It’s 1975: Let’s All Decorate Our Porches and Patios!

Welcome back to Let’s All Decorate, a series examining the design trends and tribulations of years past. We’ve examined everything from 90s country geese to the early-DIY era sponge painting craze to your grandma’s house (yes, yours), but today we’re going to take it outside. Memorial Day is in the books and summer 2016 is unofficially here. For a lot of us that means planting our gardens, cleaning off the outdoor furniture and hanging hammocks. In the 1970s it meant all of that too, but everything was just a little bit uglier.

I don’t know why, but the 1970s just scream summer with me. Maybe it was my childhood obsession with Now and Then, or maybe it’s the bold, loud prints and colors of the era. Whatever it is, I can just see 1970s homeowners wearing polyester outfits, trying to gussy up their decks and patios before their swinging cocktail party. Plus, a lot of the 70s styles lived on in my relatives’ houses throughout my very 90s childhood, so all of this looks more than a little familiar.

Are you ready? Queue up your favorite 8-track, slip on your finest caftan, and start seeing the world through Harvest Gold-colored glasses. It’s 1975, let’s all decorate our porches and patios!

Pick A Color Scheme And Go With It. Really, Really Go With It.

Do you like yellow? Orange? Pea green? Throw it on everything! Those are your only color options, sorry!

My fav is the Big Bird pelt on the floor.

 

On one hand that’s a kind of cute, Liberty print-looking fabric. On the other hand, it is on everything up to and including the walls. BTW the woman looks like she’s posing for a picture, but the man is just looking at her.

 

Baby diarrhea. That’s the color of the background. Baby. Diarrhea.

April Showers Bring Macrame Flowers?

If you lived through the 70s, you probably had a cousin or sister-in-law make you one of these for Christmas. If you lived through the 80s or 90s, it was probably still in your parents’ house.

Were you born between 1972 and 1979? You may have been conceived on this macrame monster, CONGRATS.

Crimson Crystal Beads To Beckon

It is almost like instead of design books, 1970s homeowners were going off of the lyrics to Joni Mitchell’s Chelsea Morning. I love her but it’s true.

Make Yourself Comfortable. If At All Possible.

The good thing is that by the 1970s, outdoor-friendly materials had come a long way! The bad thing is they were still plastic-y and uncomfortable. You’d probably stock up a few of these bad boys:

If you were born before 1990, you probably put a foot through one of these at some point.

 

And who could forget your skin sticking to these strips of woven plastic?

 

Then there were these not-at-all-soft, rain-resistant cushions.

Invite All Your 70s Friends Over!

You don’t decorate a porch or patio for yourself alone. Time to throw a bash for all your 70s friends!

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So You Think You Kids Can Dance

Happy Memorial Day! Also happy Motivation Monday (I’m taking a social media hashtag approach this week)! After you finish showing down on hamburgers or setting off fireworks or whatever you do on Memorial Day, may I suggest sitting down to watch the season premiere of my favorite reality show, So You Think You Can Dance. Or rather, So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation.

I’ve been a fan since the literal jump, so when they announced the new format for the 13th season, in which the contestants are kids and not 18+, I was a little hesitant. Actually still am, pending on how tonight turns out. For me, I find young adults competing and achieving their goals much more interesting and less gut-wrenching than seeing kids get eliminated from a show which they think is a life and death situation. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not some sort of curmudgeon about this – in fact, if SYTYCD: TNG turns out to be anything like MasterChef Junior, then count me in. 100 percent. Especially since I know there are some talented kid dancers out there.

I’ve been known to tinker around the Internet here and there, and somehow on my travels I manage to find super talented kids who are already much better dancers than I’ll ever be. So before tuning in to SYTYCD: TNG, check out some of these kids that will motivate you to get up and move that tush a little more.

Soni Nicole Bringas

All four of these kids are great, but I’d like to point out the girl on the right with the long brown hair. If you’re wondering if she looks familiar, it’s because she plays Kimmy Gibbler’s daughter on Fuller House. So not only is she a good actress, she’s an amazing dancer too. Acting seems to be her second profession, really. That’s how good she is.

Aidan Prince

Again, if this kid rings a bell in your brain, he’s one of those kids Ellen brings on her show because she’s dance’s number one fan. I actually discovered him while creeping on videos Soni was in, because apparently this is what 30 is like, folks. Aidan has been dancing for years now, but his hits and grooves are so impressive for a kid his age.

Charlize Glass

This girl. Muscles for dayz. And you can tell because she is one of the strongest dancers I’ve seen, including adults. The other two girls in this video (another appearance by azn gal Bailey Sok on the left) are great dancers, however Charlize could easily pass for a 23 year old with her moves alone.

Kaycee Rice

I don’t even know what the fuck that video is, I’m convinced she’s some sort of dance alien that came to Earth to teach us how dancing really works. Like, what are those moves?

Big Will Simmons

This kid actually deserves the name Big Will. You know how some dudes give themselves nicknames that don’t really fit their personality? Big Will’s swag lives up to his name.

Sofia Lucia

Apparently this girl is on Dance Moms. No idea. All I know is that her extension and turns are flawless.

Balang

This is my Filipino cousin. JK I WISH.

Cheers Chats #5: Fortune and Men’s Weights

Annddd we’re back.

Episode 2.17: Fortune and Men’s Weights

Originally aired: February 2nd, 1984

Netflix synopsis: Coach purchases an antique scale that also delivers fortunes, and the Cheers clan begins to attribute supernatural powers to the scale.

Previously, on Cheers

Sam and Diane are still together. That weird actor who maybe wanted to kill Diane was never seen again. Coach coaches, Carla brings her baby to work. Roughly eight episodes feature a “is Sam going to do it with someone who’s not Diane” plot (he doesn’t). Sam and Diane say I love you, finally.

One Hit Wonders

(Characters we don’t expect to be seeing again)

This scale. scale

So What Had Happened Was…

(Basic recap of the episode’s main plot)

Coach buys a scale from a weird man with an accent and it causes a ruckus in the bar. The scale, spits out a fortune on a piece of paper when you stand on it, is now a staple in the bar because they can’t return it to the janky salesman. Also the bill went to Sam and not Coach? Coach straight up buying luxuries without telling Sam. Rude.

