Beauty in the Movies: 9 to 5

The transition from freelancing at home to commuting and working full-time has been a major contributing factor to my recent lack of blog posts. So it’s only appropriate that the return of ‘Beauty in the Movies’ features the charmingly adorable 1980s work place comedy 9 to 5.

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9 to 5 is a female buddy comedy in which three female co-workers accidentally kidnap their sexist, terrible boss and then, with him safely under house arrest, work together to make the office a much better place for everyone.

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There are an abundance of great scenes between the leading ladies (Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda) but one of the best moments comes after the three women have each had a hellish day at the office and decide to get high on a joint given to Lily Tomlin’s character by her son.

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“Is that one of those marijuana cigarettes?”

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While stoned, they each indulge in a workplace fantasy and live out a take-down of their evil superior. Lily Tomlin’s fantasy of herself as a Disney-like princess is by far the best, cartoon animals and all. Adorable.

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One of the sillier parts of the movie is the S+M like contraption the women rig up to keep their boss (Dabney Coleman) from escaping while they make changes back at the office.

Dabney Coleman 9 to 5

This film deals with some workplace issues that are still very relevant more than 30 years later. Workplace sexism is the most obvious obstacle the women face, but girl-on-girl crimes and workplace dissatisfaction lie beneath the sometimes slapstick plot of the film. Dolly Parton’s character, Doralee, is sexually harassed by her boss on a daily basis, but it is equally upsetting when the other women in the office assume she’s sleeping with him and then ostracize her for it.

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(Doesn’t sad Dolly just break your little heart?)

It seems the other women’s assumptions are due in part to Dolly’s clothing, makeup, and overall Parton-ish style (epic bosom included). Sadly, women judging other women based on their appearance and forming false opinions about their sex-lives, intellect, morality, etc., is something I’ve seen happen in every office I’ve ever worked in. It’s pretty sad to think those two ladies almost missed out on being friends with Doralee because of their own misconceptions.

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There are other aspects of office life that haven’t changed since 1980, example #1:

Copiers are devil-monsters sent from Hades to make your life miserable. I’m pretty sure the one at my office has an angry spirit living inside, it chews paper instead of printing it, always has a jam in a mystery tray, and has also burned me twice. I’m right there with Jane Fonda in this scene.

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As Dolly says, working 9 to 5 can sure drive you crazy if you let it, but there is really nothing better than some sassy, smart, supportive friends to help make your office a fun place to be.

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…and happy hour never hurts either — cheers!

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Mom

Since it’s Mother’s Day, I just had to take a moment out today and say a few words about my mom. She is a very special lady. She has taught me a great many things, from how to write a check to how to bake a pie. She taught me that I could do anything, be anything, create anything, as long as I put my mind to it.

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She has always given me the best advice, and then offered me help when I didn’t take it. She’s a tough cookie, a dedicated teacher, a great friend, a beautiful woman, and as of this year a cancer survivor.

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We show our true mettle in the face of fear, and this past winter my family and I witnessed how tough my mom could really be. It was a long, dark, hard winter with a lot of sadness and pain. Cancer, it really F*ing sucks. But, just when the trees started budding in early April, her first fuzz of hair started growing back on her head. She was right in tune with mother earth, coming back to life again. It had been hellish watching her in pain and feeling helpless as she suffered all winter, but watching her rejuvenation this spring has been utterly beautiful. It makes this Mother’s Day extra special, because I am extra thankful and extra proud to have her as my mom. So to her, and to all you tough, beautiful mommas (and mommas to be) out there — Happy Mother’s Day! xoxox

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I’m Coming Back…

…at least I’m going to try to! I know a year and a half is a long break, but I’ve missed posting here. I’m going to scale things back a bit and try to keep things simple this time.

So, what re-inspired me to start posting again? It was none other than one of my first ever beauty inspirations, an actress I have loved since I first set eyes on her in a glorious peasant blouse/vest/jeans/loafers outfit combo in the movie that most informed my childhood; Labyrinth.

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It was her answer to the following question in the most recent issue of Glamour:

GLAMOUR: You have a baby daughter. What will you teach her about beauty?

