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14 May 20:45

Kelle Hampton Will Rewrite Her Birth Story

by partypants

For Jill and Kate...let 'er rip, ladies!

Kelle Hampton, enjoying the monetizing things, is well known for using her children’s lives for attention. Well now it seems Land of Nod, purveyor of children’s furniture and decor, is also using her kids to sell  you things.

The company has featured Kelle’s photo of her daughter and newborn son on their May catalog cover, saying that her children will appear on several upcoming catalog covers as well. For May’s cover, they are using a photo Kelle claims was snapped at the moment her daughter first met her new brother:

From my hospital bed I watched as my daughter protectively embraced my new son, slowly and silently bringing her nose to his until they touched.  And they stayed like that for a good minute while I wiped tears from my cheeks and reached for my camera.  Here she just met him and yet suddenly, he belonged to her.

That’s all very touching – except for the fact that, in the birth story published on Kelle’s own blog in February, the real story seems to be quite different:

I didn’t cry when the girls met their brother but rather smiled and sat calmly on the bed, watching them, marveling at the fact that it seemed so meant to be–like he’d always been here and they’d always loved him.

So which is it? Is this just another case of Kelle rewriting history in order to make a better story? Because if she’s going to do that it might behoove her to go edit the original story before trying to peddle a new version to Crate & Barrel.

14 May 20:22

Coffee Break: Journal Bon Shopper

by Kat

Do not need another tote, but...WAAAAAANT.

Kate Spade New York Journal Bon ShopperAs readers have already noted: Kate Spade is having a surprise sale, with prices up to 75% off, and a ton of cute jewelry, bags, and clothes. For today’s Coffee Break I’m loving this witty tote (which, like much of the sale offerings, was apparently designed for Kate Spade outlet stores). I like the coated poplin, the interior pockets, and the overall size (13″ x 12″ x 5″) — great if you have a few papers, shoes, snacks, et cetera, to lug to and from the office. Originally $148, the bag is marked to $50; get free shipping if you sign up for emails from their newest brand, Kate Spade Saturday. Kate Spade New York Journal Bon Shopper

Psst: The Friends & Family sale is on also — take 20% off your purchase, including lots of good supplies like hairbrushes and blowdryers.


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14 May 20:13

The Most Bromantic Moments Between Chris Pine And Zachary Quinto

by Stacy Lambe

There are a million stories out there about these two, aren't there?

Chris Pine Zachary Quinto

The PR blitz ahead of the release of Star Trek Into The Darkness means one thing: The bromance of Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto. The two stars are incredibly adorable around each other, showing just how great friends they are at press junkets and interviews. If only it was something more… But at least you can enjoy all their moments together over the past few weeks.

They way they make each other laugh.

CinemaCon 2013 - Day 1

When they bonded over their matching outfits.

Chris Pine Zachary QuintoChris Pine Zachary Quinto

Chris Pine Zachary QuintoChris Pine Zachary Quinto

When they got matching tattoos.


14 May 20:00

The Best Of A Bad Bunch

by The Small Fabric Of My Life

Hmmm, I wonder if I can pull this off with my striped blazer and burgundy knit pants? They kind of look like leggings on me so I need to wear a long shirt, and the blazer is normal length...will need to experiment in the mirror tomorrow to see if it will work proportion-wise.

I couldn't get one decent photo today so I am afraid it is the downcast look.
And as you can see I am back in my thermal top.
May and still thermal weather.
At least I only filled up my hot water bottle once at work today.
The rest of the time I was invigilating a Geography AS exam.
While I was walking around the sport's hall I had a chuckle to myself remembering Neil's exam in The Young Ones.

Today I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Jeans - Tesco
Lace top and jacket - Matalan
Thermal layer - Marks and Spencer
Necklace - The Jewel Hut
14 May 19:44

VIDEO: Benedict Cumberbatch Talks Sherlock And “Cumberbitches” At The Star Trek Premiere

by Meghan O'Keefe


VH1 News hit the red–or, uh, dark–carpet for the premiere of Star Trek Into The Darkness and we got to chat with the film’s cast. As we previously reported, Benedict Cumberbatch—who plays the film’s villain, John Harrison—spoke to us about his hit British series, Sherlock, and why we might be seeing it in America sooner rather than later. Cumberbatch also had a few other things to say…specifically about his fans.

Stay tuned for more of our chat with Benedict Cumberbatch and with Zachary Quinto–including which Star Trek characters the actors would F/M/K–later this week.

Star Trek Into Darkness premieres nationwide in the United States this Friday, May 17.


14 May 19:29

How Not To React To Internet Criticism: The Epic Facebook Meltdown Of Amy’s Baking Company

by Laura Northrup

Holy God, did they just join the internet?

amy_knivesIt appears that the owners of Amy’s Baking Company in Arizona expected an appearance on celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares” program to vindicate them. They believed that they serve quality food, that they have been unfairly slandered by the entire Internet. Maybe they had never seen the reality program, which features last-ditch efforts to save failing restaurants run by people who are delusional or incompetent…and frequently both.

Normally, no one would care about a little cafe/pizzeria/bakery in Arizona. Amy’s showed up on the map in 2010 after a paranoid, unhinged rant aimed at a man who posted a one-star review about an undercooked pizza. The owner accused the reviewer of not knowing what fresh dough and tomatoes should taste like, of working for a competing restaurant, and of being ugly. “Do US a favor and keep your ugly face and you ugly opinions to yourself and go back to the restaurant that you really work at!!” she wrote.

Three years later, the owners signed on to Ramsay’s show. It’s not clear why: perhaps they believed that Ramsay would taste their amazing food, vindicate the business, and stand outside the door swearing at everyone with a Yelp account in order to make them go away. Instead, Ramsay walked away from a restaurant makeover for the first time in more than a hundred episodes on two continents.

Normally, the program follows a strict formula: a stubborn owner or chef believes that they have the best food in the country and can’t understand why customers stay away. Often, in the United States version of the program, there are terrible family or staff conflicts. Planted customers send their crappy food back in dismay. Everyone except the front-line staff butts heads with Ramsay until a crucial peak to the conflict that usually involves some kind of ancient slimy meat in the freezer. The menu is made over, a different batch of planted customers show up and like the food, and hearts are warmed.

The Amy’s Baking Company episode ended at the very peak of the conflict…as the owners refused to take any criticism from Ramsay. If he wasn’t going to make the mean Yelpers go away, what could he do for them? Nothing.

But this isn’t a TV recap. We frequently focus on business owners who show everyone how not to react to bad online reviews, and Amy’s Baking Company is providing a master class in that as we speak…on Facebook.

A Reddit thread linked to the restaurant’s page, providing a steady influx of trolls. A more savvy business would shut down their Facebook page. This is not that business.

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Just you watch, Internet blogger nerds! This restaurant is going to sic the SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA POLICE DEPARTMENT ON YOU!

The font on that last comment seems legit.

The font on that last comment seems legit.

Ouch! Today’s Hard Lesson on Yelp [Phoenix New Times]
The Folks at Amy’s Baking Company In Scottsdale Have Gone Insane [Tucson Weekly]

It’s Not A Good Idea To Tell Customers You Don’t Care If Their Food Was Inedible
Restaurant Owner Posts Completely Reasonable Response To Negative Online Feedback
Woman Claims Wine Store Owner Called Her A Drug-Addicted Prostitute Online Because Of Bad Yelp Review
Chef Doesn’t Quite Appreciate Reviews From Inbred, Jobless, Bored Yelp Users

14 May 19:24

What Five Items Would You Buy If You Had Unlimited Cash?

by Patti

I would get:
1. several pairs of Cole Haan pumps in different colors and heel heights
2. Suits, non-black
3. a quilted Chanel bag
4. a personal trainer
5. world peace

You know I thrive on hypotheticals, analysis, lists, and staring at my navel, right? I went into exactly the right profession when I became a psychotherapist at age 40. Even one of my Psych professors told me I didn't have to analyze everything.

I analyze all the things. Source.

So, agreed. But I have been devouring a wardrobe series by London blogger Anuschka Rees, from her blog Into Mind. Her personal style is more minimalistic than my own, but I love her articles on revamping and refining one's wardrobe.

I'm working my way through Anuschka's Ten Step Wardrobe Revamp now, reading and jotting down ideas. I'm not a de-cluttering rookie, nor a toss-it-out fanatic. I do enjoy picking up tips here and there and this young woman's got some great strategies.

