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(Not So) Happy New Year, Ladies! Joseph Gordon-Levitt Got Married (Bummer)!

Published January 2, 2015 by The Feminist

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I’m sorry to spoil the start of the new year for you like this, but the sooner we face the facts, the sooner we will be able to move on (and find yet another Hollywood stud to star in our fictional fool’s paradise).

JGL (I get to call him that, since he used to be my hypothetical husband up until Tasha McCauley crashed my dreams and ruined our lovely, albeit imaginary marriage) will never be your man. He will never be my man. He is officially off the market. Be still my pain-stricken heart.

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Dear ladies and fellow members of the JGL fan club: if you feel the need to sob, drink a bottle of red wine out of utter grief or gain a couple of pounds of “Kummerspeck” (i.e. that wonderfully accurate German expression for gaining weight from emotional overeating), by all means go ahead! I totally understand.

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It is indeed a cruel way to kick off 2015. Just when we thought 2015 couldn’t possibly be worse than 2014 – the horrible year in which Ryan Gosling became a father, George Clooney  got married and Benedict Cumberbatch announced his engagement –  Hollywood drops another marriage bomb. Our hopes are crushed. Our hearts are broken. But fear not, dear readers! With such a bad start, 2015 can only get better!

Right?!

Anyway, let’s start focusing on some other fancy –and single!- Hollywood dudes. Let’s find ourselves a new imaginary husband.

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Hunting season has now officially been opened.

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I can feel it, 2015 is going to be such fun!

PS: This doesn’t mean of course that I don’t wish them all the best in the world. Best of luck, Joseph and Tasha! We still love you!

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Sunday Shenanigans: Orange Lipstick, a Flapper Dress and Possibly the Best Movie Ever.

Published March 9, 2014 by The Feminist

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As you all know, yesterday was International Women’s Day. Although I like to believe that every day should be women’s day (because we are so damn awesome!), I would like to dedicate this post to all the women out there who may often feel misunderstood, neglected or simply ignored.

We are women. We should be proud of that. Don’t let anybody tell you that you should tone down your feminine side, if you want to fit into a world dominated by male prejudice and machismo.

Being feminine is who we are. So embrace it.

Therefore, dear readers, this post is going to be about the girliest things imaginable. It is going to be about lipstick, glittery dresses and –oh yes!- romcoms. So get the hell of my blog, boys! For once, this is a “women’s only” blog.

Girly Thought Nr. 1: Orange lipstick: Yay or Nay?

Orange lipstick seems to be everywhere this spring: Fendi, John Galliano or my personal favourite MSGM,… all these brilliant designers showcased very perky lips in literally every shade of orange, ranging from pastel peach to vibrant clementine. I absolutely love this colour, for it gives you an incredible sixties Hollywood glamour vibe.

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The only question is: what about our teeth?

I mean, on the catwalk these beautiful orange-lipped models keep their lips tightly sealed, and the Hollywood A-listers on the red carpet have plenty of money to bleach their teeth into an almost glow-in-the-dark white.

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But what about those who don’t regularly bleach our teeth? I somehow have this hunch that if I were to wear orange lipstick, my teeth (which look rather nice, I might add)  would suddenly look like I’ve been smoking a packet of cigarettes every day ever since the day that I was born.

So what do you think about orange lipstick, dear ladies? Yay or nay?

Girly Thought Nr.2: I bought a Flapper Dress!

For over a year now, I have been looking for a one-and-only flapper dress. A dress that would make me look like a Roaring Twenties diva. A dress that would turn me into a modern-day Daisy Buchanan. A dress that would make me shine…

And I’ve finally found it.

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Needless to say, it is splendidly awesome.

The only thing missing right now, is an old-school Prohibition cocktail and…oh yeah, a Gatsby lookalike.

Girly Thought Nr. 3: About Time is probably the best movie you’ll ever see…

… in your entire life!

