Happy Birthday, Harry Potter! Our favorite boy wizard turns 37 today – and the series turns 20 this year – meaning that today’s younger adults grew up alongside Harry and his Hogwarts pals. The messages of Harry Potter have come to define a generation: courage, kindness, acceptance, defending the disenfranchised even if you are not, and standing up to an authoritarian regime. Or rather, those values have come to define the part of the generation that was receptive to the message:
A Potter refresher: Harry Potter was an orphan neglected by his aunt and uncle. He learned that he was a wizard and became a student at Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Meanwhile Lord Voldemort, the would-be ruler of the wizarding realm, struggled to return to prominence after falling when he killed Harry’s parents and was unable to bring Harry down. Voldemort’s followers, the Death Eaters, decried “impure” wizards (those who are born to all- or part- nonmagical families) and used propaganda and hack journalism to spread their message, controlling the presses and what children learn in school. Harry and his comrades formed a resistance movement to defeat Voldemort’s rise, and ultimately succeeded at great personal sacrifice.
In the muggle realm, another resistance movement has grown to counter autocracy, racism, transphobia, anti-intellectualism, and other ills I could not have anticipated when I cracked open my Scholastic copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in 1997. Throughout this struggle, something fantastic has happened- a vindication for those who believe that fiction (perhaps children’s fiction above all) can shape a person’s values. The generation that grew up with Harry Potter has adopted the words and lessons of the series as a lingua franca for the ideals many of us hold.
In honor of this, the 37th birthday of Harry Potter (or the 52nd birthday of J.K. Rowling, or the 26th anniversary of Harry getting his Hogwarts letter) we present some of our favorite Harry Potter-related messages from the modern resistance movement:
From the Women’s March: Without Hermione, Harry would’ve died in Book 1. TRUE.
My favorite pop culture references are always the deep cuts: Any HP fan will know that Neville Longbottom proved himself to be a true hero … and he rocked a distinctive cardigan while doing it.
Dumbledore, champion of the underdog, would be unhappy with all of this.
While Potter fans (rightfully) have a lot of opinions about Dumbledore’s sexuality never being mentioned in the book, the fact is that J.K. Rowling has confirmed that he is gay and a policy that hurts wise, gentle Dumbledore hurts all of human- (and wizard-) kind.
This was actually back in ’08, but now I want Harry Potter cannon with married, gay wizard and witch couples. Hogwarts students with 2 moms or 2 dads. A DUMBLEDORE WEDDING THAT MCGONAGALL OFFICIATES, OK.
If you read HP thinking you’d definitely join the DA instead of hiding in the Slytherin basement (#NotAllSlytherins), now’s the time.
Context: this is from a 2010 student protest in the UK re: a rise in tuition fees.
When readers can reach different conclusions from the same series
Spicey’s out, The Mooch is loose and Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been at the podium facing reporters every day. Albeit, she started a rather odd tradition in her first White House Press Secretary: reading Donald Trump’s fan mail.
If you missed this amidst the healthcare/Mooch/Russia/general insanity in Washington, here’s a brief recap. On Wednesday, SHS announced she’ll be doing something new at the top of the daily briefing, reading letters from people who write to the president, and incidentally talking about how much they love him. The first is from 9-year-old Dylan Harbin, who also goes by the nickname Pickle. SHS read his letter outloud (and answered his questions – and gave her regards from the president to Pickle). Here is his handwritten letter:
But of course this all seemed fishy (besides feeling like straight up North Korea propaganda shit), and the geniuses of Twitter weren’t letting this Pickle story slide. I mean, is Pickle even real?? After all, Donald Trump Jr. used to have a doll called Captain Pickle AND Mike Pence’s cat is named Pickle. COINCIDENCE?!? The answer is unfortunately yes he’s real, BTW. But before the Washington Post conducted their investigative report, the jury was still out. And here are some of the Twitter jury’s best responses to #PickleGate 2017.
Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary is the purest-in-heart of all of our pure-in-heart favorites. The Tennessee sanctuary provides a safe, happy, playful home for a delightful group of dogs who, due to their age, would not otherwise be adoptable. Are you smiling through tears yet? Just wait til we take a look at their Facebook page.
