Monday, March 23, 2015

We made it through winter! Most of us...

We're in that lovely transition period on the way to Spring (shit, we're here already!) where I refuse to wear my coat no matter how cold it is but can't bring myself to wear sandals no matter how hot it is.  Ahh, the mercurial tornado season.  

Here's how I survived this brutal winter and am transitioning into Shpringtime.  Yes, it requires its own transition period.  With lots of exfoliating.

Only a few things got me through the worst part of the winter when I was sure we were going straight into the Ice Age end times: Uptown Funk (on a spiritual level) and hellebores. 

Jade Star here
These jade beauties are not mine but they might be soon. THESE are mine that I got last Fall at our plant swap.   And they ain't doin' too bad - yay me!  The best thing about hellebores (other than they can survive an almost-ice age and terrible track record) is that just when you think things are the worst - day after day of wet, grey winter death - here they come with green sprouts in the snow.  See?  There IS hope and we are not destined to die in a dirty snow drift only to be discovered in March.  Hit your hallelujah, indeed.

About this time of year I have to burn up all my winter candles because it fucks with my brain to have a cinnamon harvest amber pumpkin fuckfest smell while the windows are open and it's 80.  Which is why I'm suggesting everyone buy the official (not official) Dumbledore's Office ($16) candle!
Oh apparently it's HEADMASTER'S Office now. Probably copyright issues...
I've had this on my wish list for YEARS but I bought myself one for Christmas and couldn't be happier.  It smells warm and woody but fresh and slightly lemony.  (I swear there was lavender in there but it not sure about the new formula description...?)  Perfect for Winter and Spring.  Hell, burn it all year.  Will not disappoint.  Because it's wizard magic, obviously.

Speaking of winter scents, I found this perfume oil ($8)at a local craft fair in the Fall and have been drawing sigils on myself with it every day.

I made that black smudge...  I swear the packaging is nice.
It really smells how a dreamy bonfire smells at night when you feel like you're in a car commercial and not the morning after bonfire that smells like you burned a squirrel alive and swaddled the carcass with your cardigan. And as it fades it smells like a smokey cupcake at the end of the day.  Maybe that's just my chemistry.  All of her scents are warm and fresh but all lovely - I also have Lolita - so buy in bulk, y'all!

UPDATE: It looks like she's sold out of the Bonfire but check out her other scents here.  She's probably just adding more stock.  I HOPE.

Speaking of smokey sweets for the winter, I don't have this but I waaaant it.

Smoked Tea Vanilla cocktail syrup ($19) is what we all need in our life.  I might put it in my oatmeal because I'm a beast like that.  Haha just kidding I mean whiskey.  Whiskey oatmeal?!  

I was recently introduced to chocolate bitters and I think my life has been changed.  Several people then mentioned the magic of celery bitters to me so obviously I need to be educated.  Whiskey and chocolate bitters in the winter and now I think my Shpring will be filled with celery bitters and a rainbow of other flavors!  And booze, obvi. Bitters all the year round!  If you got a good recipe send it my way.  

I had planned to do large amounts of baking and spend intense days in the kitchen on elaborate French recipes with strategic bits of flour on my nose but mostly I ate Ramen.  Hear me out.

Ramen seems to be trendy again just like other low-brow items from my youth like acid-washed jeans and Pop-Tarts. 

I was sick this winter and bought a case (I was sick a lot) as a desperate substitute for chicken broth.  I needed to retain fluid anyway...  I think I ate one pack the regular way like we did in college BUT I discovered if you throw away the seasoning packet the noodles are so cheap that it's almost painful not to use them in another way.  

So then I started making noodle bowls out of stock and soy and fish sauce and/or curry and coconut milk sometimes.  Throw in a bunch of veggies and maybe meat and if's probably the fanciest thing my cereal bowls have seen in a while.  

