The Parent Trap Is Our Aesthetic

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:

The Handshake

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.

MAKEOVERS!

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.

The Soundtrack!

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.]

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Camp Cookies + Sangria: Movies And TV Shows For The Camper In You

Summer camp? If you’re over the age of 20 or so, you probably don’t have time or money for that. Besides, if you’re over the age of 20 and have always dreamed of going to camp, the only way to get there is going to have to be by impersonating a kid. [Sounds like a good camp movie, right? I’m adding it to my to-write list; it sounds like an ABC Family-level concept.]

While you may not have two weeks and thousands of dollars to go off to camp, these movies and TV shows can transport you there – if only for a few hours at a time.

Movies

The Parent Trap

The movie: The Parent Trap – Hayley Mills and Lindsay Lohan versions alike – is tween girl wish-fulfillment, served straight-up. Think about it: realizing you have a secret twin. Living in London with a cool wedding gown designer mom, or in Napa with a fun dad and horses. Divorced parents reconciling. And the big one — spending six weeks at a camp where you’re given free reign to play poker, pull elaborate pranks, pierce your ears and try out a new hairstyle. No, really — where were the counselors?

For would-be campers who: are, or ever were, an 11-year-old girl; or, who want to give 11-year-old Lindsay Lohan a hug, a copy of a 2007-era US Weekly or Star Magazine, and a stern talking-to.

Troop Beverly Hills

The movie: Not technically a camp flick, this 1989  classic follows a group of rich girls trying to become real Girl Scouts.

For would-be campers who: like camping in theory, but realistically would rather have a slumber party in a hotel.

Addams Family Values

The movie: Your typical fish-out-of-water scenario — Pugsley and Wednesday Addams go to camp, finding themselves at odds with “camp culture.” The Harmony Hut scene still cracks me up.

For would-be campers who: will not – nay, can not – sing Kum Ba Ya or participate in group bonding activities.

Wet Hot American Summer

The movie: A counselor-centric comedy, this is a pastiche of 80s teen films and summer romances. Also, Amy Poehler. Paul Rudd. Molly Shannon. Bradley Cooper. AND SO ON.

For would-be campers who: suspect that the counselors are the ones having the real fun.

Camp Nowhere

The movie:  With the exception of Lisa Loeb dancing the Macarena while wearing a slap-bracelet and sporting the Rachel, this is probably the most 90s thing you’ll ever see.  Kids tell their parents they’re going to various fake summer camps, but actually create their own dream camp. It’s sort of a trumped-up version of the TV trope where kids tell their parents they’re staying at eachothers houses in order to go somewhere they shouldn’t.

I think there was also a wacky cop.

For would-be campers who: love summer fun, but hate the man.

Heavyweights

The movie:  A group of kids eat their way through fat camp. Most of them were “90s-fat,” not “HBO documentary series on childhood obesity-fat”.

For would-be campers who: hate-read weight loss articles or obsess over “fitspo” on Pinterest and Tumblr.

Meatballs

The movie: A quintessential camp comedy and a clear inspiration for Wet Hot American Summer. Classic Bill Murray vehicle.

For would-be campers who: approach competitive events with the cry of “it just doesn’t matter!”

Camp

The movie: A teenage Anna Kendrick stars in a musical comedy about teens at theater camp; complete with requisite Gay Theater Boys (TM) and acapella moments that will make you tear up.

For would-be campers who:  are former, or current, drama nerds.

Moonrise Kingdom

The movie: A very sweet, super-Wes Anderson-y tale about two kids (literal kids) in love against the odds.

For would-be campers who: enjoy a bit of visual interest and can maintain a healthy suspension of disbelief.

Indian Summer

The movie: Part of a wave of early 90s camp movies that I never quite realized happened until I was compiling this post, Indian Summer follows a group of adults taking a last-chance stab at the camp experience. I think it wanted to be The Big Chill. It isn’t.

For would-be campers who: Are adults who think camp still sounds like a blast. (If this sounds like you, stay tuned for our post on throwing your own “camp!”)

 

Television

Salute Your Shorts

The show:  An anchor of the early 90s Nickelodeon schedule, Salute Your Shorts had some awesome characters and a theme song that’s probably still stuck in your head.

For would-be campers who: had cable as children.

Hey Dude!

The show: Hey Dude! was nearly interchangeable with Salute Your Shorts – again, the early 90s Camp-Based Entertainment Boom was a real thing — and probably the reason I still long to go to camp as a full-grown adult.

For would-be campers who: are pretty into horses or Southwestern decor.

