Throwback Thursday: Jellies

If you wanted to be cool in the 90’s as a kid, you were pretty much required to have a pair of jellies, amirite, ladies?

 

The prototype for Crocs.
The prototype for Crocs.

In retrospect, I’m not totally sure why I loved these shoes so much. When I think back to wearing them, I remember sweaty feet, a pain in the ass buckle, hot plastic that kind of burned my skin, and God forbid you ever got a rock stuck in one of your shoes.

Almost as bad as stepping on a lego.
Almost as bad as stepping on a lego.

And yet we loved them and wore them until our feet were so covered in blisters that we ran out of Hello Kitty bandaids.

Apparently these are making a comeback (or they never really left–like herpes) and you can get them from somewhere other than under your childhood bed. Now you can either masochistically relive your childhood footwear or purchase them for your own kids, proving that you don’t actually love them and really, if you’re going to make them wear jellies, you should just include a note saying Santa isn’t real to round out your role as a jackass.

Throwback Thursday: The Fresh Prince Dances

Perhaps the greatest dance move to come out of the 90’s is from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. It’s name?

The Carlton.

Also: dat sweater.

Carlton gave us a new appreciation for Tom Jones and he let us know that no, it’s not unusual to be loved by anyone.

 That dance doesn’t get any less awesome, no matter how many times you watch it.

But that wasn’t the only dancing gem The Fresh Prince gave the world. Remember the time Will and Carlton lost all their money in Vegas and had to enter a dance competition?

Because I do.

I didn’t think it was possible for anything to compare with watching these dance moves on the show . . . until Graham Norton decided to reunite DJ Jazzy Jeff, Alfonso Ribeiro, and Will Smith along with Smith’s son, Jaden, and revel in the nostalgi-gasm that followed.

I’ve been watching this on repeat for the past three days.

Happy Throwback Thursday!

That’s What She Said – What Is It Worth?

*Note* This post might contain spoilers about Inside Llewyn Davis. Sorry.

Several weeks ago, I saw the movie Inside Llewyn Davis. I was really impressed by the film and I was fairly surprised since I’m not usually a big Coen brothers fan.

That’s right, I didn’t like The Big Lebowski.

I think the reason why I found this movie so compelling has to do with how much I identified with the main character, Llewyn Davis. Unfortunately, I found this kind of bothersome because Llewyn Davis is kind of a jackass. He’s a folk singer in New York in 1961 and he’s very talented but he’s also rude, abrasive, a freeloader, he sleeps with his friend’s wife and gets her pregnant, he’s disconnected from his sister, nephew, and father, he finds out he has a child and doesn’t make any attempt to contact the mother, and he abandons a really cute orange kitty in a car with a coked out John Goodman.

What a dick.

I’m not running around abandoning cats or impregnating other people’s wives, but I admired Llewyn Davis’s dedication to his craft. He has sacrificed everything else in his life in order to continue to write and perform music and I think that at some point, everyone who pursues a creative passion has to ask themselves the question:

how far am I willing to go and what am I willing to sacrifice in order to pursue my passion?

This is ultimately what determines how large of a role your creative endeavors will play in your life. If you’re not willing to sacrifice much, it will probably be little more than a hobby. If you’re willing to sacrifice more, your life will ultimately become about your craft, whether it be writing, music, painting, sculpting, or whatever else you enjoy doing.

Whatever floats your boat, dude.

Neither level of dedication or any of the areas in between are right or wrong, it’s about finding what the right balance is for you as an individual. And total sacrifice in dedication of your passion doesn’t guarantee success either. But creatively-inclined people need to ultimately make that decision about whether they’re willing to sacrifice everything in order to feel like they are living their truth or if they’re only comfortable with giving up little more than a Chopped marathon.

Oh my god I love Chopped.

While thinking about the premise for this article, I’ve been asking myself how much I’m willing to sacrifice for writing. I’ve loved books since I could read and I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was six years old and after giving it some thought, I’ve found the balance that currently works for me. I am willing to give up getting a higher paying job and continue working in service industry jobs I hate because they don’t require me to take my work home with me so I can dedicate my free time towards writing. I am willing to deal with the judgement of other people who think I should give up on writing and get my shit together already and move on to something more financially promising or stable. I’m willing to tell people I write and endure their preconceived notions and the obnoxious statements and questions that, nine times out of ten, inevitably follow.

What I’m not willing to sacrifice, however, is time away from my family, especially my husband and son. If given the choice, I will always choose them. Does this mean that I will or won’t have success as a writer? I have no idea. But I think it’s important to set up your own parameters and boundaries to figure out exactly how much of your life that you’re willing to give to your passion. Llewyn Davis gave everything and although I wouldn’t make the same choices, I admire the dedication.

