Best of 2017: Obama And The First Lady

Welcome to our final days of 2017! As we take stock of the year that was (really… really weird), we are revisiting some of our best posts of 2017: some that we just really loved, and others that in some way spoke to the world we lived in for the past year.

It’s almost hard to believe it now, but for a sweet sliver of 2017 Barack Obama was still our president. During his last week in office we ran a series called One Last Time, celebrating some of our favorite aspects of a man we love for his intelligence, prudence, empathy, and sense of humor and fun. Over that week – through a near-literal veil of tears – we wrote about Obama and kids, his best buddy Joe Biden, celebrities and the American people.

For our Best of 2017 list, one stood out above the others: Obama and the First Lady. Couple goals, career goals, White House goals… they may not live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but the Obama family is forever part of our nation’s history.

Click the link below to access the full post:

Obama And The First Lady

Barack, Sasha, Malia, and Michelle make their first official debut as America’s First Family. November, 2008.

Election Night 2008 is one of those dates you remember forever. Where you were, who were you were with, how you felt when the results came in. Much like this past month, that night had me overwhelmed with emotion, pride, and a sense that this leadership, not just from Barack, but from Michelle. Seeing this All-American family take a victory lap felt like a dream. I felt like ‘hope’ wasn’t just an idealistic campaign slogan, but a real concept taking shape before our very eyes. This family helped us have faith in the country again.

This photo is from a 2008 election night rally. I remember looking at this photo the day after the election and realizing, with wonder and pride, that our first family was finally black. It’s been eight years and sometimes I get thrilled and overwhelmed all over again.

Checking In On The Obamas Six Months After The Goodbye

It’s been six very long months since we watched Our President wave goodbye and fly off into the sky on Marine One one last time.

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.

January

To The Desert

Immediately after the inauguration, Barack and Michelle travelled to Palm Springs, California, the first stop on their world tour.

Despite the fact they were delayed by rain, B & M enjoyed some R & R at the homes of the ambassador to Spain and Angora, James Costos,  and Michael S. Smith, who was their WH interior designer.

Like a Virgin

Soon after, the Obamas headed to the British Virgin Islands to stay at Sir Richard Branson’s private resort. Judging by the way they dressed, it was clear they were enjoying the time off.

February

And then came the now iconic photos of Barry living his BEST LIFE kitesurfing with a billionaire.

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.

#CoupleGoals

Serious couple goals. Always and forever.

Malia in Manhattan

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.

March

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.

Barack and Michelle were quite the jetsetters in March – after DC, they went back to NYC to visit Malia again (and also dine with Bono and get a standing ovation on the way out), stopped in California again to meet with some tech bosses, and then back home to Hawaii to visit family and hit the links, and get his fave shaved ice (I’m assuming).

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:

April

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.

Oprah will never tell. “I can’t talk about it, I can’t talk about it!” Thanks for nothing, O.

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?

May

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.

Obama Presidential Center and Library, you say?

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.

June

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].

THE BROMANCE WAS ALIVE

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.

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.

July

Barack also gave a speech in front of thousands of people at the Fourth Congress of Indonesian Diaspora in Jakarta, and in addition to speaking Indonesian, he totally shaded DT yet again, not exactly calling him out on the Muslim travel ban, but basically doing it.

Then Michelle stopped in Los Angeles for a surprise appearance at the ESPYs.

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:

We miss you Obamas. It’s been six months but it feels like six decades.

One Last Time: Obama and The First Lady

I’m creating a national holiday and it’s called Michelle Obama Day. Today is that day. Our First Lady’s 53rd birthday just happens to fall during not only days before she and her best friend leave the White House, but also during Obama Week here at Cookies + Sangria. Which one is the bigger honor? WE’LL NEVER KNOW. Yesterday we cried over Barack’s tender moments with little nuggets, and today, we’ll cry once again over Barack and Michelle’s tender moments. Basically expect us to cry for the entire week.

But first, a note from the President:

Barack, Sasha, Malia, and Michelle make their first official debut as America’s First Family. November, 2008.

Election Night 2008 is one of those dates you remember forever. Where you were, who were you were with, how you felt when the results came in. Much like this past month, that night had me overwhelmed with emotion, pride, and a sense that this leadership, not just from Barack, but from Michelle. Seeing this All-American family take a victory lap felt like a dream. I felt like ‘hope’ wasn’t just an idealistic campaign slogan, but a real concept taking shape before our very eyes. This family helped us have faith in the country again.

This photo is from a 2008 election night rally. I remember looking at this photo the day after the election and realizing, with wonder and pride, that our first family was finally black. It’s been eight years and sometimes I get thrilled and overwhelmed all over again.

