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From Le Smoking to Pantsuit Nation: The Legacy of the Power Suit

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Gabriela Hearst Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear Pantsuit at NYFW. Photo credits: https://www.tag-walk.com/en/look/124918

In September, 2018, Grabriela Hearst’s lux pantsuit was greeted with an uproar of applause during her Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear NYFW presentation. Sleek, architectural, and minimal, yet elevated, the silk ensemble pays homage to the notion of the “feminine mode” in everyday reality. It pairs a single-breasted blazer with tailored trousers, straddling the line between everyday workwear and high-end luxury. In fact, just one out of many that took the runway by storm these past two years, the pantsuit has become one of the most powerful trends of the decade.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement and a cultural shift towards greater female representation in the political realm, a resurgence in feminist tropes have become ubiquitous in the fashion industry. The “power suit,”in particular, heralded by Harper’s BAZAAR as a staple trend of the year, has become a pervasive motif for women’s empowerment in both the workplace and popular culture. It has trickled across various consumer demographics and price points, a staple on both the red carpet and in the millennial closet. 

While the pantsuit might seem like an established garment category today, it was practically perceived as a crime just one century ago. Mere pants did not emerge as a trend for women until the early 1900s, when French designer Paul Poiret designed womenswear pants that were inspired by a harem costume. Few women in Europe and the US wore them, however, as they were viewed as outrageous and inappropriate. In Puerto Rico in 1919, social labor organizer Luisa Capetillo was even sent to jail for being the first woman to wear pants in public. As Marjorie Jolles, a women’s studies professor at Roosevelt University, articulated, “It was just top-to-bottom sex. And that, I think, can be traced to the fact that for at least some of our recent Western history, a divided crotch—so pants as opposed separately encased in fabric—was thought to be the height of immodesty.”

Following the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920, women began to harness new agency in not just the political realm but also the social sphere. As able-bodied men left for World War I, women took their places in the workforce, which offered new opportunities in terms of dress. In 1918, for instance, Levi Strauss introduced the “Freedom-Alls,” a women’s trouser-style cotton tunic over balloon pants. Similarly, in the luxury sector, French couturier Coco Chanel launched her 1923 “signature suit,” a two-piece set inspired by menswear and designed for post-war women to enter the workforce. A symbol for women’s growing agency in the workplace, the bottoms consisted of a knee-length skirt instead of pants but laid the groundwork for the modern pantsuit.

As the film scene skyrocketed in the 1940s, many Hollywood stars — most notably, Audrey Hepburn — began to adopt fitted tuxedo-esque jackets with wide-leg trousers. Menswear-inspired apparel did not become ubiquitous in the womenswear market until World War II, however, when the percentage of women in the workplace rose from 27% to 37%. Levi’s womenswear finally gained consumer appeal, and women’s workwear began to emerge as a segment of the industry.

Le Smoking, 1967. Photo credits: https://www.wmagazine.com/gallery/yves-saint-laurent-le-smoking-couture/

In the 1960s, a decade of great political upheaval and particularly huge strides in women’s rights, French designer Yves Saint Laurent pioneered the modern day pantsuit in 1966. Known as Le Smoking, this first tuxedo-suit for women consisted of a dinner jacket, trousers, a white shirt, a black bowtie, and a cummerbund. It received mixed responses, as YSL was the first couturier to present pants as a form of women’s evening wear. Many women who ventured wearing this bold look were denied entrance at restaurants and conferences. When New York socialite Nan Kempner was refused entry at restaurant Le Côte Basque in New York, she removed her pants, donning her blazer as a mini dress. Heralded as the epitome of the YSL woman, she received widespread praise, helping to popularize Le Smoking and challenging regulations against antiquated gendered dress codes. 

