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by Belinda Cai 12.10.2013
Posted In: Holidays, The Worst at 04:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
drquinn

Brace Yourself for Horrible Jewelry Ad Season

Few things induce more eye-rolling than cliché jewelry commercials with impossibly flawless couples, dialogue on par with that of pornos and overly sentimental background music. When it comes to these contrived advertisements, it doesn’t get worse than Kay Jewelers. My boyfriend and I were watching Hulu Plus the other day when the same unsettling (and outdated) Kay ads repeatedly popped up during breaks.


The first featured a stiff J. Crew catalog-worthy man presenting his fiancée’s daughter with an identical necklace to one he had given his fianceé. “I’m so happy to be marrying your mom. You know that, right?” The stepdad-to-be presents the young girl with the gift. “It’s just like yours, mom!” Everyone is smiling and hugging and kissing. The cloying situation is exacerbated by the fact that the necklace is part of the (rather unattractive) ‘Open Hearts’ collection by Jane Seymour (aka Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman), which has a sappy message — “Keep your heart open and love will always find its way in.” Not to mention, this isn’t such a good gift idea for someone who has had or might one day need open heart surgery…

Among some of the more uncouth YouTube comments are mentions of how this is from the “I’m doin yer ma” collection and how the man could mistakenly appear to have questionable intentions with the adolescent girl. All true. And what’s up with the misleading suggestion that a kid would ever need or even want an expensive piece of jewelry as a gift? My boyfriend’s ten-year-old cousin has LEGO Friends and video games on her Christmas list, not a $200 necklace that she’ll lose in a day.


And then there was the infamous Cabin in the Woods meets American Psycho ad, in which a Patrick Bateman-esque man surprises his lover with a necklace from the ‘Love’s Embrace’ collection after stating, "I'm right here... and I always will be.” (Cue sinister laughter.) This occurs amid lightning, thunder and overall ominous vibes. The woman loves it. Maybe it’s because he’s surrounding her with the “strength of his love” by presenting her with a “diamond that captures the comfort found in each others’ arms.”

Ugh. So why exactly were these uncomfortable Kay commercials ruining my otherwise great Hulu Plus experience? The answer may lie in the fact that it is currently “engagement season,” a prime time for these advertisements. Thank you, Jezebel for bringing this to my attention.

                And, more importantly, for the bringing this picture to my attention

I had no idea the holiday season — that glorious stretch of time between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day — was also known as “engagement season,” as disturbingly dubbed by women’s magazines. For example, Glamour Magazine has a 2012 online article titled, “Happy First Day of Engagement Season! Who's Expecting a Proposal in the Next Few Months?” on November 22 of that year. WeddingChannel.com has a similar article: “9 Ways to Know It’s Engagement Season.”

Approximately 39 percent of all marriage proposals take place between the holiday months. Sure, I’ve witnessed more than one friend on my Facebook newsfeed get engaged during this time frame (because, you know, it’s pretty inevitable when you’re in your twenties and use social media), but was unaware that this is some sort of national trend.

But now that it’s been brought to my attention, I can see why this trend exists. The holiday season is a family-centric time. People are able to take days off work and enjoy plenty of blithe celebrating with loved ones. If you’re the kind of person who wants to get married, now might be the time to make your move. Jewelry commercials cater to this big time.

And just to make myself clear, I have absolutely nothing against people getting engaged around this time or any other time. In fact, someone very close to me recently got engaged and I was lucky enough to be chosen as her maid of honor. I am genuinely happy for anyone who is genuinely happy. I don’t even have anything against jewelry stores in general, unless they are full of blood diamonds or other unethical practices.

I do, however, have a problem with commercials that portray males as saps who win their girlfriends’, wives’ and apparently stepdaughters’ affections through gold and silver diamond-studded necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings shaped like open hearts and warm embraces — ads that depict women as shallow creatures who are at their happiest when presented with sparkly stones. I dislike the season’s “endless subliminal hum of advertisements for engagement rings,” as noted by Jezebel. But ultimately, that is the nature of consumerism, and it’s effective.