Bug Juice

The show: Bug Juice was an early incarnation of the reality show and provides a true-to-life look at what camp is really like.

For would-be campers who: are reality TV junkies; watched and can remember Kid Nation.

 

28 Co-stars Lindsay Lohan (Maybe) Didn’t Deserve

Well folks, she made it. Lindsay Lohan is celebrating her 28th year on earth today and we’re all alive to witness it. We’ve watched LiLo grow up in front of our very eyes – from The Parent Trap to acquiring an annoying celebrity nickname to befriending Oprah, Lindsay’s roots as a child star have putting her in the precarious position of being scrutinized in the public eye while still attempting to have a professional career. And while her heyday came between the late 90s and early 00s, Linds has still been in a number of films and TV cameos in her nearly 20 year career in the business, and many with exceptional co-stars. But let’s be real, how many of these outstanding co-stars deserved better than Lindsay Lohan? Hint: almost all of them. But in honor of Lindsay’s 28th birthday, here’s a definitive list of which of her former castmates deserved way better than a (in some cases, future) drug and alcohol addled LiLo to share the screen with.

28)  Megan Fox from Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen

Who knew Megan Fox would turn into one of Hollywood’s sexiest and most profitable stars? Well she did, even though it may have been hard to tell when she played opposite Lindsay in this teen musical movie. Actually, as I’m looking at this picture, maybe Lindsay’s hat should’ve been on the list instead.

27)  Tim Gunn in Project Runway

Linds served as a guest judge on the season six premiere of the fashion competition series, but let’s be real – the best part of Project Runway is Tim Gunn. And his fabulousness was wasted on Lindsay – like what even are those pants? She couldn’t even make those work.

26) The garbage can she fell into in Mean Girls

Warning: this is just the first of a few Mean Girls co-stars on this list – but I feel like one of the most iconic scenes from the movie is this one, with Lindsay’s legs just sticking straight up in the air. Who falls into a garbage can like that? And what ever happened to the garbage can after filming?

25)  Bette Midler in Bette

If you don’t remember this show, it’s because it didn’t last long – Lindsay played Bette Midler’s daughter in the pilot, but when production moved from New York (where she was based) to LA, she had to pull out. Probably for the best since the show was short-lived and Bette probs could’ve found another child star.

24) Jamie Lee Curtis in Freaky Friday

Jamie Lee Curtis: THE scream queen and certified babe of the 1980s/1990s. She quickly became an A-list actress and then she decided to do this Disney movie with LiLo? Not to mention she came from Hollywood royalty (Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis).

23) Woody Harrelson in  A Prairie Home Companion

I have a renewed love of Woody Harrelson after seeing him in The Hunger Games and True Detective. This guy can act. He’s not just the bartender from Cheers anymore (is that a reference people still make these days?) But his acting skills are severely undervalued and he should be playing quality roles like True Detective more often.

22) Natasha Richardson in The Parent Trap

To be fair, The Parent Trap kicked it all off for Lindsay, when she was still young and full of promise, so working with the great Natasha Richardson before her death is such an honor. Like Jamie, she’s Hollywood/possibly British royalty (Tony Richardson & Vanessa Redgrave) and was taken way too soon – Natasha seemed like a breath of fresh air when watching her on screen and made a simple kid’s film into a movie full of heart and hope.

21) Rachel McAdams in Mean Girls

Rachel McAdams is the actress that Lindsay should’ve become, if it weren’t for the, you know, downward spiral and all.

20) Jane Fonda in Georgia Rule

When Georgia Rule was made, Lindsay was in her prime – it was a post-Mean Girls world and she had so much hope and promise as a young actress that it’s obvious why Jane Fonda, a longtime veteran of the industry would want to work with her. It’s just that also around this time, Lindsay could barely work with herself.

19) Jimmy Fallon in SNL

After appearing in this classic Debbie Downer sketch (its first appearance on the show ever!), Jimmy has always been a fan/supporter of Lindsay – although who ISN’T he a fan of? Anyways, she’s appeared on his show multiple times and even participated in bits like Ew! JFal is one of the greatest comedians of our time and Lindsay’s just lucky he likes her.

18) Chris Parnell in Labor Pains/ SNL

I will say this about Lindsay: she’s actually been pretty good every time she hosts SNL. She’s not afraid to make fun of herself and always goes all in. Except for that last time she hosted – it was like Britney made her first public appearance since the meltdown and you could TELL she was on all these drugs to keep her sane. Anyways, SNL is clearly the breeding ground for the best comedians in the game, so when acting alongside the likes of Chris Parnell, you gotta step your game up. I know it’s hard to be funny sometimes, but you can’t win ’em all.

