This list is WRONG because it does not include Brach's Robin's Eggs.
Though Halloween, with its trick-or-treaters and grab bags of bulk candy, and Valentine’s Day, with its heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, get most of the sugary glory, the truly candy-obsessed know that the best holiday for candy consumption is Easter. (If you don’t believe me, know that in 2016, more Americans bought candy for Easter than for Halloween.) It’s the time for Easter baskets full of chocolate bunnies, chocolate Easter eggs, and, of course, marshmallow Peeps. And to help you find the best Easter chocolate and Easter candy to put in your family’s baskets this year (or your own, we don’t judge), we asked 11 chefs, from New York and Miami, to share their favorite Easter chocolates, candies, and treats.
everybody share their winner! (hat tip ikea monkey!)
"this is fine" for me
Please join us, print a bracket out, and yell in the comments.
You’ve been stressing out over the wrong bracket. The NCAA tournament is fine, the Kanye West bracket was fun, and mascot brackets are classic, but in 2018, we’re only here for MEME BRACKETS.
The committee, which included Matt Ellentuck, the SB Nation writer, and literally nobody else (which is why he forgot a few good ones), selected the 64 best memes he could think of, and broke them down like the NCAA would in a tournament-style bracket.
Yell at him for whatever you disagree with.
The four No. 1 seeds were in this order: Crying Jordan, Distracted Boyfriend, Kermit Sipping Tea, and Why You Always Lying?
Here’s how the bracket turned out:
Please print this bracket out by clicking file->save as->then printing, fill it in with whichever memes your heart desires, and let us know your biggest upset, Final Four, and Champion in the comments.
Before anyone gets upset, this is the Roll Safe meme (a lot of people don’t know it by name):
The committee would like to acknowledge the many snubs that were inevitable given Earth’s rich meme history. Honorable mentions include: Spider-man, Darth Kermit, Mr. Krabs, “Did you practice that shot?,” Arthur Fist, Harambe, Rick Roll, Supa Hot Fire, Damn Daniel, LeBron James kid, and the 2016 Monmouth Hawks (a true forever snub).
Honestly, some of these were truly regrettable, but what’s a bracket without controversy.
I would like to take a poll though! Please tell us who your champion was, so we can determine the definitive best meme:
Here’s the original tweet, where you can read some other Twitter users’ brackets:
He means no harm. He just likes to Photoshop makeup pictures.
Just last week, I wrote a get-off-my-lawn op-ed about the coverage of so-called eyebrow trends in the beauty media. After watching it happen all last year — through squiggle brows, feathered brows, and more — I was finally inspired to lightly rant about it when I saw stories everywhere about “halo brows.” (One teen did it, 20 outlets wrote about it.) The gist was basically that one person doing a goofy thing on Instagram is not a trend, but that people will still click on stories about people doing this goofy thing because we can’t help ourselves and everyone’s bored.
But apparently no one cares about my opinion because it happened again this week: High heel eyebrows is the new eyebrow non-trend du jour. Of course I clicked!
How and why does this keep happening? Let me tell you a modern internet tale.
Last month, an Instagram account called @skyzeditz posted images of two Instagram beauty influencers with “fishtail brows.” Then Huda Kattan, who has almost 25 million followers and is the founder of Huda Beauty, posted a picture of herself with the negative-space Spock brows and attributed them to SkyzEditz.
SkyzEditz is Stefan Oskys, a 19-year-old who lives in London. He is not a makeup artist. He’s a former art school student and has a day job doing digital marketing and running social media accounts for brands. He first started an account called @skyzhighlight, where he would digitally add an obscene amount of highlighter to popular Instagram beauty gurus’ faces and repost them.
People loved it, but they loved it even more when he started posting side-by-side images of celebrities and influencers that he would digitally tweak to show two different looks, like Justin Bieber with blue eyes and brown eyes. He says when he started this type of Mother Nature manipulation, his account, now at 140,000 followers, “went crazy.” (He doesn’t post pictures of himself on his account, but you can see him in this Galore article from last year, which featured him when @skyzeditz started gaining traction.)
So how did this become his medium? Oskys is both charmingly earnest and a little bit sheepish when he talks about his unusual hobby. He told Racked that he used to draw a lot of the girls in his art class, and he had a knack for drawing in the makeup. Then he figured out that he was also pretty good at editing photos for social media, and he started doing it for his friends. The next step was combining the two. “I started up my Instagram account, which is my way of being as creative as I possibly can,” he says.
While watching America’s Next Top Model (“because why not?” he says a tiny bit defensively even though I did not question this decision), he was inspired by contestant Rio Summers, who sometimes wears one brow in the fishtail style. He decided to make it “more accentuated and dramatic.” It then went viral, as these things do.
Then came this week’s high heel brow. “I was looking at the emoji icons and thinking, what would look weird as an eyebrow?” he says. “Then I saw the heel one and I was like, that will get people talking because it’s insane.”
For now, he’s been mostly focusing on eyebrows, including emoji brows and my favorite, the Grinch brow. He says he uses a combination of apps to edit his images, including Enlight and Facetune on his phone, and Photoshop on his computer.
Oskys gets a bump in followers when Huda regrams one of his images, but he says he’s never been approached to do sponsored content or collaborate with brands. He does say that Huda’s team did contact him and offered him a job in Dubai working with the company’s social media accounts. “It was crazy,” he says. “I’m 19, so I’m not sure if I’m ready for it.” (Huda Kattan did not respond to a request for a confirmation of this job offer.)
