Always a New Year’s Eve Bridesmaid…

As we near the end of 2014 (WTF 2015 where did you come from), there’s a new trend we’ll probably be seeing more of as the time goes on, which is New Year’s Eve weddings. Will and Jada got married on NYE, Sharon and Ozzy tied the knot in 1982, and last year, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting got married in a pink Vera Wang dress to tennis pro Ryan Sweeting. And let’s face it, there are a bunch of people who hate or don’t care where they are when the clock strikes midnight, so it’s kind of brilliant to celebrate the new year with your friends and family in a celebrate of love and a new chapter in life.

Not to mention, if you’re in your 20s, you know that it’s the time when a lot of your friends (or you yourself) are getting married. We’re getting older, y’all. I’ve attended at least one wedding every year for the past five years, and been a bridesmaid in two. I love weddings. I love attending weddings, I love helping plan weddings, and I love being in weddings. For anyone that’s been a bridesmaid before, you know the risk you take in signing up – wearing a dress that isn’t flattering on your person/isn’t cute at all. Luckily, I’ve been #blessed that I haven’t run into that problem, but I’ve heard some horror stories. With that in mind, there’s a great other trend that’s happening, which is that you can now rent bridesmaids dresses online, and if you don’t think you’ll ever wear it again or it’s just not your style, you can easily return it. With companies like Weddington Way, you can even purchase the same design if you think you’ll use it in the future!

So say you’re a bride or bridesmaid helping your BFF out in picking dresses for the bridesmaids, what do you choose for this super cool NYE wedding? Here’s one of the rental options from Weddington Way, called the Audrey:

ww_bridesmaid

For more info click here!

Weddings can get super expensive, but if you want to rent a simple yet stylish dress like this one, you can rent it for just $75! Ballin on a budget, yo. This dress comes in different colors, but I picked the ‘Mint To Be’ (PUNS), because, hello, have your seen our logo? AND IT HAS POCKETS. POCKETS!

And since this hypothetical wedding is on New Year’s Eve, I wanted to pick color combos and accessories that reflect a fun, celebratory, yet romantic event in the winter:

ww_color_palatte

L to R: Mint, White, Glittery Rose Gold, Blush Pink, Ivory

When you think of NYE, you think of champagne and streamers and confetti and all around merriment. There’s a happy vibe in the air, and that’s why I chose light/bright colors and a pop of rose gold glitter to add a NYE feel. I’m all about the rose gold.

To complete the bridesmaid outfit, I used my color palate as inspiration for the rest of the style, as you’ll see below:

ww_inspoboard_nos

{1} Weddington Way ♥ Audrey rental dress in Mint To Be ♥

{2} Manolo Blahnik ♥ Shiny Sequin Pump in Oro // Dying over these heels! You can definitely wear these more than once

{3} Faux Fur shawl // Maybe I’m thinking of a winter wonderland wedding or the Romanovs in a party setting, but I adore the idea of wearing a faux fur shawl to stay warm. It is NYE, after all.

{4} Camilla Christine for Etsy ♥ Rose Gold Wedding Belt // How gorgeous is this belt? And made by an artist on Etsy, so it’s even more impressive! This belt adds a pop of color next to the mint, so it’s not just a plain dress.

{5} Floral bouquet ♥ a mix of Juliet Garden roses, Sahara blue roses, brunia berries and sedum edged in dusty miller leaves // I think weddings should always have romance in the details, and that’s what I think this bouquet has in it – it’s fun and flirty yet made with love.

{6} KALAN by Suzanne Kalan ♥ Rose Gold Drop Earrings // For an elegant touch of rose gold

{7} Too Faced ♥ Natural at Night Neutral Eyeshadow Collection

Too Faced ♥ La Creme Color Drenched Lipstick in I Want Candy // The eyeshadow collection includes a rose gold shimmery color which is perfect to layer with the other neutral colors. I picked this raspberry color for the lips, to keep in the general color scheme. Also, I bought this particular lipstick in a different color a month or two ago and I’m obsessed with it. It doesn’t make your lips and dry and while you’ll have to apply once or twice during the day, the good thing is is that you don’t have to scrub it off your lips at the end of the night.

{8} Essie ♥ Penny Talk // This is technically an iridescent copper, but it’s more like a rose gold when dry. And it’s perfect.

And for good measure to round out your bash:

Laughing All The Way: The Best SNL Holiday Sketches

The holidays are a time for being with friends and family, giving presents, getting presents, eating too much, etc. etc. And at the root of all this is something so simple – cheer. We revel in being around people and doing things that make us happy, because that’s what this time of year is all about.

One of the things that make us joyful, not only during Christmas but all year round, is Saturday Night Live. It has a storied history of making viewers laugh every Saturday night, and in December, there are sketches that dreams are made of. For our final December playlist installment, we present to you the sketches that make us laugh, make us cry from laughing, that just make us happy. And hopefully you’ll catch the contagious cheer this season and all year round.

Molly’s Picks

Consumer Probe (1976)

I’m going to yank you back into memory lane for a second. I started watching SNL regularly when I was 10 or so, because I’m the fourth kid and my parents DGAF. But before that, I’d get to stay up and watch when my family swarmed my grandparents’ house for the holidays. Around Christmas, that often meant ancient repeats or compilation episodes, which is how I got acquainted with the original Not Ready For Primetime Players. This sketch, with Dan Aykroyd schilling unsafe children’s toys like Bag O’ Glass and Johnny Switchblade, played right into my silly little-kid comedy sensibilities. As a grownup, I find it even funnier. [watch here]

Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood (1984)

Would I find this one so funny if, during the Cabbage Patch craze, my uncle hadn’t sold my parents a bootleg Cabbage Patch Kid that was stuffed with gasoline-soaked rags? They took the rags out, restuffed it, and gave it to my siblings. We’re all adults now so I think I can write that without fear of us being removed from their custody. Anyway, I think the answer is yes. Yes, I would still find it so funny.

Steve Martin’s Holiday Wish (1986)

At Christmastime, we all say stupid stuff about wanting world peace and for the children of the world to join hands in perfect harmony or whatever, but deep down, we all want stuff. Stuff, and revenge.

The Sweeney Sisters Bells Medley (1986)

Watching Nora Dunn and Jan Hooks’ characters try a bit too hard to sell the unfunny Christmas banter and the Carol Of The Bells now just makes me think of how darn funny Jan Hooks was. Which reminds me of another family Christmas tradition – my pessimistic grandmother chiming “laugh today, cry tomorrow!” over the laughter of children.  [watch here]

Dysfunctional Family Christmas (1990)

Is your family passive-aggressive, or just aggressive-aggressive? Is your only family tradition disappointing your parents and drinking to forget? Does someone always call someone else fat? Then screw Jingle Bells, this should be the soundtrack to your family festivities. [watch here]

Mary Katherine Gallagher’s Christmas Concert (1996)

This is 90s as heck: Molly Shannon’s Mary Katherine Gallagher character, Rosie O’Donnell as a Catholic school nun, Penny Marshall on piano, and Whitney Houston as that one girl who gets all the solos. This is the cast that was on SNL when I started watching religiously, and rewatching this sketch reminds me that I came in at a good time. [watch here]

Martha Stewart’s Topless Christmas Special (1996)

Once again, take yourself back to the 90s. Before the market was saturated with celebrity chefs and DIY empires, Martha Stewart was the WASP-y face of American perfectionism. Ana Gasteyer posing with a boys’ choir while wearing just a dickie cracked me up in 1996 – and it still does.

The Narrator That Ruined Christmas (2001)

We were all so unmoored those first months after 9/11 that it felt disrespectful to do anything without acknowledging that something awful had happened. Even our high school homecoming t-shirts had an American flag on the back that year. I was reminded of that last month, when my family drove through an outdoor light display. There, in megawatt glow, were the twin towers with the words “Never Forgotten” underneath. I’m sure that display was purchased in Christmas 2001, when it felt like even a charity light setup should nod to our collective grief. Anyway, that’s how my 5-year-old nephew learned about 9/11.  This Saturday TV Funhouse takes you right back to that feeling, with the stop-motion snowman narrator giving up on holiday joy. Writers of this one included Stephen Colbert and Louis CK.

