Monday, January 14, 2013

FeyPoe Hit a Home Run with Razor Sharp Wit & Saccharine Sweet Smiles - Red Carpet Manners at the 2013 Golden Globes

It’s been a stretch of unusually cold weather here in sunny California inspiring the Twitter hashtag #coldinLA for the past week, but last night’s female hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler brought some much needed warmth to our fair city with their razor sharp wit and saccharine sweet smiles. 

It was clearly ladies night at the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards with these two beauties knockin’ em out of the park prompting laugh out loud moments one after the other, with only a couple of jabs that solicited gasps from the audience.   Truly hysterical with a deadpan delivery, this dynamic duo sure knows how to party and make an otherwise monotonous ceremony seem totally fun. 

The opening sequence included many one liners that will go down in history.  One of my personal favorites was the joke referencing “The Hunger Games” and the many months of dieting that was required to fit into their formal dresses, followed by the “Life of Pi” which was what they admitted they would be eating to reward themselves in the months following.  My other favorite, that had the audience rolling, was the omnipresent Meryl Streep, who was unfortunately unable to attend due to the flu, but they “heard she was amazing in it” poking fun at her award honors for always sweeping in her category.  When Lena Dunham won for Best Actress in a Comedy (their category) and then proceeded to innocently reference her age difference, they were not deterred.  Instead they came back with a vengeance as two drunken sages, who may be losers, but who will never let age get the best of them.  These two ladies have honed their skills and earned their hosting stripes.  They’ve come a long way since their sketch days on Saturday Night Live and they are reaping the rewards of their success. 

As for the rest of the evening, it was a mixture of highs and lows.  In fashion, it was either a major hit or a massive mistake.  Noticeably missing was the lack of material covering a number of body parts.  Goose bumps were the popular accessory. Hair in elegant Veronica Lake side swoops and swept up-do’s were the most eye-catching.  The presenters and acceptance speeches had their fair share of hits and misses as well ranging from the uncommonly funny, to the dead serious, to the just plain weird.  Here’s what stood out for us in our red carpet manners commentary at this year’s Golden Globes.

Tattoos, Cleavage & Bare Midriff’s, Oh My!  The arrivals on the red carpet were a spectacle as always.  The surprising colors that reigned were a formal and sometimes shiny black, various shades of striking red, a sprinkling of pure snow colored white, rich burgundy, and some subdued nudes.  More apparent this year for us, was the amount of skin or tattooed skin that we noticed.  We were concerned all night that Amy Poehler, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Hudson, Claire Danes and Katharine McPhee’s,  daring décolletage, whether it was frontal or on the side, would dip into a wardrobe malfunction nightmare.  One raucous raise of the arms and the puppies were out!  Hale Berry and Kirsten Wiig both dressed like they were going to an outdoor summer affair flaunting their bare midriffs even in the dead of winter! Lena Dunham and Kelly Osborne seemed to enjoy the extra attention their body art attracted or, in my opinion, detracted from their voluptuous bodices. My favorite look of the evening was an exceptionally exquisite and lanky Taylor Swift. Jessica Alba should also receive top honors for a flawless look from head to toe.

Slits in the Skirt or Skirting the Issue.  We don’t want to raise a red flag here and all of these ladies are quite lovely, but we’re seeing a trend where the more leg you show, the less tangible your career.  Are these gals trying to keep themselves current around the water cooler?  We haven’t heard much about Eva Longoria since the days of “Desperate”, Halle Berry was in the press over the holidays, but not for anything pleasant and Lea Michelle’s “Glee” has been slowly losing steam with each year that passes.

Award Worthy Acceptances.  Jessica Chastain executed a perfect thank you for the encouragement and support she has received in her long, but steady career. She is an incredibly talented and daring actress who willingly acknowledges those who have helped her along the way including her grandmother who always encouraged her to believe in her dreams. Daniel Day Lewis dispensed a fluent, flawless speech that is expected from this caliber of an actor.  A very gracious, Executive Producer Alex Gansa, gave a heartfelt speech admitting how hard it was to follow such a successful first season of “Homeland” and made a point of thanking the actors whose characters were “sacrificed on the altar” this season.