So now, all you creative people, you need to ask yourself the same question: how much am I willing to sacrifice for my art?

That’s What She Said- 20 Movies Turning 20

With the advent of a new year, we’re making resolutions and looking forward in terms of where we want to go. However, this is also a good time to look at where we’ve been and it doesn’t need to all be so serious and quietly contemplative. In that spirit, I’d like to present 20 movies that are turning 20 this year!
Note: It’s possible there are spoilers in my comments. However, you’ve had 20 years to watch these movies so suck it up.

1. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

The movie that took “talking out of your ass” to a whole new level.

2. Blank Check

The movie that taught 90s kids that it’s incredibly easy to cash a million dollar check without anyone asking too many questions. Also, giant, castle-style mansions go for well under a million dollars so you can still have enough money left over for a huge birthday party.

3. Junior

Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s most dignified acting role to date, perhaps rivaled only by Jingle All the Way.

4. Reality Bites

This movie, although 20 years old, is still completely relevant in capturing the feelings of recent college graduates. Yes, there are some people that seem to figure their shit out right away but for the rest of us, this movie makes us feel like maybe there’s still hope.

5. The Hudsucker Proxy

The Coen brothers‘ hilarious and fictitious take on the invention of the hula hoop. I’m not usually a big fan of the Coen brothers’ comedy films (I know, I know–please don’t lynch me in the comments) but this one is pretty funny.

6. D2: The Mighty Ducks

“WEEEEE ARE THE CHAMPIIIIIIIIONS, MY FRIIIIIEEEEEENNNNNNND!”

7. Speed

Keanu must keep a city bus driving above 50 mph or it’ll explode. Sandra Bullock gets roped in to driving. Drama ensues.

8. The Crow

This iconic cult classic is unfortunately tinged with sadness as it was Brandon Lee’s final movie and he died during filming due to accidental gunfire in one of the movie scenes. But the movie lives on as his legacy and it’s dedicated to Lee and his fiancee.

9. The Flintstones

I remember seeing this movie for a friend’s birthday party/sleepover. All of us girls put up our hair like Pebbles and then the birthday girl’s mom took us all to the theater. We looked AMAZING.

Fun fact, this was Elizabeth Taylor’s last theatrical release film.

10. Legends of the Fall

Drama! Love triangles! Brad Pitt! Prohibition! Montana!

11. The Lion King

This Disney take on Shakespeare’s Hamlet has certainly remained a classic standard for Disney movies and musicals. It’s also inspired an incredibly successful Broadway show as well as one of my favorite TV moments of all time:

12. Forrest Gump

This iconic film chronicling one man’s journey through several significant moments in 20th century American history won several Academy Awards and was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being historically, aesthetically, and culturally significant.

13. Angels in the Outfield

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character doesn’t understand the sarcasm when his deadbeat dad tells him that JGL can live with him when the Angels win the pennant. Instead, he wishes for real angels to come help his baseball team which includes players like Tony Danza, Adrien Brody, and Matthew McConaughey.

This . . . might be from a different movie.

14. It Could Happen to You

The movie where two very nice people win the lottery after lifetimes of racking up good karma and it turns out they’re surrounded by assholes.

15. The Mask

Jim Carrey’s second huge movie of 1994. I remember having the soundtrack to this movie on cassette and listening to it on my Walkman until my ears bled.

We’re just going to pretend like this never happened.

16. Natural Born Killers

That’s right, folks, one of the most controversial films of all time turns 20 this year. Although, as messed up as this movie is, it kind of pales in comparison to some of the twisted movies that have been released since.

17. Timecop

Jean-Claude Van Damme travels through time to save Ferris Bueller’s girlfriend. Also, lots of stuff blows up.

18. Pulp Fiction

“Does he look like a bitch?”

19. The Shawshank Redemption

Based on Stephen King’s novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, it is considered one of the best movies of all time and is listed in the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 best films of all time (fun fact: it outranks both Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction).

20. Dumb and Dumber

Apparently the movie powers that be are working on a sequel, Dumb and Dumber To, that is set to be released in November. I’m not sure if I should be excited or saddened.

That’s What She Said- A Control Freak Lets Go of the Reins

It’s that time of year again when the holidays have ended and many of us look to the new year as a logical starting point to institute positive changes in our lives. Each January, many of us try to take control of our lives and our choices through resolutions (or ridiculously failed smoothie cleanses . . .)

I made it 11 hours into a 3 day cleanse.
Willpower is not one of my strong suits.

