Questions, Comments, Concerns: A Christmas Prince

Today’s Questions, Comments, Concerns features A Christmas Prince, a Netflix Original Movie that’s really a Hallmark movie for cord-cutters. Mindless, low-quality holiday entertainment isn’t just for people with a cable package! It’s 2017!

Comment: You can tell they’ve got that Netflix budget because of all the establishing shots of New York City.

to be fair they saved some $$ by using the clipart that came preloaded on their PC

On Hallmark, everything takes place in a picturesque small town that’s obsessed with Christmas because that’s the cheaper thing to do.

Comment: “Amber! We’re junior editors! Not writers!”

Dialogue like this is why people think that editor means human spellcheck.

Question: Wait, how can I become a Junior Editor?

Forget that my real rank is above “junior editor.” Amber gets sent abroad to cover a European prince. Nice work if you can get it.

Concern: Netflix spent its whole NYC budget on those establishing shots.

or actually, this is new york’s FINEST diner.

Amber goes into a tiny, empty diner that definitely seems like it’s somewhere in Hallmarkville. It’s her dad’s. He’s a Real New York Character, AKA he has an accent.

Comment: Netflix also spent some Establishing Shot Money on European mountains. Alps?
Concern: By the time they show the lush, snow-covered Swiss? Bavarian? castle, I’m already sold.

I don’t need this to be a GOOD movie, I just need to have a good time watching it.

Comment: Maybe Lead Girl would be a senior editor if she hadn’t showed up to a royal press conference in jeans and sneakers.

non-spoiler: rom-com lady is clumsy. also i have a follow-up question about the white plastic light switch. surely the castle electrician could upgrade that.

Now would be an appropriate time for me to use the terms “slacks” and “pumps.” Yech.

Concerns: Many

Amber gets mistaken for Princess Emily’s new tutor, Martha.

Question: Can we cut to the part where Emily is vibrant and lovable?

On one hand, A+ for having a child with disabilities as a primary character! On the other, they make her petulant and peevish like that hidden boy in Secret Garden. Collin, was it?

Comment: You know Rose McIver (Lead Girl) from other stuff.

I IMDB’d her because her face was so familiar, and not just because she looks like she’d play Keri Russell’s sister. She’s been in a LOT but I remember her best as the sister in The Lovely Bones.

Comment: We didn’t have to wait long for Emily to get vibrant and lovable.

She’s a cutie.

Concern: My ability to suspend disbelief.

For a split second I start questioning how Amber is pulling this off, whether there are visa implications, the scads of journalistic ethics violations… and then I relax into the soft fluff of A Christmas Prince like a child making a snow angel.

Comment: Cousin Simon’s no Prince Richard, but could still get it.

Richard though.

Concern: Male primogeniture, boo.

Princess Emily isn’t in line for the throne and I’m having S1 Downton Abbey flashbacks.

Comment: The cell phone sticking up out of Amber’s back pocket is honestly some of the most realistic costuming I’ve seen.
Concern: We have competition.

Meet Lady Sophia, a hussy in a red dress. You can tell she’s a hussy by the red dress. I don’t make the rules.

Question: Do we know for absolutely sure that Princess Emily’s not a Little Girl Ghost (TM Joey Tribbiani)?

Emily discovers Amber’s true identity and barters to keep Amber’s secret as long as she writes the truth about Richard. Emily says knows because she sneaked into Amber’s unsecured computer, but she seems awfully British and all-knowing …  like a Little Girl Ghost.

Comment: I want Emily the Little Girl Ghost to get a friend who is a child.
Concern: Amber takes Emily sledding

I definitely think that children with disabilities should be encouraged to do anything other kids do (with necessary modifications and safety supports) but I just feel like Amber should’ve at least Googled if it was fine.

[It was fine, by the way.]

Comment: Horse stuff.

There was an equistrian sequence, but we all already knew that going into this. Richard chases off wolves in a page straight out of the Beauty and the Beast storyboards, then they retreat to Gaston’s lounge.

Concern: Prince Rick looks good in a turtleneck.

I don’t hate turtlenecks but it’s such a specific man who can pull it off, right? I know Amber agrees because they almost kiss in a beautiful barn. I could pay off my student loans selling reclaimed wood from this barn. And those are law school loans, ok.

Question: Do they put Christmas lights on actual castles?

Genuine question. I love them but bet royals think they’re naff.

Comment: Prince Richard is a fake!! Prince Richard is a fake!!

Well not FAKE, but he was adopted into the royal family in 1990. I assume there’s a rule about that in most royal families? Also with the giant age gap between Richard and Emily, I like to think this is one of those fake adoptions, like when old-Hollywood actresses would get pregnant, disappear for a year, then “adopt” a baby.

Concern: I was surprised by a plot twist in A Christmas Prince.

I never get surprised in Hallmark movies. Advantage: Netflix.

Amber’s so shocked that she uses the words “gosh” and “freaking.”

Comment: I love Amber’s bedroom with the Christmas tree.

When I was a kid, sometimes I used to pretend I was princess Anastasia and had a room like that. Yes, I know it’s actually Grand Duchess. Yes, I willfully ignored the unpleasant imprisonment and execution angles.

Comment: Richard’s so British (or whatever… Genovian?) he pronounces Sophia “Sophier.”
Comment: Amber wears her converse with her formal outfit…

Just like every group of groomsmen in wedding photos, c. 2010.

Question: Do princes really have a wedding ceremony to their country?

That’s more or less what Richard has. Objections and everything. Reminds me of when Dennis Rodman married himself (I’m old).