Unrehearsed Speech.  The most surprisingly humorous speech came from a very unlikely source, the HFPA’s, Aida Takla-O’Reilly.  This is typically the time to head for a bathroom break, but this two-year term President was going to have the last laugh and instead gave us a nice jolt in our seats with one of the funniest, unscripted speeches of the night.  She began her goodbyes with a request to scan the room of celebs which fell flat when the producers did not oblige, but then proceeded to launch into some very clever commentary that mentioned how Jeffrey Katzenberg, producer and CEO of Dreamworks Animation, “will never forget her name because he never knew it in the first place,” and then ended with a “Call Me Maybe” shout out to hunk Bradley Cooper which garnered some very hearty laughs from the audience.

Squirm in Your Seat Moment. We weren’t exactly sure why Jodie Foster had garnered this year’s Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award, after all she is a young fifty years as she made it well known to the audience.  Yes, she looked beautiful, was impeccably coiffed and dressed, but I felt sad for her nonetheless.  The speech was entirely too long.  It made me uncomfortable.  I had no idea where she was going with that setup to reveal something big and then was let down just the same when she made a pitch for her single status.  Her career is definitely noteworthy and deserves accolades, but instead we were left with the heartbreaking admission that she doesn’t want to go into the future alone.  The whole thing sounded like a premature swansong.

Unfinished Business.  We appreciated the great attention paid to the all-important thank you’s this year.  It seems that everyone was careful to make sure they did not omit anyone on their team.  Ben Affleck who was obviously nervous accepting his unexpected win for "Argo," started the trend when he asked his wife, Jennifer Garner, to give kudos to his producing partners George Clooney and Grant Heslov.  I mean how can you forget to thank George?  Anne Hathaway followed suit when Les Miserables won its top notch for Best Musical and she snuck in a an extra thanks that she had forgotten previously. Lena Dunham also got into the action thanking Chad Lowe, which was a promise she made way back when if she ever got the chance.  Remember Hilary Swank who forgot to thank her husband?  Ouch, the writing was on the wall with that one! 

How to Walk in High Heels – Cheers to Lena Dunham for raking in the awards at this year’s ceremony!  I have to confess that I detested “Girls” at first, probably because I have two young daughters and was scared $#!%less at what might befall them once they leave the roost. Now I am more forgiving and can see the beauty in the craft.  I just have one word of red carpet advice.  Practice walking in high heels at home before the Emmy’s later this year.  Lena’s seat halfway back in the ballroom didn’t help matters as she proceeded to walk towards the stage in what appeared to be a mile long stretch in which she was teetering on the verge of falling. 

All in all, we give the show a thumbs up.  Love the fact that we can watch it live on the West Coast and be in bed nice and early on a Sunday night!!  See you next time at the Oscars...

What did you think of this year’s ceremony?  Did we leave anything out?  Any other red carpet commentary that we missed?  Please share with us.  We’d love to hear from you. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Flipping Out Over the Flu? - Manners to Help Take Back the Control

It’s all over the news in the New Year, flu season is in rare form and taking civilians down with a vengeance.  Just before the holidays, kids were dropping like flies at my daughters’ school with a super bad case of the stomach flu sending children home by the dozens!  Somehow (and I’m knocking on wood as I speak) we managed to escape in perfect health and are still going strong.  I am not sure if it is the fact that we all got flu shots back in November (my ritual just before Thanksgiving) or that I am a drill sergeant when we get home barking orders to make sure my girls run to the bathroom to do a Silkwood scrub of their hands with soap to remove any traces of germs from their day – but something is clearly working (knocking on wood again).

I will admit though that I am walking around with the equivalent of garlic and a cross around my neck (even though I’m Jewish) trying to ward off the impending evil flu for the remaining months where we are in potential danger.  Side note – garlic actually has powerful anti-viral, antibiotic and anti-fungal properties that help boost the immune system. 

I’m feeling quite productive right now and really have no desire to be slowed down by illness that sentences me or my family to the bed for days on end.  Here's what I recommend not only as a responsible parent, but as a respectful citizen to help minimize the spread of germs while maintaining my good manners.  

