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Month: August 2016

Queer Nativity Scenes Show That It’s Love That Makes A Family

Queer Nativity Scenes Show That It’s Love That Makes A Family

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The nativity scene is arguably the most iconic image of Christmas ― it’s splashed on the fronts of Christmas cards, displayed in people’s homes, acted out in church plays, and even planted on public property.

Despite some slight variations, the scene is usually the same ― Mary and Joseph in a stable, leaning tenderly over a manger where the baby Jesus is peacefully sleeping. A perfect, holy, heterosexual family.

Kittredge Cherry, a retired lesbian pastor and author from Los Angeles, is convinced that this image of a traditional family only scratches the surface of the Christmas story. After all, Cherry told The Huffington Post, the Bible claims Jesus himself comes from a very untraditional family ― he technically had two fathers (God and his adoptive dad, Joseph). And she pointed out that Mary gave birth without having sex with a man, not unlike lesbian mothers who use artificial insemination to start their families. 

So a few years back, Cherry reimagined the nativity scene in a way that challenged the notion of a “traditional family” that is so prized in conservative Christian culture today.

Her nativity included two Marys and two Josephs. 

Kittredge Cherry

Cherry bought two nativity sets, then switched the couples around to create a queer nativity. 

Cherry said that the 2009 photo series, titled “Love Makes A Holy Family,” was not intended to be historically or biblically accurate, but to challenge people to expand their notions about what a family is, and what it means for Jesus to come from such an untraditional family. 

Plus, she added, the nativity scene itself is an invention that isn’t biblically accurate. The first nativity scenes emerged more than 1000 years after Jesus’ death

“The conservative Christians of today tend to act like they own the copyright on Jesus and they get mad when someone changes the image and switches the figures around,” Cherry said. “They don’t want to think that Jesus could be one of us, but that was the message of the whole Christmas story ― that God is with us.”

Cherry is a retired Christian minister who has spent decades preaching about God’s love for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. She was ordained by the Metropolitan Community Churches, a queer-friendly denomination, and worked in San Francisco during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. She’s advocated for Christian churches to be more welcoming and inclusive of LGBTQ Christians, and she knows firsthand the damaging effects of a theology that bars them from experiencing family life. 

Cherry said that Christmas is a time that is especially hard for some queer Christians.

“People in the gay and lesbian community feel excluded from the church much of the time,” she said. “Then at Christmastime there’s a lot of depression, because there’s so much emphasis on the church and the family, and a lot of gay and lesbian people have been excluded from their families, or their families won’t let you bring your partner home for Christmas.”  

Kittredge Cherry

Cherry said that Jesus himself came from an untraditional family. The Bible suggests that Christ had two fathers — God and his adoptive dad, Joseph.

Cherry created her nativity scenes in 2009 by purchasing two sets of figures from Amazon and mixing them up. She took photos of the newly formed set, and eventually, decided to sell the images as Christmas cards

While the cards only sell about 100 copies every year, Cherry said her images always tend to provoke much discussion. 

This year, an artist in California decided to turn her images into ornaments and sell them online, reportedly without Cherry’s permission. The ornaments caught the eye of a conservative Christian group and resulted in a flurry of articles online.

Cherry wasn’t expecting her photo series to pop up in the news this year. She said it was an “unexpected gift” to be able to share these images with the world again ― especially considering the challenges that queer Americans will face after President-elect Donald Trump and his vice-president Michael Pence, a conservative Christian, come into office.

Below, a YouTube video that Cherry made of her nativity sets. 

Rev. Anthony Fatta, a United Methodist Church pastor from California, told The Huffington Post it was important to see alternative, queer-friendly versions of the nativity. He believes much homophobia is rooted in heteronormative portrayals of either Adam and Eve or Mary and Joseph. As a result of those narratives, queer kids grow up knowing what it feels like to be left out of certain spaces, like Mary and Joseph were during their search for an inn, or to feel different from everyone else in your family, as Jesus probably felt during his youth.