The lightning-fast news cycle has made him, like all of us, a tad cynical. “To see news publications posting about it was really cool for the fishtail one, but after that I’m like, ‘Oh, OK, another one.” Here, he pauses, then laughs. “I don’t want to sound like a knob! But it wasn’t like when the fishtail thing went viral.”
He says an influencer has never been angry at him for his edits, and many have actually told him they really like the changes. His followers, however, may be tiring of ridiculous brows.
“A lot of my followers were quite angry about me posting crazy eyebrows,” he says, noting people said things like it was one of the reasons “this generation is so bad.”
But despite cranky old writers and followers waiting for the next new thing, Oskys remains undeterred. “A lot of people were really hating on my account at that point. I really get it, but you’ve got to do crazy stuff to stand out obviously. It was a bad thing, but a good thing to me.”
i'm so sad about these spinoffs because OF COURSE i will see them. i will check out anything that has the barest whif of that original HP magic. but that first one really felt so soulless and i'm sad this one will too, regardless of the candy coated shell.
We’d hardly call ourselves hardcore Potterverse fans, but it seems to us there’s more than a bit of fan unrest regarding this picture. From the apparent light de-gaying of the Dumbledore character to the rather poor attempts at explaining why the film cast Johnny Depp in the title role, it feels more and more like this one’s coming out of the gate with a strong headwind against it.
We can’t say we have strong feelings about it either way, since the first Fantastic Beasts film was little more than a charming bit of forgettable fantasy, from where we were sitting. But no matter how ambivalent we may have been about the sequel or how irritating we tend to find Eddie Redmayne or how questionable we find the appeal of Johnny Depp…
…it sure is pretty to look at.
What can we say? That lovely clash of early 20th Century clothing styles with fantasy design tropes is our costume design sweet spot. It gets us all a-tingle, darlings – but only when it’s done well. Fortunately, they handed the reins over to highly lauded and awarded costume designer Colleen Atwood, who knows a thing or two about how to spin a believable fantasy out of costume design.
Also, Jude Law is looking FOINE, which is a bit of a double-edged sword, because he’s basically Hot, But Sexless Dumbledore in this one, if the rumors are to be believed. Oh, well. We’ll just look at the clothes.
Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is the second of five all new adventures in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.
At the end of the first film, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) was captured by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), with the help of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escaped custody and has set about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings.
In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.
The film features an ensemble cast led by Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, with Jude Law and Johnny Depp. The cast also includes, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Claudia Kim, William Nadylam, Kevin Guthrie, Carmen Ejogo, and Poppy Corby-Tuech.
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is directed by David Yates, from a screenplay by J.K. Rowling. The film is produced by David Heyman, J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram.
Slated for release on November 16, 2018, the film will be distributed worldwide in 2D and 3D in select theatres and IMAX by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment.
[Photo Credit: Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros. – Video Credit: via YouTube.com]
Occasionally I do interviews here with people who have had particularly interesting jobs. Recently a commenter here mentioned that she used to be a nanny for a famous psychic, and I wanted to know more. She kindly agreed to be interviewed, and here’s our conversation.
Note: This interview contains references to the interviewee’s spiritual beliefs, which may be different from your own. Please be respectful of her beliefs in the comment section.
So tell us a little bit about the job.
I was a nanny for “Jane’s” kids (who are also psychic). She was gone quite a bit so I effectively lived with them part-time. I would go with her when she had readings for large audiences occasionally, and other instances where she needed help with the kids even though she was there. We also talked and hung out quite a bit ourselves.
I did all the regular nanny things—picking kids up from school, meals, bedtimes, getting ready for school, movies, swimming, cleaning up the house, and sometimes just brought them with me when I needed to run errands or be somewhere. I even took her daughter on an audition for a TV commercial once.
How was nannying for a psychic different than nannying for a non-psychic would be?
• I think that working with the FBI on missing child cases understandably made “Jane” super protective of the kids in a way that most people probably are not. I took her son into the women’s bathroom with me until he was nine (yes, I got lots of dirty looks) but I was under strict orders to never leave him alone in a public place, not even for a moment.
• Sensitivities to energy. If someone was having a bad day, everyone in the house would know about it because there’s something about being in her house that made me more sensitive to energy, and the kids and Jane herself are also.
• My own abilities going through the roof when I was around the family was another surprise. We would play this game at dinner with the kids with a bunch of glitter shapes (little purple stars, yellow circles, blue squares, etc.) and she would put one in her hand and hold it out to me and the kids so we could try to guess which one she had. She could push the thought into my head and I would get it right. I have no other way to describe it except a mental shove into your thoughts.
• The spirits everywhere. Talkers, practical jokers, general visitors, the list goes on. It was a daily thing. But they like attention, as I suppose I would if I were invisible and wanted people to know I was there. I would say, “Listen, I see you and I am happy to chat and play later, but right now I really have to make dinner and get these kids to eat. Can you give me a break until after bedtime?” and they would.
• The biggest difference was psychic kids.
Psychic kids? How did that end up manifesting?
They are like Jane in the sense that they can see, hear, feel, sense the present as well as future. Not only people but also spirits. Most people don’t have the full range like that. I had to keep things from the kids that weren’t necessary for them to know, or just too adult for them. For example, I suffer from depression and would have some hard days but came to work anyway, and tried to hide it. They would be really concerned even though I was acting normal enough. They would come up and hug me, ask what’s wrong, draw me a picture, or whatever to try and make me feel better. I would just have to tell them that sometimes I get sad for no reason and it’s chemical in my brain doing it, but everything is okay and it’s just a feeling that will pass.
