Friday, April 18th

Friday Freakouts

You guys, I’ve been pretty stressed lately. I’m trying to launch a big project (more on that later) while maintaining time at the gym, at home, read this giant stack of books sitting here, watching Veronica Mars before it’s due back to the library. (Yes, I might be just a tad behind the times on that last one.)

Veronica Mars

This weekend I’ll have family visiting from out of town and we’ll make our way around the city doing some touristy things and some hole-in-the-wall things. I always like to show off two sides of Austin.

HOPE Outdoor Gallery, Austin Texas

Next weekend I’ll be checking out The Moontower Comedy and Oddity Fest and hopefully seeing Kids in the Hall, who I love, love, love! Like, I’m a major dorky fan. I’m also hoping to see Hannibal Buress, Demetri Martin, Maria Bamford, and Fred Armisen. There’s a huge lineup, so if you’re hanging around downtown, you’ll likely run into some funny people.

Kids in the Hall

Also happening next week is one of my favorite learning events, WordCamp Austin. All the WordPress you could ask for, great people, sponsors, food and a board game after party. I love this event. But the most well-known event, again, happening next weekend is the Austin Wine and Food Festival. I attended last year and had a blast.


Guests mingle and watch respected (and famous!) chefs cook, grill, talk about wine, and most importantly, eat lots of great food. The event takes place in Butler Park and is a full weekend of foodie fun. There are tons of sponsors like KitchenAid, Stella Artois, Patrón, and Ghirardelli, so the eats are high quality and prepared with innovation and creativity. It’s fun to pair the succulent dishes with a seemingly endless selection of fine wines.

Speaking of pairings, recently Ghirardelli reached out to some of the local foodies to find out what we’d pair with their 72% Twilight Delight chocolate. I love really dark chocolate and truly, it is satisfying all on its own. A square of really good dark chocolate is the preferred dessert in the Betty household and we indulge regularly.

Chocolate goes with pretty much everything, but my go-to pairing is espresso either straight up or in a creamy latte. It’s an easy way to treat yourself during a busy Friday Freakout, or any other time. I also know a yummy chocolate square works equally well with a bold red wine and some aged cheese. I like a three or five year gouda with bits of caramelization throughout. So decadent!

So, Austin readers, will you be attending any of these events next weekend? If not, in what ways will you treat yourself to some decadent fun?

*This post is sponsored by Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate.

Monday, April 14th

Mad Men: Time Zones

Peggy Olson Mad Men

The seventh season of Mad Men premiered last night. What did you guys think? I thought it was excellent. Let’s talk about it.

Only two months have passed since last season. This episode belonged to Peggy, Don, and Joan, with most of the other characters appearing in their orbits. Peggy’s wearing a kicky beanie, and that’s the most lighthearted thing happening in her life. Her new boss, Lou Avery, is a creative director of a different mindset than Don was. When Peggy presents a brilliant concept for Accutron watches that (now freelancer) Freddy Rumsen feeds her in a dramatic, camera-facing monologue, she is thrilled by the idea. Lou doesn’t give a shit and shuts her down when she fights for the idea. She doesn’t give up and tries again the next week, but ole’ Lou is immune to her charms and tells her as much.

Peggy Olsen Mad Men

Peggy realizes that she’s working with a bunch of hacks and no one cares about doing the best work. She’s the only one willing to maintain the level of creativity that Don established and she takes it very personally. I feel you, Peggy. When Ted drops by for a visit from California, she can barely stand the site of him. It is NOT civil. To add insult to injury, she still owns that horrible building and is constantly being bothered by her tenants to fix a toilet. At least her new secretary seems great. I hope we get to know you better, Shirley.

Shirley and Peggy, Mad Men

In the most beautiful scene of the episode, Megan picks up Don from the airport and everything is all sunny California glam. I want to move into this world. And apparently, Megan is already living in this world. Don is just visiting and taking time to “work” in the west coast office. Oh, so Megan doesn’t know that Don hasn’t been working for the last two months. Their marriage seems strained at best. Megan is thriving in LA with a promising career while Don is floundering. Their power structure is off.

