Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Beauty Standards Changing

One of my favorite things that I have had time to do this year is watch old movies. And by “old movies” I don’t mean ones like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (although that is pretty excellent).

I mean going back to the days of black and white and musicals; films like Casablanca, Sabrina, Roman Holiday, Some Like it Hot, An Affair to Remember, How to Marry a Millionaire, etc. The list goes on and on.

Being a girl who has often felt like I was born in the wrong era, I love watching movies such as these when holding hands and a simple look said it all.

This being the case, you would think I would be completely captivated by Cary Grant, Humphry Bogart, and the other leading men in these movies, but instead I always find myself utterly spellbound by the leading ladies: Audrey Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Marilyn Monroe, Katharine Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Deborah Kerr, Greta Garbo, etc. To me, these women seem to radiate with a pure kind of beauty that one just doesn’t seem to see nowadays.


These breathtakingly gorgeous women did not wear the marks of a society that is constantly searching for the next cosmetic product, treatment, or surgery that promises the restoration of youth. They embraced their curves, their natural figure. They exhibited sex appeal by simply accentuating their shape and femininity. They aged with grace and elegance. Their beauty was humble and untainted.

This is certainly not to say that I think the women of Hollywood today are not stunning, or that the women from past generations faced just as much pressure to look beautiful, but there are more options available to women today to alter themselves and they are taking full advantage of it...and then asking for more.

Leading ladies today go to great lengths to try to hold onto their youthful beauty rather than simply embracing natural beauty. And even if they can’t make something “perfect”, then there is Photoshop, which has become an all too prevalent tool, to erase any slight imperfection, making their beauty even less natural-looking. As a result, this transfers over to the rest of women in society.

For the most part, being an attractive woman in our society today means always maintaining a super-thin figure by any means possible (do celebrity moms race to see who can get back to pre-baby weight the fastest?), fighting against the tiniest sign of wrinkles or lines (shouldn’t you be happy to have a lot of laugh lines?), having a nice tan (what is so wrong with pale skin anyways?), and on and on and on.

I obviously do not mean this as a blanket statement. There are many gorgeous women in Hollywood and everyday life that love and show off their curves and natural beauty. Ultimately, I believe that being healthy and happy with your appearance is all that matters. But when did women go from being happy (more than happy actually) to look like this:

To this:

Oh, hey look...Marilyn is in both pictures
To me, wrinkles and curves say that you have lived and that you enjoy life. You have laughed and cried, you have had your fair share of worries and made mistakes, you have had adventures and known joy, maybe you have gotten to know the delight of motherhood, or you weren’t afraid to indulge yourself now and then.

Why would you want to erase that?

Audrey Hepburn looks even more stunning with her lovely laugh lines

When did the standards for beauty in our society change, and how far will it go?

I'll keep studying these unaffected beauties and let you know if I figure it out. In the meantime, I hope you accept your naturally beautiful self for all of it's perfect imperfections.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Remember You, Me, and Charlie? Well, guess what? They published a contribution of mine yesterday!!

I was so happy that I thought I would share on this space too the small, fun little item that I contributed.

Here you go! :

Yarn Bombing

I imagine this is what a Truffula Tree would look like in real life

Hello there You, Me, and Charlie! Do you know about yarn bombing? If you have never heard of it, I can guarantee you will love it!

Yarn bombing, or knit graffiti, is a type of street art that has emerged within the last few years and is currently popping up in cities all over the world.

It may be something as simple as decorating a pole or parking meter,or dressing up a statue. It may be on a pretty large scale, such as a bus, group of trees, or even a tank. It may serve to brighten and spice up ordinary places like the subway or a telephone booth.

While obviously not permanent, yarn bombing is becoming a more frequent form of street art, done by people from anonymous individuals to organized groups. Whoever thinks that knitting and crocheting is only for little old ladies obviously does not know just how radical fiber artists can be!

Just keep your eyes peeled, because you never know where and when you might see something yarn bombed!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day Part 4 - In Lurve, Loave, Luff...Love


Sometimes, "Love" is too weak a word. So, let the music (or the movie) do the talking.

Here is a playlist and some movie options for all of you lovebirds out there.

