The Sisterhood is Traveling to New Orleans

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 As part of a marketing campaign for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, the cast is helping out Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans.

If you’re thinking, what on Earth does a movie about four friends and a magic pair of jeans have to do with Habitat for Humanity you will surely be surprised. Alexis Bledel stated in an interview, “They are recycling jeans and making these tubes for insulation that will help insulate the houses they are building down there.” See, get it? Magic jeans, using jeans for insulation. Yeah!

The sisterhood aren’t the only ones helping out with this amazing project; Cotton Inc., GUESS, and Warner Bros. Pictures are spreading the word about the Habitat project to people who are purchasing GUESS products and if you’re one of those people, you should also be aware of the fact that you also have the opportunity to help with the efforts in New Orleans simply by turning in old pairs of jeans you may have laying in back of your closet gathering dust. Not only that, but if you do turn in a pair (or multiple pairs) of your old jeans, you will receive a discount on your new purchases for every pair of jeans you turn in. Your old jeans will be reclaimed into cotton and turned into energy efficient insulation.

So get out there, buy some new pairs of fabulous jeans, bring in the old jeans you never wear anyway and get a discount on said fabulous jeans. It’s as simple as that!

Oh, and if your Gilmore Girls antennae goes up at the mention of Alexis Bledel and you’re like me and so many other Gilmore Girls fans, Alexis was also asked in the interview about a Gilmore Girls movie coming out to which she replied with she didn’t know and hadn’t heard anything. Come on Gilmore Girls cast, crew and writers, we want a real ending! Give us a movie and shut us up, please.

Book Review: Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner

I had been interested in reading Good in Bed for a few years now. I used to work at Borders Books & Music and of course, in such a setting, I came upon several hundreds of books that I had made mental notes of to read, forgot about them, life went on and on and on; but Good in Bed has always remained on my mental ‘must read’ book list. With a title like Good in Bed, I hardly cared about what the story was about, the book cover and name alone eluded to chick lit, which is super fabulous to indulge in after long days and just wanting to relax in the bath tub, in bed, on the couch, outside in a lawn chair, I just knew in my bones that the book was for me. Knowing very little about the book at first, I put it on my ‘to-read’ list on Goodreads and through the love of books and book sharing, an acquaintance who knew of me through a website I run mailed me a copy of the book.

Upon completion, and even a little less than halfway through the book I knew my intuition about this book was right; it was a book that I needed to read and it is a book that I will cherish for some time to come.

Good in Bed has been quite heavily compared to Bridget Jones’s Diary, which I am also a fan of and can see where people are coming up with the comparison, however, the main character of Good in Bed, Candace “Cannie” Shapiro, is by far superior in wit alone. Cannie is a hilarious, full of character woman who has used her sense of humor and sarcastic wit to cover up the negativism she has felt about herself for quite some time.

Cannie is a larger woman trying to live her life in a world of Hollywood and size 0’s and 00’s. Being a woman who wears a size larger than a 4 sometimes has a difficult time living their life in a world where if you turn on the television, open a magazine or go see a movie, you are bombarded with images of what everyone else thinks you should look like. Cannie gives us women whose left breast couldn’t fit into a size 0 shirt a voice–A brutally honest, no bullshit, real voice. Her life is pretty much together–She has a successful career as a reporter for a Philadelphia newspaper, an apartment she shares with her beloved dog, Nifkin, whose name gives you the first glimpse of how packed with humor this book is, and loving, supporting family and friends. She had broken up with her boyfriend Bruce a few months prior, saying that she had wanted a break and was happy with the decision she had made. However, Bruce is also a writer who had gotten a good gig writing a feature piece in a nationally published magazine every month entitled Good in Bed and his inaugural piece was about Cannie entitled “Loving a Larger Woman” where he compared her physique to Monica Lewinsky.

Cannie then decides that it’s time for her to make some positive life changes and enrolls in a weight loss study in hopes of losing weight. Also on her list of plans is that the man she broke up with but is now starting to miss and want back, will look at her after she loses her weight and want her back. After trying Weight Watchers and several other diets that didn’t work, the new weight loss study and course that Cannie decides to try involves weight loss drugs which seem promising. At her classes, she meets the doctor who is running the course, Dr. K who later becomes a great friend of hers and possible love interest.