“For American Christians, rethinking and reinterpreting the Nativity scene can help us all realize how broad God’s love is supposed to be,” he told The Huffington Post.

Alex McNeill, executive director of the LGBTQ advocacy group More Light Presbyterians, said that Cherry’s interpretation of the nativity speaks to the heart of the Christmas story. 

“As a queer person, if I don’t see myself anywhere in the narrative of the birth, life, and death of Jesus, it can be hard to imagine that my incarnation as a queer body is included in God’s love,” McNeill said. “A queer Nativity scene pulls me into a sacred imagination of seeing queer bodies as also capable of embodying and working for God’s love made manifest in the world.”

Cherry believes that images of queer spirituality are going to be important over the next few years, to counter the conservative Christian agenda that the new administration will push. 

“It’s going to be important to express that there’s another way to follow Christ and that is the way that embraces all the people that are excluded,” Cherry said. “So I hope [these images] provide not just an alternative view of society but another way to be a Christian.”

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5 Black Beauty Moments That Stole The Spotlight In 2016

5 Black Beauty Moments That Stole The Spotlight In 2016

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Let’s be real, 2016 was filled with so many magical black girl beauty moments. From music videos to magazine covers, black women rocked them all. 

On Thursday’s episode of the “BV Breakdown” ― HuffPost Black Voices’ bi-weekly show devoted to all things black culture ― Essence’s digital fashion and beauty director Julee Wilson joined as a guest to reflect on a few of her favorite show-stopping looks.

This list is by no means comprehensive (we’d be here all day if it were) but to give you a glimpse, here are five of Wilson’s most memorable black beauty moments from this year: 

1. Solange’s “A Seat At The Table” Album Cover

Solange released her third studio album in September and blessed us with an incredible cover image to go with it. The artist’s bold brows, barely-there makeup and multicolored duckbill hair clips fit the unapologetic tone of her album perfectly, and even inspired a wave of Solange Halloween costumes

”This will forever be an iconic image. I think that she has just really pushed the envelope stylistically with her music, but also [with her] fashion and beauty,” Wilson said. “This ‘Seat At The Table’ album was such a beautiful homage to black women and I love that she went this very creative, abstract route for her album cover.”

2. Any Of Alicia Keys’ “No Makeup” Looks

Alicia Keys set off a major beauty movement when she announced her commitment to go makeup-free. While her choice to relinquish her makeup routine sparked both cheers and criticism, Keys looks as beautiful as ever with her sans-makeup look.  

“Everyone was talking about it when Alicia Keys wrote that ‘Lenny Letter’ essay about forgoing makeup. I think it was really powerful,” said Wilson. “I wear makeup. I’m wearing makeup right now. I think my makeup is on fleek … but I think it’s just a beautiful stance for a woman, any where, any how, to say, ‘I’m just going to let you see me for me.’” 

3. Gabby Douglas’ Bold Lipstick At The Olympics

Mike Blake / Reuters

Gymnast Gabby Douglass rocked a berry lipstick shade while competing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Gabby Douglas won an Olympic gold medal with her “Final Five” teammates in Rio this year, “but she also gets a gold medal for this makeup look,” Wilson said. Douglas’ crimson lipstick caught our eye the moment that she stepped up to start her routine. 

“Some people tried to come for her hair again, but she wasn’t playing those games,” Wilson said. “I love that she really brushed the haters off this year and I think she stepped into this womanhood. I feel like that lipstick was really a moment to be like, ‘I’m grown. Don’t come for me. I’m a badass athlete. I’m a gold medal Olympian.”

4. Lupita Nyong’o’s Towering Met Gala Hair

Rabbani and Solimene Photography via Getty Images

Lupita Nyong’o’s African-inspired hairdo turned heads at the 2016 Met Gala.

