Respect for Zendaya…Ramble

Entertainment reporters are known for having some dippy moments, especially the taking heads on E! Guiliana Randid should be dubbed Queen of the Bobbleheads. Her rise to fame included a lot of tenacity, well according to her reality show on The Style Network.

What I really saw on that show the first, and only, season I tuned in, was that Giuliana lied to her husband about basically everything- she does not like adventure. There was more -I simply opt for my brain cells to forget. 

Last year’s Granmy Awards’ red carpet, saw “G”, fangirling out on the members of One Direction, who did not find a middle-age woman proclaiming them “totes adorbs,” engaging, making it cringe-worthy. 

This week, under the guise of fashion “expert”, on E!’s show Fashion Police, G made several jokes about teenage performer Zendaya, looking like her hair smelled like patuli oil. The triple-threat actress-singer-model then reacted with poise and grace, educating Rancic about the origin of the locs she wore- as a conscious tribute to her heritage as well as hair shaming of African Americans.

It makes me appreciate what a fantastic example Zendaya is, of strong, thoughtful females in the public eye. She doesn’t have to cringe, showing further grace by accepting Giuliana’s apology.

When the overall movement is positivity for women in the workplace, E! continues to remain trivial, where there is the opportunity to have intelligent and real critique that makes sense and still be fun. I’m not a fan of Fashion Police, a show my fellow Barnard alum, Joan Rivers helmed, that takes constant cheap potshots and hand out character assassinations, like Giuliana’s, that have nothing to do with fashion. 

The nail cam has been put to shame. The vapid, unprepared fallback questions: who are you wearing? Who are you excited to meet tonight, are not going away, if anything it’s business as usual with E! signing another hugely expense deal with The Kardashians. Yeah, those clumps of shows that have been falling in ratings. What business sense does that make? None. Where is originality? The new scripted show about the royals looks so promising, but E! I’m sorry, we’re more then done. 

Franzen is the Kanye West of Authors…Ramble

When Kayne West approached the Grammy stage to snatch Beck’s golden statue for Best Album of The Year, claiming it should have gone to Beyonce, he tried to make it a joke- at first. We all know the fall out, Kanye (for a completely different POV click on Kanye’s name) wasn’t kidding. He went on to say he doesn’t want to perform again at The Grammys until they change it to reflect popular sales. Hmm, then he went on to say it was an insult to artistry, but he hadn’t even listened to Beck’s album, Morning Phase, which had been hailed as a critical darling in indie circles. I also want to say his intro for Kanye’s own performance said it was his “most personal” and point out there is nothing less personal than using Autotune.

I’m not anti-Autotune, but let’s not kid ourselves. Here’s a link for Kanye and all the other people, who, instead of wanting to explore and make an informed rant, is Beck’s Morning Phase:

Well, now let’s turn to another accomplished, lauded artist, one who has graced the cover of TIME magazine for his work, won the Pulitzer Prize, Mr. Jonathan Franzen. Franzen has chosen to take many jabs at women’s fiction writer, Jennifer Weiner. While he hasn’t read her work, he says no one has told him it is a “must read” and she is using a real issue – the lack of review space given to female writers, as a platform to get attention when she doesn’t deserve it.

Dude. Come on, if you had read her work, I would think you had some valid points, but you are not A) her target demo B) too busy to take the take time to read it the way Kanye, who likes to call himself an arbiter of all things cultural, could have taken the time, pre-Grammys to listen to every album in the category of Best Albums that was nominated. If you never read or listen to music outside of what you like, how can you really know what is good and what is not?

As someone who has been paid to be a music programmer (Yahoo! Music & Vh1), and a writer, I have listened and read works I was not naturally drawn to, and found it not only expanded my knowledge, it expanded my own creativity. I don’t always agree with awards, mostly they are a broken thing, but they do help curate what is interesting.

