Category Archives: Pop Culture

Closing Ceremony of Olympic Blogging

Psst…. the Olympics have been on for the last two weeks.

And as I get ready to settle in for a night of Closing Ceremonies from London, I realize none of the ideas I had for posts about the Olympics came to fruition. But I don’t want my little blog to miss its time in the sun (or rather the overcast, in honor of our host nation). So a few concluding thoughts:

No Silver Lining?

The silver medal pouting and whining has been well-covered throughout the games, most hilariously in this Tumblr blog: http://mckaylaisnotimpressed.tumblr.com/ and most scientifically in this article. It’s easy to understand the disappointment a silver medalist feels at missing the gold and the euphoria a bronze medalist feels at making the cut.

But seriously, from gymnastics (which personally I felt there was way too much talk from commentators about how “emotional” the gymnasts are) to track to diving, I can’t remember ever seeing so much sulking when being named the second best in the world. Perhaps I don’t relate to this as the closest I have gotten to this level of competition was when I placed second in headline writing at Texas’s annual statewide UIL competition for high school journalism. And I was freaking ecstatic!

I can only imagine that our mandate to identify “overwhelming favorites” in each sport and competition is as much a factor of this as the athlete’s own goals. I hope that all of the Maroney’s, Komova’s and Bo’s leave can leave London with a feeling of pride in their amazing accomplishments. I’ll even share my UIL medal.

Olympic viewing

While I would love to pour over every story, competitor profile, host nation factoid and ageless Bob Costas smirk that comes around only every two years with Olympic coverage, I just don’t have the time. Especially if I am also going to stay up to date with Big Brother and Bachelor Pad (not to mention working, eating and sleeping).

In this Olympic period, I perfected watching a five-hour broadcast in 45 minutes and did not feel like I missed anything. For future reference, choosing from the following short-cuts can be effective if you are pressed for time:

  • No back stories. (This is difficult as these human interest pieces of the athletes are just as much a part of the games as the competitions, but use your judgment — do you need another story on Michael Phelps?)
  • See Ryan Seacrest, fast-forward immediately. Same with Mary Carillo. It’s the only way.
  • So much time is spent on the athletes getting to their starting position or replaying the race THAT JUST HAPPENED five times. This is especially true in swimming and track. So I say you can watch Usain Bolt win, but not celebrate his victory for 15 minutes. Use your time at work the next day to watch highlights online.
  • No medal ceremonies. Unless the gold medalist is crying.

Lasting Images

I’m too scared to post actual images for copyright reasons, but some things that I will remember as the London games come to an end are:

  • The eventual 400m men’s winner Kirani James from Grenada switching racing bibs with South African double amputee Oscar Pistorious after Pistorious didn’t qualify for the final race.
  • Anything involving Pistorious. He’s inspiring, humble and hot. And has that great South African accent. But mostly for the inspiring part.
  • NBC keeping the camera close to Lebron James and Kobe Bryant during the Opening Ceremonies. You know, because we never get to see how they react in a major sporting event.
  • The random appearance of Bob Costas’s awesome Harry Potter glasses.
  • Allyson Felix. How adorable is she? I will buy all 214 items that she will soon be sponsoring.
  • Any Bela Karolyi interview. I like to guess at what he might actually be saying.
  • The P&G “moms” commercials. And all of the parent reactions.
  • William, Kate and Harry. Swoon.

And so much more! But now it’s time to wrap these games up. As a whole, I like the summer Olympics more than winter, but the winter Olympics have figure skating, so on to 2014 in Sochi, Russia!

What were your favorite moments of these Olympics? Are you ready to go to bed at a decent time again?

Macy’s Day Parade and Me

Traditions abound this time of year. Most of these center around time spent with family and friends.

But one of my favorite holiday traditions is one that I keep for myself. Thanksgiving morning, wrapped in blankets (ignoring the high today of 70 degrees), drinking hot chocolate and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

I don’t know when this tradition started in my adult life or how no one has managed to infiltrate it. I do know JB loves the guilt-free pass to play golf. (Don’t worry, I did invite him to join me in my holiday tradition of watching Love Actually, I’m not a monster!)

