pop culture

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned From ‘How I Met Your Mother’

One of the very sweet moments of the series finale, in which Ted and The Mother finally meet.

One of the very sweet moments of the series finale, in which Ted and The Mother finally meet.

On Monday night, many of us experienced the end of an era: the series finale of How I Met Your Mother. It was a highly anticipated evening, as we looked forward to seeing those first few moments between Ted and the eponymous Mother (finally revealed to be named Tracy McConnell), and learning what would happen among the other characters over the next 17 years. Although I only started watching the show a few years ago, I was quickly hooked, especially as protagonist Ted navigated his way through failed relationships and substantial life changes to which most viewers could relate.

 Watching the series finale, I loved the first 50-some odd minutes. It was those last few that completely ruined the episode for me – and my perception of the series as a whole. Without diving into the spoilers, I felt personally betrayed by the writers that I had put my trust in over the years (as did many fans), and I was heartbroken by the way the writers decided to end such a beautiful story. But then I took a step back, remembering how much I had loved the series and the impact it had on me, and realized that in spite of those last few moments, the series still taught a lot of valuable lessons when we needed them the most.

This week, in honor of a show so many of us fell in love with, I would like to share five of those lessons that How I Met Your Mother taught.

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned From How I Met Your Mother

c5b3eddbde2fcccfa0eab606694c28454cbbe938ee1170a3af0d285801d0404c1. You can choose to express your anger, or you can choose to let it go.
Throughout the show’s nine season run, Ted endures more than his fair share of #singleguyproblems. He says “I love you” to a woman (later revealed to be “Aunt Robin,” future girlfriend) on the first date. He falls for a married activist whose latest protest interferes heavily with his work. He even gets left at the altar on his wedding day! Ted has plenty of reason to feel downtrodden and even angry. But in one episode, when he has the chance to approach Stella (the woman who left him at the altar) to give her a piece of his mind, he ultimately decides against it, and lets his anger go. It is a teachable moment for many of us (not just his children) when Ted tells us that we can only move forward from the difficult situations in our lives by giving up on our grudges.

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2. The ninth step to the Platinum Rule is coexistence.
In one episode, Ted’s friend Barney illustrates The Platinum Rule, which discourages people from dating coworkers, neighbors, etc. His eight “steps” to The Platinum Rule go through the different feelings the characters will encounter after engaging in one of these relationships, ending in awkwardness and negativity. But Ted creates a ninth step: coexistence. Sometimes, when a relationship ends, we are fortunate enough to separate ourselves from the other person, but sometimes, the circumstances require you to still cross paths on a regular basis. Ted’s ninth step teaches us to coexist – to smile and remember the good times, and much like the previous step, let go of any anger we once felt.

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images3. Suit up!
Ted’s friend Barney is well known for his catchphrases. One of his most famous? “Suit up!” While his catchphrases are generally silly, we can definitely all benefit from suiting up once in a while! I’ve always believed that it is important to present yourself well, and that includes investing in a good wardrobe.

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4. Life turns up.
There are times in the series when Ted feels pretty hopeless when it comes to love and life. He is convinced that The One is not waiting for him in New York City, and he nearly leaves his entire life behind because of that. Little does he realize that the future mother of his children and love of his life lives only a few blocks away, that they have crossed paths before, and that their first moments together are just around the corner. It teaches us that we mustn’t give up on the things we want, and that things will get better when we least expect it. Ted spends the entire series searching for that love, but he does find it, and it is more than he ever imagined.

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5. You may not appreciate the way something ends, but you can still learn from it.
This can be applied to many aspects of our lives: relationships, jobs, even series finales. :) After the HIMYM finale aired last week, my friend Rachel and I were discussing the ending, and came to that very conclusion. The show may not have ended the way we preferred, but we still enjoyed the series as a whole, and learned a lot of valuable lessons over the years. Similarly, you may experience a difficult breakup, but that doesn’t mean the relationship wasn’t worthwhile — after all, you may still have positive memories, and you likely learned what you don’t want in your next relationship.

