBO’s Too Big to Fail.  He was great in Damages too.

A: *silence*  

T: Silence?  Really, Amber?

A: I am bored.  Moving on. 

Lead Actress in a Mini-Series or movie
Diane Lane, Cinema Verite
Elizabeth McGovern, Downton Abbey
Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce
Taraji P. Henson, Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story
Jean Marsh, Upstairs Downstairs

A: Downton all the way! 

T: I’m going with the underdog of all underdogs here – Taraji P. Henson.  Why?  Because almost everyone else has a BIG Hollywood name, and this movie is based on a true story.

A: I think I’ve been clear on how I feel about Downton.  🙂  

T: Really?  I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Reality Program
Antiques Roadshow
Deadliest Catch
Hoarders
Kathy Griffin: My Life On The D-List
MythBusters
Undercover Boss
 

A: I don’t really like any of these.  But I do occasionally watch Hoarders in absolute horror.  And then I scrub my tub and cry. 

T: YUCK.  Do I have to pick one?  Undercover Boss.

A: Maybe we should just go with “let’s replace these shows with ones that have real writers”?  I mean, Men of a Certain Age was CANCELLED and this crap is getting nominated!?  Bah.  

T: I’m speechless.  I know my mom is writing this date down right now…I’m not speechless often.

Reality Competition
The Amazing Race
American Idol
Dancing With The Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef

A: Top Chef, but only because I’m a foodie.  I am not a huge fan of reality competitions. 

T: SurvivorBig Brother.  Oh, they’re not nominated?  The Amazing Race.  Although, I have seen some of  So You Think You Can Dance in the gym, and they’ve got talent.  But, I’m still voting for The Amazing Race. Traveling the world, experiencing new cultures and traditions, all while competing against others – great show.

A: I have heard great things about The Amazing Race.  So, I change my vote.  The Amazing Race, with a side of Top Chef.  

T: Not jumping off The Amazing Race trip here, but where’s Hell’s Kitchen?  DONKEY!

 

A: Hee.  I reluctantly admit that I watch that.  I reluctantly admit to watching any reality TV.  I kind of wish the category weren’t even here.  Having said that, at least I don’t see any “Housewives of Some Rich Place I Don’t Care About” shows nominated.  Small favors. 

T: Oh, and thank Heavens for no Jersey Shore!

A: *raises a glass* 

T: Cheers!

Host of a Reality Program or Competition
Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With The Stars
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
Jeff Probst, Survivor

A: I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something about Jeff that I like. 

T: Probst.  The Probster.

A: He’s so pretty. 

T: Our tribe has spoken.

*****

Well, there you have it.  Tune in to FOX September 18th for the 63rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards to see who takes home the little statue.

 

How did your favorite show, actors, and actresses do? If not listed, write it in!  Tell us who you think should win! We’d love to hear from you.

Tele-Tuesday: “Real” Summer Fun

The networks produce tons of reality television for basic cable over the summer months.  Let’s be honest – the networks produce tons of reality television every month for all of the networks – period.  One can find reality shows on almost any network at any time, including A&E and The History Channel.

While there is more than enough out there for everyone to choose from, June and July bring back two of our favorite reality shows – Hell’s Kitchen and Big Brother.

 

First up, Hell’s Kitchen

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey hosts one of the best cooking shows on television, and definitely the most-fun.  Along with his British accent, his multiple Michelin stars (one of the top hotel and restaurant annual guides), his multiple renowned restaurants, and six television programs, Chef Ramsey might just as well be known for his stellar vocabulary.  He drops the “F” bomb a lot, and the television sensors bleep him quite a bit.  “You, Donkey,” happens to be one of our favorite Ramsay-isms.

Lewd language aside, Chef Ramsey shares his knowledge of cooking and invites twelve chefs (some aspiring chefs, some sous-chefs, and some executive chefs) to compete for an opportunity of a lifetime – the chance to win a high paying position at a top restaurant in popular cities such as Vegas, Atlantic City, Los Angeles, and Whistler, British Columbia.

Each season promises drama as the cast members’ personalities inevitably clash.  But most importantly, and ironically, each season the cast members appear to cook the same dishes incorrectly over and over again driving Chef Ramsey absolutely bonkers.  Such dishes include scallops, risotto, and beef wellington.