If you need some more specific direction than that last sentence (I did - Asian flavors are not my comfort zone) try this slow cooker pork ramen which was amazing or Lady and Pups has a lot of noodle ideas: Spicy Miso Ramen and Vampire Slayer Ramen Express and Bunker Crack Slurp.  She also feels no shame about eating some ramen with even "trashier" ingredients and she's a real food blog so I think that makes it okay.  Or maybe we should all stop judging food choices?

Which is a great idea because I'm not done with ramen.  For Spring I'm transitioning to ramen salads and maybe this spicy shrimp and guacamole ramen what?!  I was going to write a sentence about how America is further bastardizing this "garbage food" for the purpose of our Independence Day cookouts but NO I'm not shaming you or me for food choices anymore.  In fact, I made this Paula Deen ramen broccoli slaw and will admit I enjoyed it.   

It's still okay to shame Paula Deen though.

But I still might make it again for this summer's hot dog party!

All the money you saved on food by eating ramen means you can now buy yourself something nice to wear!  I'm a daily scarf wearer - it's my winter uniform and I feel cold and naked without one.  I also like to sink my head inside like a turtle when I feel threatened or want to nap.  In twenty years we're going to look back and think "Why the fuck did we wear a giant scarf INSIDE all day?" But for now I'm cozy and committed.  

I convinced my mom to crochet me a few after showing her the Outlander pics we talked about last Fall.  AND SHE DID!  Here and here.  I love them but it's getting a little warm for a double-wrapped infinity scarf made of love and thick acrylic.  Fortunately, these by Scarfshop piqued my interest the other day.

They come in a variety of hand-dyed colors and are really affordable: $30 for a "small" size (27"x108") and $60 for the large (54"x108").  I saw a tiny scarf half the size of the "small" at J. Crew last week for $55 so might as well get a giant cape made of clouds instead!  I'm part of the Scarf All Year club.  I have a weird, short neck so I feel like scarves hide it.  By camouflaging it in thick, bulky layers to it...?  

I've pretty much stuck to the dark, moody lip and simple black liner for winter and I like it.  It might be my forever look.  Forever turtle look.  But maybe trying something more colorful might be friendlier for Shpring?

Indigo liner and coral and apricot seem like a nice compromise for a new season while still allowing some opportunity for drama.  I'm going to be taking a class on contouring so I can look just like Kim K!  Except with a potato-y turtle head.  CAN you even contour a potato head or will they just hand me back my money when they see my face?  I guess we'll find out.

I think all that should transition me nicely to April.  I don't know why I can't go to a new season like a normal person without a strategy involving booze and eyeliner.  But all good strategies usually begin with booze and eyeliner so...  

What things are y'all looking forward to for warmer temps?  I'm excited to paint my toenails once again and get back that healthy glow that constantly sweating will bring to my skin.   

Obviously, I'm not compensated for any of these recommendations nor have any relationship with these people/companies.

Haha just kidding this is totally a sponsored post by Big Ramen.

Now THAT I was kidding about.

But if someone wants to get at me... 


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I'm just excited I used 'proboscis' in a sentence!

Grab your passports, sauce guzzlers, and let's take an architectural field trip!  It is a long way away.  Bring extra sauce for hydration.

I really have no idea what 'sauce' is in this scenario.

Regardless, welcome to Ethiopia!   Specifically the Southwest corner.  Here's a map cuz if you're like me (a dumb American) you don't know where that is.  But we should because very nice buildings are happening there.

I am died.  The Dorze people are known for their distinctive dwellings that are completely unique to them and pretty fuckawesome.  That is a technical term I pulled Arch Daily.

More great travel pics at Line Shape Color
They are also known for having the best weaving in Ethiopia so right now the Dorze are batting a thousand for the design team.  I'm not even on the field in regards to such complicated design activities so I'm waving my giant foam finger for them.

The buildings are made of basket-woven shell of bamboo and then finished with 'false banana' leaves.  Fake bananers be good for sumthin.

Who doesn't love a process shot?!  I'm a little blown away by the amount of leaves that are involved.  Fortunately there aren't any windows to work around.
Here  Separate partitions for the animals, I believe.
The entire structure is surprisingly large measuring about 25-30 feet tall.  Based on my calculations that's about seven square miles of leaves.  The reason they are designed so tall is for more than just a great chandelier.  The walls sit directly on the ground and termites eat the building from the floor up.