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What are some of your favorite lessons/memories from How I Met Your Mother? Did you enjoy the finale? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

The Weekend Five: Worst Girlfriends on Television

marissa-cooper,-the-oc-129434

Last week’s edition of The Weekend Five focused on some of the worst boyfriends on television, so as someone who believes in gender equality, I think it is only fitting for this weekend’s post to focus on the worst girlfriends on television! (I’ve also written about the worst boyfriends and worst girlfriends in literature.) We may be huge fans of these characters, but I doubt that any of us would, in good conscience, introduce these ladies to the single males in our lives.

What TV character do you think would make a terrible girlfriend? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Worst Girlfriends on Television

1. Marissa Cooper (The O.C.)
Okay, this show has been off the air for quite a long time, but Marissa Cooper was a memorable teen soap character for so many reasons — mainly, the drama she often brought with her. From shoplifting to dating the lawn guy just to upset her mother, Marissa constantly needed to be rescued, and often dragged the men in her life (especially bad boy next door Ryan Atwood) down with her. While nice enough on her own, Marissa Cooper was always better off single.

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2. Catherine de’Medici (Reign).
I mentioned Catherine’s husband (King Henry of France) in last weekend’s post, but of course he didn’t get to be the way he was on his own. The fictional version of Catherine de’Medici is power-hungry and conniving, not to mention one of the worst mother-in-laws currently on TV. You wouldn’t date her for the same reasons you wouldn’t date Lady Macbeth.

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Jan3. Jan Levenson (The Office).
The Office may no longer be airing new episodes, but Jan still stands out as terrible girlfriend on TV. Once the love interest of Michael Scott, Jan revealed herself to be crazy and unpredictable over the course of the series. After losing her job and moving in with Michael, she even commands him to get a vasectomy, reverse vasectomy and another vasectomy at different points. Jan becomes even more insane and uncomfortable to watch over time… which means that she does not get better with age. Better avoid this one!

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4. Paige McCullers (Pretty Little Liars).
A lot of Pretty Little Liars fans enjoy Paige’s character and believe that she and Emily Fields (one of the Liars) make a great couple. However, what people fail to remember is that before the two high school swimmers ever dated, Paige tried to drown Emily in the pool during a fit of jealousy. Someone like that is not someone you should ever trust again in close quarters!

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ouat5. Emma Swan (Once Upon a Time).
Let me preface this by saying that Emma, the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, is an awesome heroine and an interesting character to follow. I have nothing against her. But bad things seem to happen to the men who fall for her: the Huntsman has his heart literally crushed by the Evil Queen, Adult Pinocchio almost dies and is returned to childhood, her New York boyfriend turns into a flying monkey, and don’t get me started on Neal/Baelfire, the father of her son! While I am not-so-secretly rooting for Emma and Captain Hook to wind up together, I fear for his own safety in a relationship with Emma (a.k.a. The Savior). Besides, Emma is often too focused on breaking a curse or saving the town to even think about being in a relationship!

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Your turn! What TV characters do you think would make the worst girlfriends?

The Weekend Five: Worst Boyfriends on Television

dating-high_expectations-dating_agencies-man-unrealistic_expectations-the_dating_game-nsu0042lLet’s face it: even though fictional characters are not our soulmates, we all have our television crushes. From the dashing and brave to the brooding and sullen, there is a guy on TV who will make many women (and some men) swoon. Some of the men on TV are perfect gentlemen, while others aren’t exactly the kind you’d want to be in a long-term relationship with.

I’ve written about the worst boyfriends and worst girlfriends in literature, but what about the men who grace our television screens every week? Today, I’ve compiled a list of the worst boyfriends on television — the ones that you might find very attractive but should avoid at all costs if you ever find yourself in their TV universe.