Here’s the thing about having a dog: even if you have a puppy today, you’re going to have an old dog sooner than you’re ready. My dog’s aging, like my own, sneaked up on me. One day I was a 23-year-old law student bounding home from the shelter with a 5-year-old English Setter, and for the next 5 years she had all the energy of a puppy. My old girl turns 12 next month – me? raising a 12-year-old? – and in the past few years she has retained her zest for life and youthful good looks, but gained a slate of costly and worrisome medical problems. Despite my pup’s certified status as a Very Good Girl (look it up, I’m sure it’s filed somewhere), if something happened and she landed at a shelter again tomorrow, I can’t be sure anybody would have the joy and privilege of taking her home. OFSDS provides a home for all the fantastic dogs who might not find their forever family, but deserve a full and happy life just the same.
There are a few tenets I think we can agree on: Dogs are good. Old dogs are very, very good. And people who take care of old dogs without a home are extraordinarily good. That’s why, if you ever find yourself doubting the presence of good in the world, I suggest you take a peek at the Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary Facebook page.
I know, I know. If you aren’t already familiar with OFSDS, you might think it’s an online version of the part of the movie where the beloved dog starts to get sick and you have to turn off your TV (ahem, Marley and Me. And every other dog movie. You know what you did.). But it’s not! These dogs may be senior, but the page is full of these sweet doggos playing, getting into mischief, being doofy, and sneaking some cuddles. It’s about as life-affirming as it gets. Watching these canine senior citizens play is just as cute, if not cuter, than puppy videos – these are pups who have had YEARS of experience of being Very Good Boys and Girls!
Just look at some of the sweetness these cuties get up to:
Though not as renowned for this skill as cats, many dogs choose to fit into places that are too small for them then stand there looking derpy:
Napping dogs: cute. Two napping dogs: ARE YOU KIDDING ME, STOP IT.
I love the dog leading the charge as much as I love the one taking a snooze break right in the middle of everything:
The only sad thing about Mack’s blindness is sometimes I wonder if he has any idea how cute he is?
I want to be in this hallway of dogs. Dogway? Anyway.
First thing you see when you walk into heaven:
Good news! If you love Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary as much as I do, you can send them a donation on Facebook to thank them for all the soothing, cheerful dog pictures that we’re definitely not looking at during work hours. And if you live near Mt. Juliet, TN, you can even foster one of their darling doggos! If not, maybe someday you’ll be in the position to adopt an older pup of your own. I can promise you, owning an older dog is a brief joy – like a sunset or an ice cream cone- but the very purest in heart.
Well. Sean Spicer managed to last a whole six months before callin’ quits on the Press Secretary gig. And was it the constant lying he had to do in front of reporters that was the straw that broke the gum-chewing camel’s back? No. It was (allegedly) the hiring of New York businessman Anthony Scaramucci that caused Spicey to step down.
What is it about Scaramucci that Spicer doesn’t like? This is what we know about him:
Has degrees from both Tufts & Harvard Law School
Worked at Goldman Sachs (alert alert) as the VP of private wealth management
Also worked at Lehman Brothers (alert alert alert)
Started his own hedge fund investment firm, SkyBridge Capital in 2015
Sold his stake in the company to a Chinese billionaire in January (questionable) in order to get a job at the WH
But of course, as soon as it was announced that Scaramucci was named communications director, Twitter didn’t necessarily look up all his qualifications at first – they saw the guy on TV and gave some hot takes on the new guy. Of course we don’t condone judging anyone solely by their appearances, but when it comes to this administration, all bets are off. Here are some of our favorite hot takes on Scaramouche, Scaramouche (will he do the Fandango?).
My favorite of them all:
Anthony Scaramucci looks like an extra in the Wolf of Wall Street that they had to fire because he kept trying to talk to Leo
Since then… well, you know what’s happened since then. I’m not going to focus on that. Instead, I’m going to highlight the things Barack, Michelle, Malia and Sasha have been up to since moving out of the White House and into a regular (yet still bougie) house as private citizens. For a few minutes, let’s just forget what’s happening at 1600 Penn and pretend this family is still First.
To The Desert
Immediately after the inauguration, Barack and Michelle travelled to Palm Springs, California, the first stop on their world tour.
Hi everybody! Back to the original handle. Is this thing still on? Michelle and I are off on a quick vacation, then we’ll get back to work.
Perhaps the only time I’ll say this, but WHO’S GOT TICKETS TO THE GUN SHOW???? Barry O, that’s who. Like any good friend, Richard blogged about their day out on the waves, and even included a video of their kitesurfing challenge for good measure.