My feelings from inauguration day in 2009 feel so fresh that it’s really hard to comprehend that it was eight years ago. Remember seeing this beautiful, young, brilliant couple truly enjoying the moment and each other?

Inauguration night. January, 2009.

I love this moment between the First Couple. Although his staff and secret service is surrounding them, it’s like they are in a world of their own. And ready to take on the White House. Also, that Jason Wu gown is to die and who else cries anytime they see Barack and Michelle dancing to Beyonce singing At Last at one of the balls?!

Barack hugs Michelle in the White House Red Room. March, 2009.

Barack hugs Michelle in the White House Red Room. March, 2009.

Even Valerie Jarrett is jealous of their love.

Michelle and Barack watch fireworks from the White House on Independence Day. July, 2009.

I just love this picture. The end.

Barack and Michelle wave to the citizens of Oslo, where they were to attend the Nobel Peace Prize dinner. December, 2009.

Barack and Michelle wave to the citizens of Oslo, where they were to attend the Nobel Peace Prize dinner. December, 2009.

Are back shot photos played out or still artistic? Who knows, who cares? I am all in for this one, where Barack and Michelle are waving to the masses outside. Sure it’s great from the front, but there’s something about the stillness from the inside that makes this moment even more magical.

Feb. 21, 2010

Barack and Michelle dance to Harry Connick, Jr. at the Governors Ball. February, 2010

I see you, Michelle.

P101710PS-0446

Tender moments outside a rally in Columbus, Ohio. October, 2010.

Barry whispers into Michelle’s ear between events related to the UN General Assembly in New York City. September, 2011.

*CAPTION THIS*

Michelle places her hand atop Barack as he speaks from a podium during a Christmas event at the White House. December, 2011.

It’s the little things, you know?

Michelle and Barack take in the lakeside views of their hometown of Chicago. June, 2012.

Per the film Southside With You, this is where Barack and Michelle strolled during their first date. This time around, they came with a little extra security. They arrived in the helicopter landing zone and instead of going straight to the motorcade, these two lovebirds walked past the car and to the edge of Lake Michigan where this photo was taken.

Barack looks at Michelle who’s looking at Valerie Jarrett’s daughter gets married. June, 2012.

Find a man who looks at you like Barack looks at Michelle.

Michelle and Barack give in to the Kiss Cam during a basketball game between team USA and Brazil. July, 2012.

The best part of this Kiss Cam situation is Malia insisting they do it, and Uncle Joe reluctantly watching Barry plant a smooch on his wife. {Relive the moment here}

Michelle holds onto Barack’s hand during a campaign event in Iowa. August, 2012.

That’s ~*TrU LoVe*~ right there.

anuary 17, 2013

Barack serenades Michelle on her birthday. January, 2013.

Alternate caption: Michelle got bangs and Barack is singing, “I-I-I. I’m soo in love with you!”

Barack and Michelle wave to the folks along the parade route on Inauguration Day. January, 2013.

According to Pete Souza, when he asked the President if he could ride along in the presidential limousine, Barack said, “But Michelle and I were planning to make out.” DAMNIT PETE YOU RUIN EVERYTHING.

Barack helps Michelle down the stairs during the State Dinner for France’s President Hollande. February, 2014 .

A true gentleman caller.

Michelle watches Barack speak at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 44th Annual Legislative Conference Phoenix Awards Dinner. September, 2014.

Michelle watches Barack speak at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 44th Annual Legislative Conference Phoenix Awards Dinner. September, 2014.

We can’t see it, but you just know Michelle has her proud face on right now.

Mistletoe at the White House. December, 2014.

Michelle and Pete Souza spotted the Mistletoe over Barack’s head and she made the move to make sure he followed tradition. These two, I swear.

March 7, 2015 “I was moving around trying to capture different scenes away from the stage during the event to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches. When I glanced back towards the stage, I noticed the President and First Lady holding hands as they listened to the remarks of Rep. John Lewis. I managed to squeeze off a couple of frames before they began to applaud, and the moment was gone.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Barack and Michelle listen to American Hero Rep. John Lewis as he speaks at the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches.

THE HANDS.

March 27, 2015 “The First Lady snuggled against the President during a video taping for the 2015 World Expo in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House.” (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

Michelle snuggles up to Barack. March, 2015.

History has its eyes on you.

The State Dinners alway give Michelle, especially, a chance to walk the runway with an eyepopping gown (her drop the mic dress for their very last one, for example). The Vera Wang gown for the 2015 State Dinner for China was a big crowd pleaser, but nothing was more pleasing than to see Michelle fix Barack’s tie, then him giving the thumbs up right after.

Barack and Michelle animatedly read Where The Wild Things Are to kids on Easter. March, 2016.