“It’s gotta be some kind of mistake. Why would I buy a crate?” – Coach, when the scale he purchased came in a large wooden crate.

Everyone is really into the fortune telling scale, so now there’s a line at the scale of barflies because it’s apparently the Duck Hunt of Cheers. (Or the Naked Lady Find The Difference Game, but let’s go with Duck Hunt). Despite the scale giving out weird fortunes.

T: I finally figured Coach out and why I’m constantly annoyed with him – he is a walking “Who’s on third?” joke. Now that I have about a season and a half under my belt, I’ve gotten increasingly irritated with the corny “jokes” and how they dumb him down. It’s not my type of humor at all.

M: I agree and also think that’s why I skip a lot of older sitcoms – because some shows are Cheers, with Sam and Diane and our boo Carla to balance out Coach, but a lot of pre-2000s sitcoms are just… all Coaches. All Coach, no Carla – that’s my summary of bad 80s TV.

(I also stand by my theory that Coach is the one who is just there in case they need something serious to happen to someone, e.g. wife with cancer, house fire).

T: The B story involves Norm going on a blind date… and it turns out the blind date was Norm’s ex-wife (estranged?) Vera. And now they’re back together.

M: I have a feeling that Vera is Norm’s Tammy Two.

Carla’s My Boo

Carla’s convinced it’s telling the actual truth, so as a way to reverse the curse, if you will, Carla wards off the evil spirits by doing this:

Photo May 26, 1 56 59 AM

Carla also blames the curse on someone not praying before leaving the house. Love when they throw in these weird “Carla’s superstitious/ very Catholic” asides.

Shut Up, Diane

(We just have a feeling we’re going to be saying Shut Up, Diane at our screens KIND OF A LOT.)

Diane gets a fortune and it says: “Deception in romance proves costly” she is hiding something.

And she has resorted to copying whatever Carla does. 

Little Ditty About Sam & Diane

Sam was all ready to buy Diane make-up flowers because he didn’t go to some art show she wanted him to go to, but she comes in and is all lovey-dovey? Something is afoot.

“I just missed ya so, ya big lug” Diane to Sam – why doesn’t anyone call people “lug” anymore?

Diane asks for a big “smooch-a-roo” which I think nobody called those in the first place.

DIANE TOOK ANOTHER MAN TO THE ART SHOW (performance?) SAM SKIPPED OUT ON! This explains why she she was acting shady after getting that fortune from the scale.

“The only battles I ever won in life, I won on my own.” Sam

“That was brilliantly put.” Diane

“You said that to me a few days ago.” Sam

“But you remembered it and used it in the proper context.” Diane

So basically Diane invited this classmate male friend to her apartment after the show and she feels guilty she was able to talk about all her interests with someone who gave a shit, and Sam’s reaction is – “I’m grateful. This makes sense. We should break up.” HEH???

And then Sam & Diane attempt to break up, and in pure Sam & Diane fashion… it’s ridiculous to say the least.

“We can’t break up because a pile of metal springs said we were going to.There’s too much at stake here.” Diane

“Forgive me.” Sam

“Tell me you didn’t break up with me.” Diane

“Of course I didn’t break up with you.” Sam

“Then I’m first. You are history!” Diane

Angry Sam kicks the scale and a fortune comes out – “Machine empty order more fortunes today” except they can’t because the company doesn’t exist.

The Luke Danes of 1980s Boston

(In which we gush over dreamy yet often grumpy bartender Sam Malone)

Sam’s stance on this bar is fire:

Sam, who doesn’t give a shit about this fortune telling scale, taunts Carla with jazz hands after reading her (fake) fortune: “You will grow lips on your forehead”

LLOL

(Literal Laugh Loud Loud moments from the episode)

Cliff explains to Norm where the fulcrum is on the large crate to open it and the wooden panel falls on his head. Honestly the physical comedy makes me laugh more than Coach’s jokes. He did have one quip that made me chortle in episode nine:

Sam: Coach, we don’t want to be bothered.

Coach: Who does?

Also, Coach’s description of the antique scale salesman (?) as a cross between Abraham Lincoln and Hitler was ALMOST funny.

“Then we split some clams casino and a little Chateaubriand, her favorite wine. Next thing, we went back to what used to be our place and we kind of made love.” Norm

“You can’t ‘kind of’ make love.” Sam

“You don’t know Vera.” Norm

Say It Again, Sam

(Memorable lines from the episode. Not exclusively from Sam Malone.)

“It’s a sad world we live in when Sam Malone becomes the voice of reason.” Sam speaking the truth about himself. Everyone is getting out of hand with this scale’s fortunes,

“She’s losing what’s left of her grey matter and I don’t mean her underwear.” Diane about Carla

“You’re crackers, you know that?” Sam to Diane. Crackers, y’all. (TBH, sounds like more of a Diane term. Her influence is showing.)

Cheers Queries

Cliff fell down the stairs and is now all unconscious and has no idea what is going on. In the last episode, Cliff comes face to face with a bully, and proves that he’s not a wuss by showing off his karate skills. He breaks a 4×4 and cement block. Only problem is that he doesn’t know karate and has to secretly ask Diane to take him to the hospital because he probably has a concussion. I’m starting to think this was some sort of continuity thing but maybe not? Does any of this even matter?

I guess I also have a general question about Sam and Diane’s relationship. I definitely ship Sam/Diane but I wish the tactic wasn’t always to up the conflict between them. Like introducing girls Sam’s going to be into (oh lord, I almost wrote Luke instead of Sam there), or having Diane’s “highbrow” interests get in the way. So my query is just… do we have to? I want a solid 5 episode streak where Sam and Diane are good and the conflict comes from Coach’s house burning down or Carla not knowing who her baby is or something.

Barfly Fashion

Sam’s green sweater is so fresh and so clean

For some reason, Norm’s blue cardi just screams 1984 to me. 