Meanwhile, Malia’s off on her gap year before heading off to Harvard, and she’s been busy being photographed walking into her internship at big shot Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s film company. The 18 year old reportedly landed a gig in the development department, reading and pitching scripts to be made into potential movies. She started at the beginning of February, and just a few weeks in, proud dad Barack went to visit her for some dad/daughter time. They were spotted having dinner, and hanging out with Danny DeVito backstage at his Broadway show. Hand holding included.
When you gotta look fly just to go to the National Art Gallery.
Michelle, still acting more First Lady than the current one, surprised young ladies at Francis L. Cardozo Education Campus in honor of International Women’s Day. The school has an international program for recent immigrants, and she spoke with a group of girls on the importance of education.
By the end of the month, Barack was reportedly in the small French Polynesian island of Tetiaroa (once owned by Marlon Brando), where rumor has it he spent time writing their memoirs. Oh, BTW, in February, Barack and Michelle inked a reported $65 MILLION deal for separate books with Crown Publishing.
And because B continues to be more presidential than say, other presidents out there, he tweeted this out the day of the (first) terror attacks in London:
My heart goes out to the victims and their families in London. No act of terror can shake the strength and resilience of our British ally.
Michelle joined her boo and continued their tour of French Polynesia, as they were spotted in the island of Moorea paddleboarding (#LetsMove) and swimming, and snorkeling. But the best part? They weren’t alone. They lived that yacht life with a few nobodies – Tom Hanks, Bruce Springsteen and Oprah. !!!! It was on that boat that Barry proved he was the ultimate Instagram Husband (we’ll just pretend he’s not taking the pix with an iPad – or maybe we won’t)
Apparently the ultimate squad island hopped, visiting Vanilla Island, Le Taha’a Island and Bora Bora. BUT WHAT HAPPENED ON THIS VACATION?! ARE THEY PLANNING ON FORMING A NEW COUNTRY? BUYING A BUNCH OF THE FRENCH POLYNESIAN ISLANDS? WE NEED TO KNOW JIC AMERICA BURNS TO THE GROUND.
So, Uh, What’s Been Going On While I’ve Been Gone?
The Obamas headed back to the States and home to Chicago, where Barry made his first public appearance since that gloomy day in January. Naturally, the event was a discussion with students about civic engagement and leadership at the University of Chicago, where he taught constitutional law. You remember the Constitution, right?
Barack shipped up to Boston, where he was awarded the 2017 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, where he was reunited with some familiar faces – Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, former Secretary of State John Kerry, and of course, “the best vice president the country has ever known, Mr. Joe Biden.”
During his speech, B reflected on JFK and the basis of the award, urging members of Congress to exhibit similar bravery in the current battle over health care. Tell ’em Barry.
Oh also, he said this of Mich: “I also want to thank Michelle Obama for after the presidency sticking with me because I think she felt an obligation to the country to stay on. But once her official duties were over, it wasn’t clear. I love my wife. And I’m grateful for her. And I do believe that it was America’s great good fortune to have her as first lady.” SWOON.
Speaking of Michelle, there was a report that the Trump administration was going to immediately halt her Let Girls Learn initiative, and while the WH denied the allegations, Michelle still threw the best shade on Inta.
Barack then made his way over to Europe, where he was probably sweeping up all the debris Trump left in his wake and giving handshakes that are normal. During his time there, Barack visited friends in Scotland, London (hello Prince Harry), and Germany, where he noted, “In this new world we live in, we can’t isolate ourselves. We can’t hide behind a wall.”
And because he can now, Barack and Michelle also went to Tuscany, where he proudly sported a dress shirt sans tie, while Mich continued to slay with an off the shoulder number. Ironically, Trump was on his first European trip during this time, so I can’t help but image the Obamas sitting in their luxurious villa and clinking their glasses of red wine while giving each other a knowing look.
Back in the U.S. DT announced plans to pull out of the Paris Agreement, which Barack and his administration worked hard to put in place. Barry was NOT happy about it [See his statement here].
If you’re wondering where Sasha has been, she’s been at school in DC, and since she’s only going to be a junior in September, Barack and Michelle decided to stay in the ‘hood at least until she graduates. Since January, the Obamas were renting out an 8,200-square-foot home in the Kalorama neighborhood, which is basically where the rich people live. In June, they decided to make the home permanent and purchased the house for a sensible $8.1 million.
