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The Pop Culture Highs & Lows of 2013

The Pop Culture Highs & Lows of 2013:

Here’s our epic People.com pop culture year in review. Whew! Farewell 2013.

My 10 Best Discoveries of 2013

In no particular order, a few of the things that rocked my world over the past 12 months…

1. Kaleamole: Not a big fan of Kale. But stick it in some delicious guacamole and I’m sold. Thanks Whole Foods.

2. Larchmont, NY: Just 30 mins from Grand Central, great restaurants, a town beach, lots of parks, excellent public schools and everything in walking distance. Finally, a viable alternative to life in Midtown.

3. Diclegis: The safest prescription morning sickness meds, available to much of the rest of the world for decades, finally made available in the US, just in time for gestating baby number 2.

4. Maison Kayser bakery: The Columbus Circle store is my new go-to. The bread is to die for. Don’t even get me started on the chocolate mousse.

5. MoxieJean.com: Not some new premium denim line, but a superbly easy-to-use online consignment store for kids clothes from newborn up. Get a free mailer bag and stick every stitch of unwanted kid clothes in it. They donate what can’t be sold and give you cash or credit for the rest. Boom. Done.

6. The Metropolitan Club rooftop: One of the most elegant secret restaurants in NYC. The bird’s eye view across Central Park is exquisite.

7. This ingenious Pineapple Corer

8. Vegan leather leggings: Sure, vegan leather is just a posh term for pleather, but even the H&M ones look like the real deal and still fit me at 9 months pregnant. SCORE.

9. Houzz.com: What you’d get if you cross-bred Pinterest with Architectural Digest, a great interior designer and Angie’s List. A dream site (and app) for anyone doing a home renovation, big or small.

10. Sapodilla Bay, Providenciales: My current favorite spot in the Caribbean. A secluded, ultra-quiet, picture-perfect half-moon bay in Turks & Caicos with the softest white sand and zero waves. Perfect for small fry, paddle boarders and swimmers.

Announcing the 2013 Women Film Cirtics Circle Award Winners

The Women Film Critics Circle is an international collective of 65 women film critics and scholars who are involved in print, newswire, radio, online and TV broadcast media. Founded in 2004, we became the first women critics’ organization based in the United States. Our goal is to fully recognize women’s perspectives and voices in film criticism.

BEST MOVIE ABOUT WOMEN
Philomena
RUNNER UP: Mother Of George

BEST MOVIE BY A WOMAN
Enough Said, Nicole Holofcener
RUNNER UP: Inch Allah, Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette

BEST WOMAN STORYTELLER [Screenwriting Award]
Julie Delpy: Before Midnight
RUNNER UP: Nicole Holofcener, Enough Said

BEST ACTRESS
Judi Dench: Philomena
RUNNER UP: Barbara Sukowa: Hannah Arendt

BEST ACTOR
Chiwetel Ejiofor: 12 Years A Slave
RUNNER UP: Michael B. Jordan: Fruitvale Station

BEST YOUNG ACTRESS
Onata Aprile: What Maisie Knew
RUNNER UP: Waad Mohammed: Wadjda

BEST COMEDIC ACTRESS
Melissa McCarthy: The Heat
RUNNER UP: Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha

BEST FOREIGN FILM BY OR ABOUT WOMEN
Wadjda
RUNNER UP: Inch Allah

BEST FEMALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
Philomena
RUNNER UP: Girls In The Band

WORST FEMALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
The Bling Ring
RUNNER UP: Machete Kills

BEST MALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
12 years A Slave: Chiwetel Ejiofor
RUNNER UP: Enough Said: James Gandolfini

WORST MALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
Only God Forgives
RUNNER UP: Out Of The Furnace

BEST THEATRICALLY UNRELEASED MOVIE BY OR ABOUT WOMEN
Helen Mirren in Phil Spector
RUNNER UP: Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer

BEST EQUALITY OF THE SEXES
Before Midnight
RUNNER UP: Enough Said

BEST ANIMATED FEMALES
Frozen
RUNNER UP: The Croods

BEST FAMILY FILM
The Wind Rises
RUNNER UP: Black Nativity

Women’s Work/Best Ensemble
Ginger & Rosa
RUNNER UP TIE:
Winnie Mandela
August: Osage County

SPECIAL MENTION AWARDS

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
EMMA THOMPSON For her eclecticism in switching from period films to fantasy genre, to contemporary settings. And embodying all kinds of women with raw and pure interpretations.

