First Impressions: Game of Thrones, Season 7 Ep. 4

[sg_popup id=”1″ event=”onload”][/sg_popup]What an absolutely heart-pounding episode of Game of Thrones! Definitely one for the fans. Here’s my weekly storyline breakdown.

Daenerys Storyline

Although it seems a bit too convenient, it looks as though Jon Snow has broken through to Daenerys. Thanks to the Children of the Forest, his point about the White Walkers has (quite literally) been drawn out for the Mother of Dragons, and it seems like the two may be headed in the right direction as far as creating a strategic — and possibly romantic — relationship, even if Jon Snow claims he has no time for such things.

The Daenerys/Jon storyline became overshadowed by an EPIC fight scene between the Lannister Army and Drogon & Daenerys with the Dothraki. While I loved seeing a vengeful Drogon destroy the giant crossbow prototype, until the mastermind Qyburn is shot down, new dragon-slaying crossbows can just keep on being built. However, finally, we have an episode of Game of Thrones without a Cersei win on the board. This episode finale keeps me greatly looking forward to the look on Cersei’s face when she hears news of the huge loss and (presumably?) the destruction of all the gold from High Garden. Was it in fact specifically shown that Drogon toasted all the gold? Or was it just implied? Or neither??

Also, if you guys want to do a little interaction, do you think Jamie is dead? It seems obvious that he wouldn’t die so suddenly and in such pathetic fashion, but stranger things have happened on Game of Thrones. Guess we’ll have to wait and see!

Arya Storyline

Another Stark daughter home in Winterfell. A very interesting interaction between Brienne and Arya leaves us wondering what Sansa’s reaction reveals. It was hard to discern jealousy, surprise, or disapproval of her sister’s mastery with a blade, but it begs the question why? I am definitely curious to see how this plays out. Not to mention, Littlefinger’s scheming face is the period at the end of every sentence involving the Starks. He is planning something huge, and I want to know what it is!

Cersei Storyline

Not too much progress in the Cersei storyline, and while it seemed that the debts to the Iron Bank were surely repaid, it now seems unlikely that the bounty will make it any further into King’s Landing. What could have been a very interesting relationship between the Lannisters and the Iron Bank may have been all for naught. However, the fact that the scene between Tycho and Cersei was included in the episode at all makes me think that their relationship is far from over, debts repaid or not.

Jon Snow Storyline

As mentioned previously, Jon’s storyline continues with positive news. He has gained more of Daenerys’ trust with his discovery in the caves, and even counseled Daenerys on what her next move should be. So was Daenerys then completely disregarding Jon’s advice by attacking Jamie’s army? Was this done to prove a point to Jon? I am interested to see whether he played a part in her decision to attack.

Also, as another interactive vote, who was it who attempted to save Jamie? Was it the obvious choice of Bronn? Or possibly Randyll Tarly or his son Dickon? Thoughts?

Bran Stark Storyline

Bran aka Three-Eyed Raven continues to put forth that super-creepy slash wise beyond his years demeanour. While he seemed to set off weird vibes with Sansa, he definitely intrigued Arrya with his knowledge. At this point, he seems to be creating a rift in the family, but knowing what Bran knows, I am sure he has his reasons. Ultimately, he really does hold all the cards.

Honorable Mentions:

Bronn laughing heartily at the unfortunate name of Randyll Tarly’s son, Dickon. Rickon? No, Dickon. LOL.

Arya turning heads with her impressive sword skills.

Drogon thankfully not taking that giant spear to the skull. My heart was pounding from the moment Bronn hopped on that Dragon killer.

Missandei and Daenerys’ total girl moment over Greyworm.

A rare glimpse of humility from Tyrion, who was clearly uncomfortable watching the Dothraki tear through the Lannister troops. A rather sad moment, honestly.

Any glimpse of the legendary Podrick! One of those subtly awesome characters that producers know fans love for some reason and always make sure to keep him around!

 

Well those are my thoughts for this week on Game of Thrones! An amazing episode, and surely one to become a fan favorite from this season. A heart pounder that leaves us impatiently waiting for week 5!

