What it’s like to be a Weakest Link contestant

We sent our reporter for a good Anne Robinson grilling.
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Michael Strahan’s Holiday Gift Guide Feels Like Home

ESC: Michael StrahanMichael Strahan wears a suit six days a week, so you know he knows how to spend an occasional lazy day.
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The Ladies of Xscape Reveal What It’s Really Like Trying to Reunite on Reality TV After 20 Years

Xscape: Still Kickin' ItWhat’s it like to reunite your multi-platinum girl group after a bad break-up and 20 years apart?
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Inside Naturi Naughton’s Mint-Green Nursery for Daughter Zuri: ‘I Wanted It to Feel Like Serenity’

Naturi Naughton‘s daughter Zuri is only 3 months old, but she’s already set up in (serene) style.

The Power star, 33, gave PEOPLE an exclusive glimpse inside her baby girl’s mint-green nursery, created in collaboration with interior designer Nicole Gibbons and Pottery Barn Kids.

“I was thinking of something that felt really peaceful, very feminine, but not overly drowned in pink. I wanted it to feel like serenity,” Naughton tells PEOPLE of her inspiration behind the space’s look. “My whole theme was getting away: You can fly, you can go wherever you want to go in life.”

She adds, “I just wanted to feel inspired every time she looked around, with the maps and the birds, the-world-is-your-oyster kind of vibe, and nothing is impossible.”

“The space is bright and airy with a soft, feminine color palette and includes subtle influences of her Caribbean heritage throughout,” says Gibbons. “The nursery is sweet yet sophisticated so that it can easily transition as baby Zuri grows.”

Want all the latest pregnancy and birth announcements, plus celebrity mom blogs? Click here to get those and more in the PEOPLE Babies newsletter.

RELATED VIDEO: Naturi Naughton is Pregnant! See the Power Star Shows off Her Bump

The color theme throughout the space was actually Naughton’s boyfriend Ben‘s brainchild. “My boyfriend chose the green, that mint green,” says the actress. “He chose that color and first I was like ‘Green? We can’t do green. That’s not girly.’ But I realized he was like, ‘Let’s do something unique and different.’ ”

Zuri’s nursery includes a number of sweet elements from Pottery Barn Kids, including the Blythe Spindle Crib ($ 699), Elephant Side Table ($ 349), Eva Floral Medallion Rug ($ 149 to $ 699), Elsie Cloud Dresser ($ 799) and Naughton’s favorite piece: the Modern Wingback Glider & Recliner Rocker ($ 1,119 to $ 2,199).

“ is amazing because I’m also breastfeeding,” says the new mom. “That is a chance to feel like me and my baby girl get a chance to connect, because she’s looking up at me, I’m looking down at her, I’m feeding her, I’m rocking, I put her to sleep in that chair. We love it.”

RELATED: Naturi Naughton Shares Maternity Portraits Ahead of Daughter’s Arrival: “I’m Looking Forward to This Next Level of Life”

As far as the décor goes, one of the elements close to Naughton’s heart is the inspiring framed wall art above her daughter’s crib, flanked by a few feathered baubles.

“I love how the doves go across the wall with the sign that says ‘Oh the places you’ll go,’ “ shares the actress. “When I see those doves, every time that I walk in, I just feel like I want to fly away.”

Other sweet pieces featured in the adventure-encouraging nursery are Pottery Barn Kids’ Lamb Plush Collection ($ 19 to $ 49), Metallic Wool Storage bins ($ 59 to $ 79), Ombre Geo Lumbar Decorative Pillows ($ 24) and a wooden toy train ($ 39).

FROM PEN: Katherine Heigl Introduces Baby Joshua

RELATED: Go Inside Naturi Naughton’s “Afro-Centric” Shower – and Find Out the Sex of Her First Baby!

Zuri — who “only wakes up once at night” and whose name means “beautiful” in Swahili, according to Naughton — has experienced a variety of parenting styles between both her mom and dad.

“We’re different on typical man-woman stuff. He picks her up and plays with her, and I’m like, ‘Be careful!’ ” Naughton says. “I’m a lot more sensitive. I’m such a girl and I’m like, ‘Just don’t do anything because I don’t want anything to happen.’ I think we’re pretty good, though. We’ve found a balance.”

And her favorite part of motherhood so far? “Learning more about my daughter every day,” says the actress. “That’s one of the best parts: just learning and exploring her, and just enjoying the process of figuring out every stage.”


PEOPLE.com

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Lowe: Ten things I like and don’t like, including Kyrie-Horford wizardry

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Lowe: Ten things I like and don’t like, including fun plays for Porzingis

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Lowe: Ten things I like and don’t like, including Giannis ruling the game

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Roseanne Revival Looks Like a Happy Reunion: See What’s Happening Behind the Scenes of the ABC Series

Roseanne, Roseanne Barr, Roseanne RevivalRoseanne, Darlene, Jackie, Becky (No. 1 and No. 2), D.J. and even Dan (yes, somehow Dan has risen from the dead) are all back for Roseanne, 20 years after the show ended. The eight-episode revival…

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What is Google’s new Pixel 2 smartphone like?

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Beyoncé Looks Like Royalty at TIDAL’s Hurricane Benefit Concert

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Beyoncé Looks Like Royalty at TIDAL’s Hurricane Benefit Concert

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Kourtney Kardashian Cracks Down on Scott Disick’s Behavior: ‘I Don’t Want the Kids to See Him Like This’

Kourtney Kardashian isn’t happy with Scott Disick‘s behavior on this season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

In a sneak peek at Sunday’s episode, Kourtney, 38, escapes Los Angeles for a California road trip with her sisters — but she can’t escape the ongoing drama with her ex.

In one scene, Khloé, 33, urges her sister to give Disick, 34, some “tough love.”

“I don’t want the kids to see him like this,” admits Kourtney, who shares three children with Disick: son Mason, 7, daughter Penelope, 5, and son Reign, 2.

This season, Kourtney and Disick — who were together for nine years before she officially ended things in 2015 — have been at odds over Disick’s partying, combined with his refusal to accept that Kourtney is moving on with her life.

“How is it that she’s allowed to throw up in bed and I have to go to rehab if I do something like that?” Disick — who has struggled with alcohol abuse — said in an earlier episode after his ex celebrated her birthday by taking a wild girls trip to Mexico in April.

“Kourtney having a good time makes me happy,” he said. “But of course, in the back of my heart and mind I get a little jealous, because I wish we could have had some of those times while we were together.”

RELATED VIDEO: Scott Disick Is ‘Jealous’ of Kourtney Kardashian Partying on Birthday Trip to Mexico

 

In the two and a half years since their split, Disick has regularly been spotted cozying up to different women in Los Angeles, New York City and abroad — most recently with 19-year-old Sofia Richie, whom a source recently told PEOPLE is calling Disick her “boyfriend.”

Kourtney, meanwhile, is dating 24-year-old Younes Bendjima — and in the KUWTK 10th anniversary special (which aired last month but was taped in April), she indicated that she and Disick aren’t likely to reconcile.

“I guess we’re co-parenting our kids and just trying to get along,” she said. “He’s family. But I mean, we’re definitely psychotic.”

“The debauchery that’s gone on has definitely closed the door several billion times,” she added. “He for a time period, he can’t be consistent.”

“Here’s the thing,” Disick said. “Every time I become too good of a person, she stops loving me, because she fell in love with a person who was a little bit f—ed up. I treat you like royalty, you don’t say hello to me. I spit in your face, you’re like, ‘Hey babe.’ ”

Keeping Up with the Kardashians airs Sundays (9 p.m. ET) on E!


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Dolly Parton’s New Children’s Album Will Benefit Her Non-Profit: ‘People Relate to Me’ Being Like ‘Mother Goose’

 

Dolly Parton is using her self-proclaimed fairy-tale face (and voice) for a great cause.

The famed singer and actress is set to release her first children’s album, I Believe In You, whose profits will go right back into her non-profit organization Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

“That fact that I love kids and people relate to me looking like a Mother Goose or Cinderella — you know, one of those over-exaggerated cartoon characters — it gets children’s attention, and it keeps me young,” Parton, 71, tells PEOPLE ahead of the album’s release.

“We talk about responsibility, we talk about bullying,” she adds of the album’s themes. “We talk about giving, we talk about friendship, loyalty and all those wonderful little things, and we do it in a fun way. The songs are very uplifting, very singable. Hopefully, people are gonna get a kick out of this, and the kids are gonna love it.”

Want all the latest pregnancy and birth announcements, plus celebrity mom blogs? Click here to get those and more in the PEOPLE Babies newsletter.

RELATED VIDEO: Dolly Parton Makes Little Boy with Down Syndrome’s Dreams Come True!

 

The 9 to 5 legend launched the Imagination Library in 1995. Over the past 22 years, the organization has provided almost 100 million books to children in an effort to encourage a love of reading. And the story behind her inspiration is a tearjerker.

“I started it in honor of my dad,” Parton explains. “My dad was not able to read and write — he was a country boy with a bunch of kids, and he had to work instead of going to school when he was a little boy, and so he never had the chance to get an education.”

FROM PEN: Lea Michele Calls Céline Dion an “Incredible Inspiration”

 

RELATED: Dolly Parton Donates an Additional $ 5,000 to Almost 900 Victims of the Tennessee Wildfire

“And it seemed to really bother him a lot and I thought, ‘Well, what can I do for my precious dad?’ ‘Cause he was the greatest daddy in the world and one of the smartest people I’d ever known,” she adds. “So I said, ‘Dad, why don’t we put together a little program where we give children books from the time they’re born, once a month, until they start school?’ ”

“That way, they can learn to read, love books. If you can read, you can kinda self-educate,” Parton adds. “Now we’re all over the world. We’ve given away almost 100 million books, and all the money from this project goes into the Imagination Library to put more books in the hands of more children.”