This year, however, my resolutions look a little different. I have always been a Type A personality kind of gal (which is a polite way of saying I’m a control freak). I like lists and plans and schedules and organization because it makes me feel like I’m in control of my life and my surroundings.

This store’s catalogue is like porn for me.

Lately, however, I’ve had to face the fact that I cannot control everything. My husband and I are expecting our first child, a son, in early February and while babies are world shakers all on their own, our son was diagnosed with an extremely rare and randomly occurring heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). For you non-medical types (like me), that’s basically a fancy title that means that the left side of his heart isn’t developing the way it’s supposed to and with our case, he’s more than likely going to need a heart transplant.

No one knows what causes HLHS and the doctors have repeatedly stressed to me that there was nothing I did that caused our son to have this heart condition; it’s completely out of anyone’s control. It just happened.

As could be expected, something of this magnitude being out of my control does not sit well with me. Everything that I had planned for and expected to happen about having a baby has gone completely about the window. I had expected this . . .

. . . instead of what has happened so far. In order to be closer to a better hospital, surgeons, and resources to help our son, my husband and I uprooted our lives and moved on very short notice. We’re working with an amazing team to try and create a treatment plan for our son but there’s so much variation within HLHS that it’s hard to plan for much which means that we just have to wait and see.

As you may have figured out, I am not a “wait and see” kind of person.

I have come to the conclusion that this year’s resolutions for me need to be about giving up control rather than trying to take control. There’s only so much that I can do and what’s going to be best for my mental well-being is to let go of my need to be in control.

I think this might be a good attitude to have in general, not just for my particular situation with our son. There’s only so much that we as people can control about our circumstances and sometimes, it might be the healthier option to just let it all go.

This might not be a popular line of thinking, especially in a day and age when we as people are constantly told to “grab control of our destinies” and “take charge of our lives” and “seize the day.”

Sometimes Christian Bale insists we do this through song and dance.

And I’m not saying we shouldn’t still try and set goals for ourselves and work hard to achieve them because we should. But there are times when I think we need to realize the importance of letting go and realizing we’re not as in charge of everything as we’d like to be. It’s kind of a freeing feeling, to admit that I don’t know what’s going to happen and what’s more, I can’t plan for it.

But if we’re being honest, there’s a good chance I’m going to channel all of my need to control into reorganizing my pantry again and again and again.

Originally posted at The Next Great American Writer, written by Emily Regan

That’s What She Said- Stop Asking Questions About My Hoo-Ha

My husband and I are expecting our first child in February and I’ve been asked a lot of invasive questions lately. From what I understand, this is pretty much par for the course for expectant moms but I’m wondering if it has anything to do with how social media is affecting us as a society. We post our lives online and I think that gives others confidence to ask us intimate details about our lives and choices, regardless of how much or how little we actually share.

Or maybe when people see a pregnant belly, they figure that because the woman is growing a new person inside of her, every intimate detail about her is now fair game.

7 Questions Strangers Need to Stop Asking Pregnant Women

1. Was your pregnancy planned?

Whether this pregnancy was planned or a surprise, this is literally no one’s business but the parents’ and frankly, it’s irrelevant. She’s obviously planning to have the baby regardless of how surprised she might have been at learning of baby’s imminent arrival.

“But we need to know if the baby is a result of a broken condom!”

2. How long are you going to keep working?

This question might not seem like a big deal since obviously the mother is going to need to take some time off to, you know, give birth to a new person. This question is also of importance to people like the mother’s partner, employer, etc. Family and close friends are also fine to ask this question because it’s something I’d most likely discuss with them anyway.

However.

When it comes down to it, I really don’t think it’s a stranger’s business how long I’m going to keep working. I think this question also bothers me because inevitably, the same strangers who feel entitled to ask me this question also feel empowered enough to argue one way or the other. Some people feel very strongly that I should quit working and stay at home full-time with my son and others think I should head back into work within hours of getting discharged from the hospital. I understand that people have very strong opinions about this but accosting a pregnant stranger in an attempt to start a fight over your beliefs is not okay. So stop it.

“LIVE YOUR LIFE ACCORDING TO MY BELIEFS, PREGNANT STRANGER!”

3. Are you going to have an epidural?

This is another question that is inevitably a catalyst for a debate about medicated vs. unmedicated births. If I want to use enough drugs to knock out Keith Richards, I think that’s my choice. If I want to explore alternate pain management methods like hypnobirthing oraccupressure, that is also my choice. But either way, I don’t see how it’s any of your business, stranger at the grocery store.