Actress Lupita Nyong’o abandoned her signature close-cropped cut and opted to take her hair to new heights at this year’s Met Gala. While Vogue compared the look to Aubrey Hepburn, Nyong’o and her hairstylist Vernon Francois actually drew inspiration for the ‘do from Nina Simone and African traditions. 

“They just have such an amazing partnership and they came up with this beautiful hairstyle, which is a homage to lots of different hairstyles from the past,” Wilson said of Nyong’o and Francois’ friendship. “Nina Simone had a hairstyle like this… I think it was beautiful that [Nyong’o] chose to do it on the biggest red carpet for fashion.” 

5. Sasha Obama’s Standout Cornrow Braids

Pool via Getty Images

That cat-eye makeup is perfection. 

The White House’s Canadian state dinner was filled with all sorts of stunning looks, but Sasha Obama’s braids, which she paired with winged eyeliner and a choker, stole the show.

“I feel like everyone was doing those two cornrow braids, dutch braids, and she just did it in such a chic, beautiful, new way,” Wilson said. “It’s also a great nod to black hair and braids… You know she could have gone for the sleek cut, but I love that she did this.” 

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I Tried To Quit Sugar, But Failed Without Realizing Why

I Tried To Quit Sugar, But Failed Without Realizing Why

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You may think you’ve had a love affair with sugar, but you haven’t. I have. And it was intense.

At 4 p.m. sharp every workday, I would open my desk drawer for “cocktail hour,” aka the time when I indulged in as many cookies, candies and s’mores Goldfish as acceptable in a professional environment. At 7 p.m., it was time for a margarita with dinner. At midnight, it was fresh-baked cookies in bed. Seven in the morning meant a vanilla latte. (Hold the latte, extra vanilla.) 

In short, I was in love with sugar. So last spring, I made a resolution to eat better, like so many people do at the start of a new year. Specifically, I decided to “give up sugar” for Lent, the 46-day period leading up to Easter. The plan was simple: Stop eating refined sugar, and feel like a healthy, bionic champion.

Forty-six days later, I was NOT a bionic champion. But I did learn a lot about sugar, and what “giving up sugar” should actually look and feel like.

Firstly, I should note that I was “giving up sugar” all wrong. 

I told myself I would stop eating refined sugar, which I loosely defined as corn syrup and the grainy, white stuff we add to cookies and cakes. I decided that any food or drink which listed “corn syrup” or “sugar” as an ingredient was off-limits. More “natural” sweeteners, however, like honey and maple syrup, were still allowed. I knew most ketchup contained a crazy amount of corn syrup, but I decided I could eat as much as I wanted. Just for fun.

Suzy Strutner

Clearly, we had a problem.

 My plan was seriously flawed.

Clearly my plan was problematic for a number of reasons, but its main flaw was that it allowed me to eat as much honey and maple syrup as I wanted, because I thought they were “freebies” in the nutrition world. Turns out they’re not. There are two general categories of sugar:

1) Natural sugars. These occur naturally in food and drink. Lactose is a sugar naturally found in milk, and apples naturally contain fructose, glucose and sucrose. They aren’t considered “bad” for you in that U.S. dietary guidelines don’t limit how much of them you should consume.

2) Added sugars. As you can guess, this is any sugar we add to food that wasn’t there in the first place. This includes table sugar and corn syrup. But it also includes honey, maple syrup and sweeteners like agave nectar and brown rice syrup, which contain sugar but don’t naturally occur in, say, the oats or bread we slather them upon.

There are strict guidelines for how much of this added sugar you should consume. The U.S. Food And Drug Administration recommends no more than 50 grams of added sugar per day. The type doesn’t matter: It can come from adding honey to your oatmeal or dumping corn syrup into your muffin mix. Because as it turns out,

All sugar affects your body pretty much the same.

You may think the more “natural” added sugar in honey is healthier than the more “processed” added sugar in corn syrup. This isn’t true. A recent study confirmed that honey has the same effect on the body as corn syrup. In excess, both kinds of sugar damage your weight, heart health and brain function equally.