I Believe In You is available now.


PEOPLE.com

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Help Desk: How to Fight and Fix Your Car Like a Woman

New books advise women on the most empowering ways to handle their careers, health and safety, love lives and vehicles.
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Lin-Manuel Miranda and Artists for Puerto Rico Release Hurricane-Relief Song ‘Almost Like Praying’ (Listen)

“Hamilton” mastermind Lin-Manuel Miranda has collaborated with an all-star lineup of artists to release “Almost Like Praying,” a hurricane relief single in support of Puerto Rico. Proceeds from the song, which was released Friday morning, will go to the Hispanic Federation UNIDOS Disaster Relief Fund. In addition, YouTube will make a contribution to the organization. Recorded […]

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What Your Favorite Disney Princesses Would Look Like In 2017

We’d definitely follow them on Instagram.
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‘It Feels Like A Bad Dream’: Las Vegas Concertgoer Recounts Escape From Concert Shooting

At first, Shaun Hoff dismissed the loud, successive pops he was hearing, thinking they were exploding fireworks. The Los Angeles casting director who escaped unscathed from the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Sunday evening tells PEOPLE the blasts continued for more than 30 seconds before anyone realized their lives were on the line.

“My wife and I were right in front of the stage when someone started screaming, ‘Everybody down, get down,’ and we just hit the ground,” Hoff tells PEOPLE. “At that point, the music stopped and at the same time, the shooting stopped, but for about a minute. Then, it just kept going and going. The shooting lasted for 8 minutes, but it felt like it continued for 30 minutes.”

As he was realizing the gravity of the situation, Hoff says he watched a woman 10 feet away from him get shot and apparently die.

“It was insane,” Hoff recalls. “It’s unreal.”

At least 50 people have been killed and an estimated 406 were taken to area hospitals after a gunman opened fire on the country music festival Sunday night. The shooting surpasses the Pulse nightclub massacre of 2016 as the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

The shooting started just as Jason Aldean began his set.

Police SWAT confronted the shooter — identified as Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada — after finding him on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Casino, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said. Lombardo said Paddock likely died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Hoff — who attends the three-day country music festival in Las Vegas every year — and his wife laid motionless on the ground for 3 minutes, as people continued falling all around them.

“We waiting until there was a pause in the gunfire, and we ran,” Hoff explains. “We were just sprinting and then, the shooting started up again, and we dipped into a Porta Potty and hid in there until the shooting stopped again.”

When it did, Hoff says he and his wife continued with their escape, ducking behind cars whenever the shooting resumed.

“There were bodies all over the place…we were just through all of these bodies,” Hoff says. “It was nuts. There were people bleeding all over the place and you could not stop to help anyone because the gun shots were still going. No one had any idea this guy was in the hotel, because it actually sounded like the shooting was getting closer and closer.”

• PEOPLE’s special edition True Crime Stories: 35 Real Cases That Inspired the Show Law & Order is on sale now.

Hoff estimates he and his wife ran two miles before stopping in the parking lot at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. “We were there 10 minutes before someone started shouting that there was an active shooter at that hotel,” he says. “There was all kinds of miscommunication happening in those moments.”

The couple continued walking around Las Vegas in a daze before happening upon a parking garage. They met total strangers, and learned the strangers were about to leave town and head back to Ontario, California.

“So we hitchhiked with them, and once we got to Ontario, we Ubered it another hour to Los Angeles,” Hoff says. “We left everything behind in our room. We literally just left with the clothes on our backs.

Hoff says it wasn’t until he was halfway home that he realized he could have been killed.

“It feels like a bad dream,” he explains. “I am feeling incredibly lucky, especially after seeing all of the stuff that was around us. It’s something I’ll never be able to unsee.”


PEOPLE.com

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Live Like an Aristocrat on a Tour of England’s Stately Homes

And sleep like one, too. Grand estates on England’s Norfolk coast are luring visitors with elegant guest rooms, tasty food grown on the grounds and even glamping sites
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Books of The Times: With a Friend Like Him, They Didn’t Need Enemies

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Mandy Moore’s Style Takes Us Through the Decades Just Like This Is Us

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Candace Cameron Bure Reveals What it’s Really Like When Full House Cast Comes to Fuller House

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How to Wear Fall Florals Like a Celeb

"E! News" reveals 3 tips for wearing floral print this fall. Get the details on this fall trend.
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Kim Kardashian Wore See-Through Leggings Like It’s No Big Deal

It’s fashion week, so why not?
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Kevin Bacon & Kyra Sedgwick’s Texts Show Us What A 29-Year Marriage Looks Like

Sounds about right. 😂 🥕
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What It’s Truly Like to Be a Fashion Model

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How to Do Shanghai Like a Local

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In Conversation: Spies Like Us: A Conversation With John le Carré and Ben Macintyre

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First-Time Mom Brie Bella Was "Milking Herself" Like a Cow

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Jessica Alba Makes This Topshop Jacket Look Like A Million Bucks

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How to Picnic Like a Pro: Recipes, Tools and Tips

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‘VV Cream’ Is Sort Of Like BB Cream, But For Your Bikini Line

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If Cara Delevingne’s New Home Looked Like Her Outfits…

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Stripes Like Jagger: The Return of the Rugby Shirt

Back when rugby shirts were still reserved for the upper crust, the Rolling Stones’ front man Mick Jagger co-opted one stylishly. Steal his strategy.
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Nicolas Lopez’s ‘Do It Like an Hombre’ Smashes 2017 Mexican Movie Records

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How to Enjoy Dessert Like a Fitness Expert

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Jessica Simpson Rocks A Leather Look In The Summer Like It’s No Big Deal

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Children consuming online time ‘like junk food’

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How to Dress Like Kylie Jenner, No Matter the Occasion

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Apple Just Accidentally Leaked What the iPhone 8 Will Look Like

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33 Actors Reveal What It’s Really Like to Shoot a Sex Scene

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33 Actors Reveal What It’s Really Like to Shoot a Sex Scene

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Rock a High-Neck Bikini Like Kate Hudson

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Disney Is Opening a Star Wars Hotel That Sounds a Lot Like Westworld

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This Too Faced Lip Gloss Is Like Injections, but Better

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Gabby Douglas Stuck This Look Like A True Champion

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Never Binge Again(tm): Reprogram Yourself to Think Like a Permanently Thin Person. Stop Overeating and Binge Eating and Stick to the Food Plan of Your Choice!

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Books of The Times: Michael Connelly’s New Detective Makes Harry Bosch Look Like a Slouch

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Vanessa Williams Says Jean Claude Van Damme Once Said Her Eyes ‘Look Like Lasers’ (But She Took It as a Compliment!)

It goes without saying that at 54 years old, Vanessa Williams is a true American beauty. But when looking at the former Miss America, it’s hard to miss one feature: her striking bold blue eyes. And we’re not alone on that one. Apparently, Williams says she’s gotten some pretty interesting compliments about her big blues over the years.

“When I was performing at the casino in Monte Carlo and Jean Claude Van Damme came up to me after the show and said ‘Your eyes look like lasers!’ the Clear Eyes spokeswoman tells PeopleStyle. “That was a big compliment because it was unexpected and very comedic.” So it’s a fitting match to see Williams continuing her relationship with Clear Eyes by starring in the brand’s television spot called My Shining Moment, which celebrates the positive moments in people’s lives.

“I love the new catchphrase ‘Your shining moment,’ because those are the things as a parent you try to instill in your kids — to know that life is precious and there are rough times, but there are some shining moments you need to celebrate,” Williams said.

RELATED PHOTOS: 3 Fresh Ways to Wear a Denim Mini Skirt

It goes without saying the star’s had her fair share of shining moments throughout her life in the spotlight, whether it be tying the knot to her husband John Skrip or judging the Miss America competition 32 years after she originally took the crown. But Williams’ standout shining moment happened at the start of her career.

“I grew up outside N.Y.C. and always went to Broadway shows. To see my name in lights at my opening night on Broadway and to see my parents and family and all the people I had gone to school with see me star in a Broadway show back in 1994, I would probably have to say that was a collective win for us all,” the actress told us.

Because of her combined singing and acting careers, Williams has been a red-carpet regular for years. But she says walking the carpet today is a completely different experience than when she started. “It has gotten more massive as years have gone on. The initial red carpet was entering an event and saying hi and moving on,” Williams said. “Now it is a complete photoshoot — the red carpet is work! It’s another event unto itself before even getting to the main event.”

FROM COINAGE: The Crazy Cost of a Lifetime of Beauty

But when Williams admits the greatest joy — besides all the glitz and glam of fame — is connecting with fans.

“I feel most like myself when I’m making a connection with someone and I see the light in their eyes,” she told us. “My favorite part about singing in front of an audience is seeing them sing along — they know every word and you can see tears in their eyes.”

What is your shining moment? Tell us yours in the comments below. 


PEOPLE.com

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Former Disney Star Danielle Panabaker Looked Like A Princess At Her Wedding

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Why You’d Want to Build a Skyscraper Like an iPhone

A wave of interest in modular design and building from tech-focused startups may finally bring down costs and lift productivity in the construction industry.
WSJ.com: WSJD

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This Is What The Wedding Night Is Actually Like, According To Couples

Bobby pins. Lots and lots of bobby pins.
Weddings
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Why it Seems Like Some Car Dealers Get Away With Whatever They Want

You would be amazed by the things the automakers can’t stop the dealers from doing.

