BlogHer en Is "Scandal" Ruining Your Sex Life? <p><strong>I just discovered the television show&nbsp;<em>Scandal</em> on Netflix.</strong></p> <p>Yes, I know that I’m coming (pun intended) to the Oliva Pope/President Fitzgerald party waaaaaay late.&nbsp;But I’ve come to the party with a vengeance. I’ve managed to watch all 40+ episodes that have aired to date in the last six weeks.</p> <p>I forgot to brush and floss, make kids’ lunches, take my meds, shave my legs, kiss my husband, let alone hob his knob (I know, that’s not a saying, but it should be). I have basically been useless because who can be bothered to hob your husband’s knob when you can watch the ridiculously chiseled, delicately be-chest-furred Tony Goldwyn get his knob hobbed by the gloriously, salubriously magnificent Kerry Washington (preggers or no)?</p> <p>And the <em>way</em> he wants her. He’s willing to give up being the most powerful man in the free world just to be able to park his Caddy in her garage.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><center><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/8b185fb05b241f47e9bf45538fc9ade2.jpg" alt="screen shot of Scandal" class="m-optimized" /><br /><em>Image: Screenshot from</em></center> </p><p>How the heck can any of us in the real world-- <em>where we have psoriasis, halitosis, shingles, dandruff, Athlete’s Foot or are simply more soft, round, old and poorly-lit than these gorgeous glamazonian thespians</em>-- compete with that?</p> <p>We can’t and, unfortunately, an image is worth a thousand words. Maybe Tony Goldwyn has halitosis? Maybe Kerry Washington has irritable bowels? We can certainly hope, but all that we see is passion, desire and perfection.</p> <p>It was with a sense of inertia that I climbed into bed with my husband of thirteen years, Henry, after viewing my umpteenth Olivia Pope/President Fitzgerald tryst — this one occurring in the stunning Vermont country home he built for her tricked out with stained glass windows from freaking Valhalla or some such gobbledygook — and I was feeling a bit uninspired to discover my husband lying asleep, his body sprawled across the bed like a gut-shot Secret Service Agent, twitching spasmodically due to his Restless Leg Syndrome.</p> <p>Why bother even <em>trying</em> to have sex with someone who is not the philandering president of the United States (married to a cold ladder-climber, so who can blame him for cheating?) and who is willing to throw away his presidency just for me? What’s the point? We already have our kids. Maybe, if sex can’t be off-the-charts hot, hot, hot, we should just hang up <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">our anal beads and leather lariats?</a>&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">We’re obviously performing sex inadequately.</a>&nbsp;But then I reconsidered.</p> <p>Here are the two reasons I decided married couples shouldn’t give up on sex, no matter how un-cinematic it might be:</p> <p><strong><em>For the men...</em></strong></p> <p>Men don’t care about having sex that’s as hot as it looks on TV. (Yes, I’m generalizing, but I dare you to tell me different, men?? You’ll take sex any way you can get it. Just admit it!)</p> <p>Sure men wouldn’t <em>mind</em> if we looked like Kerry Washington with those pink, flotation device lips, and lustrous, obsidian pools for eyes (I think I might be turning into a lesbian), but mostly they just want sex.</p> <p>Any kind of sex is fine. Good, bad, tepid, awkward, lazy, drunken, self-righteous – they’ll take it. It’s we <em>women&nbsp;</em>who are the problem.</p> <p>Yes, Feminists, (of which I count myself one), we are suckers for impossible romance!</p> <p>We are devourers of movies like <em>Twilight,</em>&nbsp;where the carnivorously handsome bad boy loves us so much he’s willing to change his ways, yet somehow remain dangerous and sexily bad, albeit monogamous. With only us. (By which I mean “me,” because “us” implies plural, which doesn’t dovetail with “monogamous.” I think I need more wine to finish this post. Be right back.)</p> <p>We ingest books like the <em>50 Shades of Gray</em>&nbsp;series by the bucket load even if we’re Rhodes Scholars with PhDs in Nuclear Fusion. Who can resist Christian Gray, a man who flies his own jet, plays effortless piano concertos while signing in Austronesian Tagalog, and knows his way around a leather harness which he straps you in while flashing his twelve-pack abs (six is so yesterday)? Who can resist this lie???</p> <p>Not I, I can assure you. Not. I.</p> <p><em><strong>For the women...</strong></em></p> <p>We’re far more difficult to please than men in the bedroom. It’s because of the connection between our right and left-brain hemispheres, which makes us capable of multi-tasking during sex.</p> <p>Which means collecting, categorizing, and collating all of the ways in which our man<em> isn’t</em> doing what Fitz does to Olivia... like missing our body so badly while running the free world that he has to bite our arm flesh, or being able to dexterously shed our panties with just a flick of his pointer finger, or, well, there’s that 12-pack.</p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Sex Love & Sex # BlogHer #travel #sex #men #women #aging #humor #midlife #middleage # sex married sex Fri, 18 Apr 2014 17:59:59 +0000 shannoncolleary 1586993 at Attend Hogwarts from Your Living Room, and Other LARP Websites We'd Like to See <!