I was watching Chopped, one of my all-time favorite shows, when it hit me.
Chefs really need to stop doing the spoon swipe. You know the one. They dollop a glob of chocolate sauce or pureed beets and dandelion greens onto the plate, stick their spoon in it and drag. The '90s called, wants its plating back, etc. This rant led me to another rant, which is: Don't we have enough reality cooking competition shows? Masterchef, Cooks vs. Cons, Top Chef, Bakers vs. Fakers, Cupcake Wars, 13 shows involving child chefs. Stick to the good ones and get a new idea, food producers....
Everyone is talking about Meryl Streep today. No matter your side of the aisle, she turned attention toward issues and away from, "Is that belly skin or some weird power mesh that's just bunching?" That doesn't always happen at star-studded awards shows.
That said, I came here to talk about power mesh, and that's what I'm going to do. Before Streep parted the blue and red sea, a slew of celebs came off the ark wearing everything from custom tuxedos to enough double-sided boob tape to properly restore a historic building. Color continued to reign this year, although we saw the return of black as a strong choice. And, we were graced with Forever 21-style mall trends trickling onto the red carpet. Looking at you, chokers....
We are in some uncertain times. That's why small comforts are so wonderful, so reassuring, reliable as the rising sun, comforting as double-sided boob tape and contouring.
Awards show fashion, for one. The big season kicks off Sunday with the 74th Golden Globe Awards, hosted by Jimmy Fallon. For those of you following the best in TV and movies this year, check out our predictions in both categories, from movie critic Steve Persall and staff writer/TV junkie Brittany Volk....
You may have heard. There's a big game in town.
The College Football Playoff national championship game is bringing a host of celebrities, athletes, familiar TV faces and — oh, yeah — fans, to Tampa. In putting the spotlight back on the city, this event has the flavor of past in-and-out party events, from the Republican National Convention in 2012 to the "Bollywood Oscars" in 2014....
The ads! They got me!
I saw one on Facebook today that read, "Shop Ambitious Workwear," which, on this sleepy Monday morning after the holiday when we're all trying to get it back together, just had such APLOMB. Something about the wording and the neighboring photo of an army green blazer paired with a bright pink chunky necklace made me click through to the site.
We've always loved the funky, retro offerings from ModCloth, but it had been a while since I'd been out to the site. What I found when directed to the ModCloth blog was neato....
Who needs labels? Labels are overrated, designed to keep us in society's manufactured moat lines.
"Kids' department" for example. It could mean so many things to so many people! To some, it might mean, "a place for children to shop." For others, it might mean, "maybe I could squeeze into those. It's just one night..."
Great, we agree. That brings me to these pants, which I spotted in the Target "girls' department" (semantics) when shopping with my fiancé and his daughter....
Time capsule: This is a recurring Floridian magazine feature that allows readers to re-experience some of the Tampa Bay Times' best stories with the wisdom of hindsight. So what didn't we know the day of President Barack Obama's inauguration that we know now? Floridian asked Times Political Editor Adam C. Smith.
"We didn't know that Washington would wind up, eight years later, at least as broken as when he came. His promise of post-partisanship … that sure didn't happen. He promised change, and we certainly got change. He accomplished a health care law that people had been trying since Harry Truman. … I think we got, in the end, the classy, dignified guy that he seemed to be during the campaign. I can't think of any president in my lifetime where there's been less scandal in the White House than with him. We got through a really treacherous economy, but we didn't get past the widespread anxiety and nervousness about where we are as a country and what we're going to be able to leave to our kids."...
On Day 1 of 2016, so much of it would have felt absurd.
So much of what? All of it. Over the next week, all departments in the Times will dissect the newsy ways in which the world and Tampa Bay changed in 2016. We're looking back at all the tremendous features stories we lived through in 2016 on our Soundcheck and Feed blogs at tampabay.com/thingstodo....
The 12 Blogs of Christmas, featuring stocking stuffer-sized holiday stories about pop culture and beyond, will run each weekday leading up to Christmas Eve. You can find all of them on The Feed blog.
Hallmark Heroine knows Christmas is over before it even starts.
Hallmark Heroine has already purchased Santa swag at 30 to 50 percent off, because it was on the shelves since May. She has been to at least three holiday parties, and feels like a pumpkin roll filled with wine. Proverbially, she is Baroness Elsa Schraeder, severe and a bit misunderstood. But Hallmark Heroine endures a few more days, ever believing she will finally decode the true meaning of Christmas. And if she can, so can you....
For Hamilton fans, Friday's release of the Hamilton Mixtape was like having parents who really don't know how to hide gifts. It's not your fault your mom left everything in wide open Bed, Bath & Beyond bags with the closet door ajar. You have to check out your new Miracle Foam Bathtime Barbie, even though it makes Christmas Day less exciting....
The last thing I expected to do Wednesday night was count the pores on Barbra Streisand's face.
Just kidding. There are no pores. She's flawless. But for just a few minutes, some lucky friends and I did get that close.
Of course, I'd wanted to go to her show at Tampa's Amalie Arena. It was the first and -- you never know -- maybe last show she'll ever do here. She's an absolute legend who rarely tours. But with tickets starting at $99 and going into four figures, it wasn't realistic. I spent the morning coordinating coverage of the event with our pop music/culture critic, Jay Cridlin, and sighed at the experience he would surely have....
A list of my pet peeves:
1. Valet parking schemes in which a restaurant just puts cones in front of the spaces in the parking lot, forcing you to pay for them to drive your car 25 feet. That is not the point of valet and you know it.
2. Being late to the airport.
3. People who wear Fitbits with formalwear.
I can't do too much about the first two, other than walk several blocks out of spite and leave my house an extra hour early for all air travel. As for the third, well. I'm not a Fitbit user. I know some people find fitness trackers helpful, and I will support you, but there is something very Enemy of the State to me about tracking all my movements throughout the day....
Y'all ready for this?
Black Friday (or Thursday, as it were these days) is upon us. After you stuff your gut, it's time to head out for the age-old tradition of stuffing your bags and unstuffing your wallet.
Times business reporter Justine Griffin has your store hours right here, as well as some handy facts and figures about the much maligned/loved shopping holiday. Don't forget to pick up your Tampa Bay Times for all those coupons. They double well as cage liner after you make the poorly thought out decision to get your daughter a set of gerbils for Christmas....
No doubt, First Lady Michelle Obama has been a gift to the fashion world throughout her husband's presidency. She has never shied away from embracing style, and she's not stopping now. She's on the cover of the December issue of Vogue, her third cover for the magazine. Famed photographer Annie Leibovitz photographed Obama around the White House in frocks from Carolina Herrera to Atelier Versace....
Some years ago, I was asked to judge an ugly holiday sweater party at a night club, which is about as scientific as it sounds. Judging a bar full of people tipsy on lemon drops and all trying to be the most hideous one in the room is something most can only dream of. To outfit myself for the occasion, I stopped in a Bealls Outlet and found offending attire for something in the neighborhood of $15. Here we are....