I have read many award winning literary books which I found to lack a strong plot or interesting characters or deliver a good ending. How is Kanye’s lack of respect any different from Franzen’s? It negates their point, which might otherwise presented have been valid. If you are going to diss someone at least know what you are putting down and acknowledge that’s not going to be given to you as a suggestion because your crowd is caught up in one scene.

When you make statements, that have some merit, but no foundation of their own, it not only disrespects the other artist, it disrespects their fans. How likely am I to buy Kanye’s next album or his ridiculous Adidas lineKanye_3

How likely am I now to read another Jonathan Frazen book? The answer to all those questions, is highly unlikely, even if they have critical acclaim. Why should my cash line their pockets when they clearly value their own taste and are unwilling to leave room for anyone else’s? Fans who started the #whoisbeck Twitter campaign are also in need of some more cultural exposure. Why must we tweet about our own ignorance or make statements in the press about it? Why not show the courtesy to make an informed opinion and allow that while not your taste, it can be very important to other people.

My friend Courtney Smith’s book, Record Collecting For Girls, has a chapter on guilty pleasures. It was inspired by our conversations. I don’t believe in having musical guilty pleasures. If it speaks to you, if it helps you, touches you, makes you dance or feel good in any way, then go right ahead and enjoy it.

9780547502236_p0_v1_s260x420 However, Courtney calls bullshit on that in her book and says anyone who doesn’t say they have guilty pleasures is either boring or lying or an asshole. That was the chapter she read on a book panel we did during her book tour. I started with the question “did you call me an asshole?” We have lively debates to say the least, but during that panel people asked me the most questions because they wanted to know about the popular artists that I got to work with in pop music over obscure indie bands — yes, even in Brooklyn! Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world.

Popular doesn’t mean bad. Jennifer Weiner is a fun, great writer who writes heartfelt stories about women that I can relate to, in fact, she is one of the reasons I got a dog. She wrote in her novel “Good in Bed,” every writer should have a dog. So, thank you, Jennifer Weiner for not only providing me and many other women with entertaining fiction we want to read. Thank you for standing up for female authors getting equal press coverage. Thank you for using the platform you EARNED for sticking up for everyone else who does not have it.

The Real Fashion Bitches…Ramble

Our favorite canine fashionista, Mrs. Sizzle asked for Elle to come to Lincoln Center for a Fashion Week this past Saturday. As soon as we arrived it was a whirlwind of activity and visual adventures in every direction.

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Mrs. Sizzle has partnered with Swatch for a new line called Me and My Pet. See the Frenchie-faced watch I am showing Elle in the photos? Maybe it’s time to start wearing a watch again, instead of relying on my smartphone for the time.

From Hound & Tooth – a new fashion law of adorable socks for dogs, to Andy Duran and his blonde pomp, to Ruby Fang and Fashionsta Beca Alexander, Elle loved being in the spotlight. We even met a nice teenager walking away from Lincoln Center.

However, as the temperatures dropped, our excitement turned to disappointment. While waiting in a long queue outside Marc Jacob’s BookMarc, Elle started to shake. Despite a 6 p.m. kick-off for a charity event with Love Magazine, the line did not move for two hours. That was, until the arrival at 7 p.m. of Kendal Jenner. I am here nor there with Kendal, but I really wanted Elle to meet Marc’s dogs- Choo Choo Charlie and Neville Jacobs. It was a bummer to realize the non-moving queue was orchestrated to create maximum buzz around Kendal and Gigi Hamad switching places while hundreds of people froze for several hours in a line that wrapped around the block.

Once Elle started to shake we left. Fashion is a wonderful source of inspiration and fun, but Elle’s health comes first. Once I started walking, I realized my toes were numb. Thankfully there was no frostbite, but we still felt the ice.

Crush of The Week: Melissa McCarthy…Week

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The funny lady looked happy, healthy and was dressed to perfection on last night’s SNL 40th Anniversary red carpet. Her smile makes me smile. I’ve had my up’s and down’s with weight. I’ve been in the winter battle to get off that holiday weight (yeah, very close to normal) so it inspires me to see other women who are winning the battle.