JC: She can teach me a thing or two. But mostly: confidence. I was just working in Iceland and I saw this woman in a crazy scarf with colored tassels and her hair way up in a side ponytail…If she got photographed, Cindi [Leive, Glamour's editor-in-chief] might have her on the Don’ts page! But it was her thing. It was full of color, and she was full of life. If something is right for you, it becomes a Do.

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Well said Ms. Connelly, very well said. Glamour is one of the more acceptance-minded magazines out there (which isn’t saying much), but I’ve always found their “Do’s and Don’ts” feature to be kind of gross and mean, definitely the opposite of accepting. I’m a firm believer that there are no RULES in beauty, fashion, art, or anything else that is about expressing yourself. Major Kudos to Jennifer Connelly for pointing that out to them in their own magazine — and reminding me that it’s a subject I don’t want to stop talking about.

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Cyber Never Land

I haven’t posted here since July and that just sucks so damn hard.

The internet is littered with abandoned and forgotten blogs, not dead, not living, but floating somewhere in limbo. You do a Google search, click on something interesting, and end up on a blog only to realize it’s been neglected for months. It’s depressing, like a half knitted scarf (I have a bunch of those too) or an abandoned exercise routine. I’m scared my blog is slowly flying off to cyber never land to live with the other lost blogs—and that makes me really, really sad.

In June I was finally liberated from the agony of semi-employment. It’s been great to have stability and a feeling of upward movement again, but everything in life is a compromise, and time is not a luxury I have right now. I get home at 7, eat food, shower and then pout about going to sleep until I finally realize I’m dead tired. There is very little room for anything else in there.

Blogging is hard. I think there’s a belief that since it can be fun and provides both an outlet and entertainment it’s something that’s easy to do, but if that were true there wouldn’t be so many lost blogs out there. It takes a lot of commitment to keep a blog going, and when life is happening and other commitments start to take over, it can be easy to forget the little space you’ve created on the internet.

Ok, this post is sounding a lot like whining, so I apologize. I’m so grateful to be working again, and I’m well aware there are a lot worse things than an abandoned blog, but I felt I owed an explanation to anyone who supports this blog, or happens to stumble upon it. I still love you, I’m sorry.

I feel like my blog is dying. I don’t know whether I should put it out of its misery and then mourn for it, or if I should clap my hands and try to bring it back to life. I’ve been avoiding looking at it, I shudder to see my sadly depleted page views. I feel guilty because not only do I miss it, but I’ve been getting comments on old posts and I feel like I’m neglecting a lot more than just a personal project, but a community that I really liked being a part of.

So, I’m going to try harder. I really am. Even if I just put up a picture of a nail polish I like, or an unappreciated movie, I don’t want to neglect this place just yet, I don’t want to quit. Those forgotten blogs make me sad, because let’s be realistic, Never Never Land is really just a metaphor for the place dead children go (am I the only one who thinks this?), and I don’t want my blog sent to that creepy, Victorian, child-ghost land, even if it’s full of fairies and pirates.

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Beauty in the Movies: Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead

Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitters Dead is one of the best movies ever, please don’t be misled by the title. Sure, if you like super serious movies where you get knocked over the head by meaning and intense emotion and all that, then fine, you might not agree, but if you were a girl who was growing up in the 90s, you probably love this film—and there’s no shame in that, only pride!

DTMTBD is like Working Girl for the 90s teen set, only kind of better because the fashion is way more fun. When Sue Ellen (or “Swell” for short) Crandell’s mom decides to jet off to Australia with her new boyfriend leaving her five children alone for the summer, at first they think they’re going to have the time of their lives. So it comes as quite a surprise when an old woman shows up at the door proclaiming to be their babysitter. It’s even more of a surprise when she drops dead leaving the kids with no money.

Sue Ellen soon realizes that, being the oldest, she’s in charge of her ramshackle gang of siblings for the rest of the summer. She and her burn-out brother Kenny (Keith Coogan) toss a frozen pizza to decide who will get a job and who will stay home with the kids. Sue Ellen loses the pizza toss, and soon finds herself cleaning fat vats at fast food joint Clown Dog. She quits pretty quickly, but not before meeting Brian (Josh Charles), a cute delivery-guy.