“Paper or plastic? Also, epidurals are for weak women brainwashed by the greedy healthcare industry.”

4. Have you thought about if you’ll have an episiotomy or not?

Please don’t ask me about my hoo-ha. If you feel entitled to this information, maybe you’d also like to join me for my next pap smear?

“Ready!”

5. You’re having a boy? Are you going to circumcise him?

To put it bluntly, my son’s penis is none of your business. Like the working mother debate and the medicated birth debate, this is a very divisive issue and people have very strong opinions about it. I’m all for a lively discussion but I have no interest in having it with someone I just met in line at the bank.

6. How soon do you think you’re going to get back to your pre-baby size?

No idea, asshole. I have a feeling my priorities are going to shift a little bit and I’ll be more concerned with not breaking the tiny human for whom I am now responsible than if I can fit into a size 2.

My post-baby body expectations.

7. Do you want to hear my terrifying and horrible birth story?

No, but I don’t want to be rude and come right out and say it. Pregnant women get freaked out enough at the thought of the birth process–hearing about how your birth was a cross between Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Exorcist isn’t going to help.

“You would not BELIEVE who my OB was!”

While we’re at it, can we just agree that strangers should stop touching pregnant women’s bellies? 

I think the general rule should be that if you wouldn’t normally touch my stomach, don’t assume that you suddenly can now. If we just met and you don’t even know my name, you don’t need to be invading my personal space.

Edit: Apparently Pennsylvania just made touching a pregnant woman’s belly without permission illegal. I now want to move to Pennsylvania. Immediately.

With all this being said, I don’t want to be completely negative here, so here’s a list of 3 Things that are Definitely Okay to Ask a Pregnant Woman:

1. When are you due?

Just make sure you don’t follow up with a statement like, “You look like you’re about to pop!” Especially if she still has a few months to go.

2. Do you know if you’re having a boy or a girl?

Some women want to wait until the birth to be surprised but even so, this is generally safe territory.

3. Have you thought about a name yet?

This one is usually fine but can be tricky because some people get weirdly possessive and secretive over their favorite baby names for fear that someone will steal them.

“My precious!”

Also, even if you think someone’s chosen baby name is stupid, keep your mouth shut. Laugh about it in the car on the way home if you want to but ultimately, it’s the parents’ choice what to name their kid. Even if you think it’s ridiculous, it’s not your baby.

When in doubt, tell the pregnant woman she looks beautiful.

No matter how confident in her body she feels, nearly all pregnant women will have a day where they feel like a whale and that they look like shit. It’s shallow, but hearing that you look nice when you’re pregnant can do a world of good to boost some self-conscious spirits.

“None of my clothes fit anymore.”

 

Written by Emily Regan–originally published at The Next Great American Writer

That’s What She Said: 5 Tips for Behaving in Public: Restaurants (Part 1)

 

I’ve written a few posts complaining about people’s behavior in public and it occurred to me that maybe people have forgotten how to behave in public or maybe they never learned in the first place. Either way, I think some people need a refresher course.5 Tips for Behaving in Public: Restaurants
1. Don’t insult your server. Working as a server, I’ve seen this more times than I care to count. Mocking your server’s appearance or choices is just a dick move, especially because the server you’re picking on is more than likely a stranger.Example: I have a small tattoo of an elephant on the back of my wrist. I acknowledge that not everyone likes tattoos and that by getting a tattoo in a visible location, I open myself up to criticism and judgement. However, I don’t think that justifies someone being rude when all I want to do is take a drink order.
Customer: *pointing to my tattoo* Is that a stamp?
Me: No, it’s a tattoo.
Customer: Wow, do you even remember getting that?
Me: Yes.
Customer: So it wasn’t a drunken mistake? Wow. Do you regret it?
Me: No.
Customer: *rolls eyes*
Me: So . . . did you want something to drink other than water?
Bold move, dude. Especially since he hadn’t yet ordered his food. I’ve never messed with someone’s food, nor would I ever, but just because I won’t doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t. Come on, we’ve all seen Waiting… and the scene where the kitchen takes revenge on an obnoxious customer.
Go ahead, eat it.
Go ahead, eat it.
I’ve also had customers mock me for getting my Masters in English (apparently it’s a useless degree) and I’ve overheard other customers call one of my fellow servers “ugly” (this particular server, by the way, is actually a very pretty girl). Just because someone is working in a restaurant does not make them fair game to berate and insult just because you feel like being a dick.
2. If you self-seat at a dirty table, don’t get mad about it.Sometimes restaurants get busy and when a table finishes their meal and leaves, a server isn’t able to clear it immediately because they are busy tending to their six other tables. I’ve seen customers come into a restaurant and, after reading and ignoring the “Please Wait to be Seated” sign, circle a table like a shark until the previous customers leave and then immediately sitting down (sometimes before the previous customers have fully stood up). The new customers then look around, immediately irate that their table is still dirty.
"Um, why wasn't this table cleared in the .05 seconds between the last table and me?"
“Um, why wasn’t this table cleared in the .05 seconds between the last table and me?”

