One Last Time: Obama and Kids

Think about this: for a whole generation of children, President Barack Obama is the only president they can remember. They’ve only known a president grounded in goodwill, diplomacy and belief in the possibility of change and progress. As long as these children have been aware of it, their president has been black. Eight years isn’t much to us as adults, but for a child it’s a lifetime. These children have spent a lifetime knowing that it’s possible for a child of any race to grow up to be president – if you can see it, you can be it.

One of the best insights into President Obama’s character comes when he interacts with children. I’d say that’s one of the best ways to get a look at anybody’s character. Not everybody is a “kid person,” but it says a lot when an adult regards a child as a full person. This means listening, regarding their opinions as important and valid, and seeing the humanity in a person who has only been walking this earth for a handful of years. President Obama listens to kids and meets their gaze at their level: this is important. President Obama’s interactions with children also show his sense of fun and spontaneity – he is more interested in playing and having a good time than in appearing stoic or dignified. Most of the others-centered people I have known share this quality. They are fully present with whoever is in the room, child or adult, and are more tuned into that experience than how they are perceived.

All that to say: President Obama is a great guy. We are thrilled that today’s children have grown up with him as their president. Also, he’s adorable with kids. Here are some of our favorite Obama and kids moments:

May 8, 2009 “A temporary White House staffer, Carlton Philadelphia, brought his family to the Oval Office for a farewell photo with President Obama. Carlton’s son softly told the President he had just gotten a haircut like President Obama, and asked if he could feel the President’s head to see if it felt the same as his.”

President Obama with the son of White House staffer Carlton Philadelphia. May, 2009.

This little guy told Barry he had gotten a haircut just like the President, and asked if he could feel his head to see if it felt the same as his. This photo has become one of the most iconic snapshots of Barack’s administration, and is the perfect example of how much of a role model he’s been to kids around the country, and the world.

Students show their excitement at meeting President Barack Obama during his visit to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School in New Orleans, La., Oct. 15, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama greets students at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School in New Orleans. October, 2009.

Joy. Just pure joy.

President Barack Obama plays with his niece Savita during the family’s vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, Aug. 25 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama with his niece Savita in Martha’s Vineyard, August, 2009.

I always forget Barack has a half-sister that’s Indonesian, and she’s married to a full Chinese dude, which is why Barack’s niece is the most Asian. #America

Feb. 5, 2011

Barack filling in as coach for Sasha’s basketball team, February, 2011.

When two of the coaches for your kid’s basketball team have to bail last minute, you ask the other kids’ parents if they can fill in. And one of the volunteers happens to be the President of the United States. Barack and his then personal aide, Reggie Love pull out their coach hats and playbooks and here they are cheering on the girls’ team from the sidelines. Super normal.

President Barack Obama holds up four-month-old Alia Jawando as her father, William Jawando, Deputy Associate Director of Public Engagement, and her mother Michele look on in the Oval Office, March 9, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama holds up four-month old Alia Jawando, whose father William was the Deputy Associate Director of Public Engagement. March, 2011.

*NANTS INGONYAMA BAGITHI BABA*

President Barack Obama greets children at a day care facility adjacent to daughter Sasha’s school in Bethesda, Md., following her 4th grade closing ceremony, June 9, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama greets kids at a day care in Bethseda, Maryland. June, 2011.

This was just a stop along Barack’s journey that day, as he had attended Sasha’s 4th grade closing ceremony just next door. But I love the faces of these kinder who have no idea that they’re face to face with the President. Years from now, they’ll look back in awe that they were that close to our of our country’s greatest leaders.

Feb. 1, 2012 “Lawrence Jackson captured this cute photograph of the President holding Arianna Holmes, 3, before taking a departure photo with members of her family in the Oval Office.” (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Obama holding three-year-old Arianna Holmes in the Oval Office. February, 2012

As Barack looks at Abraham Lincoln before him, I look at little Arianna thinking, “Same, girl. Same.”

President Barack Obama runs around his desk in the Oval Office with Sarah Froman, daughter of Nancy Goodman and Mike Froman, Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics, July 9, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama runs around the Oval with Sarah, daughter of Mike Froman, Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics. July, 2012.

One of the many things I appreciated about Barack and Michelle is that they brought youth both physically and in their spirits back into the White House. It’s been a hot second since we’ve seen a POTUS running around chasing a tot in the Oval Office.

President Barack Obama signs a photograph as he greets people on the tarmac upon arrival at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans, La., July 25, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama signs a photograph for a young man at the New Orleans, airport. July, 2012.

What a wonderful thing to see yourself in your role model.

The President takes a hit from Spider-Man. October, 2012

Another iconic shot taken by official White House photographer Pete Souza (most of these photos are by him), in which Nicholas Tamarin, 3, slings his web after trick-or-treating in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with his father, WH aide Nate Tamarin. Yet again, it shows the playfulness and joy President Obama has around kids, which might be why he now has this photo hanging in the West Wing.

December 16, 2012

President Obama poses with the family of Emilie Parker, one of the 20 children killed in Newtown. December, 2012

President Obama has called the day the Newtown shooting occurred the worst day of his presidency, and two days after it happened, he visited the victims’ families and to give a speech at a prayer vigil. He spent hours speaking with them, and this photo was taken with the siblings and cousins of Emile, who died in the massacre. The President was able to find a moment to smile in the midst of a horrifying tragedy, and it’s all because he has hope for a bright future of these children.

The President with Robby Novak aka Kid President. April, 2013.

Remember when we all met Kid President for the first time and he shared his inspirational words with us?

