Movies That Make Me Love America

You know what I’m really into right now? America. We’re heading into one of our absolute favorite holidays – the 4th of July – and still riding on a rainbow high after last week’s Supreme Court decision. Yes, I know there are still a ton of things that need fixing here, but I reserve the right to feel really good about my country for this next week. Celebrating a victory – and a really fun holiday – doesn’t mean I think our work is done, it just means I’m happy for what’s been accomplished. Our president said it best: America should be proud.

There are some movies that always make me feel glad to be an American. Some of them are downright patriotic, others look unflinchingly at what needs to be fixed in our country, and others are just stories that couldn’t be set anywhere else – Grease, anyone? If I end up with a rainy day this July 4th weekend, you better believe I’ll be screening one of these.

The Patriot

I know that it’s historically inaccurate, and I know that Mel Gibson is problematic, but I still love spending the 4th of July reflecting on the people who founded our country. There’s nothing I can say about them that won’t invite responses about all of the awful things they did, and I know. Trust me. But they also stood for some ideals that were completely radical at the time. Plus it’s just a good movie.

Grease

1950s teen culture is just so American: cars, sock hops, soda shops, poodle skirts, homecoming. I’m sure the real ’50s were totally different, but the 1950s as seen through a ’70s musical is the ultimate nostalgia for something that probably never was.

Mad Hot Ballroom

No surprise: documentaries are better than fiction at showing what America is really like. If this were a DCOM it would be about 5 white kids and their one non-white friend learning how to dance in a weirdly colorful New York City school. But this documentary about 5th grade public school kids learning how to ballroom dance in the boroughs is actually diverse and interesting, instead. Released in 2005, it’s already interesting to look back at post-9/11 New York.

Carmen Jones

One of my favorite parts of American cinema: the big musical era in the 1950s. This super American movie stars the awesome Dorothy Dandridge and moves the story of Carmen to a World War II-era parachute factory.

1776

Okay, so obviously musicals remind me of America. But who WOULDN’T get patriotic watching 1776? And how wonderful is it that in the lead-up to the bicentennial, they released an epic musical about the Declaration of Independence. If you’re the special combo of history nerd and musical nerd, this is the definitive Independence Day movie.

The Notebook

I didn’t cry during The Notebook. So if you are one of those bozos who thinks it’s funny to say that gingers have no souls …. you might be right. But I did LIKE the Notebook. Something about movies set in the South feels so all-American to me, even though I am a lifelong New Yorker. Then you add the classic poor boy/rich girl story, and Ryan Gosling, and the sweet small-town 1940s sets and costumes, and you have the ultimate (sappy, predictable) American love story.

To Kill A Mockingbird

If you poll a group of lawyers, I’d estimate that at least 20% of them first fell in love with the idea of working in the law thanks to To Kill A Mockingbird. This week I feel more proud of my profession than ever. The reality is that most lawyers don’t go to court, but like Atticus Finch, most people enter the profession because they believe that the law is a vehicle for justice, not because they want to chase ambulances.  Watch this one if you want a refresher course in what law can do — one of my favorite quotes from the book is “delete the adjectives and you’ll have the facts.” [Can I have one VERY MINOR law gripe this week? Everybody’s quoting “It is so ordered” like it’s some kind of a mic drop, but all the opinions end that way. If the court had decided the other way, that still would have closed it out. But I do agree that it’s a badass way to end an opinion.]

Also, Gregory Peck.

The Sandlot

Or actually, any baseball movie will do. Or football – like We Are Marshall, or Rudy. But the Sandlot is both nostalgic in its setting – the 1950s – and in my memory – I wrote in my first grade journal about going to see it. It’s one of those movies that was always on TV when I was a kid so I can still quote it forwards and backwards, and I think I still know when to turn away during the tilt-a-whirl scene. I was never into sports, but I grew up in a neighborhood where all of the kids played outside together all day so it really does bring me back.

In America

The immigrant experience is the American experience. But most movies would have you believe that people stopped coming here in the 1800s – this beautiful movie about an Irish family chasing the American dream in an overheated Hells Kitchen apartment brings the story into modern times.

Coming To America

Speaking of immigration in modern times, Coming To America is still hilarious over 25 years later, and America still looks just as wacky from an outsiders’ perspective today. Eddie Murphy playing multiple characters sounds kind of corny, but this movie reminds you just why he was such a big deal in the ’80s.

Selena

What was the best day of high school Spanish? Why, it was that one day after the final exam when the teacher would just say “screw it” and played Selena. Tragic ending aside, it’s an all-American story of succeeding due to hard work and talent. Anything for Salinassss.

 

 

Glory

If you have a bit more time and are interested in something with a bit more substance, Glory is one of the best American historical dramas of all time. It is about the first African-American unit in the Union Army, and it will make you proud of the Americans across history who fought for what was right. That’s the American story I’m interested in – not being a blameless country from the beginning, but individuals working and sacrificing to make a more perfect union.

 

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Welcome to The OC Musical, Bitch

Ever wonder what it would look like if your fave high schoolers from Newport Beach put all their feelings into song? You won’t have to wait that much longer. It was recently announced that there’s going to be a one-night-only event of The OC in musical format, in Los Angeles in August (of course conveniently when I’m back home in New York). The producers of the show are the same ones who recently did The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Cruel Intentions – you may have heard of it because Sarah Michelle Gellar, Selma Blair and Reese Witherspoon all went together and it was an epic return to 1999.

But now the producers are skipping ahead a few years to 2003, when The OC made its debut and entered the hearts of a new generation, namely, ours. I was a high school senior and this show was meant for people like me. I became obsessed as much as the next teen fan, buying into the mysterious, brooding Ryan Atwood, calling Seth Cohen the perfect nerdy dream man, and (still) having an adverse reaction anytime anyone mentions Tijuana/TJ.

As any The OC fan knows, music was a huge part of the show, which makes perfect sense as to why it’s being made into a musical. So far, the producers have cast school jock Luke, Seth’s mom Kirsten Cohen, and for some reason, show creator Josh Schwartz in some weird meta role, I guess.