I found the following thought exercise and I'm having fun with it. (Her suggested exercises are meant to help us define our style signature/s). Here's the question, wish I'd thought of it:

What five items would you buy if you had unlimited funds? I pared it down to four for this post, but hey, pick six or eight, go crazy. The idea is to choose "dream" pieces we think would enhance our style. Our picks tell us what we'd like to see in our real-life closets, and how we like to see ourselves. It doesn't mean we'd actually buy all these pieces even if we were flush, because money is for lots of things more important than wardrobes. This is for imagining.

Here are my money-is-no-object choices, and what they say about my style:

  • A tuxedo, YSL if I can find the right one. I'd want looser trousers and a slim jacket, Le Smoking would be best. I'm not an androgynous dresser but I love this look, made feminine with a ruffled blouse and red lipstick. This expresses the part of me that wants to stand out, bend the rules, and be visible, in elegance.

  • A personalized necklace by Wendy Brandes. I have been watching this Boleyn necklace by Wendy for two years (I have to get the silver version in real life, still fabulous). It represents what I love in jewelry. The initial "G" will make it mine, it's bold and artistic, and I could wear it any day, with anything. It's the part of me that loves unique jewelry, not Mall stuff.

Wendy Brandes necklace. I'd get the "G", of course.

  • A Cartier tank watch. The classic, with the leather strap. This piece has the masculine vibe again (a pattern emerges!). I like a simple watch, and I'm perfectly happy with my Seiko. But with cash to burn, I'd wear this one every day. Beauty in simplicity. Masculine (this watch) plus feminine (Wendy's necklace).

The classic.

  • Diane von Furstenburg wrap dresses, many (multiples count as one item ☺). The real ones. In fabulous prints. Say no more.


Over to you, stylish readers. What dream items would you add to your closet? Do they reflect some aspect of your personal style?

14 May 18:57

Will a Girl Come Between Michael and Morgan on General Hospital? (VIDEO)

by Luke Kerr

Oh God. She came back as this? Ugh. I don't want to catch up on this show.

Michael (Chad Duell) rushed to help his brother Morgan (Bryan Craig) with his gambling troubles, but how will he react to KiKi (Kristen Alderson), the girl Morgan is with? Will bros come before hoes? Watch this week’s General Hospital promo after the jump!


14 May 18:35

Is This the End of Eric Holder's Tenure at the Justice Department?

by Jill Lawrence

It is time for him to go.

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

The bombshell disclosure that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of Associated Press reporters and editors could be dramatic enough to move even the phlegmatic Obama administration to action. Three concurrent scandals or controversies are just too many. Could that mean we will be bidding farewell soon to Attorney General Eric Holder?

Think about it. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, CIA director David Petraeus and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta all were in place on Sept. 11, 2012, when four Americans were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi. But now all of them are out of office and out of reach to be forced out for symbolic accountability purposes. And any of those departures would have been symbolic, since none of them have been held personally responsible for any failures.

National Journal

More from National Journal

There's a similar situation at the Internal Revenue Service, enmeshed in a developing scandal for subjecting groups with "tea party" and "patriot" in their names to extra scrutiny starting in 2010. The IRS commissioner at the time was Douglas Shulman, a Bush appointee who departed last November, right after the election. The acting commissioner is a 25-year veteran named Steven Miller. It wouldn't make much of a splash to force him to step aside for another acting commissioner. (Update: That's not to say there aren't questions about his role. The Washington Post reported Monday night that Miller, like Shulman, learned of the targeting problem in May 2012 but did not share the information with Congress).

Which brings us to Holder. The attorney general has been in the middle of controversies over whether to shut down Guantanamo Bay prison and whether to try suspected terrorists in U.S. courts. He has defended the U.S. right to wage drone strikes, to stage the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, and to use lethal force against a leader of al-Qaida who was also U.S. citizen.

He also was a lightning rod for conservative complaints about Fast and Furious, a federal sting that allowed U.S. weapons to fall into the hands of suspected gun smugglers on the theory that they could then be tracked to Mexican drug cartels. Instead, hundreds of the guns went missing, and many of them have been linked to crimes. One of them was the December 2010 killing of Brian Terry, a border patrol agent. Holder ended up being held in contempt of Congress, although he was not directly involved in the operation, run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Now we have the phone-records case, which the AP labeled a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into its constitutional rights to gather and report the news . The news service suggested the move may have been part of a criminal investigation into who leaked the AP information about a CIA operation in Yemen that blocked an al-Qaida plan to explode a bomb on a plane headed for America. The story was published last year on May 7.

It is unclear how Holder fits into the latest firestorm, but he's a battered survivor of many controversies and this could be the one that finally convinces him or Obama that it's time to go.


14 May 17:27

Markets in Everything When There Shouldn’t Be Markets in Everything

by Mike Dang

OMG people are the worst.

by Mike Dang

“Some wealthy Manhattan moms have figured out a way to cut the long lines at Disney World — by hiring disabled people to pose as family members so they and their kids can jump to the front, The Post has learned. The “black-market Disney guides” run $130 an hour, or $1,040 for an eight-hour day.”

14 May 17:08

megalong: This is the incredibly cool label-maker that sits...


This is the incredibly cool label-maker that sits on Erin’s desk. When I got engaged, Mindy typed out a congratulatory label for me, but accidentally misspelled ‘Ellie.’ Undeterred, she simply congratulated me as Elie Wiesel instead.

14 May 14:59

Closed-toed Summer Shoes Part 2

by Jael Paris

I don't like any of these shoes but I do like the idea of the open top section, like a mary jane style. Hmmm, I wonder if that will work at the hospital. Seems unlikely -- we are supposed to wear hose too, so I am going to have to stock up on knee highs again. Ugh.

I could have edited this selection down to one post, I suppose, but who wants less shoes?

colorblock t-strap d'orsay, Seychelles on Amazon $67
ankle tie espadrille, Mod Cloth $33
mint print mary jane, Seychelles on Amazon $79
fabulous red retro pump, Miz Mooz on Amazon $105
black and white studded flat, J. C. Penney's $40

navy wedge, ASOS $48
red t-strap, Seychelles on Amazon $54
orange woven pump, DSW $110
blue t-strap, Urban Outfitters $39
coral d'orsay flat, J. C. Penney $40

*When you buy shoes that are woven like this, buy at least a half size smaller than usual depending on the cut. They stretch! I have some woven ballet flats I have to tie to my feet with ribbon.
14 May 14:47

The Story of My Secondhand Stuff

by Katherine Coplen

I usually don't like the "what I spent" stories from the Billfold very often, but the writing is great in this, and she's done a tremendous job of decorating from free or cheap stuff without it looking like a sad college dorm room.
Also her cat is named Bruce and it is a female. That's hilarious.

by Katherine Coplen

I’ve never lived alone before I moved into my current apartment building in downtown Indianapolis. It’s named after the family of a badass lady doctor, Dr. Mary Spink, who practiced in the city during the 1890s. A relative, George W. Spink, built a series of apartment buildings in the early 1900s and mine, The Spink, was finished in 1926. It’s gorgeous—wide bay windows in each unit and a soaring, white stucco and brick face. I’ve been living here since October, and it’s finally starting to feel like mine.

Last week, I realized almost nothing I have in my apartment is new. I don’t say this because it bothers me—it doesn’t. I think I prefer it. As a lady on staff at a regional alt-weekly, I’m not exactly raking in the big bucks. But I’m debt-free and happy, and although living alone has its low points (no one around to split the electric bill or bottles of wine), I’m really starting to like it.

So here’s the story of my old stuff. It behooves me to say that I’m blessed with an extremely generous family, who’s helped me get on my feet in a variety of ways. Stuff is just stuff, sure, but everything comes with a story.

Source: Craigslist

I didn’t have any seating inside of my apartment for a few months, and at some point I got pretty tired of dragging my mattress from my bedroom to my living room whenever I needed a place to sit besides the floor. Cue the “Free Stuff” section of Craigslist. Yes, I was worried about bed bugs. But I overcame that fear when I saw a free, almost new couch listed. I called in a few favors, secured a borrowed truck, and hauled a big blue couch down five flights of stairs, and then back up five more into my place.

The Craigslist poster was moving to Spain, where she had recently been hired as the Spanish Olympic women’s synchronized swimming coach. For some reason, as soon as I heard that, I wasn’t worried about bed bugs anymore. The awesomeness of that position erased any lingering fears from my mind. I know everyone learned from that episode of 30 Rock that anyone can get bed bugs. But what can I say? I believe in the magic of synchronized swimming and the cleansing power of chlorine.

Cost: free


Coffee tables (2)
Source: aunt

My aunt has always understood my need to craft. She’s a part-time paralegal and full-time creator, who’s inspired me to craft everything from jewelry, to scrapbooks to quilts. Of course, anything I create is about 25 percent as excellent as what she does. The woman is amazing. She’s also the reason I got busted for running a black market jewelry business in the fifth grade. I’m still unsure why creating custom bead rings was a no-no in elementary school, but I’ve gotten over it.