June 14, 2013 “The President called me over to pose for a photo with a young boy who had fallen asleep during the Father’s Day ice cream social in the State Dining Room of the White House.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Father’s Day ice cream social. June, 2013

When you at the White House for a once-in-a-lifetime event but you mad tired because your mom made you get up at the buttcrack of dawn to get ready.

April 4, 2014 “Despite the haphazard framing, I love the expressions on the President and one-year-old Lincoln Rose Smith as she learns to walk in the Oval Office. This moment happened when former Deputy Press Secretary Jamie Smith and her family stopped by for a departure greet and photograph with the President.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Lincoln Rose, daughter of former Deputy Press Secretary Jamie Smith, learns how to walk with the help of President Obama. April, 2014

So much happiness from both of these adorable humans.

September 19, 2013

President Obama writes an excuse for five-year-old Alanah Poullard, who skipped school to visit the White House. September, 2013

Alanah skipped Kindergarten for the day to attend an event for Wounded Warriors and their families, and personally asked the President to write her the note. This child is me. I am this child.

President Obama meets with students at an elementary school at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. September, 2014

Barry specifically said, “Don’t make rabbit ears” so obviously it was Opposite Day and these kids did it anyways. Please also note the girl to his right, who is just clutching on to him as if he’s her uncle. That’s the kind of person we want in the White House.

President Barack Obama and a young boy point at each other as the President greets Marine personnel and their families at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama greets a young boy at the Marine Corps base Hawaii on Christmas Day, 2014

“Hey, I recognize you from the TV!”

President Barack Obama holds a baby during a U.S. Embassy meet and greet in Kingston, Jamaica, April 8, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

A baby grabs a hold of President Obama’s face in Kingston, Jamaica. April, 2015.

It’s cute when a baby does it, but if I did this I’d be tackled by Secret Service. Probs worth it.

President Obama gets to the level of baby Ella, daughter of Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, June, 2015. [Pete Souza]

President Obama gets to the level of baby Ella, daughter of Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, June, 2015.

Who doesn’t love tummy time in the Oval on top of the Presidential seal? Bonus: here’s a pic of Barry calling Ben when baby Ella was born in 2014. I mean. Literal precious moments.

June 17, 2015 “The President carries the twin boys of Katie Beirne Fallon, Director of Legislative Affairs, into the Oval Office just a few months after they were born.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Double trouble with the twin sons of Katie Beirne Fallon, Director of Legislative Affairs. June, 2015.

Tag yourself I’m the crying mom in the background, despite not knowing these children at all.

July 17, 2015 “The President greets nine-month-old Josephine Gronniger, whose father, Tim Gronniger, brought his family by the Oval Office for a family photo.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama has a mind meld with nine-month-old Josephine Gronniger. July, 2015.

I bet President Obama’s going to be the dad who keeps asking Sasha and Malia to have kids when they’re older so he can have grandbabies.

Sept. 21, 2015 “The President exchanges a wave with Alya Dorelien Bitar, one-year-old daughter of Maher Bitar, the outgoing National Security Council Director for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs, and his wife, Astrid Dorelien, during a family photo in the Oval Office.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Happy baby Alya Dorelien Bitar, one-year-old daughter of Maher Bitar, the outgoing National Security Council Director for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs, waves hello to the President. September, 2015.

I said hey what’s up hello.

President Obama plays with lucky baby Ella Rhodes in her Halloween costume. October, 2015.

Ella Rhodes, possibly the luckiest baby in the White House?

Dec. 4, 2015 “The President snuggles with his niece Savita Ng after his sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, and her family dropped by the Oval Office.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Hey remember Barack’s niece Savita from earlier? Yeah this is her. December, 2015

Like Sasha and Malia, Savita also grew up a lot during the course of her uncle’s tenure in the White House. And yet again, he reminds us that his family is American in the truest sense of the word.

Dec. 4, 2015 “The President acquiesced to a selfie with 11-year-old Jacob Haynes and four-year-old James Haynes after taking a family photograph with departing White House staffer Heather Foster.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Jacob Haynes, 11, snaps a selfie with the President as he holds Jacob’s four-year-old brother. December, 2015

But first – let me take a selfie (is that reference dated).

President Obama meets with Prince William and Princess Kate, and is introduced to Prince George, April 2016. [Pete Souza]

President Obama meets with Prince William and Princess Kate, and is introduced to Prince George. April 2016.

Prince George is too cool to suit up for Barry and decided to wear his daytime loungewear instead (I think he was actually about to take a nap).

April 14, 2016 “The President is always asking staff to bring their babies and young kids by for a visit. Here, during a break between meetings one afternoon, the President crawled around in the Oval Office with Communications Director Jen Psaki’s daughter Vivi.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President spends a break between meetings with Communications Director Jen Psaki’s daughter Vivi. April, 2016.

Just think about all the children who have crawled around the Oval with the President and how they’ve been blessed with his presence.

President Obama embraces eight-year-old Amariyanna Copeny, who wrote him a letter asking him to visit her hometown of Flint, Michigan as they battle the devastating water crisis and what she's doing to help. For a fun comparison, this is Amariyanna (also Little Miss Flint) meeting President-Elect T*ump.

President Obama embraces eight-year-old Amariyanna Copeny. May 2016.

Amariyanna wrote President Obama a letter asking him to visit her hometown of Flint, Michigan as they battle the devastating water crisis and what she’s doing to help. For a fun comparison, this is Amariyanna (also Little Miss Flint) meeting President-Elect T*ump.