Barack and Michelle animatedly read Where The Wild Things Are to kids on Easter. March, 2016.

Just watch the whole video.

Michelle posted this photo on Barack’s 55th birthday. It reminds me of an interview I once saw of Jacqueline Kennedy, where she described her favorite photo of JFK’s inauguration — a moment where she’s chucking him under the chin, which she said was a sweeter moment than any kiss they could’ve caught on film. Maybe we did get a second Camelot.

Michelle and Barack cover Essence magazine. September, 2016.

Michelle and Barack cover Essence magazine. October, 2016.

100 percent my favorite photo shoot of these two together, ever.

Oct. 14, 2016 “There was almost no light remaining at the end of the day when the President and First Lady walked out to the South Lawn for a ‘Fourth Quarter’ toast to White House staff.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Barack and Michelle give a toast to the White House staff. October, 2016.

Raise a glass to freedom.

Family Christmas card. December, 2016.

Family Christmas card. December, 2016.

Look at where you are. Look at where you started.

 

Watch the Brangelina Throne

Our long national nightmare is over Love is Dead! Ok, on the real, how are we all feeling about the Brangelina split a week later? Did we see this coming? Or were we completely blindsided? Are you choosing a team? Do you even care? I’m personally on the side of, *meh*. Is it because Friends is one of my all time TV shows and I spent some of my formative years seeing Brad and Jennifer as the Hollywood ‘IT’ couple then he made a movie with the sexiest woman alive and did an oddly cozy faux family magazine shoot pre-Jen divorce? Perhaps. But I know for a lot of people, Brangelina was one of the last A-list couples still left standing. So who can replace them? If you fall in the latter category, the answer is ‘no one’, but if you’re willing to open your heart and let in another couple to be the next Brangelina, I’ve got a few suggestions.

Chrissy Teigen + John Legend

If you don’t follow these two on social media, do so now. It’s one thing when they take the red carpet (looking smokin’ hot all the time), but it nudges them up a bunch of notches when you see them interact on social media, as seen in the above Twitter exchange. Plus they’ll post cute and not annoying PDA pix and vids, and share posts of their adorable baby daughter Luna. They’re hilarious, smart, and socially active – in the way they speak out about social issues and politics, not necessarily social media. And again, they’re nice to look at, which doesn’t hurt.

Ellen DeGeneres + Portia DeRossi

I feel like every two and a half months, there are rumors these two are breaking up. I never believe the gossip – BECAUSE THESE TWO ARE NEVER SPLITTING UP. NOT ON MY WATCH. Ellen always speaks the loveliest words about Portia in a way that makes me think I, TOO, am in love with Portia. Also, Portia’s wedding dress continues to be one of my favorite celeb dresses ever.

Emily Blunt + John Krasinski

Preface: John Krasinski is my boo. He has been my boo since The Office, and when he started dating Emily Blunt, I was all, ‘yeah, that makes sense’. They seem so compatible with each other and just laid back and not all about the fame. So I guess if you liked Brangelina for the movie star/untouchable quality, Emily and John may not be your cuppa tea. I like that they’re open about their relationship and family, yet secretive in the sense they’re not pushing it into our faces like Kimye is wont to do. Plus they just seem like good people.

Beyonce + Jay Z

In terms of superstar quality and elusiveness, I think Bey and Jay are the closest thing to Brangelina. They don’t share too much of their personal lives online and social media, but B will occasionally post a few sweet snaps of them together. She’s certainly gotten more lax with it over the years (see: Lemonade) but they still have an air of mystery to them that leaves you wanting more. Even the On The Run tour was a lot for me to handle – so much Bey and Jay time I didn’t know what to do with myself. And this Forever Young/Halo video montage FORGET IT.

Kristen Bell + Dax Shepard

If you’re looking for a couple that you most relate to, it’s probs KBell and Dax. They’re just two Michigan kids who found love in Hollywood, but continue to be sweet and strong midwesterners (is Michigan the midwest?). From this Africa video to their Samsung commercials to the famous sloth surprise video, they are one of the most laid back couples in La La Land.

Rita Wilson + Tom Hanks

Do I really need to explain this? Well, Rita may need to explain her wedding dress, but other than that, you get it.

Lin-Manuel Miranda + Vanessa Nadal

If you aren’t #HamilTrash like us, you probably don’t know how much Lin-Manuel (the creator/star/writer/literal genius behind Hamilton) loves his wife. Like truly is in love with his wife in a poetic way. And we might be too. She’s gorgeous, witty (per Twitter) and equally as smart as Lin – she has a chemical engineering degree from MIT, and when she got bored with that, decided to get her law degree from Fordham. When I’m bored, I stalk the Kardashians on Instagram. Anyways, when he gets the chance to gush over Vanessa, Lin jumps at the opportunity. It’s probably because he’s a master of words, but he makes it seem like their relationship is a great love that cannot be compared. I believe it.