  1. Modern English – I Melt With You
  2. Charlene Kaye – Dress and Tie (feat. Darren Criss)
  3. The Smiths – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
  4. Regina Spektor – Real Love (John Lennon Cover)
  5. Iron And Wine – Such Great Heights (The Postal Service Cover)
  6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps
  7. Joni Mitchell – A Case Of You
  8. Jayme Dee - I Will Follow You Into The Dark (Death Cab For Cutie Cover)...or original
  9. Fleetwood Mac – Songbird
  10. Roberta Flack – The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
  11. Oasis – Wonderwall
  12. Adele – Make You Feel My Love (Bob Dylan Cover)

Since the theme of this post comes from a Annie Hall quote, it is only fitting to include this quirky movie in my selection of romantic films, along with the classic Sleepless in Seattle since the final, pivotal scene takes place on Valentine's Day.


Also, any Disney movie will do...


What? You don't think Disney is romantic?

I happen to think that a beast letting a girl go free after imprisoning her and her father, a prince with a bit of a foot fetish, two lonely little robots, and a prince impaling a giant sea-witch to save the mermaid he loves, are all extremely, extremely romantic.

Just kidding, I think Disney movies are really sweet Valentine's Day options (especially the two lonely little robots!). After all, Disney is what instilled in us at a young age all of those realistic ideals we have about love...oh, wait...

And last, but not least...

You totally knew that was coming so do not act surprised and/or disgusted.

If your tastes in love songs and movies are a little more "classic' then come back tomorrow on the big day itself.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentine's Day Part 3 - The Lonely Hearts Club

I once heard a "Lonely Hearts Club" described as being for those who are "single with hope" (hello out there my fellow Gleeks!). It's important for all of us single-dons to remain hopeful. How else will we survive the explosion of red roses, candy hearts, and fuzzy bears that bombard us from all angles at this time of year?

Here are some songs to remind you that love is always just around the corner, and until then, everything will be okay.

The Lonely Hearts Club

  1. Paul McCartney – Silly Love Songs
  2. Florence + The Machine – Dog Days Are Over
  3. Feist – 1234
  4. The Killers – When You Were Young
  5. Coldplay - Don't Let It Break Your Heart
  6. Nina Simone – Feeling Good (From "The Roar Of The Greasepaint")
  7. Nada Surf – Concrete Bed
  8. A Fine Frenzy – Hope For The Hopeless
  9. Diana Ross & The Supremes – You Can't Hurry Love
  10. Queen – Somebody To Love
*Note: I resisted the temptation to include any Journey songs. You're welcome.

As far as movies are concerned...every single romantic comedy sends this message. And since I am currently experiencing a mind block of some of the best rom com's for this post...fill in the blank!

Although, this one is ironically appropriate...

And if you are no longer single with hope, but are in fact in love...then come back tomorrow!

Valentine's Day Part 2 - Love to Hate Valentine's Day

We've all had Valentine's Days that we spend cursing every couple we see. And a lot of people just plain dislike the idea of Valentine'sDay

And that's okay, since a large part of the advertising and promotion of Valentine's Day is presented in a manner that makes anyone who is single feel like a leper. 

In my opinion, this makes it perfectly acceptable to harbor a few bitter feelings about Valentine's Day, so here are some songs and movies to support this endeavor.

Love to Hate Valentine's Day

  1. The Black Keys – Next Girl
  2. Christina Perri – bang bang bang
  3. Fleetwood Mac – Never Going Back Again
  4. Sara Bareilles – Fairytale
  5. Adele – Set Fire To The Rain
  6. Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Are Made For Walkin'
  7. St. Vincent – Cheerleader
  8. Pentatonix – Forget You / Since U Been Gone
  9. She & Him – Gonna Get Along Without You Now
  10. The Weepies – They're In Love, Where Am I?

Here are two great movies (and two of my personal favorites) that showcase how sometimes not being in a relationship can inspire you to take on new challenges and do great things, just for yourself. No matter your relationship status, you will feel pretty darn happy after watching these movies.

500 Days of Summer

The First Wives Club

Are there any other ways in which you plan to not celebrate Valentine's Day?