Feb. 18, 2016 “I had my eye on this youngster while President Barack Obama spoke during a reception at the White House celebrating African American History Month. When the President starting greeting audience members along the rope line, I bent down in front of the young man and captured this moment of the President touching his face before he too bent down to greet him. Afterwards, I tracked down his name — Clark Reynolds — and had the President sign a copy for him.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama says hello to a young Clark Reynolds during an event for African-American History Month. February, 2016

Again, President Obama has of course been a role model to all children who have only known him to be the POTUS, but he’s especially been an iconic figure for many black children and teens who may not feel like they have a place in the American society. To see someone of such power that they can see a little of him in themselves is a moving and magical thing. *After this picture was taken by WH photog Pete Souza, he tracked down Clark’s name and had the President sign a copy for the tot to have.

June 22, 2016 “The great thing about children is you just don’t know what they will do in the presence of the President. So when David Axelrod stopped by the Oval Office with one of his sons’ family, Axe’s granddaughter, Maelin, crawled onto the Vice President’s seat while the President continued his conversation with the adults. Then at one point, Maelin glanced over just as the President was looking back at her.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

David Axelrod’s granddaughter casually crashes one of President Obama’s meetings. June, 2016

Isn’t it weird to think that for the kids whose parents work in the White House that it’s totally the norm they could run into the President of the United States? This pic was taken when former Obama campaign strategist Axelrod stopped by to speak with Barack, and in a pause from the conversation with the adults, he looked over to see little Maelin sitting in VP Joe Biden’s chair. Casually eating an apple because, Michelle.

Oct. 31, 2016 “The President was about to welcome local children for Halloween trick-or-treating when he ran into Superman Walker Earnest, son of Press Secretary Josh Earnest, in the Ground Floor Corridor of the White House. ‘Flex those muscles,’ he said to Walker.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President meets another superhero on Halloween. October, 2016

One of the best events to look at videos from is the annual Halloween parade, and last year, the President ran into Superman aka Walker Earnest, son ofPress Secretary Josh Earnest,. What happened is the most adorable thing that will leave your ovaries in pain. Watch here.

Nov. 8, 2016 “The President had just walked in from the dining room and sitting on the floor in the Oval Office was Evelyn ‘Evie’ Cushman, daughter of Chase Cushman, Director of Scheduling and Advance. He immediately dropped down to his hands and knees and began tossing a ball back and forth with her.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama spends part of Election Day with Evelyn ‘Evie’ Cushman, daughter of Chase Cushman, Director of Scheduling and Advance. November, 2016

Barack spends more time on the floor of the Oval with kids than the President-Elect has lawsuit against him. And that’s a lot. If I had the option to play around on the floor with a tot on Election Day, I would be doing this instead of work too.

Nov. 10, 2016 “A good respite from the day after the election was the visit of Alex Myteberi. The six-year-old boy from New York had written a letter to President Obama after seeing a heart-breaking photograph of Syrian refugee Omran Daqneesh sitting silently in an ambulance, covered in blood and dust, after an air strike on Aleppo. In his letter, Alex wrote to the President: ‘Can you please go get him and bring him to my home. We’ll be waiting for you guys with flags, flowers, and balloons. We will give him a family and he will be our brother. The President was so touched by the letter that he read excerpts from it at the United Nations in September. Alex and his family were invited to the Oval Office so the President could tell him in person how much the letter had meant to him.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Six-year-old Alex Myteberi meets with the President after writing a letter asking him to help a young Syrian refugee. November, 2016.

You’ve seen that heartbreaking photo of a young Syrian refugee covered in blood and dust after an air strike in Aleppo. So did Alex. He decided to write to President Obama asking him to help the refugee and bring him to his home in Scarsdale, New York so he could be their new brother. The President read the letter, invited Alex and his family to the White House and even read excerpts from the letter in a speech at the UN. If you’re in the mood for crying (or even if you’re not) watch Alex’s story here.

One Last Time: Obama Week

We’re in the final stretch of President Barack Obama’s presidency, and since we’ve been transparent about our feelings about the election and the future of our country over the past year or so, why stop there? We’re dedicating all next week – the days leading up to the President’s final day in office – to a leader we’ve admired, respected, and genuinely loved over the past eight years. Join us as we take a look back at some of our favorite moments between him and the First Lady, VP Joe Biden, and everyday Americans. Needless to say, we’ll miss you Barry. #ThanksObama

If I say goodbye, the nation learns to move on
It outlives me when I’m gone
Like the scripture says:
“Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid.”
They’ll be safe in the nation we’ve made
I wanna sit under my own vine and fig tree
A moment alone in the shade
At home in this nation we’ve made
One last time

Songs from 2016 That Need To Stay In 2016

2016 was a shitshow of a year in many ways – in all the ways, really. From entertainment to politics to social injustice, it really wasn’t the best of times. And that goes for music too. Every year we make January’s playlist a collection of songs that we think should stay in the previous year, but for some reason, this playlist came a little too easily to come up with.

Traci’s Picks

The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey – Closer

The Chainsmokers – A) I don’t care for their name. B) I don’t care for their music. C) This song is not good. I had to put it on mute when they performed it live on the VMAs.

Lukas Graham – 7 Years

Fact: Lukas Graham is a band, not a singular person. Other fact: I don’t like this song that’s supposed to ring nostalgic but is just grating on my ears as an old person.

Mike Posner – I Took A Pill in Ibiza

For the record, I thought this song and Lukas Graham’s song were the same thing. They’re not. Also, I don’t care what you did on the party island of Ibiza, rich white man.

twenty one pilots – Stressed Out

Twenty one pilots seemingly came out of nowhere, right? Or am I just that not in touch with the youth these days? They were the musical guest when Lin hosted SNL, I know that. Anyways, this song reminds me of the early 2000s era Good Charlotte types, which I wasn’t into, and I’m still not into now. I feel like I’m starting to sound like an Ethel with this post, guys.

Panda – Desiigner

This is one of those songs that’s semi-ok during the chorus and then the repetition makes you want to bang your head against the wall. Also have you ever heard Desiigner (sic) speak IRL? It’s not the greatest.