Don Draper Mad Men

In his most raw moment, Don bonds with a beautiful stranger (Nev Campbell!) on the flight back to NYC. They each bare some painful thoughts and she falls asleep on his shoulder. Later we see Don and Freddy having lunch and realize Don is the one coming up with the creative concepts for Freddy. Ahhh, now it all makes sense. Mr. Pee Pants never struck me as that brilliant a copywriter. 

Ken has never been more stressed and desperately needs help. (He’s still wearing the eyepatch and Mr. Betty suspects it’s permanent.) When he sends Joan to a meeting in his place with the Butler Footwear head of marketing, she rises to the challenge. The meeting does not go well and Butler wants to start managing their advertising on their own, effectively firing the agency. But Joan saves the day and convinces them to stay, using some research from a professor she visits on the sly. She’s a smart cookie, that Joan. I believe she’d make the perfect account executive if they’d give her the chance.

Roger seems to have fallen off the deep end. I die when he wakes up in a trashed room with a dozen naked people all around him. What the hell? He meets his daughter for brunch and she tells him she forgives him for well, for being him. And for smelling like incense. He’s unphased by her kindness but he seems miserable and lonely, like both Peggy and Don. I’d say loneliness was the theme of the episode.

Roger Sterling Mad Men

A real moment of levity was seeing Pete Campbell, who’s taken to California like a fish to water. I gasped at the first site of his tan and pastel clothing. He had such a sad, dark season last year, so it’s good to see him looking so happy. “The city is flat and ugly. And the air is brown. But I love the vibrations!”

And that’s about it. I’m hoping we get some time with Betty next week.

Did you watch? What did you think?

Friday, April 11th

Catch up on Mad Men Season Six

I realize my life is flashing before my eyes when I see how quickly time goes by between seasons of Mad Men. It’s with a heavy heart that I anticipate this final season. I don’t want it to end! Clearly AMC doesn’t want the ad revenue and award nominations to end either, since they are splitting the final fourteen episodes over two years. That’s right. We’re only getting a trifling seven episodes in 2014. We’d better savor every moment.

Mad Men Megan and Don

Last season we saw that Don and Megan’s honeymoon phase was officially over. Her acting career took off and Don was all kinds of cranky about it. Personally, I was cranky over Don’s season-long affair with his neighbor Sylvia. Also, Megan had a miscarriage.

Linda Cardellini as Sylvia in Mad Men

Peggy had an affair of her own with Ted, her married boss. She thrived at work, showing her true talents as a copy chief, although as a boss she was cutting and cruel. I guess she learned from the best. (I learned it from watching you! Sob.) We saw the two agencies go head to head over a Heinz Sauces and Beans. There was a lot of talk about beans and ketchup last season, actually. Secret meetings, under-the-radar creative, and ZERO hotdogs eaten. Seems like a missed opportunity.

Peggy and Ted on Mad Men

Don and Peggy were reunited when the two agencies merged. Don and Ted were constantly at odds and it causes lots of office rage. The creative personalities clashed and everyone was in a bad mood. Roger longed for Joan, but she was happily dating Bob Benson. And Bob Benson was very much in love with a Greek coffee cup, as there was one in his hand for almost the entire season. Oh, and Bob Benson is gay. Oh, and Bob Benson is not who he says he is. Kind of another Dick Whitman/Don Draper dealio, with a secret identity that only Pete Campbell figured out. So we’ll probably learn more about Bob in the new season.

Joan, Roger, and Bob Benson on Mad Men

In the theme of bad moods, Betty occupied in that bitchy state of mind she loves so much, while her hair color and weight fluctuated. But like Jessica Simpson, she stuck to her Weight Watchers until she returned to her former skinny blonde glory. All the sparkle and shine from her new relationship with was Henry is gone and they settled into the same old drudgery of everyday life, just like her first marriage. She allowed herself a one night stand with Don while visiting Bobby at camp.