Michelle Obama + Barack Obama

Do I really need to explain this? Part two.

Michelle + Sophie = FLomance Goals

The Canadians have taken over the White House and boy are Americans happy about it. Yesterday, the (fairly) newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau arrived in Washington, D.C., marking the first official visit by a Canadian leader to the U.S. in nearly two decades. If you don’t know anything about Justin Trudeau and “Trudeaumania”, I wrote about him a while back, so get acquainted. You’ll need to as he continues his world domination. Canada and the U.S. have always had a friendly alliance, and that was clearly on display when PM Trudeau and President Obama got together on Thursday. The Internet immediately noticed the budding #bromance between JT and Barry, and soon people were pitching buddy cop comedies and podcasts of them bantering back and forth about which country is better (that was me. I did that).

And while I admit I’d love to see these two become besties and take over the world together, I’d be remiss to glaze over the other romance that’s happening in the Beltway right now – the glory that is power couple Michelle and Sophie. Mophie? Sochelle? Sochelle. Either way – #FLomanceGoals (First Lady).

While the boys were busy talking climate change and international trade and other world leader topics, the women got together at an event for Let Girls Learn, an initiative which promotes girls education. Before speaking to a select group of young ladies from across the country, Michelle said this of her new BFF Sophie:

“(Sophie) is like, my soul mate right now. We’re already gotten into trouble. We’re gonna be in a lot of trouble before this visit is over. In addition to being beautiful and funny, she’s got a great sense of humor – she was cracking me up back there.” {x}

They met hours before, you guys. But it’s easy to see why Mich fell in love so quickly. Backing it up a bit, most of us already know Michelle’s background. But here’s a quick primer on Sophie:

  • She became a national figure as a TV reporter on Canadian entertainment news show, eTalk.
  • Sophie and Justin grew up together in Montreal, since she was friends with his young brother Michel. Years later, they reconnected when they co-hosted a charity event, and started dating a few months later. They married in 2005 and they have three adorable kinder.
  • Sophie’s platform has always been related to women and young girls’ issues, working with various charities throughout Canada.
  • Sophie is fluent in French, English, and Spanish.
  • She is a certified yoga instructor

So now that she’s your favorite person, just imagine being in a room with her AND Michelle. Any time two intelligent, empowering, beautiful, witty ladies get together, I’m into it. But if it’s Michelle and Sophie – I am FOMO jealous to the MAX. Just LOOK at them:

They laugh and have fun!

they dance!

and sophie legit saved michelle from almost falling off the stage. TRUST FALLS.

and when they hug it’s not a fake political hug it is from the bottom of their souls

they empower and encourage girls together!

dorky mom moves are encouraged and applauded!

when your bestie knows you look fine af

michelle doesn’t even want to let go!

the ladies that slay together, stay together.

So, in short, what are the chances we can get the Trudeaus to move to America? Or better yet, have a Trudeau/Obama ticket for… 2016? Too late? Not possible in the slightest? Ok. Well I’ll settle for a seat at their dinner parties then. Goals AF.

This Is Not Journalism: Best Dressed Of The Nerd Prom

When Hillary Clinton officially announced her candidacy, I was 97% excited and 3% bummed. That 3% was because I knew that from this point onward, we were in for journalistic masterpieces like Pantsuit Watch 2016. At this weekend’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Cecily Strong solved that problem once and for all:

 

It should go without saying that a public figure’s appearance is not news – unless she makes it news. One time when that happens is on the red carpet: part of the deal is that celebrities help promote their designers by mentioning who they’re wearing. We’ll be the first to admit that there’s a home for fashion commentary online – we love outfits so much that we have a post category called Outfit Girl, after all. But what would it look like if journalists paid the barest attention to fashion – just the facts – then switched over to the stuff that really matters? Let’s try it out with the top looks from the White House Correspondent’s dinner.

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama is a Harvard-educated lawyer wearing a metallic silver dress by Zac Posen. Her Let’s Move! campaign endeavors to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic in the U.S. by promoting exercise and a healthy diet. She has publicly backed economic stimulus packages, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay act, and LGBT equality, and has made a number of diplomatic trips in the capacity of First Lady. It is an unpaid position, and her hair looks awesome curly.