ACTING AND ACTIVISM AWARD
CHARLIZE THERON For her work for The Global Fund, and for starting the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project. Which educates young people about HIV/AIDS

COURAGE IN FILMMAKING:
LAURA POITRAS For bringing the Edward Snowden NSA revelations to light, driven into exile in Germany for doing so, and currently making a documentary about it.

*ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD For a film that most passionately opposes violence against women
Augustine
RUNNER UP: Lovelace

*JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD For best expressing the woman of color experience in America
12 Years A Slave
RUNNER UP: Go for Sisters

*KAREN MORLEY AWARD For best exemplifying a woman’s place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity
Winnie Mandela
RUNNER UP: Wadjda

COURAGE IN ACTING For taking on unconventional roles that radically redefine the images of women on screen
Soko: Augustine

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN AWARD Performance by a woman whose exceptional impact on the film dramatically, socially or historically, has been ignored
Sandra Bullock: Gravity

BEST DOCUMENTARY BY OR ABOUT WOMEN
Stories We Tell
RUNNER UP: Girls In The Band

BEST SCREEN COUPLE
Before Midnight: Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke

BEST SONG
Would You Bleed For Love. Jennifer Hudson, Winnie Mandela

MOMMIE DEAREST WORST SCREEN MOM OF THE YEAR AWARD
Kristin Scott Thomas: Only God Forgives

JUST KIDDING AWARD: Best Male Images In A Movie
Last Vegas

*WFCC HALL OF SHAME*

The Canyons: Women depicted as powerless and manipulative. Plus, the acting is horrid.

Spring Breakers: No depth, little plot and a pitiful depiction of today’s college kids. Gratuitous in nothing more than flesh and violence. A grossly and dangerously skewed depiction of young women and their values in today’s America.

Captain Phillips: The whole might of the USA coming down on 3 starving Somalis?! Repulsive. When the obscenely beefy SEALS arrived and the audience started to cheer, I felt I was watching a ‘macho’ director brainwash audience members into blindly accepting the worst stereotypes of jingoistic male behavior.

Blue is the Warmest Color: I went in knowing almost nothing except general buzz but I hated the sex scenes which were way too long and midway thru I couldn’t wait to flee the theater. Coming out I read how many takes Kechiche required and I was thoroughly repulsed. Who was this for? Then I read the graphic novel and discovered that critical plot points were deleted. Like the fact that Adele’s parents find her in bed with Emma which is why she has to move out — and I was enraged. A three hour movie, and Kechiche is so busy salivating over his actresses that he can’t bother telling a coherent story. Hype for this film makes me nauseous!

Blue is the Warmest Color: It’s so obvious a dude with a fetish directed this, it’s not only unappealing, it’s creepy. His overcompensating hubris isn’t worth the praise this is receiving.

Bastards, Les Salauds: All of the women in this film are depicted as complicit in their own oppression and exploitation. Though it’s a patriarchal system that they exist within, they refuse to fight for themselves or each other, even when a minor is involved. The indictment then is not of the men but of the women. I found this problematic and disappointing from Denis.

Gravity: The women in this group make meaningful choices each year so they speak for me in these areas, the lone exception being Sandra Bullock’s performance in Gravity. She’s a fine actress, but I found the character to be whiny, cowardly, and full of the wrong stuff – a damsel in distress who needed a man (even if it was just her imagination) to pull her out of danger. I can hardly believe they’d send someone so panicky into space. Give me Sigourney Weaver any day.

Dallas Buyers Club: Shame on Dallas Buyers Club for completely ignoring the LGBT as a group who drove the fight against AIDS to the forefront. The only time gays were mentioned was to let Matthew McConaughey’s homophobic redneck character get a laugh at the expense of Jared Leto’s transsexual character. The film made it seem as if the whole AIDS community stood on the shoulders of Ron Woodruff when in fact, groups like Act Up were starting the war for proper testing and more drugs way before Ron entered into the picture. It completely demeaned the backdrop Dallas Buyers Club was utilizing for their own characterizing “hero” agenda. Also the film took an extreme opinion against the AZT drug in favor for a plot line when in fact it was helping some patients. The only saving grace was Jared Leto’s fantastic performance but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.

Enough Already: Why is it that when actresses and even screen goddesses hit a certain age, they’re all cast as nags and shrews. No matter how accomplished any of these films may be, the tally of older actress shrewish nags on board is really high this year, as usual. Including Oprah Winfrey in The Butler, Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts in August: Osage County, Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine, June Squibb in Nebraska, Kristin Scott Thomas in Only God Forgives, and Julianne Moore in Carrie. Refreshing exceptions being Judi Dench in Philomena, Yolonda Ross in Go For Sisters, and Mary Steenburgen in Last Vegas.