Anyway, Peggy’s gross boyfriend (Abe) convinced her to buy an apartment in a bad neighborhood instead of the Upper East Side and staunchly defended it against her complaints. He didn’t even take it to heart when he was stabbed by a stranger on the subway. But when he was stabbed a second time by Peggy, that was it for their relationship. (The same annoying person stabbed twice in one episode? I mean…I just love this show so much.)

Pete Campbell Mad Men

Pete Campbell carried on one affair too many and Trudy finally kicked him to the curb. His mama drama sunk his spirits even lower when his mother who had dementia wreaked chaos, starting a fire in his apartment, and marring a shady gold digger who later dumped her off the side of a cruise ship.

The Civil Rights movement of the 60s played an important role in season six. We experienced the tension, the push for change, and the devastation of losing Martin Luther King through not only the main characters, but also the black community. Don’s secretary Dawn was particularly relatable.

Dawn from Mad Men

The Draper children became more complex. Bobby showed himself to be a sad little boy, even when acting out. Sally’s relationship with Megan was fun to watch, as they are closer in age and Megan was much nicer to her than Betty ever was. But when poor Sally walked in on her father and Sylvia going at it, she shut down emotionally. Kids are resilient though, and Sally flourished at bad girl behavior during a trial night in boarding school. Later, she seemed to forgive Don when he started opening up about his sad childhood. Unfortunately, he opened up a bit too much during a client pitch and the other partners fired him.

Mad Men partners

I’m looking forward to finding out what happened to Don and Megan when she found out that he lost his job. She quit her soap opera job in anticipation of Don’s job relocating them to California. My guess is that she, if not both of them, moved anyway.

Need more dirty details from season six? Check out my recaps of each episode:

The Doorway and Collaborators

To Have and To Hold

The Flood

For Immediate Release

Man with a Plan

The Crash

The Better Half

A Tale of Two Cities


The Quality of Mercy

In Care Of

Monday, January 6th

Downton Crabby

I’ve had a few people ask about my writing process when I recap TV episodes.


Here’s my process:

I sit in front of the TV, completely focused and frantically scribbling into a notebook. I DVR the show so that I can pause and rewatch a scene if I need to, but most often I just power through. For me, the notes process takes one of two directions. I either capture each scene chronologically, or I separate the story each character and fill in as the show progresses. The latter requires less writing and is a more efficient way to write a recap that’s more of an overview rather than a blow-by-blow rehashing of every scene. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

The blogging itself is hours of work, organizing the notes into something digestible and then putting my own spin on it. But I enjoy writing them and I love going back and reading them months/years later.

Downton Abbey is especially difficult to recap because there are no commercial breaks. It’s just a long show. (Especially the two-hour episodes. It’s like trying to memorize an entire movie in one sitting.)

The large cast overlaps in every scene, while each character has their own petty plot line. Last night I found myself halfheartedly writing about Daisy’s mysterious valentine. And Mary’s penchant for doom and gloom while remaining bitchy towards Edith. And how Robert is worried about who is going to manage the affairs at Downton…again. And how Carson has his bloomers in a twist over his old song and dance partner.

Mary and Baby George on Downton Abbey

The thing is I DON’T CARE. The show has gone from interesting to tedious. No matter how many people leave or join the cast, the drama feels frivolous. Who’s dating who? Who slighted who? Which one of the servants is helping the family get dressed? I just don’t give a shit anymore.

I’ll continue to watch but I simply cannot recap this show that I don’t enjoy any longer. Hope you all don’t mind too much. If you still love the show and are interested in writing the recaps for Mad Betty, please contact me. Otherwise my Downton Abbey thoughts will be relegated to Twitter and I’d love for you to join me there.

Friday, January 3rd

Let’s Catch Up on Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey is back in the US this Sunday, January 5th. Old news across the pond of course, but let’s pretend it’s all brand new, shall we? You might remember that last season ended on kind of a dark note, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Here’s a little refresher on what’s happened so far. The first two seasons introduced us to the Crawley family and their house staff, which you can read more about here.