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Why Do So Many Soccer Jerseys Say “Fly Emirates”?

[sg_popup id=”1″ event=”onload”][/sg_popup]If you watch top-level European soccer, you’ve probably seen a whole bunch of Fly Emirates soccer jerseys on  the pitch.

Premier League. Fly Emirates. La Liga. Fly Emirates. Ligue 1. Fly Emirates. Bundesliga. Fly Emirates. Serie A…well, you get it. Emirates is pretty much in every country where club soccer is bankable. It has become so common that soccer jerseys without Emirates branding almost look odd.

So how did this one airline based out of Dubai (UAE) get prime real estate on the chest of Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) and Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)? And then, of course, there’s Neymar, whose history-making transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain earns him an Emirates branded shirt.

A Brand to Rule all Brands

Emirates isn’t the biggest player in the game of soccer jersey sponsorships. That title belongs to Chevrolet for its $80 million/year deal with Manchester United. But, it is the most visible. And being seen is the whole the point of marketing, innit?

Emirates grabs three teams on the list of the nine most valuable jersey sponsorship deals:

Arsenal ($43 million/year)

Real Madrid ($34 million/year)

Paris Saint-Germain ($28 million/year)

Emirates branding occupies 33% of the most valuable soccer jersey sponsorships in the top leagues. Even if you exclusively watch La Liga or the Premier League or Ligue 1, you’re bound to see a screen full of Fly Emirates soccer jerseys racing back and forth.

And it’s not unusual for Emirates’ brand presence to double for special games–like when Arsenal and AC Milan faced off in this Legends match:

One Billion Soccer Fans

Emirates doesn’t just disappear as one travels east. Since 2002, Emirates has had a stake in the Asian soccer clubs as an official sponsor of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

On a fiscal level, the Asian market for soccer will grow even faster once domestic leagues start playing at a higher level, which is likely what Emirates is counting on. The sheer number of Premier League fans in China alone (approx. 100 million) is greater than the entire population of the UK (approx. 50 million). Who wouldn’t want to get in on that?

It’s a simple fact: People in Asia love soccer. And the Chinese fans of English soccer even have a nickname: Iron Fans, as documented by Tim Brunsden.

Why Do Airlines Sponsor Sporting Events Anyway?

One likely answer is to connect with consumers. Emirates spends millions of dollars a year on sports sponsorships in countries where it has international hubs. Another reason could be the sheer advertising time that a soccer jersey sponsorship provides. Emirates is advertised every time a camera zooms in on one of its teams during a match. Not to mention the walk around advertising it pulls in from purchased fan apparel.

If it seems like Fly Emirates soccer jerseys are everywhere, it’s because they are. From Spain to Greece to Japan, the airline from Dubai has found a comfortable spot on the chests of some of the best athletes in the world. And most importantly, it has the rapt attention of billions of individuals as they watch their favorite teams playing The Beautiful Game.

Powerhouse Book Critic Michiko Kakutani Steps Down and Aims Her Pen at Politics

Michiko Kakutani, Feared and Revered by the Literary World

Imagine harboring an entire library of knowledge in your head ready to call upon and express in an eloquent, brilliant, and worldly review about a debut novel. Not only is the familiarity with previous novels written by an author imperative, but also previous works of the same aesthetic, current events surrounding the novel, and an ever-ticking philosophical mind.

And imagine having this knowledge at the tip of your fingers. That’s the mind of a book critic. That’s the mind of Michiko Kakutani, the New York Time’s chief book critic who is stepping down after 38 years of making or breaking books and authors. Sometimes making and breaking, in the case of Jonathan Franzen.

Following a decent review of Franzen’s The Corrections, Ms. Kakutani wrote a brutal one for his memoir, The Discomfort Zone. She writes, “Just why anyone would be interested in pages and pages about this unhappy relationship or the self-important and self-promoting contents of Mr. Franzen’s mind remains something of a mystery.”

This prompted Franzen to call her “the stupidest person in New York City.”  At the end of her sword, one would lash back. However, standing by her side as she praises, is a completely different story.