Lifestyle – Esquire

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Fitness Star Emily Skye Stopped Taking Antidepressants Thanks to Exercise: ‘I Felt Like a Superhero’

Before fitness became a vital part of Emily Skye‘s life, the influencer struggled with depression, disordered eating and bullying.

At just 11 years old, a doctor put Skye on antidepressants.

“In grade school, they’d make frog noises when I walked past because I had big eyes, and they called me Stick Creature because I was skinny,” the Australian, 32, tells Women’s Health for the July/August cover.

Skye started modeling at age 13 — her mom’s attempt to help her gain confidence — but being around the other girls only lowered her self-esteem.

“I’d go to castings and compare myself to the other women,” she says. “I would think, ‘I’m not pretty enough or skinny enough.’ But I kept modeling because I needed praise to feel loved.”

And in her 20s, Skye was working out excessively — two hours of cardio a day — while eating just carrots, celery and hummus to stay a size zero.

“ on the verge of an eating disorder,” she says, “but I wasn’t fit or healthy. I had so much self-hate that sometimes I didn’t feel like I wanted to live.”

But at age 24, Skye found fitness magazines and started on a path that would eventually become her career.

“The women seemed so strong and healthy,” she says. “I loved the idea of using weights to transform your body, to look and feel powerful.”

With each workout, Skye started to feel better about herself, and was able to stop taking antidepressants.

“Before I had this cloudy feeling, and now, the sun was shining. I thought, ‘This is what being alive is like.’ I felt like a superhero,” she says.

RELATED VIDEO: Fitness Trainer and Mom of 3 Works Out with Her Kids: ‘They Think Exercise Is a Part of Life’

 

Now Skye — who recently announced that she’s pregnant with her first child — has 2.1 million Instagram followers who love her ability to give out smart fitness advice while still keeping it real about belly bloat and “transformation” photos.

“It’s so important for women to remember that the people who inspire them are human and shouldn’t be put up on pedestals,” she says.


PEOPLE.com

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So, Like, Did Barack Obama Just Reveal The Sex Of Beyoncé’s Twins?

Whilst the universe idly awaits the news that Beyoncé has birthed two fresh, new beings to share in her holy pop empire, we find ourselves with far too much time to think. Analyze. Scrutinize.

People on Twitter were doing a lot of that Thursday night after former President Barack Obama appeared in a video to congratulate new Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Jay Z, whose music he rather enjoys.

“Nobody who met us when we were younger men would have expected us to be where we are today,” Obama said, comparing himself to the husband of Beyoncé.

“Jay and I are also fools for our daughters,” he later added, “although he’s going to have me beat once those two twins show up. And, let’s face it, we both have wives who are significantly more popular than we are.”

Cute, yes, but let’s rewind to the “daughters” bit. While Obama’s prose is annoyingly inexplicit, there appear to be two ways in which to interpret it: He and Jay Z each love their respective children ― who, right now, happen to only include daughters ― and soon Jay Z’s love will expand to encompass three, versus Obama’s two. Or, he and Jay Z each love their respective daughters, but soon Jay Z will have more daughters, because Beyoncé’s twins are girls.

Some money appears to be on the latter. 

According to rumor, Beyoncé is either very close to, currently in labor, or has already given birth, either in the hospital or from the quiet comfort of home.

In other words, the waiting continues. 

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Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Ansel Elgort Is Excited for ‘Baby Driver’ to Make Him ‘Look Like a Bada—’

It’s been 22 years since writer and director Edgar Wright dreamt up the idea for what would become “Baby Driver.” His short answer for what took so long to get his passion project to the big screen? He was waiting for Ansel Elgort to be the leading man. Elgort, who plays the titular character, and… Read more »

Variety

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Taylor Lautner Has Been ‘Like A Husband’ To Girlfriend Billie Lourd

In December, actress Billie Lourd lost both her mother Carrie Fisher and her grandmother Debbie Reynolds just one day apart

A post shared by Billie Lourd (@praisethelourd) on

In the wake of their sudden deaths, Lourd and her uncle Todd Fisher ― Carrie’s brother ― have leaned on each other heavily. And it seems Lourd has also found an incredibly supportive partner in boyfriend and “Scream Queens” costar Taylor Lautner.

In an interview with E! News, Fisher said he always tends to be “suspicious of the guy hanging around [his] niece,” and yet had nothing but wonderful things to say about Lautner. 

“The truth of the matter is, the guy is pretty spectacular,” Fisher said. “He’s a really deep person, and he has supported her amazingly. He’s stepped up and acted like a husband would act. Not that that’s what’s going on, but it’s just an amazing support system for her, and I’m glad he’s in her life.”

On December 27 ― the day the “Star Wars” actress died ― Lautner posted a sweet photo with Lourd on Instagram with a caption that read, “This girl is one of the strongest, most fearless individuals I’ve ever met. Absolutely beautiful inside and out. I’m lucky to know you @praisethelourd. ❤️, me.”

A post shared by Taylor Lautner (@taylorlautner) on

The “Twilight” actor was also in attendance at the memorial and funeral for Fisher and Reynolds in January. The following week, Lautner and Lourd vacationed together in Mexico, further sparking rumors of a romance. And the pair has been spending a lot of quality time together ever since. 

A post shared by Taylor Lautner (@taylorlautner) on

A post shared by Taylor Lautner (@taylorlautner) on

A post shared by Taylor Lautner (@taylorlautner) on

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Could these two be any cuter? #LourdandTaylor forevermore!

A post shared by Billie Lourd (@praisethelourd) on

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Stunning Photos Bust Stereotypes Of What ‘Everyday Africa’ Looks Like

An Instagram account seeks to counter misconceptions about people and countries in Africa by sharing gorgeous photos of everyday life on the continent.

Everyday Africa, which started five years ago and now has about 340,000 followers, regularly publishes pictures from more than 30 photographers, most of whom are African themselves. Their work reflects a range of experiences on the continent: kids playing in a pool, young women taking selfies, people selling food at a street market.

The project, largely directed at an American audience, aims to use photography to upend stereotypes about Africa ― namely that it is mainly a region of war, poverty and safaris ― and instead celebrate its rich diversity. The continent does have 55 countries and more than 2,000 languages, after all. 

“The way news functions is to focus on the extremes ― often it’s the very negative,” co-founder Peter DiCampo told HuffPost. “In the United States, you and I know daily life is daily life, whether that’s watching Netflix or cooking dinner. But without seeing those things in other parts of the world, we don’t naturally assume that they exist.

“The war and poverty parts are certainly present, but there’s so much else.”

The project just released a book featuring work from 30 of its photographers.

DiCampo, a documentary photographer, started the Everyday Africa project with writer Austin Merrill in 2012. They had both volunteered with the Peace Corps, in Ghana and Ivory Coast, respectively, and then worked on a reporting project together in Ivory Coast.

“Both of us found we were in this country we knew, focusing [for our assignments] only on refugees, finding victims of war, perpetrators of violence,” DiCampo told HuffPost. “But once we pulled out our phones to shoot in a free-flowing way, there was so much else, so much greater context, images that felt like a more complete story.”

They started uploading these images online, and Everyday Africa was born. 

The founders, two white men who are also foreigners to Africa, have made it a “targeted mission” over the years to ensure that the project centers on photographers from African countries, DiCampo said. Today the majority of their contributing photographers are from the continent, and they aim to continue to expand the diversity of their contributors, namely to include more African women as well as people from a wider range of countries. 

“The term ‘everyday’ is very loaded ― whose everyday are we talking about?” DiCampo said. “The best way to address that is to get a diverse group and say nothing is off limits, poverty or rich Africa.”

The group partnered with the nonprofit World Press Photo Foundation to launch The African Photojournalism Database last year, aiming to connect media groups to more photography freelancers from African countries.

Over the years, Everyday Africa has become more than just an Instagram account. It has inspired other social media users to start “everyday” photography projects. Now more than a dozen accounts with similar missions exist, some affiliated with the group, some not, all seeking to bust stereotypes about communities. They include Everyday Middle East and Everyday Black America, among others.

The founders have also created a nonprofit, the Everyday Projects, which runs education initiatives in the U.S. in partnership with the Pulitzer Center.

Since 2013, DiCampo and others have visited more than 2,500 students in classrooms, mainly in Chicago and Washington, D.C., to teach kids about the Everyday Africa project and stereotypes in the media. Teachers then use their curriculum ― free to the public ― over several weeks to teach students about media and photography, and to have students do their own “everyday” projects.

Everyday Africa is just one of many efforts that have cropped up on social media to push back against stereotypes of the continent. The Twitter hashtag #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou, for instance, popularized in 2015, also sought to break stereotypes by sharing images of ordinary people’s lives.

Five years in, even though DiCampo says he still sees a lot of the same stereotypes about the African continent, initiatives such as that one give him hope.

“I think the journalism world is changing. There is so much more localized storytelling taking place,” he said. “And other platforms like ours where people can reach an audience, that will help those stereotypes dissipate.”

See more from Everyday Africa below and on the Everyday Projects website.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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What To Do When You Feel Like You Haven’t Accomplished Enough

Sometimes it happens like this: It’s a weekday, just another regular day. Then a couple of your coworkers get a promotion. You’re happy for them (kind of), but also start to wonder, “They got a promotion ― am I going to get a promotion? What am I even doing at this company?”

The day goes on but the feeling that you’re falling behind still lingers. You log into Facebook or Instagram that afternoon. You see that a neighbor had a baby. An old friend from college is engaged. Another couple you know just bought a house. 

And now you feel full blown terrible, like everyone else is rolling doubles and skipping spaces, and you’re getting no where. 