The Weekend Five: Worst Boyfriends on Television

1. Ezra Fitz (Pretty Little Liars).
Many fans of Pretty Little Liars will defend the Ezra Fitz/Aria Montgomery pairing to the death, but I’ve never been an advocate for their relationship for a number of reasons. First of all, Ezra is Aria’s English teacher (several years her senior), and his taste tends to skew a bit young (we also learn that he previously dated Aria’s friend Allison before the series begins). Then (spoiler alert!) we learn that he has been spying on Aria and her friends for the past couple of years, and is only dating her so he can write a book about Allison’s murder. Some fans will argue that Ezra has redeemed himself, but in my eyes, no girl should have to endure a relationship with a guy who only wants her for the story.

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fitzgerald grant2. President Fitzgerald Grant (Scandal).
Unfortunately, it seems like if “Fitz” is anywhere in a guy’s name, then you are just asking for trouble. Scandal fans often ask me if I am Team Mellie Grant (Fitz’s wife/First Lady) or Team Olivia Pope (the woman with whom Fitz has engaged in a long-term affair), to which I say, “Neither. Both women deserve better.” Fitz stays in an unhappy marriage with his wife simply to keep up appearances as President of the United States, and strings along Olivia Pope, pulling her back in every time she decides to walk away. Fitzgerald Grant is manipulative and forceful, and doesn’t seem to treat any of the women in his life with the love and respect they deserve.

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3. King Henry (Reign).King Henry of France has a wife (the mother of three of his children), a mistress (the mother of one of his children) and a secret mistress (the best friend of his future daughter-in-law)… but somehow, he can’t manage to keep any of them happy. At one point, he even plans to behead his wife, Catherine de’Medici, simply so that his out-of-wedlock son can be legitimized and become the next king. Of course, none of this is historically accurate, but the fictional King Henry is a horrible significant other.

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Benedict_Cumberbatch_filming_Sherlock_cropped4. Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock).
Sherlock Holmes is a genius, but hardly boyfriend material. He is emotionally unavailable, honest to a fault (imagine if you asked him how you looked one day!) and often rude without trying to be. His observational skills would wear on you after a while, and you’d grow tired of constantly correcting him on how to behave among dinner guests. (Let’s not forget the fact that he actually entered a relationship with one woman only to gain the clearance he needed to solve a mystery!) While he ultimately has a good heart, Sherlock Holmes isn’t ready to settle down. When he is ready, Molly Hooper will be waiting.

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5. Almost all of the baby daddies on the Teen Mom series, except Corey.
I had to throw this one in here! As an unashamed reality TV junkie, I can say that the majority of the guys on Teen Mom and Teen Mom 2 are absolutely horrible to their baby mamas and children. From cheating on the girls to being absentee fathers, these young men are hardly the guys you would want in your life.

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Who would you consider the worst boyfriends on TV? What about the best boyfriends? Share yours in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Romantic Comedy Plots That Don’t Work Out in Real Life

graduate2Valentine’s Day may be over, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop binge-watching our favorite romantic comedies! From Sabrina to You’ve Got Mail, I have my go-to films that I can’t help but love, flaws and all. Of course, sometimes these movies may shape our own beliefs about love and relationships in an unrealistic way. As a personal service to my lovely readers, I’ll share five romantic comedy plots that just don’t work out in real life. (Feel free to add your own in the comments section below!)

The Weekend Five: Romantic Comedy Plots That Don’t Work Out in Real Life

1. Person A stops the wedding of Person B, and the two ride off into the sunset together.
This romantic comedy staple has always bothered me! First of all, who waits until the day of their beloved’s wedding to declare their love for that person? Second of all, who would want to be with someone who would leave their betrothed at the altar? Here’s what really happens when Person A stops Person B’s wedding: The two “ride off into the sunset” and enjoy a few happy months together before Person A starts to question whether Person B would actually run out on their wedding. Person B realizes that the woman he almost married has gotten better looking and more successful, and wonders if he made a mistake. Person A and Person B become so resentful of one another that they break up after a year and never speak again.