Comment: Mean Sophier’s objection was the adoption thing, clearly.
Comment: Richard’s late father hid the truth in an acorn ornament because nobody can be normal in these movies.

My favorite part is how Richard’s dad knew this would all come to a head at Christmas, and that somebody would decipher the secret clue about acorns, and how nobody would crack open or throw away the ornament before this point.

I also don’t see how a note in an ornament is legally binding. He should’ve just changed the code while he was alive. Easy-peasy.

Comment: Aldovia. The country was “Aldovia.”
Comment: The judge or whatever says “Merry Christmas to all,” which is the most Christmas we’ve had in a while.
Question: Why won’t Amber’s editors encourage her to run a piece on this?

They call it a “puff piece” but it looks like an exclusive, walks like an exclusive, sounds like an exclusive, it’s a duck.

Comment: It’s not a romcom unless someone makes a grand gesture at the end.

Richard comes to NY and proposes to Emily. I’m still floored that she works for a publication that thinks this ISN’T a story. He has neither a security detail nor a press following. She accepts.

Comment: A Christmas Prince has one thing in common with Hallmark movies

…. and that’s a couple meeting, falling in love, AND getting engaged all between the start and end of the Christmas season.

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Pop Culture Blind Spot: Christmas In Connecticut

Merry December! This month’s pop culture blind spot challenge: finding classic or otherwise beloved holiday films that we haven’t seen. It’s a tough one for me – I was raised on oldies like White Christmas, It’s A Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street, and kept up with the major developments of the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s like the other Miracle on 34th Street,  Christmas Vacation and Elf. That’s why my blind spot pick today hearkens all the way back to 1945: Christmas in Connecticut.

Short Description:  A food writer who has lied about being the perfect housewife must try to cover her deception when her boss and a returning war hero invite themselves to her home for a traditional family Christmas.
Not only does this sound like a really fun premise, it reads 100% like a rom-com they’d still make today. The difference is that in 1945 talkies weren’t even 20 years old. It would be a rom-com cliche today, but in the ’40s it was a rom-com groundbreaker.
We open on a submarine shooting torpedoing a ship. So this is like, definitely a World War II movie.

Image links to post from the blonde at the film. i didn’t let myself read it before writing, but it’s a lot of fun with some great background on old Hollywood!

Two sailors from the ship have been adrift in a lifeboat for 15 days. One – Jefferson Jones, played by Dennis Morgan, who had an extensive career playing a lot of military guys – imagines himself in a light blazer dining at a bistro table and he looks like a handsome hipster of today. After getting rescued he convalesces in a military hospital and becomes obsessed with magazine food columns. See also, the Minnesota Starvation Experiment.
 
Alexander Yardley is a human Bustopher Jones, and he’s Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck)’s publisher. She’s a food writer but PSYCH she does not know how to cook. This is such a good rom-com job! So good, in fact, that I start googling which other rom-com involves an advice columnist who’s winging it. I swear I’ve seen this somewhere else?

It wouldn’t be one of our Pop Culture Blind Spot posts without linking to an article about the house in the movie. Click on over to Lisa’s Home Bijou!

Anyway, Yardley wants Elizabeth to host Jefferson Jones for dinner because he’s a war hero and her number one fan. You will recall that Elizabeth knows jack about cooking. I can’t wait for the wacky misunderstandings! Also in the course of writing about cooking wouldn’t you learn how to cook? Wouldn’t it be easier, writing-wise, to just learn how to cook? Or are all of her recipes made-up craziness that magically turns out OK?
Elizabeth also has a pretend husband and child! This is a blast! And her drapey blouse and high-waisted Katharine Hepburn pants outfit is completely on point.

LOOKS FOR DAYS.

If they remade this in 2017 you know they’d make Elizabeth a food blogger and it would not be as good. Maybe a HGTV-style personality.
Elizabeth’s first excuse to get out of falling in love with Jeff being a hostess is that her fake baby has whooping cough. #VaccinateYourKids
So Elizabeth has this friend John who always proposes to her. Like, it’s a habit. And they’re not even dating or anything, he just proposes marriage regularly and Elizabeth expresses zero interest in him.  Here’s how this convo plays out:
His point: You need someone to look after you. [Note: it’s 1945 -M]
Her counterpoint: I don’t love you.
Elizabeth demurs that it “gets harder and harder to find an excuse to say no.” John counters “well you can’t blame it on your career this time because you haven’t got one.”
1. SICK BURN, JOHN.
2. This is why nobody accepts your proposals, John.
Elizabeth accepts the proposal, but only because she needs a husband and a farm in Connecticut, like, yesterday. Elizabeth’s editor Dudley also needs Elizabeth to procure a fake baby (a real baby that’s not hers, technically), because they’ve already bought his kids’ Christmas presents so he needs this to go off well. If you’re keeping track, so far Elizabeth is a liar who’s otherwise okay, and Dudley and John are The Pits.
Elizabeth brings her chef friend, Felix, along to cook. That’s where she’s been getting her recipes, by the way. He’s German. I ship him and John’s Irish maid Nora. German and Irish? That was an OK marriage in the ’40s, right? I lose track of who used to be weird about each other.
 
Barbara Stanwyck’s waist is tiiiny. Or is it the shoulder pads?

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but bring back shoulder pads 2K18?