But hold on just a minute: Surely you’ve accomplished something in your lifetime. So what’s up with feeling like you haven’t? 

That nagging feeling that you haven’t done enough, could be related to a number things like social pressure, high expectations or even a lack of purpose, according to experts. 

So how do you fix it? Getting to the bottom of why you’re feeling unsatisfied with your accomplishments will take a bit of work. There’s also a few important things to remember when this feeling sneaks up on you. Below, experts explain how to handle this feeling:

Get specific about what’s making you feel bad.  

“I have not accomplished enough in my life” is a very vague and self-defeating statement, according to Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Instead, get specific about what is making you feel unsuccessful.

One way to do this is through journaling. Grab a pen and paper and write down what you think you haven’t accomplished, Whitbourne suggests. Then analyze it further.

For example, does it bother you that you don’t own a home? Jot it down then consider the factors that led to this so called “failure” and check them with reality. Have student loans or living in an expensive city made it hard to save for owning property?

It also might be helpful to jot down the things you have achieved and consider how long that achievement sustained you, according to Vincent Passarelli, a clinical psychologist based in New York City.

“If you’ve done something that’s great but then [your sense of satisfaction] fades very quickly, that’s definitely a red flag,” Passarelli said. It’s likely that specific “achievement” is not fulfilling you, and that you need to turn your energy to doing something that does more longterm, he added.

And it’s also fine to feel both disappointed and proud of what’s on the list you create. It’s normal to have successes like getting a master’s degree and failures like a string of relationships that have gone south, Passarelli said. 

Do not compare other people’s lives to yours.  

Comparing your life to another person’s Instagram feed ― a person whose personal challenges may be entirely different than yours ― is a recipe for making you feel wrecked. 

“Half of what people post on social media is not exactly what it’s cracked up to be,” Krauss Whitborne said. 

When you stack your life up against someone else’s without real knowledge about how they truly feel or what it took for them to accomplish something, it’s easy to convince yourself that you’re not enough, Whitborne said.

And if social media contributes to your tendency to compare your life to others’, dial back your use. Research shows that more than two hours of social networking per day is associated with psychological distress, anyway. 

Have your own definition of success.

Success is different for everyone, Passarelli said. What may look like an accomplishment for someone else may not exactly be a fit for you ― and that’s okay.

For example, success for one person might be securing the job as a CEO of a company. Success for another person might be a full-time job with flexibility so he or she can get home early to take care of kids. There are so many ways in which people define what works for them.

Look at your failures objectively.

Sometimes failures make people feel like they haven’t done enough, according to Passarelli.

But here’s the thing: Failure is normal and can also be quite helpful if you learn something valuable. Look at your failures through an unbiased lens and determine what you can do differently the next time in order to feel like you accomplished something, Whitborne says.

“Pick yourself up, move on from there,” she explained. “And maybe set more realistic goals for yourself. Where was it that you went left instead of right, and can you go back to that place and start on a better trajectory upwards?”

Use multiple aspects of your life to build out your identity. 

Don’t let one thing define too much of who you are, Passarelli says. You may be proud that you’re succeeding at work, but that’s not the only thing you bring to the table. 

It’s better to think about your self-worth in a holistic way: Are you a good parent, sibling, aunt, uncle or friend? Do you volunteer in your community? Do you participate in a sports league every week? Apply value to all aspects of your identity, not just if you’ve, say, made partner at your firm.

The same goes for break ups: The end of a relationship or marriage shouldn’t define who you are or are not, Passarelli said.

Reaffirm your values.

Rather than focusing on productivity as it pertains to accomplishing goals, build stronger ties to accomplishing things based on what you value. These values could be character traits such as integrity, loyalty, honesty or kindness. 

Shifting focus to values and away from how much “success” you’ve earned helps you recalibrate, Passarelli said. It can also help you feel more fulfilled in your endeavors, which is the point.

Remember that a hectic life does not equal an accomplished one.

“We falsely assume that being busy means that we’re smart and successful,” Passarelli said. “If our life is hectic, we’re successful or we have more value. Not true at all.”

In fact, a lot of times your best ideas come from down time. Research shows that carving out time for creativity, such as writing in a journal, sketching or playing an instrument just to unwind, can help lower stress and give people a sense of purpose.

“Leisure time does not equate to being lazy, does not equate to being unproductive,” Passarelli said. “Most successful people actually have that kind of down time. It’s where we learn a lot about our self and learn a lot about others and life.”

Now all of that sounds like the real recipe for success.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Style – The Huffington Post
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How to Dress Your Dad Like a Celeb, Just in Time for Father’s Day

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Here’s What The First ‘Harry Potter’ Book Looks Like Around The World

In its 20 years on this planet Earth, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone — or Philosopher’s, if you’re British — has been officially translated into 68 languages (and unofficially even more than that).

Naturally, some aspects of J.K. Rowling’s characters and plot require a bit of finessing so they make sense in languages other than her native English. The verbal clues that help readers imagine the school houses of Slytherin and Ravenclaw, for example, turn into “Serpentard” and “Serrdaigle” (roughly “snake” and “eagle talon”) in French. In German, “The Mirror of Erised” becomes “Der Spiegel Nerhegeb” — “nerhegeb” being the German word for “desire” spelled backwards.

Character names aren’t safe from alteration in translation, either. Buckbeak the Hippogriff becomes “Hardodziób,” roughly meaning “haughty beak,” in Poland. In Iceland, Crookshanks the cat becomes “Skakklappi,” or “crook-legged.” The wayward owl Pigwidgeon simply is “Kvík” in Slovak, or “squeak.”

Rowling’s affinity for puns requires some smart work on the part of the translator, as well; in a recent discussion over whether Ron Weasley and Lavender Brown ever had sex on the “Harry Potter” sub-Reddit board, users mused over the differences in translation over a scene during Divination class. After Lavender realizes she’s found Uranus, Ron requests whether he can “see Uranus, too.” Oh, ho, ho — but for readers in other languages to get the joke, the pun had to be altered somewhat, from “Uranus” to simply a “heavenly body” (that Ron would like to see, too). Ten points to the translator who had to finesse that one.

The text isn’t the only thing that has changed as the story of “Harry Potter” traveled from country to country. Various publishers chose to stray from the American cover illustrated by Mary GrandPré or the U.K. version created by Thomas Taylor, while others did not. Here are 21 magical covers from the first “Harry Potter” book that stole our hearts.

British English

French

Arabic

German

Spanish

Dutch

Italian

Swedish

Danish

Persian

Russian

Ukranian

Japanese

Portuguese

Thai

Czech

Bosnian

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Arts – The Huffington Post
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What Is It Like to Be Nice to Everybody?

People with a disorder called Williams syndrome are irrepressibly friendly and driven to engage with others.
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Why Trevor Noah Won’t Predict a Donald Trump Impeachment: ‘He’s Like a Tornado’

 

As host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah is extremely informed about the world of politics. But despite his wealth of knowledge, there is one thing he refuses to make any predictions about.

“I’ve given up predicting, nor do I ever wish to predict, the world of Donald Trump. He’s like a tornado,” says Noah, 33. “We don’t know where he’s going to be, but we know what he’s going to do. The effects of Donald Trump will be felt.”

Watch The Jess Cagle Interview: Trevor Noah, available now, on the new People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to people.com/PEN, or download  the PEN app on your favorite mobile or connected TV device.

The South African comic, who took over Comedy Central’s popular late-night news satire show from Jon Stewart in 2015, sat down with PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly Editorial Director Jess Cagle for the latest episode of The Jess Cagle Interview and admitted it can be challenging encapsulating complicated news stories and being funny.

“I still have to wake up every single morning and try to get a firm grasp of what’s happening, then pray to God that between 5 and 6 p.m., when I’m wrapping things up, the President of the United States doesn’t throw the ultimate curveball that sends me writing an entire new show,” says Noah.

For more on Trevor Noah, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday

RELATED VIDEO: Natasha Stoynoff Speaks Out About Donald Trump Attack — ‘I Don’t Want Women to Feel Afraid’

 

Noah, who wrote about his upbringing in his best-selling 2016 memoir Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood and says being host of The Daily Show is “one of the hardest jobs in television.”

“Every day, we’re in the trenches, sad stories, crazy stories, infuriating stories, we’re constantly doing it daily.”

—With MIA McNIECE


PEOPLE.com

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Ed Sheeran’s ‘Carpool Karaoke’ Teaser Has Got Us Singing Like

Don’t fear ― Ed Sheeran’s much-anticipated “Carpool Karaoke” is *almost* here.

The Late Late Show” released a sneak preview Thursday of Sheeran belting out some of his biggest hits with host James Corden.

They look almost as excited as we are:

The full clip will air Tuesday.

In the snippet posted online, Corden also revealed that he was temporarily taking his show to London. His guests will include Tom Cruise, David Beckham, Emily Blunt, Kit Harington and Nicole Kidman.

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Here’s What The Beatles’ Best Album Would Look Like In 2017

Shirley Temple. Marilyn Monroe. Karl Marx. Edgar Allen Poe.

These were just a few of the famous people The Beatles chose to include on the cover of their album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which celebrates a 50th anniversary Thursday.

After Paul McCartney proposed having a group of recognizable faces on the band’s cover, each Beatle suggested celebrities to include. Not every choice made the list ― such as John Lennon’s desire to have Adolf Hitler and Jesus ― but many dozen people from varying backgrounds had their 2-D likenesses grace the space surrounding The Beatles.

Now, 50 years later, it’s difficult to imagine that so many different celebrities could seem representative for the culture of the day. In 2017, one person dominates the conversation.