Once I was sick but Jane still needed me to watch the kids so I came over. It was very early, and one of the kids was just waking up. Jane and I had talked about me working that day while he was asleep, so he didn’t know I was sick yet. I was sitting at the kitchen table and he wakes up and wanders in. He looks at me and says, “Did you have your tonsils taken out? Our old babysitter had her tonsils taken out and that’s how her throat felt too.”
What was the most challenging part about working for a psychic?
It really wasn’t. It was fun! The only thing I didn’t like was when she would have people around her who were there just for the psychic stuff and not because they just wanted to be her friend. Some people would absolutely hound her. Her feelings would get hurt and even though she would try not to show it, I could tell.
I suppose it was also pretty hard to hear things about my life that were not going to go the way I wanted, even though that isn’t directly related to the job. I would try my best for something but no, it would turn exactly the way she said anyway. Every flipping time. Imagine getting an interview for your dream job in an amazing foreign country, in a city I always dreamed of visiting. I even got a minor in that language. I told her about it and she said, “You know, that’s not a safe city. It’s incredibly dangerous and I absolutely do not want you going … well, actually, it doesn’t matter. You won’t get the job. Go ahead and try to interview if you don’t want to listen to me but it’s not meant for you.” (Sounds a bit harsh typing it but she’s very cut-and-dry that way.)
Apologies if this is a silly question, but it must be asked: Did you ever feel like you couldn’t hide things from her that you normally might not want to share with a boss, because she would sense them/know them?
Well, we had a very unusual relationship since we were—and still are—so close. There are days with your coworkers or a friend / family member where you might be thinking, “You are driving me stone-cold nuts today and I am so frustrated with you” but you don’t say that. There’s no hiding it though, no matter how professional your behavior is. I know that there were days where Jane was annoyed with me too, and you just have to ignore it even though she knows and I know that she knows, etc. You just pretend and address what people are saying, not the vibe they are sending out.
There was one time where I dozed off on the couch and the kids were hanging out in the living room. One was watching TV, one was drawing. When my boss called, it jolted me awake and I felt guilty for napping, and also was startled by the phone ring. I answered it and Jane got really freaked out because my heart was pounding and she could tell. I had to explain and reassure her several times that I was not under duress and nobody was in the house scaring me / holding us hostage.
Are there things you learned from working with her that you’ve carried with you in your life since?
So many things!
• I initially reached out to her because my (deceased) father’s spirit was following me around trying to get my attention. I asked him to stop but she told me that he was there trying to make it up to me for being a negligent father. He was trying to protect me now and wanted me to know that he’s there. That was very cathartic because I really carried some hurts about not feeling loved by him and feeling sort of rejected in life.
• It has helped me to tap into what I feel—not just what makes sense from a logical perspective.
• Live each day in the moment – life is hard for all of us so it is easy to sort of check out and ignore what is going on around you. Try to be present and not let your mind wander somewhere else when you should be here living your life.
• Don’t let anyone stonewall you or gaslight you. If you think something is happening, act accordingly because you are right way more often than most of us allow ourselves to believe. That’s how I have been in the past, anyway. Advocate for yourself and don’t let anyone push you around because ‘that’s not what’s happening’ or ‘that’s just the process’. Be appropriate, but take no crap.
Is this the most interesting job you’ve ever had? I feel like it has to be.
This is a good question, and a great response. Customer service triage can have a steep learning curve, and knowing when to apologize vs stand your ground vs escalate isn't necessarily something that comes naturally to people, you need to experience it and get a feel for what works.
A reader writes:
I work in a customer-facing role, and often I am dealing with customers who are Not Happy. Recently I had an incident in which the customer used all the right key words (“sue,” “media,” “lawyer,” etc.) and hung up on me, so I felt the need to loop my manager in that this could escalate into something larger. During this meeting, my manager repeated to me that I’m doing a great job, that I’m doing everything right … and that I need to have more confidence in my knowledge and skills and “not let myself get pushed around” like that. Specifically, he told me to be more assertive when I know I’m right, that I have his permission to escalate my language when someone is swearing at me, that I should be “shutting down” more complaints when I know that the higher-up would say exactly the same thing that I am saying, and that I don’t have to “take it” from unhappy people.
My issue is that I don’t really know how to do that. I’ve always relied on the out of “if you’re not happy with what I am saying to you, I can transfer you to my manager.” I’m not sure how to put it into words … I guess I’ve liked NOT having autonomy over my position? Hey, man, sorry you’re mad but I’m just the messenger — let me transfer you to someone with power (who will just say the same thing to you that I am). I also have liked not being the Final Say In The Matter for those times that we are sued — I’d much prefer that to be my manager. The way he phrased it — that I need more confidence in the role — is this what impostor syndrome is? I know for a fact that I don’t respond aggressively back because I AM afraid of making the wrong call … even though I’m 99.9% sure that I’m correct. And how should I be more assertive/aggressive vs. when should I pass someone along to my manager?
This doesn’t sound like imposter syndrome. That’s about feeling like you don’t have the qualifications for the job you’re in, and that at some point people are going to realize that you’re a fraud.
This sounds more like what your manager framed it as: that you need to have more confidence in yourself and your ability to handle difficult customers on your own.
He’s telling you that handling more of those situations yourself is part of the job, and that by just transferring people to him, you’re sort of declining to do the job when it gets hard and pushing it off on him instead. That doesn’t mean that you should handle every difficult customer on your own — sometimes things are worth escalating — but it sounds like you’re defaulting too quickly to transferring people to your manager, rather than trying to deal with tricky situations yourself first.