But also, she’s been busy throwing a LIT AF Sweet Sixteen birthday party.
Kids grow up so fast. Also, we were reminded that Sasha’s full name is Natasha. So that’s a thing that blew up Twitter.
Reminder that Barack and Michelle are actually friends with Jay Z and Beyonce. Here’s Barack sending a video message congratulating Jay on his induction to the Songwriters Hall of Fame – a ceremony he didn’t even attend. Come to find out, Rumi and Sir Carter blessed us with their presence just three days before.
And then he had to released ANOTHER statement on health care and the shitshow that is the ACHA.
Health care has always been about something bigger than politics: it's about the character of our country. https://t.co/UqLO14Hef7
With Sasha out of school for the summer, it was time for a family trip, and the Obamas headed to Indonesia, where where Barack lived as a kid since his beloved mom did anthropological research there. They went whitewater rafting, and visited the Tirtha Empul temple in Bali wearing matching sarongs.
While Barack was busy meeting babies in Alaskan airports
Yesterday, it was revealed that Sen. John McCain (and Barack’s former 2008 opponent) was diagnosed with brain cancer. Instead of wishing any ill will, he showed all class and subtle shade at the same time:
John McCain is an American hero & one of the bravest fighters I've ever known. Cancer doesn't know what it's up against. Give it hell, John.
Are you caught up on Game of Thrones? I’m not. I’m very, very not: I still haven’t seen an episode. Don’t get me wrong, it’s way at the top of my watch list – if only because I hate when everyone else knows about something I don’t. It’s just that it’s in the fifth season (*seventh now – see my update at the bottom!), so now it’s an undertaking. But since it feels like GoT is all anyone talks about, I have some ideas about it.
God willing, this summer I’ll swipe my parents’ HBOGo login info and find out for myself. Until then, I’m pretty sure this is what it’s about:
Like, it’s not England, but it IS England, you know?
Hmm. Ok, p. sure it’s England though.
And it’s not the Middle Ages, but it IS The middle ages, right?
No but like, it’s not the “middle ages” but it’s sometime between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance, y/y?
The blonde one has dragons. They’re sort of like the winged monkeys from The Wizard Of Oz, but they want to be there.
The blonde one is icy and powerful, like Grace Kelly or Betty Hofstadt Draper Francis.
+ shades of Draco Malfoy and Princess Leia during the Jabba The Hutt era.
The Little Girl shoots arrows.
Everyone has names with lots of y’s in them. And, like, w’s? Drawnyfyr. Grwynwyn. Wywywy.
When something good happens, everyone goes to banquet halls where they eat, presumably, mutton. And drink mead. Then they all get killed.
The blonde one’s title is kaleesi (sp? Superfluous H somewhere: Khaleesi? Kalheesi?). Her name is something else. And a lot of people act like her name is Kaleesi (sp) because that’s what they call her in the show, but it’s NOT. It’s not that. It’s probably, definitely something with a y or w in it.
The Little Girl is friends with wolves. Enemies with wolves? I think she mostly rolls with a pack of them.
I’m fairly sure the Little Girl is named Aria, which is why that’s what everyone is naming their babies now. Maybe Arya, which has a Y in it.
The Little Girl with the arrows/wolves is the Stephanie, and her older sister is more of a D.J.
There’s no Michelle; a Michelle would not survive in this world.
This is her GOT outfit.
If your name doesn’t contain a Y or a W, it’s a regular name with one or two letters off. Like Blatt or Bobbin or Roybert.
Sometimes, somebody goes into a journey through the forest, runs into an enemy, battles them in the forest, emerges on horseback. But it’s the enemy’s horse.
Maybe there’s a priest who’s a bad guy?
More tapestries than a stoner’s sophomore year dorm room.
Do any of you have an extra row of eyelashes that grow straight down? It has nothing to do with Game of Thrones but I would be interested in someone’s help with that.
I’m picturing a battle in a field with humans astride creatures that look like they came from the Jim Henson factory.
All of the American actors use English accents of varying strengths and intensities, even though this is not exactly England.
Rich people wear jewel-toned silks and velvets; poors: straight-up scratchy bag material.
At least one dude has labor-intensive facial hair even though it’s the (not-) Middle Ages. One of those deals where he looks more like a topiary than a face.
Probably a gross childbirth scene at some point.
Pick a character to love. Any character. Okay, they’re going to die.
Unlike the real middle ages, people aren’t dying of, like, dysentery. Usually battles, duels, maybe a stray curse or two.
Never go to a wedding. Ever. It will end it rape, murder, or both.
All of the men are sort of Variations On A Theme. The theme is Elijah Wood.
Meh. Basically the same thing.
You know how everyone has that one garbage cousin? In 2015 you can just hide him on Facebook, but in Medieval England you will be hiding behind a stone turret while he and a fleet of Jim Henson Workshop Creatures storm across your moat right in the middle of the Hey Nonny Nonny festival or whatever.
Not that it’s Medieval times, that is. Or England. It isn’t.
… But it is, right?
It’s July of 2017, two years have passed since this was originally posted, Season 7 has just begun, and I FINALLY started Game of Thrones! I know, you all said it was good and you were absolutely correct. I started last week and am only on Episode 5 of season 1. I hope at this rate I’ll be caught up to watch the final episodes in real time along with the rest of the internet. Some stray observations based on this post:
I feel like I was right about 90% of everything.
I love how they differentiate the culture of the various kingdoms.
There are maps of Westeros, but I’m still a tad iffy on the landmass. At first I thought it was some kind of post-Pangea thing where the continents hadn’t shifted to their current spots yet. But then I read some other interpretations and… I’ll just sit this one out until I’m a bit farther into things.
People I love: Khaleesi (her dragons are about to hatch! Very exciting); Arya; Jon Snow (particularly how Jon Snow is one of those people you refer to by first and last name; I think we all had a friend like this in high school); basically all of the Starks but my brother informed me things will get “weird with Bran” soon.
People I loathe: Khaleesi’s Draco Malfoy-looking brother; the prince Sansa’s supposed to marry; Khaleesi’s husband, maybe, but maybe not?; basically all of the Lannisters except Tyrion.
Like I said, the dragon eggs are in that Hatchimals-on-Christmas-morning phase. The sheer innocence of this makes me realize that I’m definitely in the Sorcerer’s Stone era of Game of Thrones, where everything is very young and gentle.
Legacy? What is legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see. Or for some folks, it’s a transparent series of fuck-ups involving collusion, sexual assault, misogyny, racism, and lies that will live on forever in the Fake News. But hey, to each his own, right?
213 years ago today, Alexander Hamilton died after his duel with Aaron Burr. Five years ago, this post would’ve been moo (it’s like a cow’s opinion). But 2017’s hottest founding father is relevant to our interests again, which is why I’m writing this at all. But what’s even more interesting is that the trials, tribulations, and non-stop essays (including all the other 51) Ham & Co. went through all those years ago, is perhaps annoyingly prescient now, thanks to the state of our Union. So, to honor (I guess?) A. Ham and the legacy seeds he left behind, here are a few quotes from the decorated war vet that remind us that even two centuries later, passionate essays written on parchment aren’t exclusive to topics relating to separating from a harmful demagogue.
“The truth unquestionably is, that the only path to a subversion of the republican system of the Country is, by flattering the prejudices of the people, and exciting their jealousies and apprehensions, to throw affairs into confusion, and bring on civil commotion. Tired at length of anarchy, or want of government, they may take shelter in the arms of monarchy for repose and security.
Those then, who resist a confirmation of public order, are the true Artificers of monarchy—not that this is the intention of the generality of them. Yet it would not be difficult to lay the finger upon some of their party who may justly be suspected. When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits—despotic in his ordinary demeanour—known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty—when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join in the cry of danger to liberty—to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion—to flatter and fall in with all the non sense of the zealots of the day—It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may “ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.“
“For my individual part my mind is made up. I will never more be responsible for him [Adams] by my direct support—even though the consequence should be the election of Jefferson. If we must have an enemy at the head of the Government, let it be one whom we can oppose & for whom we are not responsible, who will not involve our party in the disgrace of his foolish and bad measures. Under Adams as under Jefferson the government will sink. The party in the hands of whose chief it shall sink will sink with it and the advantage will all be on the side of his adversaries.”
“All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and well-born, the other the mass of the people. The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and, however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true in fact. The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give, therefore, to the first class a distinct, permanent share in the government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second, and, as they cannot receive any advantage by a change, they therefore will ever maintain good government. Can a democratic Assembly, who annually revolve in the mass of the people, be supposed steadily to pursue the public good? Nothing but a permanent body can check the imprudence of democracy. Their turbulent and uncontrolling disposition requires checks.“
From the New York Ratifying Convention, 1788
“As riches increase and accumulate in few hands . . . the tendency of things will be to depart from the republican standard.”