Molly’s Picks

Rihanna feat. Drake – Work

I like Rihanna, I like Drake, I even pretty much like this song. But after months on end of hearing “work work work work work work” it has taken up residence in my brain and I want it gone. By 2019 or so it’ll be a fun throwback, but I need a break break break break break break.

Flo Rida – My House

At first I thought it was refreshing that a top 40 hit was just about hospitality, offering friends a drink, and staying in. I still think that, but as with work, I just can’t hear this again for a while.

Fifth Harmony – Work From Home

I think the combo of this song and Work are the reason the word ‘work’ is stuck in my head roughly half the time these days. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my off hours.

G-Eazy x Bebe Rexha Me, Myself & I

This one’s fine, more or less. But I didn’t even realize it was a new song until it had been out for months because it reminded me of so many other songs that have come out in the past several years, and no hard feelings, but this one can live in 2016.

Meghan Trainor – Me Too

Meghan seems like a nice girl, some of her songs are very catchy, but I don’t think even SHE is sold on this one.

Best ___ Of 2016: Some Really Specific Superlatives

Well folks, here we are. The flaming dumpster fire that was 2016 is over, and we’re all here in 2017 hoping it can’t get worse than last year. But there were some good things that come out of 2016, and just like last year, we’re highlighting a few super specific things we loved from 2016, that don’t necessarily fit into any general Best of categories.

Best 2000s television reunion of 2016: Gilmore Girls

Ironically, Gilmore Girls also made our Best of 2015 Superlatives list, but this time it’s for an entirely different reason. The show made a big splash in pop culture ever since the revival was announced back in 2015, and the hype was at a high this year, crawling back into the zeigesit in the weeks leading up to ThanksGilmore (we were guilty too). But as OG Gilmore fans, we had been waiting nine years to find out how Amy Sherman-Palladino wanted to end her series the way she truly wanted. When the four episodes dropped that fateful Friday, we were transported back into the world of all things Gilmore – where the town weirdo runs a janky Ooober service, the locals have to hide a secret bar from the selectman, and the phrase “I smell snow” elicits very real emotions that induce crying. For us, this feeling of comfort – of feeling back how in Stars Hollow – was what we wanted from the revival. While it did produce the perfect example of Your Fave Is Problematic #RoryGilmore, overall, we were so glad to have those adorable Gilmore girls back in our lives once again.

Best Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Cameo of 2016: Parenthood Cast (as a whole)

Speaking of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, there were many a cameo throughout all four mini-movies that made me squeal with glee. But none more so than three very special appearances from Lauren Graham’s other TV family, the Bravermans. First, we knew her Parenhootd daughter Mae Whitman was going to be in the revival, but seeing her interact with Lorelai Gilmore and not Sarah Braverman made our hearts explode, but the fact that she always interacted with Rory?! Our brains explode too. And then came summer, when I lit’rally screamed out loud after seeing Jason Ritter pop up as the park ranger. MARK CYR FOREVER AND ALWAYS. And THENNN Peter Krause aka Adam Braverman aka Mr. Lauren Graham as park ranger two?! I DIE. I DIED. Thanks, 2016.

Best Ham4Ham performance of 2016: The Hamilton Mixtape

I feel like it’s unfair to call this a #Ham4Ham, but the Hamilton officials called it that, so we’ll go with it. HamFams have been waiting about a year to hear the mixtape that Lin had been promising, and boy it did not disappoint. In the most epic release party, they held a #Ham4Ham inside the Richard Rodgers, with a few artists from the mixtape doing live performances of their Hamilton covers. AND it was live streamed for the interwebs. The Roots, Regina Spektor, Andra Day and Ashanti and Ja Rule + more – it was “LIT AF” as the kids say. I got emotional (like I usually do) watching it, realizing that this joining of forces between contemporary artists singing Broadway covers on a Broadway stage opens the doors for so many more people to be introduced to theater in a brand new way. It’s the way life and art should be – accessible and enjoyed by every one.

Best Hamilton Happy Trails of 2016: July 9th, 2016

Hamilton may have opened in 2015, but it reached a fever pitch in 2016. A month after winning 11 Tonys, four of the OG cast members, Phillipa Soo, Leslie Odom Jr., Ariana DeBose and the maestro himself, Lin-Manuel Miranda, took their final bows. Saying goodbye to one OBC actor is hard enough, but four is even more difficult if you’re HamilTrash. Luckily, a live stream was provided and we were able to watch as their tears synced with our own. The kicker? Alex Lacamoire stealthily adding in The West Wing theme for number one fan Lin (I lit’rally just rewatched that on mute and I’m STILL crying over Chris Jackson pushing Lin back out to take his own bow).

Best Beyonce Live Performance of 2016: MTV VMAs

Beyonce was one of the shining lights of 2016 thanks to her kind of surprise album drop with Lemonade, but what made it epic was the entire HBO movie special she made as a vehicle for the new music. After going on her Formation tour (equally epic), she blessed us with a 20 minute performance of Lemonade on the VMAs. God. Is. Good.

Best Michelle Obama Speech of 2016: Democratic National Convention

We’re really going to miss all the Obamas, but Michelle has been such an inspiration to all women (and humans) during her reign as first lady. She is poised, classy, articulate, smart, compassionate, caring, funny, etc. etc. And while giving her speech at the DNC this summer to show support for HRC, she yet again left us in awe and tears, but mostly left us with something to aspire to – when they go low, we go high.

Best Carpool Karaoke of 2016: Adele

In what is arguably his best carpool karaoke yet, James Corden’s ride along with Adele has raked in over 143 million views since it was released last January, and it’s obvious why. Maybe because I’ve accounted for at least 43 million of those? Nah, probs because Adele is a badd ass bitch who raps Nick Minaj better than Nicki Minaj.