Also very 1984, Carla’s pink velour long sleeved shirt and complementing maroon velour pants. (I also feel like velour doesn’t breathe and she’s going to be trapped in a sweat-shell and that it’s going to absorb spilled beer from the counter like a bar mop.)

Sam’s velour pants. So hot. Diane’s blue peasant blouse + green velour skirt. Not as hot. Just classy af.

Next Up: We are basing our watch list off of AV Club’s 10 Episodes That Show How Cheers Stayed Great For 11 Seasons. We’re going chronologically, so stop by next month when we’ll discuss season three, episode 14, The Heart is a Lonely Snipe Hunter.

That’s Professor Angelina Jolie to You

Angelina Jolie recently announced she’s going to be a professor at the London School of Economics. Yeah, you read that right. Ok, I guess there’s more. She’ll be a visiting professor at the school and will teach a master’s class at the Center for Women, Peace and Security. Angelina is expected to discuss the role of women as they work alongside governments and the United Nations. If you’re wondering, the job is unpaid. So that all checks out.

I can only imagine that first class – as a student, impatiently waiting for a full-blown Hollywood superstar to come through the door and teach you about the world. It would be surreal and I don’t know how anyone could manage to easily pay attention. And that’s Angelina Jolie. I don’t even fangirl for her that much. But what if your faves stood behind a podium and taught you a college course? Or ever worse – one of your least faves walked in to give a lecture?

I’ve compiled a list of just some celebs I think would be great professors, and some… that should maybe stick to their day jobs.

Best: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Fact – Lin used to be a substitute English teacher at his former high school, so he already has the skills to be a real professor. He’s always engaging, always interesting to listen to and is a literal genius. Not to mention he’s already taught millions of people around the world about an American founding father. Sure, we might have known he was shot in a duel, but without Lin’s creative way of infusing history into pop culture, we would probably never known Angelica Schuyler’s full story or stanned over a real dude named Hercules Mulligan. Lin’s a professor of life, y’all.

Worst: Quentin Tarantino

I just imagine him talking way too much and spending an extra 45 minutes over class time explaining why The Grim Reaper is the most underrated of all of Bertolucci’s films.

Best: Bryan Cranston

He played a high school chemistry teacher, so why not? You know, if you forget the whole drug dealer lit’rally breaking bad thing. IRL, Bryan never fails to entertain – I dare you to find an interview in which he’s not charming and hilarious. He’d be the cool professor that would be okay with you stealthily drinking wine out of a tumbler.

Worst: Kanye West

A 45 minute rant on art and business and fashion? Pass. I’d be ok with a 45 minute concert from him tho, TBH.

Best: Kerry Washington

Ah the queen. She’s obviously a phenomenal actress, but her philanthropy and passion to speak out about important causes like women’s rights and equality and education is energizing and I just want to learn how to be as much like her as possible.

Worst: Stacey Dash

I think that speaks for itself.

Worst: Idris Elba

Training for my next Film. Bastille Day. Grinding.

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Let’s face it, I wouldn’t get anything done. I’d spend the whole class picturing him naked, which is probably not a good way to pass a class. Maybe auditing is the way to go.

Celebrating The Rachel, On The 20th Anniversary Of Its Death

The Rachel is dead.

Long live The Rachel.

Jennifer Aniston’s choppy shag – the biggest boon to the round brush industry to date – met its end by Season 3 of Friends. That means that right now, we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Rachel’s death.

I think that to avoid looking too dated or silly, you should avoid any haircut with a first name (unless that name is bob. Pretty classic). But in 1996, America couldn’t resist the curled-under layers of Jennifer Aniston’s bouncy ‘do.

In the years since The Rachel died, Aniston has been pretty vocal about the cut:

Like anyone who has tried to curl their ends with a blowdryer while twirling a brush with the other hand, Jennifer hated styling her haircut. In 2011, she went so far as to call it “the ugliest haircut I have ever seen.”  My favorite part: stylist Chris McMillan was (allegedly) high when he created the style. “Stoned out of his mind,” Aniston said.

Okay, but was the Rachel really that bad? Let’s take a look-see.

I mean. Highlights have come a long way, and at the time those frosty pieces read more “sun-kissed” and less chunky. But NOBODY’S hair curls in towards their face like that, and that was the Rachel’s biggest downfall. Add in some cowlicks or waves and this thing is toast; try it on stick-straight hair, and it’ll just hang straight down with layers that look like they were cut with kitchen scissors.

Here’s the thing to remember, two decades on. It wasn’t just that people liked Rachel Green’s hairdo. It’s that the haircut spread across the nation like nothing I’ve seen before or since. (Closest match: Kate Gosselin’s I Want To Talk To The Manager haircut; that heavily inverted bob that looked cool for about a month and now just looks like a short haircut with two long puppy ears in the front.) It started with the moms. It moved on to the 20-somethings. I was 9, and my mom joked that I should get The Rachel.

Don’t think that just because The Rachel crawled off Jennifer Aniston’s head and died in 1996, it was gone for good. That baby multiplied and infested heads worldwide. In the early 2000s, you could still see a Rachel in the wild. Legend has it that a few dozen Rachels still exist in the natural world, but even if not, the echoes of the Rachel can be heard.  Every time your stylist asks if you want “a little face-frame,” the Rachel lives on. When a hairdresser suggests “some piece-y layers for texture,” you can hear the wind whisper “Rachel.” And whenever a thick highlight is pulled through a latex cap, the faint sound of Chris McMillan’s hairstyling shears floats into the room.

 

Palme d’Or Fashion at Cannes 2016

And just like that the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival came to an end on Sunday. A lot of headline-making news came out of the nearly two weeks on the French Riviera, including Julia Roberts’ first time at the fest, Woody Allen (just being present and alive), Blake Lively’s “Oakland booty”, Kristen Stewart’s movie getting booed, exes Sean Penn and Charlize Theron’s movie getting booed, and of course all the stunning fashion.