Elizabeth coos “oh, John! Where did you get it?” about a neighbor baby he borrowed them, as though it’s a nice table runner or a new coffee table.
Felix puts paprika into Irish stew, which turns it into goulash. B- ethnic humor.
Know what you never see anymore? Tinsel.
Jeff brings Elizabeth a rocking chair because she wrote in her column that she could never find a good one.
HA! Elizabeth tries to answer Jeff’s questions about the baby and she is clearly a stranger both to him and to all babies. Fortunately Jeff is a good uncle and has met babies before. He gives “Robert” a bath and JUST KIDDING, turns out the baby is now Roberta.
[I will say that I have a lot of nieces and nephews and I’m always surprised when adults who can’t deal when they have to feed, change, bathe and generally deal with babies. They’re just little humans who need their necks supported, is all.]
Elizabeth and Jeff have an old-fashioned piano party while she trims the tree. He plays the piano and sings. Girl. Marry him.

John pervs about where he and Elizabeth are going to sleep tonight because it’s supposed to be his wedding night. Except they didn’t get married, so Elizabeth will stay in the guest room, thanks. He pouts and stomps off saying that he won’t sleep a wink. Wow, rom-coms in the ’40s really ramp up the bad qualities in the guy who’s purpose is to get dumped, don’t they? In the 2010s he’d just be too into his work or fantasy football.
A different neighbor drops off a different baby than yesterday, because they assume the new lady in the big house just takes other people’s kids for the day

Elizabeth cooks.

Elizabeth and All Her Guys* go to a barn dance. But in a dance hall. So just a dance I guess.
*All Her Guys = Yardley, John, Editor – was it Dudley?, Jeff and probably Felix.
Elizabeth and Jeff joyride in a sleigh, and I’m sorry but you only do that with somebody that you mean to fall in love with.
I was really hoping they’d bust out the Comedy Rule of Threes with people dropping off random babies at the house, but no such luck.
Elizabeth and Jeff got arrested – just a misunderstanding! – and the borrowed baby got reported as kidnapped after its mom collected it – also just a misunderstanding! We have angled the Tangled Web stage of the rom-com.
Elizabeth spills the beans about her… all of it. Everyone’s furious except for Jeff, a good person. In this pre-internet age, as long as none of these people say anything about Elizabeth’s true identity, nobody would find out, right? Felix pulls a fast one and tells Elizabeth’s publisher that she has another offer, and suddenly they want to keep her after all.
By the way, Jeff had been engaged to his nurse. Fortunately she married his shipmate so he’s all set to mack it with Lizzie. People really were willy-nilly about their engagements in the post-war era, huh?
“What a Christmas!”, Felix giggles.
What a Christmas, everyone.

Little Women (1994) Is Our Aesthetic

It’s December, and our choice aesthetic is the 1994 adaptation of Little Women: earth tones, plaid dresses, candlelight, roaring fires, Winona Ryder’s bob, Meg upstaging Queen B Sallie Moffat in the blue afternoon dress, surprise pianos and a lot of quilts. The production design of Gillian Armstrong’s 90s masterpiece was cozy, lived-in and totally real: you could actually see the March family staging plays in that attic, gathering around that rustic table, or having a singalong at Beth’s piano. There’s also a lot of winter – hence our December pick – and it’s depicted so beautifully that it will make you appreciate the season.

This post is also known by its alternate title, I Have A Real Christmas Tree And An Old House And Now I Think I’m A March Sister.

Orchard House’s Foyer

The moment the sisters call out “Marmee’s home!” and you see the muted stenciled floors, sidelights and printed wallpaper, you feel like you’re home, too.

Full disclosure: my parents live in an 1830s farmhouse that’s almost identical to Orchard House, so maybe that’s because it literally looks like my home.

As per usual, we’re going to point you over to Hooked On Houses – if Little Women is your aesthetic, you need to check out their Orchard House post.

The March Living Room

These shades of olive green! The built-in bookshelves! The brick fireplace! It’s so beautiful. It’s also a great reminder that, while the current iteration of “farmhouse” style is all whites and grays and spartan decor, there’s another path to the same cozy feeling.

Everyone’s Hair

Real-life adult womens’ hair in the 1860s didn’t really mesh with our current trends. Think center partings, snoods and clumps of sausage curls at the sides. Fortunately for us, the March girls are in their teens so their hair is long and loose – it was even kind of a ‘thing’ in the book that Jo didn’t want to start wearing her hair up like a, um, big woman.

Jo even looked sassy in her cropped ‘do, and calling Winona Ryder’s hair her “one beauty” is an evergreen laugh line (I’m sure if she time traveled to the 1860s, they’d have gotten a kick out of it then, too).

Everyone’s Winter Clothes

It can be hard to look cute and feel comfy in dresses during those cold winter months, but it’s not as though girls in the 19th century had another option. The Marches cope with the cold in lots of layers and tons of warm earthy tones — it was 1994, after all.

Some favorites are Jo’s  red ball gown (plus the choker on the black satin cord!)

Meg’s hunter green coat with the big buttons (and Jo’s no slouch in the outerwear department – I think garnet’s her signature color)

Amy’s plaid dress

I always especially loved Amy’s old-fashioned knitted ear warmer and vest (Meg had a matching one – sweet touch!).

Oh! And Jo’s fitted gray dress!

The sleeves and waistband!

If you find historical costumes interesting too, I suggest the Frock Flicks podcast episode on Little Women.

The Dining Room

Bonus: image links to hilarious post from Homeless Monsters about visiting Orchard House

The dining room is a little less cluttered than the rest of the house, but the simple table and chairs and calming colors would easily fit in a Magnolia spread.