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Eternal-Sunshine-of-the-Spotless-Mind-movie_image2. Guy falls in love with quirky commitment-phobe who has a few serious issues and tries to fix her.
Unfortunately in real life, this happens all too often, but with one catch: he can’t fix her. People are drawn to the manic pixie dream girl or manic pixie dream boy (see: Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer, etc.) but they don’t realize that they can’t change someone who doesn’t want to change.

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3. Two friends with benefits fall in love and live happily ever after.
In real life, these arrangements are usually much more complicated. Although attachments do occur, they are usually incredibly one-sided. Person A may be in love with Person B, but Person B doesn’t take Person A seriously as a potential love interest, and quickly brushes Person A aside once the stronger feelings have become more apparent. Hint: Do not start a “friends with benefits” situation with anyone you are even considering starting a relationship with in the future.

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movieimage4. A journalist lies about something important for an investigative piece, but winds up falling in love.
This goes against every ethics course you will ever take. No reputable newspaper or magazine will require their copy editor to pose as a high school student to run an exposé a la Never Been Kissed, and no self-respecting journalist would take such an absurd assignment. (Of course, it does make for an entertaining movie!)

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5. Person A lies to Person B about everything, but they still end up together.
Person B finds out in a horrible twist of events that Person A has been lying about something very important: his marital status, his identity, etc. In real life, this would lead to a lot of resentment later on. After all, how can you really trust a 25-year-old journalist who claimed to be a high school student in your English class? (Yes, I am still on Never Been Kissed!) Things might work out temporarily, but not very likely in the long run.

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Any other romantic comedy plots that you would argue would/would not work out in real life?

How To Win “The Bachelor”

bachelor-juan-pablo-galavisIt’s Monday night, and for many of us (read: women across the country between the ages of 18-49), that means it’s time to tune into the latest episode of The Bachelor. Now, I have not disillusioned myself into believing that this is the ideal way to entrap attract your ideal mate, but I’ll admit that the show can be incredibly addictive, even if you aren’t enamored with bachelor du jour Juan Pablo Galavais.

On each season of The Bachelor, grown women cry when a man they barely know (but have determined is the only man for them) decides he doesn’t feel an immediate connection and sends them home without a rose. Of course, much heartache and suffering could be spared if these women learned the ins and outs of wooing America’s bachelor. Luckily, through several viewings, I have been able to unlock the code for winning The Bachelor competition, and I’m sharing the wealth with you! Ladies, if you’re thinking of auditioning for The Bachelor, look no further. This guide will guarantee you airtime and at least a spot in the final four, if not a proposal.

You do not talk about winning The Bachelor.
Although The Bachelor is, in fact, a dating competition, you are not supposed to acknowledge this. To do so is a HUGE betrayal to both the Bachelor himself and to the other contestants, who will personally take offense to the fact that you see them as competition. Instead, befriend everyone to a degree, and look down upon anyone who says, “I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to find love.” This person will emerge as the season’s villain, and will rarely win.

courtney-the-bachelorYou DO NOT talk about winning The Bachelor.
Seriously, must I repeat myself?

Have a cliché catchphrase that is SO you.
My favorite is, “You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.” Wear a sundress with cowboy boots and find a meadow to stroll through while you say this, because it creates a nice visual that viewers will find charming, feminine and nonthreatening.

Turn your dates into metaphors.
Going cliff-diving? Tell the camera crews that you can’t wait to “take the plunge” or “take a leap of faith” with The Bachelor. Spending the night in a dark cave? “___ has made me see the light.” Be creative but not too creative – your metaphors should be accurate, but still somewhat predictable in relation to the date itself. The more you are able to do this, the more airtime the producers will give you, so that even if The Bachelor doesn’t fall in love with you, America will.

the-bachelorMake dramatic confessions that aren’t that dramatic.
It is important to “open up” in a serious but not too serious way. For example, tell The Bachelor that you have a confession to make, and then confess that your parents have been married for 30 years and that you want a marriage like theirs. You can brush on family life and loosely discuss past relationships, but avoid any mention of political beliefs, religion, or anything else that could cause discomfort. Instead, wait until he proposes and then let it slip out when your families meet.