Throughout the 1970s, Le Smoking became an increasingly ubiquitous evening-wear staple, especially when actress Bianca Jagger adopted the look on her wedding day in 1971. Four years later, the look was shot by photographer Helmut Newton, personifying the power and modernity of the YSL image in a captivating editorial for Vogue Magazine. As Saint Laurent himself articulated, “For a woman, Le Smoking is an indispensable garment with which she finds herself continually in fashion, because it is about style, not fashion. Fashions come and go, but style is forever.”

While in the 1930s, actress Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrick dismissed the pantsuit as “mannish” and inappropriate, its widespread appeal in Hollywood trickled down into contemporary culture in the 1970s. It became a workwear staple in upper-middle class America. Many Italian and French ateliers, in particular, became renowned for their sophisticated, form-fitting, and professional attire. It was really in the 80s that the pantsuit became a lucrative garment category in the fashion industry; between 1980 and 1987, annual sales of women’s pantsuits rose by 60 million units. The 80s also catalyzed a wave of women pursuing higher education, and the pantsuit became a symbolic uniform for the movement. Designers such as Giorgio Armani popularized pantsuits with oversized lapels, sharp cuts, and broad shoulder pads, which blurred traditional gender roles and emulated power and authority. 

Hillary Clinton at North Carolina State University for the last campaign stop before election day on November 7, 2016. Photo credits: https://www.bustle.com/articles/194023-hillary-clinton-wrote-pantsuit-nation-a-heartfelt-thank-you-note-it-sets-the-tone-for-her

In 1993, Senators Babara Mikulski wore pants in the Senate in defiance of the rule forbidding women from wearing pants. Later that year, Sergeant-at-Arms Martha Pope amended the rule, allowing women to wear pants on the floor as long it was paired with a jacket; thus, the tradition of pantsuits in the political realm was born. In the 2016 Presidential election cycle, Hillary Clinton’s well-known pantsuit became a battle cry among her supporters, many of whom wore pantsuits to the polls in her support. After referring to her campaign team as “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuits” at the Democratic National Convention, “Pantsuit Nation,” a Facebook group that was eventually composed of 2.9 million Clinton supporters, was formed. 

In the wake of the election, the pantsuit became a feminist rally cry, infiltrating both the runway and the mass market. It has come a long way since the groundbreaking invention of Le Smoking, when an androgynous uniform symbolizing power and authority was perceived as outrageous for women to wear. Reigning as one of the top trends these past three years, the pantsuit has become a powerful motif for women’s empowerment in both the workplace and on the runway.

Read more fashion articles at Clichemag.com
Photo credits: Tagwalk, InsiderW Magazine, Bustle

Hip-Hop As A Shared Activity: How Collaboration Created America’s New Pop

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The recent rise of the collective in hip-hop has been undeniable. BROCKHAMPTON (technically a boy band, we know,) A$AP Mob, Migos, and Odd Future are just a few of the big names from the past few years. Before that, we had the Wu-Tang Clan, Run-DMC, A Tribe Called Quest, N.W.A., Fugees, and Public Enemy. Even earlier were The Beastie Boys and Salt N Pepa. And this is only scratching the surface.*

The influence of the group in hip-hop can easily be tracked, and has been, but the pervasion of the collective is not the only reason that the genre is inherently collaborative. Nor is it the cause of hip-hop’s surge in popularity and supersession of rock as the most dominant genre of music in America, according to Nielsen’s 2017 year-end report. There’s a reason why the genre has been able to consistently innovate, come out on top, define what’s cool. And the answer lies much deeper, and much further back in history, than success on streaming platforms, like Nielsen’s findings suggest.

Photo courtesy of Dorothy/”Hip-Hop Love Blueprint”

Last year, the UK-based art and design studio Dorothy released its ‘Hip-Hop Love Blueprint,’ a blue and metallic gold screen print that links together “over 700 MCs, DJs, producers, turntablists, musicians, graffiti artists, b-boys and b-girls who […] have been pivotal to the evolution of hip-hop, from pioneers such as DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash to present day chart success stories Kendrick Lamar and Drake, and global superstars Jay-Z and Kanye West.” While the website description stresses the importance of certain groundbreaking artists and events, in order to truly understand the genre, it’s important to begin by paying attention to the links.