Don’t be this guy. First of all, don’t self-seat when the restaurant is busy and signs are clearly posted asking you to wait to be seated. Secondly, if the table you’d like still has dishes on it, politely ask a server if that table is available and I promise they’ll hurry and clear it off for you. But don’t get angry about it, especially if the server is busy. Servers are human and there is only so fast they can move. Ideally, every server would be issued a pair of winged shoes with their apron but those are usually on a really long backorder.

It's the same story with the hats.
It’s the same story with the hats.

3. Don’t argue with your server about the listed price of menu items. Servers are not responsible for setting the menu prices and arguing with us isn’t going to affect the total cost of your bill. If you think the prices are too high, fill out a comment card or mention your views to the manager. Or eat somewhere else. But complaining to your server and demanding “what are you going to do about this?!” isn’t going to get you anywhere.

"Sir, I just want to make it through a shift without wanting to cause bodily harm to myself or others. It's not my fault you think $9.99 for a burger and fries is highway robbery."
“Sir, I just want to make it through a shift without wanting to cause bodily harm to myself or others.
It’s not my fault you think $9.99 for a burger and fries is highway robbery.”

4. Don’t physically assault your server with your check. I understand that sometimes you need to pay your check in a hurry and get on with your day of work or vacation or silly bicycle riding or whatever it is you do.

Do what you gotta do.
Do what you gotta do.

But just so we’re clear, improper ways to give your check and method of payment to your server include (but are not limited to): * Shouting, “WOOHOO! WOOHOO! WOOHOO!” and waving the check presenter in your server’s face while they carry a large tray of food for another table. *Hitting your server repeatedly in the arm with the check presenter while they take another table’s order. *Taking it upon yourself to wander into the kitchen and attempt to hand your check to one of the line cooks.

"Um . . . what?"
“Um . . . what?”

If you’re in a hurry, try and flag down one of the servers or if you really have to run, take your check up front and someone will be able to assist you. In summary, the basic rule of thumb is polite asking = good and physical assault = bad. 5. Tip your server. I feel like everyone complains about this on the internet but it’s still a pretty big problem. Servers are paid less than minimum wage because the assumption is that they will be tipped to help compensate their wages. If they aren’t tipped, servers don’t make enough to do things like pay rent and buy groceries. As a general rule, tip your server 20% of your total bill. You might think they are merely carrying food between you and the kitchen but they are also: *Trying to provide you with friendly service *Taking your order (which sometimes includes several modifications for your “special” diet) *Managing your order with the kitchen (which is backed up with every other table’s order as well) *Checking on your table and keeping an eye on your drinks *Bringing your food out to your table in a timely fashion *Ensuring you’re enjoying your food and at times running back and forth to fetch more ketchup/mayo/napkins/etc. *Clearing your plates as you finish *Ensuring your bill is correct We’ve all seen the pictures circulating on the internet of receipts with notes written on them like “sorry, single mom.”

This makes me want to set things on fire.
This makes me want to set things on fire.

If you can’t afford to tip, don’t go out to eat. If you think the server wasn’t perky enough, consider for a moment how perky you are at your job. Does your pay get deducted because you’re having a bad day after a tow truck does a hit and run on your car? Or what about if your dog died? Or maybe someone broke into your home–should your pay lessen or do you feel entitled to having an off day because sometimes circumstances are just shitty? People who work in customer service are supposed to be cheerful all the time but for crying out loud, they’re still people who have to deal with crappy life realities. Basically, unless your server does something really heinous like telling you to go fuck yourself after calling you a fat, retarded cow, tip them 20%. By going out to a restaurant, you’re paying for the luxury of not having to cook and care for yourself for the course of the meal. You’re paying for someone to prepare food for you but you should include a tip to pay for the service of having a server attend to your needs during the course of the meal.

Pretty much this, but usually with more crying (me, not the customers). From The Oatmeal
Pretty much this, but usually with more crying (me, not the customers).
From The Oatmeal

Personally, I think restaurants should include gratuity with each check but most places won’t do that unless you are a part of a larger party. But make sure you monetarily take care of your servers–they are usually working this job because they need to, not because they enjoy being abused by strangers for less than $5/hour.  

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