Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Model behavior

I watched the Victoria's Secret fashion show this week and didn't have a nervous breakdown.

That's progress.

Popular culture has often focused on the rift between models and "real people." Die-hard "Sex and the City" fans remember "Models and Mortals," the episode that suggests "real" women often see models as competition in the dating world. I think the tension extends much deeper than dating.

Models represent an intimidating sense of perfection. That's why for the rest of us, it's often easier to turn away.

But maybe the tide is changing.

We've seen more "regular" women form bonds with their seemingly perfect model counterparts. Moments after the VS fashion show wrapped up, I watched an episode of MTV's "Chelsea Settles" in which the plus-size protagonist found some realness in a once unrelatable model.

I can talk firsthand about model behavior.

She sent me a friend request on Facebook. I knew her from high school, when she was someone whose life appeared so easy that you assumed she'd encounter complications later in life.

Instead, I learned she became a model.

Initially, my insecurities surfaced.

While I still can't pick out a specific point when things evened out, I eventually found a basic humanness that transcends the power of bust and waist measurements.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wedding gift guidelines

You get the wedding invitation and can't wait for the big night. Open bar...great music...limitless food. Then, you remember a critical drawback.

You must bring a gift.

Some people love perusing wedding registries. Others dread the task. When it comes to wedding presents, I've always been a gift card kind of girl.

Wedding gifts only stress me out when I'm shopping for someone I've never met -- say, one of my boyfriend's friends who's getting married. Again, this is why I subscribe to the gift card religion.

CBS gives price recommendations for wedding gifts, courtesy of The Knot.

Spend $50-$75 on a co-worker and/or distant family friend or relative; $75-$100 on a relative or friend; $100-$150 on a close relative or a close friend.

Do you agree with the estimates?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday power anthem

Come on, you totally knew I was gonna post this.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend. Now, it's time to gear up for all the awkwardness of the next holiday.

Need some motivation? Get pumped by listening to today's power anthem, then go out and seize the day!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday revisited

To celebrate Black Friday, I'm reposting Mike Haskey's memorable video from my 2010 coverage at Target in Columbus. Enjoy, then click here to read my article about this year's madness.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving, Black Friday & more

Blackout Wednesday. Thanksgiving. Black Friday.

Welcome to the excitement that dominates the rest of the week. Tonight, people will fill bars across town for what's often called the biggest party night of the year.

Thursday, people will gather around the Thanksgiving table for family time. Friday, people will wait outside stores at ungodly hours for sales that may or may not be remarkable.

My Thanksgiving weeks have been anything but consistent throughout the years, mainly due to the strange work schedule that comes with a career in journalism.

It's been quite some time since I had a traditional Thanksgiving with my own my own home...with my own familiar foods. I try to forget that fact, but it still makes me a little sad.

However, my mood changes when I remember I've been blessed enough to always find a surrogate family on Thanksgiving.

So to all my families, old and new...thank you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Holiday dating

Does a romantic fling top your holiday wish list?

If you said "yes," you're not alone. In a recent survey, "46 percent of singles said finding a new romantic interest topped their holiday wish list."

It's easy to enter dateless and desperate mode during the holidays. But starting a new relationship around Christmas really isn't that appealing.

For starters, you have the awkwardness that comes with exchanging gifts. It's much easier to buy presents for someone you've known for more than three weeks.

Also, without even passing a major anniversary, you and your partner are immersed in the pressure of holiday gatherings. A deluge of family-oriented events might make you introduce your partner to your parents earlier than expected. That's not always a good thing.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday power anthem

I chose this song to honor Taylor Swift, the big winner at Sunday's American Music Awards. If you missed the show, click here to read my recap.

Are you ready for Thanksgiving? And Black Friday?

I can't wait. Seize the day, and start dreaming about that green bean casserole. Mmm.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher and Twitter

One of my biggest weaknesses? Following the messages couples publicly share with each other on social networking sites.

Calm down, I'm not being cruel. Sure, there's a certain voyeuristic quality to the obsession, but overall I think the messages are pretty cute.

And yes, they can get slightly excessive at times.

So much that I now visit certain Facebook/Twitter accounts solely to see the newest romantic back and forth.

Enter the recent news that Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore are divorcing. In this interesting article, Entertainment Weekly notes that Ashton and Demi were once regarded as the First Couple of Twitter. An excerpt:

The funny thing is that Moore and Kutcher were never particularly funny on Twitter. The attraction, I think, lay in their intimacy. Most celebrities make Twitter a one-way conversation: “I am celebrity. You are fan. We talk now.” The Moore-Kutcher dynamic was more complex — they let you into their intimacy.

Naturally, this makes things a little awkward now. When you decide -- either intentionally or inadvertently -- to make Twitter the third wheel in your relationship, you risk encountering a major dilemma in the event of a breakup.

Who gets custody of Twitter?

Granted, nobody's going to block either one of you from the site. But sculpting a new persona can be challenging, especially when fans have followed you as part of a two-person unit.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We broke up on Facebook

Remember when people thought Facebook breakups were totally outrageous?

New survey results suggest a third of adults over the age of 18 have broken up with someone via Facebook, text or email.

Surprised? Me neither.

Facebook is no longer "just" technology. It's a valuable part of our daily interactions. Plus, seriously...who likes breaking up with someone face to face? The coward's route is always more appealing.

I still think that for the most part, technology-based breakups are tacky. But that belief applies mainly to long-term relationships. If you've only gone on one or two dates with someone, go ahead and cut ties via Facebook.

But use a private message, rather than a public wall post. Please.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mommie dearest

Here are some handy tips for winning over your significant other's mother at Thanksgiving.