Symptoms & Signs. You’ve seen the commercials, the close-ups on someone coughing, sniffling or sneezing. We know when we begin to feel that tickle in our throats, the heaviness in our eyes or a queasy belly that something most definitely is awry. Most of the time, we ignore it and do our best to carry on and sometimes we are knocked completely off our feet and forced to lay low.  The important thing is to recognize our own bodies and know when we should stay home as opposed to going out and infecting others.  This is a sign of respect and others will thank us for it. 

Washing Hands. This is the number one rule to protect us against the spread of germs and infection.  Washing hands is also part of a proper hygiene routine.  Adults and children alike must remember to wash their hands with soap and warm water to protect themselves and maintain good health.  A good rule of thumb is to wash hands after bathroom use, returning home at the end of the day, before eating a meal and after shaking hands with someone who may be sick.  Children should also get used to washing hands the moment they come home from school. 

Boosting Immunity.  Eating warm food on a cold day not only fuels the body, but feeds the soul.  Adding preventative ingredients such as garlic, ginger and spice into our diets not only helps with digestion, but also assists with staving off colds and flu.  When we are feeling under the weather, a bowl of warm oatmeal for breakfast and homemade chicken soup for lunch or dinner is best. Liquids are also important for hydration and flushing out germs.  Drinking a hot cup of chamomile or mint tea with honey or a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice may be just what the doctor ordered.   

Dressing Warm.  I absolutely love the cold weather and I am the first person to break out the coats come Fall.  Although Southern California is warm by comparison to other parts of the U.S., we still have a cold day or two and it is necessary to know how to dress appropriately for the weather.  The key areas to keep warm are the neck, head and feet.  No matter how cold you may be feeling, if you put a scarf around your neck or a hat on your head, you will be just fine.  As far as shoes go, I am a huge proponent of wearing cozy Uggs or similar slippers around the house in the winter time rather than bare feet.  It turns out that I may be on to something.  Apparently, there is a connection between the walls of our nose and cold feet that actually breaks down our defenses.  If we protect our feet and keep them warm, we’re actually helping to fight off potential infection.  

Shaking Hands.  As an etiquette instructor, handshaking is a must.  I can’t tell you how many people I have come across who refuse to shake my hand due to illness.  Would they refuse the President’s hand if he had a cold?  I think not! My feeling is if you’re too sick to shake my hand hello, then you shouldn’t be wandering out of the house in the first place.  It is plain rude!  To bother to go out and socialize and then refuse to properly greet others is awkward and insulting.  If you are too sick to shake hands, simply stay home!  If you are the recipient of a handshake and worried about the spread of germs, discretely head off to the restroom to give a good Silkwood wash with soap and water.

Covering your Mouth.  Believe it or not, sneezing and coughing without covering your mouth ranked as one of the highest manners offenses.  Adults should know better, but how many times have we yelled these words to our children just after they’ve let loose and showered us with their germs.  They are constantly forgetting to cover their mouths when they cough or they sneeze.  And where are the little hankies or boxes of Kleenex around when you need one?  At school, children are taught to sneeze into their elbow (a/k/a “the Dracula sneeze”) and at home they are asked to use a tissue. Either way, the proper way to capture a sneeze or cough is to turn your head towards your right shoulder away from others to avoid spreading germs directly, or, if you are lucky enough to have advance notice, carry tissues and use them when you feel a sneeze or cough coming on. Finally, if you see a fellow sufferer let out a sneeze with no tissue in sight, be polite and offer them a Kleenex, it might actually save you from getting sick.

Acting Responsibly. As adults we know there is never a good time to get sick.  With the pressures of everyday life and a society that expects you to be available 24/7, getting sick seems like a luxury not many of us can afford.  With children, however, we have no choice but to stop and alter our plans. It is inevitable that a child will come down with a cold or flu at the most inopportune time and as parents it is our job to act responsibly and keep our children home, especially with fever or a stomach virus.  It is wildly inappropriate to bring them to school or schedule a play date unless they have had a minimum of 24-48 hours symptom free.

Have you fallen prey to this terrible flu season?  Know anyone who was a carrier and showed up in public anyway?  What did you do, how did you handle it?  Share with us your flu war stories.  We'd love to hear them!