Two A-Holes In A Live Nativity Scene (2007)

The two a-holes are recurring characters that never really got their due. They played off the mid-2000s reality tv, conspicuous consumption, vocal fry trope, and you will never hear “myrrh” the same way again. [watch here]

Do It On My Twin Bed (2013)

This music video highlights how solid the current female cast is. Lil Baby Aidy and the gang are the stars of this “funny because it’s true” new classic: everything, from surly neighbor Jean to a high-status family member sprawling out in the guest suite, from the awkward junior high photos to the time capsule-like childhood bedroom, is part of the Christmas experience when you’re spending the holidays with your family.

Traci’s Picks

Motivational Santa (1994)

I got into SNL around middle school, so like the Cheerleaders, Superstar, Leon Phelps, Mango era. I didn’t do my research before that and admittedly have only seen a select sketches from anything before like 1996. Among those select sketches was Chris Farley as Motivational Speaker, Matt Foley. You know, the guy who lives in a van down by the river? He sometimes moonlights as a Santa, therefore making him a Motivational Santa that is even more frightening and alarming than ever before. Screen your Santa before taking your kids to them, folks. {watch video here}

Delicious Dish (1998)

This sketch is not only one of the most famous holiday sketches but SNL sketches of all time. As NPR hosts, Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon have the perfect tone to their voice as they talk about culinary delights on their talk show. When Alec Baldwin joins them, the NPR ladies secured themselves in the SNL Hall of Fame. Of course throughout the sketch, they make double entendres left and right, but it isn’t until Alec says, “No one can resist the taste of my Schweddy Balls”, did the audience go crazy and millions of viewers knew the skit would go down in history.

Wish it Was Christmas Today (2000)

I am a total FalPal (Jimmy Fallon fan, obvs). My love for Jimmy started around his era on SNL. This particular sketch I remember finding so ridiculous, yet so catchy. My friend and I used to crush of Jimmy  so hard and just sing this song a lot, which is definitely not annoying at all. While it started as a Christmas sketch, they went on to do it multiple times, altering the lyrics for different holidays. While I am a purist and enjoy the OG one from 2000 the most, the 2011 version when Horatio, Chris and Tracy surprised everyone while Jimbo was hosting, comes in at a close second.

Weekend Update Characters

It was already extremely hard for us to pick our favorites for this list because we are insane and just love SNL, so here’s a group of the best recurring characters of Weekend Update and their Christmas-themed visits to the desk.

This segment has everything – Tranderson Cooper, Taylor Negron, Kite Enthusiasts and human parking cones (it’s that thing of when two jacked midgets paint themselves orange and you have to parallel park between them).

Kids today just leave Santa almond milk and Instagraham crackers. Can you put some quinoa in my spin class, please?

Look, I loved when Cecily was at the desk with Seth, but I’m also glad she’s not on the desk anymore so she can do this character. Everything coming out of her mouth is ridiculous and perfect.

Oh, how I love Garth and Kat. Fred and Kristen make a great team as it is, but when you put them in substitute teacher outfits and make them sing songs, it’s even better. On top of that, there’s not only the element of improv on Fred’s behalf, but like double improv with Kristen just copying every word of improv Fred’s saying. It’s a masterclass in Yes, and.

Taran Killam plays a newspaper movie critic from the 1800s and he hates everything. And he’s not afraid to say it. And the audience is also not afraid to let him know when they don’t like a joke. The best part might be when Seth laughs when one of the jokes gets absolutely no response from the crowd.

Glengarry Glen Christmas (2005)

Alec Baldwin is obviously brilliant every episode he’s done (16, the record for most times hosting), and per this list, he’s a staple in class holiday sketches, too. This one is a Christmas spoof on his popular role in Glengarry Glen Christmas, but this time, he’s taking over Santa’s factory and having a talk with the elves. I had seen this version before the original, which I suggest you watch here, but I still thought it was hilarious. After having seen the scene in the movie it was based on, it’s even more hilarious and spot on. Rachel, Fred, Amy, and Seth (who wrote the sketch!) are all perfect in this scene, and so is Alec, who accidentally makes a perfect slip-up in the middle.

Christmas for the Jews (2005)

One of the best ‘modern’ Christmas songs IMO is Darlene Love’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). It’s not the holidays until you hear this song, which is why she was the perfect choice to sing this tune for Saturday TV Funhouse. Christmas for the Jews tells a tale of how Jews revel in the fact all the Gentiles are inside celebrating Christmas, and they are free to ‘go see King Kong without a line’ or ‘Eat in a Chinese restaurant and drink some sweet wine’. Darlene’s legit-ness is what makes this song so good and another ‘modern day’ Christmas classic.

Dick in a Box (2006)

There was a period of time when I was in college that I wasn’t able to watch SNL as religiously as I had been before, which was sad for me, but also, it meant I had a some semblance of a social life? (LOL) I was at my friend’s apartment when she asked if I had seen Dick in a Box yet, and I hadn’t. We immediately watched it online (because this was when the whole YouTube/viral thing was just becoming a thing), and I basically died. Like Christmas for the Jews, Dick in a Box is actually a great song, lyrics aside. Lyrics included, still a great song. Speaking of lyrics, don’t mind the Spanish subtitles. Or do, it’s take D in a B to a whole new level.

Santa’s My Boyfriend (2006)

Just like Dick in a Box, I may know all the words (and maybe some harmonies) to this cold open from the SNL queens, including Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig. You think at first it’s going to be a cute song about Santa and Christmas, but alas, this is SNL.

The Kissing Family: Holiday Affection (2010)

Like a bad car wreck, the Vogelcheck family is something that you should drive right past and not pay attention to, but you just can’t look away. Paul Rudd is the best at this sketch, because he just goes for it. I mean, anyone who agrees to do this sketch has to go for it, but he just goes.for.it. And so does Hader. Bless. {watch video here}

Jimmy Fallon’s Monologue (2011)

When Jimmy Fallon walked on stage as a host for the Christmas show in 2011, it was the first time he had been in Studio 8H since he left in 2004. I made no plans the night he hosted, and watched this episode ‘live’ west coast time in my bedroom, standing next to my TV 90% of the time because I was just SO EXCITED. And it all started with his monologue, because as soon as he hit his mark, you could tell it was a big moment for him. And just like Jimmy, he just wanted the monologue to be Fun with a capital F. I have a feeling he came up with the idea to just have the entire cast sing and dance with him at the end and if you’re not watching this without a big smile on your face, you’re a big ol’ grinch. By altering the lyrics to Darlene Love’s hit song, this cold open embodied exactly what’s at the heart of the holidays – ‘It’ so good to be home’. {Watch video here}

Subscription Boxes That Should Probably Exist

Subscription boxes are the way to go if you’re a lazy or indecisive gift-giver. Instead of picking one gift – that the person may or may not like – you pick a theme or service they’ll be into, and let someone else handle the specifics. If they don’t like what comes in their box one month, it’s not on you – and they get something else next month, anyway. But it’s not as easy a gift as you might think, because there are about 49,000 different subscription box companies right now. Still, I thought of a few that – to my knowledge – don’t exist yet. But they should.

Nostalgly

Every month, recipients get a box full of items sure to spark nostalgia. Here’s how it works: you give the company your gender and date of birth. That’s it. Let’s say you’re a lady born in 1986, because hey, that seems like a good year to be born in. One month you’d get a 1995 box. It would have pogs, a copy of Disney Adventures magazine, maybe a Deep Blue Something single. One month would be the Year 2000 box, and your 1986-er would get Y2K glasses, a set of butterfly clips, perhaps a stretchy tattoo choker. But someone who was born in 1995 (and is thus old enough to order things with a credit card, sorry ’86 babies) would get an entirely different box for the year 2000, because they were 5 then: a miniature Bratz doll and a Junie B. Jones book, for instance.