The Garrett

The Marches cosplay as the Pickwick Society in their sweet attic hideaway, and as always, something about setting up a space in an attic is so much more comfy, mysterious and cool than the same exact setup in a regular room of the house. It’s all in the eaves and sloped ceilings. You can just see how the girls have adapted and added to this space over the years.

Bedroom Fireplaces When Manuscripts Aren’t Burning In Them

That was not okay, Amy.

[I wrote this piece about Amy March being a total B, and it was 80% in jest, but I haven’t forgotten about the manuscript.]

The Girls’ Bedroom

Pardon the scarlet fever happening in the foreground

I love the red ticked curtains, wallpaper and green wainscoting. I always wish I could get a closer look at that wall-o’-trim. I have so many questions.

Snow On Snow On Snow

In real life, snow is an inconvenience that turns your commute into a risky obstacle course, but on screen – when I don’t have to shovel it – snow is serene and beautiful. The first 40 minutes or so of the movie are snow-covered and it totally works to get you into a winter mode, especially if you want to watch something that isn’t entirely focused on Christmas.

Meg’s Afternoon Dress

Sallie Moffat can go fly a kite. Meg’s chill, forget-me-not blue gown looks way prettier than child labor silk and we all know it.

 

The Opera Sets

Weird or not weird: I wouldn’t mind if my house looked like this opera set.

The Boarding House

Jo March was the original free-spirited girl who starts over in New York City after a major heartbreak in order to “find herself.”

If you weren’t super-poor in the 1870s, this was probably the second-most Bohemian place you could live.

Europe

… Europe being the first. While I feel awful for Jo when Amy gets her Eurotrip with Aunt March, at least Amy makes the very most of her adventure. It’s like the 1800s version of when you went on your study abroad semester and came back a different person (in your own head, anyway). It’s so fun seeing Amy level up in her clothing, like that kicky straw boater hat, boho linen smock, and high-1870s-style fitted jacket.

The trunk of memories

When Jo opens that trunk of memories that spurns her to write Little Women, I always regret my Konmari-Lite tendancies and wish I had kept tangible objects from my teen years.

That Soundtrack

The soundtrack is poignant, spirited and heartbreaking right when it needs to be. I hear like 2 measures and I’m sad about Beth all over again.

 

 

All The Reasons I’m Delighted Meghan Markle Is A Princess

Prince Harry is engaged. He’s engaged to Meghan Markle, somebody other than me, which would have been a real sticking point for my 11-year-old self. I couldn’t be happier with his choice, though. Meghan Markle is no Chelsie or Cressida (why can my brain store that spelling of Chelsie, and the name Cressida at all, but none of my logins or passwords?). Meghan’s an American, and she’s biracial, and she has a job, and her dogs are cute. This is great!

[If you’re here to say (1) this news doesn’t matter, or (2) the royals are just regular humans who get to live in palaces and dress their children in shortpants with taxpayer money, or (3) Meghan definitely won’t be getting the title princess … see ya later! You won’t have fun here!]

In no particular order, here are the reasons I’m grabbing on to this happy story like a life preserver in an ocean of garbage news:

The idea of a Princess Meghan is delightful

There are princess names and there are middle-class American girl names, and Meghan is a middle-class American girl name. It’s also pretty well date-stamped in the late ’70s through late ’90s, for the most part. That’s why the idea of a Princess Meghan has me absolutely tickled. If she was Margaret (for which the Welsh Megan is a diminutive), I wouldn’t bat an eye, but Princess Meghan sounds forever and always like a little girl in 1993 playing pretend. For the record, this isn’t an attack on Megans or Meghans, almost all of whom I really like – I’m truly delighted by this development. It’s like having a Princess Madison in 20 years. It’s fun! Princess Meghan!

Note: she’ll end up with a lesser title, like Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, or Sophie, Countess of Wessex. It’ll still be great.

Note 2: Meghan is Markle’s middle name. Her real first name is Rachel, which I’d argue is more royal.

Meghan Markle has nice handwriting

Because my dad taught me to always write thank you notes…. #gratitude #pentopaper

A post shared by Meghan Markle (@meghanmarkle) on

This is so princessy (duchessy, countessy, lady-like): Meghan Markle’s secret talent is calligraphy. In most lives this is a cool but not necessarily useful skill, but she’s going to write so many beautiful thank-you notes on engraved stationary as a royal, and I’m so happy for her.

It’s not just the cursive that I love, it’s the respectful gesture of sending a handwritten note.

Meghan is a Rescue Dog Mom

Queen Elizabeth has her corgis, and I like to imagine that in her royal residence, Meghan is going to have a mismatched pack of mutts. Unfortunately, due to his age Meghan’s rescue pup Bogart will not be able to immigrate. I hope he gets a good home but as the owner of an elderly rescue dog myself, I’m so sorry he can’t make the trip.

They Are Going To Live In A Tiny Royal Cottage!

The future residence of Harry and Meghan is Nottingham Cottage, an honest-to-goodness 19th century cottage within the grounds of Kensington Palace. It has two bedrooms and one bathroom and super low ceilings. And a garden and a hammock! The idea of a literal prince playing house in a quaint toy cottage is the stuff of rom-com dreams. Queen Elizabeth’s nanny used to live there, and she said that it “looks as if it had got to London quite by mistake from some distant country place.” I die.