Of course, a little syrup on your pancakes every now and then won’t hurt. But most of us don’t realize that food companies sneak sugar into everything they can, from salad dressing to pasta sauce. Even a healthy-sounding Clif Bar has 22 grams of sugar, much of it in the form of healthy-sounding “organic brown rice syrup.”

So, what should I have done to “give up sugar?”

It isn’t necessary to limit natural sugars like the ones in milk and fruit, Dr. William Dietz, an obesity prevention expert at George Washington University, told HuffPost. But he said that in order to truly “give up” the sugar that is harmful to my body, I should have stopped eating all added sugars, including the ones I thought were “healthy” like honey and maple syrup. Of course, ketchup definitely shouldn’t have been allowed.

So I “gave up sugar” all wrong. But even with my small sugar restriction, I did notice some changes in how I felt and acted. Namely,

While I was “giving up sugar,” I couldn’t stop thinking about cookies.

The first few days “without sugar” felt great, like I was going through a detox my body desperately needed. Then, the cravings reared their sugary heads. I was at a friend’s birthday party, talking to my roommate, when suddenly all I could think about, see or smell were the cookies on the table behind her. It was like I had a laser focus on that sugar source, and I couldn’t think of anything else. Was this evidence of the “sugar addiction” I had read so much about?

Probably not, says Dr. Dietz.  

In order to even have a chance of experiencing sugar withdrawals, he says, I would’ve had to do something like a ketogenic diet, which cuts out the natural sugar from fruit along with refined sugars and refined carbohydrates (which the body eventually reduces into sugar). Since I was eating fruit, carbs and all sorts of sneaky added sugars, it’s unlikely my crazy cookie craving was a result of withdrawal.

I also craved fatty, fried foods more.

Since I couldn’t look forward to my dessert kick at the end of the day, I began looking forward to ― and eating ― fried chicken and French fries more. Much more. Again, Dr. Dietz said there’s no physiological basis for this. But still, my desire for fried goodies took months to subside, even after I started eating more sugar again.

If I had actually given up sugar the serious way, Dr. Dietz says, there may have been two to three days where I felt like I had a light flu, complete with headaches, fatigue and nausea. That’s because your body needs to adjust to running on substances called ketones instead of its usual sugar.

But overall, I felt more like a strong, powerful human.

Before I “gave up sugar,” it felt like I simply had to try every cookie, candy and crazy dessert that crossed my desk. (And at this job, that happens a lot.) I’d feel a tinge of guilt every time I popped another Oreo in my mouth, knowing it wasn’t the healthiest choice. But the novelty of a new flavor made me eat it anyway.

But after I “gave up sugar,” I had an excuse to say no to that temptation, and it felt great. I got a morale boost from realizing I could successfully “give up sugar” if I set my mind to it. Research shows that “small wins,” like saying no to a cookie or making your bed in the morning, can give you the motivation to make even bigger life changes.

And THAT is what new years resolutions are all about.

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Carrie Fisher Dead At 60 Following Hospitalization

Carrie Fisher Dead At 60 Following Hospitalization

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Actress Carrie Fisher, best known for playing Princess Leia Organa in the original “Star Wars” trilogy, has died at age 60.

Fisher was taken to UCLA Medical Center after reportedly suffering a heart attack on Friday. She leaves behind a daughter, 24-year-old actress Billie Lourd, who released this statement through the family’s spokesman, Simon Halls:

“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” reads the statement.

“She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly. Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.”

Fisher was born in 1956 in Beverly Hills, California, to singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds. She attended Beverly Hills High School until she left to act alongside her mother in a Broadway revival of “Irene.” Later, she studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, and was accepted into Sarah Lawrence College to study the arts, but did not graduate.

Ron Galella via Getty Images

Carrie Fisher during the 31st annual Golden Apple Awards in 1977.