You'd think this would create massive structural problems but in fact it just causes the homes to get shorter.  They start out so tall so they can shrink over decades.  That's right, they build in their own aging solution.  The homes get shorter and cuter over time.  It's like they're the Benjamin Buttons of architecture!

And they do last decades - sometimes up to 100 years.  If the termite problem does get overwhelming or they want a new view the entire building can even be moved with the help of some friendly neighbors and lots of rope.

Here I love the landscaping around the perimeter of the homes too. Perfection.
But damn, the termites seem friendlier in Africa, right?  I have to get termite treatments every eight years so my house doesn't cave in on itself and leave me in dust but in Africa you have decades.  DECADES.  Africa might have killer bees but we have asshole termites.

My favorite part about the structures is that they have a very anthropomorphic quality.  Once you see the face you can't UNsee it.

The "eyes" are the air vents and also release the smoke from the cooking/heating fire.  The "nose" acts as the entrance vestibule and can be very large (like the very first picture) and then as the entire structure shrinks the nose gets smaller and they cut the doorway larger.  

I found out that the "face" does have an explanation that's not just related to function, however.  This region of Ethiopia used to have lots of elephants so the homes pay homage to them with their grey skin and large proboscis.  AND NOW I LOVE THEM EVEN MORE.  

You can't UNsee it now either!  Look at its wittle head!  

I'm not sure if that little anecdote is true or something they just tell the white people taking pictures but I love so it's true.

And you better get in your elephant love now because I heard Tim Burton is going to be directing a new Dumbo so get ready for Johnny Depp to piss all over your childhood.  Childhood memories of hysterical sobbing over that movie but whatever.

After you finish writing an angry letter to Disney, I highly recommend you take a look at this video tour of a Dorze home for a more complete picture.  The guide shows his grandfather's 92-year-old home in case you thought I was lying about their ages.

However, I should admit I have weird feelings about getting a tour of a home currently inhabited by people.  People who are just outside the door...  Is it just me?

Now, I'm guilty of stopping in the road and taking a picture of someone's home and I'm blogging about the Dorze so maybe I shouldn't be the moral compass here.  But are these little tours just catering to rich tourists or maybe it's like some version of colonial Williamsburg except not colonial but CURRENT?  Or are the people that open up their homes to tourists the design bloggers of Ethiopia?  Maybe they WANT to show off their houses.  

I'm not saying I don't want to see them but I am aware that I saw pictures of the same two structures (three pictures up) over and over again.  I'm not sure I know the correct answer to these questions and maybe I should pull out my books on vernacular architecture more than once a decade.  *cough*  I was almost smart in college...

Regardless, I hope tourists are absolutely throwing money at them for every last bit of their beautiful weaving.

Now I feel kinda uncomfortable about the implications of vernacular architectural tourism so let's look at some more baby elephants until we are obliviously comfortable again!

Baby elephants welcome in my home anytime!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

This makes me exceedingly happy.

We had a snow day last week and it threw me off so much I can't even form a coherent blog sentence.  Please accept these chairs as evidence.

I've also been busy crafting but nothing I make can ever be this terrifying important.

Margarita Sampson's Infectious Desires via Dark Silence in Suburbia

We're expecting a snownado tomorrow so I'll probably be fucked until 2016 with that mess.  

Stay warm and lucid, saucy friends!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Hello darlin', take a peek at my new jewelry drawer!

Let's talk about something that's really important and will bring light into your cold, snowy life:  COSTUME JEWELRY ORGANIZATION!

As we talked about IN 2014 I wanted to organize my mess of jewelry in concordance with my bedroom redo.  It felt right.  I'm adulting one drawer at a time.  

So in true Virgo fashion I began a downward research spiral of all the jewelry organization systems on the market until I wanted to die and then made an impulse decision.