But back to the parade. As if Matt Lauer doesn’t have the most amazing job already (in addition to “Where in the World is Matt Lauer?”, just yesterday he had the privilege of interviewing this couple for absolutely no good newsworthy reason), he guides us through the three hours of parade coverage with Al and the current female co-hosting The Today Show.

Some people think you can just tune in at the second hour, when the parade floats have made their way to 34th Street. But for me, the first hour has some of the best action — the Broadway performances!

A great lead-in for the high school drill teams (miss you!), marching bands, and floats that will soon take over the TV screen — starting of course with Tom Turkey and ending with the much-anticipated arrival of Santa Claus.

Sure, there is a lot of NBC self-promotion and horrible lip-syncing. And it appears that the producers drink a vat of adult eggnog (which I will soon be imbibing!) and then assign the performers to their spot on the parade. Avril Lavigne on the Cooking Channel float? Um, okay!

But it is all part of the parade experience. As is crying during the St. Jude commercials and its meaningful tagline delivered every year by Marlo Thomas: “Give thanks for the healthy kids in your life, and give to those who are not.”

This solo tradition comes at a reflective time for me as I am just days away from turning over the keys to my condo — selling my home of four years that was a symbol of my independence. Combining traditions is truly wonderful and I’m so excited to do so with JB and his family, but I think having a few of your own is just as important.

One day I will, hopefully, share this tradition. I can picture myself sitting on the couch, wrapped in blankets, and sipping hot chocolate with a little baby on my lap. Sure, as Baby grows up, we’ll have to deal with questions about Santa and why he doesn’t visit our house and how that isn’t it fair and that Baby wishes he could live with Baby’s friends who have Christmas trees because they are more fun and Baby hates me for ruining his/her life.

On second thought, maybe Baby can go to the golf course with daddy. This tradition is mine.

Happy Thanksgiving! May we be thankful today and every day for the blessings in our lives.

Do you have a tradition that is all your’s? What is your favorite Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float?

Life In Bullets

You might recall I have a blog. She’s been a little silent through October and up until now, which is ironic because the month itself was anything but (not to mention that I am usually anything but). Professionally and personally, October always seems like the busiest month of the year. Am I alone in feeling that way?

But we soldier on. So, in soundbite format, here’s what’s been occupying my time in the last month:

  • One strike away. Twice. Heartbreak.
  • Siri.
  • The new television season.
  • American Horror Story on FX.
  • Reading online obsessively about American Horror Story.
  • Having nightmares because of American Horror Story.
  • Attending weddings.
  • Planning a wedding (I have a dress!).
  • Alternating between sweaters and flip-flops because Dallas is ridiculous.
  • Trying to find the right energy bar or post-workout food/beverage to stave the blurry visions and headaches off I’m getting after my personal training.
  • Drinking more water.
  • Forgetting to drink more water.
  • Turning 34. Will it be as busy as 33?
  • Trying to figure our where in the world is Matt Lauer — otherwise known as the annual reminder that no matter how great it actually is, your job totally sucks in comparison.
  • Counting the minutes until Thanksgiving.

What’s missing from this list? Books. Blogging. Google Reader. The part of me who loves to read and write has been absent lately. While I have my theories as to why (most of them surrounding horrific scenarios derived from American Horror Story), I think it’s just a simple matter of focusing on other things.

I miss reading and blogging and I think my life is fuller and more balanced with these hobbies around, but I also don’t feel the need to force them. They then move from hobbies to obligations. It’s kind of how I feel about our “passions.”

Hopefully my inner hipster-sitting-in-a-coffee-shop-with-a-composition book-and-an-e-reader will resurface soon. In the meantime, please share some book recommendations below and/or what you are enjoying this new TV season!

Thanks for reading!

Taylor Made

If you’re not familiar with the Dallas area, we have a football team called the Dallas Cowboys. They play in a 100,00-seat stadium in Arlington, Texas, halfway between Dallas and Ft. Worth. It looks like a spaceship:

Courtesy of ESPN.com

Since it opened last season, it hasn’t exactly been a place for fairy tales. The Cowboys are the Cowboys and even the Super Bowl game was not quite what the DFW area was planning for.