--paging_filter--><p>It turns out that joining an online course for Hogwarts is a lot more exciting in theory than it is in practice. The creators of <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Hogwarts is Here</a> didn't account for the idea's popularity, and merely enrolling took me over an hour as the server kept giving me 503 messages. This LARP (live action role playing) site allows players to enroll as themselves, a new character, or an existing character in the book, and then complete all the Hogwarts coursework, including 3-foot-of-parchment essays.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><p>But after one hour of refreshing, I was firmly in Ravenclaw and ready to take my first class: Potions.&nbsp; I downloaded the first lesson as well as the necessary book: <i>Magical Drafts and Potions</i>.</p> <p>Unlike the JK Rowling-created <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Pottermore</a>, which is a visually stunning game that brings to life aspects of Hogwarts, Hogwarts is Here is more like University of Phoenix for Harry Potter lovers.&nbsp; You can immerse yourself as deeply as you wish in that Potterian world until the real world around you melts away and you realize that you just spent more time writing an essay on potion ingredients than you spent on your actual work.</p> <p>For those who can't get enough of Harry Potter, it's a brilliant way to feel close to Hogwarts.&nbsp; Even for those of us who are mere Harry Potter lovers but not super-fans, it's a fun way to spend a few hours pretending.&nbsp; But the brilliance of the site made me realize how many other stories I wish I could slip inside and live the life of the characters.</p> <p><center><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/99831db8c1e8d69eed7f20925a9ef118.jpg" alt="Hogwarts" class="m-optimized" /></center></p> <p><center><i>Image: <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link">Marco Becerra</a> via Flickr</i></center></p> <p>Here are a few more LARP sites I'd love to see created:</p> <p> <h1>Lord of the Rings Shiretown</h1> </p> <p>Set up your Hobbit hole and settle down in the Shire where you'll have to interact with your Hobbit neighbours, attend Shire-wide events like Bilbo's birthday party, and live out the life of a Hobbit in real time.</p> <p> <h1>From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Museum Living</h1> </p> <p>Hide your clothes in your instrument case, fill your pockets with pennies, and settle down in the museum of your choice.&nbsp; Play the game by learning everything you can about a mystery lurking in the museum.&nbsp; Interact with other runaways by hanging out in the bathroom.</p> <p> <h1>Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great Camp Experience</h1> </p> <p>Join Sheila and the rest of the gang in Tarrytown for the summer, though make sure you bring your slam book!&nbsp; Activities include churning out a newspaper on a virtual mimeograph machine and swimming lessons from the comfort of your living room.</p> <p> <h1>Hunger Games Death Match</h1> </p> <p>Accept your tesserae and put your name in the Reaping.&nbsp; If your character is chosen, you will train hard to get ready for the Games.&nbsp; If you character isn't chosen, you will cheer on the tribute from your District.&nbsp; Either way, the game circles around year after year, and if you die on screen, you lose your account and need to sign up again.</p> <p> <h1>Quimby Home Life</h1> </p> <p>Enjoy a mundane, middle-class existence in the Quimby household.&nbsp; Daily tasks include remembering to feed Picky-Picky, crayoning with Ramona, and helping Beezus fix her perm.&nbsp; Extra points can be gained by convincing Mr. Quimby to stop smoking.</p> <p><b>Which books do you wish you could enter with a LARP</b>?&nbsp;</p> <p>Now excuse me, my potions homework awaits.</p> <p>Melissa writes <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Stirrup Queens</a> and <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Lost and Found</a>. Her novel about blogging is <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Life from Scratch</a>.</p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Blogging & Social Media Books Hogwarts is Here LARP Fri, 18 Apr 2014 17:49:07 +0000 Melissa Ford 1589151 at What Is Happening to the Jews of Donetsk, Ukraine? <!--paging_filter--><p>Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) begins at sundown on Sunday, April 27. According to the <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Memorial de la Shoah, up to 1.5 million Jews were murdered in Ukraine between 1941 and 1944.</a> The genocide of Ukrainian Jews is known as the "Holocaust by bullets," because the Nazis did not bother to gather and deport people to concentration camps or death camps. They just dug large pits in the forests or countryside and shot people, one by one, until they killed entire towns, villages, and communities.</p> <p><center><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/6be1bc6a191999e223e1509632fed1f0.jpg" alt="Jews digging their own graves in Ukraine during the Holocaust" class="m-optimized" /><em> Jews digging their own graves in Storow, Ukraine, 1941. (Image: <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Wikimedia Commons</a>.)