Behold the Ampersand jewelry trays from - wait for it - Bed Bath and Beyond!  I feel so solidly Middle Class!  My 401k immediately gained 3%.  I don't think I've bought anything from BB&B in years but here we are, trying to avoid that one weird dude in a blue apron and all the good candy at the front near the checkout.  

I didn't want something plastic and these looked relatively classy and functional for my needs.  They also needed to stack inside my Malm dresser which is another reason I bought two four-drawer dressers and not one six-drawer.  Swedish space.  It's the ultimate luxury.

Not only did I like BB&B's options best I even signed up for their text alerts to get the 20% off coupon so I could get everything on sale.  I drank the Kool-Aid.  Or more specifically I inhaled that poisonous parfum they pump through their vents.  

I would get a text every few weeks and then head over and add another piece.  It took awhile but I'm not made of money.  I'm made of Cubic Zirconia and bracelets that turn my arm a little green!

The reason I went with this line was because of my bangle collection.  I have a few and if I laid them all down in their own individual compartments I'd need another Malm dresser.  So they needed to stand up like the architecture of jewelry that they are.

This collection had a good deep tray where I could stand everything up and still be able to close my dresser drawer.  [MS sidebar:  when I went to link to the products at BB&B's website I couldn't find this large three-compartment tray so maybe it's only in stores now?  I'm sorry.  That's my luck.]  

But my current setup fits perfectly in my drawer and getting ready is infinitely easier.  I'm like a real adult!

I think I could fit some smaller trays here on the right but for now it's fine with some travel jewelry bags, my sunglasses (all the cool people include them with their jewelry) and a giant bowl of pearls.  I wear them only when I'm feeling extra French vintage soooo... that one Halloween party from 2003.  

I feel like I have a lot of rings but apparently all my new rings (post 2003) have big thick bands and so they don't actually fit in the ring organizer part.  Well, damn.  But I needed those big squares so we had to make a sacrifice.

the basement level contains an even more random assortment of vintage jewelry finds and a real (?) Tiffany box.  Anytime I get too big for my britches I look at the Mr. T chain I got at Goodwill next to it and feel at home once again.

I would like to add more trays for all my earrings because although I aesthetically like looking at this mess of metal I can't actually find shit in here.  Except for my Conway Twitty pin on the middle left.  Best $3 purchase I ever made.

I have one deep tray that's half full on the bottom and is waiting for my Mema's vintage brooch collection as soon as I remember where it is...  

The weird thing is that I felt like I had TONS of jewelry but since it's been organized I feel like it's less than I thought.  So that means I should buy MOAR JEWELRY.

I wish I had this kind of jewelry horde:

Sadly, this seems to be all the way in Texas.
Like an embarrassment of fake riches but in neat orderly boxes.  What a perfect metaphor for my life.

All in all I think I spent about $80 total which was spread out over the course of a couple of months so that's not too bad.

Not only am I an organized and sparkly adult, I'm a financially responsible one!

I bet Conway Twitty liked that kind of woman.

After spending twenty minutes going through Conway Twitty pics and songs I suddenly remembered that my Mema - the same one with lots of costume jewelry I've momentarily replaced - also loved Conway Twitty!  It must be genetic.

This post wrapped up in surprisingly delightful and nostalgic ways!

And if you don't think Slow Hand is the best sexiest song ever then I can't help you.

Happy Belated Valentine's Day with that one.

Everyone else in the country wants to be tied up right now and I'm lusting after the lyrics of old country songs.  

Okay so I DID watch Secretary twice this past weekend because James Spader is JAMES FUCKING SPADER so I'm not afraid of non-vanilla things.  

Sometimes I just prefer things in nicely-lined, imitation-suede boxes.

This post has now gone further down the spiral so I'll stop talking before I drag Trent Reznor into this mess.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

My safeword is 'microwave.'

Happy upcoming Valentime's weekend!

Yes, Totino's has a tumblr.

I'm spending the weekend with my first love: Pizza Rolls!  And possibly some terrible smut if I feel like throwing my money away and seeing 50 Shades.  Carbs and kink: what else is there in life?

