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Friday, April 26, 2013

How to do The Pose (i.e. How to Look Deceptively Skinny in Pictures)

Ah, being skinny. The elusive mark of superiority that tells the world either A) I was born this way, B) My workout routine makes Ivan Drago look like a pansy, or C) I ate the entire sleeve of Thin Mints but puked it all up afterwards, deal with it.

It is one thing to be skinny in everyday life. There is a significant decrease in chub rub when you wear short shorts to music festivals in 90-degree heat, for starters. You can also absent-mindedly massage your hip bones while you wait in line at Express to purchase your size 0 jeggings and crop tops. Your life is filled with showers of compliments like, “I want to borrow your dress but it’ll never look that good on me,” and, “Your collarbones are so prominent!” Sweet victory.



For normal people, however, looking skinny is a skill crafted through Facebook profile pics; it’s all about finding the light, knowing your angles, and rotating your leg juuuust like that to make your butt look smaller. Photo deception is a talent that every girl—no matter what her dress size—learns within her first two weeks of college and perfects over the course of those four years, so much so that she’ll beg her advisor to add it as a second major on her diploma. It’s just what we do. If you have ever gathered a group of girlfriends together to get a group shot before a night out, you have undoubtedly heard the following phrases:

“Ugh Brittany will you switch with me? This is my bad side!”

“Hold on I need to do a hair flip. Big hair little hips, duh.”

“Suck it in ladies!”

“Ew. When did I grow three chins?? Take one more.”

Got it down to a science
Guys do not understand the carefully-crafted ballet that is the female picture-taking experience. When they pose for pictures, all they really worry about is what to do with their hands—a problem solved by holding a beer, throwing the shocker, or simply shoving them in their pockets.

I recently attempted to explain the logistics of the female photo pose to a guy friend of mine. He was left just as mystified as before, but it made me realize that there are rules to The Pose and its variations, and as absurd as those rules might be to the layman, they’re pretty effing important if you want at least ten ‘likes’ on your default picture within three minutes of posting it. Let’s review:


Baby Spice to Posh: YOU CAN'T SIT WITH US.
1.       The Hand on Hip – Arm flab is a dead giveaway that the closest thing you do to exercise is spend six hours repinning Crossfit workouts that you’d totally do if you weren’t so busy. Easy fix? Pop that hand on your hip and watch bicep definition appear out of thin air. If you are the member of the posse that got shafted to the end of the line, it is your responsibility to represent the hotness of the group as a whole by poking your elbow out for the world to see. Who runs the world? Your upper arm, girl.
       Side note: pay attention to your fingers. Thumb goes towards the back, the rest relax around your hip/waist. Claw hands are weird. Don’t be weird.

2.       The Twist and Shout (aka just The Twist) – One of my friends recently let me in on a little “secret,” saying that the edges of a picture are always slightly less in-focus and thus more expanded than the rest, so people on the ends always look a bit wider. I was coming off a two-month-long eat-pancakes-in-bed-while-watching-Gilmore-Girls bender, so this was probably an act of sympathy, but should it still hold some truth I think it’s important that everyone masters the beauty of The Twist: with your hand firmly on your hip, plant your feet and rotate your upper body so your shoulders are facing the camera, but your hips are still at an angle. OH MY GOD where did those three pounds go?! Exactly.

3.       The Tilt – I actually hate The Tilt. Unless you’re losing a fight with gravity or have a debilitating case of scoliosis, no one naturally stands with that much of an arch in their back. It doesn’t do much in the ways of making you look tinier anyway, except if you’re trying to literally bring yourself closer to the ground and/or spontaneously practice the bridge you learned in your second grade gymnastics class. The Head Tilt, The Tilt’s slightly cooler semi-functioning cousin, can sometimes create a shadow along the outer jaw that creates the illusion of not-jowls, but generally you just look like you’re in pain. Posture is our friend, everyone.

4.       The Jut – This is actually one of those tricks that they taught in etiquette classes back in the ‘40s, I kid you not. Jutting your head out just a bit creates definition in your neck and keeps your double chin at bay much more successfully than the Head Tilt. It also makes you look interested in and grateful to the poor shmuck you wrangled into taking umpteen photos of you and your friends at the bar. The Jut can go horribly wrong if you get overzealous and start to mimic Sling Blade, so try to keep your jut at a reasonable level. As a general rule, jutting to the point that you can slightly feel it is fine; jutting so that you head butt your friend Rebecca in the nose is probably too far.