The most feared and revered book critic since beginning her role in 1983, Ms. Kakutani has reviewed everything from JK Rowling to Zadie Smith to Bill Clinton. Any major novel released during her years at work is nearly guaranteed to have her review, and then some.

A bad review from Ms. Kakutani could take down an author. Whereas, a raving review could throw an unknown author into the limelight. So sacred are her words that even an average person could be swayed from reading or not reading a novel. The New York Times put together a list of her greatest critical highlights.

“No one has played a larger role in guiding through the country’s literary life over the past four decades than Michi,” Executive Editor Dean Baquet wrote in a note to the NYT staff. “And no one, I would venture, knows more about the literature and writing that flowed out of Sept. 11.”

The End of an Era


Michiko Kakutani, universally known as Michi, was merciless in her critiques. This reputation made her ever more trustworthy in her reviews. She once called a book a “lumpy hodgepodge of a book [that is] didactic, at times intriguing but in the end thoroughly unpersuasive,” not caring that the author was Margaret Atwood.

It is honesty and grittiness such as this that gave her the respect of the literary world. In 1998, Ms. Kakutani was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for criticism.

Her latest and final review shows the tremendous power her words can give a debut novel. Stay with Me, a novel by Ayobmi Adebayo received Michi’s golden stamp of approval, the greatest gift a debut novelist can receive.

“It is, at once, a gothic parable about pride and betrayal; a thoroughly contemporary – and deeply moving – portrait of a marriage; a novel, in the lineage of great works by Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi, that explores the pull in Nigeria between tradition and modernity, old definitions of masculinity and femininity and newer imperatives of self-definition and identity.”

Woof. Time to pick up that novel.

Book Critic to Political Critic

In a tweet last week, Michiko Kakutani wrote, “Moving on to focus on longer pieces about politics & culture, though I will always love & write about books.” Michi told Vanity Fair that last year’s election sparked a desire to branch out and write essays about politics and culture in Trump’s America.

Her review of Volker Ullrich’s Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939, doubles as criticism towards Donald Trump. “Hitler,” she wrote, “was often described as an egomaniac who ‘only loved himself’—a narcissist with a taste for self-dramatization…”

In her review of Bill Clinton’s memoir, My Life, she writes, “In many ways, the book is a mirror of Mr. Clinton’s presidency: lack of discipline leading to squandered opportunities; high expectation, undermined by self-indulgence and scattered concentration.”

A powerhouse woman with an unapologetic mind is just what America needs right now. And with that in mind, we can only anticipate merciless, powerful, and brilliant insight from Michiko Kakutani’s future political essays.

10 NYC Bottomless Brunch Spots That Will Blow Your Mind but Not Your Budget

[sg_popup id=”1″ event=”onload”][/sg_popup]Best Boozy Brunches To Cure Your Hangover

In search of bottomless mimosas to cure a rough night out with friends? Look no further. The Warblr has compiled a list of the 10 best bottomless brunch spots in NYC worth the last dollar in your budget.

Horchata de Nueva York

horchata bottomless brunch

Horchata – New York, NY

Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, Horchata serves classic Mexican cuisine and opens for brunch Saturday and Sunday from 11 am. For $35 per person, say goodbye to your hangover and hello day drinking! The “Chill Out” option on the menu comes with your choice of brunch entrée, guacamole, and house-made tortilla chips, plus two hours of bottomless sangria, mimosas, bloodies, or their selection of Mexican beers on tap.

Riviera Café

bottomless brunch riviera

Riviera Café & Sports Bar found in Sheridan Square, Greenwich Village opens for weekend brunch noon-4pm. Try one of their “Prix-Fixe” brunches for just $18 and enjoy bottomless mimosas, champagne, bloodies, and coffee (unfortunately not the Irish kind). There’s a 90 minute limit to this meal deal, so arrive ready to pound some bubbly.