She just moved with my uncle into a new house, which happens to be a bit smaller. In the process, I acquired a few pieces of furniture from her; namely, a large black coffee table-cum-bookcase, and a smaller, wooden end table that belonged to my uncle’s family.

Cost: free

Rich Lady


Wingback chair
Source: Craigslist

A very fancy person in a very large house listed this beautiful golden wingback chair on Craigslist one day last fall. The moment I saw it, I had to have it. It was exactly like a chair inside of my childhood house. Plus, it was $40! That doesn’t sound so bad to someone with three pieces of furniture to her name. The woman I picked it up from was redecorating. I guess gold is out and florals are in? Gold is always in to me.

Cost: $40


Source: My paternal grandfather, by way of my aunt and uncle.

During spring break of my sophomore year of college, my uncle dropped off what, to this day, is the most magnificent desk I’ve ever seen. It belonged to my grandfather, who used it while working at the Naval Avionics Warfare Center in Indianapolis in the ’50s. That’s where they developed the Norden bombsight, which allowed American bombers to strike targets from high altitudes. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs had the Norden bombsight. My history major brain practically vibrates with excitement every time I sit down at it. It’s also the closest physical tie I have to my grandfather (besides my blue eyes) who died before I was born.

There’s approximately one million compartments inside. It’s like my own personal Room of Requirement, except it’s a desk, obviously. I’ve hauled it to five separate houses and apartments now; for a while, it was the only storage I had. I can find anything in there: gold spray paint, Polaroid film, bike helmets, tacks, discarded school books, matches, lopsided bowls I made in high school ceramics class. So, not really things I need, per se. But still! It’s all there.

Cost: free


Bikes (2)
Source: Grandmother; mother.

We’re a biking family—my dad rode across the entire country one summer when he was 17 (Side note: I once asked my mother when I was 17 if she would allow me to do the same thing. The walls practically shook with the force of her “NO”.)

I lost my own bike some time my junior year, after I locked it to an icy rack outside the psychology building. One final later and it was gone. Bike thieves are scum.

My grandmother let me have her 1970s Huffy Wild Wood some time the next year. It’s a forest green single-speed cruiser, with a wide, padded seat and a wire basket on the front. Oh, how I loved it. The cruiser—her name is Betty—was perfect for the short commute between my senior year house and my classes. Not exactly perfect for my commute down busy city streets to my current job, however.

So I finally convinced my mother to let me borrow her Trek 730 multi-track. It’s similarly gorgeous, with a green, blue and purple paint job and actual gears, which was a relief to my aching legs. I hate to say it, but it’s just a touch too small. So, at some point in the near future, I may have to invest in another bike. But I’m loving the free ride (ha!) for now.

Cost: $14, for new tubes for my mom’s bike.

Bikes. Desk.


Red and green Oriental-style rug
Source: parent’s house

This rug lived in the entryway of my childhood house. At some point, it became my ailing dog’s favorite place to vomit. It was relegated to the garage the same day we put her to sleep, and after crying a million tears, I snagged it a few months later for my living room. Yes, this is very gross. Yes, I had it cleaned.

Cost: free


Candles: Beeswax, 10” (10)
Source: Locally Grown Gardens

This year-round permanent farmers’ market is my favorite place in the city. It’s run by a chef who drives country roads all summer long in search of the freshest, most delicious local ingredients. He also stocks things he loves dearly, including beeswax candles, French ceramic dishes, and heavy metal heart cookie cutters. I go in nearly weekly for a slice of sugar cream pie.

Cost: $40

Milk glass. Succulents.


Various milk glass containers (9)
Source: Boyfriend’s mother

I had a vision last year (perhaps Pinterest-inspired) of a collection of milk glass containers holding various kinds of succulents. It seemed so clean, so modern, so easy to take care of. I was half right.

My boyfriend’s mother—who, let it be said, is wonderful—understood my vision. For Christmas, she scavenged Goodwills and Salvation Armies for variously sized milk glass vases. I opened them one by one on Christmas Eve, just so excited. I visited home and garden shops a few days later, bought agave, huernia, crassulas, echeverias. I scattered them around my windowsills, gazed upon them lovingly, and promptly fell asleep on my Craigslist couch.

Most of the succulents died. But the milk glass will last forever.

Cost: $40


End table
Source: parent’s house

I ruined my fair share of end tables as a child. I spilled nail polish on one, and nail polish remover on another. In fact, I also spilled nail polish under my mom’s bathroom sink. It’s no wonder my nails have been bare for almost a year—I clearly can’t be trusted to paint my nails responsibly. It is a wonder, however, that my parents entrusted me with one of their end tables for my new place though. So far, it’s polish-free. However, the drawer inside of it is mysteriously filled with dead lightbulbs.

Cost: free

Water buffalo horns. Candles. Typewriter (stolen).


Record player
Source: college roommate

I lived with the same two girls for all four years of college. It’s a wonder we could stand each other by the end. But we more than tolerated each other; we were best friends. I’m still sad when I think about how far I am away from both of them. Right after school ended, one moved to Seattle, and the other to New York City. In the process, I acquired a record player, a few dishes, and lingering sadness I can’t seem to shake about the disappearance of two of my best friends to far-away lands.

Cost: free


Bones (7)
Source: Antique stores all over the country.

Yes, bones. For a few years, my mind couldn’t shake the idea of bones. I needed them. Skulls, antlers, water buffalo horns. I needed bones. I know this is strange and vaguely Portlandia-y. So I started collecting antler sheds from places I traveled. I have vague plans of turning them into a morbid chandelier at some point, but right now they’re scattered around those great big bay windows, where the dead succulents used to live.

Cost: $60


Typewriters (2)
Source: basement, Goodwill

I thought it would be a good idea to collect typewriters. Two typewriters and three moves later, I realized how damn heavy typewriters are. So, my collection stands at two. One I snagged from the basement of the student radio station where I was a director; it’s technically the property of the university I attended. (I won’t tell them if you won’t.) It was completely unusable when I brought it out of the terrifying radio station basement, but, as luck would have it, a man from my childhood church is (was) a typewriter repairman. He spent a month on the thing, but it looks like like the typewriter was doomed to the basement because it’s completely unfixable. Now, it props up some of my bone collection, specifically, an Austin, Texas-sourced deer skull.

Cost: free

The other was an impulse purchase at an area Goodwill some time in the last two years. I’ve actually typed a few things on it. It can last about … seven minutes before jamming up completely. Turns out, seven minutes is exactly long enough to convince anyone that the modern computer keyboard is something to be celebrated daily.

Cost: $4.99

Cat clock.


Personalized cat clock
Source: local artist

The incredibly compelling subject of a story I wrote for the alt-weekly created a personalized maneki-neko wooden clock for me. It’s by far the best thing to come out of a story I’ve worked on. It has a tiny illustration of me inside of it! Forever on my wall.

Cost: one AA battery, approximately 50 cents


Actual cat
Source: Indianapolis Animal Care and Control.

Bruce was an accident. While writing a story about area animal shelters and doing an interview with infamous Internet cat—and Hoosier resident!—Lil Bub, I became a foster mom for two skittish kitties from the city animal shelter. I was a foster mom for about … one week, before I fell irrevocably in love and adopted one. A friend took the other. I’m now in the IACC database as a “failed foster,” which strikes me as hilarious. Best failure ever. I guess I don’t live alone any more.

Cost: Whatever it takes to keep her in litter, food, and health check-ups for the rest of her life. And she’s going to live forever, so she’s my most expensive acquisition thus far.



Katherine Coplen is the music editor of NUVO Newsweekly. She loves Bruce Springsteen and her cat, Bruce, equally.

14 May 11:38

Calvin and Hobbes for May 14, 2013


Teehee, raisins.

14 May 01:26

Taco Bell Asks “Why Not?”, Tests Waffle-Shelled Taco

by Chris Morran

That's pretty brilliant.

Taco Bell is either onto something brilliant here or they’ve been snorting lines of powdered nacho cheese. Regardless of the company’s inspiration, it is now apparently testing out a taco shell made out of waffles, because it can and what are you going to do about it?

Somehow, the above image was posted on Instagram by a Bell customer in California several weeks back, but most of the world is only now hearing about this new… thing. was the first to post about it late last week, saying it’s a spin on the standard breakfast taco idea of sausage and scrambled eggs, but with a frickin’ waffle instead of a tortilla. Eater writes that it comes with a side of syrup.

HuffPo has confirmed the item’s availability and pricing ($.89, though who knows if that will last if the item goes national) and provided the address for at least one Taco Bell serving the Waffle Taco in Santa Ana, CA.