The holidays, engagement season aside, are chock-full of commercial spending and advertising. Even lesser-known Hallmark Holidays such as Boss’ Day and Sweetest Day rake in cash, so it makes perfect sense that people break the bank around Christmas. The Gallup Economy’s Oct. 21 article, Americans' Holiday Spending Not Shut Down by Shutdown,” states that "underscoring the importance Americans place on holiday gift giving, 30% — identical to last year — plan to spend at least $1,000, and half plan to spend at least $500. Only 3% intend to spend less than $100."

So if not for the purpose of engagements, jewelry commercials portray that the time is ripe for men to splurge on their significant others with the perfect piece of jewelry for the holidays. But I would never want my boyfriend to feel pressured to pop the question or buy me such superfluous adornments, especially in an attempt to prove his love (as that would be entirely unnecessary). Some of us just want Hulu Plus to get rid of their commercials for Christmas, so instead of being enticed by jewelry, we can get back to The Colbert Report.

 
 
by Zohair Hussain 12.05.2013
Posted In: Humor at 02:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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25 Things to Do Before You Read Thought Catalog

Call it nostalgia, call it buyer’s remorse, call it what you will — the fact of the matter is that my college graduation is looming only nine days away. And, in the spirit of sentimentality, I wanted to leave CityBeat with a list of things that those four-and-a-half glorious years taught me — about life, about love and, most importantly, about how much useless trash we’re trying to recycle as treasure. Well, call me eco-friendly. In the name of all that is tired and untrue, I present to you: 25 Things to Do Before You Read Thought Catalog (based on the 25 Things To Do Before You Turn 25 TG list currently littering social media feeds).

1. Make peace with your parents. Whether you finally recognize that they actually have your best interests in mind or you forgive them for being flawed human beings, you can’t happily enter adulthood with that familial brand of resentment.
Make peace with your attention span. Whether you finally recognize it or not, you can actually read something that’s longer than 25 clicks or two pages.
Also, can you really, comfortably say you’re “entering adulthood” if your primary source of direction comes from an aptly titled website that was courteous enough to “catalogue your thoughts” before you even had them? (At least they’re saving you time, not having you of think for yourself.)


2. Kiss someone you think is out of your league; kiss models and med students and entrepreneurs with part-time lives in Dubai and don’t worry about if they’re going to call you afterward.
Kiss the idea of a “league” goodbye. Kiss these stereotypical “unattainables” goodbye. Kiss writers and journalists. Keep thinking like this, and you won’t have to worry why they didn’t call you back afterward. (Put this on the list of  Things to Do Before You Ever Want a Healthy Relationship And/Or Self-Image)


3. Minimize your passivity.
Yes, please, minimize your passivity. Live vicariously through an aggregate list that has done your existential pondering for you. Here are the answers: read quietly to yourself and follow each step exactly as it’s written. You’re so agro.

4. Work a service job to gain some understanding of how tipping works, how to keep your cool around assholes, how a few kind words can change someone’s day.
Learn how to be a decent human being — be as fair in your intake as you are in your output. Realize that it's been at least 10 years and 8 grades since you learned why bullies are the way they are. Remember that episode of Hey Arnold. Oh, and a few kind words can change someone’s life*.  

 

5. Recognize freedom as a 5:30 a.m. trip to the diner with a bunch of strangers you’ve just met.

Recognize freedom as the ability to extend yourself beyond the daydreams of a 20-something, fresh to the “city” suburbanite who defines strangers as “people I went to high school with but didn’t really talk to,” and a “diner” as the nearest Waffle House. Recognize freedom as the ability to stop reading this any time you want.