Like in any other genre, hip-hop has its stars—the people whose music shaped the future, whose legacy remains so strong that one wrong word about them could lead to physical threats. Dorothy mentioned some, but it would be pointless to go through the whole list. What distinguishes hip-hop from other popular music genres is not the artists themselves, but the way they are constantly working together in order to create the most dynamic art. When was the last time you listened to a rap album without features? Chance’s blockbuster hit Coloring Book only included two songs without features, Drake’s most recent More Life featured British grunge rappers to explore unprecedented sounds for the Toronto-born artist, 2 Chainz’s Pretty Girls Like Trap Music hit hard by including some of the genre’s biggest names (Nicki Minaj, Drake, and Migos are just a few.) Besides a couple of stragglers (notably, J. Cole on his last two albums and Childish Gambino on Awaken, My Love!, among others,) the majority of hip-hop artists have essentially committed to this type of constant collaboration.

The way in which members of the hip-hop community engage with each other is analogous to scientists in a lab, or scholars in a field of research. This is the part where you have to bear with me for a second; all of these examples fall under the category of a shared activity. A shared activity, when loosely explained through Aristotle’s theories, comprises a shared and mutual commitment to a common goal, a mutual understanding of everyone’s individual role in accomplishing this goal, and a mutual agreement for everyone to perform his own individual role within the pursuit of this goal. If the common goal in question is the creation of a chart-topping album—like Flower Boy or No One Ever Really Dies, both of which heavily rely on featuresthen it’s difficult to argue against the fact that each participant checks off the items on this list.

One of the main benefits of a shared activity, especially when it comes to the creation of hip-hop, is the continuous engagement of its participants. If everyone is not only working on their own projects, but also engaging in the projects of others, then there is never a lack of interest or stimulation. Cue the features.

And, of course, the diss tracks. Although it may seem like the point of a good diss track is to stun the subject into silence, they usually—and unsurprisingly—have the opposite effect. Maybe therein lies the purpose. They incite a type of conversation in rap unlike that which exists in any other genre. No one ever truly gets the final word; more often than not, the challenge just sparks the creation of more music. This tradition of call-outs has existed since the early days of rap; the hip-hop rivalry phenomenon has given us hits from artists like The Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac, Drake and Meek Mill, Nicki Minaj and Remy Ma. There were even theories that Kendrick was coming at Big Sean on DAMN. This isn’t to create a false equivalency between serious rivalries and occasional teasing, but there’s a reason why rappers seldom run out of things to say; each artist, at one point or another, becomes responsible for making sure that the conversation doesn’t end.

Another innovation that is unique to hip-hop is the rise of the producer as an artist in and of themself. Yes, bar the DIY scene, basically every artist in every genre needs a producer. But never before have producers held such distinctive roles in the creation of music that performance legends are seeking them out for their input and style. Like Jay-Z on his album 4:44, which arguably became more regarded for the producing feats of No I.D. than the rapping itself. Or everyone and Metro Boomin, who has left a mark as big as it gets on hip-hop; known for being a mainstream hit-machine, he’s collaborated with nearly every big name from Gucci Mane and 21 Savage to Drake and DJ Khaled. His tagline—“if young Metro don’t trust you, I’m gon’ shoot you,” created by Future in a collaboration with Uncle Murda—has infiltrated rap playlists indefinitely, and has kicked off its own cultural phenomenon. Or Mike WiLL Made-It, who was the beat-maker behind both Beyoncé’s “Formation” and Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.”