Be memorable, but not too memorable.
Quirkiness can come across as adorable, but you can only take it so far. There is a difference between “Zooey Deschanel–quirky” and “I am growing a mustache on purpose and I have a pet possum” quirky. Try to avoid the latter.

the-bachelor-lindsay-shows-up-in-wedding-dress-shocks-sean-455x422Stock up on evening-wear and casual “I put 4 hours into looking effortless and low maintenance” outfits.
This shows that you can be the graceful trophy wife he’ll want to show off to all of his friends, but that you’re also laidback and “up for anything.” Buy as many evening gowns and cocktail dresses as you can, because you will be seen in them and you can’t wear the same thing twice on television.

Stay out of the drama.
As soon as you tattle on one of the other girls (even if she is 100 percent wrong), you will be sent home – or, at the very least, you will be the last to receive a rose in that night’s ceremony. Even worse, the girl you’ve told on will likely receive the rose before you do! If you think that someone is doing something wrong, encourage one of your “friends” in the house to tell on her instead!

Fall for him immediately.
It doesn’t matter that he’s two feet shorter in person than you imagined him. It doesn’t matter that you have nothing of substance to talk about. It doesn’t matter that he embodies most, if not all, of your pet peeves. As a contestant on the show, you are not allowed to have an opinion on these things. Because of this, you need to envision a future with The Bachelor immediately and talk about it a lot when interviewed.

Worst case, you can always tragically exit from the show and become the next Bachelorette! :)

The Weekend Five: Modern-Day Endings to Classic Romantic Comedies

fa439c081aea20a79a7d5457caf4694aHappy February! Valentine’s Day is just a few short weeks away, which means it is time to break out the chocolates and force our significant others to watch our favorite romantic comedies with us. (It also means that you’ll be seeing a lot more dating/relationship articles on my blog this month!) Of course, as I look back at some of my own favorites, I realize that the plots of many of these stories could have been radically different if they were set in 2014.

This week, let’s take a look at some of the classics, and discuss the alternative endings that would have taken place in modern day.

The Weekend Five: Modern-Day Endings to Classic Romantic Comedies

3831_11. You’ve Got Mail (1998).
In the original film, Meg Ryan (ShopGirl) and Tom Hanks (NY152) are real-life business rivals who unknowingly fall in love with one another after meeting in an AOL chat room. They exchange IMs and emails, gaining a deeper insight into one another. The idea of falling in love on the computer was very new at the time, and while still relatively modern, the film would have a few key differences in 2014. Meg Ryan would have met NY152 on Facebook, and the two would exchange messages until he revealed himself as a Catfish in the end.

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2. Pride and Prejudice (1813).
The book came out in the 1800s, but multiple film adaptations have occurred since. In modern day, celebutante Lydia Bennett (protagonist Elizabeth Bennett’s sister) would marry Mr. Wickham in Vegas, but when their marriage winds up in Star Magazine, Mr. Darcy sues the tabloid and saves the Bennett family’s reputation. Elizabeth gives up on her hatred for Darcy and decides to date him.

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romantic-scenes-never-been-kissed43. Never Been Kissed (1999).
In the film Never Been Kissed, Drew Barrymore’s character (who has never been kissed) falls in love with her very attractive English teacher. When he finds out that Barrymore is actually a 25-year-old reporter, he takes this as a personal betrayal and leaves. As her apology, she urges him (via newspaper) to kiss her at a baseball game. Of course, in that end scene, she waits for the teacher and almost gives up, as he doesn’t show up right on time. In 2014, however, he would have sent her a simple text message: “Omw, running late.” A lot of tension would have been lifted from this scene!