Best Political SNL Sketch of 2016: Hallelujah

The Worst Week of 2016 aka Election Week ended with the great Leonard Cohen dying (because #2016), and in what was reminiscent of the way they handled the first ep back after 9/11, SNL knew exactly how to bring meloncholy and levity to homes across the U.S., by having the wonderful Kate McKinnon, as Hillary Clinton, sing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Cue the tears.

Honorable MentionsMelaniade, Hillary Actually, Voters for Trump, Black Jeopardy with Tom Hanks, A Day Off (KellyAnne Conway)

Best SNL Non-Political Sketch of 2016: Haunted Elevator

Any questions?

Honorable Mentions: Christmas Candle, Crucible Cast Party, Wells for BoysTidal, Supermarket Spree (Cut for Time – ft. host Melissa McCarthy)

Best Mannequin Challenge of 2016: Black Lives Matter

I’m over the mannequin challenge (I was never under it), but this one was worth all the other silliness from everyone else.

Best Obama Girls Moment Of 2016: The Ryan Reynolds Double Thumbs Up

In this moment, I am somehow able to imagine what it would be like to be both a teenager attending my first state dinner and talking with a handsome male movie star, and the big sister of a teenager attending her first state dinner and talking with a handsome male movies star. Meet our era’s Schuyler sisters.

Best Bill Clinton Moment of 2016: Bill and Balloons

Forget what came after for a moment and just focus on Bill Clinton, the man who served as leader of the free world for eight years, still getting a kick out of balloons … and even more of a kick out of his wife’s presidential bid.

Honorable Mention: When you could see Bill mouth the words “that’s my girl” during Hillary’s concession speech, or his death grip on Chelsea’s husband during Chelsea’s speech at the DNC. You know what? They’re all winners.

Best Olympics Moment of 2016: Michael Phelps’ One Last Timerio-olympics-michael-phelps-39d4425bd7852cb5

It feels like so long ago now, but 2016 was a Summer Olympics year, our favorite TV/sporting spectacle and feel-good obsession. Nobody made us prouder to be Americans that golden boy Michael Phelps, who did his last Olympics right by earning his 23rd gold medal.

Honorable Mentions: So many! The Final Five’s overall brilliance – how much do we love Simone and Laurie?! – and Katie Ledecky’s astonishing performance, and the US and NZ runners who helped each other finish after crashing on the track … we could keep going.

Best children’s movie for adults of 2016: Zootopia

Zootopia was great: funny, clever, touching, and with a really beautiful and necessary message. I went with kids, but I would have gone as a single adult just as proudly.

Honorable Mention: The Secret Life Of Pets

Best new Netflix series – drama of 2016: Stranger Things

Stranger Things gripped audiences nationwide with its loving tribute to the 80s horror/children’s adventure film, but it did it in a singularly modern way as a short, streaming series. The series spawned memes, catchphrases, national sweethearts (Barb!), a whole lot of Halloween costumes, and the coolest troop of child actors around.

Honorable Mentions: The OA (possibly my best, but I’m only halfway through it); The Get Down

Best new Netflix series – documentary of 2016: 13th

It’s not exactly a secret that Ava Duvernay is a fantastic filmmaker, but she did something really special with 13th. She took an issue most Americans who are paying attention already knew about – the consistent and disproportional incarceration of black men used as a type of modern servitude in the prison industrial complex – and presented it in a clear, gripping, impossible-to-ignore way.

Best New TV Series That Your Mom Would Like Too of 2016: This Is Us

We love This Is Us. So do most of our friends (30-somethings). So do a lot of older baby boomers we know. This series appeals to the nostalgia of young(-ish) adults who grew up in the 70s –  90s, as well as their parents who were raising kids at that time. It’s not a cheap nostalgia trip, though. This Is Us is a relatable and incredibly touching family story for anyone who has siblings, or parents, or feelings. Plus, let’s not forget how they hooked us all in with that twist in the pilot.

Best Silly Meme of 2016: Arthur Fist 

Speaking of relatable, Arthur’s balled-up fist is relevant to as many life situations in 2016 as it was when you were 10.

Golden Globes 2017 – Best Dressed

Annddd we’re back! Not only with new content for 2017, but content that includes our annual kick off to awards season with the Golden Globes! Last night saw some good times (Meryl Streep! Donald Glover!) and bad times (y’all see Hidden Fences?), but as always, we kept an eye on the fashion. Here are some of our faves from the 2017 Golden Globes.

Best Dressed

Molly’s Picks

Emma Stone in Valentino Haute Couture

Every year, we debate over contributing our true top picks and making sure that we don't have any repeats because there are plenty of gorgeous gowns to go around. And just about every year, we end up with one gown that neither of us can, in good conscience, leave off of our list. This time it's Emma Stone, a city of stars unto herself. I love the soft champagne color, the crenelated skirt (so 20s and 30s! so perfect for this role, in particular), and the understated hair, makeup and jewelry. Emma almost always makes our best list, and I'm thrilled she'll be on every red carpet this year because I think she's positively refreshing, both in her exquisite fashion picks and in her laid-back but kind personality.

Every year, we debate whether to contribute our true top picks or make sure that we don’t have any repeats, because there are plenty of gorgeous gowns to go around. And just about every year, we end up with one gown that neither of us can, in good conscience, leave off of our list. This time it’s Emma Stone, a city of stars unto herself. I love the soft champagne color, the crenelated skirt (so 20s and 30s! so perfect for this role, in particular), and the understated hair, makeup and jewelry. Emma almost always makes our best list, and I’m thrilled she’ll be on every red carpet this year because I think she’s positively refreshing, both in her exquisite fashion picks and in her laid-back but kind personality.