“It is a truth which the experience of all ages has attested, that the people are always most in danger when the means of injuring their rights are in the possession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion.”
Well, I finally did it. I caved like a chocolate soufflé fresh out the oven. I watched The Great British Bake-Off (Or The Great British Baking Show for us Americans).
Of course I’ve heard nothing but good things about it for a while now (see Molly’s spot on post from last year), and for some reason, on a recent Sunday night (morning?) at 12:30am, I decided to press play on season 1 and it was all downhill from there.
About a week and a half later, I’m nearly caught up with the most recent season and pretty much convinced myself I, too, can make scrummy plaited breads with no soggy bottoms. But one of the main reasons I became obsessed with the show is that every contestant was utterly delightful – there was no animosity between them, and in fact, like Molly said in her post, they’re all helpful and supportive of each other. Of course I had my favorites like any other TV competition show, but there were some bakers who stood out for me more than the others, the ones that I would love to hang out with outside of the tent, the ones who would cheer me on even if the cold, hard reality of my lack of baking skills was slapped in my face like a dough being kneaded harshly against the bench.
Have I gone too far with the GBBO refs? Get used to it, muffins. Here are the contestants from the four seasons (that have aired in the U.S.) that I would love to start a squad with. Do you agree/want to join? Read on to find out.
Ready? Set! BAaakkEEE!
Season 1/Series 4
The moment Glenn popped up on my screen, I was all in. He’s a teacher who kept a positive attitude but knew when to be comically self-depreciating when need be. I just wanted to give him a hug any time he didn’t get the best feedback from the judges. Plus, he’s a gay British man, which is like, my target demo.
The runner-up had a smile that could light up the room. Yes, I realize that is the cliche-est of all the cliches, but it’s true. She was confident enough in her baking and not the type to beat herself up if she didn’t have a good round. And just back to that smile real quick – who wouldn’t want that on a day when you’re feeling shitty?
Season 2/Series 5
Kate had light pink streaks in her hair and that’s why I like her. The end.
JK. But anyone who has pink hair has to be a certain type of bold character to wear it proudly, and Kate is just that. Her attitude was the perfect mix of bubbly and not-so-bubbly in the stressful times, and that’s exactly the type personality I’d be into for my GBBO Squad.
Season 3/Series 6
You know when you’re just minding your business at work and then your peer makes a snarky comment under their breath, and you’re like, “Wait. That’s really funny,” and then you become pals because you both have the same sense of humor? That’s Sandy. Throughout her time on GBBO, she’d have these one-liners that killed me, and had me thinking about them for days later. She once made a David Attenborough joke that only Brits and rando Americans would get, and I couldn’t stop laughing. Case in point: the GIF above in which Sandy describes how her creme brulee should NOT wobble. Rather, it should only have a little wobble, like so:
Alright I’m lumping these two star bakers together, because they’re what inspired me to write this post in the first place. Individually, each of these lovelies had me rooting for them from the first episode. Nadiya (as the internet is wont to tell you) had THE BEST reaction faces throughout the entire competition, and it was like she was reflecting what the viewers at home were doing too. She lacked confidence in the beginning and kept thinking she was going to get cut, but she, like Tamal, was a pretty consistently good baker from the get go. Tamal, an adorable, funny, talented doctor, was just a delight to watch throughout the series, and any time Nadiya and Tamal would get screen time together, I basically just wanted to leap through my screen and hug them both at the same time and force them to be friends with me. Is that too aggressive? Yeah, probably for the best.
And the sweet, sweet words Tamal said about Nadiya in the finale was the most precious. I LOVE WHEN PEOPLE SUPPORT THEIR FRIENDS. AND I LOVE WHEN PEOPLE GAIN SELF-CONFIDENCE. FULL CIRCLE. I LOVE NADIYA AND TAMAL!
Like Kate before her, I knew I was going to like Candice because her lipstick game was on POINT. It’s such a simple cosmetic look, but it gives her “a thing” to be remembered by with audiences watching from home. And if she doesn’t have her own lipstick line yet, that’s probably something she should get on. Another reason I liked Candice is that her accent sounded familiar to me, as if I had heard her speak before. Well, turns out, she just reminds me of Victoria Beckham because they have such a similar accent (and kind of from the same section of England). Made me like her even more.