One of the most iconic aspects about the Cannes Film Festival is the red carpet and steps leading up to the Grand Theatre Lumiere. It’s here where stars are lit’rally surrounded by photographers, and then they’re meant to walk up the stairs (without tripping) in front of all the world to see. Speaking of Julia, she didn’t dare make a fool of herself during her Cannes debut, and she even walked up the stairs barefoot. But she wasn’t the only one to make her mark on the red carpet. I must admit, this year seemed a bit off to me fashion-wise. Usually there are more looks that are appealing to me, but here are a handful I did appreciate over the course of the past 11 days at Cannes.

Anna Kendrick in Stella McCartney {Cafe Society premiere}

Over the years, Anna’s been on my best dressed list for various events, but it wasn’t until recently that I really realized just how much I adore her style. She always looks classy and beautiful and never over the top.

Riley Keough in Gucci {American Honey Premiere}

Apparently this dress got mixed reviews by fashion critics, but I happen to think it’s great. The fabric is so intriguing to me and I actually like the color combo. I’d be interested to see if that yellow color is more mustard or pea green IRL, which may or may not change my mind about liking it.

Marion Cotillard in Dior Haute Couture {From the Land and the Moon premiere}

Timeless beauty, that Marion Cotillard. This is the type of dress that is perfect for Cannes – classic and simple yet glamourous and eye-catching. I love the pop of red from her lipstick and the subtle slit on the side of the dress.

Elle Fanning in Zuhair Murad {The Neon Demon Premiere}

Elle Fanning is an adult. Well, she’s 18 so she’s technically an adult. But like Dakota, she’s always had a great sense of style, maybe even moreso than her older sis. This gown is perfect for a young lady of her age, and the sheer skirt makes it just sexy enough to show she’s not a kid anymore.

Kirsten Dunst in Gucci {Cafe Society premiere}

I normally wouldn’t be into a dress like this but for some reason I totally am. Reasons: A) the blush pink color. B) The dainty black bow belt C) Long sleeved realness D) The flowers should be obnoxious, but they’re not

Kirsten Dunsty in Dior Haute Couture {Jury photocall}


I had to put one of Kirsten’s first looks from the festival on here too because I loved it so much. She was one of the jury members this year so she had to be at a lot of the events. But this 1950s inspired dress reminds me of Grace Kelly and old Hollywood glamour. Like she’s a movie star from the ’50s and she’s vacationing in the French Riviera. The gold belt gives it a modern twist and the shoes are weirdly both retro and futuristic at the same time. Not pictured: the rattan purse she toted around.

Bella Hadid in Alexandre Vauthier Couture {The Unknown Girl Premiere}

Well this was definitely the most talked about dress at Cannes this year. New It Girl Bella Hadid showed up with a slit so high Angelina Jolie’s leg would be jealous. I’m always impressed when ladies can pull something like this off. I don’t even necessarily think she’s one of the best dressed, but rather the most daring. Also I read an article from her stylist – in case you’re wondering, a bodysuit is basically sewn into the dress, so even if the skirt moved in a way you’d see her crotch, you wouldn’t be able to see anything because she has a high-waisted red satin body suit under there.

Adele Exarchopoulos in Louis Vuitton {The Last Face premiere}

My first reaction to this was a big Nope Keep Scrolling. But then I went back to it and grew to love it. Cannes is usually more formal and ball gown-y, especially on the red carpet, but this is totally her style. Her hair and make-up also push the entire look over the edge to fabulous.

Charlize Theron in Dior {The Last Face premiere}

Adele’s co-star Charlize Theron showed up in her best revenge suit for the premiere of their film which was directed by her ex Sean Penn. I love a lady looking fierce in a suit, and Charlize is werk.ing. it. The low cut blouse, the pulled back hair, the semi-flared pants and black heels – TO DIE. Also, she kept hanging on to Adele the entire time they did press, so naturally the Internet ships them already. Ok, I do too.

Charlize Theron in Givenchy {The Last Face Photocall}

For a more feminine look, Charlize opted to wear this lace number for the movie’s photo call, which is traditionally the time when stars can be more lax in their outfits. Charlize still looks as great as she does at the premiere, and I appreciate that she didn’t overdo it with make-up or accessories, since the dress can speak volumes for itself.

Ryan Gosling in Ralph Lauren Purple Label {The Nice Guys premiere}

I mean, look at him.

 

Completely Honest ‘Sunday Routine’ Activities

Congratulations, Vanessa Bayer. In addition to having the best damn Rachel from Friends impression I’ve ever heard, you’re the only honest person in the New York Times’ Sunday Routine feature. Vanessa orders in food, catches up on her DVR, naps meditates, and earned her very own New York times headline calling her ‘very lazy.’

If this sounds unexceptional to you, you probably aren’t a dedicated hate-reader of The Sunday Routine. For the past several years, famous, accomplished, or upwardly mobile New Yorkers have chronicled their unrealistically busy Sundays in this feature. I think that by now, it has overtaken the Vows section as the most infuriating – yet perversely entertaining – part of the Times.

Here’s a typical Sunday Routine. It’ll be about, let’s say, Marika and Joel. She’s a costume historian and he’s the C.O.O. of an artisan paper startup. Marika gets up at 5 for sunrise yoga: “as I move through my asanas, the sun warms my heart chakra until I, too, radiate light.”  (Ed. note: she does not.) Meanwhile, Joel goes for a long jog through a neighborhood where people are doing a blue-collar job. He says something supportive but kind of condescending about them. Then Marika and Joel pick up the paper and go back home to read it in bed with some French press coffee that Joel grabbed from the roasters on the way back from his jog. By about 7, the kids start waking up and pile into their bed and they just all hang out together as a family. “This is secretly my favorite time of the whole week,” Marika says. (Ed. note: who was watching the kids during the run and yoga? Trick question. Marika and Joel don’t really do any of this every Sunday. It’s a collection of things they HAVE done before, compiled into one upwardly mobile day.) The whole family enjoys a big crepe breakfast that Joel makes every week. Meanwhile, Marika runs around the corner to pick up a few cartons of cold-pressed juice. By 8:00, it’s time to go to the park, where their two less-smart kids ride European-looking bicycles and their smart kid plays chess with a wise old man who teaches him about life. This is when Marika likes to set up on the grass and practice her watercolors. Before they know it, it’s 9:15 and time to head to the practice of an underprivileged youth jazz ensemble that Joel mentors. Sometimes Marika comes along – she arranges most of the pieces – but other times, she takes the kids to their favorite Japanese movie house. We’re not even at 10 AM yet. It continues like that until Marika and Joel do some “journaling” and collapse into a deep slumber at 11:30PM.