Nobody steal this one, because if I had the start-up capital I would totally do this.

Googlify

This one takes a bit of trust with your most personal of personal information – your Google history. You’d give the company access to your Google search history for the month (already accessing your Google search history: every company on the internet, probably, so what’s there to lose?). They will stock your box with personally-selected treasures relating to the stuff you’re obviously obsessed with, even if you’ve been keeping it between you and Google. Did you fall down a Google hole looking at unsolved cold cases? Voila – a bunch of true crime books!  Or maybe you’ve been sucked into the crafty mommy blogger vortex. You’d receive a twee apron and some craft supplies.

Blogsie

After either listing your favorite blogs (aww, you shouldn’t have!) or filling out a profile of what sort of things you’re into, every month you get a bound, printed collection of the best posts so that you can read them on paper like a civilized human from yesteryear. Face it, blog content is better than magazines half the time anyway. So, sort of like Rookie Yearbook, but from a bunch of different sites and not imbued with the magic of Tavi. I understand that all of this content is free online, but the whole crux of subscription boxes is curating and delivering items to subscribers and marking up the price. Oh, and giving it a stupid, cutesy name with a suffix like -ly or -ity or -sy.

Pupsididoo

What’s better than owning a dog? Borrowing a puppy! They’d obviously have to do some sort of a background check on you. Then every month, you get a new puppy fitting your household needs! This would be a tie-in with a pet fostering organization, and it’s win-win: they get people to foster their pups, you get to play with a tiny dog for a month, no strings attached. Of course, if you and the puppy become best friends forever, there’s an option to make the dog part of your forever family at the end of the month.

Shame-ity

Do you have trouble looking your cashier in the eye when you’re buying anything a little … you know, personal? Well we live in the internet age, and you don’t have to! It works like this. If you have any chronic embarrassing shopping needs, you can say that in your profile. Maybe you need to buy stool softener or pregnancy tests every month. It’s none of my business. You can have them shipped right to you! If you don’t have anything particular in mind, you can have an assortment of potentially embarrassing purchases shipped to you every month so that you never have to run out to the store at the last minute for lice shampoo or industrial-strength deodorant.

Pinteristapinterest

Hooked on Pinterest? Give this company access to your boards, and every month you’ll get the materials to make a few of the projects that you – let’s be honest – otherwise would have pinned then left to languish. You can even request items relating to specific boards if you need someone to light a fire under your butt to create a Pinterest-perfect wedding or nursery.

How to Cope with TV Haituses: 2014 Edition

Do you guys remember when the last episode for the year of a TV series didn’t have a term? Like, when did networks decide that the phrase “Winter Finale” was a thing? Definitely in the past couple of years, right? So dramatic.

But as the Winter Finale of your fave shows roll out over this month, you’ll obviously need something to bide your time and avoid your fam during the stressful parts of the holiday season. Like last year, I’ve created a hopefully helpful guide to lead you in the right direction when it comes to preoccupying yourself over the next few weeks! Happy watching!

If you like:

How I Met Your Mother

You might like:

A to Z

Just like we fell in love with Cristin Milioti on How I Met Your Mother and she was promptly taken away, as is the fate of Cristin on the sitcom A to Z. The Lord giveth and NBC taketh away. Cristin Milioti deserves better than this. She’s a great actress who is perfect in the romcom role. In fact, everyone on this show is great. Ben Feldman – oh how I swoon for Ben Feldman (The Mindy Project Ben, not Mad Men Ben,obvs) – is perfect as the A (Andrew) to Cristin’s Z (Zelda). Like HIMYM, the show takes a different kind of approach in telling their love story, since we’re told from the pilot that they stay together for 8 months, 3 weeks and 29 days – those aren’t the exact numbers, but you get the picture. They’re so cute together that you wonder how and why it ends. I guess we’ll never be able to find out since NBC hasn’t ordered more than the 13 episode order. Nonetheless, you should catch up with A, Z, and their best friends, who provide that balance needed for an ensemble comedy.

If you like:

Friday Night Lights

You might like:

Kingdom

I’m not really a sports person, so I was initially turned off to Friday Night Lights because it looked like a football show. And that’s what its ‘downfall’ was. NBC didn’t really know how to market the show because there really hadn’t been anything like it before. Ultimately, it’s a drama about the tight-knit community in small town Texas, and football just happens to play another character in the show. That’s what Kingdom is. TBH, I only started watching it because of Matt Lauria and Nick Jonas are in it, but this gritty new series set in the MMA world is about the relationships between family, friends, and lovers. While there’s a fair share of fighting and blood and sweat, you’ll come to find yourself hooked on wanting to see what’s next for each of the characters. In addition, Kingdom has three actors from the Jason Katims world – Jonathan Tucker (Parenthood), Matt Lauria (Parenthood/FNL) and Kiele Sanchez (Matt Saracen’s wife IRL).

If you like:

Happy Endings

You might like:

Marry Me

HAPPY ENDINGS RIP. If there’s one show in the past few years that really didn’t deserve to get cancelled, that show is Happy Endings. The chemistry of the cast was incomparable, the hilarious dialogue was like nothing I had ever heard before, and the situations they found themselves in were not too far off from my own life and the lives of people I know. So if you’re still in Happy Endings withdrawal, try Marry Me, an NBC comedy that actually scored a whole first season, starring Casey Wilson (Penny Hartz) and Ken Marino who play a newly engaged couple. It’s created/executive produced/written by David Caspe, the creator/executive producer/writer of Happy Endings and also Casey’s new husband. While it doesn’t have the same ensemble ‘Friends’y feel as HE, it does take on a similar (hilarious) tone. Plus it’s also set in Chicago, so there might be some crossover characters…

If you like:

The Mindy Project

You might like:

Selfie

Like you and the rest of America, I was turned off by the title of John Cho and Karen Gillan’s new sitcom, Selfie. It initially came off as this social media/internet/daft show that should’ve been titled #SELFIE, but turns out, it’s not. While social media does play a role in the show, as the season progresses, you’ll find that those two up there are at the heart of it. It’s actually a take on My Fair Lady/Pygmalion, in which John Cho plays “Henry”, who tries to class up Karen’s “Eliza”. Their dynamic reminds me a little of Danny and Mindy, where Danny’s kind of curmudgeonly and a no nonsense kind of guy, whereas Mindy is still smart yet flitty, into pop culture and clothes and the latest Cosmo. Mindy and Danny’s relationship works in an opposites attract kind of way, and so does Henry and Eliza’s. We’re at the point where there’s an inkling of a romance going on between them, but with ABC deciding to cancel it (BOOOOO) and Hulu picking it up (YAYY) who knows what we’ll get to seen and when we get to see it. All I’m saying is ignore the title and just watch the damn show.

If you like:
Dawson’s Creek

You might like:

The Affair

Sometimes I decide to watch a show based purely who’s on it, but then am delightfully surprised when the show turns out to be really good. Enter Joshua Jackson. Loyal readers may recall my journey through watching Dawson’s Creek for the first time earlier this year, and I was Team Pacey all the way (if you’re Team Dawson WHO EVEN ARE YOU). Like a fine wine or Leonardo DiCaprio, Joshua Jackson only gets better with age. In The Affair, he is hot as ever, and as Vulture pointed out earlier this week, he’s basically Pacey as a cowboy. But the storytelling is one of a kind in The Affair, and it’s what lured me in from the pilot. As stated in the title, there is an Affair – with a capital A – going on between Noah (The Wire’s Dominic West) and Alison (Luther’s Ruth Wilson). Noah’s married to WASPy Maura Tierney, while Alison is married to Pacey Witter. Set in the summer in Montauk, Long Island, Noah and Alison meet and start to have this affair. We also find out there’s a murder early in the season, and both Noah and Alison are being interrogated months after their summer affair. But the twist: the show is split into two parts, one from Noah’s point of view and one from Alison’s. Needless to say they have different versions of the truth. But also, Pacey on a horse.