I’m going to assume if you’re reading this that a) you already know who everyone is, and b) you’ve already watched Season 3 and just need a refresher. If you do not…then stop reading now.

Mary and Matthew wedding on Downton Abbey

Last season we saw Mary and Matthew get married. Although it first required some back and forth drama about money, etc. And when there’s an estate this size, money will certainly always be a central theme. Turns out dear old dad, Robert, lost lots of money in some foolishness and now Matthew is kind of the boss. It’s a weird dynamic. Also, Robert was kind of a dick all season.

We got to meet Cora’s mother. It’s nice to have another American on the show, especially when that American is the fabulous Shirley Maclaine! Now we can all take a whack at Ouiser.

Edith's wedding on Downton Abbey

Edith’s old maid driving skills paid off and she found true love with an old dude. No one approved, but Edith told everyone to step off and planned a wedding. But he jilted her at the alter and it’s maybe the best episode of the season. She took her rage and started petitioning for women’s rights. And then she started dating a married man. His wife is locked away in an asylum though, so it’s all good.

Edith’s defiance is only surpassed by Sybil’s, who you may recall married the help. Branson is as sassy an Irishman as ever, pissing everyone off round the clock. I’m only half Irish, meaning people are only pissed at me like 50% of the time. But at least I haven’t been banned from Ireland like Branson. They fled the country and pregnant Sybil was forced to give birth at Downton. Robert, ever the dick, insisted on an arrogant fancy doctor and Sybil ended up DEAD. Yeah, dude. She’s freaking dead!

Sybil dies on Downton Abbey

Cousin Isobel busies herself with Ethel. Remember Ethel? Shamed because she had a soldier’s baby out of wedlock? Well she a ho’ now. Until Isobel makes her a maid and that leads to all kinds of controversy because apparently it ain’t cool to associate with a hooker.

In the staff quarters, things were just as crazy as ever. Carson was an uptight maniac but showed true heart when Mrs. Hughes experienced a breast cancer scare.

Bates suffered, or rather we suffered through tedious prison scenes for many episodes. Yawn. He eventually got out and he and Anna moved into a little cottage.

Bates on Downton Abbey

There was a love-triangle situation between Lurch, Daisy, and Jimmy. Daisy is as stupid as Lurch is tall, so they’d make a good match in my opinion. But there’s no denying that Jimmy is the prettiest in the house. New maid Ivy thought so, too, and she was all foxtrotting it up with make-up on, making a real arse of herself. Carson immediately stopped the dancing. (Later, he moved to that Footloose town to prevent those kids from dancing, too.)

Jimmy on Downton Abbey

Thomas and Mrs. O’Brien were still total bitches, only last season they turned on each other. Thomas’ gayness became a bigger plot line and he evolved from total douche to actual human being.

Mary and Matthew baby on Downton Abbey

Mary and Matthew have a baby and things took a turn for the better. For five minutes…and then Matthew died in a car accident. That’s how the season ends.

Matthew dies on Downton Abbey

Are you excited for Season Four? Any predictions? I’m hoping to see Thomas get a boyfriend this season. And maybe Cora will have an affair. I’d like to see Bates and Anna have a more interesting story and as usual, I’m rooting for Daisy to die. See you on Sunday, Downton!

Monday, December 30th

Resolutions for 2014

Here we are. At the end of 2013 already. It was quite a year, wasn’t it? Let’s do a quick review.

Bruno Mars

2013 was a year of music. We saw Pharrell and Justin Timberlake rose to the top again, as well as newcomers Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus were alternately loved and hated, as our fickle tastes violently swayed. Bruno Mars had a hell of a year and I was thrilled to catch him on tour. I also caught Book of Mormon and it lived up to the hype!

In living legend status updates, Woody Allen’s still got it and I got to meet Doyle Bramhall II.

Doyle Bramhall II

In 2013 we said farewell to James Gandolfini, The Office, 30 Rock, and Breaking Bad. But we got Arrested Development back. And Orange is the New Black blew our collective mind.