If The Beatles continued to wear yellow, pink, blue and red, the contemporary backdrop surrounding them would surely be orange.

A recent report from Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy claimed that Donald Trump has dominated the 2017 news at an unprecedented level.

“President Trump dominated media coverage in the outlets and programs analyzed, with Trump being the topic of 41 percent of all news stories—three times the amount of coverage received by previous presidents,” said the report, which focused on major American newspapers, television channels and a few international outlets.

As New York Times reporter Farhad Manjoo wrote in February, after he tried to actively avoid consuming Trump news and ultimately failed, “I could find almost no Trump-free part of the press.”

Trump has even dominated the coverage in publications that traditionally focus on pop culture ― a sign the current president has fully consumed other celebrities whole. The publication Digiday ran a story in April with the headline, “’Politics is pop culture news’: In the Trump era, political news is everyone’s beat.”

Sure, Beyoncé or Drake or Jennifer Lawrence or LeBron James can still become the subjects of a huge news story. But these days, the next Trump mishap or scandal or tweet that everyone wants to talk about is mere hours away.

You’re not just living in Trump’s America because he’s president, but because all conversations now lead back to him.

As such, HuffPost illustrator Damon Dahlen reimagined the cover art from The Beatles best album to reflect our new reality. Trump is not just a famous person of the day’s news, he is the day’s news. Every single day.

Dahlen had incredible attention to detail and you can find Trump’s face in even the tiniest of bodies featured within the original. It’s truly a nightmare-inducing masterpiece.

Perhaps this is a bit askew from The Beatles’ original vision. The living Beatles, Paul and Ringo Starr, have each subtly expressed that they’re anti-Trump in their own ways, but their original album art was barely a political statement. Still, separating music from the omnipresence of Trump in this age is impossible. When listening even to music from the past, Trump is still on your brain, or about to be.

A recent Paris Review article about this phenomenon concluded by quoting the music critic Greil Marcus. A fan had asked on the critic’s website, “What are the key issues for music criticism in 2017?” Here’s Marcus’ response:

I can’t speak for anyone but myself. For me, what’s crucial is not to write about music, or anything else, without a sense of tyranny surrounding any attempt at communication, expression, or free speech of any sort.

“Sgt. Pepper’s” ends with the song “A Day in the Life,” which lyrically begins with Lennon singing, “I read the news today, oh boy.”

In 2017, this line would undoubtedly refer to Trump. Every single day. 

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When Ballet Is Your Life, What Does Life After Ballet Look Like?

For a generation of ballerinas, Wendy Whelan was a walking goddess. The former New York City Ballet principal dancer joined the company at 17, and was quickly singled out for promotion and praise. She served as a muse for multiple then-up-and-coming choreographers and would go on to have more new ballets made for her than any other dancer in the company’s history. She became the defining American ballerina of her generation.

All the while, she says in a new documentary, she was asking herself, “What the fuck is it going to be like when I can’t do this any more?”

In 2013, she found out.

At the time, Whelan was 46 years old, which is all but ancient by ballerina standards. Ballet is so punishing on the body, and the standard demanded by top companies so high, that most women peak by their 30th birthdays and retire not long after. When Misty Copeland was promoted to the top rank of American Ballet Theater in 2015, it was a bittersweet moment: she’d been promoted at last, but at the age of 32, she probably didn’t have many dancing years left in her. Whelan, whose professional ballet career lasted three decades, was truly an anomaly, a ballet institution who outlasted some of her younger colleagues by years.

By 46, she noticed that she was being cast in fewer ballets, including, to her chagrin, the iconic Nutcracker, in which she’d been dancing the role of the Sugarplum Fairy for years. Her boss, Ballet Master Peter Martins, hinted that it might be time for her to move on. And then, her hip started hurting.

The documentary “Wendy Whelan: Restless Creature” finds Whelan preparing for surgery to repair a labral tear, which has made even walking across the stage an agony. She travels to Vail, Colorado, and puts herself in the hands of one of the world’s best hip surgeons, whose walls are covered in the jerseys of the pro athletes he’s treated. This is the man people see when they need to get back in the game, she explains. She needs to do just that, she says, especially since “I don’t have a ton of time left at my game.”

”Restless Creature” shows us Whelan’s recovery from the surgery (after first showing us the surgery itself, in rather gruesome detail), and her return to New York to contemplate what comes after ballet. She gets off crutches, returns to the ballet studio and begins to branch out into contemporary dance, hoping that it will be less brutal on her body. But it soon becomes clear that her body can’t take a return to ballet in addition to her ambitious plan to create a contemporary dance program and tour it all over the country. She has to focus on ballet for what little time she has left before retirement becomes inevitable.

Throughout the film, Whelan consults her former colleagues, all of whom have already retired. She asks them: How did you do this? How did you walk away from the only job you’ve ever had, the thing you’ve been working toward almost since you could walk? Who are you when you’re a ballerina who can’t do ballet any more?

Career paths out of ballet are notoriously narrow. Dancers usually skip college, and even the end of high school, to devote themselves to dancing in their late teens and early 20s, which means that when they retire from dancing, they’re out in the job market without an entry-level degree. Some dancers go on to teach or coach, and some to choreograph, though the latter path is often even less stable, predictable or lucrative than being a dancer. Some go into ballet-adjacent work, like dance photography. Some will be picked to run companies; Pacific Northwest Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Washington Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet are all run by alumni of the New York City Ballet or American Ballet Theater. But there are only so many ballet companies to run, and turnover at the top can be infrequent.

Besides, as Whelan explains in the film, she hadn’t made a plan for her post-ballet life; while some of her colleagues were setting themselves up for the next step, she was busy just … dancing.

At its core, “Restless Creature” is a film about grief. We watch as Whelan comes to the realization that her career is ending; that she’ll soon lose the structure of morning class and rehearsal and performance that have defined her days for decades; that she’ll leave behind a large piece of herself, and her identity, when she leaves the Lincoln Center stage for the last time. She moves through the stages of grieving, showing the camera very little anger, and the film ends with her farewell performance in October 2014, which featured yet more new works made just for her.

Now, she’s “really close to the end” of that grieving process, she told HuffPost in a phone interview. She didn’t go to the ballet for a while after she retired, but, she says, now she can go “and not feel pangs in the same way. I’m really happy about that. I can watch works that were made for me and feel a separation, and I’m really glad about that.”

She’s still performing. Her collaboration with the cadre of contemporary choreographers she assembled at the end of her time at City Ballet has toured around the country, and she opened the Joyce Theater’s spring season this year. She’s started coaching other dancers, and recently set a piece by Alexei Ratmansky with Pacific Northwest Ballet — meaning, she learned every step and movement of the ballet and then taught them all to the dancers at that company.

In her new life as a contemporary dancer, she says, her body and her mind have begun working differently. “I’ve let my body soften,” she says. “I’ve let it relax. There’s a lot of anxiety in the ballet world and nervousness,” but in contemporary dance, she feels more grounded. “There’s this calmness that I didn’t have in ballet because I was always up so high on my toes. For me there’s a parallel between how I was dancing and how I was feeling.” After decades of sewing ribbons onto pointe shoes every night, she now rehearses in socks, or bare feet, or canvas ballet flats.

Her new role allows her far more artistic control than she had as a ballerina. She chooses who choreographs on her, she designs programs, she wields far more power than she could as a dancer — something most ballerinas never get to experience before or after they retire. It took some getting used to. “I was so comfortable with my ballet power, my dancer power, that to have a voice, the comfort with having a voice, is slower to come to me,” she says. “I’ve always had a point of view, but to be in the front of the room, I didn’t move into a front of the room position until I retired, and that was really slow. “ While contemporary dance sees more women at the front of the room — running rehearsals instead of dancing in them — than classical ballet does, there’s still an enormous gender imbalance. Most dance companies are run by men, and most choreographers (even those with whom Whelan now collaborates) are men.

Above all, Whelan doesn’t plan to stop dancing, even if she’s not dancing ballet anymore. After she retired, she had a full hip replacement, which she says left her totally pain-free. She says that good genes and “great energy” in her family gave her a body that took easily to dance and was able to keep dancing long after most people have to stop, “a lucky body, not a great body.”

Still, she’s no longer on the regimented rehearsal schedule of a principal ballerina, and when asked what she most misses and least misses, she answers both questions the same way: “I really miss dancing all day long,” she says. “But something I really love is not dancing all day long. I love that I can’t rely on dancing all day long to stay creative.” After the heartbreak of leaving her old self behind, she’s found that she didn’t need it as much as she thought, or feared.

As for the beautiful and cruel ballet slippers that she put on her feet every day for almost 40 years, the bodily extensions that are synonymous with the ballerina, does she miss those? “Sometimes I miss being en pointe, but not a whole lot,” she says. “Every once and a while I would love to float for a minute on a shoe. But for the most part, I did it long enough that it’s OK.”

”Wendy Whelan: Restless Creature” opens June 9th and will be in limited release.

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Nicole Kidman in Cannes: ‘I still act like I’m 21’

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What Pippa Middleton’s Wedding Dress Might Look Like

ESC: Pippa MiddletonPippa Middleton walks down the aisle in t-minus three days, and the only thing we know for certain about her dress is who’s designing it.
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Stephen Colbert Explains Why Trump’s Firing Of Comey Isn’t Really Like ‘The Godfather’

President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey has been likened to a classic scene from “The Godfather.”

Following Comey’s dismissal on Tuesday, one senior intelligence official told NBC News that the “thuggish” and “humiliating” way in which his termination was carried out was like a “horse head in the bed.”

It was “designed to send a message,” the official added.