Benjamina is one of those bakers who is so super talented, but due to time constraints and other factors, just isn’t always the star baker each week. But you know she’s got it. And she’s got a good attitude about the competition too, just like many of the others that have proceeded her on this list.
Cool as a cucumber – that phrase was made about Selasi. This dude knows how to bake, knows which flavors go with what, and doesn’t freak out completely if a challenge isn’t going his way. Plus the way he talks I could listen to all day.
Ed. Note: I’m obviously watching all this in a bubble, and don’t know any of the politics or media spectacle or post-interviews any of the contestants have done since the show. All I knew was that Nadiya won and everyone loved her. That’s it. Apparently, when searching for Selasi GIFs, there was a rumored thing going on between him and Benjamina? I’m afraid to dig too deep into it, because in full disclosure, I’m not quite done with this season and don’t want to be spoiled
Bonus: Mel & Sue
THE NEXT SEASON OF GBBO IS NOT GOING TO BE THE SAME WITHOUT YOU TWO (OR MARY). I DON’T KNOW HOW WE SURVIVED WITHOUT YOUR PUNS AND CHEEKY INNUENDO ON TV ALL THESE YEARS IN AMERICA.
It’s summer, and our aesthetic is The Parent Trap (1998): a rustic cabin in a pine forest, a kicky new summer haircut, a sedate London home, secret twins, a sprawling Napa estate, getting your ears pierced by a child, comfy yet timeless sundresses, midafternoon dips in the pool with your dad’s too-young fiancee, casual camping gear, finding out your parents were totally OK with never seeing one of their children again… The Parent Trap has it all.
Although remakes usually pale in comparison to the original, The Parent Trap is different. The Hayley Mills version is fine, but it’s the Lindsay Lohan adaptation that I go to time and time again. It came out when I was 11 – the same age as Hallie and Annie, and could have passed as their triplet – and although almost two decades have gone by, it feels ageless. It’s no mistake that this is our second “___ Is Our Aesthetic” post featuring a film from Nancy Meyers, romcom queen and kitchen guru extraordinaire: all of her movies feel fresh and current when they come out, and thanks to her use of timeless and playful styling, they stay that way.
The Entire Camp Experience
I never went to sleepaway camp: not rich enough to afford it, nor poor enough for a scholarship (even at 11, I was able to recognize that the Parker-Jameses were seriously loaded). But maybe that’s for the best, because I am free to imagine summer camp exactly as it is in The Parent Trap. Camp Walden is everything you expect in a New England summer camp. Nestled among tall trees, the girls really do bunk in rustic cabins, wake up to bugle calls, eat at a mess hall, swim in a lake, hold unsupervised poker tourneys and engage in elaborate prank wars. It’s the kind of low-tech, high-fun camp I could imagine generations of the same family attending.
Even the preppy-yet-simple uniforms are great, and those little touches like how Annie always chose the more formal version: the polo shirt instead of the tee, for instance.
To get it out of the way: those twin scenes were filmed with the help of Erin Mackey, Lindsay’s double and now a theater actress, who is sort of the Kathryn Alexandre of the Parent Trap universe:
Annie and her butler Martin have a secret handshake, which Hallie must learn to replicate in order to impersonate Annie. Not sure what is cooler: having a butler, or having a secret handshake.
Whether it’s The Parent Trap, Clueless, The Princess Diaries, The Breakfast Club, She’s All That, or one of our many other throwback favs, we loved a makeover scene 20 years ago and we love them still. There was something so satisfying about Hallie getting the haircut and ear piercing just right… thank goodness.
Not strictly aesthetics, but music is a big part of the timeless summertime vibes in The Parent Trap. I’m not ashamed to say I owned the CD. (Off topic: Mid-to-late 90s: the golden age of movie soundtracks?) The score even has the whimsical, pretty sound of The Holiday, another of our Nancy Meyers favorites, although The Holiday was a Hans Zimmer score and The Parent Trap was Alan Silvestri.
Hallie (And Annie-As-Hallie)’s Relaxed Wardrobe
(Links to a Hallie Parker-inspired look. I always loved those multi-colored beaded bracelets and the plaid shorts and denim jacket combo)
hello, moto jacket.