Melissa looks curvy and confident here, the best I think I’ve ever seen her look. She went on to portray her favorite SNL character by the late Chris Farley:

Having had my gallbladder out, if I don’t watch what I eat, I balloon up really fast, even if though I work exercise 5-6 days a week. It’s all a matter of being healthy and able to enjoy life to the max. Thank you Melissa for showing off your curves and having fun with them.

Yesterday a friend remarked how great I look, which I appreciate. The choice has to come from me every day to stay healthy. Since I started eating much healthier four years ago, I can tell you when I overeat now or have something really greasy, my body is sluggish. Winter is a huge challenge for everyone, so seek out some inspiration and take care of yourself. xx

Gal-Entine’s & Valentine’s Day Gifts…Ramble

One of the coolest holidays Parks & Rec gave the world (aside from Treat Yo Self), is Galentine’s Day (spellcheck has yet to acknowledge this holiday), celebrating the gift of female friendship and love for girlfriends, on February 13th. 276f28c93e7e7aa7fc0bcb3f8f51981e

I love this idea and isn’t Valentine’s Day, in current form, about love? One of my best friends was lamenting to me about having the double whammy of being single and it is also her birthday. Having a birthday a few days before Christmas I can relate, especially when it now includes a toddlers wrapping paper frenzy on Christmas Day. What to give?

SINGLES:

1. BOOK:  YOU by Caroline Kepnes, a stalker novel that will make anyone jump up and down with joy to be single. Endorsed, and not surprisingly when you start reading it, by Stephen King, YOU is told in first person, tells the story of Joe Goldberg, a high school graduate who runs a bookstore. When a Natalie Portman look-a-like, named Beck flirts with him, he goes into hyperdrive, starting with Google and easily locates her social media profiles. She is his sole focus, but in this casual dating world, Beck’s interest ebbs and flows the way life does in a city offering so many opportunities and distractions. (NA)

2. DRINKS: It seems cliche, but a little rose can go a long way. Why not have a Galentine’s bottle of brut rose? Chocolates optional.

HEALTH ENTHUSIAST:

3. Skip the dark chocolates with sea salt caramel….wait, what was I writing about? Lost in a yum moment, and try making these healthy oat treats that are perfect for a post-workout and only take five minutes to make:

1 cup rolled oats
4 tablespoons of almond butter
1/4 cup of honey (you can use 1/3 but I find that overly sweet)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup dried cranberries (substitute/add-in 1/3 cup chocolate chips)
2 tsp chia seeds
1/4 cup chopped almonds (optional)

Combine all ingredients, roll into 1″ balls, put in the fridge to solidify for five minutes (or just pop one in and see if you need to) and you are good to go and thoughtful!

COOL, DISTANT TEEN:
4. BOOK: Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer is perfect for that teen who thinks you can’t understand the intensity of their feelings, or anyone who has ever defined themselves by an act that was life-changing, but if it happened as an adult, might not have lead to such a disconnection with society as a result. The journey through a semester at The Wooden Barn, a special school for ‘fragile’ teens (no drugs), studying Sylvia Plath’s Bell Jar, is riveting.

THE KIDS:
5. Those goofy hearts, well, they want them. Grab a little box and eat the younglings in your life to a little corny love to let you know they care. candyhearts

HAPPY GALENTINE’s DAY!

Fresh Off The Boat Screening Party…Ramble

Wednesday night marked the premiere of the first Asian sitcom on-air in 20 years! “Fresh Off The Boat” is based on author Eddie Huang’s memoir as the only Asians in a small Florida town.

There’s no one to embarrass you like your mother, but when you add more obstacles, i.e. Stinky (but delicious!) lunches and hours of extra learning because straight A’s mean the school is not challenging the children enough, you wind up with comic gold.

Eddie is portrayed by Hudson Yang, a New Yorker with natural charisma. He’s 12. His father, Jeff Yang, noted Asian journalist and all-around good guy, put together this viewing party to bring together not only Asians, but all minorities to celebrate this momentous occasion.