Fisher played Leia in the original “Star Wars” film, “A New Hope,” at age 19. She was 20 when the film was released in 1977. She continued to play a lead role in the iconic sci-fi series alongside co-stars Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford, starring in “The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980 and “Return of the Jedi” in 1983. She most recently returned to the franchise in 2015, where she reprised her role as Leia Organa — now a general — in “The Force Awakens.” 

While finding success with “Star Wars,” Fisher continued her illustrious career on the silver screen in films such as “The Blues Brothers” (1980), “Hannah and Her Sisters” (1986) and “When Harry Met Sally …” (1989), among others.

Sunset Boulevard via Getty Images

Fisher, center, on the set of “Star Wars: A New Hope.”

The actress dated musician Paul Simon starting in 1977. The two had a yearlong marriage that ended in 1984. In between, Fisher was engaged to actor Dan Aykroyd, with whom she starred in “The Blues Brothers.” Fisher later coupled up with CAA talent agent Bryan Lourd, with whom she had her daughter, Billie, in 1992.

Fisher was also a prolific writer, first publishing her semi-autobiographical novel Postcards from the Edge in 1987, about an actress who tries to regain a hold of her life after a near drug overdose. The book was adapted into a movie in 1990 starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine.

Axel Koester via Getty Images

Carrie Fisher performing during a dress rehearsal of her one-woman play “Wishful Drinking” in 2006.

Later, she published a memoir titled Wishful Drinking, based on her one-woman stage show of the same name. In it, Fisher touched on topics from growing up as Reynolds’ daughter, to bipolar disorder, drug addiction and motherhood. She released her latest memoir, The Princess Diarist, in 2016. In the book, she revealed that she had an “intense” affair with “Star Wars” co-star Ford.

Fisher also built a reputation in Hollywood as being a skilled scriptwriter. According to Uproxx, the actress had a hand in polishing scripts for “Hook,” “The Wedding Singer,” and “Sister Act,” among other films.

In recent years, Fisher had become a humorous presence on Twitter, handily commenting during presidential debates and shutting down critics.

A legend of the screen, stage and page, this icon will be deeply missed.

CJ Rivera via Getty Images

Carrie Fisher in October 2016.

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Lest We Forget, America Suffered Its Deadliest Mass Shooting This Year

Lest We Forget, America Suffered Its Deadliest Mass Shooting This Year

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Gun violence permeates the American way of life.

The past two years have been so bloody that it’s possible to lose track of individual events, even the most devastating ones. Shootings that rip open families and communities, that become the before-and-after events around which people forever define their lives, are so common now that they blur together.

It’s easy to forget the past as we try to move forward. But it’s important to remember that 2016 was the year that America suffered its deadliest mass shooting amid a torrent of gun violence all over the country. It’s important to remember how it felt, and to fight to try and ensure nothing similar ever happens again.

On June 12, a gunman swept through Pulse, a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and injuring dozens more. Omar Mateen committed one of the most violent acts of terror in the country since 2001, and the deadliest mass shooting in American history.

Today, we’re still parsing the details, and the LGBTQ community in Orlando is still coping. Donations poured in ― one fund now sits at nearly $8 million ― as the country stood in solidarity with Pulse. But we only got a few days of reflection before the next nightmarish attack.

On July 7, a gunman took aim at police in Dallas during a Black Lives Matter protest, killing five officers and injuring another seven people. It was another record day for gun violence: the deadliest day for cops since Sept. 11, 2001.

Those shootings were a punch in the gut (as were the deaths, days earlier, of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, two black men killed by police in Louisiana and Minnesota, respectively). There have been 289 mass shooting incidents in 2016, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which compiles data from shootings where four or more people are killed or injured. Since Jan. 1, 2016, there have been at least 16 mass shootings in which four or more people were killed, not including the perpetrator, according to data collected by Everytown for Gun Safety. Running tallies of mass shootings, such as those compiled by Vice and other outlets, are virtually unreadable for their sheer length.