</em></center></p> <p>It is therefore particularly chilling to read the conflicting media accounts about Donetsk, a city in eastern Ukraine that is currently seeing <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">demonstrations by a pro-Russian separatist faction</a> and <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">pro-Ukraine rallies</a> as control of the region lies in balance.</p> <p>After YNet, an Israeli news site, <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">posted a very alarming story about the distribution of leaflets with Russian and Donetsk government letterhead telling the Jewish community that they must register and pay a fee or risk deportation</a>, USAToday also <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">picked up the story</a>, including a quote from Secretary of State John Kerry:</p> <blockquote><p>"In the year 2014, after all of the miles traveled and all of the journey of history, this is not just intolerable — it's grotesque," he said. "And any of the people who engage in these kinds of activities — from whatever party or whatever ideology or whatever place they crawl out of — there is no place for that."</p></blockquote> <p>From there, the posts on Twitter flew:</p> <blockquote align=center class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>RELEASE: NCSJ condemns fliers in <a target="_blank" href=";src=hash" class="external-link">#Donetsk</a> <a target="_blank" href=";src=hash" class="external-link">#Ukraine</a> targeting <a target="_blank" href=";src=hash" class="external-link">#Jewish</a> citizens as &quot;gross anti-Semitism&quot; <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"></a></p>&mdash; NCSJ (@NCSJ) <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link">April 17, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <blockquote align=center class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>the daylong rumor about jews having to register in <a target="_blank" href=";src=hash" class="external-link">#Donetsk</a> or face deportation is a hoax <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"></a></p>&mdash; denise reese (@denice_ruptly) <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link">April 17, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <blockquote align=center class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Press secretary for self-proclaimed Republic of Donetsk is &quot;most famous anti-Semite in the region&quot; <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"></a> via <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link"><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link">@thedailybeast</a></a></p>&mdash; Nina L. Diamond (@ninatypewriter) <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link">April 17, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <blockquote align=center class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>That piece of paper calling Jews to register for $50 is either a bad joke, or is written by some very stupid people. <a target="_blank" href=";src=hash" class="external-link">#Donetsk</a></p>&mdash; Natalia Melnychuk (@pravolivo) <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link">April 15, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>Back and forth: is it real, or a hoax, or a hoax that is also real? I didn't know what to think. The whole problem with Ukraine is that so little media coming out of it is reliable. I didn't want to ignore it and assume it was propaganda&mdash;because what if it wasn't? Isn't that how so much of the Holocaust was able to happen in the first place? The reports were too horrible, too mixed with other propaganda, too easily dismissed.</p> <p><em>What if this is real?</em></p> <p><center><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/027535d46e5d2c533769a100e642c762.jpg" alt="pro-Ukraine protest in Donetsk" class="m-optimized" /><em>April 17, 2014: A pro-Ukraine protest is protected by the police in Donetsk, Ukraine. (Image: © Strand Mats/Aftonbladet/IBL/</em></center></p> <p>I wanted to throw up. I have spent the last six years attempting to write a book about my grandfather, who survived the Holocaust by fleeing Poland to Russia. My bubbe survived the Holocaust when the Soviet government evacuated her city in Belarus when the Germans attacked. Neither Poland or Belarus, obviously, is Ukraine, but it still strikes me too close. Could it be happening again? It had to be propaganda. Right?</p> <p>A few hours later, I received an email from the <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">JDC</a>, a nonprofit organization that provides social services to impoverished Jewish people around the world. The email's subject was "Passover in Ukraine." <em>Oh shit</em>, I thought before clicking on it. <em>This must be about how Jews celebrating Passover&mdash;<a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">the holiday in which we celebrate our liberation from slavery in ancient Egypt</a>&mdash;are being forced to register and things are scary and terrible and I need to send aid immediately.</em> I opened the email. The story was about how Jews around the Ukraine celebrated Passover thanks to 53,000 boxes of donated <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">matzah</a>.