I like my Sundays to be a little productive, plus I’m terrible at sitting still for more than 20 minutes, but I’ve never shoehorned so much into my Sunday routine. But if you told me you did any of the following Sunday activities on the regular, I’d believe you:

  • Cleaning. Because even though we all know we’re supposed to do one or two tasks every day so we never have to do a dedicated cleaning session, that never happens and all of a sudden my living room is coated in a thick blanket of dog hair (poor thing, I don’t know how she isn’t bald) and cat hair (total jerk, pretty sure she’s figured out how to shed on purpose).
  • One household task that ends up taking all day. For instance, this week I went to the public market and bought flowers. Then there was an antique vendor there with the perfect bed for my guest room/office. So I dropped the plants off at home and went back for the bed. THEN I needed potting soil, which took me to the garden store. Then my nieces and nephews were over and my niece got so covered in dirt and seeds that, with enough light and water, she will be a twenty pound walking bean farm within 8-10 days. Anyway. That took my whole damn day. It isn’t always flowers. Sometimes it’s putting a shelf together, or going through your closet, or tidying the basement. Same result.
  • Catch Up On DVR. I can’t be the only one who treats catching up on TV as an actual task on my to-do list? Plus Sunday’s a good day for it, so you don’t end up two weeks behind on anything.
  • Have a terrible time grocery shopping. Everyone shops on Saturdays and Sundays. That’s what I tell myself, grumbling, every week when I do my grocery shopping on the weekend, as though I’m not part of the problem myself. The good thing is that Saturdays and Sundays are usually the free sample days. Yes, I am willing to put on a performance of being interested in whatever they’re selling long enough to get a sample. I think this is one of those “there are two kinds of people in this world” thingies, and I will never be that person who can just casually grab a paper cup off the sample cart and keep walking. Sometimes I even buy things I don’t want because I’ve engaged for too long. I’m eating some PopCorners right now thanks to the lady at the sample cart. What are PopCorners? Not sure exactly! They’re like if you made chips out of crushed popcorn from a movie theater floor, kind of. They’re not very good!
  • Feel guilty while hanging out with my dog. Sometimes on a Sunday I walk my dog, or play catch, and feel guilty because I know Monday is coming but she doesn’t. If you have children, feel free to substitute ‘feel guilty while hanging out with my kid.’
  • Read a book on my porch. But really, watch the neighbors across the street. Their Sunday routine involves getting very dressed up for church, the mom yelling at the kids a lot until they’re in the car, coming back hours later, then playing sports outdoors.
  • Some weird existential stuff. What am I doing with my life? Does it even matter – the universe is so large and time is so vast? Best case scenario, I have lived 1/3 of my life already. Getting to live the amount I have two times again doesn’t feel like enough. Maybe people will be living a really long time when I’m old and I won’t have to worry about it. Do I like my job? What would it be like if I didn’t have to work? – These are things that don’t plague me at all, except for like 5 minutes on a Sunday. That’s why they have church on Sundays. Because that’s when everyone has their weird existential stuff. Yet somehow ‘weird existential stuff’ never shows up in the Sunday routine.

2016 Unofficial Guide to Your New TV Addictions

If you’re a TV nerd, May is quite an exciting time. Current shows are wrapping up and rolling out their season finales, but networks are also announcing what they’re canceling and what they’re picking up so we can be addicted to brand new shows come fall. This year, ABC decided to Game of Thrones their line-up (did I even use that ref correctly) and axed a bunch of shows, NBC and FOX surprised us with a lot of promising pilots and CBS continued to be CBS-y and very white male-y. So in this “Golden Age of Television”, it’s of utmost import to be more selective than usual when it comes to picking up new shows, which is why I’ve compiled this handy guide to help you on your travels. Here are my picks for the most appealing new shows coming this fall (and midsesason) so you don’t have to waste your time on shows that will only last a few eps and get canceled right away.

The Comedies

The Good Place

Thursdays, 8:30pm • NBC

The Good Place was created by Michael Schur of Parks and Rec, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Office fame, and I feel like that should be enough for you to watch this. But if you still need more, it also stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson (our new #MCE). More? It’s written by a lot of the same writers from Parks. More? It’s features Kristen Bell as a woman who died and went to The Good Place (as opposed to The Bad Place), and now she’s living in a perfect world where she’s wrestling with what it means to be “good”. More? Ugh, stop being a dumb bench and watch the darn thing.

Making History

*Midseason* Sundays, 8:30pm • FOX

Oh Adam Pally. Ever since you walked into our lives as Max in Happy Endings, I never wanted you to leave. He had a great run on The Mindy Project, but he’s definitely making a splash with his own series, Making History. Written by the dudes who brought you 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie, it centers around three friends who “find a way to travel through time for truth, justice and riches, which complicates their lives in 2016. They visit some of the greatest moments of the past as they try to resolve their personal problems, while history and pop culture comically collide.” Also, Leighton Meester is in it and the complete opposite of Blair Waldorf. It’s great.

Lethal Weapon

Wedensdays, 8:00pm • FOX

I’ve never actually seen the OG Lethal Weapon movies (I know), but if they’re anything like the trailer for the TV adaptation, I’m here for it. Technically, it seems like the show is more in the dramedy category, but much like Season 1 of Orange is the New Black, I’m lumping it in the comedy section. Anyways, much like the movie franchise, it follows cops Riggs and Murtaugh who work for the LAPD. Former Navy SEAL Riggs (Clayne Crawford) recently lost his wife and unborn child, while Murtaugh (Damon Wayans Sr.) is back in the saddle after a near-fatal heart attack. I admit this isn’t the type of show I’d usually put on my radar, but I was sucked in by the trailer from the first second.