17) Lily Tomlin in A Prairie Home Companion

True story: when we were in high school, we decided to see this movie in the theater solely based on the fact that Lindsay was in it and singing. It was probably one of the most boring movies of our teenage lives, and a lesson on why you should never go to see a movie you’re not interested in (plot wise) just because there’s an actor/actress in it that you want to see. Anyways, revered funnywoman Lily Tomlin is in this and she sings with Lindsay.

16) The Danny DeVito Chick in Mean Girls

Because Danny DeVito lookalikes are hard to come by these days and she was severely underused.

15) James Franco in the fake movie in The Holiday

Lindsay and James Franco made a surprise appearance via movie trailer as the stars of the film that Cameron Diaz’ character was editing. Like Lindsay, James had already appeared in a bunch of TV shows and films prior to The Holiday, but let’s face the facts – only one of these people has earned an Oscar nomination.

14) Chad Michael Murray in Freaky Friday

Ah, Chad Michael Murray: The teen heartthrob so nice, they named him thrice. It’s hard to believe, but when Freaky Friday came out CMM was in his early 20s and seemed a bit old for Lohan. Only five years had passed since The Parent Trap, and little did we know that in five more years, LiLo would be filming such classics as Labor Pains.

13) Ashton Kutcher in That 70s Show

Take yourself back to 2004. Lindsay Lohan was THE teen queen – I mean, she even had a public feud with Lizzie Maguire herself, Hilary Duff, for goodness sakes – and the teen king of the day was none other than (technically 26-year-old man-child) Ashton Kutcher. Of course, Lindsay’s real That 70s Show love was Wilmer Valderrama. We’ll address that later.

12) Ana Gasteyer in Mean Girls

Imagine what could have happened if Ana Gasteyer had been able to sub in as Lindsay Lohan’s actual mother instead of Dina “Not Really A Rockette” Lohan.

11) Wilmer Valderrama in That 70s Show/Real Life

Wilmer Valderrama dated fresh-faced, attractive, pre-train wreck 2004 Lohan. This makes him fare better, dating-wise, than any other guy named Wilmer – past or present.

10) Chris Pine in Just My Luck

Remember Just My Luck? It doesn’t even air on TBS or  ABC Family, but it was a sort of TV movie-quality theatrical release. It was an early attempt to turn LiLo into a RomCom leading lady a la Meg Ryan or Katherine Heigl (WHY ARE NONE OF OUR REFERENCES CURRENT? Do they even still make these movies? I feel like the last one I saw was in about 2009). Anyway, Chris Pine was a beautiful newcomer at the time.

9) Joshua Jackson in Bobby

Pacey Witter, Dream Man? Now it’s personal.

8) Jared Leto in Chapter 27

I don’t care if it’s skinny Jordan Catalano, ombre-haired Jordan Catalano, or chubby Jordan Catalano, Jared Leto will always be some incarnation of Jordan Catalano to me. But you, Ms. Lohan, are no Angela Chase. Arguably, Rayanne Graff if things really went south for her, but I always imagined she’d find her niche and really ~thrive.

7) Lizzy Caplan in Mean Girls

Proving that “slow and steady wins the race” (s/o to Aesop!), you didn’t hear too much from Lizzy Caplan right after Mean Girls, except for effusive praise from her co-stars. Now she’s winning acclaim for her role on Showtime’s Masters Of Sex, while Lohan is garnering attention for her factually inaccurate list of sex partners.

6) Maya Rudolph in A Prairie Home Companion/SNL

Maya Rudolph is one of those actors who’s able to make anyone she’s working with look good. Plus, she seems like a really fun and nice person. We’re jealous.

5) A Pre-Drugs Lindsay Lohan in The Parent Trap

The frustrating thing about Lindsay’s long, horrible demise is that at one time, she was really good. So how lucky were the people who got to work with Lindsay before all the troubles? Among those lucky people: Lindsay herself, really Orphan Black-ing it as Hallie and Annie in her film debut.

4) Meryl Streep in A Prairie Home Companion

Before Lindsay was accidentally calling out Jennifer Lawrence for saying “I beat Meryl!” at the Golden Globes, Lohan was costarring with Streep herself! But make no mistake: A Prairie Home Companion was still boring. Or, I mean, we thought so when we were 18 anyway.

3) Tina Fey in Mean Girls/SNL

Look, if you can’t build a viable career after Tina Fey wrote your breakout role, I don’t think anyone can help you. And don’t say that Tina didn’t try. Around the era we were all first realizing Lindsay wasn’t doing so great, Tina Fey and the other SNL folks even staged an intervention for her. Remember that show Intervention? If they’d had Tina Fey as the coach instead of that random guy they did have, they probably would have had a 99% success rate.