This Whole Thing Is A Hallmark Christmas Movie Setup

Listen. My family loves Hallmark Christmas Movies so much that my dad records the new ones and watches all of them when I visit. We love cataloging all of the tropes – girl moves to a small town and everyone instantly loves her! she is a busy doctor/veterinarian and doesn’t have time for love! she falls in love with a man who works with his hands in a very Christmas-specific industry, like Christmas tree farming or ice sculpture! sometimes somebody is secretly Santa’s nephew – and there’s a whole subset that involve a normal person falling in love with a prince or princess. This is IT. Meghan grew up “normal”: her mom is a social worker/yoga instructor, and her dad is a lighting designer, and they divorced when she was little. When her acting career was still on the climb, Meghan worked as a freelance calligrapher, which is the most Lifetime movie thing I can think of (unless Prince Harry is secretly Santa’s nephew). Eventually, she lands a leading role on a successful TV series – and wins the love of a prince after being set up on a blind date with him. It’s almost too good to be true.

The Royals Are Getting A Little Less White

There’s so much to love here. Little kids in the US and UK – those who care about the royal family, anyway – can look up to a royal who actually looks like them. Prince Charles will be the co-parent-in-law with a black woman. Queen Elizabeth will have great-grandkids who are part black. Finally, the royal family is starting to look… well, like a lot of other families.

A Royal Wedding!

The best thing about royal weddings is they involve all the things I love about weddings (seeing what the dress, decor, music and readings are like) and none of the things I don’t (buying a dress, buying a gift, paying for travel). The best wedding is the one you watch on TV at like 5 in the morning.

 

 

 

Pop Culture Blind Spot: Breakfast At Tiffany’s

My knowledge of this film: Audrey Hepburn. Jewelry. Her iconic look. The hit 1993 song of the same name by Deep Blue Sea.

It’s weird to see this so clearly as if the movie was made yesterday. Also I definitely thought it was made way before 1961, which really isn’t that long ago. I mean we’re talking season one of Mad Men.

No but, did the song Moon River get popular because of this movie??

Also I admit, this is maybe the first movie I’ve ever seen Audrey Hepburn in? JK I FORGOT ALL ABOUT MY FAIR LADY PLS FORGET THAT.

This Japanese guy… isn’t actually Japanese, right? And he has fake teeth? And a horrible accent? This is obviously not OK, but I feel like I’d be more offended if I didn’t know this movie was made when minorities still had to use separate water fountains. UPDATE: IT’S MICKEY ROONEY. IT WAS APPARENTLY A WHOLE THING. GOOD LORD.

HER BED IS SO TINY  Omg these dangling ear buds are so fabulous. And she’s drinking milk out of a champagne glass. Good lord.

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-8-57-04-pm

I honestly have no idea what happens in this movie, but I get why people love it based on the New York aesthetic alone.

RIGHT CLICK SAVE THIS FOR SHADY BUSINESS:

Audrey Hepburn’s like, really pretty. Has anyone else ever noticed this?

Also George Peppard. What’s his deal? (I found out his deal)

Oh and Holly just put Paul in the friend zone by nicknaming him Fred, just like her brother. Except then she casually asks to lay in bed with him. Girl. Got. Game.
screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-8-58-06-pm

This OJ Berman guy (Martin Balsam) talks fast and smooth like Conan O’Brien’s impersonation of guys that go to speakeasies.

Holly has a party in her apartment and by the end of the night people are totally shitfaced. There’s lit’rally a woman crying into her reflection in a mirror. Holly’s friend Mag Wildwood falls flat on her face as Holly yells Timber. Are they are on acid? Is Roger Sterling here? I miss Mad Men.
screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-8-59-32-pm

HOLLY IS LIVING A PHONY LIFE JUST LIKE OJ SAID. Her name is Lulu Mae Barnes! And she’s married to a Southern dude named Doc Golightly who was on The Beverly Hillbillies! And they married at 14! That was normal back then? Or was it still weird?!

I was under the impression Holly was going to be upset Doc was there but she seems v happy to see him? Isn’t this going to end with her and Paul together? I’m just assuming.

Promise me one thing – don’t take me home until I’m drunk. Until I’m very drunk indeed.

Holly says her goodbyes to Doc and she and Paul go to what seems to be a 1960s strip club. Which leads us to yet another iconic shades GIF:

A drunken Holly states she’s got no money so she’s marrying someone who has a lot of it. Cool. Except a few days later we find out he’s found some other chick to marry. To lighten her spirits, she and Paul decide to spend a day doing things they’ve never done before, which includes stealing animal masks from a store and scare a police officer with them on.

Oh yay they kissed. And spent the night together. Ow Owwww!

Honestly: 

“You’re a very stylish girl. Can’t we end this stylishly?” Is Paul being condescending or is this just how they talked back then?

Holly is on the lamb and when he finally finds her she says she’s marrying another guy from the party, who is Latin and rich.

Asian Mickey Rooney has Holly and Paul arrested for narcotics? Also Audrey looks so fierce in pigtails and a turtleneck sweater. If I wore that I’d look like Boo from Monsters Inc.

Apparently this all has to do with the dude she was visiting at Sing Sing – this is why you don’t do things for money without asking WHY.

And Latin lover calls off their engagement. She needs to get over her inability to feel feelings and get together with Paul already?

FINALLY

I get it, world. This was good.

 

Cyber Monday Guide For Thirtysomethings

Happy Cyber Monday to all those tech savvy people who were smart enough not to jump into the throngs of people on Black Friday!