Normally I won't get within ten yards of a heart because UGH how aesthetically boring, said the fancy design blogger with a Pizza Roll gifs one inch above.  Also, I don't like to wear or surround myself with bright red.  How guache.  *cuts up Pizza Roll with a knife and fork*

However, I'm actually kinda enjoying Valentine's Day this year for some weird reason.  Have the cute vegan sugar cookies gotten to me?  Maybe it's just because I've avoided 110% of all V'Day-related things up until this point so what's a pink heart or two?  Prepare yourself because I even have a post all about pink coming up soon.

I was also weirdly excited about New Year's resolutions earlier this year...??  Apparently I've been bodysnatched and replaced with a happy person filled with "emotions" and "love" in 2015.  Hashtag basic bitch and loving it.

Hopefully I'll be filled with pizza rolls and some second-hand embarrassment courtesy of a very lucky fanfiction in a few days.

Read the best review/thinkpiece-of-shame about 50 Shades here.  

You know where to get Pizza Rolls.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Ranch updates and $KILLET KORNBRED

It ain't always glittery decor fun times and glamorous shopping trips here at the Ranch.  It's real life.  And a real life design blogger/house renovator is full of boring and tedious things in case you were confused by reading other blogs.  Sometimes I am.  

So here's an update about all the boring things I've been doing so far this winter that may result in nice things later.  Or maybe just needed to get done.

First up: the hallway.  My hallway hasn't been painted in about seven years so I figured it was time.  It's also time to give it some art and a rug and generally make it look like a real space and not just a forgotten space.  I think about 50% of my house is a "forgotten space" so I should probably look into that next...

After I painted my bedroom I wanted to connect it to the hallway in the name of continuity!  And I had some paint leftover.  So the hallway went from a weird dark brown to Valspar's Forest Canopy.  Now it looks like my hallway just couldn't contain itself and spilled over into my bedroom.

Sorry for shitty picture.  It's the same color and looks good, swearsies.

Charlemagne cannot resist a camera or opportunity to sit even three inches higher.
When I first moved in and started working in my house rooms were made livable renovated really far apart so they're kinda disjointed.  Looking to fix that in the future.

The hallway took way longer to paint than I had wanted because the weekend weather got unseasonably warm.  Last year at this time was the Ice Hell in Atlanta and the South, remember?  This year, 60 and sunny.  Because of such glorious weather I decided to get a jump start on my yard projects

I know how to mulch but I only had one bag on hand.  Leniency, please.
I'm spreading the gospel of the Plant Swap/Charity and nabbed these mature Aucubas from a friend's house.  They were cut down for removal purposes and half dead so I hope they survive because I think I threw my back out digging these holes.  Hell, one root nub was too heavy for me to even lift so I drug it from the other end of my house to this spot.  You'd think I'd learn by now.

But what the Madame giveth, she also taketh awayeth.

After much deliberation I put four holly bushes out of their misery.

The small one.
Actually it was MY misery because I loathe these plants.  They were huge - the largest about eight feet in diameter - and almost too tall to trim.  Which they needed often.  And every time that happened I would come away scratched and bleeding.  Makes for a cranky Madame.  

Burn in hell, assholes.

I sprayed the exposed branches with Round-Up and in a few weeks/months a pair of strong young men will come and rip the entire stump mess from the ground with some chains and an F350.  Or just me and a nice friend because we are cheaper.  I love demo.  New landscaping will happen this Spring so YAY!  Buying my chiropractor visits in bulk!

I was hesitant to cut them down because they are probably 50+ years old and that seems wrong BUT then I talked to some smart plant people and they said holly bushes are considered invasive (you can see all those miserable runners on the ground up above) and a pest.  OOOHHH well in that case, buh bye.  There were also SEVERAL privet "weeds" (see in top pic) and other shitty vines growing inside the bush which grew at different rates than the holly itself and required different trimming schedules so fuck all y'all, we done.  