 

6. Try not to beat yourself up over having obtained a ‘useless’ Bachelor’s Degree. Debt is hell, and things didn’t pan out quite like you expected, but you did get to go to college, and having a degree isn’t the worst thing in the world to have. We will figure this mess out, I think, probably; the point is you’re not worth less just because there hasn’t been an immediate pay off for going to school. Be patient, work with what you have, and remember that a lot of us are in this together.
Try not to beat yourself up over not having obtained a useless Bachelor’s degree. School is hell, and things may have panned out quite like you expected, even if you didn’t get to go to college. Not having a degree isn’t the worst thing in the world. You will probably figure this mess out, while I bite my nails in preparation for a degree that guarantees me a job I could’ve gotten when I turned 15, and an over-sized cap and gown that I get to prance around in at 9:30 in the morning. Oh, and debt before I even start my career.
The point is that you may have more worth to you because you didn’t go to school. Trust me, I’m the one that’s about to graduate from a system that taught me how to play the game, not live the life.

7. If you’re employed in any capacity, open a savings account. You never know when you might be unemployed or in desperate need of getting away for a few days. Even $10 a week is $520 more a year than you would’ve had otherwise.
I’ll just leave this one here, what with that English degree I’ll be getting in a few days.

8. Make a habit of going outside, enjoying the light, relearning your friends, forgetting the internet.
Make a habit of realizing this on your own, not by sitting alone in a dark room, referring back to the Internet.

9. Go on a 4-day, brunch-fueled bender.
If you want to. Or, consider the habits you’re creating now, and remember the consequences they can have later on.  Alcoholism doesn’t wait until you turn 25. Unless you had brunch, in which case you’re fine.

10. Start a relationship with your crush by telling them that you want them. Directly. Like, look them in the face and say it to them. Say, I want you. I want to be with you.
Lose your crush by assuming your words have more power than your actions, and that your opinion is definitely going to affect their own. Don’t even think about first gaining their respect — simply set your expectations early for “I want what I want when I want it, and all I have to do is say so.” Enjoy the many years to come of kicking your own ass for this one, even after you’re 25.

11. Learn to say ‘no’ — to yourself. Don’t keep wearing high heels if you hate them; don’t keep smoking if you’re disgusted by the way you smell the morning after; stop wasting entire days on your couch if you’re going to complain about missing the sun.
Learn to say ‘no’ to unnecessary dashes, and to self-righteous, bullet point-fettered, click fishing websites. Don’t keep reading the same shit over and over if you know it’s not going to help. Pleading a pleasure guilty doesn’t erase the original crime. Stop wasting entire Facebook statuses on the same damn link. You’re taking up all the room you could be using to tell us how you’re happily engaged, now that you’ve told your crush you “want them.”

12. Take time to revisit the places that made you who you are: the apartment you grew up in, your middle school, your hometown. These places may or may not be here forever; you definitely won’t be.
Suddenly realize that your puppy never “went to a farm,” that your fish is somewhere in the bowels of a toilet bowl. Realize that you’re not immortal, and gasp for effect. Apparently, lightning does strike twice, Thought Catalog.

13. Find a hobby that makes being alone feel lovely and empowering and like something to look forward to.

Read a book. There, I gave you that one.

14. Think you know yourself until you meet someone better than you.

Spend your life comparing yourself with other people. Realize that self-esteem is actually “that guy's esteem vs. my own.”

15. Forget who you are, what your priorities are, and how a person should be.
Think about if psilocybin might be what’s really missing from your life. See: ego death.

16. Identify your fears and instead of letting them dictate your every move, find and talk to people who have overcome them. Don’t settle for experiencing .000002% of what the world has to offer because you’re afraid of getting on a plane.
Be afraid. Be very afraid. Sometimes, everyone’s afraid, and that’s OK. Remember, that’s how television first made it acceptable for grown men to cry on screen. Here’s looking at you, Uncle Jesse.

17. Make a habit of cleaning up and letting go. Just because it fit at one point doesn’t mean you need to keep it forever — whether ‘it’ is your favorite pair of pants or your ex.
Remember that jorts are back in style. Cut accordingly.