We’re not quite sure how this is different from just getting a waffle with sausage and scrambled egg from any diner or lunch counter in the country, though that price point is certainly lower than anything I’ve paid for that combo elsewhere.

14 May 00:04

Up for grabs: Where stars of canceled TV shows should head next

by Sandra Gonzalez

If they cast Cudlitz and Apostrophe Eyes in Chicago PD, I would not only watch it, I would stalk their shooting schedule around town.

In case you haven’t been following the news, it’s been a rough week out there for TV shows. Late last
13 May 23:25

The Hunt: Very Light Gray Pants

by Kat

Excellent point. Now I need to find a good light-grey pant.

light gray pants 1Sure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

Yeah, yeah: we’ve all heard that summer is the Time of the White Pant. For my money, though, summer is the perfect time for the Very Light Gray Pant. It’s summery without the fuss of the white pant (keeping it clean, finding no-show undergarments, etc), and it’s also not quite as stark/statement-y as white pants. Wear it with neutrals, or wear it with colors — the pastels of spring, the vibrant hues of mid-summer, even the darker hues of late summer. Unfortunately it seems like not all retailers agree with me — it was a bit of a struggle to find any gray pants (let alone light gray ones), even at some of the usual suspects for women’s workwear. Readers, what do you think — do you agree with me that a Very Light Gray Pant is essential for summer? Do you prefer white trousers? In general, which brands and styles are your go-to pants for work?

light gray pants 1“Pearl Heather” — great name for a very light gray. I like these Michael Michael Kors pants from Macy’s — well-reviewed and affordable. They were $69.50 but are now marked to $49.99. MICHAEL Michael Kors Pants, Gramercy
light gray pants 1These light gray Drew pants from The Limited look nice, and I like that they note that you can machine wash them in the description. They’re $74.90 at The Limited, but today you can take 40% off with code MAY40, bringing them down to $45ish. There is a matching blazer for $158 ($95ish with the code). Drew Beltloop Classic Flare Pants
light gray pants 3Express has two pairs of gray pants that I like — this pinstriped pair (pictured) and a pair in a herringbone print. These chalky pinstripes look flattering (I particularly like the slant pockets); they’re also machine washable. Both pants are $79.90 at Express. PINSTRIPE WIDE WAISTBAND EDITOR PANT
light gray pants 4This pictured pair of Hutton trousers is actually the darker of the two grays offered (but it’s the one on the model). The lighter gray, “light heather gray,” has a nice crosshatch pattern; I also think of their super 120s wool as being four-season. The Hutton trouser is $148, available in regular, petite and tall (and lots of matching pieces: two blazers (1, 2) and two pencil skirts). Hutton trouser in Super 120s
light gray pants 6These “light heather” Max C pants are a bit on the darker side, but they’re a classic. They’re $265 at Nordstrom (note: there is a matching blazer and skirt, as well). Theory ‘Max C – Tailor’ Pants

Like this feature? Check out other recent installments!


The post The Hunt: Very Light Gray Pants appeared first on

13 May 22:44

Punching A Sandwich Maker Is Not An Acceptable Response To Too Many Pickles

by Mary Beth Quirk

I dunno, pickles are kind of awful.

The beauty of language is that you can use words to express yourself, instead of say, punching someone in the face when your sandwich is not up your standards. Police say a Massachusetts woman ditched her words and instead used her fists on a Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs worker because there were allegedly too many pickles on her sandwich.

According to the Associated Press‘ report, the 49-year-old woman in question ordered a steak and cheese sub at a Nathan’s on Saturday, and began complaining loudly as the worker constructed it.

Police say she followed complaints with a profanity, and “other derogatory comments about the ratio of certain ingredients” during the sandwich’s preparation.

The suspect told police that there were “too many pickles on her lunch.” And so she allegedly demanded a refund, was refused, and answered with a punch in the worker’s face. She also is accused of knocking the worker down and pushing over two large pickle jars, and shattering them before fleeing.

The worker didn’t let the (alleged) punch slow her from chasing the suspect out of the restaurant and holding on to her until the police could arrive.

Do you have the right to ask a restaurant worker (nicely) to redo a sandwich or whatever you’ve ordered if it’s not what you want? Certainly. But even if that person refuses, it’s up to you to decide if pickles are worth a court date and an assault charge.

Police: Assault prompted by ‘too many pickles’ [Associated Press]

13 May 21:16

Jimmy Connors Shouldn't Be Talking About Chris Evert's Abortion

by Jessica Luther

Okay, WHAT???
First of all, I totally forgot (or chose not to remember) that they were ever together. Second of all, I'm so sorry she had to go through that, especially with a dickwad like Conners.
Third, he is a total and complete dickwad. How dare he talk about that, ever, without her permission.

AP Images

Chris Evert is one of the most successful female stars in the history of United States tennis. She won 18 Grand Slam championships, including seven French Open titles (a feat only matched by male tennis player Rafael Nadal last year) and six U.S. Open titles. Beginning in 1974, she finished ranked #1 in the world seven times (the only year between 1974 and 1981 when she dipped was in 1979). In 1976, she was the first solo woman to ever be chosen "Sportswoman of the Year" by Sports Illustrated. Overall, her career winning percentage was just over 90 percent, an almost impossible record that has never beaten by any other player, male or female.

She now runs a tennis academy in Florida and is a commentator for ESPN for the four tennis grand slam championships. And it is normally around some kind of commentary that she makes news these days, but mainly only within the tennis-watching community. But Jimmy Connors, a former romantic partner and himself a retired successful U.S. tennis player, has thrust Evert into the national spotlight recently against her will.

In 1974, while dating, Evert and Connors both won their respective singles championship at Wimbledon. As Sports Illustrated reported at the time, "For the first time in memory, the traditional opening dance at Saturday night's Wimbledon Ball was reserved for two singles champions who were sweethearts as well—Chris Evert, 19, and her mop-topped fiance, Jimmy Connors, 21." In typical sports-pun fashion, they were dubbed the "Love Double" and "Love Match" by tabloids. Their wedding that was scheduled for November of that year never happened, and their relationship ended. Neither one of them ever explained what caused it to disintegrate so quickly. They would be on-and-off for the next few years. They both married other people in 1979.

But now, 35 years later, Connors is releasing a biography this week titled The Outsider, in which he strongly hints that during their whirlwind affair in 1974, Evert got pregnant and had an abortion. He says that she did so without allowing him to be part of the decision-making, though he states that he "was perfectly happy to let nature take its course and accept responsibility for what was to come." He bitterly writes to Evert in the book, "Well, thanks for letting me know. Since I don't have a say in the matter, I guess I am just here to help."

Connors also implies that this was the reason their quick affair ended before their wedding. "It was a horrible feeling, but I knew it was over. Getting married wasn't going to be good for either of us."

Evert responded quickly by releasing a statement to Reuters through her agent last weekend:

In his book, Jimmy Connors has written about a time in our relationship that was very personal and emotionally painful. I am extremely disappointed that he used the book to misrepresent a private matter that took place 40 years ago and made it public, without my knowledge. I hope everyone can understand that I have no further comment.

Despite this emotional response from Evert, Connors has decided to go forward with publicizing the book by talking about this episode (not that he has a reputation for being a nice guy) and media outlets continue to push this one particular story from the book. For example, on this past Friday night's episode of Rock Center, when Harry Smith directly asked Connors about Evert's abortion, Connors responded, "well, that was a certainly a decision that needed to be made. To face that together and to go through that together was a necessity." Smith then read Evert's statement in full before moving on to talk to Connor's wife about his public infidelity during their decades-long marriage. The article on NBC's site that that teased the episode was titled, "Jimmy Connors on memoir that makes Evert abortion claim". Connors also visited The Today Show on Friday morning to talk Evert's abortion. Kathy Lee Gifford at least asked Connors if he had sought Evert's permission before he wrote about her story. Connors told her, "I talked to her after. You know, when things were starting to come out.... I can understand her disappointment and the way she feels but, you know, it was the way I saw things."

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But no matter how Connors justifies this to himself or the public at large, Chris Evert's abortion was simply not his story to tell.

Evert has chosen to be open about specific hard times in her personal life. In August 2011, she gave a revealing interview to Elle Magazine. She talked about how when her marriage to British tennis player John Lloyd ended after ten years of marriage, her parents were very sad. "My mom wrote me a letter. My dad didn't talk to me for a while." Following her divorce from her Olympic skier Andy Mills after 18 years of marriage, she quickly married his friend, world-famous golfer Greg Norman. Of those choices, she said, "I broke a lot of hearts. I broke Andy's heart and I broke my kids' hearts." And after her marriage to Norman ended after 15 months and a ton of publicity, she admitted, "my conscience and my guilt and my grief kicked in. I was a little bit a mess then." But she has never chosen to speak about her relationship with Connors or the reason that it ended.