AKA greetings, fellow thirtysomethings. I’ve never been one for braving the stores at midnight to score a deal on a TV, which is why when Cyber Monday became a thing, I was all about it. Access to all the internet’s great deals WITH an extended deadline? Sign me and my computer up. Now I don’t know about you older millennials, but it wasn’t until recently (perhaps the past year or so) where I really felt like I was aging in that my shopping interests have slightly matured. I’m also single with no kids, so for those of you who already are married with children, this realization might have hit you a while back. That being said, I’ve found myself not searching for sales on DVDs or discounts on Forever 21, but rather items that are a sure sign I’m headed towards those golden years.

If you’re  feeling the same way, here’s a list of items that are not only helpful for thirtysomethings – but on sale on Cyber Monday too.

Deebot

{Amazon.com $199.98}

So it’s become sort of a joke with me and my friends lately because we keep having totally unplanned conversations that lead back to robot vacuums. This is who we are now. A popular one amongst the group is the Deebot. One of the awesome things about it is that you can control it from your phone with an app and schedule cleanings even when you’re not home. Just think about how satisfying removing all that dirt and hair will be.

Ancestry/DNA Test

{Various, Ranging From $99 to $200}

Listen, none of us are getting any younger. Except for Bianca Lawson. She’s the only one. But I bet she would do one of these ancestry tests anyways. A lot of us think we know our family’s heritage and ancestry, but many times, as we’ve learned from Who Do You Think You Are?, we could be tied to folks we never would’ve imagined. There are a number of ancestry tests to choose from, and it’s up to you what kind of results you want back. 23AndMe offers both a regular ancestry test and an ancestry + health test, which can tell you if you have a family history of things like Alzheimer’s or even Celiac’s. Ancestry.com and National Geographic also provide great tests with maps of your lineage and stuff!

Bedding

You know what’s exciting? New sheets. On a new, grown-up mattress. You know what’s even better? Getting new sheets and a new grown-up mattress on sale. Take Lovett or Leave It’s game sponsor Parachute, where everything on their site – yes including the famous sheets – is 20% off! Listen to literally any other podcast? You must be familiar with Casper mattresses! When you use the code GIFT on Monday, you can get $150 off any purchase of a mattress $1000 or more!

Blue Apron

{$25 Off Your First Two Deliveries}

Speaking of the Pod, are you looking for a better way to cook? Blue Apron is apparently the way to go. If you like the act of cooking and the idea of eating fresh foods, this subscription meal service is for you. You don’t need to search for recopies and you also don’t need to go to the store to buy  all the ingredients, which is a dream, because you’re a hard-working adult who barely has time to catch up on the latest season of Stranger Things.

The Home Depot

If you’re a new homeowner, chances are you’re constantly working on fixing something in your house. Places like The Home Depot are just a regular stop on your way home these days, and thanks to the magic of Cyber Monday, you can go to their website and get free shipping and even up to 50% off appliances.

Costco

From diamond earrings to reclining lounge chairs to Kirkland vodka to those hot dogs at the food stand, Costco has it all (except reasonable parking on a Sunday afternoon). And you can even have it delivered right to your door! Maybe not the hot dogs.

Buy Buy Baby

Calling are parentals! Or people who know people that are parentals! We’re at that age where people are getting pregnant on purpose. Weddings seem to be dying down a bit while baby showers are taking over. Need a gift for someone who’s expecting or a new parent? Buy Buy Baby is all about that Cyber Monday action with a ton of sales all over their site.

 

Best Buy

You’re an adult now. You can probably splurge on a TV bigger than 35″. Also available for free shipping at Best Buy: things like a Nest thermostat, an Amazon Alexa/Echo and a Ring doorbell, because everything is automated now and we’re living in Smart Houses.

Vitamins

{Amazon’s Vitamin Shop}

I’m talkin’ Tumeric. I’m talkin Ginko Biloba. I’m talkin Fish Oil. Gimme those Oregano pills babyyyy.

 

The Definitive, Indisputable 30 Under 30 List

The Forbes 30 Under 30 list is out, and as a 31-year-old I would like those successful children to get off of my internet lawn, please. Nobody likes 30 Under 30 lists except the honorees and their usually-rich parents: not people under 30, not people over 30, not the poor guy who has to write glowing bios of all of these talented-but-also-lucky youths.

I also can’t help but notice that these lists are really, really inaccurate. These are the REAL very best things that are under 30 years of age:

30. Idris Elba

He’s, like, 45 years old but listen: I’m still angry about People’s Sexiest Man Alive blunder and I want him on MY list.

29. TGIF

TGIF, ABC’s Friday night lineup of family-friendly shows, debuted in 1989. It is under 30 years old and we love it so much that we live-blogged TGIF favs like Step By Step and Dinosaurs all October long.

28. The Frapuccino

Only 22 years old and already a cultural icon.

27. The Addy Doll

Ever wonder what the longest-running American girl dolls is? I googled. It’s Addy. She’s under 30, but also kind of 160-ish, and I’m glad she got that dress she wanted for Christmas.

26.  AIM

AKA, AOL Instant Messenger. I am not surprised that it went caput this year after 20 years, but I am surprised that it was released in 1997: it went from nothing to ubiquitous over the course of my sixth grade school year.

25. The Chicken Pox Vaccine

Can you believe it, fellow elder Millennials? Parents no longer have to arrange the Worst Playdate Ever so that their kids can catch Chicken Pox on purpose. There’s a vaccine for that, and has been since 1995.

That means that half of the people on the real 30 Under 30 lists ALSO never had to get chicken pox, which makes me happy for them, but also kind of begrudge them even more.