2) Amy Poehler in Mean Girls/SNL

Again, if having Amy Poehler as a potential mentor cannot help you rise above, I am not sure what can. I mean, Ask Amy videos alone are responsible for thousands of women Lindsay’s age (I mean… teen girls, who are the target audience, right?) getting their shit together.

1) Herbie in Herbie: Fully Loaded

WHO LET HER WORK WITH A CAR?

She isn’t great with cars, guys.

Herbie is an icon. He deserved better.

We all did.

 

Camp Cookies + Sangria: For Grown-Ass Adults Who Never Got To Go To Summer Camp

This one goes out to all us grown-ass adults who still feel a little bitter that we never got to go to summer camp.

Does The Parent Trap – both Mills and Lohan – make you feel culturally alienated and more than a little wistful? Then I’m talking to you.

In our younger years, we non-campers had the worst summer vacation stories when we reunited with our friends in September. Our camper friends had all new social groups and secret camp identities. You know what’s NOT a great story? “I got a fun new nickname – from my brothers!” See, we all may have spent our summer doing the same activities, like swimming and hiking …. but us non-campers were with our siblings instead. (Lame-sauce Camp Substitute #1: having a big family.)

Our friends would tell us that you “just can’t understand camp” if you didn’t go. Yeah. We know. That is like telling me that I “just can’t understand yacht ownership” or “don’t know what it’s like to be married to Idris Elba.” Trust me, camp was not a luxury we chose to forego. Telling us that we couldn’t conceive of how totally awesome it is only made us feel worse.

Camp Envy is a disease of the middle class, like tennis elbow or credit card debt. You may have contracted Camp Envy if your folks had too much money to qualify for financial aid, yet not enough to enlist you in the sleepaway elite. My parents claimed they couldn’t afford camp, so one year I told them that I had heard there were camp scholarships and even special camps for low-income kids! That’s when I learned that I was not, in fact, low income. My disappointment at missing out on camp was somewhat tempered by the pride of forcing my parents to admit that they had sort-of lied. As it were, budget-wise I got private school instead of camp. (Lame-sauce Camp Substitute #2: Nuns.)

In the interest of full disclosure, I did get to go to theater day camp, but there were no cabins. No lake. No fires. No camp nicknames. I think we can all agree that for Camp Envy purposes, day camp isn’t “camp.” It’s school, but with all the rote learning replaced with creativity or sports. There was also some sort of a local Gilda’s Club camp I would have qualified for in high school, but let’s be real. If there’s anything worse than a parent having cancer when you’re 15, it’s being expected to macrame about it. Or make a Popsicle stick house for your feelings. Okay, I’m actually not sure what goes on at camp, since I never got to go.

I imagine it’s basically like Troop Beverly Hills without Baby Jenny Lewis, right?

I thought that Camp Envy was behind me until yesterday. It was Camp Day at Tim Hortons. For those of you not from Canada or Almost-Canada, Tim Hortons is a ‘cafe and bake shop’ that sends over 15,000 children to camp every year through its charitable foundation. On Camp Day, proceeds from all coffee purchases go to sponsor campers. You can also add $1 or $5 to your purchase to help kids buy, I’m guessing, boondoggle equipment and s’mores ingredients. My initial reaction? “Screw them! I didn’t get to go to camp, you don’t get to go to camp!” (Lame-sauce Camp Substitute #3: Some coffee)

By the time I made my order — coffee, iced and black like my envious soul – I had thought better of depriving polite Canadian children of their time-honored right to get weird rashes and learn all of the verses to American Pie. Instead, this summer, we will turn our blog into an occasional “camp” for those of us who didn’t get the experience as kids. Grown-ass adults who DID go to camp, you can play, too! Just refrain from telling us that we can’t imagine how magical camp was. We watched Bug Juice and Salute Your Shorts; we know.

So, consider this the opening of Camp Cookies + Sangria. We’ll sprinkle camp-themed posts throughout the summer. We can help you create your own mini-camp with friends, teach you fun crafts, and delve into “camp culture” by discussing movies that always made us want to sleep in cabins and eat at mess halls.

If you never got your chance at sleepaway camp, but always harbored a secret belief that you would have been a freaking amazing camper, come on over! If you were a freaking amazing camper, we want you too (and we’re happy you got to realize your potential)! Whenever you see a post tagged Camp Cookies + Sangria, you know that we have summer fun in store. Minus the weird rashes.