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Parenting, Pop Culture

What Orange is the New Black Teaches Us About Parenting

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NOTE: No spoilers here! If you’re reading this, then you’re my bitch… in a good way, not necessarily in a prison way… and BBFs never ruin good binges! I myself am consuming slowly to savor the show; so I’m still not done with Orange is the New Black, Season 2. Jealous? 

If you’re like me, the ladies of Litchfield State Prison have you locked up and unable to do much else besides watch them in the new season of Orange is the New Black.

Even if you don’t watch the show, you know the premise: Piper Chapman, a bisexual Yuppie with a male fiancé that wears annoying sweaters, goes to jail for being a drug mule for her ex-girlfriend ten years prior. It’s a fish out of water story set in the cesspool of the US prison system.

Although the series is specifically about harsh realities — the injustices of incarceration, the viciousness of the cycle of poverty, racial tension, drug and alcohol addiction, mental illness, and more — it also lends itself to some universal life lessons, too. read more

Pop Culture

The Royal Birth & The Summer of Love

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This past week the whole world cheered as Kate Middleton gave birth to the baby who will someday be king.

There are many classy traditions around British royal births, including the fact that the news is delivered in a white envelope to Buckingham Palace, and the Queen is the first to read the details before announcing it to the world.

Rather quickly, we found out that one royal tradition — natural childbirth — may not have been in the cards for Kate. However, it was confirmed that she had a vaginal birth.

That I read this rather private detail in several reports made me laugh out loud. I could only imagine what was written on the note the Queen received:

“Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, was safely delivered of a son, at 4:24 p.m., local time, weighing 8 lbs., 6 oz. The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth, and by conjecture he confirms that the baby arrived vaginally. The Duke himself averted his eyes from the Duchesses’ savaged crumpet, lest he go blind and/or decline to produce a spare.” read more

Best o’ the Bitch, Parenting, Pop Culture

Fat Like Me

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Summer is officially here, and you know what that means: time to peel off the layers and take a good look at what’s getting squeezed into shorts and bathing suits this year.

If you haven’t been shopping yet, let me tell you — 2013 summer fashion meters are set to scant. My muffin top went full-on soufflé when I tried on a pair of this year’s über low-slung, crotch hugging shorts. After scouring a half dozen stores, I realized the only option for somewhat decent coverage was “boyfriend shorts,” which is a nice way of saying if your physique is not up for short-shorts with quarter- inch zippers, then you’re a man.

Feeling dejected and ready for a snack, I ran to the comfort of my own home to kick back with People magazine, only to find that beneath its virtuous wrapper (“New Details: Brad’s Devotion – The Inside Story”) lurked a 36-page section devoted to “Most Talked About Bodies 2013.” Aside from the usual age-defying suspects (JLo, Gwenyth, Madonna, Satan), I found myself now privy to around 30 different diets that would supposedly clean my gut, reset my body, detox me, integrate my nutrition, open me up to “miracle carbs,” give me “body confidence,” shred me, kick up my metabolism, and drown me in juices and supplements. read more

Bitch’in Life, My Bitches

The Big Chill

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Do people realize when something they do is a game changer? Did Madonna know that performing “Like a Virgin” on the first MTV Video Music Awards would become an iconic pop culture moment? When Apple launched the Macintosh did they realize they would change the way the world works? How about when Bob Geldof and Midge Ure formed Band Aid to raise money for Africa by singing, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Could they have predicted celebrities using their power to heal the world would one day be de rigueur?

1984 was a big year for game changers. And on a personal note, with hair as big as my dreams, I left for college. Within the first week, I met my BBFs, and through knowing them, nothing in my life has ever been the same.

This might sound dramatic, but how I ended up in the same dorm with them had a fair share of 18-year old drama anyways. Ms. Smartypants (yours truly) thought the world was her oyster, and all schools would beg to have her pearls of incomparable wisdom. Several rejections later, I was lucky enough to get into just one place: the University of Michigan. That probably had more to do with their desire for out-of-state tuition than anything else, but I took it. I knew nothing of the Midwest, and I chose Michigan not for its stellar academics, Big Ten sports, or any other normal reasons. I picked it because I liked The Big Chill, a movie most memorable for its portrayal of the death of post-collegiate dreams, the heaviness of adult responsibilities, the destructive nature of discontent, and of course, the power of lifelong friendships. This may seem to be an odd motivator for a teen, but deep down I always knew that suburban life’s quagmire was my milieu, so that sort of future wasn’t just inevitable (as it is for pretty much all of us), it was appealing. Anyways, after a brief landing in an all-girls dorm (the “Virgin Vault”), I transferred into the epicenter of debauchery and home of my soon-to-be BBFs, West Quad. read more

Bitch’in Life

Grudge Match

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Every month when Vanity Fair arrives, I immediately turn to the back page to the “Proust Questionnaire,” where famous people are asked philosophical questions that supposedly reveal their true nature like, “What is your idea of perfect happiness?” and “How would you like to die?”

But my favorite question by far is, “What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?”

That’s the money question — the one that most reveals the underbelly of the beast in question. I’m intrigued by the self-serving (i.e., Danielle Steele’s answer: “not always standing up for myself enough”) and impressed by how many people say, “procrastination,” from my Facebook peeps to Cathy Rigby.

If I were to take VF‘s Proust Questionnaire, I’d skip the lighter, albeit mortal, sins like gluttony and sloth (sorry procrastinators, that’s your category!), and go right to the gusto: wrath. Or, as I like to practice it: grudge holding. read more

Pop Culture

Girls to Women

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“Comedy is best when it’s about humiliation.” ~ Judd Apatow, about Girls, the HBO show he produces

The other day I had a triumphant meeting with an amazing woman about an inspirational website she wants my partner and me to design and build for her. We met in her home-office, which was meticulously decorated with vibrant colors, museum-quality artwork, and a million stunning details. It was like being swaddled inside a rainbow, which enhanced the process and inspired me to come up with some pretty great ideas. It was a return to my former, 20 and early 30-something self, when I worked in New York City and routinely had exciting brainstorming sessions with creative clients, as that was my job.

I was back.

And then I was late.

By the time I got home, it was already seven minutes beyond when I was due to pick up my son and three friends to take them from school to a wrap-up meeting for a club they’ve done all year. Rushing into the house to grab a snack for the boys and to let the dog out for a quick pee, I was assaulted by the most putrid scene I could imagine. read more

Pop Culture

Are You Hungry for the Twilight of Repressed Girls?

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We knew it, but The Hunger Games proved it: Girls got the power. In the biggest opening weekend ever for an original movie, Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games’ somber protagonist, kicked ass at the box office with a cool $155 million earned. She shoved Bella Swan of Twilight out of the way ($143 million opening for Twilight: New Moon) without breaking a sweat.

Two iconic female characters + the hunky men who love them = gold.

As in billions of shekels. And that kind of financial clout is incredibly powerful.

But as Spider-Man (and your lovin’ bitch) sez, with great power comes great responsibility. And while authors Stephanie Meyer and Suzanne Collins have done amazing jobs as storytellers — especially in print — they’ve also done something incredibly dangerous that’s amplified on the big screen.

Without the internal exposition that the books provide, both Katniss and Bella project an unearthly ideal for girls and women: the fully controlled female. And the fantasy of somehow being able to lock down emotions to a point of cold, calculated, badass domination doesn’t work out so well in real life. Just take a gander at Betty Draper across the entertainment way on TV’s blockbuster Mad Men. read more