24. Smart Phones

The order of this list makes no sense. Pay no mind. Point is, smart phones have given so much more to our universe than all of the other 10-year-olds who haven’t appeared on Stranger Things.

23. Once On This Island

The musical Once On This Island is pretty great, and it’s getting a revival, AND with a 1990 debut, it’s under 30 years old.

22. Text Messages

If you’re not really a calling-people-person, text messages are the greatest invention since Alexander Graham Bell ruined our peace and quiet by inventing the telephone. The text has been around since 1992 but didn’t catch on big-time until the early 2000s.

21. Online Bill Pay

I just think I would be really stressed out if I was constantly sending paper checks through the mail.

20. MP3s

First we lived through clunky Walkmen that never picked up radio stations, trying in vain to time your fast-forward to get to your favorite song. Then we upgraded to the Diskman, which skipped constantly and ate batteries like zombies eat brains. The MP3, invented in 1998, still feels like a little digital miracle.

19. The album Emotion by Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly is over 30 but the purest pop album of the 2010s is not.

18. The Rachel

The haircut The Rachel turned 20 a while back. It was not great looking but it is always a solid pop-culture reference.

I know I could have just put the show Friends on the list but that’s not really how things are going.

17. Movie Rental Kiosks

I know we’re having a cultural moment where it’s trendy to miss Blockbuster – and it was fun there! they even had overpriced movie theater candy in boxes! – but remember when movie rental kiosks like Redbox came onto the scene and you could rent movies for a dollar a day?

16. Netflix

Speaking of which.

15. – 6. [Reserved]

Not to pull back the curtain on you or anything, but my laptop broke and I’ve been typing this draft in Notes on my phone.  I’m a senior book editor in real life and I’m going to take a page from my authors, who will mark whole blocks as [Reserved] when they actually just didn’t get around to writing anything. I’m onto you, guys. It’s a cute trick.

5. The Marriage Of Barack and Michelle Obama

This marriage is 25 years old and it’s by far my favorite under-30-year-old marriage.

4. Babies, Generally

Babies, who are always under 30, are super cute and have not developed the capability to let us down, unlike practically everybody else in 2017. Go babies.

3. The World Wide Web

I remember what it was like having to find out everything using the yellow pages, a card catalog, my parents’ 1976 encyclopedia set, and conversation. It was AWFUL. A world of information at your fingertips is truly extraordinary, and it’s only been around since 1990.

2. Almost Every Living Cat

I’m not even trying to make this a cat person-dog person thing, it’s just that cats thrive on resentment and they’ll get more joy out of this than being number 1.

There are a few 31-year-old cats who have to be judged against the rest of us over-30-year-olds.

1.Every Living Dog

I’m older than every dog alive, guys.

Reaction GIFs Cannot Express How Much I’ll Miss The Mindy Project

After 6 seasons, we’re saying goodbye to Mindy Lahiri tomorrow. Last week on the penultimate episode, Mindy said something that really spoke to me, and I’m assuming spoke to a lot of you internet users too:

When reaction GIFs cannot express a feeling, you know it’s really bad.

In the years we’ve been welcomed into Mindy Lahiri’s life, we’ve seen a character that’s rarely represented on TV. She’s unapologetic, candid, a hopeless romantic, self-centered, delusional, incredulous, truthful, brash, audacious and likable all at the same time. She’s the type of person whose personality is borderline offensive, but you find her so endearing that you compartmentalize and don’t actually care. That credit all goes to the writing staff including Mindy Kaling, whose own Twitter presence and memoirs resonate so much (with young women in particular) that they feel a connection with her in a different way than other celebrities. The type of connection that spurs shirts like this one, despite how concerning the message on it is. That same voice that Mindy Kaling found for herself is similar to the one she found in Mindy Lahiri – it’s satisfyingly unique and makes us feel like we get each other on a deep level.

That’s what we’ll miss most about this show. Knowing there’s someone else who says the things you sometimes wish you could say but never have the courage to. Or does things you thought you only did. No reaction GIF can express that feeling enough.

Which is why I’m honoring Mindy and The Mindy Project with a lot of GIFs. GIFs that show exactly why we do and don’t want to be like Mindy and properly represent the rarified air she’s occupied for the past six seasons. Thank you for everything. Your legacy lives on in our hearts and the interwebs. Later, baby.

 

And just because I’ll miss him too:

Fall Memes Make Me Feel Fine: Me On Election Day 2016 vs. 2017

Election Day 2016 was a year ago today. A year that felt like walking uphill through knee-high mud that’s like 50% sewage and every time you start to make progress more orange mud slides down but you keep going and then the mud starts tweeting at you. On November 8, we were sweet summer children who looked like Shirley Temple and now we all look like Norman Bates’s mom in Psycho.

It’s been a year.

But here, let’s let my favorite election meme of the year – Me On Election Day 2016 vs. Me On Election Day 2017 – tell the tale:

I’m always here for Sissy Spacek, is all.

Like Eleven in season 2 of Stranger Things, this has been the journey from pretty to bitchin’.

They’re not all going to be ’70s/’80s themed, but we are all sweet innocent baby Drew Barrymore vs. Firestarter Drew Barrymore, right.

I think this is my favorite: a classic portrait of Jesus painted by a renaissance master vs: the work of an elderly Spanish woman with a lot of ambition and zero face-drawing skills.

Election night 2016 was (Good Place season 1 spoiler!) that moment when you find out you were really in hell all along.

And here I thought punching Nazis was just a thing my grandpas got to do in World War II.