Even rappers who lean towards producing their own music, like hip-hop’s biggest workaholic Kanye West, rely on the idea of collaboration in order to create. One of the key features of Kanye’s music is his prolific use of samples—often of relatively unknown artists. Sampling, which is the technique of digitally encoding music or sound and reusing it as part of a composition or recording, is just one more way in which hip-hop artists take advantage of the community-like aspects of music in order to further art. By bringing in voices or sounds that otherwise wouldn’t have been heard by listeners of mainstream rap—like the contemporary classical composer Caroline Shaw, who West collaborated with on tracks “POWER” and “Say You Will”—hip-hop artists are opening up unprecedented avenues for their music.

At this point, you may be asking why this is important. There is an innumerable amount of answers, all dependent on your own experience with hip-hop, but there’s also a common thread that is woven through all of them. Historically, as a genre, hip-hop has not been given the respect it deserves. This isn’t a revolutionary statement in any sense; it’s just a recognition of the symptomatic way we view art that we do not deem to be fine. With rap taking the lead as America’s most popular form of music, it is about time that the contributions which hip-hop and its artists have made to music are acknowledged and celebrated. It is also time that we begin viewing them as more than transient blips in culture, bolstered by teenagers, social media, and streaming services. There have been dozens of articles likening Kanye West to Beethoven or Mozart, but it is important to note that he is not the only artist engaging in intellectual art-creation. He is just one of hundreds in a community of forward-thinkers and risk-takers. Hip-hop may not be a fine art, but that is because it is something much bigger; it is alive and it is growing, and it cannot be contained with four walls and a velvet rope.

*For a more complete timeline of hip-hop, check out ThoughtCo’s “History of Hip-Hop: 1925 to Now”

 

Read more Music Articles on ClicheMag.com.
Hip-Hop As A Shared Activity: How Collaboration Created America’s New Pop: Featured image courtesy of Ashlan Grey/The FADER

Why We Still Need SoundCloud

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When SoundCloud was founded in 2007, it was not necessarily the first streaming service of its kind. Before, there was YouTube and Napster, but what made SoundCloud different was its devotion to creativity. In its initial form, not only was streaming completely free, but also entirely user-friendly. Laissez-faire copyright laws made it easy for unsigned artists (specifically DJs) to post original remixes of popular tracks, which allowed listeners to fall for the romantic notion that maybe music can be free. Now, after a decade, the Berlin-based streaming service has taken quite a few blows—a few of which have steered it away from this original idea of free creativity. However, a closer look at its original values shows why we still need SoundCloud. 

 

At its best, Soundcloud was an avenue for musical discovery. Made up of mostly lesser-known artists, the service allowed users to scratch beneath the surface of popular music. Artists were allowed to make music without the burden of conventionality weighing on their shoulders while they recorded tracks.

SoundCloud was not about making money or recording instant hits. It was about self-expression within a community of like-minded individuals—a huge deal in the music world, considering major labels and record producers were busy cultivating a harsh climate of cutthroat deals, limited contracts, and perfectionism. This is what made SoundCloud as a platform so liberating: It freed artists from this pressure cooker of artificiality.

This isn’t to say, however, that SoundCloud artists were fated for a life outside the realm of the mainstream. Take SoundCloud’s poster child Chance the Rapper. In 2011, after having his musical aspirations mocked by peers and teachers, he spent a 10-day school suspension recording his first ever mixtape, 10 Day.

In his own words, he chose SoundCloud because it was the only platform that allowed him to upload his work without asking for a subscription payment. As a result, free, accessible music became his purpose (he doesn’t make songs for free, he makes them for freedom). Later came Acid Rap and Coloring Book, two mixtapes that have received wide commercial success despite the fact that he remains unsigned. At the young age of 24, Chance remains one of the most conventionally successful rappers of his time, regardless of the fact all his albums are available for free download.

Chance isn’t the only rapper to find fame through free streaming. More recent overnight sensations include Ugly God, who just dropped his debut album following the instant success of SoundCloud hit “Water,” Post Malone, Lil Pump, and Smokepurpp, among others. It would be nearly impossible to list all the rappers who have benefitted from this free platform because, when it comes to SoundCloud, fame isn’t the only indicator of success. There’s something to be said about a song you recorded in your bedroom being labeled art, even if it’s just by one person.