But handling people yourself doesn’t mean being aggressive with them! In fact, in every customer service situation I can think of, that would be the wrong approach. It usually means listening to people, responding with empathy and kindness, and explaining what you can and can’t do about their situation.
But to do that with any confidence, you need to be better aligned with your boss on what he does and doesn’t want you to handle yourself. I assume there are still some situations you should escalate to him, and you need to find out what those are so that you’re not just guessing. I’d also talk with him about exactly what he wants these new-to-you conversations with customers to look like, again so you’re not guessing and can act with the confidence that you’re managing customers the way he’d want. In particular, be sure to ask him, “What’s the point where you do want me to transfer a caller to you?” If he’s vague or you don’t feel his answer tells you what you need to know, try walking through some concrete examples. Say, “Can we revisit a few of my toughest recent callers and talk about how I should handle situations like those that?”
And because you’re afraid of making the wrong call, ask him about that! It’s okay to say, “I’m worried about making the wrong call. Can I tell you what decisions I would have made for some recent callers, and see if you agree with my instincts?”
In general, though, when you need to be assertive with someone who’s aggressive and angry, here are some phrases that can help:
* “I understand why you’re frustrated. I can’t do X, but I can do Y. Would you like me to do that?”
* “I’m really sorry that happened. Let me see what I can do to help.”
* “I understand why you’re frustrated. Unfortunately, because we do state our policy about this on the purchase page, I’m not able to do X. I’m so sorry about that.”
* “I’m really sorry I can’t do what you’re asking. Our policy is X because of Y.”
Ideally your boss would empower you to offer something — like a small discount on this order, a discount on a future order, or so forth. If that’s not currently the case, you could suggest it to him.
Beyond that, if someone is being abusive, you can and should shut that down — but even then you don’t need to do it with aggression. In those cases, you can simply say, “I want to help you resolve this, but if you keep using that language, I’ll have to end this call. Would you rather call back another time?” … followed by, if necessary, “I’m going to end this call now because of your language.”
Really, though, the first step is to talk to your boss and get more clarity on what these conversations should look like on your end. It’s very reasonable to expect that kind of guidance, and it should equip you to act with more confidence.
Last, keep in mind that this type of thing gets easier with practice. So if you feel uneasy when you first start doing it, that’s not a sign that you suck at it or are getting it wrong. It’s just a sign that it’s new to you, and that you’ll probably feel more comfortable as you get more practice.
As of the Monday following Halloween, my report stopped coming in. She didn’t say anything about resigning or leaving. She just stopped coming in (the Friday after Halloween was her last day).
I was concerned when she didn’t come in because it wasn’t like her. I called police to do a welfare check when she didn’t show up and could not be reached. The police did a check and told me she moved and didn’t live at the address we had on file. I called the property management office, but they didn’t have a forwarding address and said she had informed them abruptly she would be moving a month before her lease ended and wouldn’t be renewing and she was moved out within days. The email and Google voice number she put on her resume and hiring paperwork are no long in service and we don’t know any other contact/phone/social media information for her.
I feel terrible about what happened. As for going to HR, we are in the HR department. I am the manager of Employee and Labor Relations. The director of HR and the C-suite individual they report to both voted for the costume in the contest. Everyone including them thinks it was “good fun.” The company I work for is a large one, anyone who lives in this state would recognize the name, but no one sees things my way.
I didn’t mention this in my first letter, but some of the comments did pick up on this. My report who wore the costume was not the same race as the report she imitated. The costumed report also weighs more than the person she dressed up as and intentionally wore too small clothing and a crop shirt with her stomach and cleavage showing. Her makeup and mannerisms were exaggerated, according to everyone. My report she dressed up as is actually very intelligent and articulate. She said her portrayal was not meant to be insulting even though it obviously was.
I’ve started looking for another job. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’m going to be a dad soon, I would have resigned already (my wife is a freelancer with many clients, but given that she is pregnant we want the stability of a guaranteed income).
Thanks to Alison and all who commented. It made a big difference knowing I was right to be upset even though no one else saw it this way.
That said, we already know that cats rule the internet, but we wanted to see for ourselves the relationship in Google Trends between cats and beards. Our own analysis shows that there is indeed a strong correlation in online search traffic for the terms ‘beards’ and ‘cats’. So it looks like this trend too is not going away anytime soon! Here’s to cats and beards and to expect more of this cheeky phrase from proud beard owners … “Excuse me! My eyes are up here.”
On that note it only seemed fitting for us to do a post on beards and cats, and to share a few of our favorite feline meets facial hair photos. For help, we reached out to Tamas Kovacs (a freelance logo and graphic designer) who owns @beardsandcats_official for some insight and background as the resident cat and beard expert. Although his IG feed was only launched a year ago, it already has nearly 22K followers (at the time of this writing).
The original idea came to Tamas back in 2013 when he started his Beards and Cats Facebook page with the goal of introducing bearded guys and their feline partners in a fun and friendly fashion. In the photo below (left) is Tamas and his lovely cat Evetke (meaning squirrel in Hungarian), and on the right is a collage of the top 9 most viewed photos from 2017 on @beardsandcats_official.
We had some questions for Tamas about his popular feed, and here’s what he shared with us…
Q: What was the inspiration behind starting it? (in other words – why cats and beards?)