But on Friday’s “Late Show,” host Stephen Colbert explained why the comparison wasn’t actually that accurate ― and it’s all to do with one of Godfather Don Corleone’s favorite personality traits: respect.

Find out the reason in the clip above.

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12 Ways to Organize Your Closet Like a Celeb

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10 Mother’s Day Cards For A Mother-In-Law You Really, Truly Like

Not every mother-in-law is a monster-in-law.

In fact, there are some kick-ass MILs out there who deserve major love this Mother’s Day. Below, 10 cheeky cards to remind her just how awesome she really is. 

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These Super Bloom Engagement Pics Look Like Something Out Of A Dream

Love is in full bloom for Mary Costa and Mike Marsoupian.

On March 11, the Los Angeles couple headed to Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore, California for an engagement photo shoot among the now-Insta famous “super bloom” ― an explosion of wildflowers thanks to an especially rainy winter in Southern California.

The fields of vibrant California poppies were the perfect springtime backdrop for the photo shoot, which was shot by photographer Alyssa Marie and first featured on Green Wedding Shoes

“The super bloom was truly magical,” Mary told HuffPost. “It looked like the Wizard of Oz, and we couldn’t get over the colors! It almost looked like a fake backdrop, it was so perfect.”

Mary and Mike had been dreaming of a wildflower location for their engagement photos, but couldn’t find anything that was in bloom for months. Then the couple’s florist Angelena Moio of Shindig Chic told them about the super bloom in Lake Elsinore.

“Mike and I loved the idea of being surrounded by the poppy ― the California state flower ― especially since he’s originally from Michigan and I’m from New Hampshire. It was perfectly symbolic of our home [together] here,” she said. 

The super bloom craze on social media brought many people to Lake Elsinore, making the location very crowded when the couple arrived for their shoot. 

“Thankfully our incredible photographer got to the location extra early and discovered that we could avoid everyone and still see gorgeous poppies if we hiked far into the trail ― so that’s what we did!” Mary said. 

The pair ― who are tying the knot on June 2 in Camarillo, California ― first met in April 2013 when mutual friends took Mary, who is also a professional photographer, to see Mike’s band perform in Silver Lake. A few months later, their paths crossed again at a friend’s birthday party where they really hit it off. 

“We went on our first date a few days later and have been inseparable ever since!” Mary told HuffPost. “Mike eventually admitted that he stalked my photo blog for over a year before that first meeting, which I found incredibly endearing.”

Below, more photos from the eye-catching shoot. For more on this story, head over to Green Wedding Shoes

Credits: Photography: Alyssa Marie Photography | Florals, paper flowers, and piñata: Shindig Chic | Bride: Mary Costa | Groom: Mike Marsoupian | Hair & Makeup Artist: Nicol Artistry | Bride’s engagement ring: Suzanne Kalan | Bride’s yellow skirt: Morning Lavender | Bride’s lace top: Pretty Little Thing | Bride’s flowy dress: Jenny Yoo | Groom’s blue jacket: Express

H/T Green Wedding Shoes

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Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This: Schumer Cooks Up Trump 100-Day Playlist

If you can’t beat him, just sing along.

That could be the philosophy of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) — for now.  The Senate minority leader — who recently told HuffPost that he’s still open to working with a president who lacks competence — has come up with a Spotify playlist to mark the early part of the reign of Donald Trump. It’s a little bit lighthearted tongue-in-cheek (check out Trump in the “Saturday Night Live” parody video of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” above), a little bit angry, and lots of frustrated.

“Music has meant so much these #Trump100days,” Schumer tweeted Saturday, taking a tune-filled break from relentless Twitter attacks on Trump policies. “Shirelles, @springsteen & more here’s my @Spotify #100days playlist.”

Unfortunately, there’s not a song for each day. But Schumer has come up with 32 of them, with several titles and lyrics lamenting bitter realizations, disappointing people and lies, such as B.B. King’s “Fool Me Once” and The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

Some of the picks zing particular Trump issues — or personality traits, like “He’s Mista Know-It-All” by Stevie Wonder, “I Want It Now” sung by Esperanza Spalding, and Loverboy’s “Working for the Weekend,” an apparent dig at the president’s several weekends off playing golf at Mar-a-Lago.

A common theme involves “alternative facts,” such as “Lyin’ Eyes” by The Eagles, “Lies” by the Thompson Twins (”Lies, lies, lies, yeah”), and “Beautiful Liar” by Beyonce and Shakira. 

But there are also a couple about optimism for a better future, such as Bruce Springsteen’s “Land of Hope and Dreams” (”Big wheels rolling through fields where sunlight streams; meet me in a land of hope and dreams”).

And Bob Marley croons in “Three Little Birds”on Schumer’s playlist: “Don’t worry about a thing, ‘cause every little thing gonna be all right.”

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13 Pairs of Celebrities Who Look Like Identical Twins

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How to Talk to Your 13-Year-Old About Weed Without Seeming Like a Hypocrite

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27 Tweets That Sum Up What It’s Like To Live With A Cat

If your cat had to put up a Craigslist roommate listing, it would say: “I’m an assh*le, but I’ll grow on you. (No dogs, please.)”

Below, 27 times your cat was the biggest jerk in your home, but also the most loveable. 

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Elizabeth Warren: Donald Trump’s Presidency ‘Feels Like Dog Years’

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) outlined her priorities for fighting President Donald Trump’s administration as she stopped by the “Tonight Show” to promote her new book

“We need to keep a focus on what he actually does, what he is doing to working families across this country,” Warren said on Tuesday’s show. “He’s been there for 100 days. I swear, it feels like dog years. You know? Like he’s been there forever!”

Warren’s new book is called This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle To Save America’s Middle Class, and battles were a regular topic during her interview with Jimmy Fallon.

The senator also discussed her experience demonstrating in the Women’s March on Washington this year, and how seeing a young girl on top of a man’s shoulders had a big impact on her.

Watch the entire interview in the video above.

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We’ve All Felt Like This Little Girl Getting Dragged Around A Tiny Carousel

Sometimes you ride the horse. Other times, you get dragged.

A video shows a little girl named Sienna putting a hilarious twist on riding a carousel by lazily letting it pull her around.

The video, which was posted to YouTube late last month, shows Sienna slowly make a full revolution on the soft foam pads surrounding the small carousel.

The video’s description on YouTube reads, “Most children like to ride the animals on a roundabout. Not our daughter. Perhaps a future role as a zombie child in the Walking Dead awaits.”

Sienna responded to her newfound stardom in a follow-up video posted on Thursday that shows her rewatching her antics on a phone.

Who’s up for round two? Or as we call it, a Monday.

h/t Mashable

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What It’s Like To Be A Bride When All Your Bridesmaids Are Pregnant

When Heather Lundgren got engaged in December 2015, she immediately knew who her five bridesmaids would be: her dear friends Lauren, Kari, Ashley, Laurel and Miranda.

What she didn’t know was that in the next year, all five of those women would become pregnant, including two whose due dates now fall on the same week as the June 10 wedding in Plymouth, Minnesota. The rest are due in July.

“I knew pregnancy was a possibility for a few of them for sure,” Heather told The Huffington Post. “Not really a huge deal to me! Definitely didn’t think all five would be AND due within weeks of each other.”

While shopping for bridesmaids dresses in October, Miranda was the first to share the news that she was pregnant. Then came Kari, Lauren and Ashley. In November, Laurel was the last one to reveal she, too, was expecting. 

“At first I laughed because I secretly knew Laurel was going to be,” Heather told HuffPost. “And then I was almost relieved, because I would’ve felt bad for her being left out of the pregnancy fun! Might as well make it a full party.”

Sure, the baby news posed a few challenges (the dresses were ordered before everyone had announced their pregnancies, for example). But more than anything, Heather was concerned with her friends being comfortable on the big day. 

“Their health is No. 1!” the bride said. “Honestly, though, I am lucky. I have incredible friends who are agreeing to support me as much as they possibly can. For most of them this is their first baby, so they don’t know what they don’t know! The fact that backing out was never an option to any of them is a testament to who they are as people.”

In an essay for Redbook published last week, Heather talked about the experience of having five BFFs in their third trimester on the big day, which she described as “a little stressful and overwhelming at first.” Some people have told Heather they feel bad for her, but she doesn’t see it that way. 

“This is so unique and such a lasting memory,” Heather said. “Five new lives are being brought into this world and five women who didn’t really know each other prior have found a bond in each other. At the end of the day, I’m marrying my best friend with the people I love most there to witness it ― the rest is just details.” 

For more on this story, head over to Redbook to read the full essay.  

H/T Today

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Zach Lowe: Ten things I like and don’t like, including a rejuvenated Rajon Rondo

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This Is What Trump’s White House Correspondents Dinner Would Look Like

Donald Trump will be the first president in 36 years to be absent at the White House Correspondents Association dinner ― an annual tradition where media figures, politicians and celebrities schmooze for a night.

And while he and his staff likely turned down their invitations because of the president’s deep hatred for the media and so-called “fake news,” the folks over at “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” have figured out how to get Trump to attend: Invite the Russians.

What would that dinner look like? In Trump’s mind (or “The Late Show’s” version of Trump’s mind), it would probably include a Russian man like “Boris Yacanovich” riffing on journalists.

It would feature jokes like:

A journalist criticized the administration. And he was shot dead in the street. In broad daylight.

And other knee-slappers, including:

Another journalist expressed dissent. And he was dropped out of window. Kaboom.

Fingers crossed that the actual WHCA dinner never ends up looking like this.