For Cruel Intentions, the producers took songs from the late 90s/early 2000s to provide the soundtrack for the musical: e.g. Kathryn teasing stepbrother Sebastian with Xtina’s Genie in a Bottle and a Blaine’s gay sex scene with a BSB/’N Sync medley.

So what can we expect from The OC musical? I am in no way involved with the show at all, so this is just my best guess. If any of these do turn out to be in the show – just remember I am trademarking and copyrighting all of this. Just like Michael Scott declaring bankruptcy.

Act I

California by Phantom Planet

{Josh Schwartz}

There is no song more synonymous with The OC than its theme song, so why not start here? Creator Josh Schwartz went to USC and was also in a fraternity, so he was familiar with rich kids from Southern California. He considered himself an outsider, and got a glimpse at how real teens in Newport Beach lived, and that served as inspiration for The OC. Did you know he was 26 when the show got picked up? When I was 26, I was still binge-watching episodes of The OC. This solo is the beginning of his masterpiece.

Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day

{Ryan Atwood}

In the pilot, Ryan and his brother Trey get caught stealing a car and while Trey lands in jail, Ryan is let go but since he has nowhere to go (since his dad abused him and his mom is an alcoholic with a tendency to just up and leave), his lawyer, the wealthy Sandy Cohen decides to take him in. It’s like this song is Ryan’s pre-Cohen anthem.

Over My Head (Cable Car) by The Fray

{Sandy Cohen/Kirsten Cohen and Jimmy Cooper/ Julie Cooper}

It wasn’t an easy sell for Sandy to convince Kirsten to take Ryan in – he is, after all, a troubled kid from Chino that they don’t know at all come to live in their mansion of a house and lavish lifestyle in Newport. Meanwhile, their next-door neighbors, Julie and Jimmy Cooper (who happens to by Kirsten’s former flame) are heading towards a divorce of their own. Each couple is in over their heads, but only one will ultimately survive.

Wonderwall by Oasis

{Ryan and Marissa}

Ah, the start of a beautiful friendship. When Ryan and Marissa meet for the first time, she’s outside waiting for her BF to pick her up and he’s going to smoke a cigarette, because he’s the bad boy. It’s one of the most iconic scenes from the show, so their meeting has to have its own song. After he says, ‘Whoever you want me to be’ – they separate and cue music.

I’m Shakin by Rooney

{Seth Cohen}

There aren’t many kids like Seth in Chino. He’s nerdy, into video games, super into emo music and confided in a plastic toy horse called Captain Oats. Wouldn’t it be great if the audience is introduced to a solo Seth Cohen singing and dancing alone in his room and Ryan sees him in his natural element for the first time being a total dingus?

 

Dirty Little Secret by All-American Rejects

{Summer and Seth}

I’m kind of jumping around in the timeline here, but let’s assume Seth and Summer skipped their whole ‘Ew! I don’t like Cohen!’ game and they’re just dating on the DL. (SIDENOTE: Rachel Bilson had a scene with Wilson Bethel aka Wade from Hart of Dixie in The OC?!?! BRAND NEW INFORMATION)

Mr. Brightside by The Killers

{Ryan, Marissa, Seth, Summer}

Setting: The Bait Shop. The four kids are watching Seth’s fave band, The Killers, play. This scene is purely of them having fun. No brooding allowed.

Welcome To My Life by Simple Plan

{Oliver Trask and Marissa}

Ugh. Oliver. He meets Marissa in therapy, and they bond because they both have problems, but as Marissa’s going to find out, he has bigger problems than her.

Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen

{Cast}

Remember how good the first season was? And remember how good this ending scene in the finale was? Ryan went back to Chino to take care of his maybe-baby with his ex-girlfriend Theresa, Seth sailed on his catamaran to Catalina (?? which I realize now isn’t as far from The OC as I thought), Summer is sad because Cohen left, Marissa moves in with her mom’s new husband and starts drinking again because Ryan left and the Cohens are left as empty nesters because both their boys are gone. CLIFFHANGER END TO THE ACT.

(END OF ACT)

::Intermission/Bake sale for Harbor School::

Act II

Maybe This Christmas by Ron Sexsmith

{Cast}

We open Act II with Christmukkah, a Cohen family tradition and one I even attempted implementing despite the fact I am not Jewish.

Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard

{Seth and Summer}

Seth and Summer briefly break up and he’s into Anna but then he realizes he’s not really into her and still loves Summer. Because they’re *meant to be*.

Portions for Foxes by Rilo Kiley

{Marissa and Summer}

A song in which the BFFs talk about sexy times with their respective men. Probably setting feminism back a bit, but this isn’t real anyways, so it’s fine.

Sugar, We’re Going Down by Fall Out Boy

{Seth and Ryan}

What’s the early 2000s without Fall Out Boy?

Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap

{Oliver, Marissa, Ryan, Sandy}

Oliver proves to be a psycho and basically locks Marissa in a room while he flails a gun around, as seen in this scene (even though this song is famously in this scene). The standoff comes to a complete halt and, as if stuck in time, they start singing a cappella, because this song will give you chills if done right a cappella.

Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol

{Ryan, Marissa, Seth, Summer}

Ryan and Marissa are rid of crazy Oliver, Seth and Summer are back in love, and everything is right with the world again.

The Sound of Settling by Death Cab for Cutie

{Cast}

Because you need that finale number that will make you want to cheer for the characters AND dance around at the same time. Also, Death Cab, is Seth Cohen’s favorite, duh.

(CURTAIN)

 

It’s 1999: Let’s All Decorate With Giant Armoires To Hide Our TVs!

It’s another installment of Let’s All Decorate!, a series where we explore the design trends of the not-so-distant past! Today we look at what happened after the geese in bonnets and pastel southwestern decor was sent to Goodwill.

A wise man once said “when you’re living in America at the end of the millennium, you’re what you own.”

And when you were living in America at the end of the millennium, one of the things you owned was probably a bigass faux French-Country armoire that you hid your tv in.

We just all sit facing this closed up armoire GUYS IT’S TOTALLY NATURAL.

The question of how to make your television seem appealing is as old as TV itself. In the 50s, televisions were encased in these weird wooden tv boxes that were probably supposed to make them seem like furniture. My grandparents used one their whole lives. By the ‘70s, a lot of families had TV stands with shelves on the side and a big cut-out hole for the TV.