If you like:

How to Get Away With Murder

You might like:

Serial Podcast

I HAVE A LOT OF THOUGHTS ON SERIAL, AND I’M GOING TO SAVE IT FOR THE DAY SEASON ONE ENDS. But for now, if you don’t listen to Serial, get on it. I lit’rally gave in to peer pressure and started listening to it over Thanksgiving because everyone kept talking about it and I had total FOMO. I’ll tell you that I’m not usually a fan of crime related entertainment – I’ve never been into the Law & Orders or CSIs or Criminal Minds of the world. But this is a horse of a different color. Serial is one podcaster/reporter’s journey into delving deep deep deep into a real murder case of a teen and her attempts to solve it. Is it really the guy sentenced to life behind bars or is it someone else? WE DON’T KNOW. This isn’t really a spoiler, but there’s a part, I think in episode 5 of Serial, where Sarah, the ‘host’ of the podcast, consults a lawyer who deals with a lot of Innocence cases – where they believe person in jail didn’t commit the crime and she tries to prove they didn’t do it. This lawyer is super interested in the murder case featured in Serial, and even has a team of her law students help her investigate. Sound familiar? Because that’s basically the plot of How to Get Away with Murder. Viola Davis is a high-power attorney who can quite literally get anyone off the hook for any crime, and she has a crack team of students helping her. While HTGAWM is much more dramatic than Serial, both have the same amount of suspense and theorizing that will make you go insane. In a good way.

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2014: Things That Made Me Say WTF

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a whole year since I was made, let’s be honest, entirely perplexed and 100% jealous by the 2013 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. But here we are again, with another night of impossibly attractive people, whimsical angel wings, bizarre segment concepts, and Taylor Swift. If the VS folks just aired the same show every year, how long do you think it would even take us to notice? Still, I managed to find a whole new set of things to make me say WTF this year.

Segment 1 : Screensavers

I don’t know, I think the theme is fancy screensavers. Or seizures. They’re just projecting flashy patterns on an LCD scrim.

As of three minutes in, I can’t be sure how many ladies have walked because they all look identical. Is this some sort of VS Fashion Show/ Orphan Black crossover? Because that, I would watch.

There’s one with brown hair, and they make her wear wings that are actually enormous puffed sleeves, like she’s the Anne Shirley of this joint.

All of these ladies have serious Leonardo DiCaprio’s Girlfriend hair.

Behind The Scenes #1

Models look pretty on airplanes. That’s the Truth I Didn’t Want To Face of the day.

Models on a plane.

Me on a plane.

Segment 2: Dreamgirls with Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is performing in a nightgown from an Anne Rice story. It’s Blank Space, that song about lonely Starbucks lovers.
A model walks down the runway wearing wings made of trees from the Lorax. Or models of amoebas.
T.Swizzle serenades each one of the Walking Girls, like the emcee of this children’s beauty pageant in a documentary I once saw. And like the pageant children, the walking girls pretend to like it.

Karlie gets what appears to be rattan fly wings instead of angel wings. They make the girls who don’t get wings wear filmy capes. Do NOT piss off the guy who hands out the wings.

Behind the Scenes #2

I missed a minute and came in for a lady (some sort of layman?) calling the models “curvy and voluptuous”. Those words are as cringe-y as “moist” and “nosh.”

We learn about the “fantasy bra,” which is basically like if Rose Dewitt Bukater had a bra.

Segment 3: Exotic Traveler featuring Ed Sheeran

Sheeran isn’t singing that one song about the cold prostitute. But he is dressed like Ron Weasley at a Christmas Ball.

“Exotic traveler” means they’re dressed like porny Madame Alexander dolls. We have a gal in a Native American headdress, a chilly bullfighter, then a lot of neon shit that’s supposed to be … Brazil maybe?

One broad (Kelly Gale?) has a plastic printed skirt that looks like she’s representing whatever part of the world Delia*s (RIP) is from.

Does Ed Sheeran have a tattoo of sunglasses on his forearm?

I think one model (Daniela Braga) is representing Fraggle Rock.

Behind the Scenes #3

A model (Candice? Behati?) compares reaching the end of the runway to scoring a touchdown. Fitting, because I compare watching the VS Fashion Show to the Superbowl. You’re watching genetically gifted people do what they’re made for, but you still sit back and armchair quarterback it anyway.

Ariana Grande wants to “spank a booty;” I continue to not get it about booties.

I missed about a minute of commercial time when I could have been brushing my teeth and letting my dog out, because I didn’t realize that this hour-long commercial had gone to commercial.

Segment 4: University Of Pink featuring Ariana Grande

“Bigger fan to de-arm this… and if your rhythm is needy ga ha harm me holla holla holla baby”: What I hear in Ariana Grande’s lyrics. Girl, ENUNCIATE.

Putting her next to 6-foot models really highlights that Ariana Grande is awfully Ariana Pequeña.

Ariana Grande is wearing a Lisa Frank skirt.

My B.A. isn’t from the University of Pink, but at my college there were a lot more hoodies and uggs.

Oh. There are backup dancers dressed like an early 2000s Missy Elliot. Which works, because everything Grande sings sounds like the lyrics that came after “put that thing down, flip it and reverse it.”

Behind The Scenes #4

Doutzen tells us that it takes a year to make the wings. Damn. Monica Something, the layman who was talking before, talks up the wings as well.

Segment 5: Fairy Tale featuring Hozier

I love Hozier but this is a weird combo, right? The setup is very Hansel and Gretel, Black Forest-y. Hozier is just kind of there, singing soulfully, and the models walk past him without making eye contact like he’s a busker and their train is coming.

Monica Whatever was right, though. These wings are gorgeous.

Behind The Scenes # 5

Russell James is an Australian photographer who is “like a monkey on the set” and “likes to push us a little bit,” but in a pranky George Clooney way, not in a skummy Terry Richardson way.

He has photographed an entire book of the angels – titled Angels – which would make the perfect Christmas gift for the lady in your life who really needs her self-esteem knocked down a peg or two.

Behind The Scenes #6

Karlie Kloss discusses her love of ballet, because in case you forgot, she’s lovelier than you. She dances (beautifully, of course) with a guy in a Puffy Shirt.

Segment 6: Taylor Swift, Redux

Swiftie is sort of like the Mama (Chicago) or Mama Rose (Gypsy) of this segment.

There are like 10 times more models than I saw during the entire show so far.

Too many models. I’m gonna go do squats and crunches for the next forever, bye.

Doutzen Kroes looks like Denise Richards, if Denise Richards were about to cry.

Do the do full face transplants if you aren’t’ technically disfigured? Asking for a friend.

Finale

It honestly looks like this is the most fun these models have all year, since this sort of goofiness isn’t allowed on any other runway, ever.

There are so many balloons, it’s like the telethon episode of Full House.

A Definitive Ranking of the songs on Platinum Christmas

The year is 2000. I graduated 8th grade and met Molly in high school for the first time. We survived Y2K. George Dubya was elected President for the first time. American Beauty won Best Picture at the Oscars.  Ian ‘Thorpedo’ Thorpe dominated in his native Australia during the Sydney summer Olympics. Joey chose Pacey over that other dude in the Dawson’s Creek series finale. TRL (Total Request Live, duh) was at the height of its popularity. This was the year of …Oops I Did It Again, The Real Slim Shady, ‘N Sync vs. BSB. Pop music was alive and well, and being a 14-year-old teenybopper, I soaked it all in.

The folks over at Jive Records, which was home to a lot of the pop acts featured on TRL, decided to capitalize on this and make a compilation album for the holidays called Platinum Christmas. If you shared any of the same musical tastes as I did, you remember this album clearly. My Christmas music collection was sparse at the time, and rather embarrassing to be quite honest. But I played this album on my boom box for hours. I would make my parents play it in the car, so listening to a lot of these songs remind me of sitting in the backseat, staring out the window and gazing at the piles and piles of snow we passed by.