I saw Triumphant Peggy (Mad Men) vs Handmaid June (The Handmaid’s Tale) as a 2016 vs 2017 comparison earlier this year, but it’s perfect for election day.

I love the ones that paint our 2017 Election Day as badass superheroes but sometimes it’s more like Sad Andy Dwyer.

We should have learned not to make jubilant predictions from Titanic, right?

What I don’t want lost in the above is that I LOVE Britney Spears and think 2007 Britney, in hindsight, was awesome.

One more Stranger Things one? #WinoForever

It wouldn’t be us if there wasn’t an Orphan Black reference. 2016: Alison Hendrix. 2017: a blood-splattered Helena.

In Jessie Spano speak, 2016: I’m so excited. 2017: I’m so scared.

Sidebar: I WISH I had been Canadian on Election Day 2016.

For my fellow Old People: From Gidget to Norma Rae.

I’m 31 and feel personally attacked.

You don’t know how long I searched for Chilton-era Rory Gilmore vs Handmaid’s Tale Alexis Bledel.

Fun fact, you can pick any two images of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, from Seinfeld, Veep, or both, and they will work for this.

I should have known hooded Kermit would make an appearance; I’m sure tea-sipping Kermit is out there somewhere on Twitter, too.

 

 

A Letter To My Past Self (On November 7th, 2016)

To: Past Self (November 7th, 2016)
From: Current Self (November 7th, 2017)

Tomorrow is Election Day. It’s the day the world has been anticipating for months years. Countless debates, a tough primary, campaign appearances left and right: it’s all coming to a head tomorrow. But tomorrow – prepare for the worst.

Prepare yourself for the unimaginable. Prepare yourself to see a divided America like never before. Prepare yourself to be constantly shocked but not surprised by what the next four years can bring. Prepare yourself for an election night you’ll never forget.

You’ll see the numbers start trickling in. You’ll get so nervous you’ll start watching The West Wing for comfort. You will think that all the media outlets have made an accounting error. You’ll wait for them to come back like Steve Harvey admitting he crowned the wrong woman Miss Universe. You’ll start to wonder if the electoral college should be a process we should still adhere to when the person with the popular vote loses. You’ll never get over the 3 million more votes. You’ll dread every time you scroll past your Tumblr draft of Lorelai saying, “See you when Hillary’s president” because you were saving that for when she actually was elected president. You will ugly cry. You’ll feel like throwing up (it’s not food poisoning, it’s America). You will feel like you’re in a nightmare. That feeling might never end. It’s not a night you’ll particularly want to revisit ever again.

Wednesday will not be a good day. Going to work will feel like going to a funeral. It will be eerily quiet. Thursday and Friday won’t be good either. For that matter, neither will Saturday, Sunday or the following week. You’ll go through the five stages of grief (even though acceptance might never be complete).

You will see the worst in people. You’ll see the worst in people that you hoped would never happen but does. It will happen immediately. Like within 24 hours immediately. You’ll see stories of DT voters yelling at strangers to “get out of the country, Apu”,  his name graffittied on the door of the Muslim Students Association at NYU, and two white male college students driving to Hillary’s alma mater Wellesley & parking outside a house for black students, yelling Make America Great Again. And it won’t stop.

In fact, you’ll see the KKK decide not to hide behind their white shrouds anymore and lead a march with tiki torches, resulting in the death of a protestor. You continue to ask if it’s still 2017 or 1957. The term “on many sides” will have a new meaning after this event.

So many bad things will happen that even when you try to track it all, you can’t. There will be a Muslim travel ban. A ban against transgendered people from joining the military. Denial of climate change by promising to pull out of the Paris accord. A threat of “fire and fury” on North Korea. He & the Republicans will confirm a Supreme Court Justice all thanks to the Senate deciding to change the law in their favor. He’ll encourage police brutality. He’ll bully the mayor of San Juan and continue to ignore Americans in Puerto Rico. Russia. To name a few.

It will get so bad you’ll actually get nostalgic about George Bush and reconsider if Mitt Romney’s “binders of women” was actually just an adorable joke and nothing more.

But the thing is, you’ll also see the best in people. You’ll see strangers come together in a Burbank park the day after the election to talk about their emotions and eager to take action. You’ll never call or contact your representatives in D.C. as much as you will after this day. You’ll have some of them on speed dial. The term “She Persisted” becomes a new slogan for women. You’ll learn that because of the results of this election, thousands of women will be inspired to run for public office and serve within their own communities. Organizations like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU will receive unprecedented donations (some made in VP Mike Pence’s name). You’ll see brave people stepping up and defending strangers against bigots, with some even losing their lives to fight back.

The day after the inauguration, you’ll see millions of women, men, and children across the country come together in unity to advocate for equality. And not just in America, but all over the world, with 5 million people taking a stand against hate and standing for love. But the activism doesn’t stop there. Grab a sign and go to the airport. March for science. March for impeachment. Weekends are busy because Protest is the New Brunch.

Just like Pearl Harbor or 9/11, those who lived through Election Day 2016 will never forget it. Nor will they think they’re the same before and after those official results came in. And neither will you. You’ll wake up every morning for the next 365 days (and probably until his entire administration is out of office) and check the Twitter trends to see what fresh hell awaits you. But remember to never sit back and watch it all unfold. Do something. Encourage others to fight the too. And most importantly, don’t give up hope. Hope that our country actually will be great, but it’s up to us to achieve that.

To take a page out of the Obama Speech Archive: “I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.”

Fight. Insist. Resist.