Well, everybody (that counts) loves cats. I do too. I realized that many of my male friends prefer cats to dogs. At that time the Internet was already loaded with handsome guys holding cute kittens tenderly, thus guys and cats were already ‘a thing’. After looking at the pictures I thought ‘Hey, what’s with all these clean-shaven boys? Why are they over represented among men?’ – as I’m a proud beard wearer too (no offense to clean-shaven men). I remember very well, what came next: a regular internet search for bearded guys and cats kept showing only Tumblr results. And that’s it. I was unhappy, and eventually that gave me the idea to start my own page – first on Facebook, then on Instagram.
Q: Was at difficult at the beginning to find images of bearded guys with cats to post?
Yes, it was very difficult, I literally had to hunt down those images from the Internet. Beards had just become popular at the time, but photos of bearded men still were hard to find – you’d think 2013 wasn’t very long ago to be that difficult to find some beards. Hipsters were a much smaller market at the time. I was scrolling through beard blogs in hoping to find something related to my page.
Not long after, just when I thought I’d run out of content, I began to receive submissions from my first fans. And of course, I was very grateful, not just because without them I’d have run out of beard+cat pictures very quickly, but it was also my goal to show everyday people, with their real-life feline partners – not just models posing with cats in an artificial environment.
Q: Now with over 21K followers do your photos mostly come from Instagrammers sending you their photos?
It turned out that Beards and cats is indeed ‘a thing’, because the fan base has grown from dozens of followers to hundreds and within 4 years, thousands. In the meantime I even had to say goodbye to some unpublished pictures collected from the Internet, because I preferred to focus on the submissions I received. And when I started @beardsandcats_official on Instagram, the whole thing has become automatic. I started to publish the most popular Facebook posts to the Instagram page, and as I thought they would, people have responded very positively. The Instagram page has grown a lot bigger (in a couple of months) than the Facebook page has in 5 years.
And now I receive more submissions than I could simply publish: more than a dozen submissions each day. I had a real headache to find a solution to show them all, like I did before when it was managable with the average daily 2-4 pictures. But I found the way. I publish 8 to 16 pictures per day now to the Instagram Stories. They are only shown for 24 hours, and the audience get to decide (through voting) which submission gets to the next level: the Facebook page. If Facebook fans approve the post, the submission eventually makes it to the Instagram feed, which is now a very valuable platform to get “Instagram exposure”.
We mentioned earlier that Tamas is a graphic designer and go figure, his favorite subject is cats. His talent is very well applied in his online shop called The Beards and Cats Store where he sells shirts, mugs, tote bags, pillows and much more. To date his most popular design is called ‘Cat Daddy’.
And speaking of cat daddies, we tried to narrow down the playing field to a favorite photo but that’s always a tough and subjective call. However, we did agree with Tamas that one of our top picks would certainly come from @sarperduman (photo below).
Sarper Duman is a pianist from Istanbul Turkey who rescues injured street cats and gives them a home. These cats become his most loyal audience and closest family. To read more about Sarper and his feline friends please check out this paw-some post from LoveMeow.
If you haven’t seen any of his videos, we wanted to share one of our favs with you here…enjoy!
Seeing this adorable kitty tickling the ivories makes us want to write a post about cats and musicians…hmmmmm…stay tuned. In the meantime, we wanted to share a bit more eye candy of a few more furry felines and their fuzzy male companions.
In closing we asked Tamas if he had a message to share with his many beard and cat loving fans. Here’s what he said – “Keep submitting your (men’s) beards and cats and enjoy the furrr!” We couldn’t have said it better. Be sure to check out @beardsandcats_official for daily updates and don’t forget to submit your favorite cat and beard photos.
Fun Fact: We read a recent statistic (unverified) that bearded men stroke their faces on average, 700 times a day! We can’t imagine any cat wanting that much attention. >^..^<
PS – For those readers with beards, we wanted to share this informative and interesting beard care article from our pals at Paw Melts who make the most amazing beard oils and balms.
dropping another fran fine reference in your feeds.
An abridged history of class extremes.
I’m hardly to the first person to proclaim that leopard is a neutral. The black-and-tan pattern looks great with almost any color palette — jewel tones, neons, black, camel. It can be dressed up or down, it flatters every skin tone, and it pops up on runways so often that it hardly seems fair to call it a trend.
And yet, what leopard conveys in Western fashion is highly mutable — especially when it comes to signifying class.
Think about Jackie Kennedy’s leopard-print Oleg Cassini coat, or Bob Dylan singing about Edie Sedgwick’s “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat.” Consider Diane von Furstenberg’s office-friendly leopard-print wrap dresses. All of these images evoke a kind of old-money femininity bolstered by the kind of unimpeachable confidence that comes from having a great investment portfolio.
But leopard print is also a signal of poor taste and of “trashiness,” which really means that it represents the sexually available lower-class woman. Picture Peg Bundy in leopard-print spandex on Married...with Children, or Fran Drescher in a tiny leopard-print mini skirt on The Nanny, or Lil’ Kim squatting with her legs spread in that infamous 1996 promotional photo, her crotch barely covered by a leopard-print thong. Peg Bundy is a low-class sybarite, but Fran Drescher and Lil’ Kim are cut from a different (sorry) cloth. They are not content to stay in Queens and Brooklyn, respectively. They are women on the move, using their wits and sexuality to slink into lives of luxury.
While talking about leopard print, I would be remiss to ignore the pattern’s true progenitors: actual leopards.
“If you’re being a nerd, leopards don’t really have spots,” Craig Saffoe, the curator of Great Cats at the National Zoo in Washington says. “They have what we call a rosette. Leopards have a rosette, cheetahs have spots all over, and jaguars have a rosette with a spot inside.”
Saffoe speculates that leopards evolved their spots as a form of camouflage to help them hunt.