But last night, this oversized sports bar next door to the home of the AL West champions (and counting) Texas Rangers, transformed itself into a place where 55,000 young girls (and their moms… and me… and JB) were able to experience the dreamland theatrics of young love and heartbreak that can only be brought to life by one Taylor Swift!

I have already written about my adoration of this girl. And those who know me well have listened to my countdown to the concert since I purchased the tickets more than 7 months ago. It was only fitting that her show take place after I had spent the previous 24 hours observing the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. On this day, we atone for our sins and are forgiven for our transgressions of the past year. It is important to attend a Taylor Swift concert when you are at your most pure, because as my friend and fellow attendee keenly observed, there is something very Disney about her show and her fans.

Cowboys Stadium has a Giant Screen of Epic Proportions. If I wasn’t such a lazy blogger, I’d look up the dimensions, but trust me, it’s huge.

Portion of the crowd and the Giant Screen.

It takes an amazing set of pores to feel confident enough to have your face on this screen. There’s no make-up that can hide anything. But with her Hollywood-glam looks, including striking eyes and her signature cherry red lipstick, Taylor was always ready for her close-up. We couldn’t help but be distracted by her perfect teeth.

Perfect teeth, meet Giant Screen.

Taylor’s show was full of some of her greatest hits coupled with Broadway-like performances with a chorus of dancers and her high-energy band. If you have seen the movie Valentine’s Day, you probably already know that acting is not one of Taylor’s strengths. She’s a little awkward. But in the context of her concert, when music is the main focus, she could pull it off.

Sure, I had my jaded, I’m-too-old-to-be-here moments. Her constant looks of awe (amplified by the Giant Screen) at all the shrieking and cheering for her by her many fans got a little old for me. I have no doubt she is grateful, but I can’t buy that she is surprised. This isn’t her first rodeo. And floating over the crowd in a Juliet-esque balcony during the final number was perhaps taking the fairytale metaphor a little too far.

But then again, my friends and I did wear homemade matching t-shirts:

Thanks A!

And that’s really what this concert, and all others, are about. Sharing good (whatever that means to you) music with friends. The fiance, who doesn’t listen to any pop music, but misses a big night of college football to join three girls (in aforementioned matching t-shirts) because he knows it’s important to me.

And the moment the house music abruptly stops, the lights go out, and you know the show is about to begin. And so what if you shriek louder than the 11-year-old next to you?

What are some of your best concert memories? I’m sure this concert was the first for a majority of the crowd. What was your first concert? Mine was Lionel Ritchie. Oh yeah.

The Longest Commute

Have you ever looked over at the car next to you during your morning commute and wondered if he/she was laughing at the same radio talk show you were? Or singing along to the same station you were tuned to?

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I looked over at all the cars driving alongside me on the way to work wondering if they understood what the hell was happening. I knew we were listening to the same thing because their faces showed the identical feelings of bewilderment, panic, and sadness as mine.

As an American, I felt (and feel) these emotions as everyone did. But the full (and perhaps shameful) truth is, I don’t think about the day and its impact regularly. When I do reflect, these are some of the memories that stick out after that long commute:

  • I remember my friend, later that afternoon, worried about getting flowers sent to his mom because her birthday was the next day. I remember feeling simultaneously dismayed and grateful that he could be thinking about something so normal.
  • I remember the eerie feeling of going to work the next day in one of downtown Dallas’s tallest skyscrapers. Everyone was silent on the elevator up to the 47th floor.
  • I remember how, in relative terms and for however briefly, we all supported and looked to the president to help us through this. Like people say when estranged families mend their differences after a loss, it’s a shame it takes something so tragic to bring us together.
  • Since I’m such a pop culture fanatic, I remember how 9/11 played into the entertainment world. I remember Saturday Night Live’s season premiere with Paul Simon performing “The Boxer” as New York City first responders stood stoically in front of the American flag. How powerful music can be. I remember the discussion of whether shows like Friends and Sex and the City would edit their New York skyline shots that included the Twin Towers (I think SATC did edit its opening credits). I remember the awesome “Tribute to Heroes” concert/telethon shown on every broadcast channel. It was the least annoying I had ever found Bono.
I know I am extremely fortunate that I didn’t have a direct loss or impact from 9/11 that grips my memory. This weekend, my thoughts are with the 9/11 families, survivors, emergency personnel, and military members and families who remember every day.


I’m Getting Contact Lenses!

Which is another way of saying… I’m engaged! JB has decided that there is permanent room in his life for college football, golf, and ME!

Upon arriving home from work last Friday, he presented me with a Romero Britto figurine I fell in love with back in December when we visited Miami. And when I realized what it was and turned around, there he was, one knee and all. It was romantic, perfect and surreal.

Fast-forward through the celebratory weekend and wedding planning is in full effect. All my mom and sister needed was the green light of an actual proposal and it was game on.

Part of this journey includes getting contact lenses. I get all Rachel Green (I have actually had this exact experience with a glaucoma machine) when it comes to my optical organ. While I am grateful for my sight and everything, I think eyes — and all their affiliated lids, balls, retinas, etc. — are disgusting. I can’t even watch people fiddle with their contacts, much less handle them in my own eyes.

So I have chosen a life of spectacles. And I love them. They are me, and I barely remember a time when I didn’t wear them. People mistake me for intellectual and this engagement only proves the naysayers wrong — boys most definitely do make passes at girls who wear glasses.

But I have always said the only event that could inspire me to stick plastic in my eyes and then remove it every night (I’m honestly shuddering thinking about this) was my wedding. Yes, I want to be “me” at my wedding, but there’s something about a gorgeous wedding gown paired with black-rimmed glasses that just isn’t festive. Let’s face it, there is only one person who could pull that look off and I envy her.

Unfortunately, my sight has deteriorated enough that I can’t get by without some type of visual aide. JB and his brother look strikingly similar and it’s best that any potential for awkward moments is avoided.

So soon I will go to the optometrist, freak out, and start trying to reconcile my relationship with my eyes so I can be totally comfortable on my wedding day with the foreign circular objects floating in my eyes.

After the engagement on Friday night, on our way to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, JB and I looked at each other and told each other to hold on to the absolute joy we were feeling at that moment. For a brief time, it was all about us. Soon enough, the madness would begin.

But I have made some promises to myself. I will attempt to keep perspective. I will remember that venue, band and flowers are not as important as JB, family and friends. I will keep a picture of me and my mom smiling and laughing nearby (as reminders of happier times in our relationship might be necessary). I will not turn this into a wedding blog.

And when I get stressed choosing cake toppers, I will remember that of all the questions I will be asking and will be asked throughout this process, the most important one has already been answered.

Not-So-Secret Single Behavior

When Sex and the City‘s Carrie moved in with Aidan, she worried about losing the lifestyle she had come to know as a single girl, particularly the little habits and behaviors we only partake in when home alone. She called these “secret single behaviors.”

As I reflected last night on how it was my last night living alone, I was so excited to write a post about my own secret single behaviors that I will miss. I’m sure half a million other female bloggers moving in with their significant others have written the same post, and a quick Google search confirmed this. But as I read the other blogs, I realized something: I don’t really have any!

Don’t get me wrong, I have a home routine and I love solitude and there were probably many things I would have hidden a year ago. But all of my secret behaviors? JB already knows them!

For example, I love zoning out and reading blogs before I go to bed. And when doing this, I get a little, shall we say, feisty if I feel someone is reading over my shoulder. Check! We fought discussed that fight situation and all is good.

Also, I watch a lot of crappy television. He’s learned that there is no amount of self-loathing that will keep me away from shows like Big Brother.

As I consume a jar of olives while writing this post, clearly some “me time” preferences are going to come up. But I don’t think it’s the secret behaviors that are a big deal for me; rather it’s the mixing of routines. When you take these relationship steps in your 30s especially, you are already set in your ways. And despite a perfected whine when I need help, I’m pretty independent. And so is JB. I have no worry that we will transition into this new phase smoothly, but I’m definitely going to have to put on my big girl sharing pants.

Like Carrie, I’m protective of my space and of my alone time. But unlike Carrie, I know a good man when I have one. So in the words of JB when I asked him how he felt about this move actually being here: “Off we go!”


What are some of your secret (that will no longer be secret) single behaviors that you worry about giving up or have had to adjust since co-habitation?