There were whole ecosystems inside the holly bushes apparently but being within Charlemagne's reach was not a smart real estate decision, birds.  I'm doing this for your future!

In news of garden projects that I can actually handle, I took a class and made a miniature garden!

The Barn Nursery (a local garden center for you non-locals) offered a fairy/miniature garden class.  I have no desire to put a fairy having tea and flipping through their miniature ipad in a garden but some people built swing sets and houses and lakes and all kinds of shit.  I just wanted to go because they had free moss, rocks and dirt.  FREE DIRT?!  This is what being a homeowner does to you.

Besides, I already had some gnomes at home (my Christmas gnomes from Salt and Ginger!) that needed a home the other eleven months of the year.  

I didn't do a succulent planting because I have enough of those and why not try something different?  So I tried things with, like, real leaves and shit.

I also started some cuttings from my rosemary bush last Fall and look how good these roots are doing?!

These will go in pots this weekend and hopefully all 6 cuttings I started will grow up nice and healthy.  Please pray for me.  Maybe I should get some gnomes for them too.

When I'm not communing with nature and/or mass murdering plants, I've been purging inside my house.  I've been undergoing a massive closet and beauty supply purge, supplying Goodwill for the next year and generally trying to avoid the allure of thrifting and junkin.  

More closet updates later, I'm sure.
Switched to all velvet hangers (and after the purge) I have sooo much space in my closet now.  Let's not talk about the sweaters...

I'm practically living life like a monk!  


I couldn't quite eliminate ALL thrifting and did acquire a couple of these vintage Biltons ironstone dishes for under a dollar and they are amazing.

Those are brown specks, not blood spatter...
Of course, I can't find any more to buy on ebay and the only plates I found where about $20 a piece so thanks for nothing.  This is my punishment for shopping when I shouldn't have.

In other kitchen "news" I got a cast iron skillet for Christmas this year!  So metal.  I asked for one because everyone - Mormon moms to hipsters to grandmas - seem to have one and rave about it so it seemed like the right thing to do.

What the MS Ranch looks like now.
I must say it's heavier than hell and it seems to require a nightly rub down and is more moisturized than my skin so I'm not sure I made the right request from Santa.  Did I?  I WANT THE $KILLET KORNBRED!

$KILLET KORNBRED is the name of my neo-bluegrass Insane Clown Posse cover band.

Hey, y'all remember when we talked about a haunted pirate house in California that kept burning down called the Cliff House?  Well a reader happened to see the postcard I included and sent it to me!

How cool is that?!  Thank you, J.  I have such great readers.  Please buy my $KILLET KORNBRED album when it drops.

You may also remember that I started working on organizing my jewelry last Fall and I finally have a solution!  We'll talk jewelry trays next week.  See?  I have follow-through!

The life of homeowner: full of destruction and sparkles and mild to moderate procrastination.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Babes with shields. (And a few hot shirtless dudes.)

Snowed in this winter?  Bored with your miserable life?  Seeing Rand Paul shushing a woman makes your face erupt into flames?  Well have I got the solution for you, friends!  It involves spending all your free time on the couch/heaven watching badass women do badass things.  

I seem to have hit a run of great shows involving women doing amazing things like The Fall, The Honourable Woman, Bletchley Circle and Happy Valley.  All BBC shows with great female leads while Viola Davis is over here holding up the entirety of America.

[MS sidebar: I'm not sure why every show about women has to feature the brutal imprisonment, torture and raping of women but it does so take heed and maybe spread these shows apart in viewing.]

And although this show doesn't technically have a woman lead, I've become obsessed with the History Channel's Vikings.  Like, I watched the entire series - two seasons - TWICE over the holidays and through January.  Back to back.  Like a psychopath.

I thought it would be a poor man's Game of Thrones with the production value of Sharknado and I was proved wrong.  It has an actual plot, is beautiful to watch, full of good music and ancient magic AND I done learned some things.  Thanks, History Channel! 