Raise your hand if you grew up with one of these guys; now raise your hand meekly if your parents still have it.

By the late 90s, we had moved beyond that. Television was no longer novel and impressive. All the fanciest people didn’t have giant televisions, they were bragging that they didn’t own one. What’s a TV junkie to do?

Sometime around 1997, some brilliant mind came up with a solution. Oversized, plush furniture was in vogue, and we all wanted to look like we lived in a cushy French country house. Except, with television. Because we’re Americans. So why not hide the TV in a giant tv sized armoire?

I’ll tell you why not. Because that was weird. First of all, most people’s TV armoires had the doors flung open all of the time anyway, because – will wonders never cease – people like to watch their televisions.

Second, why is your TV a secret? Are you actually embarrassed that people will enter your living room and know that you like to watch the NBC comedies on Thursday night? Do you even remember the late ‘90s? That TV block was amazing. I’d be ashamed NOT to watch it.

They even watched TV on TV.

And finally, is an armoire at all BETTER than a TV? If you’re going to be embarrassed about the state of your home, it’s probably worse to have guests think that you have so little clothing storage that you have to keep your armoire in the living room. Unless you are Belle (Poor Provincial Town Belle), and that thing is going to fling open its armoire arms and dress you in the finest French country fashions, it’s not a piece of furniture that needs to stay out in the open.

I can’t blame Americans for trying. At the time, I thought the TV armoire was a great look. Trading Spaces was about to hit the airwaves, and we were trying to channel our inner Grace Adlers. It replaced an unsightly television with a classy yet chunky piece of furniture. Then flat screen televisions came onto the scene, and as quickly as they appeared, the armoires were all sent back to… France? Maybe? Bedrooms? Closets? Where did they go?

Actually, a lot of people are finding fun ways to upcycle their TV armoires. And other people are still using them, which isn’t a terrible option if you don’t watch TV much or if it fits your living room. At this point they aren’t as ubiquitous as they used to be, so if you have a TV armoire today you aren’t following trends, you’re following your heart.

The point is, it took us decades, but eventually we realized that televisions are made to be watched, and hiding it in a weird piece of furniture doesn’t make it more attractive. No, what makes a television attractive is what is on it. Or who is on it. Whatever.

Questions, Comments, and Concerns: A Deadly Adoption

Back in April, it was leaked that Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig, two of America’s best awards show presenters, had secretly filmed a Lifetime movie and Will released a statement saying, “We are deeply disappointed that our planned top-secret project was made public, Kristen and I have decided it is in the best interest for everyone to forgo the project entirely.”

Fast forward to earlier this month, when a huge billboard for A Deadly Adoption popped up in Hollywood, saying the movie will air for reals on June 20 and had the tagline, “The birth of a plan gone wrong.” It debuted on Saturday night, and 2.1 million viewers tuned in, with nearly triple that during the repeats over the weekend. And we were one of those viewers.

When the secret came out in April, Will said he and Kristen were true Lifetime movie fans and the project was made out of love, but didn’t really disclose whether it was going to be a parody or a serious Lifetime-style drama. But this is what the logline is per Time Warner Cable:

A successful couple (Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig) house and care for a pregnant woman in the hopes of adopting her unborn child, but things quickly go awry.

This sounds like every other TV movie on this network, so I was still lost. Throughout the course of the movie, I found myself asking questions and making comments outloud, since the entire thing had me quite puzzled. If you were one of the nearly 6 million viewers or are planning to watch it soon, let me know if you have similar questions, comments, concerns from A Deadly Adoption.

Question: Why does the beginning of this look like a faux commercial on SNL?

The movie starts out at the birthday party for Robert (Will) and Sarah’s (Kristen) baby daughter, and it all just seems like a set-up for a fake drug the writers on SNL are about to peddle to me. Baby Spanx, anyone?

Question: Should I be laughing at a pregnant Kristen Wiig falling into the lake?

Preggo Sarah is leading against a wooden railing on a dock over a lake, but it bows out and she falls back in slow-mo, hits a boat and falls into the water. Robert immediately runs into the lake to save her, and after a few tense seconds, she comes to – but the baby doesn’t survive. The fall was so dramatic that I wasn’t sure whether to be laughing or cry at their loss?

Concern: Robert is an alcoholic

We flash forward five years later, and we see Robert is a recovering alcoholic. I feel like this is going to come back into the main story somehow.

Concern: Robert and Sarah plan to adopt

Photo Jun 23, 10 59 03 PM

Now that Sarah can’t have a baby, she and Robert are hoping to adopt, and they meet a girl named Bridget (Jessica Lowndes) who’s six months preggo and lives in a shelter. When Robert goes to shake her hand, she somehow accidentally breaks a picture frame, leading me to think this shattered glass might mean something.

Comment: Bridget likes kids, apparently

“I’m really overprotective when it comes to kids” – Bridget, the woman giving up her baby for adoption.

Comment: WHO THAT IS, MY BABY DADDY?

“Oh Robert, what a mess.” – Bridget says to herself while ripping Sarah’s face off the cover of a magazine.  iS THAT ROBERT’S BABY IN THERE

Concern: Bridget’s boyfriend is an actual concern

The baby daddy is a tatted up bad boy who has a slight Southern drawl – why do they always have a Southern drawl. He also has a pick up truck. He is trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stand for Pool! (a little Music Man humor for you nerds).

Comment: THIS BITCH IS FAKING HER PREGNANCY

I knew her bump was too big to be six months!

Comment: Robert finds a book that he signed which reads, “To Joni: Don’t stop daring”

Okay I should’ve written this down earlier, but I so called this: Robert was out on a book tour years ago and got drunk and slept with one of his groupies – aka Bridget in a red wig. So it’s NOT Robert’s baby since she’s sans baby, but she’s definitely crazy and has infiltrated their life because she’s TOO MUCH.

Question: Why are Robert and Sarah leaving their daughter alone with Bridget?

Bridget/Joni’s on the lamb after Sully sees her wearing a fake pregnancy belly. Because she’s a genius, B/J lies to Sarah and tells her she’s taking Sully to the park, all the while telling Robert she’s taking Sully to meet Sarah at the farmer’s market. We also find out B/J planned this kidnapping with her Shane West Wannabe boyf because they want Robert and Sarah’s money. Again, WHY LEAVE YOUR CHILD WITH THIS QUESTIONABLE CHARACTER.