Well done
5.       The Knee Pop – The most controversial move on the list. A Knee Pop serves to tighten your leg muscles and give you a bit of extra flair should your Hand on Hip and Tilt be flawless or you’re an overachiever. I myself utilize the Knee Pop from time to time to show off my fabulous calf muscles (it’s not bragging if it’s true). Sometimes, though, the Knee Pop can actually accentuate weird thighs and make you look shorter, which is a pro if you’re an Amazon but generally a con for the rest of the population.  Also, take note that it is a knee POP, not a preparatory move to start the Can-Can. If your friend Anna thinks you’re about to knee her in the boob, you’re doing too much. You should be forewarned that if not executed with conviction the Knee Pop can come off as a bit timid, like, “When this picture’s over I’ll go back to standing in the corner by myself, twiddling my thumbs and eating my hair.” That’s typically something we like to avoid.

Are there any Pose tips I missed? Sharing is caring, ladies, and we’ll all benefit from knowing the ins and outs of looking good in pictures. Statistically, 75% of us will have some kind of online dating profile that we’ll need to bluff our way through in the next few years, so you might as well start the lies at your unbelievably phenomenal photo and end with the fact that you’re a “triathlete” (aka you like to drink margs by the pool, ride on the back of motorcycles, and half-assedly jog across the street when a car’s approaching).


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Friday, April 19, 2013

I Love You, Chopped


When I fall in love with a TV show, I give it all I’ve got. I re-watch episodes ad nauseum, learn the characters’ life stories so I can better understand their actions/decisions, and vehemently defend it to anyone who says things like, “Eh that show’s okay,” or worse, “I’ve never seen it.”
I’ve demonstrated this affection with several shows in the past, including Gilmore Girls, Real Housewives of Orange County, and What Not to Wear, and I have just realized that my latest obsession (which isn’t really all that new) has passed the point of innocent adoration and catapulted into full-on crazy-girl fixation.
 
 
I have a passion for Chopped.
 
I’ve mentioned it before, but I didn’t realize the unreasonable extent to which I was actually dedicated to this show. Like, I would do things to and for Ted Allen that I would never consider doing for any boyfriend I’ve ever had. An addiction is defined as “the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming,” and I’ll be damned if I’m not almost at that point.
 
I wish I was a straight guy so you could give me the queer eye
For starters, if I’m flipping through channels and see that it’s on, I physically cannot turn it off. I am sucked in like a bachelor in the champagne room at a strip club, and there’s nothing anyone can do to bring me back. Once, my mom asked to watch some other show, and after lifting the remote with shaky hands and visibly twitching at the thought of missing the Dessert Round, I finally just threw the remote at her and left the room.

On top of that, Chopped has taught me some valuable lessons which I have incorporated into my everyday life. I was recently slicing open individually-wrapped chicken breasts that were allegedly “E-Z Open” but were most definitely NOT, and the knife turned on me and gashed my thumb. I hate blood and blades, so typically this would be a recipe for overdramatic disaster, but instead I thought “The clock is ticking, Chef Skylar, keep going!” and wrapped a paper towel around it and kept on keeping on like it was nothing. Mind you, I was not being timed or in any type of competitive situation whatsoever, but this is what the show has done to my gut reactions.

I have also become a douchebag at restaurants. No, not toservers; those people are saints who put up with way more shit than anyone should ever have to, and for that I’m always sure to tip at least 25%. I keep my jerkiness on the DL, but it’s there in the form of me reading the menu description and then being extremely nitpicky about how well that explanation is portrayed on my plate. “Roasted Pumpkin and Spinach Risotto: Oven roasted pumpkin with baby spinach, garlic, tossed through Arborio rice and served with freshly shaved parmesan”?? Interesting, because the garlic was sautéed too long and has become bitter and I’m totally losing the flavor of the pumpkin. The huge chunks of parmesan are hardly “shaved” and you could have really used a citric element to provide a bit more acidity. I’M NOT SORRY I’M JUST SAYIN.
 