“What we know about black leopards is that they are found in higher-density, deeper forests. Being solid black in a dark environment would certainly help you conceal yourself,” he says.
Jo Weldon is a burlesque dancer who has spent the past three years researching the history of leopard print for her forthcoming book Fierce: The History of Leopard Print.
“Leopards are independent, they’re adaptable, they’re in every environment,” Weldon says. “They sleep in trees, they can swim in the water, they’re born to single moms. They’re these very powerful, independent, beautiful animals. I think we have a primal identification with the animals.”
Humans have long borrowed from leopards in both fashion and iconography. Usually, this involved killing the animals and wearing their fur or skins. Seshat, the Egyptian goddess of wisdom, was shown clad in leopard skins. Dionysus, the the Greek god of wine, was associated with the leopard, and was sometimes depicted wearing their fur. The Anatolian goddess Cybele was often depicted near leopards. Leopard fur was prized everywhere the animal lived, and leopard print appeared on textiles used in 18th-century French and Italian clothing.
But Weldon says that none of these things explain how leopard fur and leopard print entered mainstream Western fashion. The proliferation of leopard print in particular is mainly due to the rise of the mass production of clothing and the development of synthetic materials.
Before the 1930s, most clothing was made to order, and was relatively expensive. People who were not wealthy had small, functional wardrobes, and were largely shut out of the world of fashion. But in the early 20th century, changes in technology and the economy created cheaper, mass-produced clothing that the middle and lower classes could afford.
“The rise of the Art Deco and Art Nouveau movements inspired people to use animal motifs and then stylized animal motifs,” Weldon says. “The rise of synthetics made it affordable and accessible.”
Clothing ads in the 1930s promoted velvetine and chenille as affordable alternatives to leopard fur. Around this time, Lanvin made silk and rayon crepe dresses emblazoned with leopard patterns. But leopard print really hit the mainstream in 1947, when Christian Dior included it in his debut “New Look” collection. Dior used leopard not as a fur or a faux fur, but as a print. Fashion critic Alexander Fury at T Magazinecalled leopard print a “house leitmotif” at Dior, noting that the designer’s muse Mitzah Bricard often wore the pattern.
In the 1950s, the American lingerie brand Vanity Fair began selling leopard-print underwear. Leopard print started showing up regularly in mass-produced lingerie collections, and then in swimwear, contributing to the pattern’s association with female sexuality.
Leopard print was a favorite of Eartha Kitt. In one photo — which Weldon cites as an early inspiration for her obsession with the pattern — Kitt wears a leopard coat over a leopard-print dress, and holds a cheetah on a leash. The print seems perfect for Eartha, who embodied feline qualities even before she played Catwoman, and who sang songs about using her feminine wiles to court wealthy men.
In 1962, Jackie Kennedy wore an Oleg Cassini leopard-skin coat. The coat was a sensation, but it caused a spike in demand for real leopard skin, leading to the death of as many as 250,000 leopards. Cassini spent the rest of his life wracked with guilt over the harm he had caused the animal population.
In 1966, the song “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” appeared on Bob Dylan’s album Blonde on Blonde. The song was putatively about Edie Sedgwick. I’ve only seen one photo of Edie in leopard print, but it strikes me as something she would wear, as a Mayflower-descendant heiress who found fame in the grimy worlds of ’60s New York counterculture.
Émilie Régnier is a photographer whose 2017 show “From Mobutu to Beyoncé,” at the Bronx Documentary Center, featured a portrait series of people wearing the print. In one photo, an African woman in a leopard-print bikini top clutches her belly on the beach in Gabon. In Texas, Larry the Leopard Man reclines nude on a couch, showing the bluish leopard spots tattooed across nearly every inch of his body.
“People who wear leopard told me they feel beautiful, they feel strong, they feel powerful, they feel sexy,” Régnier says.
Régnier says that the idea for the series came to her when she was visiting the Chateau Rouge — a large African market — during an art residency in Paris in the fall of 2014. A woman with a large red afro caught her eye, and Régnier invited her to her studio to be photographed.
“She arrived wearing this beautiful leopard-print boubou,” Régnier says. “A few days after, I happened to be in a party in the Rive Gauche and there was this beautiful kind of bourgeois or wealthy blonde, young, mother-like woman wearing leopard. And I was like, okay, from this African neighborhood in Paris to this most bourgeoisie place, leopard is kind of crossing the bridges.”
Régnier stresses that leopard skin has its own separate history in Africa. CIA-funded Congolese dictator Mobutu Sese Seko was famous for his leopard-skin cap. And vestments of the the Shembe church in South Africa traditionally included leopard fur, though church leaders switched to faux fur in 2014. To Régnier, leopard has provided a medium for dialogue between African fashion, European haute couture, and streetwear.
“Leopard [has a] sexual or at least eroti[c] connotation, because it was linked to Africa,” Régnier says. “If a woman was wearing leopard, it means that she has a savage or wild sexuality. It became one of the most used prints in haute couture, and from haute couture it became democratized to streetwear, and it went back to the African continent free of its initial symbolism.”
In the United States, the Endangered Species Act of 1973 banned the importation and sale of leopard skin, which meant that leopard print took over. Despite the law, poaching is still rampant for the purpose of selling leopard skin and parts. Leopards are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List as “threatened,” and according to Saffoe, poaching rates are similar to those of tigers.
“We’re going to kill species off if we keep that up,” Saffoe says. “Cats are in a lot of trouble with the amount that they’re being poached.”