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Looking Like a Million Bucks to Sell $1 Million Listings

If Steven Gold ranks among the most arresting and stylish of New York real estate brokers, it’s because fashion seeped into him from his modeling days, which started at age 17 with a contract with Major Models and an exclusive to walk the Louis Vuitton show.
“I was standing in front of Marc Jacobs for two weeks doing the looks for the show, and I had no clue who he was,” Gold said with a laugh, recalling the first awkward moments of what would become an illustrious career. “But I definitely think my involvement in fashion has refined (my style). When I went to Milan I did about 10 to 15 shows a season and I did six years of shows pretty regularly in Paris and Milan. For sure, they put me in a lot of ridiculous stuff that I would never wear, but there’s also a lot of things that I really liked, and I have enough of a sense to know what works on me.”
Along the way, Gold also accrued a gold-plated Rolodex of some of the most influential people in fashion including designers Riccardo Tisci and Raf Simons, photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott and makeup artist Pat

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13 Times Reese Witherspoon Nailed What It’s Like To Be A Mom

It’s a busy time for Reese Witherspoon. The actress wrapped filming “A Wrinkle In Time,” has been making the press rounds for her HBO miniseries “Big Little Lies,” and on Wednesday, celebrated her 41st birthday.

Witherspoon had a solid squad to help her commemorate the occasion. She’s married to talent agent Jim Toth and has three kids: 17-year-old Ava, 13-year-old Deacon and 4-year-old Tennessee.

Since becoming a mom, Witherspoon has been open about the ups and downs of parenting. In honor of her birthday, we’ve rounded up some of her best quotes about motherhood.

1. “I was 23 [when I became a mom]. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was young. It was shocking. When people ask, ‘When’s the best time to get pregnant?’ I say, ‘Pick the best day for when your entire life is gonna change.’ There’s no good time to have your world turned upside down.”

2. “I constantly question myself: Have I exposed them to the right amount of culture (no), do I spend enough time with each of them as individuals (probably not), do I have the right amount of work/family balance (who knows!). I’m trying!”

3. “We have rules around the house. I always say if you aren’t yelling at your kids you’re not spending enough time with them. Just telling everybody to clean up all the time. I feel like I’m always telling people to clean up. ‘Clean up, clean up, put your dishes in the dishwasher, put your clothes in the laundry, come on now.”

4. “The first few months with a baby are so disorienting. I felt like my brain was scrambled eggs, and I think it is, understandably, hard to get dressed or even get out of the house ― you have to go easy on yourself. Having prepared foods in the fridge and freezer was essential because thinking about cooking made me want to cry.”

5. “No one’s really doing it perfectly. I think you love your kids with your whole heart, and you do the best you possibly can.”

6. “People know not to call me before 8:15, because 8:15 is when everybody has to either be on the bus or at school and then my whole life starts at 8:15.”

7. “I don’t think there’s been an hour of my life since Ava was born that I don’t think of my kids. I call it my CNN ticker tape: Is Ava OK? Yes. Is Deacon OK? Yes. Is Tennessee OK? Yes. Back to Ava.”

8. “Seeing my kids for the first time was primal. The ferocity of love you feel for your children when you see them for the first time ― but you’ve known them inside you ― is phenomenal.”

9. “When I had a little girl at 22, I was even more determined to, I don’t know … I went from just surviving to, ‘Who do I want to be for this other person?’ That’s what happens when you have a child… You kind of look inward. [When you have three], your eyes cross. You look so far inward that your eyes cross. No, you’re just confused all the time.”

10. “This is so dumb, but the other day Ava said, ‘Well, Mom, you said that drinking water with lemon is good for my body. I burst into tears, going, ‘Oh my God, you listen to me!’ Parenting triumph.”

11. “Having kids made me clearer about who I was as a woman. I just wanted to exhibit good qualities for my daughter. I was a little competitive before I had kids ― probably really competitive, to be honest. It really made me let go of that.”

12. “There are some sacrifices you make, and it hurts your heart sometimes, but my kids tell me they’re proud of what I’ve accomplished, and that just means everything. I grew up with a working mom, and I have so much respect for the things she did as a nurse and a teacher. I would never begrudge her that.”

13. “Parenthood is not at all what I expected it to be. I thought you make little people in your image. But they are just nothing like me or their father. They are their own individuals.”

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Ed Sheeran’s First Date with Girlfriend Was Taylor Swift’s July 4 Party: ‘You’re Like, “Holy F—, I Know Everyone Here!”‘

Did Ed Sheeran‘s girlfriend get longtime friend Taylor Swift‘s stamp of approval? Yes — and then some!

“Well, our anniversary is her 4th of July party,” Sheeran, 26, tells PEOPLE of risk advisory consultant Cherry Seaborn, 24, whom he began dating in the summer of 2015 after Swift hosted them at her famous Independence Day fête at her Rhode Island home.

“I’ve known Cherry since I was 11,” adds the “Shape of You” singer — whose third album ÷ debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 — of his girlfriend. “She worked on Wall Street in New York, and I had like six shows .”

“It was around then, and we reconnected. I went on tour again, and then I went to Taylor’s 4th of July party. I was texting , and she was like, ‘I’m in Rhode Island at a 4th of July party,’ and I was like, ‘So am I.’ I kinda said to Taylor, ‘Can I invite one of my old schoolmates?’ The rest is history.”

Indeed, last summer, Sheeran and Seaborn celebrated their one-year anniversary at Swift’s 2016 soirée, as documented by Swift’s childhood pal Abigail Anderson on Instagram.

Swift’s annual summer bashes have fueled headlines the past few years, with squad members from Karlie Kloss and Blake Lively to Gigi Hadid and Cara Delevingne descending on her estate for the holiday weekend.

“It’s just a load of like-minded people that you would never expect to see in the same place, together,” Sheeran says of the parties. “I found myself chatting to Ryan Reynolds for a long time, and I did not expect to see him there. ’s kind of a magnet for like-minded people, and they’re always super-sweet. Anyone that’s around her is very, very nice. It’s a fun party. But it’s a lot of stories. You walk in, and you’re like, ‘Holy f—! I know everyone in here!’ It’s cool.”
For more on Ed Sheeran, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.

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In addition to providing a space for Sheeran’s relationship to blossom, Swift and Seaborn have become friends themselves, the “Castle on the Hill” singer says.

“Her and Taylor have hung out without me quite a few times; I think they have gal chats,” he says. “I don’t know what they get up to, talking about cats or whatever.”

Sheeran’s new album ÷ is out now; he’ll kick off his North American tour on June 29.


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This Is What It’s Like To Say ‘I Love You’ To Your Partner For The First Time

In every couple, one partner will inevitably be the brave soul to say those three magical words first: “I love you.”

Sometimes it’s totally romantic. Other times? Well, not so much. In a new WatchCut video posted to YouTube on Thursday, 10 couples were asked to describe the first time those words were uttered. 

Sometimes, the other partner said it back:

And sometimes they didn’t:

Watch the video, in all of its adorable awkwardness, above. 

H/T Cosmopolitan 

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Gwyneth Paltrow on Working Out Almost Every Day: ‘I Definitely Don’t Always Feel Like Doing It!’

Gwyneth Paltrow has credited her near-daily workouts for looking young and feeling strong, but admits she’s not always in the mood to hit the gym.

“I like feeling good, and I know I feel my best when I exercise. But it depends on the day — I definitely don’t always feel like doing it,” the actress and lifestyle guru, 44, tells Women’s Health in the April issue. “I’ve made it a habit, just like brushing your teeth. That’s how you have to look at it.”

Paltrow swears by the Tracy Anderson Method for keeping in shape.

“I’ve been a Tracy Anderson fanatic for over a decade, I’m an investor in her company, so yeah, I go every morning,” she says. “I drop the kids at school, work out, go to work.”

RELATED VIDEO: Gwyneth Paltrow’s Favorite Things

In addition to a disciplined workout regiment, Paltrow sticks to a pretty clean diet to stay feeling her best. However, she lets herself indulge when she wants to.

“I have a pretty healthy diet, so when I’m eating processed foods and not watching my alcohol intake, I feel it. But at the same time, you want deliciousness, you want a fun — pleasure!” she says. “You’re going to have a baguette-and-cheese-and-red-wine frenzy sometimes, but you want it to be a choice you’re awake to: ‘I know this might not make me feel great, but today I’m choosing it anyway.’ ”

Paltrow also spoke to the magazine about how she deals with being judged.

“When someone doesn’t like something you do, or doesn’t share your interest in something, that doesn’t have anything to do with you,” she says. “One of the best things someone ever said to me was that the only time criticism hurts is if you have a judgment about yourself about that very thing.”


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How To Call Off Your Wedding Like An Adult

Saying “yes” to a marriage proposal takes major guts. It arguably takes equal guts to call off your wedding and notify family, friends and guests of the change in plans. 

To guide readers in this sticky situation, we turned to Amber Harrison, Wedding Papers Divas’ resident etiquette expert, and Diane Gottsman, author of Modern Manners for a Better Life, for their best advice for canceling a wedding like an adult. 

1. Keep calm and don’t panic. 

Believe it or not, your situation isn’t that unique. Harrison says most wedding planners will tell you that it isn’t unusual to have at least a few cancellations each year.  With that knowledge, take a deep breath and ready yourself for the job of notifying loved ones and guests. 

“While it can feel overwhelming to think of cancelling a wedding, especially once guests have been invited, it is absolutely possible and may be a better option than going through with a marriage you are not feeling confident about,” Harrison said. 

2. Do it sooner than later. 

Don’t put off the inevitable. As soon as you know your relationship is donezo ― or that the wedding is not going to happen on schedule ― reach out to your guests to notify them. 