Agave

agave bottomless brunch

Mix southwestern fusion dishes with bottomless two-hour boozy brunch and you get Agave. Also found in Greenwich Village, the pre-fixe brunch costs $32.99 and includes an entrée with bottomless mimosas, wine, or frozen margarita. Nothing better than a kick of tequila to start your Saturday morning!

Penelope

penelope bottomless brunch

Open for brunch Saturday and Sunday 8am-4pm, Penelope is not bottomless, but it won’t break the bank. For a fixed $20, you can enjoy one of their delicious organic brunch dishes and a cocktail. Bring a group of friends and order from their “DRANKS” and get a pitcher of Cider Sangria for $33. Cheers to that!

Randolph Brooklyn

bottomless brunch randolph

Looking for bottomless mimosas in Brooklyn? Randolph Beer offers 90 minutes of bottomless punches, bloodies, mimosas, and select beers with a main brunch entrée for $37. They open weekends until 7pm and no judgment if you order biscuits and gravy with a beer at 5pm.

Hill & Dale

hill and dale bottomless brunch nyc

This 1920s golden age themed restaurant opens its doors for brunch every weekend 11am-5pm. Hill & Dale’s bottomless brunch runs a bit pricier at $40, but the time limit seems ambiguous. So, between the hours of 11 and 5, or for all six hours, go enjoy an entrée and all you can drink mimosas and bloody marys.

Pardon My French

pardon my french bottomless brunch

Merde! This East Village Mediterranean styled restaurant serves bottomless brunch for $29.95! But unlike the other places, Pardon My French’s bloodies are served with house-infused horseradish vodka. And it’s all yours for an hour and a half.

DiWine

pardon my french bottomless brunch

Re-Wine(d) at DiWine with their weekend brunch Saturday and Sunday from 11am-3:30pm. At a fixed price of $17, your wallet will be pleased with bottomless mimosas, bloodies, and screwdrivers accompanying your hangover curing meal. And from noon to 3, enjoy some live Jazz music to get your day going.

Pig and Khao

pig and khao bottomless brunch

Nothing like a Southeast Asian brunch to bring you out of a rough hangover and ready for the day. With a two hour-limit, $15 will get you bottomless mimosas and self-serve draft beer every weekend at Pig and Khao.

Porter Collins

porter collins bottomless brunch

So, you gotta cross the state lines to Hoboken for this bottomless brunch, but we promise, it’s worth it. From 11am to 3pm Saturday and Sunday enjoy all you can eat brunch buffet and bottomless bloody marys, bellinis, and mimosas for $35 per person at Porter Collins.

First Impressions: Game of Thrones Season 7, Ep. 3

It just keeps getting better and better. Here are some thoughts on this week’s episode.

Daenerys Storyline

So as a recap from last episode, Jon Snow decides to accept Daenerys’ invitation to Dragonstone. While the visit begins with the fluffing of feathers and on shaky ground, we quickly see progress made. The two most rational characters on the show were bound to make something good of the experience, and I can only imagine further progress will be made between the two as they work towards a hugely important relationship.

Unfortunately, the storyline for Daenerys worsens, as while it initially seemed like she was in the driver’s seat with her planned attacks on different parts of Westeros, Cersei (or should I say Jaime) played her bluff. It will be interesting to see how much longer Greyworm will last in his difficult position, with the very heritable Euron sure to make his acquaintance next week. It seems to me that it is no secret that Cersei’s  downfall will inevitably be the betrayal of those who she feel has given their loyalty.

Arya Storyline

I guess we’ll skip this section, although I would have guessed that Arya would make it back to Winterfell before Bran. Oh well.

Cersei Storyline

Cersei was back in full force this episode, reminding us all why she is the most hated character on the show. Euron brings back the ultimate gift, vengeance for the loss of her daughter. While I imagine some moms watching are saying “You go girl!”, let’s be honest… she’s a monster. But unfortunately she’s a smart monster, and I would have to give the win this episode to her. Stranding the Unsullied on Casterly Rock, Jaime’s army overtaking Highgarden, imprisoning Ellaria Sand and inevitably killing her daughter, and apparently paying back her debts to the Iron Bank.