So in honor of the holiday season, I’ve revisited one of the most nostalgic albums from my youth, and ranked each song by order of import/how good it is. Please tell me I’m not the only person who played this on repeat! And immediately skipped over Santana!

{16} Posada (Pilgrimage To Bethlehem) by Santana

In the summer of ’99, I became obsessed with Smooth by Rob Thomas and Carlos Santana. Like, I bought the CD single, and put that shit on repeat with no end in sight. Because I didn’t know any better, I thought I would just automatically love all of Carlos Santana’s music. Yeah, I was a teenage girl into the Backstreet Boys, someone should’ve told me I wouldn’t like listening to the Latin-inspired blues guitar stylings of Santana.

{15} My Gift to You by Donell Jones

This song sounds like one of the B-Side tracks off a Time Life R&B/Soul collection comprised of 10 CDs.

{14} Silent Night / Noche de Paz by Christina Aguilera

Listen, I owned Xtina’s My Kind of Christmas album, and this song wasn’t on it. Because it’s boring. Literally every song on her own record is better than this one.

{13} Christmas Day by Dido

I never really got into Dido, mainly because her voice annoyed me. But apparently Dido’s been busy releasing new music since 2000, and none of it involves collaborations with Eminem.

{12}  The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) by Toni Braxton

I feel like I only really like Toni Braxton’s voice when it’s strictly in the confines of Un-Break My Heart or I Get So High. If I hear it in any other song, I’m not into it. Exhibit A.

{11} Little Drummer Boy by Jars Of Clay

I went through a period of time in my life, albeit brief, where I was super into Christian music. Jars of Clay is one of the big names in that genre (and also some of the guys are from our hometown of Rochester) so I got “excited” when I saw they were on this album. Their version of Little Drummer Boy is real chill, the kind of song that you probably listen to while watching fire crackle in your fireplace.

{10} Christmas Time by Backstreet Boys

As a self-professed BSB fan, I am the first to admit that isn’t the best Christmas or BSB song in their catalogue (If you want a better one by them, listen to this). At the time this song was released, I was in full BSB fangirl mode – I even remember calling into the local Top 40 radio station back home and asking them to play the song, even when it really wasn’t a single? I can’t even recall if they obliged me or not. The point is that although my love for them knows no bounds, I usually only listen to about a minute or two before skipping to the next song.

{9} World Christmas by R. Kelly

Controversies and weird shit aside, I actually do appreciate R. Kelly and his voice. Every time I hear this, I think ‘UGH’ but then it gets to the chorus and I’m hooked.

{8} Grown-Up Christmas List by Monica

While this is a popular Christmas tune, I think this was the first time I had ever really paid attention. Monica, while she doesn’t have to belt-iest or most impressive voice, it’s smooth and pure, and that’s what makes her version of this song so great.

{7} Sleigh Ride by TLC

If you want a never-heard before track by classic TLC, you need to listen to this. Everything about it screams 90s/early 00s, and it’s fantastic. T-Boz’s distinguishable voice, Chili’s R&B riffs, and the magic that is Left Eye’s raps is all featured in this track. Not to mention they managed to make a classic Christmas tune sound like an original. Not many artists can do that without coming off as trying too hard.

{6} I Don’t Wanna Spend One More Christmas Without You by ‘N Sync

As previously mentioned, I was a BSB fan. Also as previously mentioned, 2000 was the height of the BSB vs. ‘N Sync rivalry. And while I wasn’t as intense as some girls, I did refuse to listen to any ‘N STINK songs. I changed the radio station anytime they came on, and silently seethed in dance class the day my teacher played the entire No Strings Attached album during warmups. I still have only heard Bye Bye Bye a limited amount of times. So, when Platinum Christmas was on repeat back in Y2K, I promptly pressed fast forward on my CD player. Years later, I calmed it down a bit, and actually listened to this song. It’s great, y’all. But hey, let’s not get crazy. BSB 4 Evr.

{5} Who Would Imagine a King by Whitney Houston

Boy, do I miss 80s/90s Whitney. This particular song was also on the soundtrack to her movie The Preacher’s Wife, and it shows off her gorgeous voice in a more religious setting, and the lack of excessive riffs is exactly what the song needed (or didn’t need). This song is a reminder why Whit became a music icon in the first place.

{4} Christmas Song by Dave Matthews

I don’t know about you guys, but in Rochester, I feel like Dave Matthews Band was like THE band to be into if you were one of those people that was granola-y and wore hoodies like this. And in usual DMB fashion, this track was recorded live, and just hearing the screams in the background reminds me of all the dudes wearing those baja hoodies and flip flops and Grateful Dead tye dye t-shirts. But I mean, great song.

{3} Merry X-Mas Everybody by Steps

2000 was also the year I went to London/UK/Europe for the first time, and I was into this phase of being into a lot of British pop acts, because I wanted to seem cool, I guess? Like I was super into Westlife, BBMak, Craig David, S Club 7, etc. Steps was a S Club 7-like band that was comprised of five guys and gals and really big in the UK. While I did get into Steps a little, it was really just this song that I still sometimes listen to on my current Christmas rotation.

{2} This Christmas by Joe

Look, no one can touch Donny Hathaway’s OG version, but Joe is pretty close. While others have tried, I feel like Joe is the only one who can sing it like Donny, but not actually be Donny or copy his every note.

{1} My Only Wish (This Year) by Britney Spears

By far, this is the best song on Platinum Christmas, and worth the price of the entire CD just for this song. Brit hadn’t released any holiday songs up to that time, and again, she was at the height of her popularity (…Oops era, remember) so this song was like a Christmas gift in and of itself. It’s an original song, which is a welcome respite from the usual Christmas music catalogue played on soft rock radio stations during the holidays, and it’s just fun. It’s upbeat and makes you want to dance around the Christmas tree while eating cookies and watching the snow fall outside. In fact, in college, my friend and I even made up a dance – quite literally made up a dance on the spot – to this song and the non-impressive moves were the highlight of the holiday season every year.

 

I Saw 10 Ships: The Best Christmas RomComs

When you think of what children’s Christmas movies are really about – elaborate holiday fantasies about befriending Santa, visiting the North Pole, and getting the ultimate present – it’s a wonder that any kids like them at all. Real life never matches up.

You could say the same thing about holiday rom coms. I don’t know why I love watching attractive people fall head-over-heels in love (right in time for Christmas!) while sporting designer wardrobes. I could die alone in clothes from Target, but that won’t stop me from loving a good Christmas rom com. If you love rom coms too, make some time between now and 12/25 to see these three ten ‘ships come sailing in.

Traci’s Picks

Love Actually

What’s a Christmas movie list without Love Actually? Shit – is what it is. I remember going to see this with some friends in high school (at the theater Molly used to work at!) and immediately loving it about 10 minutes in. I was enamored with Christmas in London, hot Karl, Jamie and Aurelia’s unspoken love story, ‘Ifyou real-ly love Christtt-mas’ charming Prime Minister Hugh Grant, pre-fame Chiwetel Ejiofor & January Jones, everything about Emma Thompson, SAM – all of it. I bought the soundtrack and played it on repeat, even when it wasn’t Christmas. Needless to say, it’s not only one of my favorite Holiday RomComs, but all time movies in general. Besides Crash, Richard Curtis brought the intersecting storylines way of filmmaking into the the 2000s, and it’s been an influence on movies ever since.

The Best Man Holiday

Let’s be real. I only went to see this movie theater because of the impressive amount of HBMs (<- click for explanation). I hadn’t see the first one, but I figured I didn’t really need to know much about it, and they would recap me if necessary. And if you haven’t seen it either, the good news is that when you watch The Best Man Holiday, they’ll do just that. This group of longtime friends gets together for some quality time over Christmas, and while there are many laughs and near panty-dropping moments (like the one shown above), all I’m telling you is to watch with a box of tissues next to you. You will probably need them.