“When a couple cancels their wedding, there is no time to delay,” Gottsman said. “If it’s definite, start letting the guest know as soon as possible, especially if the wedding was a destination wedding and travel and lodging plans need to be changed.”

3. Designate a proxy to make the calls. 

OK, so you’re not exactly looking forward to letting everyone ― your judgmental sophomore year roommate included ― know what happened. That’s fine. Gottsman reassured us that it’s totally kosher to designate a caller or two to get the word out. 

“It’s seldom the couple that makes the call, actually,” she said. “Ask a trusted friend or family member to go through the guest list and contact each guest, in person when possible. For a large ceremony, it may take several people. Just make sure the let them know how much or little they should divulge.”

4. If the invitations have already been sent, you may want to followup with a formal announcement.

If the invites have already been delivered, Harrison recommends sending a more official announcement by mail. 

“The wording can be quite simple and mirror your invitation,” she said. “Something like ‘Mr. and Mrs. Wiliam Layton announce that the marriage of their daughter, Jessy Layton, to Taylor Morgan will not take place.’” 

5. There’s no need to divulge too much to your guests. Just give them the info they need. 

Save the drama for phone calls with your mama. Share exactly what guests need to know, and nothing more. 

“This is the time to inform guests about the change of plans, not get into a 30-minute conversation about what happened,” Gottsman said. “If asked, let the guests know they will be informed as to how the wedding and shower gifts will be returned in the future. That’s something they need to know.”

6. Don’t forget to notify the vendors!

You need to get word out to your guests ASAP, but don’t forget to let your vendors know in the process, Gottsman said. 

“It’s equally important to inform all the people who are counting on providing services,” she said. “Start with the officiant, the hotel, caterer, DJ and gift registries. Take careful notes of penalties and refund protocol!”

7. Oh, and if you think there’s half a chance the wedding will happen, let your guests know.

Modern relationships are complicated. If you and your S.O. just need some time before tying the knot or intend to reschedule, just let your guests know that, Harrison said. 

“If you are still planning to get married to the same person sometime in the future, make sure you communicate that the wedding has been postponed, rather than cancelled,” she said. 

Calling off a wedding: That wasn’t so hard, was it? 

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How Loving v. Virginia Blazed The Trail For Sweet Love Stories Like This One

When the historic Loving v. Virginia case legalized interracial marriage in America in 1967, it changed the lives of countless individuals ― many of whom wouldn’t realize it until decades later. Bryan Sells and Deneta Howland were children when the Lovings won their Supreme Court battle to legally marry, but the impact of the case would become deeply personal for the two in 2007.

Bryan and Deneta’s story begins in 1989, when they met in college. For Deneta, the friendship was simply platonic.

“I honestly thought, ‘Well, he’s a nice guy,’ but I wasn’t going to date outside my race,” she told “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 2008. “I had these ideas about how I wanted my life to be: I knew I wanted brown babies and I was going to marry a black person.”

At first, Deneta’s life seemed as if could be headed in that direction. She and Bryan went their separate ways after graduation and began successful careers ― he became a civil rights attorney in Montgomery, Ala., and she became a doctor in Memphis, Tenn. But, 10 years later, Deneta had the urge to visit Montgomery to go on Civil Rights tours. So, she emailed Bryan out of the blue.

Upon reconnecting, Bryan planned out a weekend of Civil Rights tours for Deneta’s visit. When the two began exploring those historical sites, Deneta noticed something about her old friend.

“I guess I was surprised throughout our seeing all these different sites just how much they touched him personally,” Deneta says. “I saw a little piece of his heart.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words began echoing in her head as well.

“When I think about Dr. King’s speeches and all the words that he said, the ones that keep coming back to me is his part in ‘I Have a Dream’ speech about being judged not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character,” Deneta says. “I was attracted to Bryan’s character and attracted to who he was as a person, and realized I’d been judging him by the color of his skin for 10 years.”

Seven years after that visit, Bryan and Deneta wed.

“It was the Lovings,” Deneta said, “who blazed the trail.”

Original air date: Jan. 21, 2008

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Twitter Wishes Election Night Had Gone More Like The Oscars

Sunday night’s Oscars turned into a real doozy when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway presented “La La Land” with the Best Picture award even though “Moonlight” was the real winer. 

Beatty was apparently handed the wrong envelope offstage, and PricewaterhouseCoopers ― the company behind the ballot counting ― apologized for the disappointing error in a statement.

“We sincerely apologize to Moonlight, La La Land, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for Best Picture,” the statement read. “The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred.”

Which got people on Twitter thinking: What if election night had gone the same way? 

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Tracee Ellis Ross Looks Like An Angel In This Playfully Sheer Gown

There’s sheer, and then there’s sheer perfection.

Tracee Ellis Ross followed up a fringe-tastic showing earlier this week with a stunning, transparent mock-neck gown with a tiered skirt and bustier-style bra at Essence’s Black Women in Hollywood awards on Thursday.

Ross, who joined the likes of Viola Davis, Issa Rae and Janelle Monae at the star-studded event, one-upped her own style with a flawless hair and makeup look. We love this combo of updo, pink lip and fierce brow. 

The look’s playful nature was not lost on Ross, who captioned a photo of herself from the event “#DollBaby .”

#DollBaby

A post shared by Tracee Ellis Ross (@traceeellisross) on

Doll baby, indeed. 

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If You Like ‘Heathers,’ You’ll Love This Sundance Movie

The buzz that travels from the Sundance Film Festival bubble to the real world every January typically revolves around a small crop of Oscar hopefuls. But for every “Boyhood,” there’s an “Obvious Child” ― a discovery with passionate fans who want to shout its name from the cinematic rooftops. For me, this year’s was “Thoroughbred.” 

Sleek and delicious, “Thoroughbred” is a 90-minute romp through the spoils of suburbia, where decadent facades conceal murderous impulses. It blends the popular-girl pastiche of “Heathers” with the sensual psychodrama of Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona.”

Writer and director Cory Finley cast two self-proclaimed “Sundance kids” in his debut feature. Olivia Cooke, the dying girl in “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” plays Amanda, a sociopathic Connecticut teenager who’s become a social leper after slaying her family’s horse. Sharp and resourceful, Amanda rehearses emotions but feels nothing. Anya Taylor-Joy, the witch in “The Witch,” plays Lily, an estranged junior-high friend who reconnects with Amanda for study sessions. In truth, Amanda’s mother has paid Lily to spend time with her daughter as a sort of arranged playdate. Lily is the picture-perfect classmate, preppy and beautiful and poised ― or so it seems. One problem: It’s driving Lily mad to live with her vicious stepfather (Paul Sparks), who wants to ship her off to a boarding school for troublemakers.  

“Thoroughbred” was first a play, which Finley wrote as a “conversation about the relationship between emotions and morality.” In keeping, Amanda and Lily’s tainted virtues weigh heavily on the movie. Both are seeking relief from their prosaic realities. As often seen in teenagers, the more time they spend together, the more Amanda and Lily’s personalities merge. And then, like a spark, they hatch a plan to murder Lily’s stepfather with the help of a local drug dealer (a manic Anton Yelchin, in his final screen role).

“I thought it was interesting to set this story in a world that might be very morally insulating, but to have characters who are of an age where they’re just starting to build their own value systems,” Finley said.

As “Thoroughbred” continues, Amanda shows possible glimmers of normalcy, while Lily’s temperament grows more cutthroat. Early in the film, Finley employs a standard shot/reverse-shot dialogue technique to place the girls on opposite sides of every conversation. By the end, they occupy the frame together, opposing the forces that cross their paths. All the while, Erik Friedlander’s tribal score ― reminiscent of “The Witch” ― crescendos toward a bloody climax. 

“As the movie goes on, we start to resemble each other,” Taylor-Joy said. “It’s like we move in sync. My voice gets deeper, and I start speaking in a similar way that Amanda does. … Lily’s on this level of tension, but underneath this perfectly composed and preppy little girl, I just thought, ‘It must be bloody exhausting to keep that up all the time, and there must be something going on underneath all of that that she’s repressed.’ She’s really lonely and she’s just in a toxic situation that I think is starting to seep into her own skin.”

For the work of a first-time director, “Thoroughbred” is remarkably assured, mastering its satirical tone and portraying suburbia as a demented WASP playground. Finley cited “Mulholland Drive,” the David Lynch thriller with similar themes, as his inspiration for becoming a filmmaker. Elements of “Mulholland” are evident in “Thoroughbred,” as are hallmarks of “The Shining,” chiefly in eerie long takes that snake through Lily’s palatial home. The ending of Finley’s movie is less enigmatic than those two, but the director was deliberate in leaving Amanda and Lily’s psychology open to interpretation. 

Cooke was drawn to the role because it’s the antithesis of “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” and the “Psycho” prequel series “Bates Motel,” in which she portrays hyper-emotional teens. As for Taylor-Joy, Lily complements her work in “The Witch” and M. Night Shyamalan’s “Split,” in which she personifies young women who refuse to become victims of their gloomy circumstances. Cooke and Taylor-Joy are aces in this movie, their characters peeling away at layers, as if in a constant tug-of-war with themselves, each other and the viewer. 

“I would hesitate to boil any part of their motivations down to any single factor,” Finley said. “But I think who these characters are, as is true with all of us, is a mix of where they grew up, the people they grew up around, something ineffable about the way they were born, just how they were put on Earth, and then their influence on one another. I think that’s the key piece in that motivational puzzle. But I also hope that it’s a cause for discussion among audiences and people come away with their own takes.”

Focus Features bought “Thoroughbred” at Sundance for a reported $ 5 million.

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Arts – The Huffington Post
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