 

Natalie Portman in Prada

While my picks after Emma Stone follow in no particular order, I had to make sure Natalie Portman was on my best dressed list somewhere, if only because I was a bit confused by the dislike for this gown. Maternity fashion is tricky: go to bulky and you'll just look oddly shaped instead of pregnant; some go all the way the other direction but I always find skin-tight or crop-tops on pregnant woman to look uncomfortable. I like that Natalie chose a middle approach: tailored, crisp and cheerful, with a 60s boatneck vibe as a tribute to the one and only Jackie O. The feathery beading and midi sleeves made this feel like something I'd imagine a pregnant Audrey Hepburn wearing - or Jackie, of course.

While my picks after Emma Stone follow in no particular order, I had to make sure Natalie Portman was on my best dressed list somewhere, if only because I was a bit confused by the distaste for this gown. Maternity fashion is tricky: go too bulky and you’ll just look oddly shaped instead of pregnant; some go all the way the other direction but I always find skin-tight or crop-tops on pregnant woman to look uncomfortable. I like that Natalie chose a middle approach: tailored, crisp and cheerful, with a 60s-style boatneck as a tribute to the one and only Jackie O. The feathery beading and midi sleeves made this feel like something I’d imagine a pregnant Audrey Hepburn wearing – or Jackie, of course.

 

Donald Glover in Gucci

What I love: the brown velvet is such a beautifully smooth color that you could almost dive into it like melted chocolate. Also, Donald manages - at the same time - to look both like an old-school debonair gentleman, and a walking huggable teddy bear. This suit is a reminder that you don't have to go all the way to patterns or beading to explore a statement beyond the classic black tux. Plus that burgandy bow tie?! This is one of the biggest nights in Donald's career, and I just love that he is dressed for it.

What I love: the brown velvet is such a beautifully smooth color that you could almost dive into it like melted chocolate. Also, Donald manages – at the same time – to look both like an old-school debonair gentleman, and a walking huggable teddy bear. This suit is a reminder that you don’t have to go all the way to patterns or beading to explore a statement beyond the classic black tux. Plus that burgundy bow tie?! This is one of the biggest nights in Donald’s career, and I just love that he is dressed for it.

Lily Collins in Zuhair Murad Couture

We all love a simple black dress, but I also love when celebs take the red carpet invitation to seriously go for it. Stunning embroidery, piles of fabric, and an almost Victorian feel that's modernized by that fantastic neckline. Pair it with Lily's signature bold eyebrows and a red lip, and the look keep from going to

We all like a simple black dress, but I also love when celebs take the red carpet invitation to seriously go for it. Stunning embroidery, piles of fabric, and an almost Victorian feel that’s modernized by that fantastic neckline. Pair it with Lily’s signature bold eyebrows and a red lip, and the look keep from going to “80s bridesmaid” and lands in “coolest modern debutante on the block.”

Viola Davis in Michael Kors Collection

Viola Davis is flawless in everything, from Fences (SEE IT), to introductory speeches (I repeat my request that she make radio speeches weekly for the next 4 years to keep us steady), to this one-shoulder canary yellow gown. You can seldom go wrong pairing a vibrant color with a streamlined style and beautiful - but minimal - accessories. Also it would be a crime to cover up those arms.

Viola Davis is flawless in everything, from Fences (SEE IT), to introductory speeches (I repeat my request that she make radio speeches weekly for the next 4 years to keep us steady), to this one-shoulder canary yellow gown. You can seldom go wrong pairing a vibrant color with a streamlined style and beautiful – but minimal – accessories. Also it would be a crime to cover up those arms.

Millie Bobby Brown in Jenny Packham

This makes my list because it's fun, it's glitzy, it fits perfectly, and it's wonderfully age-appropriate. I'm dying a bit over the sheer layer at the hemline and all that beading, not to mention the sweet sandal-style heels. I'm typically not into tea length dresses on adults on the red carpet (though there are exceptions), but it's the perfect way for a child to look dressed up without looking like they're, well, playing dress-up as an adult.

This makes my list because it’s fun, it’s glitzy, it fits perfectly, and it’s wonderfully age-appropriate. I’m dying a bit over the sheer layer at the hemline and all that beading, not to mention the sweet sandal-style heels. I’m typically not into tea length dresses on adults on the red carpet (though there are exceptions), but it’s the perfect way for a child to look dressed up without looking like they’re, well, playing dress-up as an adult.

Traci’s Picks

Emma Stone in Valentino Haute Couture

For the first major awards show of the season, it’s only fitting the La La Land star picked a gown that features silver stars, since, ya know City of Stars and whatnot. Love the light pink color too – the stars are enough ‘bling’, and any other bright color would’ve been too much.

Mandy Moore in Naeem Kahn

God I am so glad Mandy Moore is back looking glam on red carpets where she belongs. Despite the fact she didn’t go home with a trophy, she’s still dressed like a winner in this gorgeous dress. Plunging necklines were a trend this year, and Mandy killed it. I also love the faux cape and sheer material that gives it another sexy edge for a full length gown.

Gina Rodriguez in Naeem Kahn

If I were Gina Rodriguez, I would spend the entire night shimmying left and right to get those beads movin like a 1920s flapper. She looks amazing from head to toe, and is working it like the true star she is.

Felicity Huffman in Georges Chakra

You can't really tell in this photo, but those are pants. And Felicity gave a simple explanation as to why she skipped a gown this year, and it's why she deserves a spot on the best dressed list (it's also v pretty).