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

I wasn’t one of those girls into JTT. Just call me the 1%. I was too busy fangirling over Leo and BSB, I didn’t have time for a silly crush on a 90s It boy. However, I wasn’t exactly immune to his movies either. Like this one, a fun and festive adventure which has JTT speeding across the country in a Santa suit to get from California back home to New York in time for Christmas. Yes, that is Jessica Biel as his girlfriend. Yes, of course, the ride in a one-horse open sleigh together.

Bad Santa

Does this really constitute as a romantic comedy? Maybe not entirely, but these is some ‘romance’ in it, thanks to my girl Lauren Graham and her naughty relationship with Billy Bob Thornton’s Santa. He’s a disaster, but you know who really wins Christmas in this movie? THIS KID.

When Harry Met Sally…

When Harry Met Sally doesn’t entirely take place over the holidays, but a chunk of it does, and of course the end at New Year’s Eve, so I’m counting it. If you’ve read my previous post about this film, you’ll know that I was a late bloomer to this amazing movie, but I’m all in now. WHMS is a reminder that New York at Christmastime is a magical beautiful place – and then you snap back into reality watching Sally try to haul a Christmas tree by herself in the snow down the street. But all of it, the good and the bad, is a reminder why RomComs like this are the perfect thing to watch at the holidays. They make you laugh, make you cry, make you all tingly inside knowing that the season isn’t just about the trees and the snow and the presents – it’s about being around the people you love.

Molly’s Picks

The Holiday

The Holiday is one of my top two Christmas rom coms (it sort of shares first place with Love Actually). It has everything I could want in a Christmas movie: aspirational real estate (both the California mansion and the Cotswolds cottage), just-as-aspirational hair and wardrobe, precocious English tots, a kindly old man, and Jude Law right in the middle of what will someday be remembered as his golden era. Sure, it does fall into the romcom trope of everyone thinking the obviously pretty and charismatic Kate Winslet is some sort of sad sack, but – spoiler! it turns out she’s leading lady material after all. With Jack Black and Cameron Diaz rounding out the main cast, the Holiday is the perfect balance of rom and com.

Meet Me In St. Louis

As with regular-season rom coms, it’s important not to disregard the classics at Christmas. This musical (come on, you knew there would be a musical!) follows a year in the life of a turn-of-the-century family. However, the film ends at Christmas time, and is the origin of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. To be honest, I never would have bothered with this movie if (1) I weren’t in the play in 8th grade, and (2) it didn’t star Judy Garland while she was still … doing well. But it’s worth watching if you like musicals, holiday cheer, and one of the most talented performers of a generation.

The Family Stone

I recommend this rom com with one reservation: I am recommending the whole thing except for the last, oh, five-ish minutes. If you’ve seen it, you know why. But the rest of it is great, sort of a Yuletide This Is Where I Leave You. And like TIWILY, it’s at least somewhat relatable if you have a large family of grown siblings, in-laws, nieces and nephews. The comedic parts of it hit a little harder than a lot of Christmas movies, which stick to the feel-good fluff. Plus, the cast is incredible: Christmas King Dermot Mulroney, as well as Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Luke Wilson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Claire Danes, Rachel McAdams,  Elizabeth Reaser and Paul Schneider (Mark Brendanawicz himself).

But I mean it about the last 5-10 minutes.

Elf

Elf, a rom com? I say that it is! It may be a children’s/ family movie, but I think it’s one of the funniest films out there. And I know I’m not the only one who thinks so, because just about every other adult I know can quote the whole thing. After a rocky start (the musical Law and Order: SVU episode setup that is Baby It’s Cold Outside), the gentle love story of Buddy and Jovie is a big part of what makes Elf so sweet. What can I say? Smiling’s my favorite.

While You Were Sleeping

If I had to explain to someone what 1995 was like, in the romcom world anyway, I’d show them While You Were Sleeping. This movie is just so delightfully normcore, before we had a word for it. Everyone’s hanging out in Chicago, wearing Gap sweaters and Land’s End khakis, telling lies about their romantic history and falling in love during comas and stuff. If you’re wondering why your mom still calls Sandra Bullock America’s Sweetheart, just watch While You Were Sleeping.

Peter Pan Live! – A LaterBlog

Well folks, it happened. Months of waiting and anticipating and dreading NBC’s live version of Peter Pan culminated in a two hour show last night, and boy did we have a lot of thoughts on it. Like last year’s Sound of Music Live! special, Peter Pan dominated social media last night and we’re still talking about it today. But if you didn’t get a chance to watch with the other millions of folks who tuned in, here’s your opportunity to join in on the conversation with our own recap/liveblog/laterblog of the show (queue up your DVRs or streaming devices or watch on NBC.com if you want to follow along). And if you did watch it, let us know what you thought of a flying Allison Williams and dancing Walken!

peter-pan

Traci: I would like to say that I’ve never actually seen this version of Peter Pan, so I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen. I mean I know what’s going to happen, but I don’t know what’s going to happen.

Molly: Allison Williams requested that our inner children watch and live tweet this program. I am watching with my 7 and 5 year old nephews and they are already rooting for disaster. You tried, Marnie.

M: Either the audio and video tracks aren’t synchronized or all of this dialogue is lip synced to Ashlee Simpson-level cruddiness.

M: The harmonies on Tender Shepherd are pretty good! The kids are so cute, but the little one seriously looks like Timmy from Passions (who was adorable, so no shade).

T: Allison Williams was on Seth Meyers promoting PP recently, talking about the kid who plays Michael and how he asked her to stop saying the F-word so much. He also told her to eat wheat bread to be healthier. That is what I am thinking about while watching this kid.

T: Kelli O’Hara ::emoji with heart eyes:: (she is Broadway royalty, get to know her)

THAT’S A REAL ACTOR DOG, Y’ALL

I will say that the production value and camera work is great so far, much better than Sound of Music last year.

“I am the master of this house!” – Mr. Darling/ Monsieur Thénardier

T: THAT’S NOT A REAL TINKERBELL, Y’ALL

Say what you will about casting, but Allison Williams is just too delightful and I don’t have it in me to say anything bad about her.

M: AW is the identical hair twin of Androgynous Gym Girl, my college gym’s resident elliptical hog. A.G.G. had that haircut because it was the most workout-efficient, we theorized. And she only ate foods in bar or shake form because they metabolized better. Again, all conjecture. She just really loved that elliptical. Bitch.

T: Yo, Tink is a little bitch, doe.

M: Okay, Gotta Crow was sort of charming. I probably would have had a weird crush on this Peter Pan when I was 10. Crushed on a LOT of gay musical theater boys, y’all.

T: How do babies just “fall out” of their carriages??? #LostBoysMoreLikeDumbBoys

“Girls are much too clever to fall out of their carriage” BUT WAIT THIS IS SO TRUE

M: My 7-year-old nephew just says that Peter “has more magic than my Elf on the Shelf, even.” Okay, Allison Williams. You win this round.

T:  Whoa, I had like a nervous moment for AW when she went up in the flying rig for the first time. This is live television anything could go wrong. You’ve seen that YouTube fail from the high school production of this show, right?!? That’s what I’m picturing. This is obviously very different.

M: Screw it. I’m Flying is charming as hell.

T: Guys, AW is great. Whatever. I HAVE A LOT OF FEELS ABOUT THAT I’M FLYING SONG GOING INTO NEVERLAND THIS IS AMAZING. But also, stop integrating Shazam into my programs.

M: The 4-year-old just asked why they are flying over one of those Christmas villages. Shut it down, we have a baby live blogger on our hands.

T:  How do I get this miniature London cityscape outside my french windows?

T: Melissa Joan Hart has scored a series of commercials during Peter Pan Live promoting WalMart with her real family. Yes, her real family, and the internet went crazy for her attractive husband. My friend Scott had a perfect explanation for this:

T: That is actually Christopher Walken on an NBC live musical special on TV.