Honorable Mentions

Great News (NBC) {Midseason} – Much like Mike Schur or Shonda Rhimes, I will follow Tina Fey where ever she leads. This time, she’s reunited with 30 Rock writer Tracey Wigfield (they won an Emmy together!), who created and wrote the pilot, in addition to being an EP. It centers around a millennial woman whose mother (played by My Big Fat Greek Wedding aunt Andrea Martin) gets a job as an intern at the same cable network she works at. I also managed to see the trailer for Great News and it feels like Tracey’s voice – a mix of 30 Rock with The Mindy Project, where she was a writer and actress, playing Adam Pally’s new wife Lauren. There were some LOL lines in the trailer AND surprise – Horatio Sanz is in it!

Powerless (NBC) – {Midseason} Powerless is technically a workplace comedy – except that workplace is an insurance company within the universe of DC Comics. It centers on claims adjustors played by Vanessa Hudgens and Danny Pudi, among others, and how they deal with situations like if Batman ruined a Forever 21 at the mall while saving a little girl, and they have to deal with the aftermath. I managed to see a leaked trailer for the show (which has now been taken down) and it looks like it should be on CW or NBC in the era of Heroes. However, I love BBV with Danny Pudi and it’s a great high concept show that could find a big audience.

Imaginary Mary (ABC) {Midseason} – TBH I didn’t expect the trailer to be as intriguing as it was. Imaginary Mary stars Jenna Elfman as a career woman who meets the love of her life, who happens to be a divorced father with three kids. To help her navigate the transition, her childhood imaginary friend pops up, and she’s voiced by the one and only Rachel Dratch. It seems quirky enough that it might be charming, however it could go the way of The Goldbergs (currently in its 3rd season) or Trophy Wife (RIP). Sidenote: I didn’t realize it was created by Adam F. Goldberg who legit created The Goldbergs, so this will probably be a hit hahaaha

The Dramas

This Is Us

Tuesdays, 9:00pm • NBC

Out of all the new crop of shows, I am the most excited about This Is Us. And I’m not the only one. The trailer for this show has been viewed over 15 million times in a little over 48 hours on Facebook – it’s the most watched new-show trailer ever uploaded during upfront week. The previous record was CW’s Legends of Tomorrow which hit 4.1 million last year. In full disclosure I feel at least 7 million views is from me. Needless to say, people are liking it. And what’s great about it is that while it does star B-list actors like Milo Ventimiglia (<3) and Mandy Moore (<3) and Sterling Brown from The People v. OJ Simpson (<3), it’s not a show with a superstar name attached to it. People are responding to the trailer because it’s good.  This Is Us is written by the folks who brought us the brilliant Crazy Stupid Love, and NBC’s been promoting it like a replacement to Parenthood, which I’m totally fine with. It’s a multi-story show featuring characters who have one thing that times them together, and it’s their birthday. I full expect to laugh and cry and ship Milo and Mandy to the fullest. Gimme this show now.

Designated Survivor

Wednesdays, 10:00pm • ABC

Guys, believe it or not but I’ve never watched a TV program (maybe even movie) that Keifer Sutherland has been in…? This might be the first. Instead of playing a Jack Bauer character, Keifer gets promoted from a lower-level Cabinet member to President of the USA after an attack during the State of the Union kills the President, VP, Speaker of the House and everyone in line to be Pres. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a real law, and if you’re a The West Wing fan, you might remember the storyline from one of the eps. While the plot isn’t necessarily super original, the trailer makes it intriguing and appealing to watch. Because course I need another political drama to get into.

Frequency

Tuesdays, 9:00pm • The CW

I didn’t even know this pilot existed until my friend Jennie brought it up – it’s based on a 2000 movie starring Dennis Quaid of the same name. However this TV version features a female police detective in present day who discovers she is able to speak via ham radio with her estranged father who died in 1996. They have to “work together to change the history of tragic events to come.” Starring Mehki Phifer & Peyton List of Mad Men fame. While this wouldn’t usually be on my TV line-up, I still think it has the potential to be a great series.

Pitch

Thursdays, 9:00pm • FOX

Dan Fogelman of Crazy Stupid Love and This Is Us (see above) has HIT A HOME RUN this TV season, as his other show, Pitch has also been picked up to series. The show centers on a young female baseball player who becomes the first MLB pitcher. Think Mo’ne Davis, but a few years from now. It stars newcomer Kylie Bunbury as lead Ginny Baker,  my forever boo Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mark Consuelos, Ali Larter and Dan Lauria, the dad from The Wonder Years who I also had an irrational fear of. Again, this type of sports show isn’t my usual jam, but I feel like it has Friday Night Lights vibe in that you won’t be focusing so much on the sport, but rather the good drama happening during it.

Shots Fired

*Midseason* Wednesdays, 8:00pm • FOX

I recently got into American Crime and loved both seasons so much – it felt like it should be required viewing for all Americans, since it deals with tough issues like racism and gun control that we’re dealing with day to day. Shots Fired has that same feel. The series from EP Gina Prince-Bythewood, the brilliant writer behind Love & Basketball and Beyond the Lights, takes place in a small Southern town where racially charged shootings have just occurred. It stars Sanaa Lathan, Helen Hunt, Richard Dreyfuss, Stephen Moyer, and Tristan Wilds – not to mention I am 100% behind the title of this show.

Honorable Mentions

Still Star-Crossed (ABC) {Midseason} – As previously menitoned, I will follow Shonda to the ends of the TV earth. Her latest show is written by a Scandal alum, and based on the book by Melinda Taub. This period drama picks up where Romeo & Juliet left off, and what happens to the Montagues and Capulets once R&J drank the poison. I am such a sucker for Shakespeare that I would’ve watched this anyways, but the Shondaland factor just ups it a bunch of notches.

Bull (CBS) {Tuesdays at 9p} Hamilton’s George Washington AKA Chris Jackson plays a possibly gay dresser in this show kind of based off of Dr. Phil’s life. Except much more interesting and no Dr. Phil.