Concern: Sarah’s Gay Best Friend Charlie is getting too involved in the case

Sarah’s biz partner/GBF Charlie realized something was up when he saw B/J having a public couple fight with her boyfriend Dwayne. After Sully goes missing, he sees Shane West Wannabe and decides to follow him himself, opting not to tell authorities. GBF trails him to the shack they’re keeping Sully and again decides not to call for backup because this is a Lifetime movie and there’s stil 40 minutes left.

Question: WHY?

WELL THEY KILLED CHARLIE THIS IS THE WORST

Comment: Sully has diabetes, Robert makes this clear throughout the movie

Sully’s missing poster says “NEEDS INSULIN ASAP” in all caps in Impact font

Concern: B/J is going full Snapped

B/J shows up disheveled and threatens Sarah with a gun in her garage and claims Robert loves her and is gonna leave her. She also reveals she WAS pregnant after drunkly sleeping with Robert, but lost the baby a few months later. A fight ensues and B/J kills Sarah, puts her in the driver’s seat of her car, and does the good old fashioned carbon monoxide set up.

Question: Where is Robert?

B/J then goes into the house to find Robert, but honestly, he didn’t hear the commotion going on in the garage?? They had a full out girl fight. Anyways, B/J finds Robert in the house and confronts him about sleeping with her, etc. and she accidentally shoots him…?

Comment: Robert must have iron arms because he managed to save Sarah

Photo Jun 24, 1 28 41 AM

By lifting her out like the Pieta.

Question: Why does the shot of Will Ferrell in a boat last for so long?

Photo Jun 24, 12 11 15 AM

Robert acquired a phobia of boats and lakes and docks since Sarah’s accident, but he managed to put that away to save Sully, but all I can think is why does he look like Robert Goulet crossing a river to battle an army?

Concern: Sully’s mental state after this entire ordeal

B/J tells Sully, who is sick because she needs her insulin, that “her daddy is dead”, and when Sully tells her she’s mean, B/J’s response is, “Stop it! I am not mean! I am the only nice one! Everyone else wants to hurt us!”, like a mature woman faking her pregnancy would say to a child she kidnapped.

Comment: The commercials on Lifetime don’t even seem real

There is a real commercial for Osphena, which is a medicine for women who are having troubles having sex after menopause. Like, come on.

Comment: At least this girl has a future career on Lifetime

Photo Jun 24, 12 15 27 AM

Seriously, she convincing for a kid actor. There’s a showdown on the bridge where B/J tells Robert to hand Sully over or else she’ll shoot him. Robert whispers something in Sully’s ear, and she starts walking towards B/J who has a gun in her hand. Then Sully suddenly runs towards the edge of the bridge and jumps into the river below and Robert soon follows. B/J is dumb and doesn’t try stopping them by shooting, but once Robert and Sully are in the speedboat, the motor doesn’t turn on.

Question: Is this Lana Del Rey in a gun fight with Wiig?

Photo Jun 24, 1 46 53 AMTurns out Sarah’s not dead and before B/J has a chance to kill both Sully and Robert, Sarah shoots the bitch and she falls into the river.

Question: Real or Not Real?

The end card says “inspired by a true story” … is it really? I don’t think so, but ok then.

Where Are They Now: Every Kid From Your Second Grade Class

My oldest nephews, who were born in February 2007, finished second grade this week. That is absolutely astonishing to me. It’s hard to grasp that people who didn’t exist until 2007 can walk and talk, let alone read chapter books and multiply two-digit numbers.

Looking at these big kids (up to my shoulders!), I’m reminded of the Up Series.  In the early ’60s, British filmmakers interviewed seven-year-olds from different backgrounds and social classes. The premise: “to get a glimpse of England in the year 2000. The shop steward and the executive of the year 2000 are now seven years old.” They were testing the Jesuit maxim “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” The filmmakers have followed up with the participants every seven years; they are now approaching 60 years old.

There are other Up series filmed throughout the world. The first installment of the American version was released in 1991, so when I watch it I’m seeing kids grow up in the same time I did. The really amazing thing is that in many cases, the child at seven does tell you a lot about the adult they’ll become.

So how about those kids we all seemed to have in our second grade classes? Do you think we can accurately predict where they are now? Maybe not – but it’s fun to try.

The Nose Picker

Also known as the Gross Kid. As a child, I lived in fear that I was the Gross Kid even though I was hygienic. And as an adult, I sometimes still feel like a grown-up version of the Gross Kid.

But you know who doesn’t feel like that? The actual grown-up version of the Gross Kid. Because the hallmark of the Nose Picker/ Gross Kid/ Smelly Kid was that they were utterly oblivious to their own filth. This kid has not become an appealing adult. He has become that guy at your office with the rumpled shirt who is always faintly smelly, or the sticky guy who you hope doesn’t chose the elliptical next to you. She’s that person whose apartment may be surface-clean, but the sink always has a layer of grime.

If the Nose Picker was an unappealing kid because his parents just didn’t care, though, not because the kid was oblivious, then he is probably very tidy and fastidious now.

The Dinosaur Kid

How about that one child who knew everything about dinosaurs (or fighter jets, or bugs, etc)? Chances are this kid is the expert in some super-specific field, but has left the dino t-shirts behind. But if you go see Jurassic World with a former Dinosaur Kid this summer, be prepared for a tirade on the inaccurate skin folds of the velociraptors, because once you amass that much knowledge about a subject it doesn’t go away, it just gets locked up for a while.

That One Kid Who Showed Up Halfway Through The Year

Remember how one kid would show up halfway through the year, introduced by the principal, and then they’d be gone at the start of the next school year? That kid made friends fast – in part because everyone was so taken with the novelty of an unfamiliar kid, and in part because if you switched schools a lot, you sort of had to know how to make friends quickly. So it would come as no surprise that That One Kid Who Showed Up Halfway Through The Year is now a person who instantly gets involved in a new workplace or neighborhood.

The Kid With The Healthy Lunches

Well, they’re probably thin, but good God, at what cost?