The community aspect of the service fosters a positivity that is missing from the critical “real” world. In this way, SoundCloud operates as a sort of escape from the unforgiving industry. It is a microcosm of the larger industry—one without all the “X out of 10” album reviews, Hot 100 charts, or sale numbers.

Rap isn’t the only genre to flourish under SoundCloud’s guiding hand, either. Perhaps the most unique aspect of the SoundCloud platform was its freedom from copyright infringement laws, which allowed DJs to elevate electronic music to new heights. Unlike YouTube (a competitor with SoundCloud for best free streaming service), SoundCloud allowed DJs to post remixes of pre-existing tracks without fear of their content being removed.

For instance, look at Kygo, whose remix of Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire” received over 50 million plays on SoundCloud. This was his jumping-off point, and it resulted in his release of “Firestone” on the streaming service, which led to critical and commercial acclaim. His personal success snowballed after this, as did the legitimization of house and electronic music as an artform. In 2016, he became the first house music producer to perform at an Olympics closing ceremony.

It is no secret that this is a very idyllic look at a corporation that has strayed very far from its roots. Since its creation, SoundCloud’s intentions have become much foggier. The corporation has negotiated deals with major labels and artists, allowing at least a portion of contributors to make money on advertisements (a move that betrays the idea of “all music is created equal” in its entirety).

In 2016, they introduced SoundCloud Go, a paid subscription service. Ironically, all of this failed them financially. They had almost gone under this year, but their saving grace was emergency funding. But just because the company is safe financially does not mean that everything that made it great is. It’s quite the opposite; SoundCloud does not only need a bailout, they need to return to the values that made them great. Otherwise, free music is doomed, and they’re going down with it.

Read more Music Articles on ClicheMag.com.

Why We Still Need SoundCloud: Featured image courtesy of SoundCloud

Cliche Magazine is Now Welcoming Summer Interns!

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Calling all writers, editors, and designers! We are now welcoming new interns to join our team and contribute to our monthly issues and blog this summer! If you love to write about topics related to popular culture, are interested in editing, or if you are simply trying to break into the magazine industry, then an internship at Cliché is just right for you!

Since all interns will be able to work from home, you must have frequent Internet access to apply. A great social media presence is a plus, so feel free to send along links to your blog, Tumblr, or Twitter accounts so we can get to know you better! Just be sure to specify which department you are interested in interning for.

How To Apply:

Visit our Careers page to see the full list of offerings.

If you have any questions concerning the internship programs, feel free to email us at jobs@clichegroup.com or contact our Editor in Chief via Twitter @meganportorreal for the fastest response. We look forward to working with you!

Cliche Magazine is Now Welcoming Summer Interns! Photographed by Quavondo for Feb/Mar 2015

Is Vinyl Dead?

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Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The recent album release of Wings Over America was released in both vinyl and as a CD. Additionally, NBCNews airs an ad on Roku about a vinyl collector. Yes, vinyl is still being purchased, and yes, Wings Over America is not the only vinyl album still being released. And yes, people still collect them for that vintage feel. CDs, though, seem to be *the* preferred mode of buying an album–if not directly online from a music store. All of this begs the question: “Is vinyl dead?”

 On one hand, vinyl can not be and was never meant to be portable, unlike CDs. Vinyl has to be recorded to–guess where?–a CD, and then transferred to the device you want them on. Additionally, vinyl is played on big, clunky record players and are not able to be played elsewhere, really. These record players are heavy! Not only that, but a bump in the road while being played in the car, would cause the record player to skip, if not scratch, the record.