18. Stop hating yourself.
Realize that if you’re ever going to find the path to really liking yourself, the first steps should never start with “so I read on Thought Catalog today…”

 

19. Go out and watch that movie, read that book, listen to that band you already lied about watching, reading, and listening to.
Don’t lie about these things. Be honest with yourself. Yes, it’s OK to still like Bruce Springsteen. Even if it is his new stuff. Remember, he’s the boss, and he “takes care of his own.”

20. Take advantage of health insurance while you have it.
Yes, please. You’ll need it if you decide that the “4-day bender” is necessary. Especially if you skip out on brunch.

21. Make a habit of telling people how you feel, whether it means writing a gushing fan-girl email to someone whose work you love or telling your boss why you deserve a raise.
Make a habit of being resourceful. Write a gushing fan-girl email to the boss you love, and work for that raise.

22. Date someone who says, “I love you” first.


23. Leave the country under the premise of “finding yourself.” This will be unsuccessful. Places do not change people. Instead, do a lot of solo drinking, read a lot of books, have sex in dirty hostels, and come home when you start to miss it.
Waste money on ideas you may already know to be aimless, because Thought Catalog told you to. But at least you’re taking advantage of that health insurance.

24. Suck it up and buy a Macbook Pro.

If your biggest worry before you turn 25 is whether you should purchase a laptop that’s probably already outdated by the time you finally make a decision, print out Thought Catalog’s original list. Print out all of their lists — you need some direction in your life.

25. Quit that job that’s making you miserable, end the relationship that makes you act like a lunatic, lose the friend whose sole purpose in life is making you feel like you’re perpetually on the verge of vomiting. You’re young, you’re resilient, there are other jobs and relationships and friends if you’re patient and open. 

Listen to everything Thought Catalog tells you. They’ll be there to pay the bills when you quit that miserable job, they’ll be there to sleep with you at night as you toss and turn, wondering if you made too big of a deal out of her asking you for commitment. As for that whole friend/vomiting thing? Maybe it’s not the friend, but the list of “25 useless things” they’ve sent you that’s making you nauseous.
You’re young, you’re resilient and you can read! Use that slightly heightened intelligence, and think about your actions next time you click on one of these links. 

But only if you’re patient. And open.

26. Write in short. Punchy. Sentences. Express generalities so vague that they could be applied to anyone, anywhere. As long as they’re not already 25.

 
 
by Zachary McAuliffe 12.02.2013
Posted In: Shopping, Holidays at 01:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
black friday pic

Black Friday Is the Worst

Marking the beginning of the holiday shopping season, Black Friday is easily the most disgusting bastardization of what a holiday is. 

Let’s start with a brief history of where Black Friday began. This day has been a grotesque part of the holiday season here in America for years. Notably, in 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to an earlier date, stretching out the holiday shopping season. This change was brought on by retailers during the Depression Era, allowing people more time to go gift shopping or, more importantly, spend their money in the retailers’ stores. 

Later in the 1950s and '60s, the day began to be viewed as a kind of worker-less void for shop owners as their employees started to not show up to work in order to go shopping. 

Finally, in the '80s, store owners began to state how profitable the day was, or how much their profits were “in the black." See what they did there?

Now, the day is a barbaric ritual for many people across America as they wait until store-doors open so they can grab a hodgepodge of items away from their competition and fight anyone who gets in their way. 

Black Friday is like the Hunger Games but without all the talk about a rebellion against an oppressive regime. It’s just people fighting each other, and sometimes dying, for seemingly no good reason other than saving a buck or two. 

Like back in 2011 when Walter Vance was trampled to death by other shoppers while trying to shop at his local Target in West Virginia. No one noticed they were literally running over a person to get their goodies. 

Deaths do happen on this “holiday,” which is unsettling on its own, but the injuries far outnumber the deaths. 

According to blackfridaydeathcount.com, there have been seven deaths attributed to Black Friday and a total of 89 injuries. This data only dates back to 2006, though, which means there are surely more from earlier years.

Just a quick look at this same website shows people are not afraid to pepper-spray, stab or even shoot each other, again, all in the name of savings. 