Actually, I take that back. The kid with the aggressively healthy lunches raided his friends’ Dunkaroos and Pop Tart Bites every time he went over to to play – I should know, my friend had the good junk food and I did the same. By high school, they probably developed a Claudia Kishi complex and snuck unhealthy snacks. This kid is now an adult who buys lunch from a vending machine at work.

The Kid With The Good Lunches

You know how some children were destined to a life of Lunchables and Handi-Snacks when your lot in life was bologna sandwiches and lukewarm yogurt? Those Good Lunch Kids had 20 minutes of joy in the middle of every school day. I like to think they still create happiness with little things, like as adults they have a living room with one really unexpected piece of art, or they’ll wear a normal weekend outfit with a punchy pair of shoes.

Or, childhood Type II diabetes. One of those.

The Kid With The Statement Piece

It always seemed cool when a child had one thing they always had with them. Think Harriet the Spy with the tomato sandwiches. Or the boy with the purple socks, also from Harriet The Spy. Or Punky Brewster’s mismatched shoes, or Blossom’s hats. By now, this person has outgrown their statement piece. The boy who always wore suspenders is not still wearing suspenders. But they still like to get noticed right away, so look for a gregarious personality or some chunky jewelry. In second grade, the kid with the statement piece knew his own mind, so now they’re adults who have to have their house, car and workspace just the way they want it.

These are the people who have customized license plates.

Dress Girl

I went to Catholic school, where every girl was Dress Girl. However, I still knew some of those girls who even in their free time insisted on wearing dresses. All dresses, only dresses, every day. Sometimes it was a religious thing but usually it was just a preference. Dress girl is not someone who works in fashion. Dress girl just chilled out at some point and realized that pants are useful for things like exercising, or windy days. But she’s mostly just someone who wears a lot of dresses, still. Sorry.

That Kid With A Ton Of Siblings


Your eyes don’t deceive you, that’s Jamal Lyon and Jess Merriweather in the best show nobody seems to remember.

If the Kid With A Ton Of Siblings was the oldest – or one of the oldest – in their giant family, there’s an excellent chance that this person is now an Adult With No Children, enjoying the blissful sounds of silence and sharing their wardrobe with nobody. In the immortal words of Kevin McAllister, when these kids grow up and get married, they’re living alone.

The Two Kids Who Look Alike But ARE NOT SIBLINGS

They never talked to each other again. But one has a spouse who looks like them. When they have kids, nobody can say “he looks just like his dad” or “that’s his mom’s nose!” Instead it’s like “yeah… that’s the only face those two faces could have created.”

Any other ginger kids out there? Then you know the very real struggle of being asked if you’re twins if there’s another random ginger in the class.

The “Half Hour Of PBS” Kid

Often a crossover with the Healthy Lunch Kid, remember that one kid who was allowed a single half-hour of public television once a week? Yeah, she spent a lot of time playing outdoors, developing an imagination, and getting acquainted with her local library, but she never knew what the heck was going on on TGIF. And like the Healthy Lunch Kid, this child binged on SNICK and Tiny Toons as soon as a play date began.

This could have gone one of two ways. Either this kid is now a TV blogger, or she’s one of those people who manages to drop the fact that she doesn’t own a TV into every conversation, relevant or not.

He Had A Rat Tail

He doesn’t, now.

The Kid God Forgot To Color In

Me, ’90s, skiing cow sweater, you’re welcome internet.

Oh, bless. That kid with pasty skin and pink-rimmed eyes is now an adult with slightly less pasty skin. For some reason, this child eventually ended up allergic to everything, as well. The quote from Community comes to mind – it’s like God spilled a person. The pasty child is now a grownup who doesn’t leave home without sunscreen, Zyrtec, eye drops, an inhaler, and maybe an epipen. And tissues, because for some reason frequent nosebleeds go along with this whole setup.

And yes, this kid is me. Now excuse me as I fish my flonase out of my purse.

The Girl Who Knows Everything

Nobody in the world knows more than a seven-year-old girl. Especially THIS seven-year-old girl. Unfortunately, knowing everything is not the best way to ingratiate yourself with your peers.

The Girl Who Knows Everything probably forgot that she knows everything for a few years there – junior high or high school – but her Hermione Granger tendencies won out and now she’s in an upper-level position in the Ministry of Magic got a pretty good job.

The Kid Who Wants Everyone To think He’s Rich


God bless typecasting. I feel like our child-selves should have been friends.

What’s more insufferable than a rich kid? A kid who wants everyone to KNOW that he’s a rich kid. This is the girl who told everyone that she got her Halloween costume from the deluxe tier, or the boy who referred to his pool as an “olympic-sized swimming pool.” I’m not saying that this kid is rich now, but they probably have a subprime mortgage on a flashy McMansion and lease a nice car that’s beyond their means to own.

Summer Memes Make Me Feel Fine: #AskRachel

Ah, Rachel Dolezal. There’s so much to say about you, but we won’t, because this isn’t a political blog. However, this a blog where we talk about pop culture, and (un)fortunately, Rachel Dolezal has seeped into that genre which we fall privy to. Of course, if you’ve been paying attention to the news over the past few weeks, you know Rachel Dolezal is the former president of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the NAACP who has been disguising herself as black since 2007. Her *white* parents came forward earlier this month saying their daughter has been passing for black for years, and when asked by a local news station if she identifies as African-American, she said she didn’t understand the question and awkwardly walked away. Rachel later resigned from her post at the NAACP, but since the Internet is, well, the Internet, by that time thousands of memes had already been made with her likeness, and questioning whether she really IS in touch with black culture or not.

I’d like to note that this particular situation has an overwhelming absurdity to it, while concerning and controversial, the scandal leads itself to humor and parody on its own, which is why this meme post exists. The Internet has become a place where people have no chill (as we’ve proved previously with #TheDress controversy) and while sometimes it can be a scary place, the World Wide Web is also a place for folks to come together and talk about a single topic, even if it can be construed as politically correct. We’re just trying to bring humor to the subject, and we hope you can enjoy that humor too!

 

***Filipinos do this too***

still don’t know what that phrase means. thanks, drake.