</p> <p><em>Oh.</em> Not exactly the crisis appeal I expected. I started to feel better. Maybe there would be no repeat of history, no mobs rampaging through the streets, no old-fashioned pogrom after all. <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">The Jewish community in Donetsk isn't freaking out about it</a>. At least not yet.</p> <p>Yom HaShoah is approaching. I can't help but think of all of those fields and forest clearings, though. Those who have been there say that the earth has never fully settled.</p> <p><em>Suzanne also blogs at <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">CUSS and Other Rants</a> and is the author of <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Off the Beaten (Subway) Track</a></em>.</p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Current Events News & Politics Donetsk Ukraine Fri, 18 Apr 2014 17:22:55 +0000 Suzanne Reisman 1588532 at Two Fiery Shows About Women and our BFFs <p>We haven’t had a profound shortage of female bonding orientated programming as of late. <em>Girls </em>on HBO, for example, is a gritty, realistic show about the real life jealousies and issues that develop between friends as they navigate the waters of young adulthood. But as much as I love it, it’s about women much younger than myself, and as much as I try to relate to Hannah, Marnie, Jess and Shoshanna, I realize that that the similarity factor can only go so far. They don’t have the most functional of relationships, as witnessed in their constant altercations and dismissive exchanges.</p> <p>That’s why I’m kind of in love with two shows that debuted this season. One is a new HBO show called <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><em>Doll &amp; Em.</em> </a>Real life best friends Emily Mortimer and Dolly Wells, two brilliant actresses who hail originally from the UK, star in the show. Mortimer plays Em, a TV/film star whose career is taking off after the demise of her show (<em>Newsroom</em>, which in real life is going off the air after this upcoming season). She hires Doll, played by Wells, as her assistant to take her away from a bad break-up in London. After Em flies her beloved BFF over to L.A. to work with her side-by-side things start to unravel, and it’s really interesting to watch them deal with the new rifts in their friendship.</p> <p><center><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/b75282e21a5a06bb022714f9761baa46.jpg" alt="Emily Mortimer and Dolly Wells © Visual/" class="m-optimized" /><br /><em>Image: © Visual/</em></center></p> <p>Growing up together, they had always turned to each other to cry, celebrate and get advice, whether it be in person or on the phone. But when Doll is in the roll of to getting Em coffee and depending on her for a paycheck, feelings change. When Doll gets asked to audition for the same roles her friend is in consideration for, feelings change. When they are both interested in the same guy (the beautiful Jonathan Cake), feelings change. &nbsp;When Doll gets friendly with the likes of Susan Sarandon, Chloe Sevigny and John Cusack whilst on various film sets when Em is working hard to stay in character, feelings change. As a viewer, you know realistically that it’s only a matter of time before pent-up feelings boil over (and they do in the season finale, but I don’t want to give too much away!).</p> <p><em>Doll &amp; Em</em>&nbsp;isn’t the only realistic portrayal of a friendship between two women with honesty, true grit and genuine love. &nbsp;Comedy Central’s <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><em>Broad City</em> </a>Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson play two college graduates in NYC, both trying to figure out their direction and place in life.&nbsp; The show is produced by the fabulous Amy Poehler (who sometimes appears in the show as do other well-known comedians). &nbsp;Jacobson and Glazer are Amy's fellow Upright Citizens Brigade alums and are clearly good friends in real life. The show doesn’t neglect to show how hard life can be living in NYC, but the girls' friendship is the backbone of their existence. Whatever their mishap, they get through it together, side-by-side.</p> <p><center><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/01e47fee2e4ec2e39a3b68d2b0ee41ca.jpg" alt="Broad City Comedy Central" class="m-optimized" /><br /><em>Image via Comedy Central</em></center></p> <p>In a <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">recent Vanity Fair article,</a> Glazer said this about the show’s plotlines:&nbsp;<em>We base most plotlines in reality. We start with something that has happened to us or a friend of ours, or a friend of a friend, and now with the writers' room for the TV show, we have the writers’ experiences available to us, as well as their friends’ experiences, so we like to start from a real place.