When About Time came out in theatres a couple of months ago, I really wanted to go and see it. However, life got in the way (as always!) and I only was able to see it a couple of nights ago, (when I was in the mood for something gooeyly romantic and sappy). Although I always love films with Rachel McAdams, I thought About Time would rank somewhere between “okay” and “pretty good”.

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But… this film was much more than just “pretty good”. This film was perfect. I can’t explain why, but it just is. It is the magical combination of the Notebook meets Notting Hill. It is about time travel (say wuuuut?) and it has a really cheesy message at the end, which –in all its cheeziness- still grabs you by the throat like a poisonous river snake.

One of the possible explanations for my love for this movie is the very Britishness of it all. It is set in London and Cornwall, everyone speaks with such a lovely British accent (except Rachel McAdams of course) and then there is Domhnall Gleeson, who plays the lead character. He is a skinny young man, with messy red hair and the most endearing facial expressions in film history. He is like Ron Weasley, only hundred times better. Domhnall Gleeson is the true star in this ground-breaking romcom. His disarming ordinariness sweeps you off your feet in a way even Hugh Grant in his golden days was never able to.

So yes, it is “about time” you watch it as well.

The Perks of Being Single

Published November 14, 2013 by The Feminist

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Flying solo. There’s probably an entire rainforest of books dedicated to the topic. However, no matter whether you like being a member of singletown or are looking for that special other to share your life with: Being single is not always that easy.

There is that awkward moment when an older relative starts making endless inquiries about settling down and starting a family.

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There is that dreadful realization that your BFF from high school just got engaged (and consequently, you are now forced to look at cheesy photos of the two on Facebook. Barf. )

And then there is that unpleasant and god-awful situation when you go out for a drink with your friend and her guy and suddenly you start to feel like the third wheel. (Get a room! Is that really too much to ask?!)

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Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely if you have someone special in your life. It’s lovely to have someone to share special moments, secrets and affection with. Just don’t rub it in my face.

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Seriously.

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Although this may all sound really cynical, there are a lot of benefits to being single as well. And once you take notice of all these advantages, Singledom will not look so gloomy after all. In fact, being single is something you should cherish, because it is by far the only time in your entire life when you will be able to do whatever you want without someone raining on your parade. Of course, that’s not to say if Mr. Right would suddenly appear on my doorstep (in the form of Leonardo Dicaprio, Henry Cavill or Idris Elba), I wouldn’t ride happily into the sunset with him.

But until that day comes, I will rule the kingdom of Singlehood! And here are 7 great reasons why:

1. You can do whatever you want and you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone
Singledom is a celebration of your inner egomaniac. If you want to sleep until two in the afternoon? Great. If you want to eat a box of chocolates for breakfast? Who cares? If you want to spend an entire night flirting with random strangers in your local pub? There’s no jealous guy stopping you from doing so.

2. You can sleep in the middle of the bed.
You no longer have to fight for the blankets (hurrah!), you no longer have to listen to his snoring (double hurrah!) and you can wear terrifyingly neon green facial masks without having to worry about scaring him off (triple hurrah!)

3. You can be lazy all day if you want
Hallelujah! Now that your single, you’re no longer forced to wake up early on a Saterday morning to watch your boyfriend run after a ball in a less than mediocre game of football. Now, you can spend your Saturday morning doing nothing but treating yourself to some at-home-spa-sessions, including rubbing your entire body in glittery Cocoa and Pistachio body oil. And in the afternoon, it’s just you, your TV and a tub of ice-cream.

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4. You’ve sole control of the remote
Singledom puts all the power in your hands! A New Girl marathon? Why not. Watching the umpteenth re-run of Titanic and still sobbing when Leo dies? Hell yeah!

5. You can turn up the music and dance around the house without someone judging you
Whether it’s the very impressive robot or a twerking show that would even make Miley Cyrus blush, you don’t have to worry about someone frowning at your demonstration of dance skills.