Breaking Bad

Personally, I had a big year, too. I stopped freelancing and started a new job. Then I was recruited for a bigger job. (Thank you, LinkedIn!) I got a new car. I served as the Education Chair for the Austin Food Blogger Alliance and organized a Photography Camp for the community. I met Fabio Viviani and contributed to his magazine. I was featured on a couple podcasts. I had a cup of coffee with a stranger and it turned into a wonderful friendship. I made lots of new friends actually. I took a break and went to Mexico. I threw myself into SXSW and fell more deeply in love with Austin.

Playa de Carmen

Austin went though some changes, too, by the way. Businesses closed. Businesses opened. The city got more crowded. The traffic got worse. The pizza got better. We got a Trader Joe’s! Pop-ups and supper clubs became the rage.

Bread & Circus Supper Club

Craft beer rose to a crescendo in Austin and Mr. Betty started his own blog to chronicle the beer scene and it has been wildly successful. My own blog is chugging along and continues to opens doors and satisfies my creative drive.

New Year

So what will the new year bring? Hopefully prosperity, good luck, and happiness. But also more opportunity for hard work and self betterment. I have a list of things I’d like to accomplish or at least start.

  • Get over my fear of Reddit. Maybe get a thicker skin in the larger sense.
  • Learn to code. I can’t put it off any longer.
  • Learn some design. It’s be nice to be able to scrap a little something together without hiring a graphic designer all the time.
  • Get ahead of my social media. Meaning I’ll make it more of a priority, rather than a “when I get to it” task.
  • Recycling this one from last year:  I resolve to live healthier. Eat more raw vegetables. Get more exercise. Get more sleep. Drink more water.

Happy New Year, everyone! Do you have any resolutions you’d like to share? Leave a comment.

Wednesday, November 20th

Clark and Michael

In honor of Michael Cera being published in the latest New Yorker, here’s a throwback post. Fans of Michael and Clark Duke might know about their web series Clark and Michael, a mockumentary starring the two actors as themselves, living together and trying to get a pilot made. There are plenty of recognizable cameos and lots of laughs. The series is a few years old, so if you’ve seen it, maybe it’s time to watch it again. And if you haven’t seen it, well, the time is now.

Here’s the first episode. You can find the rest on YouTube.

I think these two actors look forever young, but going back and watching these makes me realize how much they’ve grown.

Thursday, November 7th

The Homer Simpson Effect

Don’t you hate it when a show you love starts to suck? Or when a beloved character becomes a one-dimensional fragment of their former glory? Or just turns into a complete idiot? Yeah…that.

I call it The Homer Simpson Effect.

Homer Simpson

It’s when a character who has a personality aspect that is lovable in small doses, ie, being a little ditzy, or some Type A attributes, and then becomes that aspect in full. Homer Simpson used to be somewhat normal with hilarious moments of stupidity. Now? 100% moron, nothing else. No longer hilarious. Just stupid.

I think it’s part lazy writing and part lazy acting. But we see it all the time:

Monica Gellar. Originally a little uptight, became the poster girl for obsessive compulsive disorder.

Courtney Cox as Monica Geller

Andy Dwyer. Same as Homer. Just an idiot now.

Chris Pratt as Andy Dwyer

Jack and Karen (clearly the best two characters on Will & Grace) became caricatures of themselves.

Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally as Jack and Karen on Will and Grace

Gloria on Modern Family. She’s nothing more than a loud, screaming accent.

Sofia Vergara as Gloria on Modern Family

Sometimes it happens to the entire cast:

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia



The show that’s most recently broken my heart by descending into the pit of eternal suckitude…

How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother

Have you witnessed The Homer Simpson Effect in any of your favorite characters?

Monday, October 7th

Final Thoughts on Breaking Bad

I’m having a hard time adjusting to Sunday nights without Breaking Bad. There’s no replacement right now, although I’m sure something good will come along eventually. I never thought I’d find shows to replace The Sopranos or Six Feet Under. I’ll be heartsick when Mad Men ends, too. But that’s the beauty of TV. There will always be some brilliance to cut through the garbage. We just have to wait.