</em></p> <p>The plotlines are crazy at times but completely relatable. It’s hard not to get enjoyment out of how the two girls handle the bizarre situations that they get into together. <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">In the show’s premiere</a>&nbsp;(available in its entirety in segments on the Comedy Central website)&nbsp;we watched as Ilana and Abbi attempt to desperately raise money for tickets to a Lil Wayne concert. One of them attempts to steal office supplies at work and they both tryto sell them back to an office supplies store. When that fails, they try street busking. Then, as a last effort, they take a job cleaning a nutter’s apartment in their underwear. Fred Armisen playsthe pervert, and his portrayal will make you squirm as he stands behind doors watching the girls clean. When the girls realize that he is convinced he’s a baby (wearing an actual diaper under his robe) and has no money as well as never having an intention to pay them, they are furious and start throwing his stuff all over the apartment, making him laugh harder. But then they just laugh and laugh and laugh..because that’s what friends do.</p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Movies & Television Entertainment Broad City Doll & Em TV Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:51:03 +0000 HollyRosen 1583383 at Lighter Deviled Eggs Two Ways: Thai Red Curry and Wasabi <!--paging_filter--><p>Easter is by far one of my favourite holidays, and not just because&nbsp;of the egg decorating! It’s a time of new life, awakening and newness–just the line of thinking we need after&nbsp;the awful, awful&nbsp;winter we just had.</p> <p>Long before the Easter bunny came hopping along, eggs were given as gifts on Easter Sunday to commemorate&nbsp;rebirth and the end of Lent. What a treat that must’ve been after the forty egg-free days leading up to Easter!</p> <p> <div align="center"><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/fa40bf918b2e87b20dabc7756b4f4914.jpg" alt="Deviled Eggs" class="m-optimized" /><br /></div> </p> <p>These days, it’s all about egg hunts, egg decorating and the Easter bunny. Oh, and cute baby animals. And pastels. It really is the prettiest holiday of all. But I digress!</p> <p>Every year I find myself up to my bunny ears in&nbsp;dyed hard-boiled eggs, wondering what to do with them (yes, I’m an adult and still decorate eggs!).&nbsp; Some of them we hand paint with flower designs or zigzag patterns and&nbsp;others we leave as is.&nbsp; Happily, Easter is the perfect occasion to&nbsp;serve a&nbsp;platter of&nbsp;beautiful&nbsp;deviled eggs.</p> <p>The classic filling for deviled eggs is made&nbsp;with cooked egg yolk, mayonnaise, mustard and seasonings. For a slightly healthier spin on the original, I made two versions using creamy, protein-rich&nbsp;Greek yogurt&nbsp;instead of&nbsp;mayo. This simple swap saves fat and calories without affecting the taste or texture.</p> <p>Both recipes are fairly spicy, so you may want to reduce the amount of wasabi or curry paste if fiery foods aren’t your cup of tea.</p> <p><strong><a title="Thai red curry devilled eggs and wasabi devilled eggs" href="" target="_blank" class="external-link">Click here to view the full recipes.</a></strong></p> <p>What’s your special Easter tradition? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you.</p> <p><strong>Jennifer Andrews, B.Sc., M.Sc.</strong></p> <p>Nutritional scientist // Marketing professional // Food blogger</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="" title="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"></a></p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Food Recipes Special Occasion Appetizers Devilled Eggs Easter Easter Eggs Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:27:04 +0000 jenniferandrews44 1589066 at Me, A Hot Glue Gun, Too Much Time, and Some Peeps. <p>I stopped in my tracks, stared at the Peep on the dining room table, and fully realized something I should have thought of years ago: <em>Peeps are the cockroaches of the candy world.</em></p> <p>That Peep had been sitting there for weeks, slowly turning into a rock, but otherwise staying unchanged. No bugs cared about it. Mold stayed away. EVEN THE DOG IGNORED IT.</p> <p>We’re talking about the dog who will eat anything that fits in her mouth, and sometimes things that don’t or shouldn't. She eats my dirty underwear out of the laundry basket nearly daily, but Peeps? Peeps are not meant to be eaten.</p> <p>They are meant to be hot-glued to things.</p> <p><center><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/673b6ed74a35db5c99131e171cb9a9d4.jpg" alt="Peep topiary" class="m-optimized" /></center></p> <p>The point was <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">proven weeks ago</a> when I pulled out <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">the Peeps Easter topiaries</a> that we made years ago. Those Peeps just sit there, looking cute and as good as new. They never change, but rather just stare at you, like any respectable non-food would.</p> <p>Upon realizing that Peeps are the cockroaches of the candy world, I decided it was time to hot glue them to more things. ALL OF THE THINGS, EVEN!</p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Humor DIY Work/Life Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:21:35 +0000 burghbaby 1589046 at SURVEY: What Would Your Dream Work/Life Balance Look Like? <!