 

my fave

META INTERNET MEME SPIRAL

#racheldolezal #rp

A post shared by 🔥Petty_P357🔥 (@petty_p357) on

NO. CHILL. ZONE.

Pocahontas: ’90s Fashion Goes 17th Century

Can you believe that tomorrow it will have been 20 years since Pocahontas? Pocahontas the movie, that is: Pocahontas the human died in like 1617. It has been two whole decades since Disney released its historically fuzzy account of a spirited Powhatan girl who gets White Man’s Burdened by a dude in that one haircut all the cute boys had in the mid-90s. Disney does a ton of research for each of their movies, but ultimately chose a ’90s-friendly interpretation of 17th Century style. So how do the 1600s look through a ’90s lens?

John Smith’s ‘Cute Boy In The ’90s’ Haircut

In 1994, all of the cute boys called a secret meeting and vowed to get That One Haircut. If you were a Tiger Beat reader or cherished your J.T.T. is H-O-T issue of Nickelodeon Magazine, you know exactly which one I’m talking about. It was center parted and layered back on the sides, so that all of the cute boys could brush it out of their eyes all of the time. Which was the haircut’s fatal flaw, I’d wager. It was always in the way. And it was in the way of EVERYONE, from Rider Strong to Christian Bale to… well, to John  Smith, who must have painstakingly layered his locks in his berth below deck of that old-fashioned wooden boat. Smith has the longer, more mulletty version of the cut, favored by your more outdoorsy Cute Boys In The ’90s.

Nakoma’s Sassy Bangs

In 1995, those late ’80s/early ’90s mall bangs were fading into history. Instead, your bangs were probably either a blunt-cut fringe or wispy and curled under with a round brush. I think my right forearm is still slightly more muscular than the left because of all that time I spent scrupulously curling my bangs under into a see-through hair dome. The curled-under bangs were innocent and girly, but the blunt Betty Page fringe was the trademark of a true sass factory. That’s why Disney gave them to the movie’s requisite Sassy Best Friend.

Pocahontas’s Ink

Remember “tribal tattoos?” And how if the only tribe you were in was the National Association Of College Bros, you probably shouldn’t have gotten one? There was a time when the tribal armband circled the bicep of every college dude in the land – it was the undercut haircut and waistcoat of 1995. Now those armbands are sported by 40-something dad types who only reunite with the “tribe” on alumni weekend.

By the way, those of us who were eight years old in 1995 had the Poor Man’s Tribal Tattoo, the stretchy band from Claire’s Boutique that always ended up on your wrist if you had skinny arms.

Pocahontas and Nakoma’s Girl Band Outfits

I get that buckskin was the only fabric option or whatever. But I still love how Pocahontas and her girl Nakoma have coordinating outfits. It’s like TLC or En Vogue or Salt n Pepa, where they’d each have a slightly different outfit but made of the same material. And at least one girl always had the crop top version. We’ve established that Nakoma was the resident sassafras, so naturally it was her.

Pocahontas’s Cher Horowitz Hair Flip

 

The crispy permed look was dead or dying in the mid-90s. Instead, everyone wanted the perfect voluminous blowout. It was several years before we all started flat-ironing our hair into brittle sheets, and health and movement were the hair goals. Pocahontas had, hands down, the best blow-out of the era, rivaled only by Cher Horowitz herself. I know Pocahontas didn’t have an animated blowdryer or anything, but I feel like she was always standing in the wind on a cliff with multicolored leaves swirling around her and stuff, so I guess that did the trick.

That Turquoise Necklace

Here’s where Disney was phoning it in (on a land line or one of those brick cell phones, because again, 1995). They were just like “oh, Native Americans LOVE turquoise!” because that whole Southwestern decorating thing was going on. But the key there is Southwest, I mean how would Pocahontas have ended up with it in Virginia? However, teal and turquoise were oddly popular at the time, so I think it was more a matter of picking a look that would help sell licensed Halloween costumes that year.

Thomas’s Center-Parted Bowl Cut

I think if you weren’t cute enough for the Cute Boy In The 90s Haircut, they made you get the center-parted bowl cut instead.

TV Dads That Will Make You Grateful For Your Real Dad

It’s Father’s Day on Sunday, and it’s a time to celebrate and recognize all the dedication and love our fathers give to us as their children throughout the year and every year. But we all know that sometimes it isn’t rainbows and butterflies with our parents. Not everyone can be as wise and profound as the Coach Taylors and Zeek/Adam Bravermans of the world. Parents all have their moments. And on television, those moments can be dramatized to the max degree. As you shower your dad with all the food and love this weekend, just remember that it could always be worse. Your dad could be like any one of these fictional fathers, so just be grateful this Sunday that your dad doesn’t sell meth or openly cheating on your mom with multiple women.

Walter White

{Breaking Bad}

I mean, if you watched any of Breaking Bad, I don’t really have to explain why he’s on this list, do I? He started as a high school chemistry teacher with lung cancer and in the most poetic, Greek tragedy way possible, he turned into the baddest man in all of New Mexico, and possibly the world. While he claimed to be making and selling drugs to help his family, in the end he was only helping himself, and even practically kidnapped his daughter towards the end of the series. You can’t even call that bad parenting because it isn’t even parenting.

President Fitzgerald Grant

{Scandal}

It’s clear Fitz loves his kids and would do anything to help them if they’re in trouble, but when you’re the president of the United States, and you send your kids to boarding school, have a baby with the wife you don’t really like just to keep up appearances AND have an extramarital affair that said wife knows about, you have a few more cons than the pro side on the list.

George Bluth, Sr. and Oscar Bluth

{Arrested Development}

Well, here you have George Bluth, Sr., a man incarcerated for fraud and who also built houses for Saddam Hussein. He doesn’t seem to really care about his kids and is willing to put them at risk for his own benefit (this is a comedy). And then you have his twin brother Oscar, who is the real dad to Buster, who knows this and doesn’t really give af. What do you expect from this family, though?