By the 1970s in the United States, leopard print had developed associations with the tacky and the tawdry. So it was no surprise that the pattern found many fans in the nascent punk movement. Iggy Pop performed shirtless in leather pants and an unzipped leopard-print jacket. Sid Vicious occasionally wore a leopard-print vest. But it was Poison Ivy from the Cramps who perfected the marriage of leopard print and punk. She matched leopard-print onesies with vinyl go-go boots, shiny red lipstick, and a teased red bouffant, resulting in a sort of nightmare Peggy Bundy effect a decade before Married… with Children hit the airwaves.
Speaking of Peggy Bundy, one trope Weldon kept noticing in her research is that of “the bad mother” who wears leopard.
“The obvious one is Anne Bancroft in The Graduate,” she says. “Then there’s Ann-Margret in Tommy; the mother who’s played by Rosalind Russell in Oh Dad, Poor Dad; Katherine Helmond in Brazil, where she’s wearing that Schiaparelli-esque cheetah shoe on her head. Peg Bundy. You see over and over, this mother who’s bad because she’s either indulging or repressing sexual power.”
In 1991, leopard was again elevated by Azzedine Alaïa, whose fall/winter collection that year featured supermodels including Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, and Nadège du Bospertus in head-to-toe leopard print — corsets, coats, bodysuits, dresses, stiletto boots, berets. The collection was maximalist and crazy, but sexy and sophisticated.
The ’90s marched on. Kurt Cobain famously paired a faux leopard jacket with a ratty T-shirt, a hunting cap, and white bug-eye sunglasses. Scary Spice incorporated leopard print into her costumes. Enid Coleslaw wore a leopard-print mini skirt to visit a sex shop in Ghost World.
“People have such strong, strong reactions to it,” Weldon says. “They love it or hate it. Most of the people that I’ve had tell me they hate it, they’ll say something about the kind of woman they think wears it. There’s an association with women who behave badly, usually sexually.”
During the Obama years, Michelle Obama occasionally wore the print — on cardigans, on a sheath dress. She made leopard print approachable; something your friend’s cool mom would wear. Sure, there was a nod to Jacqueline Kennedy, and perhaps to Eartha Kitt, but also to the J.Crew of Jenna Lyons, of which the first lady was famously a fan.
“I don’t know if you ever wear leopard,” Régnier says, and I tell her I do. “It’s a print that you wear because you want to project some sort of image to the world. I think we see fashion [as] consumption, but it’s a way to choose second skin. We didn’t choose the skin we are born in, but we can choose the skin we are showing.”
I have a question about lodging for a work trip. I work for a very small company (about six of us total) that has been aggressively trying to reduce expenses for the last six months. I work remotely for the company and fly up to the headquarters about once a month. While I am there, I stay in the office (on an air mattress) during my stay. It is not a very comfortable situation, and the offices are also incredibly loud on the street outside and during the winter typically very cold (large windows, not a lot of insulation).
I am flying up next week and someone else will be staying in the office so I assumed that I would be staying in a hotel. However, instead I will be staying at the CEO’s apartment while he will be staying at another property he owns. This happened one other time before, and he would text me in the morning after I left so that he could stop by and get his things and get ready. I am a woman and generally uncomfortable with this situation, but also a recent college grad so unsure as to what is normal or not in this situation.
This is not normal! None of it is normal!
Being expected to sleep on an air mattress in the office is especially not normal.
The part about staying in the CEO’s apartment isn’t normal either, but if he’s not going to be there while you’re staying there, it’s slightly less egregious … but the part about him coming in once you’re at work moves it back toward pretty weird. When you’re traveling for work, it’s reasonable to expect that you’ll have some privacy in your off-hours, not have someone coming into your space, even if you’re not there when it happens.
I get that they’re trying to aggressively reduce expenses, but if they can’t afford to put you up in a basic hotel when you travel, then they can’t afford to have people traveling for work.
I know it’s easy to say that in theory and harder when the response to you could be that it’s a requirement of your job, so you’ll have to decide how willing you are to push back on this. But for for the record, it would be reasonable to say, “I understand we’re trying to save money, but I’m not well rested when I sleep in the office. I’d like to start booking an economy-priced hotel instead.”
With this next trip where you’re supposed to stay in the CEO’s apartment while he stays in another place he owns, is it feasible to switch that so that he stays home and you’re staying in the property that isn’t his home? (That obviously won’t work in all circumstances, like if there are other people living in the second one.) Or you could just say, “I’d prefer not to stay in Bob’s house. Last time he kept needing to come by to pick up his things and get ready, which wasn’t conducive to have a comfortable, private place to stay in. I’d like to book an economy hotel instead, and will keep the price as low as I can.”
Ultimately, if they’re strongly opposed to paying for hotels, you’ll have to decide how much capital you’re willing to use to push back … but please know that being put up in a hotel during business travel is a very basic, very normal expectation, and you aren’t being high-maintenance or overly squeamish by having a problem with what they’re doing. They’re the ones being weird and out of sync with business norms here, not you.
We’re all getting our money’s worth, at this point.
Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip star and everyone’s correct choice for favorite human, showed up on the Oscar’s red carpet in a gorgeous African-inspired gold and black gown.
But by the time she presented the Oscar for Best Short Film and Best Documentary Short Subject with Maya Rudolph, she changed into a white dress that looked pretty familiar. Carrying her shoes on stage, Haddish wore a Alexander McQueen dress that she’d previously worn to the Girls Trip premiere...
...and again during her SNL monologue, where she declared that she was going to get her money’s worth “I feel like I should be able to wear what I want, when I want, however many times I want, as long as I Febreze it,” Haddish said.