Star (FOX) – {Midseason – Wednesdays at 9p} Get ready for another music drama from Lee Daniels, this time starring Queen Latifah and a girl group. No Jussie Smollett, so maybe not worth your time?

Doubt (CBS) {Midseason}  – CBS execs originally developed this show last season, but passed it over, revamped it, replaced Private Practice’s KaDee Strickland with Katherine Heigl in hopes of finally giving her a big break on TV that doesn’t involve her being a doctor. In Doubt, she plays a defense lawyer who gets romantically involved with her client who may or may not be guilty of comitting a brutal crime. Hence, she has doubt. Reasons I’m looking forward to this: A) The rest of the cast includes Steven Pasquale, Dule Hill, Dreama Walker, Elliott Gould B) It also stars Laverne Cox, who will be making broadcast TV history when the show features a transgender series regular character played by a transgender actor. C) It’s created and written by Tony Phelan & Joan Rater, producers from Grey’s Anatomy. They also had another pilot up this season, Drew, featuring Sarah Shahi as a modern day adult Nancy Drew. You know, the whole #TooFemale thing.

Chicago Justice (NBC) {Midseason} – The #OneChicago franchise is like CSI/NCIS for CBS or Law & Order on NBC – like do we need another version of this Chicago series? I guess. Will I watch it? I mean probably if nothing else is on.

Eurovision Song Contest 2016: An American Take On The Top Five

Not familiar with the Eurovision Song Contest? Ten years ago, I wasn’t either. It was May 2006, I was studying abroad in Spain, and all of a sudden everyone was talking about this …. singing reality show, I guessed? … with an enthusiasm that seemed almost American. The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual competition between European countries and, for some reason, Australia. Each country submits an original song then votes on other countries’ songs.  Ireland has won the most times, which doesn’t surprise me and shouldn’t surprise you. (It’s to the extent where one year Ireland was just like screw it, we’re sending a turkey puppet. That really happened. They really sent a turkey puppet and DIDN’T GET THE FEWEST POINTS. It apologized for Riverdance.)

Learning about the Eurovision Song Contest was the only time during my study abroad semester when I could feel myself turning into an Ugly American. Because when Americans see nice things that we don’t have, we try to find a way to muscle our way in there. I mean, singing competitions? We invented singing competitions! Or, okay, we stole all our best ones from the UK. But they’re pretty good copies! However, watching the contest this year, I couldn’t deny the truth: if the U.S.A. strong-armed our way into the contest, we’d ruin it. We’d rig the votes.  Our original song would have too much production and too little heart. American voters would complain about songs not being in English. We’d demand a recount (which -wow! – voters are actually doing this year after Ukraine’s win.) It’s better we watch this one from afar and not try to join in, as difficult as it is for Americans to not show other countries that we can do things too.

However, in the great American tradition, that won’t stop me from offering on my opinion on things I have no say in. Here’s what an American think about the five top-ranked songs in the fantastic 2016 Eurovision Song Contest.

 

 

Ukraine: 1944 (Jamala)

American Take: We have this rule, too. The thing about World War II always wins. The Oscars? The thing about World War II always wins. Tony Awards? The Emmys? World War II, winner. Even high school art shows: the pencil sketch or papier mache sculpture about World War II always wins. It’s nice to know that some things, like smiles, laughter, and “the thing about World War II always wins,” are the same wherever you live.

(In any event, this was haunting and beautiful, but the melody kind of sounds like when I’d make up a song as I went along as a kid. Jamala wrote 1944 about the deportation of Crimean Tatars by the Soviet Union, and it just narrowly sidestepped the Eurovision rule against “political content” because it’s easy to interpret the song as being about the recent Russian annexation of Crimea. )

Australia: Sound Of Silence (Dami Im)

American Take: Oh come on. AUSTRALIA? If we don’t get to play, you don’t get to play. I know everybody loves you because you have the laid-back, informal attitude of America without the arrogance or divisive foreign policy, but you still aren’t European. Besides, Australia has an unfair advantage, being an enormous country whose main export is charismatic entertainers. (Dami Im, an Australian citizen, was born in South Korea, so she really has Excellence In Pop Music written on all her nationalities.) How about this: Australia, the USA and Canada can start our own contest. We’ll even invite New Zealand.

Anyway, song’s good. It has kind of a 90s pop sound, with techno-influenced backing music and soaring vocals, and I think it easily could have been the winner if Ukraine’s song weren’t about World War II.  Apparently, it would have been the winner under the old voting rules.

Know who else had a song called The Sound Of Silence? AMERICANS.

Russia: You Are The Only One (Sergey Lazarev)

American Take: Tons of bonus points for the staging and graphics here. As a song? It kind of sounds like something that would play in one of those roller coaster where you’re in the dark. If I ran more, it would probably be a good running song, too. Lazarev is an enthusiastic performer with a strong voice.There’s kind of a Ricky Martin/ Marc Anthony vibe as well. Good job, Russia.

Bulgaria: If Love Was A Crime (Poli Genova)

American Take: Yo. Poli? I don’t know how things are going for you in Bulgaria – probably pretty great, you were their Eurovision pick after all – but you might belong on American radio. I don’t just mean that she’s good ( I mean, she is) but you could swap this out for any Shakira/ Rhianna/ Meghan Trainor / ANYTHING song on Top 40 Radio and I wouldn’t even notice the difference. Great, now I’m going to be singing  “O, dai mi liubovta” for the rest of the day, if only because liubovta is so fun to say.

Sweden: If I Were Sorry (Frans)

 

American Take: Sweden: Small country, BIG talent. And everyone loves Sweden. They’re effortlessly cool, but they seem down-to-earth. Now, when I hear Swedish Pop I expect something like Abba or Robyn, or on the more modern side, something like Lykke Li or Tove Lo. I would not have expected this song. But I like it! I’m always a pushover for whichever Eurovision song isn’t as much a “big, pop production” and is more just a … song. I don’t know. Also, Frans is adorable.