There's probably a good reason for that.

In our country, despite Roe v. Wade, there is an incredible amount of political and religious debate around this particular medical procedure. Due to debates around personhood, when life begins, and women's right to their bodily autonomy, abortion is a personal decision that is both constantly politicized and discussed in terms of the morality of the person who chooses to get an abortion.

One in three women in the United States will have an abortion in her lifetime, and yet there is a feeling in our country that those who have abortions should feel bad about it. Anti-abortion activists talk about abortion as "murder" and they claim that there is something called "post-abortion syndrome" (there is no scientific evidence that this syndrome exists). In reality, this kind of language does not stop people from getting abortions. It has only served to create a climate in which there is a stigma around abortion that makes people keep it secret.

Sociologist Erving Goffman argued in his book Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity that this moralizing around abortion causes those who have an abortion to be seen not as "a whole and usual person" but rather "a tainted and discounted one." Steph Herold, an abortion stigma researcher, says that people who have had an abortion face "prejudicial attitudes" and the negative effects can be wide-ranging: "Evidence tells us that stigma has negative impacts on physical, mental, and emotional health, negatively affects relationships, silences certain experiences contributes to social conflict, entrenchment, and polarization, and stymies efforts to improve public health."

Exhale Pro-Voice, an organization that helps people after they have an abortion and documents people's abortion stories (both privately and publicly), has published "A Storysharing Guide for Ethical Advocates" on how to tell someone else's abortion story. The very first item on their list of how to do ethical storysharing is to "gain informed consent" from the person whose story you are going to tell. And you do so because the results of telling one's abortion story can be very hard and they should have a hand in deciding if they want their story out in the open. "People who experience stigma can feel alone and isolated," the guide states, "and they will often keep their feelings, stories, and experiences to themselves, rather than risk judgment or criticism." Renee Bracey Sherman, an abortion access activist, who has told her abortion story in very public venues including the BBC, says the result of putting herself out there has sometimes been negative, especially from people who oppose abortion: "I have had anti-abortion protestors invade my personal space and harass me—which is physically not safe for me or those who are with me, and keeps my family in a state of worry."

For Exhale Pro-Voice, the entire reason for practicing "ethical storysharing" when it comes to telling another's abortion story is to "make sure that the person [who had the abortion is in] the center of the storytelling process and ensures that her rights, needs, and leadership are supported and respected throughout the process." Bracey Sherman says that anyone who tells someone else's abortion story as Connors has done can make the person who had the abortion "feel violated and adds to the shame that folks who have had abortions may already feeling." Beyond that, it can have real-life consequences. "When someone shares your experience for you," Bracey Sherman says, "especially without your permission, they put you and your story out into the world in a way that could have grave consequences—family shaming, intimate partner violence, mental health stress, loss of a job, etc."

It is Evert who will face the heat for Connors's decision, especially the way that he told it. By saying that he was willing accept responsibility and that she excluded him from helping her make the decision, it implies that Evert was not responsible in her choice and that she is the only party that should face scrutiny for what happened. In the interviews since she released her statement condemning Connors' decision to tell her story without her permission, he has modified the way he tells the story to make it more about them as a couple. But it is his words on the page that will be preserved for posterity and that will follow Evert around in the future.

The media's attention to Evert's abortion story may be a boost for sales of his biography. It has certainly made the release of the book front-page news outside of just the tennis community, though Connors hasn't even had much of a presence there in the last few years. Connors has not coached a high-profile athlete since his relationship with Andy Roddick ended in 2008 and he has no regular commentating job (while he was hired by the Tennis Channel in 2009, he is no longer listed on their site listing on-screen talent). He wrote the book last year while recovering from two hip replacement surgeries.

Evert is regularly on TV, though. ESPN owns the rights to all four of the tennis grand slam championships and so for eight weeks of the year Evert appears on the screens of U.S. tennis fans' TVs as an ESPN commentator. And she will be back in public soon. The French Open begins in two weeks and only two weeks after it ends, Wimbledon begins.

Connors telling Evert's story decades later shows the particular vulnerability that women face in a culture that stigmatizes abortion. Even decades later, after a career that most professional tennis players will only ever dream about accomplishing, Evert has had to deal with potential fallout from a decision that allowed her to have both a successful professional and personal life. (She eventually had three children with Andy Mills).

Other than the statement released through her agent, the only other thing that Evert has said publicly about Connors' revelation is a simple tweet on May 5 that reads: "Thank you guys for your support this week; means a lot to me..." Evert has weathered many a storm in her life both publicly and privately since she broke onto the tennis scene at the age of 15. The point, though, is that she shouldn't have to weather anything. Connors should never have made that decision for her.


13 May 20:39

Pedro and Onil Castro Denounce ‘Monster’ Brother Ariel in CNN Interview

by Olivia B. Waxman

Good. He is a monster.

In an exclusive interview with CNN, Onil Castro and Pedro Castro — brothers of Ariel Castro, who allegedly held three women captive in his Cleveland home for nearly a decade — said Ariel is completely dead to them. Police took the brothers into custody on May 6, the night the women fled the house, and released them Thursday after they found no evidence that the two had anything to do with the abductions of Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, and Gina DeJesus. Now their brother Ariel, a 52-year-old school bus driver, has been charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape. Bail has been set at $8 million, and paternity tests show he is the father of Amanda Berry’s six-year-old daughter, who was also found the night the women escaped. (MORE: The Prison Next Door) Onil Castro described Ariel to CNN’s Martin Savidge as a ”monster. I hope he rots in that jail…I want him to suffer.” “He’s a goner,” added Pedro, who was particularly horrified that Ariel helped the family of Gina DeJesus, one of the abducted women, in the search for their missing daughter, even though he had been holding her captive in his home the entire time. Onil and Pedro told CNN that they only learned the details about the kidnapping from the detectives who interrogated them in jail last week. If they had any inkling that Ariel carried out the kidnapping, “I would have grabbed him by my neck myself,” Onil said. The allegations have ”torn my heart apart,” he said. “This has killed me.  I am a walking corpse right now.” Pedro told CNN he never noticed anything suspicious at Ariel’s house because he had always been “a strange dude.” For instance, Ariel claimed he kept the windows covered to save energy, and he kept the TV and radio blaring all day long. Occasionally, he would cook food for his brothers, but they would always have to eat outside on the steps of the house. In the last 10 years, the brothers said they were never allowed past the kitchen. MORE: The
13 May 20:38

How I Shop

by (Alison (Wardrobe Oxygen))

These are all pretty much my tips too, although I don't use 6pm or Amazon nearly enough.

I worked in retail for a decade. I was a personal shopper, retail manager, apparel visual merchandiser, salesperson racing from fitting room to denim wall to register. Because of this, I enter a mall maybe twice a year, and always at off-peak times.

I also don’t shop in malls because I find them frustrating, overwhelming, and demoralizing.

Near my office, there is an Ann Taylor, a Gap, a Nordstrom Rack, and a few other shops. Near my home on my way to the bank or Emerson’s dance class there’s a Marshall’s, a Ross, an Old Navy, a Target, and a couple smaller shops. I will occasionally shop these retailers if I have time or they are near my necessary errand locations, but otherwise I shop online.

I shop online because the selection is better.
I shop online because I have flattering lighting.
I shop online because I trust my own mirror.
I shop online because I am then never pushed to buy something by someone who doesn’t know or care about me.
I shop online so I can be sure the item works with my shoes/bra/purse.
I shop online because they have my size.
I shop online so I can take the time to sit in something, see it from behind, make sure it works with my body and movement.
I shop online so I have time.
I shop online so I don’t become a sweaty frustrated mess who wants to drink all the wine at California Pizza Kitchen and enjoy all that wine with spinach artichoke dip.
I shop online so I get what I want in a manner I deserve.

I don’t shop in person, and that includes thrift stores, because I just don’t have the time. I work over 40 hours a week and commute almost 10 hours more. I blog, I help my husband with his business, I have a child and family and friends. When I have free time I don’t want to spend it shopping, I want to spend it living. I spent too much of my past using shopping as a source of entertainment and all it gave me was a lot of debt and crowded closets. When I do go to stores I so often see bored kids in carts, whining to leave. I have limited time with Emerson, I’d rather spend it doing something we both can enjoy.