And again during Weekend Update.
And yes, maybe her feet were tired — like Ugg-slippers-on-the-Oscar-stage tired — but it still looks really, really good.
This leads to the question, who got their money’s worth more: Rita Moreno, who can amortize the cost of her dress over 56 years, or Haddish, who stands to reclaim wearing the same white gown over and over from the Miss Havisham stereotypes for good? And the answer is, we all do, including Mother Earth.
You might not know his face, but you’ve seen his work. With over 150 movie and TV credits to his name, Doug Jones has been every creature, monster and villain known to Hollywood. From the Amphibian Man in “The Shape of Water,” the Silver Surfer in “Fantastic Four” to the Thin Clown in “Batman Returns,” Jones has been spicing up your movie-watching experience for the past three decades. From Great big story
If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair, but the hand sanitizer and the electric toothbrush. We asked actress and founder of nonprofit organization Cancer Schmancer Fran Drescherabout the beauty oil, vegetarian protein, and essential oils she can’t live without.
Just re-read Murder On the Orient Express with my book club, and did some research on Christie's life. She's second probably only to JK Rowling in highest selling author of all time, and really defined the modern mystery genre.
And I also learned that Christie herself went missing during the 20s for a week or so - by then she was quite famous and it made international news. She was eventually found, after an extensive search, at a sanitarium where she had voluntarily checked in under a pseudonym, and diagnosed with a fugue state of amnesia. Several press stories theorized that she had attempted to harm herself in some way and planned to frame her philandering husband.
So... allegedly... she done Gone Girl'ed before Gone Girl was Gone Girl.
I have been obsessed with the Argentinian chef Francis Mallman since I saw his of Chef’s Table episode in 2015. Sure, about the only thing we have in common is a desire to set food on fire, you know, artfully. He does so these days to great acclaim on his private Patagonian island (and 8 other restaurants around the world), accessible through two flights, a five-hour drive, and then 90-minute raft across a lake. I live on a busy block of a crowded city accessible by nearly every format of public transportation, and do so to moderate acclaim (relative mostly to how well the patrons slept that day) under a wispy-by-design gas broiler.
When this Valentine’s Day rolls around, don’t forget that pets need some love too! I mean, who is always willing to stay in with you and watch a movie or snuggle on your bed while you read a book or “help you” clean out that cereal bowl you left on the counter? That’s right … it’s our pets! Whether you have a cat or dog, these conversation heart toys are the perfect present to show your fur baby how much you care!
Print out the heart template and use fabric scissors to cut two hearts and one long strip per toy.
Place the letters you want to use onto your heart to make sure they fit and arrange them to be centered and straight. Iron them onto your felt. I would suggest doing the lowest (synthetic) option on your iron for cheaper non-wool felt sheets and do a test letter on a scrap piece to see if you need to use a tea towel between the felt and the iron. I had two different blends of felt and one worked better with the towel and the other worked better without it!
Match up the end of your long strip with the bottom tip of your front heart and use your embroidery thread to do a loose whipstitch all the way around the heart …… until you get around to the other side. Once you get around to the front, sew your bottom seam together, add the back heart on, and continue to whipstich the side piece to the back heart as well.Leave a 2″ opening so you have some room to stuff your toy!Since my toys are for cats, I used some catnip bits in with the stuffing, but I’ve heard some dogs like it too!Once the stuffing is in place, continue the whipstitch to close up your heart and you’re ready to present it to your pet!So cute! Of course you can make your heart say whatever you want, but every time I see the dog toy “my tail wags for you,” I keep singing it in my head to the tune of Prince’s “I would die for you” line … it’s pretty catchy! Anyway, at first Mac was a little too distracted by the food props to notice the toys (I guess he even likes dog treats!), but once all the food was gone, he started to play with his new presents! He basically likes any felt toys that bounce a bit when you throw them and these totally fit the bill there. Hope you get the chance to make a cute gesture of love for your fur baby this Valentine’s Day! xo. Laura
I’m looking for questions to feature on a new Ask a Manager podcast.
If you have a question that you’d like to discuss with me on the podcast — meaning we’d be able to have some back and forth as opposed to the straight Q&A of the format here — please send it to me at email@example.com.
I’m going to pick questions in the next few days, so please send your question in soon if you want it to be considered for the first batch of shows.
If you submitted a question to me for the website in the past and I haven’t answered it, feel free to resubmit it for the podcast. (That includes even very recently-submitted questions.)
If I don’t use your question on the podcast, I may use it for the blog — so if you’re only interested in being on the podcast, please note that in your email.
aw yiss. (setups where there are cat beds NEXT to the laptop and the cats actually sit in the beds are fascinating to me - how does the cat not get tempted by the very expensive heat source??)
In the comments on last week’s post about working from home with pets, demands were made for a post with photos of pets taking over people’s workspaces. I sent out a call for them, and you delivered, with a ton of photos readers submitted of their pets in their workspaces — mostly home offices, but not entirely. (Click photos to enlarge. And if you’re reading this from the home page, you have to click through to see the photos.)
Now this is one video that you’re going to want to turn the volume up for…because this den of purring kittens is the cutest thing you’re going to see all day!
Watch as these adorable little fluff balls cuddle and make the cutest PURRRING sounds. After watching and listening to these super cute nuggets, you’re going to want to jump right in their bed and start cuddling with them too!
It really doesn’t get much cuter than this (especially at the 1:10 minute mark when one of the kitties gives us a special greeting!). Watch the video below!
That was too much cuteness to handle! Be sure to share this video with your family and friends if you loved it!