Los Angeles. Burlington and Belfair, Washington. Sinking Spring and Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. Roswell, New Mexico. Appling, Georgia. Peebles, Ohio. Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Hesston, Kansas. Phoenix. Kalamazoo, Michigan. Chesapeake, Virginia.

Chicago. Always, Chicago.

These are just some of the communities that were left in shambles in 2016. Some of these shootings you may not remember, or maybe didn’t even hear about at the time. The people who lived through them don’t have the option to forget.

What happens next

States are starting to chip away at semiautomatic guns ― which are often involved in the most deadly shootings, and which are, as we’ve reported, a breeze to obtain.

California passed a sweeping gun control measure in November that bans possession of large-capacity magazines and the sale of semiautomatic weapons with quick-release magazine buttons. The measure also makes background checks mandatory for ammo purchases. Of course, gun sales skyrocketed after Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed the bill, but semiautomatic rifles will need to be registered with the state after Jan. 1.

In Nevada, voters passed a state background check initiative despite a $6.6 million opposition campaign by the National Rifle Association, according to Everytown. Nevada joined 18 other states in curbing a long-standing loophole allowing people to avoid background checks by purchasing weapons at gun shows and other private events, the Las Vegas Sun reports.

Though Congress has repeatedly failed to get real gun control at the federal level ― despite hundreds of school shootings since the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre ― President Barack Obama earned a small win by signing his Mental Health Reform Act this month. The act is meant to provide funding for training teachers, emergency personnel and others to identify symptoms of at-risk individuals and symptoms of mental illness.

It remains unclear how the work toward gun control might be affected by the Trump administration. The president-elect has already flip-flopped on the issue, saying during the debates that the Second Amendment is “under absolute siege” but also calling for people who buy “all sorts of body armor and other things” to be flagged.

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Baggage Handler Gets Locked Inside Plane’s Cargo Area During Flight

Baggage Handler Gets Locked Inside Plane’s Cargo Area During Flight

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United Express is investigating how a baggage handler became trapped inside the cargo area of one of its planes en route from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Washington, D.C.

The United Express flight 6060, operated by Mesa Airlines, departed Charlotte-Douglas Airport and traveled for 1 hour and 22 minutes to Washington Dulles International Airport Sunday. The plane was an Embraer 175, a small regional jet, according to FlightStats.com.

Reginald Gaskin, 45, who declined to comment when reached by The Washington Post, was stuck inside the cargo area of the plane, but was reportedly unharmed. Airline workers became aware Gaskin was possibly trapped in the plane when the flight was already en route, The Post reported.

United Express confirmed it was looking into the incident. “An employee of the airline’s ground handling vendor was found unharmed in the aircraft’s cargo hold,” it said in a statement to Charlotte’s local Fox station.

The Huffington Post has reached out to United Express for further comment.

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Executive Chef Andrew Roenbeck Brings A “Boca Twist” To The Boca Raton Resort & Club

Executive Chef Andrew Roenbeck Brings A “Boca Twist” To The Boca Raton Resort & Club

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I met up with Executive Chef Andrew Roenbeck in the garden room of the Italian restaurant Lucca at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. Gregarious and friendly, Andrew is a strong presence at the resort, having worked there for 26 years, first starting out as Executive Sous Chef for 14 years before taking over as the Executive Chef. He oversees 178 cooks, 65 stewards and 15 area chefs at the 13 restaurants located throughout the resort, club and clubhouse.

Andrew attributes his job tenure to the specialness of the resort. “The longevity of the team here is abnormally long because it’s such a dynamic place. There is flashy, newer competition out there, but they don’t have what this resort has. Our guests and members and convention attendees are well-traveled, understand quality very quickly, and their expectation is high. So our job is to make sure that, even though we are a historic property, we are staying ahead of what the current trends are but weighing that against being too flashy.”