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6. You can organize girly sleepovers in your apartment
Spending your evening in the company of your besties in your pj’s watching Magic Mike whilst gossiping about what-happened-to-high-school-bitch-A or O-my-God-did-you-see-Jennifer-Lawrence’s-new-hairdo and drinking lots of Malibu and eating inappropriately large Chicken Barbecue pizzas…
Is there anything more awesome than that?

7. You can eat whatever you want, whenever you want.
Whether you want to spend an entire week on a health cleanse -drinking nothing but kale smoothies- or just want to eat weird food combinations on weird moments of the day (i.e. spicy corn tortillas with Norwegian smoked salmon at 6 o’ clock in the morning or a bowl of muesli drenched in Baileys at midnight. ), it is all up to you and what your stomach is craving.

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The Ugly Truth about Beauty

Published November 4, 2013 by The Feminist

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When I was 12 years old, me and my brother were playing in the park one day. I was on the swing and my brother was in the sandbox building castles with two other adorable eight-year- old kids. I kept swinging higher and higher. I felt free. Happy. Alive. I jumped of the swing, rolled over the grass and kept laughing the entire time. If an adult would behave like that, we would assume he were high on LSD. But when you’re just a kid, being wild and free is allowed, or better even, encouraged.
And then one of the eight-year-old boys shouted at my brother: “God, you’re sister looks like a whale!”

Looking back on that moment now, ten years later, I think it is safe to say that that particular moment and that particular insult changed me. I was on the brink of puberty and before that awful day in the park I was a carefree young spirit, not giving one shit about what people thought about me. The fact that people thought about me and my body didn’t even cross my mind. But that day in the park-which in my head still marks the end of my childhood and the beginning of puberty- changed all of that. From then on, I was insecure. I felt ashamed. Lost. Ugly.

Although the whale-comment came from a young kid- and, one could argue, should not be taken seriously- you simply cannot deny that the issue of beauty is hard-wired in our Western society. It forms our background, it molds our conversations and it shapes our self-images. Beauty is society’s ultimate bitch: brutally honest, disrespectful of imperfections, disregarding of differentiation and when you least expect it, it can slap you in the face with a perfectly manicured hand.

Beauty makes the world go round. Is that a sad thing? Absolutely yes. Can it be changed? Unfortunately not. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all judge people on the basis of their looks. It’s the first thing we notice when we meet someone. The colour of the eyes, the shape of the nose, the waistline, the cup size. We all like to say we prioritize personality over beauty – it is a myth used to soothe our conscience- but in reality it’s just a given fact that no one would ever turn around in the street to take a second look at someone because he or she looked intelligent, but because he or she had a beautiful face and/or nice butt. In a perfect world, inner beauty would triumph over outer appearance. In a perfect world, I would also live in a mansion next to a lake filled with white mocha latte and drive around in a pink mini cooper with wings, but we all know that’s not going to happen. We are biologically programmed to be attracted to beauty. We have eyes. It’s natural. We are drawn to symmetry and the hourglass shape. We all have had crushes on beautiful people we have never even talked to. When I heard Charlie Hunnam was being replaced by Jamie Dornan to play Christian Grey, I was over the moon with delight. Was that delight based on the fact that Jamie has better acting skills? Phah! Of course not! It was purely based on my attraction to Jamie’s gorgeous eyes and amazingly toned abs. Yours truly often serenades the beauty of many different actors on this particular blog. Does that make me shallow? Maybe. Does that make me human? Definitely.

I therefore believe we simply cannot blame “the media” for all of this. Yes, they use Photoshop. Yes, they portray super thin models. But the ladymags’ overuse of super thin models and Photoshop frankly says more about all our ridiculously high beauty standards than about the ethics those magazines apply. They create images of “perfect women” because we, the public, want to see them.