T: Christian Borle (Smee/Mr. Darling) look like he could be in Rock of Ages

Photo Dec 04, 9 05 05 PM

M: Well, the children aren’t scared of Captain Hook, but I am. Christopher Walken on a boat? Am I the only one still sketched out about the whole Natalie Wood thing?

T: What I love about Walken is that whoever he plays, he plays it brilliantly but still very Walken-y. Amazing. Also, he’s not even singing HAHAHA I LOVE IT.

OH MY GOD OH MY GOD TAP DANCING THERE IS TAP DANCING I’M CRYING

Photo Dec 04, 9 05 16 PM

M: This soundstage is so amazing that I want to hide out and sleep in it, Basil E. Frankweiler-style.

M: The 7-yr-old nephew would like to know how the Lost Boys got dance lessons if they don’t have parents. Fair point.

T: So many Newsies! Like actual Newsies. Like the Newsies who were on Broadway.

M: I love the cheesy island scenery. I mean that non-ironically. It reminds me of 1960s fantasy kitsch, like It’s A Small World.

M: So do they have to return the crocodile to Rainforest Cafe after, or.. ?

T: THAT’S NOT A REAL CROCODILE Y’ALL.

M: Something feels so wrong about a group of Lost Boys that look, you know, probably sexually active. And the Lost Boys are already forcing the virgin/whore/mother dynamic on Wendy. Congrats, kids. You’ve had a girl for all of 5 minutes and it’s already a patriarchal society.
Again, the LBs are all very good, but this works better when they cast Lost Boys who don’t have 401(K)s already.

T: Random aside: Bri Willy took the night of from the NBC Nightly News to watch AW in her big show. He said, “We will be watching the broadcast – immediate family only – sequestered in an undisclosed location – close enough to the production as to burst through the stage door the moment the credits roll.” CAN U NOT. I STILL CAN’T GET OVER HIM ANNOUNCING SHE WAS GOING TO BE PETER PAN ON TV.

M: EW. Wait a few minutes; when the grown-ass pirates start yo-hoing about stealing Wendy for their mother the Lost Boys don’t look so bad.

M: The Lost Boys are so old that their ratty Neverland clothes are looking like hipstery club clothes. Like a troupe of Lost Bois.

T: Anything that Walken does with his one hook is hilarious to me, apparently. Like this hitting the tambourine mess, I can’t.

… He’s not holding that major note right?? He is. He’s definitely doing that. Fun fact: they do something similar to this in Peter and the Starcatcher, which is a play about making the play of Peter Pan. Christian Borle won a Tony for playing Black Stache in it.

LOLZ TO THEM CUTTING BACK TO WALKEN HOLDING THE NOTE IN THE MIDDLE OF COMMERCIALS

M: On a scale from one to America, how racist is the Native American stuff going to be?

T: Because of social media, we are treated with gems from celebrities such as Anna Kendrick, who just gets it.

T: Is this where that Ugg a Wugg song is supposed to be? I appreciate that the producers hired a Native American consultant for this to rework the lyrics. Respect for not being racist.

M: The Native American stuff was, like, Pocahontas- level racist? The Disney movie not the historical figure.

T: For someone who doesn’t like to be touched, Peter does a lot of partner dancing.

oh hey alex wong from SYTYCD!

T: I love that the mic picked up everyone’s heavy breathing after that big dance number. Theatre kids – they’re real people too.

M: During the commercial I made my Lost boys some hot cocoa, and I missed a little but came back for the best musical theater lesbian duet since Take Me Or Leave Me.

M: My sister-in-law came in and asked if they’ve been speaking in English accents the whole time and scout’s honor, I could not answer. Not sure if that says more about me or the production – and for the record, I find the production magical as heck.

M: I aimed for Wendy’s bangs in 1997, so I kind of know what I’m talking about, and those puppies require some serious round brush action.

M: Marnie has some nice vibrato! If only Wendy’s cleavage weren’t looming over her. Dawson casting at its finest.

T: Yeah wait, what’s the timeline for this? How long have they been gone? Why isn’t there a search party out for the Darling kids? Mrs. Darling is gonna be all, “I saw a suspicious man about the size of my fist a couple days ago…”

M:  The song they sing about Hook is totally the same as the Gaston song from Beauty And The Beast.

T: “Who’s the creepiest creep in the world?” honestly never knew how amazing some of these lines were.

M: I don’t know how these child actors can memorize lines, nail blocking, learn choreography and execute stunts, and the kids I’m watching this with can’t even SIT STILL and PAY ATTENTION for one measly three-hour musical event.

M:  My favorite weird Peter Pan is still the Baby Sitters Club Super Special where they performed it at SMS, but you know what? This comes close.

M: This battle sequence has been going on a while but the Lost boys have been able to prep for it ever since John’s scar started tingling. Total Sorcerer’s Stone vibes.

T: It makes sense that the part that makes me tear up is when Hook throws Michael’s teddy bear into the ocean.

T: UPDATE ON THE CROC FROM THE QUEEN THAT IS LAURA BENANTI:

M: The kids’ mom is singing, and I’m almost expecting Sister Suffragette thanks to her costume. The kids come back, which is more than these garbage parents with the dog babysitter deserve. Just as garbage as the McCallisters, if you ask me.

T: On the real tho, if 12 rando boys came into your house and presented you with a single sock and then started singing and dancing would you actually take them in as your own? Mr. Darling’s answer to that is yes.

M: No wonder she raised Wendy to be such a pushover. Also the lost boys are all like 24 years old. So way to go, Mrs. Darling, you now live in an Edwardian frat house.

M: I didn’t know Minnie Driver would be in this! It makes me hate, a little less, the part where Wendy grows up.

T: Is this the story of how it’s possible to grow up to be Minnie Driver?

You’re all grown up!
Yes, it does keep a person rather earthbound.

M: Okay, overall I have to admit it. I think Allison Williams was right. I joked about the production – gently, and because that’s how I interact with the world or whatever. But I couldn’t tear it apart and honestly, I didn’t want to. Several years ago, a friend and I both discovered that we loved live action productions of Peter Pan. We’re probably not the only ones. I love magic. Whatever. No shame.

T:  So in full disclosure, I know a couple people involved with this production, including one of the Lost Boys (Tootles/guy with the top hat) and it is SO WEIRD for me to see him on TV. He has been in a few Broadway shows over the past few years, and it’s amazing to see this kid I used to work with share the stage with Christopher Walken. Because of my personal connection to the production, I had an obvious bias prior to this.

Before the show tonight, he wrote a post on Facebook acknowledging that people (read: staunch Broadway nerds) will probably criticize the show’s every move more so than a regular viewer, but to keep in mind to respect the work that this cast and crew has put in over the past two months. And I took that to heart. Thinking about when I was part of a production like this (not to this scale, obvi), you put so much time and effort into it, and then for a weekend or two, you get to show the world what you’ve been working on. It must suck to have critics hate on you IMMEDIATELY thanks to social media, so in light of my retrospection and respect for my friend, I tried to refrain from saying anything bad about this show.

Good thing is – I don’t have anything bad to say at all. The production value was outstanding, which can be difficult considering live theater isn’t meant to be tape and aired on TV in the first place. I thought Allison Williams was great – I was in the camp of pro-AW upon announcement of her casting, partly because I knew she could sing and partly because I didn’t know the show well enough to judge her. The fact that 90% of the cast had been on Broadway certainly helped bring the show to life, and all in all, it was a heartwarming three-hour show that families can sit and watch together for years to come. I believe.

The Laughter Of Children: Things I Made Fun Of As A Child

Allison Williams respectfully requests that when you watch Peter Pan tonight, you let your inner child do the live-tweeting. Here’s her message:

If you’re going to watch this the same way that you watch a TV show that you hate, but you hate-watch it with all your friends so that you can drink wine and tweet at each other about how it’s bad, you need to just go ahead and take those lenses out of your glasses and put in the lenses that you had when you were six.