One by one, the competing chefs’ jackets are burned, leaving only two to battle it out for the prize.  The final two select previously eliminated teammates to work alongside them in the final competition of the season, and there’s nothing quite like watching the two struggle with this decision, knowing the strengths, weaknesses, and tempers of their cohorts.  These two finalists build their own menus and sometimes even design their half of the dining room giving Chef Ramsey a full view of their potential as Executive Chefs.

Chef Gordon Ramsey and season 3 winner Rock Harper

Former winners of Hell’s Kitchen include: Michael Wray (Season 1), Heather West (Season 2), Rahman “Rock” Harper (Season 3), Christina Machamer (Season 4), Danny Veltri (Season 5), Dave Levey (Season 6), Holli Ugalde (Season 7), and Nona Sivley (Season 8).

If you love food, love to cook, or love to laugh, I highly suggest giving Hell’s Kitchen a try.  I have added dining at a Ramsey restaurant to my bucket list.  Do you know what I’ll order?  Scallops, risotto, and beef wellington!

Hell’s Kitchen premiers Tuesday, July 19th on FOX.

 

Next, we have Big Brother

What do you think of when you hear the term ‘Big Brother’?  “Big Brother is watching you,” right?  Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell still lives strong today.  Only today, many people immediately think of CBS’s hit reality show, Big Brother, not the classic literary work.

Each season, approximately thirteen houseguests arrive for their summer of seclusion cut off from the outside world completely – no television, no telephone, no radios, no newspapers, no computers – no contact.  They compete against each other in food and luxury competitions, as well as the ever-powerful Head of Household (H.O.H.) and the Power of Veto competitions in the hopes of winning the $500,000 cash prize.

Alliances inevitably form, and usually only the strongest survive the game.  On the other hand, forming and publicly acknowledging an alliance will most often times ensure the members of said alliance have the largest targets on his/her backs.  Two of the most successful alliances in the history of Big Brother formed the previous two seasons – Season 11’s Jeff Schroeder and winner Jordan Lloyd, and season 12’s ‘The Brigade’ consisting of winner Hayden Moss, and his three buddies: Enzo Palumbo, Lane Elenburg, and Matt Hoffman.

Video cameras capture the houseguests’ every move.  In addition to CBS’s airing three episodes a week, live 24/7 feeds are available online, and Showtime airs Big Brother: After Dark every night from midnight to 3am (EST).

America watches and votes on special circumstances to make the houseguests’ lives even more difficult. For example, the losing members of the food competitions are forced to eat “Big Brother Slop” for seven days.  The slop has been compared to oatmeal in texture, but lacks all taste.  America votes each week and allows the losing houseguests the opportunity to eat other selected food items such as bok choy and baby food.

America has also voted some of the biggest twists into the game – The Power of Coup D’Etat (season 11 awarded to Jeff Schroeder), re-entry into the house (season 6 awarded to Kaysar Ridha), and the Saboteur (season 12 awarded to Ragan Fox).   But don’t worry; Big Brother doesn’t always need America’s help to thrust the houseguests into a deep paranoia.  In Season 11, Big Brother introduced Pandora’s Box.  Each time the houseguest of choice decides to open the box, the remaining houseguests endure a good consequence and a bad consequence.  They never know what might happen until it’s too late and the decision has been made.

Big Brother host – Julie Chen

CBS and Julie Chen host some of the most fun summer television programming has to offer.  If you love watching men & women battle it out physically, go insane and breakdown, and engage in some of the most strategic game-play on television today, check out Season 13!

Big Brother premiers Thursday, July 7th on CBS.

 

Are you a fan of Hell’s Kitchen or Big Brother?  Who’s your favorite winner from Hell’s Kitchen?  Who’s your favorite houseguest from Big Brother?  How about your least favorite and why? Which reality television shows do you enjoy?  If given the opportunity, would you audition for reality television?  I’d love to hear from you!

Special Announcement – Tomorrow, Amber West and I launch our new blog series, Why it’s Worth a Watch Wednesday.  Come back and check out our first editionsSwitched at Birth (ABC Family) and Teen Wolf (MTV).  Stop by the twitter hashtag (#watchwed) and visit with us about any of today’s television shows that you’d like to see discussed on our series.

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