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4. Roman Holiday (1953).
Audrey Hepburn plays a runaway princess who spends a day with an American reporter (Gregory Peck) in Rome, who has secretly discovered her identity and plans to exploit it in the paper. In the 2014 version of this movie, however, he wouldn’t have to — local passersby would identify her on the street, snap photos for Facebook and Instagram, and the paparazzi would soon swarm. Also in this version, because we crave happy endings, Hepburn and Peck end up together.

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sleepless-in-seattle5. Sleepless in Seattle (1993).
In the modern version of Sleepless in Seattle, Tom Hanks’ son sets up an online dating profile for his father, who lost his wife a while ago. Women across the country fall madly in love with him, and the son quickly chooses Meg Ryan’s character as his father’s soul mate. Tom Hanks is apprehensive about meeting her at the Empire State Building, but when he looks her up on OkCupid and sees how pretty Meg Ryan is, he decides to give the relationship a chance. And the rest is history.

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What are some romantic comedies that could use a revamped ending? Share below in the comments section! :)

Link Love Wednesday: From Goosebumps to Mr. Darcy to Miley

GoosebumpsHope everyone is having a beautiful week and a lovely October – I know I am! With the fall now here and the weather finally beginning to cool down, it’s time to lounge outside on the porch and check out some of the latest interesting links to hit the web. Enjoy!

What are some of the interesting articles you’ve picked up this week?

How I Met Your Mother, Toltec Wisdom and Letting Go

images“Oh, if you could just let go.” – Mae, Just Let Go

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For some of us, September marks the beginning of a new year. For others, it simply points out that the old year is almost 3/4ths over. Still, I like to think of this time as a new start, whether you’re embarking on a new school year or celebrating the Jewish High Holy Days, and with every beginning should come its fair share of reflection.

Recently, I looked back on my previous year and realized just how much anger and resentment I had for some of the things in my life that hadn’t gone as I’d hoped. Not only did I recognize my own grudges, but I also picked up on some of the grudges that others around me had held. It seemed that everyone I knew had lost a friend, endured a difficult breakup, missed an important opportunity or failed at something they truly wanted. We may not have realized it, but we were walking around each day with a chip on our shoulders, an air of disappointment or a certain sadness we couldn’t shake.

IMG_3431I recognized this in myself and in others, but the solution didn’t hit me until about a week ago, when I was watching a rerun of How I Met Your Mother. In the episode after Ted, the protagonist, gets left at the altar, he thinks about what he would say to his ex-fiancee if he had the chance. Finally, he comes to this conclusion, which Older Ted narrates to his future children:

“Kids, you may think your only choices are to swallow your anger or throw it in someone’s face, but there’s a third option: you can just let it go, and only when you do that is it really gone and you can move forward.”

It sounds so simple, but all too often we take the “easier” road of resentment, in which we either act on our anger toward others or we keep it bottled up. Of course, neither reaction is a healthy one, and even when we display our anger openly, it rarely helps the situation. I think that a huge part of the problem is that we don’t trust ourselves to find our happiness from within; our self-worth is so defined by others that we can’t allow ourselves to let go of the past.

51MfVDOlEkLIn his book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz says, “If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from youWalking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.”

When you walk away from something that isn’t right for you — whether that is a relationship, friendship, job or anything else — you have to trust yourself and move on. Wallowing in the past and not accepting the things you can’t control will only embitter you further.

Take a moment today to break free from something that has been holding you back, and allow yourself to finally let go. It may take some time, but it will be worth the effort and will be the best way to begin anew.

Spoiler Alert: Next Season on ‘The Real World’

1333904005936_3463943After a week-long reality TV binge, I discovered an entirely new talent worth pursuing: casting for MTV shows. Although I lack the personality traits of the typical reality show contestant, I have watched enough to know how to handpick the perfect cast.

Because of this, I would like to provide my own guide on how to select seven strangers to live in a house, have their lives taped and stop being polite/start getting real.