This brief meeting with Tycho Nestoris from Bravos initially proved intriguing and ambiguous. But after seeing Highgarden taken, we can only imagine that the rich Tyrell vaults will provide more than enough gold to pay back the deep Lannister debts. Yet another score for Cersei.

Jon Snow Storyline

Jon Snow didn’t see much of the screen this week, and while he’s already been touched upon in the Daenerys section, his news this episode was mostly good, as he has been granted access to the Dragon glass below Dragonstone. Does anybody else just want to hold up a picture of the White Walkers and say “Look, they’re real! Now let’s figure out something and destroy Cersei and the Night King!” No? I guess one episode a week is just never enough.

Bran Stark Storyline

Bran returned this week to a slightly awkward reunion with Sansa. With the complete 360 transformation of personality into the 3-eyed Raven, Bran is now all wisdom and slight creepiness. It will be interesting to see his role in Winterfell in the coming episodes under Sansa’s rule.

Honorable Mentions:

A huge relief for Sam! Great to see Jorah coming back into the picture without death hanging over his head. Unfortunately no promotion, and Sam is back to doing shit work (sometimes literally) for the time being. Definitely look for him to be helping out Jon some more from the Citadel.

Yet another episode that Tyrion had me laughing out loud! Has he always been this witty??

I promise I didn’t forget. Finally we know for sure who murdered Joffrey! It’s funny because now I can totally see Olenna pulling that move. I always liked her, and although her death has been certain for some time now, she really went out with a bang this episode.

Those are my thoughts for this week! Lots of questions to be answered. Where will negotiations with Jon and Daenerys go? Will Ellaria and her daughter somehow escape Cersei’s clutches? How will the Unsullied manage the loss of their fleet to the Ironborn? And a personal question I’m considering, will Jaime stay true to Cersei until the end? I feel as though I’m beginning to sense a wavering in his emotions.

This All-In-One Bag Is the Only Bag You’ll Ever Need

In a world where women have to do great things and look great doing them, there’s a lot going on in any woman’s bag or purse. From notebooks to feminine care to a whole array of makeup and accessories to the essentials (phone/keys/wallet), the modern woman has a lot to lug around.

The Answer

Tiffany Haas, the designer of Fullbeat, is a Broadway performer and fashion entrepreneur who spends her days dashing through New York City for auditions, meetings, work, and all the social occasions that come in between. While traveling from theater to theater and then city to city, Tiffany realized that there was no bag that fit her needs, and she was carrying sometimes two or three bags at a time.

Tiffany with The Vanity

If Tiffany couldn’t find a bag that provided ease and organization, she was going to make one herself, so upon returning from a national tour of the hit show Wicked, Tiffany set up a work station in her dressing room where she tore her old bags apart and put them back together again in a way that was functional, fashionable, and fab, and from these efforts FullBeat was born.

What is FullBeat?

“FullBeat by Tiffany Haas is more than just another brand name, it’s a lifestyle. FullBeat is about living life to the fullest, dreaming big and having the confidence, drive and perseverance to make your dreams a reality. It’s about being true to who you are no matter what the world thinks.”

I personally love that these bags were designed by a woman, for women, and that Ms. Haas keeps all of us in mind when making, selling, and advertising her products. For her it’s not just about being a star, but being comfortable in your skin and having a product that will make your life easier, for real.

The Bags

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The three types of bags listed on her website are: “The Vanity,” “So Clutch,” and “Ready Set Bow” (above). “The Vanity” is a miracle in the world of makeup bags, allowing one to organize her brushes, wands, shadows, accessories, and more, and it even comes with a mirror that slips easily into its own pocket. The clutch and the wristlet each sport a glamorous bow on the front and hidden pockets to organize your life while not giving away any of your secrets.

Pricing and Where to Find FullBeat

Retail price points range from $58 to $165, but you can visit their website, www.FullBeat.com, and join the mailing list for 10% off your purchase.

There are few things in life that a woman really needs, and one of them is a bag that they can use everywhere, for everything. Lucky for you, the perfect bag exists, and you know exactly where to find it.