 
Finally, it is my dream to reenact Chopped in my own kitchen with my friends, except the rules would be altered slightly to accommodate for massive drinking before the competition commenced. Basically, we take shots of tequila, and then our makeshift Ted (probably my friend’s boyfriend) yells out, “Today’s mystery ingredients include: Fritos, someone’s leftover taco salad from Qdoba, a half-eaten chocolate rabbit from Easter, and Blue Powerade. You have 20 minutes. Time starts now!” Naturally, I would reduce the chocolate and the Powerade into a sauce while throwing the salad into the food processor to grind it up and make patties out of it that I would crust with the Fritos and fry. I would drizzle the fried vegetable patty with the chocolate sauce and call it a Fried Mexican Vegetable Cake with Blue Mole.
 
I would win the Appetizer Round only because my friends would be shitfaced lying on the floor eating Fritos and crying.


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Monday, April 15, 2013

Thrust into the Real World: Month 11

This past month has been extremely musical.

Not in a "I'm walking down the street and suddenly all of the passers-by break into song and we all know the same choreography and even though I'm wearing jeans my high kick is phenomenal" kind of way.
Not in a "I find myself in the front row at a John Mayer concert and he starts singing only to me and I realize I'm at the center of a music video about the relationship we're apparently in" kind of way, either.

I don't know what it was, but for some reason whatever situation I encountered, the perfect song seemed to either pop up on Pandora, play on the radio, or emerge on shuffle from a playlist I haven't listened to in at least three years. It was like the music gods were saying, "Here, Skylar, we know how fucking awful you are at deciphering your emotions, so we'll give you a hint with some Sarah McLachlan. Deuces."

Now I'm not saying I would be driving along and Bruno Mars' "If I Was Your Man" would play for the fiftieth time that hour and I'd think, "Ohmigahh he gets me!" No, it was much more ridiculous than that. Songs that literally get no air time ev-ar were repeatedly shooting me straight in the eardrums like radio gunfire and I had to sit there and take it because I believe in signs from the universe and other things relating to fate.

Here are a few of the songs that are apparently trying to tell me something. Some of them are pretty clear-cut, but I could still use a little help figuring out the reasoning behind others. If you have any theories about my life that you think I would take with more than a grain of salt, send them my way!

Incubus - "Oil and Water": You know what guys? Sometimes things just don't work out with people. And since ninth chances aren't really a thing, when you're on a run and this song hits a "glitch" and plays three times in a row you should probably thank Brandon Boyd and then move on with your life. But not before stopping, pulling out your headphones, and screaming, "WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK" in front of a group of seven year olds playing in the front yard.


Hall & Oates - "Kiss on My List": Whose kiss? Is someone's kiss on my list or is my kiss on someone else's list? Is my breath okay? Is this some kind of hit list? That's kinda terrifying. How many words rhyme with kiss? Bliss. This. Resist. A lot. Mental note: Buy new Chapstick.


Foo Fighters - "The Pretender": I love Dave Grohl with a fiery passion, so hearing this song as much as I have in the past month has been heavenly. It is included in the arsenal of songs that I have mentally choreographed dances to should I ever abandon my chosen career path du jour and become a dance teacher like I've always dreamed. The final turn sequence from 3:50-4:25 is pretty awesome, let me tell ya. I'm not as mystified by the frequency of this, actually; I'm aware of the fact that I'm living in my high-school-dance-team past and really just want to put off a desk job for as long as possible.


Trey Songz - "Bottoms Up": I have a friend who can perfectly rap the Nicki Minaj part, which is an incredible skill and something I encourage her to add to her resume. Our junior year of college she would demonstrate her gift at every opportunity, and that's when I became smitten with her. Long story short, this song reminds me of when I was fun. I am losing my fun, people! Skylar needs her groove back, and who would've thunk that, of all people, Mr. Steal Yo Girl would lead someone to such an epiphany?

 
Rage Against the Machine - "Renegades of Funk": I had a one-week span recently where this song started playing as soon as I pulled into my internship. Every time. Do you know how jacked up you can get to write about hair products when you start your day off with Zach De La Rocha screaming at you to "Groove sucka!"?! I'm sad that week is over.
 
 
 
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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Gotcha Bitch: Country Music

As a recent country music convert, I’m unsure of the rules in terms of just how critical of the genre I’m allowed to be. That being said, I have ears and some fucking common sense, so I know horrible music when I hear it, and new country is pretty bad.



New country is riding the coattails of decent/old country by including a few key aspects that are supposed to make us forget that everything else coming out of the singer’s mouth is ridiculous. You think I’m going to overlook you talk-singing about a "corn star who’s the talk of the crop at every county fair" just because you mention her jew-lah suntan? Guess again.