Fortunately the one and only Eddie Huang showed up to share the moment. He let us know this show, in the future should be one of many and the importance of the show is to “create a pipeline for Asian talent.” Last year I had a literary manager who told me that I should change my main character’s race from Eurasian to Caucasian for potential future casting because I “don’t want to limit access to great talent.” We were destined to have a short-lived relationship.

Although the U.S. census throws Eurasians into the two races of more category, (the 2010 guesstimate of 1.6 million Eurasians in this country), we still claim some recognizable names like Keanu Reeves. The Asian population was 7 million when Margaret Cho’s “American Girl” sitcom aired two decades (!) ago and bombed. Now it is 18 million and by 2025 it is estimated to grow to 40 million. That’s a lot of buying power. No longer will I have to listen to a friend who told me “don’t worry about the Asians, they just buy what white people buy” when conducting a focus group.

When I tweeted about my happiness for Eddie and also, Kevin Kwan’s success hello “Crazy Rich Asians,” helping to pave the way for Asian voices & the note about my former manager, a writer friend responded ‘be so good they can’t ignore you.’ Maybe I’m just not good enough. I am being included in an anthology that is specifically going to be multi-culture erotica. Should my characters have to be put in the special section just because of their race? I hope the stories are relatable and enticing to everyone.

But back to “Fresh Off The Boat,” which I had concerns about, because when you make fun of your own race, you know there are people who see it as an invitation to make proclamations like “I love the Asian culture. And I was just talking about chopsticks, and I love all that….” Honey, I’m sure you learned your lesson now, but even if you have an “Asian pass,” which you do not, especially in a professional capacity, don’t go there. It’s not your culture. Ask a question with intelligence instead of trying to align yourself incorrectly with another culture. I worked with someone who thought the way to ingrate herself with ex-US markets was to put down Americans while shoveling McDonald’s fries into her mouth. No, honey, just no.

Overall my favorite “Fresh Off The Boat” moment was when Eddie gets called a “chink” and his parents are called in because, of course, he then throws some punches at the offending party. They wanted to know why their kid was called that disgusting name, but it was done in an extremely classy way that shocked the principal who wanted to condemn their son.

The ratings showed people tuned in, giving FOTB the 2nd highest comedy debut of the season, second only to ABC’s delightful “blackish”- if you haven’t seen that show, you should. It’s exciting to see ABC putting on such diverse shows that showcase different cultures and how modern families function in different parts of the country!

Tune in to “Fresh Off The Boat” tonight on ABC.

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Rihanna Asks Leo To Get Toned…Ramble

It’s that time of the year when we all gain weight. The fall I was doing double workouts for occasions – two weddings and a trip to Europe. Then the holidays came with parties and cocktails. I was still working out but I gained a few pounds I now have to get rid of in a hurry. It’s not healthy and all too easy to slid.

Apparently after his intense workouts for roles, Leo diCaprio decided to enjoy life, relax from the gym and have a good holiday season as well. Rumored to be dating Rihanna, Ok Magazine and many other outlets have reported Leo’s pudge has been given exit papers. Riri likes to date a man with a six-pack. How does that kind of conversation go down especially when Leo has been much larger and dated supermodels while larger?

Imagine it:
Leo: Where have you been all my life?
Riri: Up in da club with all the 12 packs of muscles.
Leo: We did fall in love in a hopeless place.
Riri pinches Leo’s manboobs- hard.
Leo: Ow!
Riri: Finally, you say something other than proving you my song titles. We have heat, but the fire may fade unless you turn it up.
Leo: What?
Riri: You need to get carved for me.
Leo: You mean a tattoo?
Riri: let’s hit the gym, you will look smoking hot with a six pack.

Ouch. Is there ever a good way to tell a loved one or a friend they need to lose some weight? Would you do that to a new lover like Rihanna after a month? If we heard a male said that to a female we would be outraged, yet I first learned of this “news” because a friend was delighting in the tables being turned.