Through the story, Cannie goes through ups and downs when it comes to coming to terms with the Bruce debacle and things only get worse for her when Bruce’s father dies unexpectedly. Through her means of trying to comfort him, but him only pushing her further and further away and the next few months of columns he writes for the magazine praise a new girlfriend Bruce has in tow, Cannie begins taking a closer look at her life and figuring out through the never ceasing anger she has for Bruce and that in reality, she isn’t angry with Bruce, she is still angry at her father from her childhood years who abandoned her and his family which in turn has transformed her siblings and even herself, regarding how she feels about herself and her weight. At an early age, Cannie’s father would introduce people to his daughter and say that while she wasn’t a real beauty, she made up for it in brains and would also tell her that no one would want to see her naked and that she was too fat. Cannie’s father, whom she calls The Original Abandoner becomes the person in her life who she realizes she had given too much power to.

Through the steps Cannie takes to make her life better, she meets a woman who she was scheduled to do an interview with, Maxi Ryder, a Hollywood actress who Cannie later finds out also has problems of her own and just because you may be rich and skinny, it doesn’t mean that you’re happy. Cannie’s life forever changes through the pages of Good in Bed, some good and means for celebration and some bad, but by reading Good in Bed, you realize that you can’t make someone love you, how you look to someone physically holds no barrier to how they may feel about you, weight is not something to be hung up about because there is so much more good in the world that you could be experiencing instead of standing in front of the mirror wishing you could be slimmer, and that while things in your life may seem hopeless, the people who love you the most are going to be there to help you through it.

Cannie does indeed become a slimmer version of herself towards the end of the book, in a time of utter despair, and it is then that it doesn’t really matter because she has bigger problems in her life that need to be tended to. The people who love you do not love you because you may be a size 0 or have long, shimmering blonde hair. The people who love you are there for you when you need it the most, they are the ones who can see you at your worst and love you just as much as they did when seeing you at your best and that is a life lesson that Jennifer Weiner hit spot on.

Good in Bed is an excellent book that makes you laugh and makes you cry. It makes you look at your own life and how you see yourself and realize that just by being yourself, you’re good enough for anyone and the problems in your life that you don’t think you can make it through are the ones that make you who are you and with the love and support of your family and friends, you can get through anything.

Say Goodbye to Couch & Kitchen Chair Forts

When I was young, I remember going to a friend’s house after school nearly every day and of course, we didn’t have all the cool technological toys that are out now for children’s amusement and so we made due with normal, everyday, household objects that may have looked completely ordinary to our parents, but to a child, a couch, a couple kitchen chairs and a few bedsheets were paradise. In our heads, we were anywhere we wanted to be and we could do whatever we pleased; it was very Narnia-like.

Crazy Forts The times really haven’t changed for children too young to care about what video game system is out or what “must have” toys are out on the market; young children still have that magical essence about them where they believe that a couch, a couple kitchen chairs and a few bedsheets mean creating their very own, personal haven. While we absolutely love the creative minds and imaginations children have, putting the couch and kitchen chairs back can certainly be a pain in the butt, especially if you find yourself doing it nearly every day. The makers of Crazy Forts thought the same thing!

Crazy Forts is a genius idea to allow your child’s imagination to soar and to allow a little freedom for parents from having to pick up the house all over again at the end of play time. They aren’t battery operated and they aren’t something that your child will play with for a day and be done with; they are kits containing plastic building materials–25 geometrically precise balls and 44 sticks that connect to create countless structures for play time. By simply tossing a few bedsheets or light blankets,

Crazy Forts building Crazy Forts are one of the very, very few toys out there that promote collaborative play between boys and girls, just as long as your children aren’t in their “No boys allowed” clubhouse phases. While Crazy Forts are meant to be an assembly-by-child toy and are very easy to build into a variety of different structures, especially when the kits are combined, their website also has convenient design ideas and downloadable building plans for a castle, house, igloo, rocket and tunnel, which may be a great way to start warming your child up to creating their own forts if they’re not sure of the toy at first.

Crazy Forts are great kits, especially if you have more than one child who are close in age; this is a phenomenal way to get all of your kids to stay in one room, out of your hair and actually get along–If you’re lucky. It can also be educational, giving children a grasp on rudimentary engineering and physics concepts in a strictly fun way.

Book Review: Please Excuse My Daughter by Julie Klam

Allow me to preface this review by stating the fact that typically, I enjoy memoirs. Memoirs, in my opinion, mark the struggles, triumphs, courage and stamina of a person. They signify a life that has truly been lived and allow a person to share their lives with others who may benefit from reading their story.

Julie Klam was born and raised in a Jewish family where her mother and many other Jewish wives and women in general believed that women did not work. Instead, they married rich men, spent their husband’s money on luxuries that purely benefit the way they look and eat and nothing else and have a few children before they are expected to get a job and contribute to their families. Julie was not only raised in this lifestyle, she inhabited this lifestyle and truly made it her own.