If you can’t really tell in this photo, those are pants. And Felicity gave a simple explanation as to why she skipped a gown this year, and it’s why she deserves a spot on the best dressed list (it’s also v pretty). “I got a pantsuit in honor of Hillary. Love you, Hillary. I’m with her.” {x}

Issa Rae in Christian Siriano

Insecure is still on my To Watch list, but I really like Issa Rae based on interviews alone. And as a first-time nominee, she fits right in with this sleek Christian Siriano gown. Also, please note her flawless skin. It’s unreal.

Milo Ventimiglia in Ralph Lauren

That is Milo Ventimiglia and this is us saying goodbye to the #GoldenGlobes. ✨👋

A video posted by E! News (@enews) on

MILO. VENTIMIGLIA. IS. A. SMOKESHOW.

Sterling K. Brown in Kenneth Cole and Ryan Michelle Bathe in David Meister

photo-jan-08-11-34-37-pmDo yourself a favor and follow Sterling K. Brown on social media if you don’t already. Today’s Insta story featured him getting ready with his wife (also on This Is Us!) and they are #couplegoals AF. I mean look at these two hotties – his blue suit and her amazing pink sequined gown?! This is a screenshot of a boomerang and it doesn’t even do them justice. Neither does the screenshot below of Sterling’s time lapse of him putting his clothes on…
photo-jan-08-11-33-32-pm

Best of 2016: The Brangelina Relationship As Told In Rachel Green GIFs

One of the most shocking things to rattle the world last year was the (kind of) unexpected split between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Or rather that they went through with it and there were allegations of child abuse. But there was no solid evidence of those rumors, so maybe just the fall of Hollywood’s foremost A-list couple.

Naturally, Jennifer Aniston sympathizers celebrated the end of a Brangelina era, and we decided to tell the story of Brangelina’s romance through Rachel Green GIFs. Because in the end, we all just want Jen to be happy.


The Brangelina Relationship As Told In Rachel Green Gifs

2004: Brad and Angelina meet and fall in love on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith.  Brad is married to Jennifer Aniston.
March 2005: Jennifer Aniston files for divorce: irreconcilable differences.

2013: Amid cheating rumors, a spate of magazines have cover stories about Brad declaring “I made a mistake”

2015: Rumors (possibly unfounded) of brad cheating begin to circulate.

September 20, 2016: Angelina Jolie files for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.

Best of 2016: How To Talk To A Man Who Is Talking To You When You Are Wearing Headphones

As much as we talk about 2016 being a dumpster fire of a year, one thing I’ve been struck by as we’ve looked over our old posts is how much simpler the news cycle was before the last few months of the year. Like, remember that guy who wrote an ill-advised guide on how to talk to a girl who is wearing headphones? And then we all had to be like “buddy, no. That is WHY we are wearing the headphones?” We decided to flip his advice column on its head and write a guide to how to talk to a man who is talking to you when you are wearing headphones:


How To Talk To A Man Who Is Talking To You When You Are Wearing Headphones

Hey gals! How’s it going? Anyone commute on public transit today? Me too! When I’m on a bus or train I enjoy avoiding eye contact, reading books, looking out the window so I get out at the right location, and wearing decoy headphones so that men don’t talk to me.

It doesn’t work very well!

When men interrupt my reading and music, my favorite responses are terse and monosyllabic. However, I get a bit more effusive and a lot more fake laugh-y when a man gets grouchy that I’m not paying attention to him. We laugh and we laugh! Oh, it’s a hoot. I do it because I’m scared, a little! I also enjoy pointing to my headphones and shrugging. Girls just want to have fun, am I right? When a bus man has proven himself particularly sketchy, I’ve even altered my commute time a bit so we don’t run into each other. Keeps me on my toes! Besides, experts say that changing your routine now and then helps prevent Alzheimers, right?

That was a joke. Women don’t get old. Gross!

But ladies, I have some bad news for you. WE’VE BEEN FOUND OUT.  In a recent article, a pickup artist – or artiste, truly – has created a handy guide on talking to women who are wearing headphones. The jig is up. Men have learned that we can still speak when our ears are covered. It’s time to change tactics. Here are a few tips and tricks to live your best life while wearing headphones AND talking to a fella who demands to be acknowledged:

Say Nothing

A million dating guides and networking seminars can’t be wrong: people love to talk, especially about themselves. All you really have to do when a man talks to you when you are wearing headphones is look at him, occasionally nod or make a listening-y facial expression, and keep your music on. This is also the best way to have someone fall in love with you according to The Little Mermaid, one of my top 5 Disney movies.

Make A Lot Of Eye Contact

Sometimes if you are wearing headphones and not talking to men, they get scared that you could have died or fallen asleep by accident. You can let them know you’re okay by making a lot of eye contact with them. It would be nice to make your eyes look really big. Big eyes are prettier since they remind people of babies, the most attractive form of humans. This is according to science. If you have small eyes that’s fine, someone might still love you.

See the rest of the post here.

Best of 2016: Hamilton’s Cabinet Battle #1 (As Kanye Rant Tweets)

We all know Kanye West isn’t afraid to hold back from saying what he wants both in life and on the Internet, and it was no different when he went on a rant against Wiz Khalifa – his ex Amber Rose’s ex. Naturally, we combined this Twitter rant with our recurring series Hamilton Explained, where we break down tracks from the hit musical’s soundtrack to give more background and insider info on the lyrics. Oh Kanye, history has its eyes on you, even a year later and years to come.


Hamilton Explained: Cabinet Battle #1 (As Kanye Rant Tweets)

Welcome back to Hamilton Explained! It’s been a minute. When the Hamilton soundtrack was released all of these historical and musical references were jumping out at me and I wanted to start unpacking some of them here. I wasn’t counting on a whole community of people doing this very thing over at Genius. Instead of duplicating the efforts from Genius (check out their annotations if you haven’t!) here’s Cabinet Battle #1, explained through tweets from Kanye West’s epic January 27, 2016 rant against Wiz Khalifa.