--paging_filter--><p>We all feel the stress of too much to do and not enough time&mdash;and possibly the most time-pressed of us all are parents with full-time jobs. Some companies are attempting to address these work-life challenges to make more productive employees who stick around longer. Sabrina Parsons, the CEO of one of these companies, will be featured in a segment of Al-Jazeera America's program <em><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">America Tonight</a> on Monday, April 24. </em></p> <p>As part of that segment, we're taking a survey of our community to find out: What work/life policies would you want, if any? If you have a job, does your employer offer any flexibility? Do you think parent-friendly policies work? Take our survey and make your voice heard.</p> <p><center><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/eeecfb76cf06231eb243b51d9b9e11f5.jpg" alt="Licia Ronzulli with daughter" class="m-optimized" /><em>Oct. 20, 2010, Strasbourg: European Parliament member Licia Ronzulli with her baby. Image: UPPA/</em></center></p> <p><iframe src="" width="550" height="3000" frameborder="0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0">Loading...</iframe></p> <p><em>Sabrina Parsons used to be part of the cutthroat tech world of Silicon Valley, where putting in long hours and forgoing time off are often viewed as badges of honor. But once she became a parent, she revolted against that culture. Now the CEO of Palo Alto Software, Parsons lets employees bring their kids into the office any time they like. Monday on America Tonight, the flagship show of the new Al Jazeera America news channel, correspondent Michael Okwu profiles Parsons and her unique efforts to create an office culture that better balances career and family. America Tonight airs weeknights at 9 p.m. ET/6 PT and again at midnight ET/9 p.m. PT. Find out if your cable provider carries Al Jazeera America: <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"></a>.</em></p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Work/Life Family Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:19:45 +0000 Stacy Morrison 1588993 at Home Workout: Gliding Disc (or Hand Towel!) Boot Camp <!--paging_filter--><p>I love using the gliding discs in my boot-camp classes, but my clients and students don't love them because the discs literally <i>kick their butt</i>. Still, I had to develop a gliding disc boot-camp workout for all my frugal exercisers that really want to get in shape. If you don't have gliding discs, use a hand towel (if you have tile or wood floors) or a plastic frisbee (if you have carpet). And then get ready for a cheap, intense workout.</p> <!--break--><!--break--><div align="center"> <h1> GLIDING DISC WORKOUT</h1> </div> <p><center><br /> <img src="/files/mobile/320x320/90ff170a36c23d2292dbeb4569d83f80.jpeg" alt="Gliding 1" class="m-optimized" /></center></p> <div align="center"> <h2> <u><a href=",1">Next page: Gliding Disc Lunges</a></u></h2> </div> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><div align="center"> <h1> GLIDING DISC LUNGES</h1> </div> <p><center><br /> <img src="/files/mobile/320x320/45b115e93ac75fe775b3c2049f12ab16.JPG" alt="Gliding 2" class="m-optimized" /></center></p> <p><center><br /> <img src="/files/mobile/320x320/403534fd8d5f40f9d6c3a516d9f9a4a0.JPG" alt="Gliding 3" class="m-optimized" /></center></p> <p>Keep your knee over your ankle when lunging.</p> <div align="center"> <h2> <u><a href=",2">Next page: Mountain Climbers</a></u></h2> </div> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><div align="center"> <h1> MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS</h1> </div> <p><center><br /> <img src="/files/mobile/320x320/0ae0a00ad7e97c42c05b805a54d53d03.JPG" alt="Gliding 4" class="m-optimized" /></center></p> <p><center><br /> <img src="/files/mobile/320x320/e0d2dbb31a65e00e88b9dba8dc09ed73.JPG" alt="Gliding 5" class="m-optimized" /></center></p> <p>Keep your wrist over your shoulders, and keep your abs tight.</p> <div align="center"> <h2> <u><a href=",3">Next page: Speed Skaters</a></u></h2> </div> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><div align="center"> <h1> SPEED SKATERS</h1> </div> <p><center><br /> <img src="/files/mobile/320x320/adb382402d8aa3d891e1c301d1ad82bd.JPG" alt="Gliding 6" class="m-optimized" /></center></p> <p><center><br /> <img src="/files/mobile/320x320/45dbe1a01b35c255f91de83f66483106.JPG" alt="Gliding 7" class="m-optimized" /></center></p> <p>Keep the bent leg has still as possible as you bring the engaged leg back and forth as quickly as you can.</p> <div align="center"> <h2> <u><a href=",4">Next page: In and Out Planks</a></u></h2> </div> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><div align="center"> <h1> IN AND OUT PLANKS</h1> </div> <p><center><br /> <img src="/files/mobile/320x320/17276bb02e5528f81d5f2e137105353b.JPG" alt="Gliding 8" class="m-optimized" /></center></p> <p><center><br /> <img src="/files/mobile/320x320/6605da1a32910d5612bd9d5c8a5f1352.JPG" alt="Gliding 9" class="m-optimized" /></center></p> <p>Bring your legs in and out while keeping your abs tight.</p> <div align="center"> <h2> <u><a href=",5">Next page: Hamstring Slides</a></u></h2> </div> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--><div align="center"> <h1> HAMSTRING SLIDES</h1> </div> <p><center><br /> <img src="/files/mobile/320x320/c3dab2df38a0e7d58f5a8997e933c097.JPG" alt="Gliding 10" class="m-optimized" /></center></p> <p><center><br /> <img src="/files/mobile/320x320/c30bad6a29f80ada32e2519fe99e3ab5.JPG" alt="Gliding 11" class="m-optimized" /></center></p> <p><center><br /> <img src="/files/mobile/320x320/73c1462ace78a09dd6a9bde262228c02.JPG" alt="Gliding 12" class="m-optimized" /></center></p> <p><center><br /> <img src="/files/mobile/320x320/9f47833cea21f7f605780028c648a716.JPG" alt="Gliding 13" class="m-optimized" /></center></p> <p>Level One: Lift up your glutes, slide the legs out, slide the legs back in, and then lower your derriere back to the ground.