Where I mainly shop:
  • Nordstrom. They have petites and larger sizes and great reviews from fellow customers to help me choose the right size or to not buy an item. They have free shipping and free returns. Nordstrom also has surprisingly awesome prices – their sales are fabulous, and brands like Halogen and Caslon give you current trends for reasonable prices.
  • Ann Taylor. The brand fits me. Sometimes I love their stuff, sometimes I hate their stuff, but I find the quality and sizing to be relatively consistent and their style to fit my lifestyle. Oh, and they too have great sales and take returns in-store.
  • Talbots. Consistent sizing and quality, great wardrobe staples, great customer service. I swear by Talbots skirts, very flattering and classic.
  • Zappos. Extensive selection, free shipping and returns.
  • 6pm. If you know what you like, check here and you may find it cheaper. Free shipping.
  • Amazon. Same with 6pm, it’s a good place to find very specific items at a great price.
  • Gap. I like them for basics – tee shirts, summer dresses, the occasional pair of jeans. Their sizing and quality is inconsistent so I don’t shop there as much as I used to. But they have a broad range of sizes, and I can do returns in store.
  • eBay. I buy a large percentage of my wardrobe from eBay because it’s saving stuff from landfills, saving me money, and giving me variety. I like to look for last-season’s items on there (I’m the crazy person who remembers the names of different dresses and jackets).

How I shop:
  • I always go to Ebates first. I have written about Ebates before, but it’s a no-strings, no-spam way to get true cash back (not points, not gift cards) on where you shop. Big fan.
  • I always make a list and try to stick to it. Very little virtual window shopping, which can be bad for the wallet.
  • I often sort items from lowest to highest price so I see the more budget-friendly options before falling for one that is more expensive.
  • If the site doesn’t have reviews, I Google the name of the item and “review” to see if I can find them elsewhere. Many blogs do product reviews these days which are super helpful when determining brand or size.
  • I don’t usually veer from brands I know unless there’s a lot of reviews letting me know about quality and fit.
  • I don’t like shopping places where the clothes aren’t on human beings. While some models are smaller than mannequins and clothes are often clipped and pinned to fit, a human model gives me a better feel of drape and fit than a mannequin or having it on a white background.
  • If an online retailers has a PITA return policy, I won’t shop there unless I know before I buy that I will not want to return (specific size and style of shoe, an accessory, etc.).
  • If I want a very specific item and the site doesn’t have my size, I will Google to see if I can find it elsewhere.
  • If I want a specific item (say a Western shirt) I will search my favorite haunts, then I will Google the item with “2013” to see what blog reviews or sites have something with that description. This saves me time and often brings to light new and interesting retailers.
  • I never check out before searching for a promo code. RetailMeNot is my favorite place. I also subscribe to emails from my favorite retailers to get promo codes.
  • I don’t rack up debt, but I do have Nordstrom and Banana Republic (which also works for Gap, Old Navy, and Athleta) credit cards and put my purchases on them. I pay them off right away, but I acquire points on purchases which earn me store credit.
  • I have a box at home where I keep all receipts and packing slips. As soon as I buy something, the receipt goes there in case I need to do a return or exchange. Also helpful if I want to replace something via eBay, I know the name and SKU.
  • I also have a box of shipping materials. In there goes all the shipping bags that deliver product, as well as any tissue paper or bubble wrap used to protect accessories. This way I have free materials for returns as well as old items I sell on eBay.

I have become a bit of an online shopping pro. I know how to find what I want with minimal time, and how to get the best price (or cash back). I know my body, I know what brands usually flatter, so it reduces my number of returns. Online shopping is like any other activity, you become more skilled with time. I have found this to be a good skill to hone because it saves me time, saves me money, and saves my confidence.

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13 May 15:07

Not Nixon, Exactly.

by Joe Klein

Only sharing because the Ezra Klein explanation in the middle of Joe Klein's opinion piece gives a clear explanation of the facts of the IRS issue. I can form my own opinion on those facts, thanks.

I may have swung a bit too hard, putting Barack Obama’s Administration in the same league as Franklin Roosevelt’s and Richard Nixon’s when it comes to the Internal Revenue Service. The situation remains a major embarrassment, though. The most important difference is that the Roosevelt and Nixon IRS depredations came from the White House. This mess seems to have percolated from the middle–the IRS’s Cincinnati office (a major facility, by the way)–up to the upper-middle. It was an overreaction, to be sure–but, as Ezra Klein explains, it was a response to a very real problem: how do you draw the line between political advocacy, which is a taxable activity, and policy advocacy, which is not, if the advocate organizes itself as a 501(c)4? Here’s Ezra: Let’s try to keep two things in mind simultaneously: The IRS does need some kind of test that helps them weed out political organizations attempting to register as tax-exempt 501(c)4 social welfare groups. But that test has to be studiously, unquestionably neutral. The story thus far seems both chilling and cheering. Employees at the agency’s Cincinnati branch did employ a test that, in effect, targeted tea party groups. Whether they meant it to be discriminatory or they simply created one that was discriminatory is in contention, but ultimately immaterial. The IRS, more so than almost any other agency, must act in ways above reproach. But when the Cincinnati group explained their test to IRS exempt organizations division chief Lois G. Lerner, she objected to it and it was changed. A few months later, the IRS would release new guidance that suggested scrutinizing “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform movement,” and after that, “organizations with indicators of significant amounts of political campaign intervention (raising questions as to exempt purpose and/or excess private benefit.)” The context for all this is that after Citizens United and some related decisions, the number of groups registering as 501(c)4s doubled. Because the timing of that doubling coincided with
13 May 12:06

Season 5: Opening Credits

by Chris J. Kelly

Teehee, this blog still exists.

Of all the opening sequences, this one is probably most remembered by fans. Performing a Broadway-style dance routine (choreographed by Geoffrey Holder) to a stirring orchestral rendition of the theme song, the cast presents a weird and wonderful take on the introductory credits. On the other hand, the stagey pieces in which they have been dressed have limited relevance to modern fashion, as that was not the intent.


I mean, they look great, but they're clearly delivering a fantasy rather than a reality. Not that I will absolve myself of my responsibilities because of these costumes, but this'll be a short entry.


Rudy's appearance in the credits is briefer than the others: as you can see, she's not in the opening pose. My guess is that, as a child actor, she was present for fewer rehearsals, requiring portions of the number that could be worked without her. Honestly, the choreography makes wonderful use of the cast, which I assume is largely made up of non-dancers. But back to this dress: the ruffles are ruffly, and the palette suggests the inside and outside of a grapefruit as rendered in pastels. It's right for what it is.


This look announces to us that Vanessa is entering her goddess phase. Look at her face: she's ready to begin her journey into adulthood. It's tough to read for sure, but if you go back to that first image of the whole family, you can see that this skirt might also be pants; there's a ring of ruffle that appears to extend only around one leg. Not sure what that's about, but I like that someone is taking chances. I think there's a touch too much happening with the multiple bands of color at her neckline and hem. It's busier than anything else onstage. Otherwise, this meshes well with the other pieces.


Theo looks like he's going to the beach.


You might notice that we jumped to Sondra without hitting Denise, who is next in line age-wise. (Did you know that I intentionally go through each family member in age order? Maybe I never explained that.) It's true: Denise is still at Hillman and will only appear in a few episodes this season. They're all right at the beginning, which gives us something immediate to look forward to, but it will make her subsequent absence all the tougher. Anyway, Sondra looks fine here.


That's right, Elvin, show off that chest hair. Maybe untuck your shirt, though.


As a veteran of the Broadway stage, Phylicia knows exactly what she's doing up there. Look at her. She is positively breathtaking in that shot, and the grace with which she moves is delicious. And oh how I love her in pink! Two shades of pink! She's wonderful.

"Daaaaaad! You're embarrassing us!"

And of course Cliff. Bill Cosby is not a good dancer, but he serves face. The color combo here is a little louder than some of the others, which highlights his bananas personality while making him the center of attention (as does the fact that he stays in one place for the whole number). The frayed edges of his shorts add to the tropical, casual vibe.

And there you have it. On we go. I hope you're ready for what this season has in store. (I hope I'm ready for what this season has in store.)
13 May 10:50

FIVE YEARS - My Diet and Blog Anniversary!

by Shelley

She is totally and completely amazing. And a really great friend, too.

With the exception of my marriage, I don't tend to stick with things all that long.  So I'm quite pleased to report that tomorrow will mark five years since I started this blog, and my weight-loss journey.  And I'm still going strong with both!  Well, the weight-loss has turned into mostly maintaining that loss, but I've changed my eating habits drastically from where I was over five years ago, and that is why I've been able to keep most of the weight that I lost off.  And blogging - wow.  I started this blog to have a record of how hard I was working to get the weight off, so I could go back and be reminded of the effort and hopefully not return to my old ways of eating.  I never thought it would blossom into what it is today, and for that, I have you, my readers, to thank.