Stand with me in the land of the free
And pray to God we never see Hamilton’s candidacy
Look, when Britain taxed our tea, we got frisky

7th I am your OG and I will be respected as such

— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

Imagine what gon’ happen when you try to tax our whisky

6th don’t ever come out the side of your neck at me

— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 27, 2016

WASHINGTON:
Thank you, Secretary Jefferson. Secretary Hamilton, your response

HAMILTON:
Thomas. That was a real nice declaration

Welcome to the present, we’re running a real nation
Would you like to join us, or stay mellow
Doin’ whatever the hell it is you do in Monticello?

Best Of 2016: We’ll Never Love Anything As Much As Rosie O’Donnell Loved…

We loved The Rosie O’Donnell Show. We loved it because it was in large part a show about the little things and big things Rosie LOVED, like Entemann’s and Tom Cruise and Barbra and Happy Meal toys. That is an attitude that spoke to us as children but also as adults. That’s why we devoted a whole week to the Rosie O’Donnell show this fall, marking the 20th anniversary of its premiere. We love a lot of things, but possibly not as much as Rosie O’Donnell did.


We’ll Never Love Anything As Much As Rosie O’Donnell Loved…

Entemann’s

M: Entenmann’s baked goods reminded Rosie O’Donnell of the Long Island mom-types during her childhood playing bridge or whatever it was that Long Island moms did in the 60s. And now, Entenmann’s baked goods remind me of Rosie O’Donnell. I don’t know her position on TastyCakes.

T: I do know her position on Ring Dings, because audience members got that and milk before the show.

Koosh balls

T: There are few talk show hosts who can get away with launching rubber balls into the audience and make it look cool. Just imagine Oprah doing this for a second. And that’s OPRAH. When Rosie flung these into the crowd, it suddenly became an interactive show and added a sense of innocent fun unlike any other talk show on TV. It became so synonymous with her show that Koosh sold a special Rosie O’Donnell Show version of their Koosh Fling Shot, as seen here and the one sitting at my home collecting dust.

M: I got one of these at the store after the NBC tour, c. 1998. I don’t keep things so I got rid of it sometime in high school, but I sort of wish I still had it.

Tom Cruise

T: If there’s anything you took away from watching Rosie in the 90s, it’s that she had an obsession with two people: Tom Cruise and Barbra Streisand. If you recall, Rosie had a soundboard that played audio clips next to her desk, and anytime she’d talk about her deep love for her celebrity crush, she’d play “Tommy, can you hear me?” a line from a song of the same name by The Who. She campaigned for him to be on her show, and when he finally made it, it was like watching Jim and Pam kiss for the first time. Rosie invited fans into her life by sharing personal anecdotes that made it seem we had been friends growing up in Commack, Long Island, and we were cheering her on as she lived out life long dream. I mean, while rewatching this clip, I legitimately said out loud (to no one), “THIS BRINGS ME SO MUCH JOY!” Especially if you forget about all of Tom Cruise’s persona.

M: When we were doing our Rosie Week research this summer, we were both floored by how quickly into the show’s run Tom appeared (plus a few others, like Donny Osmond). The buildup was so huge that at the time, it felt like years before “my Tommy” was a Rosie guest.

… See the rest of the post here.

Best of 2016: Scary Things About Making A Murderer Other Than The Murder

Let’s take it way back to a simpler time: exactly a year ago. Everyone was talking about Steven Avery, small-town Wisconsin justice, and a really horrible 2005 murder thanks to the Netflix series Making A Murderer. We were amazed that out of this whole basket of deplorables (to borrow an expression), a grisly murder wasn’t the only terrifying aspect of the story.  (By the way, when we were discussing this post last week, we also realized that these scary Manitowoc County people were also exactly the people who voted the next president into office … so there’s another spooky aspect to this whole story.)


Scary Things About Making A Murderer Other Than The Murder

Winter in Wisconsin

I live in one of the snowiest cities in America (100 inches/average). We get 12 inches of lake effect snow and school isn’t even cancelled the next day. The average high temperature last February was 12 degrees Fahrenheit. And I am a total wimp compared to the hardy Wisconsinites in this series. Didn’t it feel like every exterior shot, no matter what time it took place, was crammed with piles of snow everywhere? But nobody complained or even looked cold? Manitowoc County is like the North Pole except that it’s a workshop for unspeakable violence and judicial corruption instead of toys.

Scare Scale: A White-Knuckle Drive On An Icy Expressway – 2/10

The Land That Time Forgot

Based on the hair and wardrobe of the various townspeople, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Making A Murderer was filmed in 1986 or 1998, but it was actually well into the 2000s. I know plenty of small-town residents, rural folks, and Midwesterners who look completely normal, so the frozen-in-time aesthetic really added to the feeling that there was something just off about every single one of these people.

Scare Scale: The moment when Rip Van Winkle awakes – 3/10

Two Nice Lesbians In Possible Peril

The filmmakers behind Making A Murderer, Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, were a very young, chill lesbian couple from Columbia University when this project began. Although there are tons of intelligent, free-thinking people in the rural northern Midwest, the particular crowd that was featured in this documentary seemed… um… not that way. Not to mention, Ricciardi and Demos probably didn’t exactly blend into the Land That Time Forgot. They never mentioned being made to feel at all uncomfortable, but I still found myself wanting to call in a welfare check when I realized they were alone with some of those people (ahem… Steven’s terrifying mother).

Scare Scale: That Time When TLC Showed Michelle Duggar’s Lesbian Sister & I Imagined The First Time She Met Jim-Bob – 5/10

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