</p> <p>Level Two: The same as level one, but keep your derriere elevated. In other words, don't lower it at the end of the movement.</p> <p>Level Three: Do level one, but cross your arms over your chest.</p> <p>Level Four: Do level two, but cross your arms over your chest.</p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Diet & Fitness Health gliding disc workout gliding disk gliding disk workout Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:17:51 +0000 Laurend1985 1587189 at Kirsten Dunst, I've Got Your Back <!--paging_filter--><p>Kirsten Dunst recently got blasted for some comments she made about gender roles and just because someone doesn't agree with her, does not mean Kirsten is "kind of dumb about it." &nbsp;But according to <a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">Erin Gloria Ryan in Jezebel</a>, Kirsten is indeed "kind of dumb about it" since she apparently favors traditional male and female roles within a relationship. </p> <center><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/db6b0cae74bdae6db7832effbf210694.jpg" class="m-optimized" /></center> <p><center><em>May 19, 2013 - Cannes, Germany - Kirsten Dunst attending ''Inside Llewyn Davis'' Red Carpet Cannes International Film Festival, France, Image Credit: © face to face/</em></center></p> <p>My Mom, even in the 60s and 70s when she was a stay-at-home mom (when it was widely accepted), struggled a little with her value. &nbsp;She loved it. &nbsp;She chose it. But she worried at times that it wasn't enough of a contribution. &nbsp;But in reality, she worked harder than most people I know. &nbsp;It just wasn't considered a proper occupation, though it should be. &nbsp;She was Queen at what she did; spotless home, organized, comfortable, welcoming; worked in our classrooms at school; &nbsp;volunteered at the local pregnancy center; made homemade meals every evening; handwashed dishes (she never owned a dishwasher!); had the incredible gift of hospitality and a crazy ability to host amazing and delicious holiday meals.</p><p>But even this isn't completely what Kirsten's comments, and the backlash that followed, are about. &nbsp;I felt she was saying that in order to have value in society's eyes now, we women have to have our own jobs, earn our own paycheck, and make our own way. &nbsp;While that's all noble and perfectly acceptable to have our own things and be able to take care of ourselves, it's not the only criteria that makes us valuable women. &nbsp;I've been on both sides; I made my own way, had my own profession and paycheck until just months ago. &nbsp;I've always been a SAHM though, having the blessed opportunity to work from home. &nbsp;More recently, instead of a WAHM, I've traded the W for the S and am a true SAHM and I like it. &nbsp;It's taken some adjustments both in budget and attitude on my part. &nbsp;I found a great deal of my personal value in my ability to earn. &nbsp;</p><p>But I've realized I am of value to my husband and children to be able to be home and truly available to them. &nbsp;My life in large part has revolved around their lives, and I feel good about that. &nbsp;I feel very needed, just as much (and possibly more so) as I did when I worked for a large national company that cut me a check every two weeks. &nbsp;I don't have to juggle my schedule and stress myself out just to get to a teacher's conference, pick up a sick child from school, or have tea with a good friend. &nbsp;I have my own schedule that includes housework, meal planning, and grocery shopping (all very necessary; the household wouldn't run if these weren't accomplished), I have some health issues requiring spending a lot of time in doctors' offices and medical labs, and I'm able to spend a little time here and there socializing (also necessary). &nbsp;</p><p>I'm letting my husband take the financial reins because I know he can. &nbsp;He's trustworthy, a very hard worker, and enjoys that traditional role. &nbsp;I realize that is also a lot of pressure on him being the sole breadwinner during this season, but he has risen to the occasion and I am both appreciative and blessed. &nbsp;I try very hard to do whatever I can to make his home life enjoyable and stress-free so when he goes to work, he can be fresh, strong, and know his home is cared for and things are good here. &nbsp;I want him to know that I appreciate every day that he gets up when it's dark and goes to work and puts in physical labor all day. &nbsp;It's my responsiblity (and I gladly accept it) to make home the place he can't wait to get to when his work day is complete.