I'm not gonna lie, this helped:

And this:

As well as Alexander Skarsgard's less conventionally-attractive but exponentially more talented brother:

I personally think he's the more attractive one but I'm a weirdo.
But a whole helluva lot of love for the show is because of this woman:

This is Lagertha (read like LAGertha not laGERtha which is how this hillbillly would have said it).  She's based on a real woman and is married to Ragnar (the lead, also a historical figure) on the show.  Lagertha is special because she's a shieldmaiden and will destroy you in battle.  I just love the word 'shieldmaiden.'  


What's nice about the Vikings is that women could be warriors and hold positions of power and divorce their husbands and have some semblance of equality.  Well, as compared to other historical times.  Utopia this was not.  But you can feel pretty comfortable watching this show.

I mean, careful of the intense bloodlust and battle scenes.

And you don't need to have watched the show to appreciate this appreciation post.  Just enjoy the aesthetic details and communal celebration of women kicking ass and taking hard-to-pronounce names.  

And celebrate monumental braidwerk.

Braids on fleek, said the old white lady.
I mean shit gawddamn.  Take a moment to marvel at the neckline here.  I wish Target would have a line of Lagertha-inspired clothing.  If Olivia Pope can make it to the masses then I think we need a Viking line.

Gladiator, indeed.  

Can ANYONE rock a dead animal and a murderous glare quite as effectively?  I think not.  

And this bad bitch knows it.

But she has a soft side and an appreciation for white kittehs so I feel maybe we are kindred spirits.

Just a warrior angel, chillin' in some Norse finery and a braided fauxhawk.  

Fun fact: the actress that plays Lagertha, Katheryn Winnick, is a third degree Black Belt in Tae Kwan Do, a second degree Black Belt in Karate as well as being a licensed bodyguard.  

I groaned when I picked up the laundry basket earlier...

That is an accomplishment in itself - the extensive martial arts training not my feat of strength - but my pet peeve is watching a woman in an action role with absolutely nothing but a pretty face and an uncomfortable lack of coordination and body awareness.

This is not one of those actors.

I also appreciate the fact that she wears real armor and battle gear and not the metal corset courtesy of Victoria's War Secret that many female fighters end up wearing.  Don't forget to look super sexy while you're decapitating someone, ladies!  

Legend (Wikipedia) says that the real Lagertha fought just like a man with only her hair giving away her gender.

I kinda wish there was a Brienne of Tarth and Lagertha crossover moment.  They would make a vicious blonde duo.

I hate the concept of 'penis envy' but that sword is definitely a dick in this gif.

Back-up bitches.
And lest I linger to long on my lesbian crush this talented ladyperson, there are plenty of other fine ladies on the show too for your enjoyment too.  But shieldmaiden, y'all.

I'm gushing about all this right now because the third season starts SOON on February 19th and that gives you plenty of time to binge watch the first two seasons!  You have over TWO WEEKS! 

Season three doesn't seem to disappoint because we have more braids and dope weaving:

Can I say dope?  I can't think of another word that expresses my appreciation and awe.

There's just a lot more costuming wonderment in general.  I think this is a combination of a crushed velvet and leather lattice cape, vest made of the skins of weak Englishmen and some statement jewelry.  What's not to love?!

The History Channel appears to have its own tumblr (??) dedicated to Vikings and they posted this A++ video (sorry, can't embed) to recap the show.  The whole video message is "HOT SHIRTLESS DUDES.  BABES WITH SHIELDS."  How could you not respect that?

So even though I've fallen down the rabbit hole of historical tv (HAHA JK I live there already) lately with my Outlander appreciation, I still think y'all would really dig this show.  You can watch it on Amazon, Hulu or just where you can watch them all for free (no cable subscription required). [Update: it's apparently only the second season on - sorry!]

And if you think I might be a fan, please take note of this:

From Katheryn Winnick's Instagram
Well at least it trumps a Tweety Bird tattoo.

All pictures gathered from my internet adventures on History's website and blog and tumblrs like vikings-shieldmaidens.  Sorry, I didn't really plan for this post to happen so...