I see through your honkey-tonk formula regardless of how often you compliment my badonkadonk, and I’m one step away from boycotting the city of Nashville in its entirety if things don’t shape up. Now pour me a shot of whiskey bourbon and let’s break down why name dropping Conway Twitty every five lines does nothing to distract from the fact that you’re probably wearing a cowboy hat with just one X.  

Blake Shelton – Boys ‘Round Here
Congratulations, southern gents, you’ve been pigeon-holed into being horrible conversationalists, worse dancers, and future Leukoplakia patients. “Chew tobacco chew tobacco chew tobacco spit” is the only thing Hank Williams can do up in heaven to keep himself from crying. I’m down for drinking the ice cold beer, but could we go somewhere else rather than down by the river? Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, and Eli Young Band have all brought me down there already, and I’m pretty sure there’s a dead member of The Band Perry floating around in it.   
Side note: am I the only one who’s surprised every time a southern accent comes out of Blake Shelton’s mouth? He looks so British to me. Unrelated to the topic at hand, but disconcerting nonetheless.


Jana Kramer – Why Ya Wanna
I honestly don’t even know what Jana Kramer looks like, but if I had to guess, I would assume that she’s blonde, has a decent bod, wears tacky airbrushed acrylic tips with rhinestones, and reenacted the scene from “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” where Kate Hudson cries and flings tofu at Matthew McConaughey screaming, “My boyfriend thinks I’m fat!”…except Jana was serious. This outburst naturally led to their breakup, which naturally led to her being a crazy girl and pulling an, “Oh my God I had no idea Ex-Boyfriend would be at the one bar we have in BFE but let’s not leave because I really want him to see me how’s my hair make me laugh so I look like I’m not perpetually miserable.” You’re right, he shouldn’t be the bigger person and ask you how you’re doing or give you a hug, because that would mean you don’t get to psychoanalyze the situation over Qdoba with your friends tomorrow afternoon or for three days after. Aren’t country girls supposed to be badasses who don’t take shit? Who let this whiney loser into the club?
 P.S. The video proves my hair color prediction was off. Everything else still stands.

When in doubt, shoot it out
Shooting is one of those things I think I’d actually be pretty good at if A) I had someone to patiently teach me how not to blow my face off and B) I wasn’t so hopped up on Zantrex all the time to keep a steady hand. Even then I’d still only be able to take out some rusty soda cans or a squirrel [if I thought he really deserved it]. Is shooting your boyfriend/girlfriend really a common thing? So your boyfriend shook you around and now you want to Lorena Bobbit him with a shotgun; that’s fine, Miranda Lambert, you do you. But then we get into Commies and terrorists and the second amendment and suddenly everyone thinks they’re Tex Williams in a pair of American Eagle Light Faded Wash Original Boot Cut jeans. Tuck it in your waistband and rub the corner of your concealed carry license for good luck whenever you need a boost; not every Toby Keith song needs to be taken as the gospel.

Natural disasters are radio gold
Most people’s thoughts following the tornado in Henryville, IN or Hurricane Sandy were, “Oh that is terrible! How tragic for those people! Let’s donate and help.” In Carrie Underwood and Little Big Town’s heads, these high winds and funnel clouds were in the shape of dollar signs. Tracy Lawrence’s “Texas Tornado” was revamped with a female edge as Carrie once again reminded us that her home state of Oklahoma has like, super bad weather, and LBT jolted us from our relaxing “Pontoon” vacay to get revenge on an ex. I guess earthquakes and avalanches don’t show how pissed off we are about our boyfriend forgetting our birthday; we have to rip his house off the foundation and hope Auntie Em made it to the cellar before it was too late.

The Entire Kip Moore Discography
I was Jedi mind-tricked into liking Kip Moore’s “Somethin Bout a Truck” when it first came out, and I hate myself for it every day. Yet again the ice cold beer thing got me (Corona and lime, get in mah belleh), but then he goes on to talk about a red sundress (“I HAVE ONE OF THOSE!”) and a creek (“I USED TO LIVE BY ONE OF THOSE!”) and corn (“I EAT THAT!”) and before I knew it I insisted on playing it every time it came on the radio despite everyone else insisting that it was god-awful. Fortunately, after he released a few more singles, I came to and realized that that fucker just follows the same cumulative song formula for every tune he writes. First we had a truck in a field and a girl and a potential one-hit-wonder, then he shoots back with “Hey Pretty Girl” and sorry-I’m-not-sorry, nothing about this “dance” feels right. I heard you the first time, Kip, I don’t need you to reiterate how badly you want to take me home just so we can sleep in separate rooms which illogically leads to me getting knocked up and having a shotgun wedding with you. My kiss that tastes like honey doesn’t want any of your “Beer Money,” it wants a divorce and full custody.