As a result of copying her resume straight from a book, Sue Ellen lands a coveted position as Executive Administrative Assistant at General Apparel West, making an enemy of the original candidate for the position, bitchy receptionist Carolyn (Jayne Brook).

Swell’s killer interview outfit and fake resume may have won her the job, but now Carolyn and her boyfriend (a greasy pre-X-Files David Duchovny) are determined to take her down.

Luckily Sue Ellen has the best boss ever, Rose (Joanna Cassidy) who not only can’t stand Carolyn but also gives us viewers the delightful phrase “I’m right on top of that Rose”, which to this day I still hear in my head when given an important task at work. Unfortunately 17-year-old Sue Ellen is in a bit over her head and things soon unravel, but not before an amazing work montage, beach romance, and some truly amazing 90s fashion.

DTMTBD has stuck around and remained in our hearts because it’s atypical for a teen movie. I love that Sue Ellen has a power-suit wearing female boss who is awesome and supportive instead of evil. It’s also great that while she gives herself her own “business” makeover, her younger brother is really the one who ends up going through a typical physical transformation—haircut, clean clothes, etc.

Swell was a fashion icon for me in my formative years, I still marvel at how she made harem pants and over-sized blazers look so effortlessly hip. Her awesome early 90s friends are also an inspiration, they remind me of the babysitters I had as a kid who I though were just the coolest. girls. ever. Side ponytails, teased hair, chunky jewelry, as far as I’m concerned they still look damn amazing.

Don’t be betrayed by the name, if for some reason you’ve never had the delight of watching DTMTBD, give it a try. It’s great this time of year if you’re working your butt off in business wear and feeling bitter about the tourists and day-trippers that surround you on your commute (I speak from very strong personal experience). It’s worth it alone to watch for the fashion show at the end, but really, whether she is wearing doc martens or shoulder-pads, Christina Applegate is just so damn wonderful. So crank up the AC, microwave some popcorn, and revisit a teen movie with style and charm that far exceed its title.

Beauty in the Movies: Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

Maxi dress
$38 – topshop.com

Diane von Furstenberg sheer blouse
250 – net-a-porter.com

Off the shoulder shirt
$15 – alloy.com

Viktor Rolf slim fit blazer
$698 – lagarconne.com

Freda blue jacket
144 – matchesfashion.com

River Island long jacket
50 – riverisland.com

French Connection harem pants
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Forzieri black leather briefcase
$659 – forzieri.com

Dannijo silver cuff bracelet
238 – net-a-porter.com

Black earrings
$7.99 – amazon.com

NERIDA FRAIMAN vintage hat
259 – harrods.com

Ray-Ban ray ban sunglasses
€71 – my-wardrobe.com

Calvin Klein wide leather belt
$38 – zappos.com

Cuteberry floral scarve
$16 – yesstyle.com

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Beauty in the Movies: Mahanagar

Ok, so with my new job I’ve been pretty busy and have to squeeze blog-time in before bed (which usually doesn’t happen). As a result, Beauty in the Movies is going to be a little paired down for a while, I’m still going to feature great movies, just with fewer details depending on how hectic things are.

Today I am featuring a fantastic film that a lot of people might not be familiar with—Satyajit Ray’s Mahanagar (its English title is The Big City).

Arati Mazumder is a typical Indian housewife, living in early 1960s Calcutta, and taking care of not only her husband and child but her young sister-in-law and her husband’s parents as well. When her husband unexpectedly loses his job, she attempts to save the family by taking a position as a sewing machine sales woman.

Having a career quickly leads to a sense of liberation for Arati, especially when she meets an Anglo-Indian woman at work who introduces her to cat eye sunglasses, lipstick and the realities of discrimination.

Like all of Ray’s films, this one has excellent characters that are endearing, relatable and multidimensional. He had a talent for taking simple stories and making them incredibly meaningful without depending on drama or sentimentality.