Today, five years after I started what I hoped would be my last diet, I'm a normal-sized person.  I haven't had to shop at Lane Bryant for years (and I finally seem to be off their mailing list, lol).  Not only do I exercise regularly, but I don't think twice about doing something as simple as going for a walk or climbing a flight of stairs.  Losing over 100 pounds has changed my life in ways I never could have anticipated, because I was overweight for so long that I kind of forgot that it was possible for me - ME - to join in so many fun activities.  I'm the same person I've always been, but now I'm also the person I used to only envision.

In previous anniversary posts, I've posted my before-and-after pictures.  Here's two befores that I've never posted, and they're pretty awful.  But I think it's important to not only celebrate the body that I have today, but to also remember where I was - the saying "Those who cannot remember the past are condemed to repeat it" is very applicable to me.  Apologies for the poor quality - these are scans, as they were taken before the digital camera era.

This is me in 1998 - 10 years before I started my diet:
Taken during our trip to Washington D.C. - I thought I was going to die with all the walking we did.

This is me in 2003 - 5 years before I started my diet:
Taken during my trip to Oregon - I thought I was going to die with all the walking we did.

This is me in 2013 - 5 years after I started my diet:
Pretty happy with myself!

Year four
Year three
Year two
Year one
Very first post
12 May 12:19

Mother's Day Troubles

by Rhiannon Gammill
It's Mother's Day in the US. It was Friday in Mexico where I discovered the traditional thing is to drunkenly serenade madre dearest with the most horrific brass-heavy banda music imaginable, beginning at midnight and lasting into the wee small hours of the morning. I explained to HLB that in the US we generally eschew boozed-up aural assaults in favor of tension-filled brunches and vaguely hostile cards from Hallmark's popular Barely-Concealed Resentment line, the way the Lord intended.

He said it sounded boring.

I used to call my brother on Mother's Day so we could sympathize over the bum hand we were dealt in the maternal department. It was always a tough day for him. 

While I'd been coolly detached since my mid-twenties (thank you, squillions of hours of therapy) William never got past the anger at my mother's history of selling us down the river for any man willing to throw his hotdog down her hallway.

In her defense, there really ISN'T an excuse for wire hangers.
The poor kid always thought if he could just find the magical combination of words he could break through the spell and summon the nurturing, selfless mother he desperately wanted. He couldn't believe there really wasn't any water at that well.

Perceived mental illness and a history of substance abuse were the kindest excuses, but as the years went by the phone calls became harder.

There was never an easy way to say "I'm sorry, kiddio. She's just too far gone. It's not that she won't hear you; it's just that she can't."


When she didn't show up to his funeral --it was too hard for her, understand-- my heart broke for him. 

It broke for her, too. With his funeral, she had the opportunity to go through the pain and humiliation of walking into a room where nearly everyone knew precisely how badly she'd failed him, and rise to the occasion as the last chance to do right by her son.

Instead she sent a letter so filled with embarrassingly petty fuck-yous it backfired and provided one brief moment of levity. Behind our first-row hankies his widow and I giggled in bemused "I-can't-believe-she-went-there" awe as her sister read it from the lectern.

This Mother's Day is different. For the first time in years I actually have feelings about my mother: I'm angry. 

I'm angry she wouldn't or couldn't be what my brother needed from her.

I'm angry she dove so far down the rabbit hole of denial and professional victimhood that she'll never have to feel the punishing weight of her failure, a weight she could've taken off as lightly as a spiderweb any time until that day in March when the rain held off just long enough to get her son's ashes in the ground.

Next year I'm sure I'll be back to the same vague indifference I've had for the past fifteen years, playing those same greatest hits: You win some you lose some. Not everyone's cut out for motherhood. You can't help someone who doesn't know they need it.

Right now it's tough, and my thoughts go out to everyone for whom Mother's Day isn't cause for celebration. It sucks. It's painful and we can't even drown our disappointment in a decent hotel's eggs benedict.

But hey, there's always a bright side: At least there's no drunk guy with a tuba.
11 May 11:53

Close-toed Summer Shoes Part 1

by Jael Paris

My new job is not going to allow sandals or peep-toes so I have been scrambling for ideas to survive a hot summer. This helps a lot!

Not everyone is crazy for sandals in the summer. Some people may have to cover their toes for work. Some women are persnickety about the state of their pedicures. Some people just don't like toes. Whatever your reason, here's how I beat the heat while keeping my toes covered in the summer.

yellow pointy toed flat, Restricted on Amazon $38
blush flower ballet flat, Jeffrey Campbell Urban Outfitters $130
black and gold cage heel, Macy's $112
blue cut-out oxfords, Trashy Diva $58
blush smoking slipper, Urban Outfitters $39
lime ballet flats, Mod Cloth $30
grey cut out heel, Mod Cloth $80

crochet ballet flats, Mod Cloth $45
wood trimmed mauve flat,Mod Cloth $105
lace oxford, Not Rated at DSW $35
blue wedge, Nordstrom $70
studded mesh ballet flat, Aeropostal $24.50
yellow patent capped heel, ASOS $125

Expect more great summer shoes on Monday!
11 May 11:52

Plus Size Style- Everyday Bombshell

by (Bombshell Beauty)

Nice use of emerald green and blue together.

I had one of those moments a couple weeks ago where I realized that I'd completely forgotten about one of my favorite plus size retailers - City Chic.  I wore a lot of City Chic clothes after meeting their executive team at the Curvy Revolution back in 2010.  I liked the quality of the clothing, the fresh trendy styles and the fact that their sales are frequent and fantastic. 

And that's exactly how I came to add this pretty, emerald green dress to my wardrobe - on sale for $17.  And the best part?  Free shipping both ways, so shopping online with City Chic is a total no-brainer.  Love that. 

The Outfit:
Green ruffle dress- City Chic
Black cardigan - Avenue
Jeweled buckle belt - Gap Outlet
Teardrop necklace-
Missoni-print flats- Report
06 May 20:29

One year after the book: any wisdom gained at all??? Maybe a little…

by dpkirchhoff

He just seems like a really good guy.

WLB-Cover-PaperbackIt’s been almost a year to the day since the hardback edition of my book, Weight Loss Boss, was published and let loose on an unsuspecting and defenseless public.  One year later, the paperback is now in the wild.

This seems as good a time as any to reflect on what I’ve learned about myself over this past year, and possibly what I might say differently if I were writing the book today.

To put this past year in context, allow me to provide the briefest of refresher on my weight loss experience:

  • 2000-2009:  the almost losing weight years.  These were my nine years in the wilderness, sometimes losing weight and then watching it come back.  I never returned to my worst point, but I never got to my goal weight either.  As I’ve said on numerous occasions, please don’t judge my nine years to get to goal:  it’s not nice to pick on slow people.  
  • 2009:  GOAL!!!!!!  LIFETIME MEMBER!!!!!
  • 2009-2012:  These were my three years as an @ goal, Lifetime Member (Free Lifetime for those familiar with WW membership parlance).  2009 also marked the point of beginning to write this blog.  Weight Loss Boss was published in early May 2012.
  • mid-2012 to present…

I am now a bit more than four years at goal weight, a fact that I do not take for granted. The past year has been particularly interesting in that it happened after I published my book.  One might reasonably ask why the publication of a book has anything to do with my weight loss status.  For me, the book was the culmination of sharing everything I knew about the process of losing weight and keeping it off.  There was something about the process of writing it that it somehow felt that a conclusion had been reached.  “And then Dave jumped on his trusty horse Trigger and rode off into the sunset, never to be seen again.”

What if Dave ate Trigger instead?  Well, I’d have to be European for that to be true, so fear not, no horses were hurt in the production of my story. Nonetheless, it’s a fair question, because in fact, I had to continue living in the world after the book was published.  There is no sunset in the process of adopting a healthy lifestyle.  There is no concluding point.  There is no epilogue.  Life goes on, and staying healthy always remains a process.

Over the past year, I’ve had some ups and downs.  If anything, I’ve found that this past year has been a bit more challenging in keeping my focus. There have been more than a few times where I let myself fall into Superman-mode, thinking that I cannot be harmed by mortal man or his junk food. During these times, I could feel the weight slowly start to creep back on while I could feel my hard won habits slightly slip away.

In truth, I’ve met very few people on maintenance who haven’t gone through what I’ve described many, many times.  Maintenance is tough because we are constantly surrounded by temptation, and periodically our defenses lower.  Fortunately, the worst I have gotten has been about 6-7 pounds over my goal weight.  At this point, you might now ask the questions:  “Are you serious?  Are you actually self-flagellating about 7 pounds?  Go get yourself a quarter and call me when you have a real weight regain problem!”  I would of course reply back:  “You are very mean and insensitive.”