*Please Note: The WFCC Top Ten Hall Of Shame represents the ‘don’t tell me to shut up’ sidebar contribution of individual members, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Circle. Or may even dissent from an awarded nomination. Also, members may be objecting to particular characters in a film, and not the entire movie. Clarification: If an aspect of the movie is intentionally negative to make a point, rather than offensive, that is not under consideration for this category.

*ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD: Adrienne Shelly was a promising actress and filmmaker who was brutally strangled in her apartment in 2006 at the age of forty by a construction worker in the building, after she complained about noise. Her killer tried to cover up his crime by hanging her from a shower20rack in her bathroom, to make it look like a suicide. He later confessed that he was having a “bad day.” Shelly, who left behind a baby daughter, had just completed her film Waitress, which she also starred in, and which was honored at Sundance after her death.

*JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD: The daughter of a laundress and a musician, Baker overcame being born black, female and poor, and marriage at age fifteen, to become an internationally acclaimed legendary performer, starring in the films Princess Tam Tam, Moulin Rouge and Zou Zou. She also survived the race riots in East St. Louis, Illinois as a child, and later expatriated to France to escape US racism. After participating heroically in the underground French Resistance during WWII, Baker returned to the US where she was a crusader for racial equality. Her activism led to attacks against her by reporter Walter Winchell who denounced her as a communist, leading her to wage a battle against him. Baker was instrumental in ending segregation in many theaters and clubs, where she refused to perform unless integration was implemented.

*KAREN MORLEY AWARD: Karen Morley was a promising Hollywood star in the 1930s, in such films as Mata Hari and Our Daily Bread. She was driven out of Hollywood for her leftist political convictions by the Blacklist and for refusing to testify against other actors, while Robert Taylor and Sterling Hayden were informants against her and; for daring to have a child and become a mother, unacceptable for female stars in those days. Morley maintained her militant political activism for the rest of her life, running for Lieutenant Governor on the American Labor Party ticket in 1954. She passed away in 2003, unrepentant to the end, at the age of 93.

citylandscapes: Hong Kong glowing at night. Beautiful…



citylandscapes:

Hong Kong glowing at night.

Beautiful nighttime pic of Hong Kong. One of the most visually striking cities I’ve ever visited.

My top 5 new-mom product picks

After visiting this Wednesday’s @bigcitymoms #BiggestBabyShower in NYC, I thought I’d share the products I personally found the most useful as a new mom:

1. Skip Hop Duo Essential Diaper Bag. The perfect size with plenty of pockets. A design so sleek, simple & lightweight that my husband doesn’t mind using it too. And if you needed any further reassurance that it’s a design classic, you can even find it in the MOMA design store.

2. Bebe Au Lait Nursing Cover. Mastering nursing is tricky enough without worrying about flashing your swollen norks in public. This cover is a great size, adjustable at the neck and you can still peek down and see how your bub’s doing down there. The Black Eyelet design went with everything in my (mostly black) wardrobe.

3. Dapple Pacifier Wipes. Whether you approve of pacifiers or not, they’re second to none for soothing a crying baby & these on-the-go wipes are ideal for keeping them germ-free, as well as for wiping up drool and various other secretions that come with the territory. No gross ingredients and a pleasant scent have made this brand a firm favorite.

4. BooginHead Pacigrip. Technically another pacifier accessory, but also a superb way to tether blankets and toys to strollers and car seats. Sturdy and available in lots of cute colors. No more lost things. What’s not to love?

5. BabyGanics Stain, Stain, Go Away! Stain Remover Spray. Babies make a ton of gross laundry from day one. I keep a bottle of this next to the laundry hamper and spray the gross bits as soon as they hit the laundry pile. It works, has no strong scent, and no nasty ingredients. The BabyGanics wipes are pretty awesome too.

F.Y.I. None of the items above were gifted to me. I purchased, used, and thanked the heavens for all of them.

The History of Sexy

The History of Sexy:

This has to be one of the most fun (and totally tongue-in-cheek) projects I’ve ever worked on at People.com

nevver: Underwater Waterfall Mauritius & it’s insanely…







nevver:

Underwater Waterfall

Mauritius & it’s insanely beautiful “underwater waterfall” illusion, created by sand & silt run-off from the fringing reef.