Cecily Strong

Cecily Strong made her SNL debut at the age of 28, and quickly gained popularity for her off-the-wall characters like the Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started A Conversation With At A Party. Strong has a BFA in fine arts from CalArts and will be a Ghostbuster next year. This year she served as host of the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, and her appearance was so hilarious that you should just watch the whole thing here. You can locate the funniest jokes by finding which ones nobody laughs at because they’re not sure if they’re allowed to. Here she is in a black and purple gown by J.Mendel and some strong eye makeup, mere hours before absolutely killing it in front of Washington and Hollywood elite.

Gina Rodriguez

Gina Rodriguez is the Golden Globe-winning star of Jane The Virgin, and she used her Globes acceptance speech to express thanks to the Latino community and call out the need for more, and more varied, representation of Latinos in the media. Rodriguez said “This award is so much more than myself, it represents a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes […] My father used to tell me to say every morning, ‘Today is going to be a great day. I can and I will.’ Well, Dad — Today is a great day. I can and I did.” At the White House Correspondents’ dinner, Rodriguez wore a rose-colored Gustav Cadile gown.

Idina Menzel

Idina Menzel is a Tony-winning actress who has also appeared on film and in television, but you may know her best as the voice of Elsa in Frozen … or as Maureen from Rent or Elphaba from Wicked; I guess that depends on your demographic. In addition to her impressive list of stage credits, Menzel created the A BroaderWay Foundation with then-husband Taye Diggs to support disadvantaged youth in the arts. At the WHCD, Menzel sported blonder-than-usual hair, perfect for her upcoming summer-long world tour.  She wore a Monique Lhuillier gown; clutch is by Judith Leiber and jewels are by Jacob & Co.

Lucy Liu

Lucy Liu, an actress known for her roles in Ally McBeal, Southland and Elementary, is also an accomplished visual artist who is fluent in Mandarin. Liu has worked to spread knowledge about human trafficking, as well as serving as a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign. Here she is discussing the importance of representation in television:

Also, that sparkly gown is to die for.

Jane Fonda

This sequin gown by Donna Karan is reminiscent of Jane Fonda’s costumes in her breakout role in the 1968 film Barbarella. Since then, Fonda has won two Oscars and built an exercise video empire which – speaking of outfits – popularized that 80s aerobic gear that looks like nothing so much as a full-body wedgie. After sparking controversy for opposing the Vietnam War and supporting the Black Panthers, Fonda’s activism efforts have included establishing the Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health at Emory University and participating in anti-Iraq War protests.

Ashley Judd

It’s been a rough couple months for Ashley Judd on the internet, so first something positive: she looks fantastic in this Badgley Mischka gown. Missed the online controversy? After posting some rather innocuous tweets in support of her alma mater’s basketball team – the Kentucky Wildcats – Judd faced a deluge of vulgar and threatening messages from mean-spirited trolls. As people who write stuff on the internet, we wouldn’t wish this kind of attack on anybody. However, Judd has spoken out on the inadequacies of platforms like Twitter in dealing with threats, sparking a discussion of how scary and upsetting online bullying can be – and this high-profile commentary just might help change things for the better. This isn’t the only cause Judd supports: she is on the board of directors of YouthAIDS and the  Leadership Council of the International Center for Research on Women.

Connie Britton

On Friday Night Lights, Connie Britton played the fantastic Tami Taylor, my favorite Texan I’m not related to. In real life, Britton is a Dartmouth grad with a resume including television (FNL, Nashville), theater, and film. Outside of her day job, she is a goodwill ambassador with the United Nations Development Programme. Gown by Halston Heritage.

Laverne Cox

If you don’t know who Laverne Cox is, that means you haven’t seen Orange Is The New Black – so first things first, queue it up on Netflix and you won’t regret it. Cox, a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College, was the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an acting Emmy. She has participated in a number of interviews and documentaries to promote understanding and dispel misconceptions about trans people, and speaking of visibility, will you look at her in this silver Ines Di Santo gown?

Barack Obama

Barack Obama, best known as the President Of The United States, is wearing a classic black tux with a bow tie and a flash of white pocket square. Shirt buttons are a dark contrast – mother of pearl, perhaps? – and the lapel is accessorized with a Tiny American Flag Pin. When he isn’t dazzling crowds with red-carpet panache, President Obama is expanding Americans’ access to health care through the Affordable Care Act, tackling financial reform with the passage of the Dodd-Frank act, shoring up the post-recession economy with economic stimuli, and Obama still has time to raise two teenagers and play the occasional pickup game with his Washington buds.

Everybody Who’s Anybody Is On Sesame Street

I have been waiting YEARS for someone to tell me how to get to Sesame Street. They drop the question in the theme song, but the show debuted 45 years ago today and still nobody has answered it.

When I was 3, one of the kids who hung around Mr. Hooper’s store looked like my neighborhood best friend, and I stewed for days over how she got on the show.