Even when I was feeling the most at risk, I had a couple of advantages that kept me going way over the edge of weight control:

  • Working out:  even when I’m slacking a little bit, over these past 12 months, I really have not missed many days of exercise.  My workouts may have gotten less intense from time-to-time, but I have kept going.  I cannot stress how important this has been to me.  Exercise covers a lot of sins.  It’s incredibly hard to maintain a weight loss without becoming much more active.  
  • Course correction:  when I’ve crashed spectacularly, my saving grace has been to be honest with myself pretty quickly.  If I’ve had a gross food week, I usually find myself in a Sunday night session of self loathing followed by a Monday morning of redemption.  The self-inflicted psychological warfare may not be a good mental health practice, but being honest with myself has been incredibly important.  The trouble really starts when denial sets in, and we start telling ourselves that it’s all fine.  I’ve also forced myself to stand on the scale even when I knew it would make me terribly sad.  Every painful weight in was like a shot of horrendously bad tasting medicine that ultimately made me much healthier.  
  • Lightening up:  seemingly inconsistent with the point on course correction above, I’ve also found myself getting more and more comfortable with my new fangled healthy life.  I’ve grown more confident that when I do fall off the wagon that I can get right back up.  This has allowed me to be somewhat of a less neurotic, tightly wound mess about the whole thing.  
  • Honoring my healthier habits:  all the while, I have held onto certain go-to routines such as my standard breakfasts and lunches.  

Interestingly, over the past month, I have found myself becoming a little more intense and disciplined about my health.  I’ve upped my workout intensity a decent amount, mostly by adding extra cardio into my mix.  I’ve become much more disciplined about planning before going on trips after a spectacular wipe-out this past Spring Break.  I’ve also gotten back into the habit of not cleaning my plate and more quickly turning back mindless calories when offered.

The folks that run research at Weight Watchers would tell you that this is pretty typical.  We all go through periods of being heavily engaged and focused followed by periods of being a little more slack.  For most people, this is pretty much standard operating procedure and is to be expected.  The standard of success is NOT perfect behavior all the time.  If it was, we would all fail spectacularly.  The trick for me has been to not go over the deep end when I’m being intense as well as to not let everything fall to pieces for too long when I’m being a slacker.  Over time, it’s been about finding my middle path and trying to stay within a healthy zone.

So what would I say differently in a book if I were to write it now?  In truth, not much.  I was prescient enough in the book to acknowledge that the process of staying healthy is an unending one that will require effort and focus forever.  I’ve lived that this year, and I have no regrets.  I’m still healthier and happier by far, and it’s been more than worth all of the effort.

On a separate note, I am greatly pleased with the new cover of the book.  I’ve long been read to retire the guy with the constipated face holding the ice cream in favor of a cartoon.

And don’t forget!  For those who haven’t read it, all the proceeds (as always) go to Share Our Strength (not greedy me).  For those who have read the book, THANK YOU!



29 Apr 11:06

My Day at the Laundromat

by Mama Bean

Teehee. I love the way she tells a story.

Our washing machine blew up.

I know.  Freaky, huh?

The first part of this story is that I was on a mountain in California chaperoning my son's class trip to Astrocamp (which is awesome, by the way).  I miraculously had one tiny bar, saw that I had a message from home and listened, thinking it would be my husband saying how much he missed me.

Instead it was something like:

(frantic tone)
"Hey it's me.  Do you know where the warranty is for the washing machine?  It blew up.  It's a mess.  There's a hole in the wall.  RC Willey's warranty department isn't open again until Monday.  Please call me if you know where it is.  There's water all over the place. "

Now, if you HADN'T seen the picture, your response would have been:

(sarcastic tone)
"What the hell?  I'm gone for less than 24 hours and the house is falling apart.  No, I have no freaking clue where the warranty is because I'm ON A MOUNTAIN.   Blew up... sure."

Because I was thinking it was overloaded and pulled away from the wall and waah freaking waah.


The washing machine blew up.

And just in case YOU have a top loader LG washer without an agitator, yours may, too!  Lucky you.

ANYHOW, since I have been running around like a crazy woman this past month, I did not get my laundry done prior to leaving.  I figured I would throw it in when I got back from my business trip this week (I got home Sunday night from Astrocamp and got on a plane early Monday morning).

Clearly, this did not happen.  Since we have property damage-- a large hole in the wall and the dryer was damage during the explosion-- we are dealing with LG directly and their very overwhelmed product liability division.

In other words, no washing machine.

Or, in layman's terms, no underwear.

I seriously was out of clothes.

I should also point out that I've put some weight back on, so I should clarify- I had no comfortable clothing.  So I had to go to the laundromat

The last time I went to a laundromat was in 1993.  I actually enjoyed it when I lived in New Jersey. They had these great places called Suds-n-Duds.  They were laundromats connected to bars.
Brilliant, I know.

So I didn't have bad memories of them, but in Las Vegas, most apartments have washer-dryers.  Most laundromats are not in the best part of town.  We live near a not so spectacular area, so fortunately, there is one within 2 miles of my house.

I loaded up the car- and I mean loaded up the car. 

Did I mention that my daughter threw up Thursday night so I also had a comforter and sheets with puke on them?

So it was a full load.  About 9 loads all together.  A full weekend of laundry.

But alas, the laundromat is magical.  My son and I went and were able to combine some loads utilizing the HUGE machines. 

This was, of course, after I realized I had put the first load in a dryer and not a washer.  Oops.  They all look alike.  Fortunately, the owner came over and helped me out.

And a few other people.  The young man who gave me the tips of breaking up my loads in the dryer  to save time and money.  The other young man who held the door for me when I was taking all my laundry out to the car.  The girl with the hot pink hair and I discussed the pros and cons of overfilling the machines.

It was not the usual crowd with whom I hang.

And just when I was feeling a little mightier, I realized that I was in fact in a pair of shorts with no button on them, so I was in perpetual fear they would fall off and a shirt that was too big and my bra straps were hanging out.

In other words, I fit in just fine at the laundromat.

Laundry- the great social equalizer.

In fact, when I asked about the laundry service they offered, I could tell she wanted to say "Sweetie, you can't afford that-- you don't have buttons on your pants..."

My son thought it was a great place.  We loaded the machines, emptied them, folded-- he was the perfect assistant.  He added "Wow- now I know why you guys hate doing laundry" but we really had fun.  We chatted.  We folded.  He thinks like me, so he appreciated my anal retentive attempts to try and time the washers and dryers perfectly ("It should take us 4 minutes to unload the washer and get it to a dryer, so wait a few minutes before you start it..."-- other people would think this was nuts, he thought it was completely logical!).

But here's the best thing-- we were COMPLETELY DONE WITH ALL THE LAUNDRY IN 2-- TWO- HOURS!  It was not an entire weekend thing.  Washed, dried, folded, and nearly put away-- nearly because hell would freeze over if I ever got all my laundry put away.

What a fantastic thing!

I even had my husband considering doing this on a regular basis.  Well, not really, but I would do this again the next time I get behind on the laundry.

The folding tables are HUGE. There is plenty of room.

And it is done.  Done. Done. DONE.  I have procrastinated doing laundry longer than it took to finish it all today.

There wasn't even time to read, like I had hoped.

I used to think that "making it" meant I had a nice washing machine.  Okay, that wasn't the only criteria, but it never occurred to me that the nicest and most expensive appliance that I ever owned would actually explode.

Maybe going back to the good old days was a good thing?  Maybe the fact that my bigger, fancier life is actually making me more stressed out says something.

The conference I was at was to makeover my business- fine tune and change some things I've been doing all the years to make them "better."  I find it ironic that through all the chaos I've had this past month, the one thing that you would think would have been an "Oh crap, I have to go to the 'hood and do laundry" could have been the final straw and I would have snapped was the biggest stress reliever of all.  It reminded that sometimes the good old days really were good.  The less I had, the happier I was (for the most part). 

Except for underwear.  You truly can never have enough.

And a big thanks to the great people at The Laundry Lounge.  If you ever are in a bind or just want to knock it all out-- it's a great facility. 

23 Apr 13:57

Shine On, MM

by raincoaster
Matthew McConaughey is well-suited for mayhem

Matthew McConaughey is well-suited for mayhem

So! Many! Questions! Including:

  1. does it come with its own batteries?
  2. did he mug a Batman villain for the outfit?
  3. how stoned was HE when he picked this out?

Ladies and gentlemen, this suit is the reason the word “AYYYY!” exists.