Her mother frequently took her out of school so she could go shopping and wear the best clothes out of all of the girls she went to school with because she was raised thinking that that was the important part of life–The best clothes, the best hair, the best nails and so on. Because of her upbringing, Julie did not receive the education that she deserved as a young child growing up.

As every adult knows, there comes a time when you need to become an adult; to grow up and take responsibility for your life and eventually, for your family. Sadly, Julie Klam never did break away from the way she was raised and instead, formed a lifestyle around fear and laziness.

On the back cover of Julie Klam’s memoir, Please Excuse My Daughter, you will see a laundry list of pseudo-accomplishments. She had attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where it was a requirement of hers to watch a countless number of movies. She was an intern at Late Night with David Letterman, she landed her first “real” job at VH1 on the popular music video show, Pop Up Video, where she met and later married the show’s producer, Paul Leo. It was for Pop Up Video that she received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Special Class Writing; however, as good as “Emmy Nominated Writer” looks by your name, she simply received that nomination in conjunction with the rest of the writing staff of the show. Since then, she was also published in O: The Oprah Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour and Rolling Stone, although you learn in her book that her close friend works for Rolling Stone, so it is obvious to see how she landed that gig.

Julie Klam’s life has been a series of excuses. Excuses as to why she had never had a real job that she could stick with and not because she simply enjoys the life of freelancing, but because she is simply incapable of being an adult. Throughout her memoir, where at 257 pages, was 256 pages too long, Julie whines, complains and feels sorry for herself for not being able to highlight her hair or go to Saks; she is truly her mother’s daughter.

Julie Klam simply wrote an entire memoir based upon what most “mommy bloggers” are writing about now, yet most mommy bloggers are far more entertaining and don’t lose their reader after a few posts. As a matter of a fact, Heather Armstrong of Dooce did write a book and from what I have been hearing, it’s a hell of a lot more interesting to a broader range of people than what the reviews of Please Excuse My Daughter are receiving across the board.

While Please Excuse My Daughter is written very well and some of the times is absolutely hilarious, Julie Klam’s memoir is long, dry and sticks to your throat as you try to swallow it. In my (most humble) opinion, I believe that the next time Julie Klam finds herself in another slump and needs money desperately, instead of writing a memoir (because this one surely is not going to make her the millions she lies awake dreaming of at night) she should opt for children’s books. She has a wonderful sense of humor and a talent for writing humor and should apply her talents to something not so involved; something that will not let her drag out a story and pretend it is epic when it simply falls flat.

Taken from Julie’s own blog, in a post written about Goodreads, a site where people are able to keep track of the books they want to read, have read and write reviews, you can tell what a self-assured woman Klam is when she responds to those who do not enjoy her book and agree with her that she is brilliant by saying, “…I’m thinking of leaving the Author Program, too, because I want to write nasty things to people who give my book low ratings and I don’t want them to know it’s me. (Like “Sorry, I didn’t write the book for half-wits.”) You know?”

Well Julie, who did you write this book for? If it was for yourself, then I suggest you stick to journaling your random thoughts and long monologues about why your life is so hard. If you wrote the book for well-read individuals looking for a book about someone’s life who has accomplished something and who actually has something to say, well I’m here to tell you that you’ve disappointed your ideal audience.

The Hopeful Haven Project

women's shelters When you think of homeless shelters, most people’s first thoughts leap to movies and what they’ve seen showcased on their television screens–Bland, cold, run down. Sadly, what people have seen for so many years on movies and television shows aren’t far from the truth in the least.

Terry Grahl visited a homeless shelter for women dealing with drug addictions and domestic violence, Grace Centers of Hope in Pontiac, MI. The women who live at Grace Centers of Hope have already had some very traumatic and life-shattering experiences and this shelter provides these women with shelter for them and their children for up to one year. Because of the experiences these women have already had, shelters such as Grace Centers of Hope and so many others across the country are there to lend these women a hand, to assure these women that their lives are not over and to relieve these women of their pasts and teach them to look forward towards a hopeful and promising future. While the mission of these shelters is amazing, the interior most often resembles the emotional deterioration of the women themselves; which is exactly what Terry Grahl thought when she visited Grace Centers of Hope.

As soon as Terry had seen the prison-like beds that these women slept in, the walls and carpets that looked as if they were part of an abandoned building that fell prey to a handful of high school kids wanting a place to party, she knew she had found a project to dedicate her time and talent to. Terry believed that these women deserved so much more, especially considering that Grace Centers of Hope is the “in between” place for these women to start to get on their own two feet and start to make sense of their lives. How were they to make sense of their lives while living in a space that lacked to inspire.