In preschool, Sesame Street led to my first ever wave of nostalgia. On a class field trip, my teacher turned on Sesame Street for us in her conversion van, and I realized that the show was still airing every day without me – when I was stuck playing duck duck goose with a bunch of sticky-handed tots who couldn’t even read yet. Remember, this was 1990, when there were no 24-hour children’s networks or YouTube clips. The only way to get to Sesame Street was to stay home from school.

A few years after that, one of my friends was convinced she was going to be on Sesame Street because of a donation her mom made during the annual PBS drive. Nope, that’s not how you get to Sesame Street either!

And now, as a full adult, I’d like to get to Sesame Street more than ever. Sure, part of it is that it represents a time in life when you could watch t.v. in your pajamas during the day. But mostly, these days it’s all about the guest stars. These clips make me feel as mad as I did in 1990, realizing that Sesame Street dares to go on without me every day:

Comedians Are On Sesame Street!

Jon Stewart delivered the fake, fake news.

Amy Poehler exercised (sort of!) with Elmo.

Ricky Gervais says “stumble” so many times it no longer sounds like a word.

And Cedric The Entertainer makes me wonder whether canteens are more relevant to kids’ lives than I realized. I grew up in the era of juice boxes.

Tina Fey is some sort of a book pirate.

What’s more adorable than Jimmy Fallon? Jimmy Fallon with Elmo. It’s all a bit much  for me.


Maya Rudolph raps, sings and dances with Elmo. Also I think she has a real future in children’s television, if she wants it.

Conan O’Brien does startlingly good dog impressions.

Even Saturday Night Live itself is on Sesame Street.

Actors Are On Sesame Street!

John Kraskinski talks about the meaning of the word soggy, interacts with a non-Elmo Muppet, and is just generally as cute as a bug’s ear.

And he’s not the only cast member of The Office to make the trip from Scranton to… is it supposed to be New York? Steve Carrell teaches us about the importance of voting and snacks.

Melissa McCarthy learns choreography from a penguin with Elmo and it’s exactly as delightful as it sounds.

Jonah Hill is making sure today’s youth are aware of the inexplicable mustache trend that’s sweeping the nation.

Benedict Cumberbatch is just generally rakishly charming, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Tom Hiddleston. See comments re: Cumberbatch, Benedict.

Kristen Bell instructs us on the word “splatter” but does not instruct us on how she has managed not to age since Veronica Mars.

Our hometown hero, Taye Diggs, makes a three-year-old puppet drive him around.

Musicians Are On Sesame Street!

Remember when you couldn’t get away from Call Me Maybe? Well, it even made it to Sesame Street (no Carly Rae Jepsen, though).

Bruno Mars doesn’t want you to give up if you’re the kind of child who is bad at catching balls.

Usher teaches the alphabet and it’s just really, really good.

Even Queen Bey herself made it to Sesame Street, during her Destiny’s Child days.

You may remember this Katy Perry performance because a bunch of parents got mad that their toddlers, who stopped breastfeeding probably under 2 years ago, were exposed to Perry’s boobs. I really don’t know.

Delightful tap-percussioned group Tilly And The Wall even swung by for kids parents who are a bit more into the indie scene.

Political Figures Are On Sesame Street!

Sandra Sotomayor is hanging out with Abby Cadabby,  melting my cold lawyerly heart, and letting kids know that princess isn’t a job.

Kofi Annan suggests that the muppets resolve their conflict “the United Nations Way”; thereby creating a “choose your own punchline” moment for the grownups watching.

Michelle Obama does a little light gardening.

And lest you think Sesame Street is partisan, Laura Bush reads a book.

Assorted famous people of 1991 are on Sesame Street!

We focused on currently famous folks, but Sesame Street has been hosting celebs since before the age of the remote control. This video features a number of early 90s superstars, but if you search through the Sesame Street archives you can find many more guest stars who were on the show while you were stuck in school, wishing for another field trip so you could hop in a conversion van and get to Sesame Street via the grainy tv set.

 

 

 

Happy 5-0 Mrs. O!

Rejoice Americans, feminists and muscular arm lovers – it’s First Lady Michelle Obama’s 50th birthday! Yeah, I can’t believe this woman is 50 years old either.

On turning 50 in January: “I have never felt more confident in myself, more clear on who I am as a woman. But I am constantly thinking about my own health and making sure that I’m eating right and getting exercise and watching the aches and pains. I want to be this really fly 80-, 90-year old.”

Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, I think we can all agree that Mrs. Obama is one of the most respectable First Ladies we’ve had, and here are just some of the reasons why I, like I imagine many women, strive to be as classy, graceful and seemingly affable as Michelle O.