The article is geared toward women, but the tips might help guys, too. Among my favorite pieces of wisdom: "The principle behind the no-fail winning-mothers-over technique is this: PEOPLE LOVE TO TALK ABOUT THEMSELVES."

Good advice.

Honestly, I think in most cases the "monster-in-law" image is a myth. Winning parents over is often as simple as smiling a lot, using common sense and saying "thank you."

And if that doesn't work, don't stress out. While a friendship with your significant other's parents is ideal, mere tolerance is perfectly acceptable as well.

Can you add any tips to this discussion?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday power anthem

There's actually a logical story behind this song. I ran the Soldier Half Marathon Saturday. Once again, the local event was awesome.

I loved all the new additions, especially the music that played at random points in the course. In fact, I liked the periodic dance parties even better than the beer at the finish line. Yes, I love music THAT much.

A volunteer on the course blasted this song around the 8-mile mark.

Thank you, random man. You encouraged me more than you'll ever know.

Friday, November 11, 2011

How to run a half marathon

I'm running a half marathon on Saturday.

"Good luck" is usually the immediate response to this statement, and that confuses me. Obviously, I'm not competing for a prize. I'm pretty slow. In fact, when I ran last year's Soldier Half Marathon, organizers exhausted the supply of medals before I crossed the finish line. I got one later, thanks for asking.

So what does "good luck" mean?

I'll start Saturday's Soldier Half Marathon with plenty of luck under my belt. Hopefully pleasantries exchanged on 11-11-11 carry extra weight.

There's a chance these well wishes pertain simply to completing the race.

It'll be a challenge. The mental battle will likely outweigh any physical strains. I don't run with an iPod, so I'm usually treated to an erratic mental slideshow that spans the good, the bad and the ugly.

And between those thoughts, there's the realization that I've come a long way. Not too long ago, I feared sports. Or at least I thought I feared sports. I actually feared the certainty of knowing that if I dabbled in this pastime, I would never the best.

I haven't fully embraced that realization, but I'm getting there.

In the meantime, I continue to accept good luck.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Breaking up in Burger King

Would you break up with someone in Burger King?

If you said "yes," this article might make you rethink your answer.

This guy watched a couple fight in Burger King...and live-tweeted the entire thing. Awesome.

Confession: I've cried more than my fair share of public tears. But I try to refrain from engaging in public screaming matches. Especially when spectators have access to Twitter.


Father-daughter wedding dance

Would your dad do this? Thanks to Yahoo! Shine for the link. Make sure to watch the whole thing!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday power anthem

Sorry I'm a little late posting today's power anthem. Busy morning. It's all good, though.

Hope you enjoy this song. Jessie J is quickly becoming one of my favorite new artists. Yes, I totally just enjoyed a brief dance party at my desk.

Seize the day!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Divorce: "We're still friends"

"We're still friends. In fact, we're better friends now than when we were married."

Have any of your recently divorced friends uttered that line? I've heard it many times. The first few times, I debated it -- behind the person's back, of course.

I'm pretty cynical of male-female friendships, especially when exes are involved. I think "friend" is often a term used to hide ulterior motives, at least from one of the parties involved.

But now, some people are suggesting divorces have genuinely become more amicable. Do you believe it? And if so, how do you explain it?

One writer outlines some theories, and I'm most on board with this one:

I think that growing up in the age of divorce has destigmatized it. One reason that couples tear at each other during a divorce is that they feel deep shame about divorcing, and that incentivises blaming the other person for the marriage's failure.

If you see no real shame in divorcing, it's a lot easier to say, "Hey, it didn't work out, but we're not bad people and we can get through this with the minimum of emotional bloodshed."

Then again, I'm not entirely sure divorces have become less hostile. Maybe we're just better at masking our real feelings. Or, maybe we just rely less on our human relationships.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Kim Kardashian & breakup predictions

This week's nightlife column is about the joy of being able to say "I told you so" amid Kim Kardashian's divorce news.

In the dating world, the primary goal is generally to find a partner with whom you can enjoy lifelong happiness. If we can’t have that, we’ll often settle for the second most important mission: accurately predicting when the happiest romantic unions will end.

I’m only half kidding. Public conversations center on "congratulations" and "I’m so happy for you." Private conversations leave room for a harsher sentiment.

"I give it two months. At best."

Weigh in: When it comes to predicting your friends' romantic futures, do you have a strong track record?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

No Shave November

My legs resemble a hairy mammoth, but don't freak out. There's a method to my madness.

Confession: So far, my participation in No Shave November is purely accidental. If I'm being completely honest, I'll also confess I haven't shaved my legs since Saturday night. Too much information? Sorry.

Anyway, I'll probably shave at some point this month. I'm sure my boyfriend just breathed a sigh of relief.

Plenty of people won't shave in November, though. No Shave November is an official event with its own website. Why do people forgo shaving for an entire month? Sometimes, it's to raise awareness for a specific cause, often prostate cancer.

Even if I don't last an entire month, I'm glad that we've entered a season when long pants weather makes it OK for women to only shave once a week, sometimes less. During my first year at the Ledger, I wrote a column about the bliss that comes with shaving sporadically in winter.

A reader called and accused me of not being ladylike.

Guilty as charged.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lessons from Kim Kardashian

If your relationship is still intact, give yourself a pat on the back.

Why? Turns out Halloween is a common time for breakups. That's because it's the "last stop before the holidays," according to this article.

Apparently, it's not cool to break up with someone amid the warm, fuzzy feelings associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas.

If a relationship seems headed for disaster, people will often sever ties around Halloween to avoid the romantic pressure that comes with the holidays.

So maybe there was some real relationship science behind the fact that Kim Kardashian's divorce news made headlines on Oct. 31.

I prefer that explanation over TV ratings.