He doesn’t have a typical day but his job goes beyond what the job title suggests. “The reason why I can stay here as long as I have is because, truly, each week and each day there is something new. When you are dealing with that many associates, it’s kind of like working at the United Nations. If you name the nationality, personality or temperament, we have it. You have to be as much of a chef as you do a financial planner, a guidance counselor, even a pastor at times. It’s amazing what comes across the chef’s plate here and to keep all the moving parts moving is unique.”

Andrew has had many mentors during his career to prepare him for this role, including Steven Hall who ultimately convinced him to come to the resort. His job is very detail oriented, and there is a lot of precision that goes into creating what he calls the “boca twist”. One example he gives is something he learned from mentor Kelly Vohs, who taught him that “a restaurant has to have something called MELT. It’s music, entertainment, lighting, temperature. If one of those is off, you don’t feel comfortable in the space and you won’t want to go back to it, even if you don’t know why. As an owner, you have to ask yourself if one of those things is off. So when we look at a restaurant, we want to make sure, before we open a restaurant, is the music and volume correct, is the temperature correct and does it need be adjusted throughout the night.”

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Andrew credits the resort with changing to keep up with the current times, yet keeping the strong traditions. He strongly believes in the individuality of each restaurant at the resort. “Every restaurant needs to swim in its own lane; there can’t be crossover. I don’t care if we have a number one selling dish – what you don’t do is drop that dish into every menu at the resort.” The menus change seasonally, four times a year, as do the drink menus. They source the food, whenever possible, using local farms for produce, including hydroponic farm Swank Specialty Produce, and four local fisherman to bring in the fish daily, and SeaGrille offers a list of “today’s catch” of fresh fish which changes on a daily basis. The resort also obtain a good portion of their Kobe Wagyu beef from nearby Jackman Ranch, located in Florida, that raises its cattle free of hormones and antibiotics. Regarding the unique drink menu, Andrew comments that, “Eric Hammer moved specifically into the Director of Beverage role a year and a half ago because we wanted to make sure that we were focusing on the current trendy drinks, and the creativity that comes with that.”

Lunch options are equally important to Andrew as they average 1500 lunches on the pool deck in three hours. He underscores that, even at lunch, “presentation is key”, with the chopped salads being served in two oversized martini shakers (one upside down on top of the other), and entrees being served in stackable beach-boxes that were custom-made for the resort.

I ask Andrew to name a signature dish at Lucca. “One item that has been on the menu since day one, and we cannot take it off the menu or we are probably going to have a riot at the door, is the Scallops Piccata. It has a caramelized spaghetti sauce with sage and capers and golden raisins, and our beautiful scallops go on top.” Any family recipes? “‘My mother’s potato salad ” he says with a laugh, sharing that he often goes into the walk-in refrigerator to sample the daily prepared salad and make sure that it stays spot-on.

In terms of the best part of his job, “I love a good challenge. I love when we have events that are creative partners with us. When they are looking for the next, best great thing, and we can work within their budget to execute that in the event space or within the restaurants. You have to wear so many hats at a large property like this, you are constantly on the move. As Kelly Vohs would say, ‘BTTY’. Better today than yesterday.”

To find out more, click here.

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This ‘Nasty’ T-Shirt Has Raised Over $100,000 For Planned Parenthood

This ‘Nasty’ T-Shirt Has Raised Over $100,000 For Planned Parenthood

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Nasty women look damn good when we start the revolution. 

After Donald Trump muttered “nasty woman” at Hillary Clinton during the third presidential debate, the phrase quickly became a rallying cry for feminists and Clinton supporters across the country. A website titled nastywomengetshitdone.com was created that redirected to Hillary Clinton’s official website; Etsy stores created “nasty woman” merchandise; people proudly tweeted why they, too, are nasty women

Within hours of that final debate, clothing store Google Ghost created a simple white t-shirt emblazoned with the words “NASTY WOMAN” in a pink heart, with 50 percent of the profits going directly to Planned Parenthood. 

Two months later, Google Ghost has raised over $100,000 for Planned Parenthood. “I didn’t think I’d sell very many, maybe four or five,” Amanda, the shirt’s creator, told The Cut. “But then five turned into 500, and that turned into thousands, almost overnight. What better way to say ‘fuck Trump,’ right?!?!”

Google Ghost celebrated the charitable milestone with a post on their Instagram page, writing: “We’re still taking orders and the donations will continue! THANK YOU to everyone who’s been a part of this crazy whirlwind.” 

Google Ghost offers the “nasty woman” design on all types of swag, including a mug, a tote bag, a sweatshirt and a planner. The shirt also has some celebrity fans including Will Ferrell, Katy Perry and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. 

Scroll below to see some famous and non-famous nasty women donning Google Ghost’s t-shirt. 

Head over to Google Ghost to buy some badass “nasty woman” swag. 

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This Netflix Tweet Hints That There’s More ‘Gilmore Girls’ On The Way

This Netflix Tweet Hints That There’s More ‘Gilmore Girls’ On The Way

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Oy with the poodles, already!

On Wednesday, Netflix sent out a tweet that made many fans of “Gilmore Girls” arch their brows.

The show’s revival, which debuted on Netflix over Thanksgiving weekend, was supposed to be a stand-alone series made to give fans and creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, a little bit of closure. The reboot even featured the last four words Sherman-Palladino had always intended to end the show with. (She didn’t have the opportunity to throw them in during the series’ original run due to her departure before the final season.)

But boy, were those four words — spoken between Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter, Rory — open-ended.

So much so that many believe the show has to run more episodes. Even Lauren Graham, who plays Lorelai, thinks the four words seem more like a cliffhanger than a conclusion, which she mentions multiple times in her memoir, Talking as Fast as I Can.

So when Netflix tweeted out something that makes it sound like there may be more “Gilmore Girls” in our near future, fans freaked. 

(Warning: if you don’t know the four words already, this tweet will pretty much give it away.)

The tweet is a throwback reference to April Nardini’s science fair project in Season 6, which allowed her to discover that Luke Danes was her biological father. Except, this version is tailored to Rory’s life. It features three men whom Rory slept with during the series ― her ex-boyfriend Logan Huntzberger, a random dude in a Wookiee costume and Paul, Rory’s boyfriend throughout the revival whom she finds so unremarkable that she forgets that she’s dating him.

The post also seemingly implies that a future Gilmore girl will be searching for her father, hence more episodes.

People’s reactions on Twitter were mixed.

Some were overjoyed with the sort-of, not really news:

And some feel like the oddball ending suited the show perfectly and it should be left alone:

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Evan Rachel Wood Proves Dresses ‘Aren’t A Requirement’ For Women

Evan Rachel Wood Proves Dresses ‘Aren’t A Requirement’ For Women

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Evan Rachel Wood is not the first woman to wear a suit on the red carpet, but she certainly gets our vote for giving the best explanation why.

The 29-year-old, who is nominated for a 2017 Golden Globe for her work on “Westworld,” opted to wear a stunning custom suit by Altuzarra instead of a gown.

Frazer Harrison via Getty Images

Upon first glance you might just think Wood was making a fashion statement, but as she explained to Ryan Seacrest, the move was more than just sartorial. 

“This is my third nomination and I’ve been to the Globes six times, and I’ve worn a dress every time,” she said. “And I love dresses, I’m not trying to protest dresses, but I wanted to make sure that young girls and women knew they aren’t a requirement. And that you don’t have to wear one if you don’t want to, and to just be yourself because your worth is more than that. So this year I said I’m going as an homage to Marlene Dietrich and Victor Victoria, and David Bowie because it’s his birthday.”

Consider that message heard loud and clear.

Frazer Harrison via Getty Images

Wood wasn’t the only woman wearing a suit on the red carpet Sunday night. Nominee Octavia Spencer wore a custom tuxedo, as well.

Check out more awesome looks from the night below. 

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