1. Everyone should have an affinity for going out and drinking. Potential cast members, this is the time when you should talk about your love for tequila shots in an interview. If you like to stay in some nights and curl up with a book, you are clearly in the minority of all people between the ages of 18 and 24 and therefore shouldn’t even audition. You should be ashamed of yourself.

2. Make sure that one cast member has been sheltered for most of her life, and likely to make naive comments. This person is likely to bring a lot of the comic relief to the show, albeit unintentionally.

3. Choose one member of the LGBTQ community, and one person who is “uncomfortable” with homosexuality. This person is probably from the South. This person may also overlap with the person from #2, and his/her discomfort may border on bigotry. The two will probably share a bedroom.

real-world-logo4. Select one cast member who is in a committed relationship. The other cast members will mock this person when they find out she (it’s always a “she”) doesn’t plan on hooking up while on the show. She will claim to love her boyfriend, but they will either break up preemptively because of their perceived long-distance relationship problems (mini rant: um, hello? you will only be long-distance for two months at most, so just chill out and enjoy a new city for a change!) or she will cheat on him with one of the other housemates.

5. Select one cast member who wants to be single and vows never to date any of the housemates. This person will fall in love within the first two weeks of the show.

6. The more explosive the personality, the better. Pick cast members who “tell it like it is” and aren’t afraid to confront each other.
7. Look for at least one person with serious emotional issues. Instead of referring him or her to a professional, cast this person on your show. He or she will quickly reveal his or her deepest secrets with the other roommates in a matter of days.

8. Select at least one male cast member who is clearly only in it to get girls. Chances are, he will bring a lot of young ladies back to the house, where they will make a mockery of themselves and maybe even boost ratings.

9. Select at least one cast member with a dark and hidden past. He or she will share this information with the cameras on Day One, but act completely shocked when he or she learns that the whole world is about to find out his or her secret.

10. Leave them in a house together with access to only certain bars, restaurants, stores and attractions. The drama will unfold on its own – no scripting required!

Readers, am I missing any of the core casting rules? Who would you look to cast?

Link Love Wednesday: Goodbye, Google Reader!

google-reader-closedHappy Wednesday, friends! Today is June 19, which means we are less than two weeks away from the discontinuation of my favorite RSS reader, Google Reader. Ever since before I started blogging (my third WordPress anniversary was this week!), I have used Google Reader to track all of my favorite blogs, but on July 1, this feature will no longer be available. For all of my fellow nerds, July 1 will be a very sad day. This week’s links not only focus on our usual array of eclectic topics, but on how to cope with the end of Google Reader!

  • Are you following blogs on Google Reader? Check out BGR’s list of the best RSS readers to switch to before July 1. (I know I need to start moving feeds over, myself!)
  • Andrew from Shut Up Dad compiled a bachelor party checklist that everyone needs to consult, bachelor or otherwise. From fun hats to fanny packs, this bachelor will be one you won’t soon forget.
  • My best friend sent me this list of four life lessons that one blogger’s mother taught her, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. (Always pack your liquids in a Ziploc! I am a stickler for that one.)
  • This article poses the question, “How ready is America for gay-themed advertising?” A few of the bigger brands have released some LGBT-related ads that have set off a debate among consumers (read: bigots) on how visible the gay community should be in commercials. It is definitely an interesting article no matter where you stand on the subject, although I personally don’t understand what the big deal is!
  • Disney is cornering the market on Day of the Dead. This article discusses some of Disney’s more controversial choices, including its presence in the Mexican holiday and the transformation of the latest princess, Merida.
  • I’ll admit it – I’m just as guilty of taking selfies as the next 20-something girl! Of course, our love for snapping photos of ourselves has not gone unnoticed by marketers.
  • International Picnic Day just took place! Even if you missed it, Gala Darling poses some must-read advice for throwing the ideal picnic.
  • Here is a throwback to my indie music-loving early teen years! I just rediscovered this instrumental song by The Album Leaf and I can’t get enough. Enjoy!

What have you been reading lately?