For Arati, lipstick becomes symbolic of her empowerment, she applies it before attempting to ask for a raise or make a sales pitch. It is not a form of vanity for her, but a source of courage and change.


I highly recommend this film, it’s entertaining, moving, and uplifting too.  It’s a film with a strong feminist theme, but it doesn’t hit you over the head with its message, or sacrifice entertainment for the sake of it. Mahanagar is a familiar, deceptively simple story, but in its own way it’s timeless and still incredibly relevant today.

Beauty in the Movies: Mahanagar


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Beauty in the Movies: I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle is one of my favorite books ever, and thankfully this 2003 film adaptation actually gives Dodie Smith’s much-beloved novel its due respect.

Cassandra Mortmain (Romola Garai) is an 18-year-old girl living with her eccentric family in a crumbling castle in 1930s England. Her father (Bill Nighy) wrote one incredibly successful and important novel, but has since produced nothing, leaving the family in utter poverty.

Cassandra’s beautiful-but-shallow older sister, Rose (Rose Byrne), is desperate to escape their hopeless existence, so when two American men show up on their doorstep having just inherited the land on which the castle resides, she finally sees her chance. With the encouragement of their nudist, muse-like, stepmother Topaz (Tara Fitzgerald), Rose sets about entrapping a wealthy husband.

Simon (Henry Thomas) and Neil (Marc Blucas) Cotton are rich, attractive, young men, and upon their arrival the Mortmain family is instantly thrown into turmoil. What follows is a story of class, family, coming-of-age, and romance. Cassandra is confused not only by her feelings for the Cottons but also for Stephen Colley (played by Henry Cavill, the new Superman). Stephen is the incredibly attractive son of the Mortmain’s former chef who acts as a handyman to the family and is deeply in love with Cassandra.

Isn’t he just way too handsome? Cassandra’s rejection of sweet, noble, gorgeous Stephen can be somewhat frustrating, but it serves to make her character much more interesting.

I Capture the Castle is a unique story, so don’t expect a typical romantic comedy or predictable characters. Cassandra is an unusually uncommon character. If I would make one criticism of this film as compared to the book it would be that she is even more of a creative, smart, young woman than the movie portrays, especially as compared to Rose whose main appeal is her beauty. In the book Rose is less likeable, and Cassandra’s relationship with her all the more complex because of it—as is often the case with family.

I Capture the Castle depicts perfectly what it feels like to be a confused teenage girl. The heartbreak of first love, the obsession of it, and the humor too, all make this a timeless tale. There is so much beneath the surface of this story, and in some ways it is a direct response to the novels of Jane Austen.

Rose seeks the traditional solution out of her impoverished life—a wealthy husband. Cassandra however, is of the first generation of women who could make their own destiny without a man by supporting themselves. Though some might find it lacking in romance, it was a very new idea for its time, and it holds an allure all its own.

This film is so beautifully shot, acted, and adapted I just can’t recommend it enough. It’s a story about growing up, finding inspiration, and living in a family that others might not understand. The Mortmains are unconventional to say the least, but they support each other’s choices and love one another in a way that transcends the drama they find themselves faced with.

Cassandra describes the characters around her with such wit and insight we can’t help but be drawn into her world. She is a modern woman, but she is only just coming to that realization, so the true pleasure is witnessing her figure that out for herself.

Flare dress
$1,308 – farfetch.com

Charles Anastase ivory ruffle dress
830 GBP – matchesfashion.com

Closed pencil top
249 EUR – stylebop.com

Nick Mo pencil top
$63 – modcloth.com

Paul Joe rabbit coat
1.240 EUR – stylebop.com

Norma Kamali ruched bathing suit
$350 – net-a-porter.com

MEI SILK GOWN
175 GBP – toast.co.uk

Cosabella
$51 – journelle.com

T bar shoes
6pm.com

Belle noel jewelry
$25 – endless.com

Cashmere hat
39 GBP – black.co.uk

Brixton browning hat
40 GBP – urbanexcess.com

Beach sun hat
15 GBP – mylabel.co.uk

Penhaligon’S Bluebell Bath Oil
36 GBP – harrods.com

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