Honorable Mentions

There were some songs in the Grand Final that didn’t make the top 5, but maybe should have. Every year, Eurovision audiences come away that their favorites didn’t get the most votes, and I’m no different. Here are a few that I’d have liked to see with more points:

The Netherlands: Slow Down (Douwe Bob)

American Take: Sounding kind of like 1970s AM Radio, kind of like an original song for an independent film, and sort of like American new folk, this was a nice break from some of the “lots of drums, lots of vocal riffs, lots of computer noises” songs that predominate the contest.

France: J’ai Cherche (Amir)

American Take: I just love how France is all “non, non, non, we are not doing this in English. Well, some of it in English. But not all of it” I also love this song. I might be a sucker for claps, though. Might be.

Playlist of the Month: Singer Says What Now?!

A bit of a contrahversay went down recently when a Buzzfeed article pointed out that “everyone’s been mishearing one lyric on the iconic Jennifer Lopez/Ja Rule hit I’m Real song wrong for years. YEARS. Apparently a handful of folks thought JLo was saying, “Are you Ellie?” in the beginning, when in reality, she was saying, “R.U.L.E.”, because, you know, Ja Rule. I personally was offended by this post because duh, logically it makes no sense she would be asking Ja if he’s some rando named ‘Ellie’. And if she’s not asking Ja, who is she asking? Spelling out names in songs is cool and hip, which is why THOSE ARE THE REAL LYRICS.

But I get it. we all make mistakes. We all mishear lyrics from time to time, even if you realize just how dumb you sounded when you were singing the wrong ones. Here are a few we’ve mistakenly been “Ellie-ing” for years.

Listen to the entire playlist on Spotify!

Molly’s Picks

Roll To Me by Del Amitri

Let’s forget that the song is titled Roll To Me. I thought the lyrics were “the right time and the wrong me” from third grade through, oh, age 27 or so, when I tried to look up the song for a little nostalgia boost and couldn’t find it with the words I was using. But think about it: the video is the heads of the band members on babies. It’s the right time but the WRONG ME because he is still a BABY. Plus “right time, wrong me” makes sense whereas “roll to me” isn’t an expression … is what I thought for about 20 years.

Trap Queen by Fetty Wap

For over a year, I was completely positive that Fetty Wap was in the kitchen cooking prawns with his baby. Part of it is how he says “pies,” part of it is that everyone knows that you don’t cook a pie, you bake it. By the way, I learned this one via the change.org petition to have Fetty Wap perform this at Nancy Reagan’s funeral.

I Melt With You by Modern English

I learned I had the words wrong in the most embarrassing and most common way you can learn you have the words wrong: singing along with the song at one of my trashy house parties in college. One of my friends stopped, looked and me, and said “that’s cute, you’re changing the lyrics to be about me and you.” Nope. Just an idiot who thought that Modern English was saying “I’ll stop the world and marry you.” Evidently diction isn’t part of the Modern English curriculum.

Here Comes The Hotstepper by Ini Kamoze

You’re going to need to understand that leprechauns were having a moment in the early to mid 90s. The movie Leprechaun really elevated the tiny Irish guys to a menacing figure worthy of horror films and rap lyrics. That’s why I thought Ini Kamoze was professing to be the “leprechaun gangster” for over a decade. “We don’t die, yes we multiply” even sounded like the concept of a leprechaun-based B-movie.

The Shoop Shoop Song by Betty Everett

It’s not just that, throughout my childhood, I thought she was saying “if you want to know if he loves you so, it’s in his kids.” It’s also that I created an elaborate scenario where it was a song about a woman falling for a single dad. I watched a lot of Full House, yes.

Traci’s Picks

Paper Planes by M.I.A.

The chorus is lit’rally half sound effects, yet somehow I always thought the lyrics were: “All I wanna do is *Bang Bang Bang Bang*/And *Click* *Ka-Ching*/’Mathangi’ on my neck”. You know, Mathangi as in M.I.A.’s real name. Duh. Apparently I was over thinking it because the real words are: “All I wanna do is *Bang Bang Bang Bang*/ And *Click* *Ka-Ching*/And take your money”. Ok fine, that makes more sense.

Billie Jean by Michael Jackson

Anyone else think the words were, “But the jet is not my son”? I mean, obviously it doesn’t even make any sense, but I guess I didn’t matter to me because the song was so rad? But when I found out the real lyrics were actually “But the kid is not my son”, it totally changed the entire song meaning for me.

Lean On by Major Lazer Featuring DJ Snake & MØ

So I guess my main takeaway from this post is that I’m not reall good with lyrics involving guns? Because I thought the chorus went:  “Focus, fire a gun/We need someone to lean on”, when in reality it’s, “Blow a kiss, fire a gun/We need someone to lean on”. Whatever, she’s Danish.

You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette

In my defense, I’d bet there are a lot of people who also have no idea what Alanis is singing on this album. Right?

I want you to know, That I’ve had beef with you/I wish nothing but the best for you both

I know the virgin in me/Is she perverted like me?

Would she go down on you in a theater?

Does she speak Eloguquani (some type of Native American language?)/And would she have your baby?

I’m sure she’d make a really excellent mother

… So, um… let’s take a look at the real lyrics:

I want you to know, that I am happy for you/I wish nothing but the best for you both

An older version of me/Is she perverted like me?

Would she go down on you in a theater?

Does she speak eloquently/And would she have your baby?

I’m sure she’d make a really excellent mother

At least I think my version is a better look on Dave Coulier?

Work by Rihanna

Just, like, all the chorus. I’m not the only one in the dark here, right? I looked it up on Genius and apparently the reason why we think it’s garbled speak is because she’s singing in Jamaican patois. “Haffi” = have to, “ah guh” = is going to, and “Meh nuh cyar” = I don’t care. The music video makes much more sense now. Here are the real lyrics:

Work, work, work, work, work, work/He said me haffi
Work, work, work, work, work, work!/He see me do mi
Dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt!/So me put in
Work, work, work, work, work, work/When you ah guh
Learn, learn, learn, learn, learn/Meh nuh cyar if him
Hurt, hurt, hurt, hurt, hurting