If you still plan on celebrating V-Day, but with your friends or your own lovely self, then come back tomorrow for The Lonely Hearts Club edition.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine's Day Part 1 - All You Need is Love

I’ll admit, I’ve never been a particular fan of Valentine’s Day, mainly because I don’t like the level of commercialism to which this celebration of love has grown (another story for another day). But as much as I don’t agree with it, I’m still such a sap, a cynical sap, but a sap nevertheless, and one who can’t resist a good love song or romance film. I am also firm believer that you can celebrate Valentine’s Day with a significant other if you have one, or with the friends that have been there for you for more Valentine’s Days than any other significant others.

So, I put together five (Why five? No idea.) different Valentine’s Day playlists with accompanying movies, so no matter who with, how, or even if, you are celebrating Valentine’s Day, you’ll be able to do it with some suitable songs and a movie or two.

I’ll be posting one a day, with the final one on D-Day V-Day.

Today’s theme is....

All You Need is Love

Let’s face it, The Beatles’ love songs is practically its own genre. Whether it’s a new, forever, or lost love, this quartet of gentlemen has written about (or covered) it all with some of the most timeless love songs of all time.

  1. Love Me Do
  2. I’ve Just Seen A Face
  3. All My Loving
  4. I Saw Her Standing There
  5. I Want To Hold Your Hand
  6. You Really Got A Hold On Me
  7. P.S. I Love You
  8. Hold Me Tight
  9. Michelle
  10. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
  11. ‘Til There Was You
  12. In My Life
  13. Something
  14. All You Need Is Love

And what better movie to accompany this playlist than one that features Beatles’ songs woven together by a romantic storyline...

All This and World War II

Just kidding! I meant this one of course:

Across the Universe

In my opinion these songs, and Across the Universe display both the good and bad sides of love without sugar-coating it, so this is a great option for those who also do not enjoy the commercial side of Valentine's Day.

But if you really just plain do not like Valentine's Day and enjoy pelting those little candy hearts at every couple yous see (don't tell me you've never considered it), then stay tuned until tomorrow...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International

I was one happy camper when this made it an appearance in my mailbox the other day.

There were the obvious choices (Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Adele, Patti Smith, Pete Seeger, etc.).

There were pleasant surprises (The Gaslight Anthem, Evan Rachel Wood, Darren Criss, My Morning Jacket, Jack's Mannequin, Zee Avi etc.).

There were a few eyebrow-raising surprises (Miley Cyrus, really? Kesha, why?).

But I dove right in to listen to how over 80 artists interpreted some of the greatest songs ever written by one of the most influential and legendary musicians ever, in order to raise funds and awareness for one of the biggest international human rights organization in the world.

It seemed as if some artists were channeling the man, Bob Dylan, himself, while others put their own spin on the timeless songs.

There were quite a few never-heard-before-but-immediately-liked people ( Ximena Sarinana [although I wish she had sang Corrina Corrina cause it rhymes with her name!], Raphael Saadiq, etc.).

I was more impressed with some songs than I thought would be (Miley Cyrus, really?).

Some (one) were worse than expected (Kesha, seriously, WHY?!).

And some were, as expected, brilliant (Can you really go wrong with Adele's cover of "Make You Feel My Love". Darren Criss can do no wrong in my eyes. Joan Baez, Patti Smith, and so many others are just plain perfect, I can't even begin to explain their excellence).

But when it all comes down to it, this album is about honoring songs, and the man behind the songs, that have put into music and brought awareness to the fight that Amnesty International has been fighting for decades, the protection of international human rights.

It does not matter if you are a Bob Dylan fan or not, this album features a wide range of musicians, all  wonderful in their own right who can hopefully open up the door for others to becomes fans of the words and message of Dylan and of Amnesty International (but again, Kesha, why?).

And if you are still on the fence, I'll play the guilt card and reiterate the fact that this is for a wonderful cause.

Monday, February 6, 2012

New Music Monday: The Paper Kites

The Paper Kites is a folk band (what can I say, I have a genre) from Melbourne, Australia, and I can not possibly think of names to better suit their band name or the title of their new EP Woodland

Their songs conjure up images of running through fields and woods barefoot and free.

Their music videos live up to the pictures that their songs paint. 

These songs will make you smile. You will also probably have the sudden urge to build a fort, explore the woods, fly a kite, and construct a tin-can phone.

And if you're looking for a playmate to talk to on the other end of the tin can in a fort in the know where to find me.

Images Source: