Gossip Girl 10th Aniversary

Do you ever think back to a time or event and wish you could have been around for it? Or, at least a little older? I feel that way all of the time. Over the years, there have been so many great things circulating through our culture in the forms of entertainment, sports, and beyond.

There are a few moments in pop culture history that I wish I could have been, not only alive for, but more specifically, a teenager for.  Titanic is my favorite movie ever. It came out two years before I was even born, and I wish I could have been around when it first hit( no pun intended). There is no doubt in my mind that I would have been one of the rabid fan girls screaming for Leo DiCaprio. The Twilight series was a staple of my preteen years. I was the ultimate Twilight fan girl or, twihard if you will, but I often wish I could have been a teen during the height of its popularity. I could have gone to midnights, participated in fan events, and I would have had an even better understanding of the story. It would have been more relevant to my life, and besides, its always more fun to be a part of things when they are current. I’ve come to realize that so much of what I enjoy is after the fact, mostly due to being too young at the time these phenomena occured. Yeah, I can watch Titanic whenever I want, or read Twilight and watch the movies whenever I want, but it doesn’t hold the same excitement as it would if it were all happening right now when I’m 17 and not 7.

On that same token, Gossip Girl is one of those phenomena I wish I could have been a teen for. I mean, I watched it as a teen, but I wasnt a teen during its original run. It wasn’t until 2013, when I was 13, that I finally watched. Many of my peers started to watch too. We were only 6 years behind schedule, but can you blame us? Not exactly a show for second graders. Gossip Girl first premiered on this day in 2007. It came to a close in 2012. Thanks to Netflix, it still remains popular to this day. I wonder what it would have been like to be a teen back in 2007, watching Gossip Girl as I marveled at a keyboard on my cute little flip phone or checked MySpace. That’s the thing though. As our society changes, so does our pop culture. By the time I reached my teenage years, flip phones were obsolete, and on the show they were the main feature. Not exactly relatable as much as it was reminiscent of the past. I mean I had a flip phone( that I could only call on) at one point, but cell phones were not first introduced to me during my teens. I’m sure that was a very exciting time for people whenever phones started to first rule the world. I guess what I’m saying is, I would have loved to have been around for that ride as it was happening.

As I said before, Gossip Girl premiered in September of 2007. 10 whopping years ago. When I think of 2007, I don’t think “decade ago.” In a lot of ways, it feels like yesterday. Pretty crazy how time flies and how much things have changed. To celebrate,Gossip Girl’s 10th anniversary, I thought I’d showcase 10 of some of my favorite looks from the show because let’s be real-Blair and Serena, played by Leighton Meester and Blake Lively respectively, killed it every single episode. I mean could we expect anything less from New York’s elite? Introductions aside, here are my favorite ensembles from the iconic show.
These outfits have me singing if “If I was  a rich girl nananana….”

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Why not start with the very first look viewers were ever exposed to? This photo was taken from the first episode of the show, the one where Serena(pictured above)  returns from boarding school to the shock, and maybe annoyance, of all of her peers in the Upper East Side. I love this look because she looks so cosmopolitan. The contrast between the brown jacket and the black and white stripes is perfect, and I love the neck scarf. It’s a nice touch. It’s a simple look, but it’s oh so stylish.

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Blair(pictured above) was an extremely flawed character, but her style never disappointed. She was the master of preppy girl chic, totally owning her role as a New York elite . If you know me, you know I love ponchos, so it should be to no surprise that I adore this look. The pop of yellow throughout the outfit is a nice touch, and I love that the ensemble was styled with burgundy heels. The contrast is everything.

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The Upper East Siders were  at events or parties non stop. Such occasions call for the best fashion had to offer , and Serena always killed it in her party dresses . This dress stands out to me because of the print and the cut. The pearls add some sophistication to the look as well, making Serena really look the part of the socialite that she is.

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More yellow from Blair and I love it! This looks is so flirty and sweet. I love the bright colors, the prints, and the accents.

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Ponchos, peeptoes, and a Chanel bag for the win!

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Serena rocked this poncho dress! It is so cute, so polished, and perfect for fall. I love the contrast of the ensemble with the brown booties, and the tights are a perfect addition.

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So classy, so fabulous, and the purse just pops.

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I am just loving the colors in this outfit. The plumbs and the greens are so pleasing to the eye. The shoes are killer , and the cut of the dress is perfect. I need this dress, and the purse….and the shoes.

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I love the simplicity of this look and the super cute headband. I never see people wearing headbands like that anymore! The plumb color is beautiful, and this dress would be perfect for a party!

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Olive green heels with gold bottoms? Yes, please! This look is so gorgeous and perfect for spring time. The statement necklace, the soft prints, the blazer…I need it all.

Gossip Girl was a very entertaining show, even though it was somewhat toxic and pretty unrealistic( I mean c’mon all of the characters, who were high school aged, never once got ID checked when they frequented clubs and bars). Serena and Blair, frenemies to the end, made a lot of bad decisions, but at least they looked good while doing it!

Happy 10th Anniversary to Gossip Girl! There is no denying the impact it has had on popular culture. Maybe I enjoyed it late, but I’m glad I got to enjoy it all.

P.S. I still can’t get over who gossip girl was hahahaha.

XOXO

Couturely Sound

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A Growing Issue In Reality TV

Reality TV is terribly flawed. Whether it’s the manufactured plot lines, the scripted dialog, or the lack of overall merit, reality TV is a form of cheap entertainment that continues to make big money.

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I would be lying if I said I never watched reality TV. I get bored sometimes, and the antics of some of the individuals on these shows are laughable, even if they are completely fake.

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One form of reality TV that I thoroughly enjoy are those that are in a competition format. These are the American Idol and Survivor type shows. For a while I thought, “Wow, networks have finally delivered reality TV with some truth and merit.” I was wrong. While these type of programs are generally less scripted, they are still, for lack of a better word, rigged. Sob stories are to thank for this issue.

The dreaded sob story. We all know when they are coming. Sad music might begin, the contestant in question gets silent when they are asked what inspires them or something along those lines, and then suddenly the tears begin to fall as the person in question delves into a story about how life has smacked them in the face. I’m sick of sob stories. I think this clip just about sums up how I feel about them.

 

Maybe that clip made you laugh, maybe it didn’t. Maybe I sound like an insensitive jerk, but I’ll plead my case.

In recent years, I’ve noticed a pattern. Reality TV judges tend to pick winners who either have the best journey or the best sob story over actual talent or skill. If these contestants don’t win the show, they usually still get pretty far because of how “moving” or “inspiring” they are. This method would work if the show was called America’s Best Sob Story and not America’s Got Talent. In some cases the person with the most talent and best sob story are successful, but I think that’s pretty rare. In most cases the person who wins is about 75% sob story and 25% unbelievable talent.

On Season 14 of Project Runway, Ashley Nell Tipton had struggled with self-image issues and bullying for her entire life. A talented designer, she was one of four contestants to make it to New York Fashion Week. Tipton was inspired by her own background, so she designed a plus size collection. I appreciated her ambition; the fashion world simply does not cater to the plus size demographic and it’s unfair. However, from a fashion stand point alone, not a social one, her collection was relatively pedestrian and borderline cheesy. I mean she glued details on to some of the dresses she made. That isn’t high fashion by any stretch of the imagination. The judges loved her collection, and she went on to win the show. Their decision was, as usual, inconsistent with public opinion. There is no doubt in my mind that Project Runway wanted to appear socially conscious, so they picked Tipton over three better executed final collections. Tipton was a great designer, but not good enough to win it all. In this case, the journey and emotions had won instead of actual skill.

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These were a few of  Tipton’s designs.

 

In the 2015 season of MasterChef, much of the same happened. Derrick was a front runner for the entire season. He was a young guy who cooked for recreation and wanted to go somewhere with it. Claudia also loved to cook, but she came in hot with the sob story. She was a single mom who needed to win the $250,000 to support herself and daughter. When the finale rolled around, Derrick was clearly the better cook. Of course, I could only see the food, but the way the judges responded to each contestant’s dishes proved to me that they favored Derrick. Derek was experimental, Claudia played it safe. Of course Claudia mentioned just how much she needed to win frequently, and the judges fell for it. I was utterly shocked when they crowned her as MasterChef. I’m thinking the producers didn’t want to seem like jerks for not letting a single mom win. ( I am in no way discrediting single moms either, it is just that MasterChef is a cooking competition) Again, Claudia was a great cook, but her sob story gave her way too much leverage.

 

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NBC has a new show out called World of Dance. There was one contestant who delivered a great performance. When the judges asked him what the inspiration behind his dance was, he referenced his parents’ divorce and then proceeded to burst into tears. I think the guy would have gone through regardless of his story, but it most definitely inflated his scores, and made the judges go soft.

My parents are divorced, and divorce definitely takes a toll on families, but one things for sure: my parents’ divorce won’t increase my chances of getting into a college. Why should it then, increase someone’s chances of winning a competition?

Which brings me to my next point. A sob story is not worth a million dollars or some other multitude of money. Heck, if it was, we’d all be a million dollars richer. We’ve all have some sort of sob story because life is not kind to anyone. Let’s be real. I’m not discrediting some of the life experiences that people have gone through. I get it-life is hard.  However, we do not all have million dollar talent, and that is what these shows are supposed to be measuring.

The use of  sob stories is pretty manipulative to be honest. If an act, designer, or cook can’t fully intrigue judges with their skills, they whip out all of the tears and dramatics.

If I didn’t already scare you away with my cynicism, here is some more. I’m not sure how credible some of these stories are in the first place.

In case you’ve never seen this Spongebob episode, it is later revealed that the guy with the “glass bones” is a total scam. In a world of deception across the board, who can we really trust? I’m sure most people wouldn’t lie about their circumstances, because some are truly horrible and tear-inducing, but I’m also sure quite a few would. It’s all food for thought I guess.

It just drives me crazy that anyone should get farther in life due to anything that isn’t based off of merit or hard work. But now that I think of it, that’s all reality TV is isn’t it? It definitely required a lot of blood sweat and tears for the Kardashians to get where they are right? Definitely.

kim k

Couturely Sound ❤

 

13 Reasons Why I Loved 13 Reasons Why

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13 Reasons Why. I’m sure you’ve heard of it by now; its practically inescapable. 13 Reasons Why is Netflix’s newest show, and it is based off of Jay Asher’s novel of the same name. I think its safe to say that the miniseries has become something of a world phenomenon.

I have known about the book for a few years now, but I never got around to reading it. After seeing the show everywhere and hearing about how good it was from all of my peers, I decided to check it out. Now, after watching the show, I will make it a point to get around to reading the book.

13 Reasons Why follows the story of Hannah Baker, a high school student who has recently committed suicide. She leaves behind thirteen tapes that each provide a reason for why she decided to take her life, and it causes a frenzy among her classmates. There are 13 episodes for all 13 tapes, so the season is a pretty fast watch.

I thought 13 Reasons Why was excellent, and while I was eager to find out what happened as the series progressed, I also didn’t want it to end. It was that good. Here’s why:

1. It was suspenseful and mysterious

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When Clay Jensen, one of Hannah’s friends( who also had a crush on her), first gets the box of tapes he is pretty confused and seemingly scared. This is how I felt the entire time I watched the show. As each reason is unveiled, the suspense builds.  “Who would be next?” and “what did they do?”  “What did Clay do?” These were questions that came to mind as I slowly found out what led to Hannah Baker’s death. I think what makes the show most mysterious in the first place is the fact that as her classmates are listening to her tapes, Hannah is already dead. The show kept me wanting more, and kept me on the edge of my seat, and that’s what all shows should do.

2. The acting was great

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I have to say-the cast did a great job. The acting was convincing, so much so that I could feel every emotion the characters were going through. Had the acting been sub par this show could have gone very differently, but the soulful performances really take the story to the next level.

3. It was really well developed 

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The writing, the direction, and the production was great. The show was very well put together and well thought out. Most adaptations of YA novels are released as movies, but I think releasing 13 Reasons Why as a show worked out perfectly. Having each episode be a new tape was so well executed, and it allowed for more expansion on the characters. The way the scenes were pieced together also worked so well.

4. The Characters

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The characters have so much depth. They truly drive the show, and I think they are easy to relate to. Often teenagers in most shows aren’t depicted very realistically. They are one dimensional and often times pretentious. These characters were well developed, and over the course of the show I felt like I knew them.

5. It was edgy and dark

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I have never seen another teen show like this, and I think it’s because it was darker in tone. The fact that the show is based around a suicide says it all.

6. It was emotional

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The show deals with loss, confusion, and fear. It made me feel things as I watched it, and that is something I look for in TV and film. There were definitely heightened emotions throughout the course of the season, and it all seemed pretty genuine.

7. It’s relevant

Suicide is an issue that seems to be gaining traction with each passing year, so the themes in 13 Reasons Why seem especially relevant. The show deals with a lot of different issues that teenagers are plagued with, and it shines a light on bullying, harassment, and the effects of suicide on communities. In an increasingly toxic environment due to the internet among other things, I think this show could act as a reminder for how to treat people, and it puts emphasis on the weight our choices and actions have on ourselves and others.

8. Diversity

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The characters were all from different backgrounds, which I loved. There were white kids, Asian kids, black kids, and a Hispanic boy. I thought this was really cool because often shows only have characters from the same kind of background. Not every high school is diverse, but I like that the show made an effort to represent a lot of high schools out there that are.

9. It gave me a reality check

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I live in a bubble of sorts. I don’t party or do any of the stuff that accompanies partying. My high school experience has not been too wild, so I haven’t encountered a lot of the issues that the show covers myself, which is probably a good thing. Sometimes I forget that my peers, and other high schoolers across the country, go through the same stuff that is outlined in the show. 13 Reasons Why was a great reminder that these issues are real and happening.

10.  It will make you think

As I was watching the show, I had so many questions. What would happen if someone at my school took their own life and made tapes detailing why? Would I be on them? Should Hannah have made the tapes? How could someone deal with being one of the reasons for another person’s death?

11. It doesn’t rely on melodrama

13 Reasons Why obviously has drama or else it wouldn’t be entertaining, but the drama doesn’t seem unnecessary. So many shows have a pregnancy, a car accident, and some major bombshell in every episode. Shows can be so saturated with drama, that they seem unrealistic. 13 Reasons Why doesn’t do this. Everything that happens fits well, and the drama is real.

12. It’s real, raw, and ambitious

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This show does not hold back. The characters act like real high school students, explicit language and all. The use of explicit language in a teen show is something that is new to me. Most of the time the characters in other shows will curse, but it’s always sugarcoated. 13 Reasons Why does not sugarcoat anything, so much so that some elements of it will make you wince. Everything is stripped down and raw, which makes it so much more realistic. To make a show of this nature is really ambitious, and the creators were not afraid to really take 13 Reasons Why to the max.

13. It’s not like anything I’ve ever seen before

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This show is so different than its peers for the reasons mentioned above. It’s memorable, suspenseful, real, emotional, ambitious, and it left an impression on me. I am the first person that will shoot down anything that is overrated. 13 Reasons Why does not fit that description. I really enjoyed it, and it truly deserves the hype.

So, if you’re kind of bored some weekend, and you haven’t checked out 13 Reasons Why, you should. It is definitely worth your time.

❤ Couturely Sound

One Tree Hill

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Wow. One Tree Hill is a fantastic show. I know it’s been 14 years since the show initially aired and it’s been 5 years since the show’s conclusion, but better late than never right? One Tree Hill was recommended to me by a friend and I’m so glad she mentioned it. I had heard of One Tree Hill before; it is recognized as one of the best teen dramas of the 2000s. I had never watched it up until this point though because it was a little before my time. I wasn’t exactly watching teen dramas at age three.

I started watching the show on Netflix back in July and just finished the last episode yesterday night. When I look at the show as a whole I really appreciate it among its contemporaries. While One Tree Hill  was similar to most teen shows of its time, I think what sets it apart is the presence of values and uplifting elements. Take Gossip Girl for instance. I liked Gossip Girl because it was very scandalous, suspenseful, and the fashion was top notch. It also took place in New York which is something I liked. Gossip Girl was definitely edgier than One Tree Hill, but with edge comes the loss of values. The characters on Gossip Girl were more or less horrible people. They didn’t treat each other right, and everyone was surrounded by scandals, drugs, lies, and deceit.Yes there was a happy ending but the absence of morals was prominent. It all makes for a great drama but it was missing some of the light that I saw in One Tree Hill.

One Tree Hill had the scandals, the lies, the murders, and the deceit, but underneath it all there were themes of love, forgiveness, family, friendship, leadership, and kindness. All of the characters definitely were not perfect, but they came out as better people and by the end of the series they grew so much. They actually had depth.

I think One Tree Hill really displays the magic of small towns and the warmth they emanate. Tree Hill is home to many of the characters in the show and it is always the place they return to. They grew up there and their kids will grow up there. There was a strong sense of community throughout the show, and for some reason so many people found a home in this sleepy town. I also can’t forget all of the musical acts that came through the town from time to time. That was always great to see.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m thankful I was able to watch this show. It made me extremely nostalgic as I watched the series and especially the last episode. One Tree Hill reminded me of simpler times and made me long for the life long friendships that all of the characters will enjoy. I couldn’t have asked for a better show.

Watch it some time!

Couturely Sound ❤