I know there are plenty of terrible new country songs that I failed to mention here, but browse the internet and you’ll see that even God hated “Truck Yeah,” so there’s no need to bring any more attention to it. Is this enough to make me stop listening to country music altogether? Not quite. Am I thankful that “5-1-5-0” has finally lost airtime, regardless of what it’s been replaced with? Every day.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"Final Four Fantasy," UofL's Final Four Theme Song

Louisville, the best school of all time, is headed to the Final Four.
Do they deserve a theme song?
Fuck yeah they do.

photo courtesy of CBS Sports


"Final Four Fantasy”
 
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Pass it to me now, pass it to me now
Pass it to me now, pass it to me now
 
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Pass it to me now, pass it to me now
Pass it to me now
 
I wanna pi-pi-pi-pick you from yo head to yo toes
And I wanna move from the key down to the down to the backboard
Then I wanna (ah ah), you shoot it so good I don't wanna lose,
(We ain’t gonna) Wi-chi-ta will see what it’s like to be beat
 
I wanna get you in the Gorgui Dome on the half court line
While the Dirty Birds shoot for three
And if you’d like a dunk we can throw it to Behanan
Or get the rebound by Van Treese
Baffour, Price, Bond, Mathiang, Hancock
Blackshear don't stop, keep the game locked who’s shocked while the floor’s rocked
They go-bots and robots they ain’t gonna rest til the clock stops
Or how 'bout on the break with Baumann and
Henderson up the side with blocks from the Montrezl Man
Guards break and just blow past your defense
From Russ to Siva, gets two points with his quick hands
That team is ludicrous (woo), in the KFC YUM
Or with Clinton in the locker room
However you want it, Shockers Shockers gonna wreck that ass soon
See Rick scouts 'em and he works 'em with that slick hair he exerts 'em
They thrash 'em and out last 'em
And if they ain't good then they trash 'em, while Digger bashes 'em
They let him see
And then win for Ware by over twenty
L’s up to the roof roof, sorry Cats we’re the best in Kentucky
 
[Chorus]
 
--Written by Yours Truly. See, told you I should be a rapper.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fools' Day is No Laughing Matter

April Fools’ Day jokes are harmless.
April Fools’ Day jokes are fun.
April Fools’ Day jokes are…a tell-tale way to figure out how someone would react to a situation were it NOT a joke.

If your friend, family member, or significant other pulls one of these classic pranks on you, SUP, they’re not trying to trick you; they’re testing the waters to see how “okay” that situation would be on a normal day. Do not be duped!

Read below to find out if you’re being emotionally punk’d:

“Babe, I’m pregnant!” = “Babe, I’m late slash might actually be pregnant and if you start freaking out I’ll rope you into a baby daddy agreement so fast it’ll make your balls spin.”


“I think we should break up.” = “You’re boring and I’m kinda over this relationship, and if you feel the same way then this is cake. If not…haha kiddinggg but wait two weeks and this is actually for real.”

Replacing their pants with a size smaller so they think they’ve gained weight = “Keep eating those McFish Bites and this could be your future, Chubs. Your potential spare tire offends me.”

Re-calibrating the scale to read ten pounds less so they think they’ve lost weight = “HAHA yeah fucking right, I watched you eat like six orders of McFish Bites on Friday.”

“I think I saw your boyfriend/husband/wife/girlfriend making out with someone at Ibiza on Saturday.” = “And that someone was me.”

Whoopee Cushion on the chair = “BARRIER!”


“We’re getting engaged!” = “If he doesn’t pop the question soon I’m going to start having an affair with my personal trainer! I’ve also made my Wedding Pinterest board private because I’m embarrassed that those DIY dreams will never become a reality!”


Saran Wrap the toilet seat = “I hate you. I actually hate you so so much.”

Have you ever used an April Fools’ Joke to actually express some truth to someone? How did it go? Are you sitting at home alone right now reading this measly blog because of it? The internet is everyone’s friend, I wouldn’t worry about it.
Unrelated side note:  1-800-273-8255 (National Suicide Prevention Hotline).