Lou Smith

{Fresh Prince of Bel-Air}

If you ever want a good cry, watch this clip. Will was so much better for moving out to Bel-Air, and it makes my heart cry fictional tears knowing the real Uncle Phil/James Avery has passed away 😦

Christopher Hayden

{Gilmore Girls}

Ok, in his defense, he did become a better father throughout the series. However in the beginning, he was just some guy in a motorcycle who couldn’t hold a job and left Lorelai to take care of Rory on her own. Again, they were 16, so I guess he has *sort of* an excuse, but not really. Luckily, Christopher made up for it in the later years, but he was still douchey in the beginning. #LukeAndLorelaiForever

Joe McCoy

{Friday Night Lights}

Photo Jun 18, 11 30 38 PMSometimes, when I rewatch season three of FNL, I fast forward through the JD/Joe McCoy parts because he’s just that annoying. Joe is the father to star quarterback and new Dillon Panthers player JD, and Joe is like a stage/dance mom but in the football field. He’s overprotective, overbearing, and a downright asshole. He put a lot of pressure on JD to do well on the team, and doesn’t even allow him to drink soda or eat candy or watch TV because it will make him distracted from football. Also, no girls – which was proven in the ep where Joe gets mad JD’s dating a girl, and he ends up physically hurting him and the American treasures the Taylors have to call child protective services. He’s a delight.

Mike Potter

{Dawson’s Creek}

Joey’s dad not only cheated on her mom/his wife before she died, he also got caught for selling drugs, which is why he is in jail. He gets released at the end of season one, but then starts dealing drugs again and Joey is the one who turns him in, because that’s what daughter’s do. He’s in jail for a majority of the rest of the season, until Joey goes to talk to him and finds out he got released but didn’t tell anyone. Not even his daughters.

Bart Bass

{Gossip Girl}

Honestly, so much shit went down on Gossip Girl that I hardly remember what happened. I don’t think I even knew what was happening when the show was on the air. I do remember that Bart was always an asshole, especially to his son Chuck, who he lied to about being dead, took back Bass Industries from him and tried to maybe kill him? IDK, he just looks skeezy, ya know?

Thatcher Grey

{Grey’s Anatomy}

So Meredith Grey hasn’t had a life that’s been ideal. Her aesthetic is more dark and twisted. A lot of that has to do with her parents. First her mom, the revered surgeon Dr. Ellis Grey, had an affair with Dr. Richard Webber and they had a secret daughter no one knew about, and after they broke up, Ellis attempted suicide and a young Meredith watched it all happen. Then she got Alzheimer’s and on top of all this, Ellis was overbearing and thought Meredith was “ordinary”. Enter Thatcher, who left when Mer was five years old, and didn’t even attempt to contact her for 20 years. He remarried and had two daughters, including Lexie, who would later work at Seattle Grace/Mercy West/Grey Sloan Memorial. He’s also an alcoholic, and a few seasons in, he comes to the hospital in hopes of getting a liver transplant. He returned to the hospital when his wife had weird symptoms, which turned out to be a weird fatal thing and got mad at Mer and blamed her for her death (see scene above).

Don Draper

{Mad Men}

It’s barely been a month and I still miss Don. He’s like Fitz, where I know he’s doing morally wrong things, but I can’t help but sympathize and like him. Don didn’t have a father or mother figure of his own growing up as the illegitimate son of a prostitute. He barely had a family, and as a result, didn’t know what to do when he actually had one. The only kid he’s even close to at all is Sally, and that wasn’t until later on in the series. Not to mention he slept with her teacher and then left his door open for Sally to see him having sex with his neighbor. Plus Baby Gene was born out of sloppy sex on the floor of Betty’s parents’ home. Bobby was basically irrelevant based on the actor turnover alone. Don especially seemed to neglect his kids after his split with Betty, and as much as he tried, it seemed like he was just going through the motions of being a father rather than really trying to be a good one.

 

Midsummer: World’s Most Pin-able, Tumbl-able, Instagrammable Holiday

Can you believe it’s already Midsummer Eve tomorrow? If you’re American, your answer is probably either “… I guess so?”, “That thing from Shakespeare?”, or “I don’t think you can have midsummer when it isn’t even summer yet.” All fair points. But if you’re one of those folks who’s into the Pinterest/Instagram/tumblr scene [I, admittedly, am not] — with all the flower crowns, hand-lettering, and latte art — you should probably get behind this one.

To be clear, Midsummer is a very real, very old holiday. It celebrates the summer solstice. So why midsummer? The internet says that it’s because old Anglo-Saxon and Icelandic calendars used to have two seasons – summer and winter – which means that the summer solstice falls smack in the middle of summer. Of course, the internet says a lot of things.

These days, if you think of anything when you hear “midsummer” – other than “Shakespeare” or “huh?” – it’s probably Sweden. It’s celebrated other places, but it’s a big deal among people of Swedish descent all over the world. However, Midsummer also shares several key features with the most popular parts of the Pinterest Industrial Complex, so it’s only a matter of time before it takes off all over:

Flower Crowns

What, you thought they were invented at Coachella? Nej. The flower crown has been a Midsummer staple for centuries, and these versions are a million times prettier than those JoAnn Fabrics florals stapled onto a headband that you’re seeing everywhere. Click on photos to go to the source and learn how to make your own:

Source: Cocorosa

 

Source: The House That Lars Built

Source: The Hairpin

Source: Willowday

 

Photogenic Desserts

No summer gathering is complete without a light, delicious fruit dessert. And in today’s world, no summer gathering is complete wuithout a light, delicious fruit dessert that would also look fantastic on Instagram. Well, Midsummer has you covered! The traditional dessert is any one of a number of strawberry and cream combos – often trimmed with flowers. You don’t have to be Swedish to appreciate these! Again, images link to the source, and the sources include recipes!

Source: The Domestic Front

Source: Breeze System

Source: Great British Chefs

 

Outdoor Decor

As I’ve mentioned, interior design is one of my favorite things. But you know what’s even more fun this time of year? EXTERIOR design, of course! There’s something so fun about using things like trees and lighting to bring dimension to your decor. If you’re looking to throw an impressive outdoor party, but don’t have a summer wedding to plan, Midsummer is just the ticket. I have about a million mason jars and yards of burlap left over from my parents’ retirement party last year, so maybe I should take my own advice. Click on the photos to learn more:

Source: Apartment Therapy

 

Source: The House That Lars Built

Source: The House That Lars Built. Fair warning: this was an EVENT. With, you know, sponsors. But there are many great, adaptable ideas!

Rustic Floral Arrangements

Again, I think by our late 20s, most of us have amassed (1) a fair amount of student loan debt; (2) one or two regrettable chapters in our dating histories; and (3) leftover mason jars from some gathering or another. Wildflowers are in bloom, and if you show up at a florist at the end of the day sometimes you can get great deals this time of year. Put them all together and you have the perfect Midsummer arrangements. Think no-fuss and low-cost:

Source: Something Borrowed Wedding Blog

Don’t forget your traditional Swedish blue and yellow! Source: Life at 139a.

Let your flower wreath project double as a floral display – lay your flowers out on a table and work from there. Source: Gastro Chic.

 

Renting The Runway: A Wedding Story

We’re smack dab in the middle of wedding season, y’all, and last month, I gave out a few tricks on how to make it through these next few months without becoming a bitter betty and exhausted to the max with our Wedding Season Survival Kit. I mentioned that one of the helpful tips is to dress to impress since all weddings these days are highly documented. You can either go the route of using something you already have and mixing and matching, or borrowing pieces, like a site such as Rent the Runway.

I used RTR for the first time this past weekend for my friend’s wedding and I wanted to share my experience (and a few tidbits from my other friends) on using the site, JIC you want to kick your wedding game up a notch this year!

The Process

I started looking at dresses about two to three months before the big day, and made a shortlist on the website by ‘hearting’ the dresses I liked, this way I could easily go back and look at not only the potential dresses, but any accessories as well.

*I consulted with a couple friends about my top few choices, and I wish there was an easier way to share the shortlist with friends and have them comment on which ones they think would look good.

Screenshot 2015-06-17 00.33.53

 

I settled on this Tango Tux Romper by Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent, which was $325 retail, and cost me $50 to rent. The wedding I attended was in Malibu overlooking the beach, and I felt the romper was fun yet formal enough for the later afternoon/night event. You have the option of renting an additional size for free, just in case the first one you pick doesn’t fit.

 

The first time you use RTR, you can get $25 off on your entire order over $50, so I decided to throw in this Show Stopper Necklace from Nineteen Pieces and Royal Mail Clutch from Lilly Pulitzer Handbags.

In total, I spent about $90 for a four-day rental. You pick a delivery date one to two days prior to your event, and you have to return it by 12pm on the fourth day. There is also an eight-day option, which is obviously more expensive.

*In the meantime, my friend, who I consulted earlier, was also planning on using RTR for the same wedding. She decided to rent dresses for two other events prior to this weekend’s wedding. The first event was the bride’s bachelorette weekend, and my friend was accidentally sent two long ball gowns meant for a woman in Texas. Since we went out of town for the bachelorette party, it was no use in having RTR send another one because she was leaving the next day. The second event was for a West Coast Reception for our friends’ wedding, and she had no problems. For this past weekend’s wedding, she received an e-mail saying they couldn’t send her the dress she picked out, and had to send her backup options. They sent two dresses – one, a gown Academy Award-ready, and the other, a LBD, which she ultimately ended up using (which I thought looked great!). She contacted RTR and told them because of their eff-up, she had to purchase last-minute undergarments, etc. and luckily, they gave her $100 credit. So, we know customer service is good. Separately, I have a friend who used RTR for a black tie wedding, and everything went swimmingly, while another got the dresses and decided they didn’t look good, so she ultimately didn’t end up wearing it.

The Minor Freakout

Because I had heard mixed reviews ever since I reserved (and paid) for my dress and accessories, I was nervous that either it wouldn’t arrive on time or it just wouldn’t look as good as I had hoped.

The Thursday before Saturday’s wedding, I received an email from a RTR stylist saying the purse I had picked was unavailable. I had to provide five backup choices in order of preference and whichever was available would be sent to me at no additional cost. I was annoyed at first, but ultimately, I was just glad it wasn’t the dress, and I ended up picking a bag that I liked more than my original choice, this Black Faye Clutch from Times Arrow (and twice the price of the orig bag!).

The Arrival

Since I was a psycho and tracked the package every second, I grabbed the box when it arrive at my door around 6pm the night before the wedding. Inside, was a garment back with the two sizes of the romper, the necklace, handbag, and large UPS bag for you to put all the items once you return them. I must say, it felt very fancy, probs because I stick with the plebeian apparel. Anyways, I tried both on and liked how it looked, so no need to send back (also no time). My only complaint is that the shorts material was a tad thinner than I realized, but I made it work. Also, pockets! The necklace was shorter on me than I estimated, so I ended up not wearing it, which is fine, because I basically got it for free thanks to the $25 off and purse situation. The purse smelled brand new (is that weird), and was the perfect size to fit all my items.

Photo Jun 12, 11 53 50 PM

Photo Jun 12, 11 55 16 PM

The Wedding Day

I forgot to mention I paired this outfit with my own black wedges (easy to dance in all night) and earrings I forgot I had which were black and gold and art deco-y. Here’s a horrible picture of my friend (also in RTR) and I but it gives you a good look at the romp!

Photo Jun 13, 6 01 40 PM

We took a pic later in the night, and I’m clearly sweaty from going hard on the dance floor, my friend looks like an angel, it’s fine. Also, I spilled guac (hi, wine) on the front black part of the romp, and while I tried to get it out, it was still a little visible. Luckily, you pay a minimal insurance fee when you rent to cover stupid mishaps like this, so I didn’t freak out about it.

Photo Jun 16, 1 29 26 AM

The Return of The Runway

On Sunday, I packed both rompers, the purse and unused necklace in the provided UPS bag (the garment bag and hangers I could keep) and found a UPS drop box and said my last goodbye and watched it sail softly into the night (slash left it in a dark box).

All in all, I would recommend RTR. Based on my experience, it was easy to use and a slip-up on their part ended up being better than I expected. But based on my friends’ stories, it seems hit or miss. Here’s the bottom line – use RTR if you’re like me and don’t re-wear dresses to weddings and/or big events. Have a backup dress just in case, and if something goes wrong on RTR’s end, don’t be afraid to write customer service, because they will help you as best they can. Now I g2g find another dress for my third and final wedding this August.