The Time She Covered Vogue

As seen from the two photos above, Michelle is clearly Vogue-worthy. When this issue came out last April, I think I actually snapped my fingers and said WERK outloud. It’s not an easy feat to cover the world’s leading high fashion magazine, but I guess when you’re in a high position of power like Mich, it’s an easier task to accomplish.

From 2009 – because yeah, she’s been on the cover twice.

The Time Michelle Got Bangs

Days before the Inauguration last January, Mich surprised us all by debuting her new ‘do. Bangs. The Bangs heard ’round the world. Seriously. These bangs almost got more attention that the Inauguration itself. It was a thing everyone, everywhere was talking about. It spawned its own Twitter account. People thought she was having a mid-life crisis. ALL BECAUSE OF BANGS. But Mrs. O shot them down and was all, ‘I can do whatever the hell I want. Sit down.’ I, on the other hand, got bangs recently and someone actually said to me, ‘Oh, like Michelle Obama?’ I mean, yes, but NO. It’s a hairstyle. EVERYONE CALM DOWN.

The Time She Rolled Her Eyes At John Boehner

Name one First Lady who can throw better shade than this. During this Inauguration Day luncheon, Michelle was sitting in between Hubs and Speaker of the House John Boehner. Now on TV, no one really knew what they were talking about and why she was rolling her eyes. Come to find out later that apparently the boys were discussing smoking – which Barack has famously quit doing – but the men couldn’t help but crack jokes about it. This is Mich proving she could give less fucks about who she rolls her eyes at.

The Time She Did Push-Ups With Ellen

Because two of the greatest women in the world should obviously have a push-up contest. Also note snarkiness to Ellen.

The Time She Hung Out With Muppets

And showed off her guns. To promote healthy living, of course.

The Time She Mom Danced With Jimmy Fallon

If there was any question of Michelle’s cool factor, just watch this video. The woman is game for anything. Even dancing next to a male comedian dressed in drag on a late night talk show.

The Time She Slayed At The Oscars

It was hour 10 of the 2013 Oscars and the last category of Best Picture was up, when all of a sudden, a vision came on the screen. It was Michelle Obama, in all her beautiful, silver gown glory reporting live from the White House. And all was right with the world.

The Time She Spoke About Her Husband

Michelle took the stage at the Democratic National Convention in 2012 and delivered one of the greatest and invigorating speeches I’ve ever seen. It’s clear that she is a smart, headstrong and focused woman, but she’s also a loving wife and mother. She proved that she’s not just in office to stand by her husband’s side and wave at the cameras, she’s there for a purpose.

“When people ask me whether being in the White House has changed my husband, I can honestly say that when it comes to his character, and his convictions and his heart, Barack Obama is still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago.”

“Well today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, and I have seen firsthand that being president does not change who you are. No, it reveals who you are.”

“And I did not think it was possible, but let me tell you today, I love my husband even more than I did four years ago. Even more than I did 23 years ago when we first met.”

Academy Awards 2013: Best and Worst Dressed

Here are our picks for the Best and Worst Dressed from the Oscars. And in case you missed it, check out our live blog from last night. Entertaining commentary and gifs galore!

Best Dressed

Traci’s Picks

Jennifer Lawrence in Dior Haute Couture

Oh J Law. I just adore you so much. You look like a cloud, and I mean that in a good way. Who knows if it was the dress, or your stunned look when you won, but you’re the only person that could trip up the stairs and still make it look cool. You win.

Jessica Chastain in Armani Prive

From the moment I saw her, I knew she would be one of the best dressed of the night. She said she wanted to look old Hollywood-esque and she absolutely nailed it. This is the best thing I’ve seen her in all season. Perfect Oscar dress.

Reese Witherspoon in Louis Vuitton

This dress is kind of reminiscent of J Law’s from the Globes, but I love this blue color and the black accents at the top and sides. Apparently Reese’s daughter Ava helped pick out the dress, and the only reason that is disconcerting is because Ava is 13 years old. 13!!!!

Stacy Keibler in Naeem Kahn

George Clooney’s girl legit looks like a Greek godess. Life is unfair.

Amy Adams in Oscar de la Renta

Amy looks like a princess in this dress, an older, more mature, Oscar-nominated version of Princess Giselle, if you will. And she looks fantastic.

Honorable mentions: Halle Berry redeeming herself from the Golden Globes disaster in Versace, Sally Field looking stunning in Valentino, and really, the winner of best dressed, and life overall First Lady Michelle Obama in Naeem Kahn.

Flawless First Lady is Flawless.