I will watch Peter Pan with the lenses I had when I was six –but at six, my lenses weren’t rose-colored. They were joke glasses. It sounds like six-year-old Allison Williams was more Cabbage Patch Kid, while I was more Garbage Pail. She wore an argyle skirt and a tidy headband and non-ironically giggled at Punch and Judy shows in her Connecticut home; I was a freckle-faced urban Catholic schooler ripping Barney a new one. I wasn’t cynical, I just thought that everything was, in some way, funny.

Just call me Surly Temple.

To see how our present selves deal with Peter Pan, look for our live tweets (our handle is @cookiessangria), and laterblog (a live blog posted the next day!). For a window into my past, here are some things I made fun of as a young child:

  • Barney, which is normal. What’s not normal is writing a short play at age nine in which Barney is a tyrant lording over the overly-peppy children in the cast. I have a vivid memory of performing in my fourth grade classroom, scrawling a plummeting ratings chart on the board and shouting “We need Nielson families!”
  • There were two girls named Allison in my Irish Dance class and one of them had prominent buck teeth. In my mind, I called her Buckingham Alice. I didn’t even feel like I was making fun of her, though I knew better than to say it out loud. I was mostly delighted by how punny that was. I was almost disappointed that nobody ever realized that I was a shrimpy kid whose last name rhymed with “shorty” and first name nearly rhymed with “small-y”.
  • The swaying chorus of hopeful children in a local United Way commercial.
  • Donald Trump suffered a few financial losses in the early 90s. Right after that, on a family trip to New York, my seven-year-old brother announced “hey, there’s Donald Trump!” every time he saw a homeless person. This wasn’t me, but it was my next sibling up and I think it explains how I got this way.
  • Kidz Bop. But you know what? Now I’m in my late 20s and my Kidz Bop impression is on point, so no regrets.
  • I hate-watched a Christian children’s show, Colby’s Clubhouse, every week. It was a musical program about a group of kids who go to an abandoned playhouse to learn about Jesus from an oversized, anthropomorphic computer. Whenever a kid chirped a stupid line like “Jesus will always care for me!” I’d mimic their tone and say something like “My parents are forcing me to do this!” or “This dancing computer is my only friend!”
  • You may have had an annual family reading of The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve. I had an annual sarcastic reading of Santa And The Christ Child, a book about Santa meeting a child Jesus. Jesus takes Santa back in time to witness his birth. But not the actual birth part, which is gross. We shouted out logical inconsistencies in the story. Because if Jesus is like 8 years old, why is the celebration of Christmas even a thing?
  • Another example of how I got like this: my brothers’ childhood nickname for me was Limsy. It was an acronym. It stood for Little Ignorant Molly, So Young. And they made it up when they were, I believe, 7 and 9 years of age.
  • Oh. And they changed the Moto Photo jingle (Little people, growing up so fast/ Moto Photo makes the memories last!) to Little Molly, growing up so slow/ Moto Photo makes the memories grow! Again, they were in primary school.
  • Talk Girl, the children’s tape recorder toy that was exactly the same as Talk Boy, but pink.
  • The elderly. And folk music. In one fell swoop, with the multiple-verse song a friend and I wrote entitled Old Lady. You had to sing it in a wavery, Natalie Merchant-y timbre. Sample verse:

Old Lady, bones are all dry

She’s got osteoperosis

And she’s gonna die

  • My peers’ open, undignified obsession with Hanson and Jonathan Taylor Thomas. I preferred to crush on them secretly, like an ADULT.
  • The self-consciously multicultural names from elementary school textbooks. Every word problem was about Keiko, Carmen and Timmy trying to measure the perimeter of Aphrodite’s backyard. Like, it’s okay if sometimes just Julio and Maria have to figure out how many cupcakes to make for the bake sale, or if it’s only Vijay and Krishna determining when their trains will cross paths; you don’t have to throw in Sally and Bobby for me to understand it.
  • Phat Boyz, the “urban fashions” and convenience store at the corner near my school. My friend and I rewrote the then-ubiquitous Old Navy Performance Fleece jingle to advertise Phat Boyz, where you could buy attire for all your street battles. [I grew up next to and across from drug houses in a neighborhood called the “Fatal Crescent;” I wasn’t some suburban kid making fun of the “ghetto.”]
  • Myself, mostly.

The White Elephant In The Room

Every year, our LA fam does a Yankee Swap – or White Elephant depending on your pref – and every year, I secretly try to buy the gift that everyone wants to steal. I don’t even care if that’s selfish. I just want people to be pleased with their gifts, okay. So in my attempt to find a stellar present, I do some research on items under $20 that would be good in a Yankee Swap situation. And I don’t know what it says about the gift-givers on the internet, but basically everyone wants to hand out joke gifts for Yankee Swap. I don’t believe in that. Sure, it’s funny at the party, but if I can’t use it outside of said party, it’s no good to me. Not even sorry about my need to win a practical present. Yankee Swap is like Russian Roulette, y’all.

In hopes to sway people away from the gag gifts, here’s a list of real Yankee Swap/White Elephant items that people will actually want – and hopefully fight over – at your holiday party.

Trader Joe’s gift card

Everyone needs groceries, and the mere fact that somebody else is paying to keep you from being hungry is one of the best gifts that can be given.

Mystery Chocolate Box

I love those presents that when you open them, it’s not what you thought it was on the outside – not judging a book by its cover, if you will. This gift gives a whole new meaning to ‘life is like a box of chocolates’. Plus, a bonus is that you have to put those chocolates *somewhere* (in your mouth).

Dry Bar gift card

Last year, I picked this bad boy up, only to have it stolen from me, then it was stolen from that person and I think that person eventually got it back? Either way, I ended up with a cute crossbag purse I still use to this day, and a lot of girls were fighting over this Dry Bar GC.

Starbucks Bev Kicked Up a Notch

This particular mason jar is filled with hot chocolate mix, with shots of Baileys and a Starbucks gift card attached to it, but feel free to do any variation of this. Or just fill the mug with all Baileys. No judgement.

Clothes Folder

We’re all adults here. So if you want to act more like an adult, you can fold your clothes just like the Gap does!

Adult Onesie

Speaking of being an adult… if you’ve never tried it, don’t knock it. I mean look at how much fun all these folks are having.

A Game Good For Groups

The bonus of this is that you can play said game after everyone’s done with exchanging presents, and you’ll have it at the ready at future gatherings.

Movie Night Basket

I find that presents with multiple components are always a good time, and with a gift basket like this, it’s like a one stop fun shop. That Google play card can be a gift card to iTunes, Fandango or local movie theater of your choice. Don’t act like you’ve never snuck candy into a theater either.

Christmas Tree Made Out of Nips

Because you need to get through the holidays with your family.

Scratch Off Tickets

If you decide to do this, you should probably make a deal with whoever takes it home that you get a cut of whatever money they get. Win-win.

Travel iPhone Charger

So I bought this very iPhone travel charger and it’s changed my life. Also it’s a flashlight, so it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Some Sort of Appliance

Even if you don’t cook, an appliance like a Crock Pot is super easy to use and as the gift giver, you can even throw a few ingredients in there to get them started!

GiftRocket

GiftRocket is basically a gift card you can use anywhere. Say I want to give Beyonce a gift card to 7/11. I would go to the Giftrocket website, pick the 7/11 closest to the Carter home in LA, specify I want to put $20 on the ‘card’ and put in blueivysmom@surfbort.org. Now when B wants to go buy a Slurpee, she just goes to the 7/11 that I picked near their home (the location is verified by GPS) and she’ll get a link via email to confirm her location. The $20 goes into her PayPal account and theoretically, I just bought her $20 worth of Slurpees. It’s a little convoluted (an automatic PayPal acct is created if the recipient doesn’t have one) but it works – just ask Bey! (Don’t ask Bey.)