&nbsp;</p><p>I'm digging these roles, quite frankly. &nbsp;I'm blessed that even though it's financially tight, we're doing it. &nbsp;I've been on my own before and was a single mom, and that time in my life was incredibly important. &nbsp;Because I know that if I need to, I'm capable of taking care of myself and my children, I don't feel I need to prove it on a daily basis to society by having &nbsp;regular employment. &nbsp;My value is not in money earned but in what I can do for others and also for myself. I've got my shining armor and I'm delighted. &nbsp;He doesn't mollycoddle me. &nbsp;He makes me strong and fills certain needs as I believe I do for him. &nbsp;We make a great team and sure, we each take on certain traditional gender roles and I'm not "dumb" about it. &nbsp;I rather like it.&nbsp;</p><!--pagebreak--><p><a href=" <a href="></a> " target="_blank"><img title="Featured on" src=" <a href="> " alt="Featured on" width="120" height="100" border="0"></p><!-- END BHBadge -</div>--><div class="og_rss_groups"></div> SAHMs Marriage and Commitment Feminism Pop Culture Love & Sex Family # love #couples #marriage Gender Roles kirsten dunst Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:54:48 +0000 iamwoman2013 1586988 at Flipping Off the Voice of Doubt in My Head <p>Philip is a terrible bird watcher.</p> <p>While the rest of the group advances along the path, my son plops down in the middle of the trail to play with rocks.</p> <p><center><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/a4b5c03c503877668c6d1a655327e170.jpg" title="Flipping Off the Voice of Doubt in My Head" alt="Flipping Off the Voice of Doubt in My Head" class="m-optimized" /></a></center></p> <p>It’s a gorgeous day for this bird walk, one of many activities available as part of a local “Wildlife Weekend.” I had a choice between six sites participating in the annual event. After looking at the program options, I selected this hike.</p> <p>Now doubt chirps in my brain.</p> <p><em>He’s not even looking at the birds.</em></p> <p>Doubt whispered to me as we assembled for the two-mile hike. I wasn’t concerned about the distance. If there’s one thing that my four-year-old has, it’s stamina. Instead, I was intimidated by the obvious preparation of the others, many of whom are carrying binoculars.</p> <p><em>You don’t belong here</em>.</p> <p>Once we begin, the leader stops us almost immediately. He directs our gaze across the pond. He rattles off the names of several kinds of birds, but I only recognize “goose.” Many of the others are writing things down in their notebooks.</p> <p>Philip is picking a weed.</p> <p><em>You should just leave now, </em>crows the voice. <em>You don’t know what this guy is talking about. </em></p> <p>I pull Philip along as we continue down the trail. The leader stops us again, pointing to the pines on our left. He names another bird and says, “If we are still and quiet, you can hear it.”</p> <p>Philip is a hummingbird beside me. He rocks and vocalizes, he kicks at the gravel with his boots. He does not do “still and quiet” on command.</p> <p><em>What kind of mother are you? </em>doubt squawks. <em>Can’t you keep your child quiet? </em></p> <p>I’m feeling guilty, convinced one of the other hikers has cast a look our way. I don’t make Philip stand up and move with the rest of the group when they walk on this time. Instead, I let a gap develop between us. I no longer hear what the guide is saying.</p> <p><center><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/8a04f8966e22f8183823e8a940dc71ab.jpg" title="Flipping Off the Voice of Doubt in My Head" alt="Flipping Off the Voice of Doubt in My Head" class="m-optimized" /></a></center></p> <p>Philip is building a mound of leaves and sticks.</p> <p><em>Just turn around</em>, doubt urges.</p> <p><center><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/fb11bfb48db0758c93b9ae7a0fd27cc7.jpg" title="Flipping Off the Voice of Doubt in My Head" alt="Flipping Off the Voice of Doubt in My Head" class="m-optimized" /></a></center></p> <p>Suddenly, I hear a new voice. One of the other walkers has slowed to look at mushrooms. He nods to Philip and says, “He’s having a ball.”</p> <p>I look down at Philip, his fingers caked in mud, his cheeks ruddy from running and skipping, his eyes bright with happiness.</p> <p>“Yes,” I agree. “He’s not really interested in the birds, but he sure is having fun.”</p> <p>“That’s all that counts,” says the wise owl as he walks back to the group.</p> <p>I think about why I brought Philip here today: To get some exercise, to spend time in nature, to enjoy the pleasant weather.</p> <p>To have fun.</p> <p>I snap.</p> <p>I flip the bird to doubt and tell it, “Shut the hell up!”</p> <p>In the silence that follows I can hear the bird song filling the woods. I may not be able to identify the sources, but I can still enjoy the tunes.</p> <p>Philip isn’t interested in the music or the birds making it, but that’s okay. We are here together, each enjoying the hike in our own way.</p> <p><center><a target="_blank" href="" class="external-link elf-add-back-link"><img src="/files/mobile/320x320/904e719bc4c48eafba55c65c64eaa574.jpg" title="Flipping Off the Voice of Doubt in My Head" alt="Flipping Off the Voice of Doubt in My Head" class="m-optimized" /></a></center></p> <p>Yes, that’s all that counts. Everything else is for the birds.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Originally posted on <a target="_blank" href="" title="for the birds" class="external-link elf-add-back-link">that cynking feeling</a></em>.</p> <div class="og_rss_groups"></div> Special needs Family Autism bird watching Fri, 18 Apr 2014 13:53:06 +0000 cynkingfeeling 1583164 at