 On the other hand, vinyls are fun to display and they definitely have an authentic feel, a crisp, sort of “this was recorded live in the studio”/”this is definitely a live recording” audio quality to it not found in today’s digitally remastered CDs. They can be played backwards where fans might discover a secret message…

Of course, doing this wrecks the turntable at times, which then leaves vinyl useless and unable to be played. CDs can be played on multiple devices, so if one breaks, you always have back up. Digital copies from music stores can be placed onto your new music device should you put the old one through a washing machine, like I have on a number of occasions.

Whether you think that vinyl is dead or not, these pros and cons are sure to trigger passionate debates amongst music lovers.

Featured Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

What’s Your Favorite Social Network?

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When Instagram first became popular I thought, “Not another social network, this is getting ridiculous.” Later, I did my homework, joined the site and realized that Instagram is both entertaining and a great way to promote businesses.

If you compare Facebook and Twitter with Instagram, you may find that they share many of the same similarities. Pictures, videos and a chance to share your thoughts with the world all sum up the features within these social networks. I am a member of all three networks but if I had to choose, Instagram would have to be my favorite of all. What I love about Instagram is the fact that it is updated on a consistent basis.

With Instagram you have a timeline that never stops. Pictures get uploaded every second of the day, so there is always something different to see. Many businesses and promoters rely on Instagram because of its popularity and immediacy. When you post a picture or a flyer for a business, your followers can immediately see because it will upload on their timeline.

Most celebrities are hooked on Instagram, which gives fans another reason to join the movement. When celebrities upload photos, the world is able to get a close up of their lives and whereabouts. The video feature was recently added to Instagram, so you can view videos and pictures all in one network. How cool is that! Facebook has features with videos and pictures, but individuals tend to join the new and the popular. Instagram has become that and more! Celebrities from Justin Bieber, Rihanna, to Taylor Swift all have an Instagram with Millions of followers. They post videos on a daily basis, so audiences get a chance to look at them constantly.

Personally, I love Instagram.  What is your favorite social network?

The Magic of Pixar

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pixar-logo

The magic of Pixar is that it never gets old.

 Sure, there might have been some questionable ideas like Cars 2, but all of Pixar’s films are commercially successful.

As a whole, the company holds a Rotten Tomatoes score of 89%.

 Since the company released Toy Story, its first feature film, in 1995, it has won 27 Academy Awards, seven Golden Globe Awards, eleven Grammy Awards and an assortment of other awards.

Pixar knows how to appeal to children, but they know what will make an adult enjoy the film. Re-watching all of my old favorites has given me a fresh appreciation for the comedy they incorporate in the films.

The company has also played with my emotions because I’ve grown with it. I was three when Toy Story came out, and I was in my senior year of high school when Andy went to college 2010. I was eight when Mike Wazowski, Sully and Boo became a part of my life, and I finished my sophomore year of college when Pixar traveled back in time to show Mike and Sully at Monster University.

Pixar gets me. They get everybody.

I only know three of the next seven Pixar films in production, but I guarantee I’ll see all of them, whether it’s because I want to or my future kids want to. But who am I kidding? It’s for us and always will be. That’s the magic of Pixar.

Feature and Post Image Courtesy of http://collider.com/pixar-sequels-every-other-year/

The Buzz About BB Cream

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41Gnt6d3Y1LLately, everyone has been talking about BB Creams. Some have even been calling it a “miracle in a tube.” In response to this increasing demand, both high-end cosmetic lines and drugstore skincare brands have recently released a slew of BB Creams, all claiming to minimize your beauty routine and maximize skincare benefits. In essence, BB creams, short for “beauty balms,” are meant to take care of all of your essential skincare needs in the convenience of one product. BB creams are formulated to not only moisturize, but also protect your skin from harmful UV/UVB rays, as well as decrease the appearance of blemishes and improve uneven skin tone. In many ways, BB creams function similarly to tinted moisturizers with SPF, which we know have been around for a while. What sets BB creams apart from your average tinted moisturizer is the addition of anti-aging components such as Vitamin A, C, and E, along with silicon based ingredients that have the same smoothing effects of a primer.