What is even more unsettling is how ravenous customers are. The following compilation of Black Friday videos over the years shows just how crazy people can act on this unholy of days as people break down doors to enter stores, tear apart in-store kiosks and basically act like filthy animals.


Watching videos of Black Friday is simply depressing, and when you remember these are people and not zombies from The Walking Dead, it’s hard to think of this day as a holiday. 

By definition, a holiday is when little to no work is done and people celebrate something, but more than that, holidays are meant to bring people together. 

One clear example of what a holiday should be is the Christmas Truce of 1914 during the first World War. Both sides of the fighting had a ceasefire on Christmas Day along many points of the Western Front, and some points saw friendly and enemy soldiers alike exchanging gifts, food and good tidings. 

That’s a holiday. Everyone put aside their differences for a short period and came together as humans. 

If soldiers fighting a war can do this, why can’t shoppers perform these same acts of kindness and decency towards each other?

 
 
by Jac Kern 11.22.2013
Posted In: Events, Fun at 12:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 11/22-11/24

When Tim Haines purchased the Mohawk Building on Central Parkway in 2012, he understood that he would probably need to sort through some abandoned items in the space, particularly leftover stock in the old Castner Picture Frame Company warehouse. But he was surprised to find hundreds of thousands of vintage frames and equipment left behind. Now, he and close friend Janet Baltzersen are working to clear the space, selling these rare gems (many of which date back to the 1920s) for next to nothing. This Sunday, they will host and open house sale in the warehouse from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Come dressed appropriately (some rooting around is required and much of the stock has been untouched for decades, resulting in quite a bit of dust) — Baltzersen will provide gloves and masks plus cocktails and snacks. Artists, antiquers and vintage-lovers will find a huge variety of shapes, styles and sizes of frames like small ovals, large rustic circles, gesso and antique gold finishes. The warehouse is located on the south end of the building at 2145 Central Parkway. For more information or to schedule a private viewing, contact Baltzersen at jbaltzersen@zoomtown.com. Read our full story here.

CincyMusic.com photographers have gathered some of their favorite performance pics for Friday’s Concert Photography Showcase. Hosted by Know Theatre, the exhibit will feature photos of shows in Cincinnati including Bunbury and MPMF, taken by photographers Brian Bruemmer, Mike Clare, Phil Dawson, Jacob Drabik, Julia Huber, Sarah McDermott, Kelly Painter and Matt Steffen. Swing by Know between 5:30-8 p.m. tonight for the reception; snacks and a cash bar will be available.

Craft Supermarket is always a fun shopping experience, but it’s also a great display of local and regional talent. Saturday’s Crafty Supermarket Holiday Show will be chock full of handmade gifts (or goodies for yourself) for purchase in addition to hands-on activities for attendees to get their craft on. The show runs 11 a.m.-6 p.m. in the Music Hall Ballroom. As always, the first 100 early bird shoppers will receive fun swag bags. Find vendor info and more show details here.

Vinyl addicts cannot miss the Northside Record Fair Saturday. Record shop owners, collectors and dealers will all meet under one roof (Northside Presbyterian Church) from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is $5 — $10 for early entrance at 10 a.m. CDs, cassettes, 8-tracks, poster and more music goodies will also be for sale. 

Ready to get in the holiday spirit? De la Dance Company's The Nutcracker Jazzed Up opens today running Friday-Sunday through Nov. 30; Festival of Lights kicks off at The Cincinnati Zoo opens Saturday; Cincinnati’s Germania Society hosts Christkindlmarkt Friday-Sunday.

For more art openings, parties and other stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do picks, full calendar and Rick Pender’s Stage Door for weekend theater offerings.

 
 
by Jac Kern 11.20.2013
Posted In: Fashion, Humor, TV/Celebrity, Music at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

Apparently Lady Gaga did damn well as host and musical guest on this week’s Saturday Night Live, because I keep seeing stories like this praising her. I don’t know for sure, though, because I fell asleep on the couch at 10:30 p.m. and woke up just before 1 a.m., just in time to see something that has recurred in my nightmares ever since: