Parkland and Other Outspoken Student Activists Led Protests For Gun Reform – With No Plans Of Slowing Down!

march-for-our-lives-washington-17-gty-er-180324_hpMain_4x3_992In the midst of the highly anticipated and highly rated Stormy Daniels Interview on “60 Minutes” and the “Who Bit Beyoncé?” controversies, there was the student-led ‘March For Our Lives’ protest Saturday in Washington, D.C., with sister marches across cities in America supporting their mission for gun control reform. I was in D.C. for the march and I’ve been to many rallies protesting all the unfathomable and inhumane policies pushed by this new administration in New York City. But, this march was different. The cause felt universal. There was solidarity in the air that permeated and touched every man, woman, and child present. Emma-Gonzalez-MarchforOurLives-RTR-imgEmma González’s six minutes and twenty-seconds of silence included in her speech – to demonstrate the short amount of time it took the gunman to wipe out the lives of 17 victims – solidified the fact that this tragedy happened, and it could happen to ANY one of us, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE. And, if we don’t fight collectively for effective gun policies from our government, these mass-shooting epidemics will cease to exist. González, one of the student organizers and survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High shooting in Parkland, FL sparked a movement, along with her classmates, in just 5 weeks of the massacre on February 14, 2018. There were donations and support given to the teens by some of Hollywood’s A-listers, Oprah Winfrey and George Amal Clooney to name a few. Kimye (Kanye West and Kim Kardashian) and Steven Spielberg were in attendance. As much as I love these celebrities it was great to see that their association with the protest – or even their presence didn’t overshadow these students’ mission. Although the crowd was wowed by performances from Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, and Lin- Manuel Miranda – the true superstars were the inspirational Parkland students and fellow gun violence survivors/activists who took to the podium visiting from Los Angeles and Chicago.

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Two little girls (King, (from left-to-right) Adler) that stole the spotlight and gave the most impressive and touching speeches of the day are Yolanda Renee King, Martin Luther King’s granddaughter and Naomi Wadler. King led a chant that had the crowd enthralled and enamored with this spirited 9-year-old, descendant from the iconic civil rights leader. Not to be left behind, 11-year-old Naomi Wadler quickly commanded the crowds’ attention with her choice words: “I am here to acknowledge and represent the African American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don’t lead on the evening news,” Wadler said. “I represent the African American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls full of potential. For far too long, these names, these black girls and women, have just been numbers. I am here to say ‘Never Again’ for those girls, too.”

The national and international ‘March For Our Lives’ protests continues to have momentum and is receiving equal parts media coverage and backlash from the NRA and pro NRA supporters. Close one million people attended the ‘March For Our Lives’ in D.C. alone. Rick Santorum, former Republican senator recently stated students should forego protesting and learn CPR – to which Parkland teens responded: “CPR won’t save gunshot victims’ lives” as drew ridicule from healthcare professionals and other ‘March For Our Lives’ supporters condemning the former politician. One thing is clear: these young leaders have proven they can articulate their message with eloquence and class and will not be silenced or bullied by adults with power. They have tenacity and conviction to AFFECT real change in Washington to prevent further mass shootings.

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Big Gay Ice Cream x Hot Sox Sock Hop Event Evokes Nostalgia In NYC

The South Street Seaport District was a backdrop to popular, consumer fan favorites: Big Gay Ice Cream and HotSox. The two brands hosted an event at Mr. Cannnon’s Speakeasy recently, celebrating a collaboration between the ice cream powerhouse and the fashion-forward original novelty sock line – with a launch of the Hox Sox x Big Gay Ice Cream limited-edition socks. The socks have the city’s skyline set against Big Gay Ice Cream’s signature motif with the words “Big” and “Gay” emblazoned on each sock.

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Donny Tsang, @donny_tsang on Instagram for the BGIC Event

With its zany and iconic designs, the sock brand has maintained its pulse on pop culture and art throughout the years. Their collections include the Norman Rockwell line, the Artist Series for both men and women and now the wildly popular emoji designs. Growing up in New York City, I’d frequent Greenwich Village as a teen and would find the wildest and original patterns at their stores. With striped and polka-dot hosiery in my fashion arsenal: I was unstoppable in high school and college. The sock brand has been a beacon of self-expresion since it launched in 1971 with silkscreened bright opaque socks. Now HotSox is in 1,700 U.S. stores and can be found throughout Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Co-founder, Doug Quint of Big Gay Ice Cream has been a fan of the quirky and stylish sock brand and was approached by Hot Sox for a collaboration. Big Gay Ice Cream, with its high quality ingredients and untradational toppings has been around since 2009. You can spot their colorful trucks parked around New York City’s famous streets in the summer. In 2011, they set up a brick-n-mortar outpost in the East Village, a second in the West Village, and branched out into Philadelphia’s Center City with another store. They produced their first cookbook: Big Ice Cream: Saucy Stories & Frozen Treats in 2015. Quint and his business partner Bryan Petroff, have been approached by other companies for merchandising opportunities, but opted out to stay true to the brand until they relaunched their site with original products.

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Donny Tsang, @donny_tsang on Instagram for the BGIC Event (from left-to-right, Doug Quint and Bryan Petroff)

When I asked Quint if these limited-edition socks were designed to advocate for the LBGTQ cause, Doug said although we do support and are active in the LBGTQ community and currently support the Ali Forney Center (an organization whose mission is to rescue homeless LBGTQ youth from the streets and place them in safe environments) their motive was to create a fun, durable, unisex sock to make people happy. And guess what? They do. When I put them on – they stay on – and if only for a brief moment, remind me of younger care-free years.

Whether you love history, art, geography, pop culture – or just fashion, check out HotSox latest sock designs and the limited-edition Big Gay Ice Cream x HotSox retailing for $12, here

For everything Big Gay Ice Cream News and Products, click here

The Perils of International Travel

FeetphotoFinally traveling to my dream destination has been one of the highlights of my life these past few years. Behold Thailand; 20 hours of travel time; one boyfriend with a fear of flying, and few time zones later, I made it there. Precisely, during Southeast Asia’s rainy season, we arrived to our hotel in Bangkok, our first stop in our tour of the country. Thailand is like Miami in that there will be short bouts of massive downpours throughout the day and then a blazing sun infiltrates the sky like clockwork shortly after.

This had been my longest trip yet – in my wanderlusting adventures. We connected from JFK to Dubai, and the 12 hours spent on the plane were not as painful as I had imagined. Emirates fed us every two hours as if we were toddlers ready for our next meal. I awoke from a semi-conscious slumber to eat Emirates’ version of D’Giorno pizza. Not that I’m a fan of D’Giorno pizza or ever buy it at home, but there was something so comforting about being given a hot pizza, in complete darkness, in a cute little pizza box for one. The free wine and beer didn’t hurt either; it aided in the passage of time.
Jet-lagOn the return trip home – everything changed. With the 4 security checkpoints in Dubai’s airport, I took off my shoes twice, they scanned me for weapons and metals at least three different instances and they checked the photos on my Cannon camera. Odd! All this securing made the plan late by 3 hours. Where was my pleasant flight experience? What happened to me feeling like a coddled toddler? Sitting on the aisle, I was constantly woken up by the abrupt stewardesses bumping my arms or legs as they hastily tended to passengers. Instead of 12 hours to JFK the flight was close to 15 – big difference! Although my boyfriend and I kept getting up every few hours to stretch and stimulate circulation in our limbs, when we got home, we both noticed are ankles were so swollen they had become cankles. Mine were bruised. I was shocked. Where did these old lady legs come from? I had to take a sleeping pill to forget about the situation and woke up the next day at 4:15pm. One week later and I’m still feeling the effects of the trip. I sleep two to three hours max a night and feel drowsy around 3pm daily. What fresh Hell is this? I was only gone for 10 days. How long will it take to adjust to New York time? This is some severe jet lag, man!

Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi Ad – Who’s at Fault? Everyone!

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Social Media has revolutionized the immediacy of how the public reacts to news and entertainment. Forget the days of snail hate mail of yesteryear sent to networks and celebrities in large bags. Every single person has a voice – and social forum to be heard. Less than 24 hours since the new Pepsi ad was launched featuring Kendall Jenner, one of the hottest it-models of the moment – the ad has been pulled from every marketing vehicle imaginable. What happened exactly? I follow the Kardashians on social as I’m a pop culture junkie and after I viewed the fury-inducing ad on Kris Jenner’s Instagram, I wasn’t moved, I brushed it off, yet I had a sinking feeling it wouldn’t be well received by the public. It was awkward in execution, odd images of Kendall Jenner abandoning her “model” duties and joining a protest. After having attended two protests this year: The Women’s March in following the inauguration and Not My President’s Day March in February. This commercial didn’t necessarily poke fun at protests – it trivialized the protesting experience. It lumped protests into the next “cool” thing young people are doing or engaged with. Similar to the “Cash me outside, How bout’ Dat?” teen or the incessant iterations on the Internet of Salt Bae. Yeah, nope. The Twitterverse was not having any of it. Everyone and their, mom, aunt, dad and grandpa had to something to say about it. Martin Luther King Jr.’s youngest daughter, Bernice King, posted: “If only Daddy would have known the power of #Pepsi” with a picture of cops strong-arming Martin Luther King Jr. in the 60s.

Pepsi is such a well-known global brand and being asked to be a Pepsi ambassador is mecca for any celebrity: A sign that you’ve made it. Recognition is absolute. Your star power is blinding! If you look at Kendall Jenner’s Instagram post just days before the controversy unfolded, there’s a picture of her idol, Cindy Crawford in a 1992 Pepsi ad.

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Kendall and her clan (momager, Kris included) were so clouded by the prestige Pepsi invokes – that they forgot the messaging behind this partnership. It was an afterthought. No one said, “Hey! maybe this is ad’s message is a little insensitive to people’s causes” As an adoring public, fans, spectators on the sidelines, we want our favorite models, actors, and sport stars to reach the pinnacle of success with all the advertising, movie, fashion deals out there – but one misstep and the crucifixion begins. Kendall Jenner has removed all traces of her ad on her social media accounts and Pepsi has apologized and lamented their insensitivity. But we as a the public must not go on the attack and instead educate companies, and clueless celebrities about history and what protests mean and can achieve for the misrepresented and people without a voice. Not once did I see or hear anyone say: “Hey Kendall, come to my town or join my group so you can see what protesting is really like and what the impetus behind this march means.”

Is There a Mass Exodus on the Horizon for Fox News?

I receive alerts from just about every career website out there as I’m looking for a full time gig. Today’s job listings seemed peculiar to me. As I entered the New York City search this morning, five consecutive job postings came up for Fox News. Working in editorial, when a new editor-in-chief comes on board – many people are unfortunately on the chopping block. It’s the way the industry operates. New creatives bring on their trusted friends, colleagues to replace editors, creative directors – and some times photo directors (position I’ve held). As  of a few mintues ago, 6:55pm EST, I peeped mediabistro one last time and saw seven open positions with Fox News.

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My screengrab could only capture five jobs, but’s really seven.

I guess these former employees realized the maneuer this network was peddling was just too much for them to shovel or eat. I mean, if you look at their coverage of this administration, it’s clear this news network is very conservative and pro-Republican and tip-toe around all the inconsistencies the administration has stated. They downplayed the James Comey (FBI Director) congressional meeting on Monday. Comey revealed that Trump is – in fact – being investigated and there is NO evidence of wiretapping from the Obama administration. Also, political news correspondent, Tucker Carlson has refuted the EPA’s stance and claims, citing the agency is making up the effects of climate change and “attempted” to disprove scientists and their data. Biased much?!

And in today’s denouncement of the Trumpcare bill and failure of it’s passing, Trump, of course, blames Democrats. But, guess what, we will take the blame! And will continue to do so for many of the riduculous proposals presented by this clownshow of an administration. As all the news outlets post headlines of the Trumpcare fail, Fox News feels the need to report on the ‘Flip or Flop’ star, Christina El Moussa’s inappropriate bikini pic with her daughter. Glad to know you’re on the pulse of what’s important, Fox News!

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Were the Factcheckers on Vacation during the Oscars 2017?

Just one more round of eyes! That’s the collective sentiment the producers of this year’s Oscars may have wished for before green-lighting all the programming events during the live telecast on Sunday night. First glitch: the”In Memoriam” segment that erroneously presented a photo of a very-much-alive producer: Jen Chapman; instead of her colleague, costume designer, Janet Patterson. According to an email exchange with Variety, Chapman said: “I was devastated by the use of my image in place of my great friend and long-time collaborator Janet Patterson. Patterson was a four-time Oscar nominee and per Chapman, “It is very disappointing the error was not picked up.” Chapman had urged Patterson’s agency to confirm the use of her image with the Academy.

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Fake News? No, just a blatant disregard for quality fact-checking. How mortifying and indignant it must be to explain to people in your industry, heck! your family and friends – that you are indeed still alive!

Jimmy Kimmel’s jokes and sketches – aimed to shock and get laughs were not the true surprises of the show, although the unsuspecting tourists entering the Dolby Theatre – had just the right amount of hilarity and awkwardness, past hosts/comedians have strived for and experimented with. The unexpected higlight: Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty mistakenly awarding LaLa Land the Best Picture Oscar instead of Moonlight and the mayhem that ensued was equal parts – priceless and embaressing. PricewaterhouseCooper (the global accounting firm administering the balloting for the Oscars for over 80 years) immediately took the blame hours later, but not before all the media outlets reported LaLa Land as the Best Picture for 2017 – and then retracted their stories. But the few minutes of confusion solidified the importance of fact-checking and how even the most prestigious of organizations can slip with this crucial journalistic tool.

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Teen Titan Kylie Jenner’s New York Pop-up is Cosmetics Gold: Beauty Brands Take Note

fullsizerenderIt’s the fifth day of Kylie Jenner’s New York’s pop-up store being open and there are no signs of her customer/fan base waning down- to get their hands on the coveted beauty products. I was there to check out the scene at the pop-up’s Soho location on Mercer Street. I arrived around 11am to find a line-up of about 80 enthusiastic customers braving the cold temperatures, patiently waiting, while barricaded along the street until they were let inside.

While on line, I decided to get into the minds of these beauty die-hards and ask them a series of questions: Do you love Kylie Jenner and would buy anything she promoted? Or do you love the quality of her cosmetics? What brings you here, really? As I surveyed the crowd to look for my participants, I had a preconceived notion that I would encounter pre-pubescent and teenaged girls. Boy, was I was wrong! There were fans ready to plunk down their cash – in their teens, early and late twenties, and early forties. I couldn’t believe Kylie Jenner’s demographic had such mass appeal and such a big age range. As I questioned more people, I found that they knew their beauty brands. Tarte, Anastasia, Too Faced are some of their favorites, but the majority of respondents said they preferred the quality of Kylie Jenner’s products. “I really like how long-lasting the lip kits are,” said one girl in her twenties. Others said they love the packaging and have been following Kylie on Instagram before her makeup line launched.

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After about an hour, I was let in. Yes! I was given a wristband and asked to enter my name and email by staffers for a quick checkout. Very efficient! I thought. Unlike New York City fashion sample sales I’ve attend in the past, this crew had it together, and want customers in and out.

Once inside, you realize the store isn’t very big. There was a “pseudo-recreation” of a bed by the back wall with a brown furry throw on it and large screens with seductive video images of Kylie staring at you. Fans of current and previous collections will be delighted to see most sold-out products available for purchase: The Birthday, Holiday and Valentine’s collections are hanging on different walls. Sprinkled throughout the store, you’ll find Arthur George socks with Kylie’s logo, phone cases, patches, hoodies and other clothing from the https://kyliejennershop.com.

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Jenner, who introduced her glosses in 2015, officially launched her global cosmetics line in 2016 and hasn’t stopped churning out, instant sell-out products – readily sought by fans – ever since. While Kylie Jenner has faced some obstacles along the way; comparisons of ColourPop Cosmetics’ significantly cheaper line; both makeup lines are produced by the Seed Beauty Factory; she’s determined to distinguish her line from others. Well-known bloggers/vloggers slammed Jenner on this detail, yet fans still show their unwavering support with their credit card purchases. The New York pop-up will be open until supplies run out.

In short, Kylie Jenner’s influence on the beauty industry has been solidified. Over 10 million in sales to date with her cosmetics line has the heavy-hitters in makeup paying attention and eager to mirror her success. Jenner’s success is a combination of cult followers and Jenner’s role as brand ambassador keeping her ahead of the beauty game.