Is this newest skin sensation the “wonder cream” some claim it to be? The jury is still out. Being the beauty devotee I am, I of course had to try it out for myself. Since this was only a trial, I opted for a more price-friendly option and picked up Olay’s Fresh Effects BB Cream from my local drugstore for a meager $14.99. I have to admit, I was skeptical from the start. It probably doesn’t help that I am a bit of brand “brat,” and usually select pricier, high-end beauty products that pack a powerful punch (and leave a hole in my wallet). After giving the product a try, I wasn’t wholly impressed, neither entirely disappointed. Although it did improve some uneven skin tone and blotchiness, it didn’t do much in terms of hiding my blemishes. Honestly, it didn’t conceal them at all. That being said, the scent of the cream was indeed “refreshing” as the product promises, and it was also much lighter than most tinted moisturizers that I’ve tried. I ended up using foundation and concealer over top of the BB Cream, which I guess defeats the purpose entirely, but I was happy with the final product. It definitely delivers in terms of moisturizing and priming your skin.

The final verdict? I’m not about to clear my bathroom counter of all my other beloved beauty products, but the BB cream is a nice addition. Since the coverage is minimal, this product is probably best for people who are blessed with few or no blemishes (obviously not me) or those looking for light but dependable coverage in the steamy summer months. I’m tempted to try a high-end version of the BB cream, but I’m thinking I’ll probably get similar results. Have you recently tried a BB cream? What’s your opinion on the most recent skin sensation? Comment below! We’d love to hear from you!

Feature Image and Photo Courtesy of Ulta Beauty.

Epic: A Family Classic

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Epic

Recently, I saw the film Epic. I knew before sitting down that I would be watching a new take on old ideas. From the trailers, I thought the film would be like Arthur and The Invisibles, or FernGully: The Last Rainforest. In a way, it was. It dealt with a human being turned into a smaller size to help save nature from an evil force. With that said, I was shocked at how grown up the story was.

Epic has a bunch of characters that felt human and showed a side of strength that never gets played much in animated films. In the face of death, there is hope and the importance of moving forward. Many of the key characters show that while losing someone is painful, life is beautiful and worth fighting for. There is no whining or complaining about how life is unfair. There is just understanding that sometimes, life takes the ones you love from you. The only thing you can do is work to be the best you and to create the best future in the name of those you have lost. In time, new life comes into the world, and though it can not replace what was lost, it shows why we dare to care in the first place. The message of the film is simple and not overly stated. It is quite and beautiful, just like nature.

The film’s touching story telling is matched perfectly with the imagery. There was one moment in the film that I felt as I were in a real forest. It is not easy to create moments that tell volumes without anything being said, but this film was able to create such a thing. Epic is a movie that should be owned in every family and should be seen in theaters while you still can.

Death In Paradise: Cast Change

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One of my favorite shows is Death In Paradise, a British mystery show set in the Caribbean. When I started watching it, I quickly fell in love with the cast and characters. They have a realistic dynamic that is normally lacking in the mystery genre. It is often that one character is smart then the rest of the cast tries to understand what’s going on. I found it fun watching Ben Miller play Detective Inspector Richard Poole, a man who is amazing at solving crimes, but awkward around other people. I also enjoy Sara Martins as Detective Sergeant Camille Bordey, a smart, charming woman who often lovingly mocks Richard’s odd behavior. Gary Carr’s character of Fidel grows into a stronger investigator as the series goes on, and I like Danny John-Jules as Dwayne as the more laid back, easygoing member of the group. The cast does an amazing job of making the show fun to watch.

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So as Death In Paradise films its third season, I am sad to say that Ben Miller will be leaving the show and replaced by another actor, Kris Marshall. The cast change will be shock to the structure of the show since much of the humor came from watching the very British DI Poole deal with the tropical heat and new cultural when all he wants to do is return to London. I am hopeful that Death in Paradise will still remain an enjoyable past time even without Ben Miller.