Luckily, not only Terry felt this way, but so did the women who ran this shelter as well as the people who had donated money to be used to revamp the center as well as those who had donated various items such as ceiling fans, air conditioners, washers and dryers, baby cribs, curtains, beauty products, homemade art and so much more. The community surrounding Grace Centers of Hope came together with Terry, the women who run this shelter and the women who find themselves in a shelter that once reminded them of how lost they were, but can now remind them to always have hope, to not look upon themselves as victims and to provide the best life they possibly can to their own children. The women of Grace Centers of Hope can now feel inspired, motivated and hopeful and their surroundings can now uplift them and hopefully, they will never feel the sorrow, loneliness, or feel victimized in any way for the rest of their lives.

To see what Terry and the women of Grace Centers of Hope and the people of Pontiac, MI did to transform this space for the women who live there, click the images below and you can also visit Terry’s website, Terry’s Enchanted Cottage, where she has dedicated a page to The Hopeful Haven Project.

See before and after pictures of Terry’s work at Grace Centers of Hope below:

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Every American Deserves the Right to Marry

Million for Marriage America came one step closer to achieving equal rights for all people when California declared that refusing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people the right to marry was unconstitutional. Since this remarkable day in LGBT history, many couples have been married and have shared in the experience of vowing to love and to cherish each other in front of their friends and families and for the first time in California, their marriage will be legal in the eyes of the law.

With every day that we celebrate this victory for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered couples, anti-LGBT have been working to deny benefits to LGBT couples on both state and federal levels. In order to make sure that ignorance and hate doesn’t win this battle over true equality for all Americans, the Human Rights Campaign has set up a petition with the hope of getting over 1 million names from people who believe in marriage equality for everyone.

The petition states:

“I do support the right of every American to marry, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender couples. I believe that marriage and other civil rights protections are essential to making all families safer and more secure.

By signing this petition, I agree to support efforts to make marriage equality a reality in our country, and to oppose any attempts to discriminate against LGBT couples and individuals.”

With 988,902 signatures so far, HRC needs more people to stand up for marriage equality. Sign the petition here.

Babeland Knows Women

Babeland

When you think of sex toy shops, most often you’re probably thinking of shady-looking shops that cling to the shadows of highways. These shops are also the ones that have those creepy private booths in the back that most definitely cannot be entered without full hazmat gear.

The success of these types of shops is rooted in the same reason why everyone living outside of a significant city immediately think of sleazy shops instead of decorated storefronts. Their success can only be measured by the competition around them.

I live near a large city, but it is nowhere near what one would call bustling, or even moderately significant. There are three sex toy shops within 50 miles around me in any direction. Two are your standard, cliche shops directed predominantly at men, complete with jizz rooms in the back and a smarmy, unkempt man at the register. One tries desperately to appeal to women by making their main focus lingerie. Their store is filled with teddies, nightgowns, and negligees with a marked off back room for adults only. I scoped out their stock once, and it was simply an array of penis novelty items for bachelorette parties, jelly dildos, and egg vibrators. It made me sad.

Coming from this kind of background in sex toy shops, I was more than ready to discover Babeland when I did.

Founded by women for women, Babeland, and their “sex toys for a passionate world,” are dedicated to creating fun, friendly spaces that aren’t intimidating and, more importantly, aren’t filled with the semen of the guy who just held the door open for you on your way in. They actively celebrate the libido and treat sex as something to enjoy and have fun with, instead of feeling ashamed of it.

Babeland is celebrating the launch of its fifth store nationwide, located in Brooklyn, New York. The store is positioned in between a maternity store called Bump and an organic restaurant that sells an herbal infusion to boost libido, really speaking volumes of how approachable, unassuming, and safe their stores are to visit and shop. Store locations also have regular events scheduled for seminars on sexuality, workshops, and even parties.

Check out Babeland.com for a great selection of sex toys, educational books, erotica, DVDs, and more. You can also expect product reviews in the future of some of the products and accessories on sale at Babeland, so look out for that!

Book Review: All About Vee by C. Leigh Purtill

All About Vee Veronica May is a pretty standard teenager. At eighteen years old, she is bubbly, caring and has a few great friends known as ‘The Vees,’ named simply after the first letter in all of their first names. She is a confident actress, star of her school and city theater in her hometown of Chester, Arizona and she is absolutely gorgeous–All 217 pounds of her.

While Veronica loves her life in Chester, she loves the spotlight even more and craves the success that as a big city actor, she knows she could achieve.

Once her father, a widower librarian, decides to finally marry his girlfriend of ten years and the city theater casting a play in which there are no female lead roles, Veronica feels as if she is being replaced not only in her household, but in her whole city. With her father’s reluctance to talk to Veronica about her deceased mother and provide his child with any closure, she decides to make her dream of being a successful actress a reality after finding some old letters that her mother had written her father in the attic. Veronica learns that her mother was also an aspiring actress who left her life in a little city in pursuit of becoming successful in LA–And that is just where Veronica heads to start her big city life.

Veronica drives to LA and stays with one of her childhood friends and fellow Vee and soon learns that life in LA is nothing like she had imagined and that in order to be a successful actress, you don’t merely have to be good at acting. While learning the ropes of this new city and spending her life savings on head shots and a myriad of acting, yoga and movement classes, Veronica realizes that being confident and talented are the least sought after attributes when it comes to being an actress.

Struggling with sending head shots, waiting for call backs and going on cattle calls and auditions, Veronica starts working as a barista and makes friends with two other fellow actors. She loves her job at the coffee shop and her new friends, but her attraction to the manager is also weighing down hard on her path to stardom.

All About Vee is a must-read book for all young teenage girls, in my opinion, for the simple fact that Purtill illustrates how women who aren’t a size 0 are treated not only in LA and not only because they are striving to become actresses, but all across this country. She gives the weight epidemic that plagues so many young girls a story and luckily, Veronica does not change a thing about her weight throughout the book, which I was impressed with.

Through her time in LA, Veronica learns that those who you think are your friends can change and become people you don’t want to associate yourself with, that people can be brutal and backstabbing and to always remember who the people that love you are because those will be the people who want and help you to succeed in life.

Book Review: A Survival Guide for Landlocked Mermaids by Margot Datz

Margot Datz is a self-taught painter, sculptor, interior designer and prolific writer whose imagery and beautifully crafted metaphors whisk those who read her words away, almost immediately.

As a woman who lives by the sea and spends her life creating genius pieces of art, including a spectacular eighty-five-foot mural and bas-relief installation for the Arkansas Children’s Hospital and illustrations for four children’s books for friend Carly Simon, her talent is apparent and defined in her book, A Survival Guide for Landlocked Mermaids.

Her book, while it may first look like a typical children’s book, is filled with the wisdom a woman learns through years of life experience. She advises that in order to even think about a man in your life, you must first not only accept, but truly love yourself, faults and all. She also goes through the types and behaviors of men and reminds us all that love is a luxury to have in one’s life.

While Datz advises us women on all of life’s little setbacks and luxuries, she also reminds us that it’s important to also focus on the fun stuff, like accessories and sexy lingerie that makes a woman feel her absolute best and it’s always important to be a little naughty.

I really enjoyed reading A Survival Guide for Landlocked Mermaids. It’s a cute and quick read, while also being inspirational and eye-opening for all women who have the pleasure of picking up this book.

The Worst Wedding Cake Toppers

Some weddings are casual, some weddings are extravagant. Some weddings have themes, some weddings have…absolutely horrible wedding cake toppers. Have a look at just some of the tackiest and tasteless cake toppers out there.

Click the thumbnails for larger picture.

island cake topper Even if you’re celebrating your wedding on the beach, on a tropical island or if your wedding happens to be beach or island themed, there is no excuse for a couple to be making out on top of your wedding cake and especially not for $56.95.

stripper cake topper This wedding cake topper screams “Hooray, it’s a wedding! But wait! First, I have to finish my shift at the strip club.” While I think that custom-made cake toppers are an amazing thing that I think more couples will be attracted to, but perhaps reserve the stripper decoration for the bachelor party.

shopping cake topper There’s cute and humorous and then there’s poking fun at the female gender, which I could really do without. All I get from this cake topper is the idea of a bunch of men sitting around a card table complaining about their wives and how they are always shopping–And I could use a little less of that.

tractor cake topper Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t find the romanticism in a cake topper where the bride and groom are atop a tractor. The song ‘She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy’ pops into my head and I can’t help but start to giggle. Not only that, but I can also picture cows; lots and lots of cows.

bed cake topper There’s nothing like inviting your wedding guests into your wedding bed. After seeing the cake, your guests are going to be thinking about nothing but honeymoons, wedding lingerie and sex. On second thought, perhaps that isn’t a completely bad thing–Your honeymoon should most definitely be exciting, why not give your guests the same luxury?

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