Molly’s Picks

Jennifer Lawrence in Dior Haute Couture

I hate when people are like, “Jennifer Lawrence is just pretending to be cool, but she’s probably just really fake.” Do you mean that she’s actually unfunny and had someone piping things into her ear in the post-Oscars press conference? Or that she’s secretly ugly when we’re not looking? Traci’s right, she DOES look like a cloud. A beautiful cloud who is on my top 10 list of Celebrities It Would Be Fun To Be Seated Next To On An Airplane.

Jessica Chastain in Giorgio Armani

Good color. Good cut. I might be imagining things but I think she looks happier in this than in the Golden Globes number. And like almost all humans, she really does look better with a side part.

Sandra Bullock in Elie Saab

Almost all of my best dressed picks involve a journey from dislike or confusion to love, and this is no exception. I didn’t notice the semi-sheer effect on the lower part of the skirt at first. Then I noticed and disliked it. Then I thought the effect of floating beadwork at the hem was gorgeous. But tie your hair up, Sandy. Or give me the number of whomever did your keratin treatment.

Kerry Washington in Miu Miu

I still think she looks like Oscars Barbie in this. At first I wasn’t sure about the gold tones in the textured bodice with the coral/pink skirt, but now I am sure. I like it.

Amanda Seyfried in Alexander McQueen

Usually keyhole neckline situations remind me of how skanky ladies dressed up fancy in the early 90s. But this doesn’t read that way. Someone said this was gray but it reads as a really soft lavender with fantastic gold beading. Bonus points for her hair which looks like the perfect messy updo — I think a lot of ladies either overdo the messy or overdo the updo, so that it looks like slept-on prom hair. But not Karen Smith.

Honorable Mentions: Michelle Obama because she is flawless and everything I wish I could be; Quvenzhane Wallis because she’s so stinkin’ cute; Bradley Cooper because his little VEST and his little MOM, oh my goodness.

Worst Dressed

Traci’s Picks

Anne Hathaway in Prada

Nipplegate 2013. It’s a shame, because as soon as I saw her on the red carpet, I was shaking my head knowing this would forever be the dress she won her first Oscar in.

Zoe Saldana in Alexis Mabille Couture

If Zoe was trying to impress her ex Bradley Cooper in this dress, it didn’t work. Plus he was the one nominated for an Oscar. Kbye.

Daryl Hannah

Look who swam up to the shore for the Oscars. Someone get Daryl a dinglehopper, because I don’t think she had time to do her hair on the way from Santa Monica.

Brandi Glanville in BrandB

If you don’t know who this is, good for you. But in case you were wondering, she’s on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, most well known for being Eddie Cibrian’s ex-wife and trash talker of LeAnn Rimes. First off, why are you at the Oscars. SHE DOESN’T EVEN GO HERE. Second, she looks HORRENDOUS in this dress. I mean, her boobs. hello?? (insert Seth’s Boobs song here) And guess who designed it? She did. Also I’m pretty sure she got a fresh injection of botox right before the show.

Kristen Stewart in Reem Acra Haute Couture

Here’s the thing about dressing for the Oscars, or any awards show, or LIFE, really. You have to make sure whatever you’re wearing is the right fit for you, physically and mentally. K Stew just looks so so awkward and uncomfy in this. Given she had a messed up ankle and crutches, but still, you have to work with what you got. She just looks like an imposter.

Molly’s Picks

Anne Hathaway in Prada

I didn’t think about Anne Hathaway’s nipples this much when I was looking at her actual nipples in Brokeback Mountain. Late 90s Gwyneth + Early 2000s prom dress + world’s worst dart placement.

Kristen Stewart in Reem Acra Haute Couture

I don’t understand this because I don’t want to understand it. K Stew doesn’t understand it either, because she is very, very high.

Melissa McCarthy in David Meister Signature

I’m pretty sure this is jersey, which I don’t think lends itself to formalwear. I don’t understand the black thing that comes out near her leg. And it doesn’t seem to drape well, like there’s too much fabric. Just moving the ruching up to her waist would make a world of difference. I feel like I’m looking at a whole lot of jersey material and I’d rather look at Melissa.

Halle Berry in Versace

I am pleased that Halle wore an entire, intact dress, unlike at the Golden Globes. But as I said in the liveblog, this looks like something my grandmother would have worn on her trips to Vegas in the early 90s. I can’t really put my finger on the problem but I think it’s the overly structured shoulders. Like, Oscar gown meets power suit.

Marcia Gay Harden in David Meister

This is too red and the sleeves are too weird. Doesn’t work.

Dishonorable mentions: Jennifer Hudson (I know I’m coming down on the wrong side of history with this one; Jennifer herself looked beautiful but I was not feeling the snakeskin situation), Jennifer Garner (pretty, except the butt ruffle), Amy Adams, maybe (half the time I loved it, half the time I felt like she looked like a feather duster).