Hallie is a laid-back Napa girl: she’s outdoorsy and informal, but she wasn’t exactly wearing hand-me-downs like the rest of us poors (not that she could have, as her sister was a secret).
Annie (And Hallie-As-Annie)’s Classic Style
Don’t panic, but the headband matches. This is why I matched my school uniform kilts to a headband with the same plaid. Also because I was a dork.
This is how I’d love to dress my children, who will hate me.
Blair Waldorf’s style inspiration.
Oh, to have Annie’s upper-class, finely-tailored, utterly timeless wardrobe: tweed and Peter Pan collars and A-line dresses as far as the eye can see. If you weren’t one of the fanciest children in all of London town, it was probably just a dream for you, but it was Annie’s reality.
The Napa Ranch
I’m floored Hallie even GOES to camp, because her real home has an in-ground pool, horses to ride, acres of land and a Nancy Myers kitchen. I especially love her lived-in, pretty bedroom:
The London House
Like the girls’ respective wardrobes, Hallie’s is the one you can imagine possibly having in an alternate universe, but Annie’s is the unreachable goal.
[All house images are sourced from and link to a page on Hooked On Houses about the Parent Trap homes. Hooked On Houses has been a favorite of mine since I bought my house – I seriously cannot get enough.]
Well I can safely say that now, I understand the reference because I finally watched First Wives Club for the first time. First Time First Wives Club Club? No? Ok Fair. Read on for more pop culture refs and early celeb cameos from one of the best comedies in movie history.
My knowledge of First Wives Club: Bette Midler, Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn are are recently divorced from their husbands. Probably rich husbands. Now on their second, much younger wives. Comedy and sisterhood ensues.
Netflix description: Following a friend’s suicide after her husband dumps her for a younger model, three women plot payback against their two-timing exes.
… The club was started because of suicide? And this is a comedy???
The pop art title credits are giving me vibes I wasn’t expecting.
MAGGIE SMITH? VICTOR GARBER? ELIZABETH BERKLEY? BRONSON PINCHOT/BALKI?! Truly had no idea these fine folks were in this movie.
Does Bronson Pinchot ever get to use his real accent when he acts?
Diane Keaton wins Most Supportive Mother Award:
Prediction: Diane Keaton’s inability to get truly angry will finally come to a head when it matters the most. Like Cameron Diaz crying in The Holiday.
1996 was a really big year for Dan Hedaya, right?
Cameo Alert: SJP! Rob Reiner! Timothy Olyphant! Rev Cam! What a star-studded cast.
Speaking of star studded, the British bartender Goldie Hawn is complaining to about playing a mother looked familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it. Naturally, he was in a singular episode of Gilmore Girls as the wedding planner hired by Emily to organize Lor and Christopher’s wedding. He had about 5 minutes of screen time (if that), but THIS IS HOW MY BRAIN WORKS.
Oh look, Diane Keaton’s anger is coming through at the perfect time – when she finds out her husband not only wants a divorce but is sleeping with her therapist. Good call, Trace.
Diane Keaton reading Stockard Channing’s final letter: “Perhaps Gil isn’t the problem. Perhaps loneliness is. Please take care of each other. Love, Cynthia.”
Diane Keaton’s mom: “And on such pretty stationery.”
I am the mom.
My new aesthetic is three ladies putting their wedding rings in the champagne glasses.
THEY’RE GOING TO A GAY BAR TO SUPPORT DIANE KEATON’S LESBIAN DAUGHTER. AND GOLDIE HAWN DANCING WITH THE GAYS IS EVERYTHING.
Cameo Alert: Lea Delaria as a *gasp* lesbian who hits on Goldie Hawn, who just loves attention, and Debra Monk is the drowning her sorrows at the bar because her girlfriend left her.
Bette Midler: He brought her (new wife). To my son’s Bar Mitzvah.
Diane Keaton: Is she a gift?
Cameo Alert: Elizabeth Berkley is Victor Garber’s new girl? And she’s an aspiring actress?! Her acting is horrible. Is this what she was like in Showgirls?
And here we have the famous “I beat Meryl!” scene:
Maggie Smith’s hair is the definition of “The higher the hair the closer to God”. Also this may be the first time I’ve ever seen Maggie Smith act without her British accent?
I just realized the magical reunion that is SJP’s boyfriend’s ex-wife is Bette Midler. Confession: I haven’t seen Hocus Pocus either.