So what did you think of the series finale of Breaking Bad?

Breaking Bad Walter White Dead

I thought it was the most satisfying end of any show I’ve ever watched. Loose ends were tied up. We feel good that Jesse lived and Walt’s family will receive some money in the end. The bad guys died in a brutally violent firestorm that was poetic in its execution. Todd dies by Jesse’s hand, and Lydia by Walt’s. YES!

Breaking Bad Jesse kills Todd

What I’m most pleased about is that the show never lost its integrity. They ended it before they ruined it, which so many shows cannot bear to do. (Remember almost an entire season of The Sopranos about Vito Spatafore?) While AMC dragged it out to squeeze every last dime possible out of the Sunday night time slot, Vince Gilligan never cheapened the story.

The part of the final episode that I found to be the most poignant was when Walt admitted to Skyler that he enjoyed his reign as Heisenberg. This confession was not only to her, but to himself, and to us. This was a big step for Walt. The simple act of humility turned him back into original Walter White. Just a man.

Breaking Bad Walter White

What made the show so compelling this last season is that our flawed hero became the villain. There was no shortage of deplorable characters, but after killing Gus Fring, Walt became the main force of evil on the show. The transformation was slow to build. So slow, in fact, that we just took it for granted that Walt was a monster. But in his tender moments towards his children and Jesse, we were reminded that he was human.

Breaking Bad Jesse Pinkman

Jesse’s transformation was just as subtle. He went from a light-hearted, immature kid to a heavily burdened man whose demons were too much to bear. It was through Jesse that we felt pain, remorse, and regret. Where many of the characters appeared to be unfeeling, Jesse was sensitive to everything. That’s why we all have a soft spot for Jesse.

Some might have felt disappointment at Hank’s failure to bring Walt to justice. His devotion to this case was single-minded and his breakthrough was exciting and terrifying. It was sad to see him get so close only to be ruthlessly killed in the end. But, alas, this was not Hank’s story. It was Walt’s.

Walt dying on the floor of a meth lab was the closure he deserved. After all, we did not want to see him taken away by the feds or killed by Lydia or Todd or the Evil Uncles. If Jesse had killed him, it would have been one more soul on his own conscience. Walt died at peace and as happy as the circumstances allowed. It was a good goodbye.

Monday mornings after Breaking Bad

Monday, September 30th

Breaking Bad Finale: Felina (Guest post by a Mexican)

As Kristin is enjoying the tropical paradise of Playa del Carmen and detoxing from social media, she invited (more like outsourced) fellow Twitter inhabitant Hector (@Mexicanity) to share his thoughts about the finale. She only asked for no awful puns.

I wrote a very detailed review of last night’s episode around midnight, still relishing the episode, but my brain seemed to be still in Breaking Bad mode, giving me strange dreams. I decided to erase it all. Here are my thoughts.

The last minutes of the previous episode promised, with the full show’s theme, a final confrontation out of a western movie. They didn’t disappoint.


We see Walt at his best and Heisenberg at his worst. Walt shows some honesty for a change when he meets one final time with Skyler, confessing that he did all this because it made him feel alive. On the other hand, Heisenberg manifests himself as the coldblooded drive that will do anything to get what he wants: terrorizing his former Gray Matter associates to ensure his family’s financial stability, taking care of Todd’s relatives with an M60 machine gun attached to an automatic door opener and proudly confessing to Lidia that he poisoned her with the Stevia.


And Jesse. His future is so uncertain but two things occurred that it doesn’t matter what happens later in his life: he kills Todd (something that might seem natural after all the bad blood between them) and driving away, free. The confrontation with Walt is one of the best moments, in my Mexican opinion.

Walt is seriously wounded by his on weapon and spends his last moments at the compound’s meth lab. It almost seems happy to see all the equipment. He passed away next to what he loved.


I would recommend everyone that enjoyed the series to revisit the first episode. It is a stark contrast to what everyone became at the end.

Also, I don’t understand why anyone would try chamomile tea with soy milk and Stevia.