The real issue here is that our high beauty standards combined with the omnipresent image of beauty provided by advertisements and magazines, creates a “culture of appearances”. This culture is based on competition and leads to exclusion; leaving people insecure and vulnerable. Little eight-year-old boys and girls are taught that outer appearance are not just part of life, but that outer appearance is life. Looks mean everything and hence, we have developed a collective insecurity about it. We try to cheat ourselves into thinking that those men and women staring at you from large billboards beside the road don’t really exist, but the problem is that they do. I’ve met people like that –and yeah- it sucks to realize you’re not one of them, but demonizing the commercial industry won’t help you escape them.

The only thing we can try to do is find confidence in a pool of insecurities. We have to pledge, not just to ourselves but to the future generation of beauty-obsessed men and women, that beauty will no longer be a confined box where only the lucky few fit into, but a limitless concept where all kinds of unique beauty can roam free, without any doubts or insecurities.

Ever since the whale-comment I have struggled with this notion of beauty and my perceived lack thereof. If there is one word that could totally capture the spirit of the past ten years, it has got to be insecurity. Insecurity led me to believe I wasn’t good enough to go talk to that boy. Insecurity led me to believe that acne was far worse than world hunger or terrorist attacks. Insecurity led me to develop eating disorders.
I used to look in the mirror and all I could see were flaws. Until one day I got tired of worrying about what other people thought of me and my body. I got tired of hating myself. I didn’t want to be invisible anymore. I wanted to shine…

I am sure that, how personal and intimate my confessions may seem, this story is first and foremost a universal one. That is why it needs to be told. So that all the other boys and girls, men and women, who suffer from insecurities know that they are not alone. If even I eventually managed to accept my “imperfections”, real or perceived, so can you. Body and beauty acceptance starts with accepting that you might be fatter than others. Or thinner than others. Taller or smaller than others. That your nose might be bigger and your eyes might be more crooked than others. That your boobs might be smaller and your butt might be bigger than others. But that all of that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be proud of our body. If beauty is indeed the ultimate bitch, than diversity is the ultimate BFF: defending us through thick and thin (pun fully intended), supporting us in times of sorrow and pulling at that bitch’s hair when required.

7 Reasons why I’m now officially a Cumberbitch

Published October 10, 2013 by The Feminist

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Fact: There are a lot of Benedict Cumberbatch fans on this planet.

Fact: Those fans are mostly female and call themselves Cumberbitches.

Fact: I normally try to steer clear from everything that might involve frantic shouting (“Bennie, We Love You!”), unintentional fainting or throwing my panties at someone’s head.

Yes, all the facts were pointing towards a seemingly obvious outcome: I would never become a Cumberbitch. It was not in my nature to surrender myself to idolatry and neither did I want to be associated with annoyingly cheerful teenagers…

But sometimes life is full of twists and turns. In this very logical sum of facts, I left a very important element out of the equation: The fact that Benedict Cumberbatch is –by far!- the best actor of his generation. This undeniable fact sneaked into my life and completely overruled all the others. Hence, I’m now officially a Cumberbitch. (If my unexpected confession of idolatry makes you hurl, my apologies.)

In case you aren’t yet a member of the Cumberbitch-club and are wondering what the fuzz is all about, here are the seven main reasons why we all love this talented Brit:

1. He’s an incredible actor.

I went to see “The Fifth Estate” the other day on the opening night of the 40th Film Festival in Ghent and he was simply marvelous as Julian Assange. The Guardian called it “ a virtuoso impersonation, from the deep drawl to louche geek twitches.” Amen.

2. His British accent and incredibly sexy voice

I’ve said it once before in my list of sexiest male voices (if you want to know who else was on there, please click here) but his low, deep and warm voice cannot be praised enough! Not to mention his British accent, because –no offence to all the Americans reading this- the British accent is al lot- a lot–  sexier than the American. Admit it, you know it too!

3. I’m Sherlocked

Sherlock is absolutely the best mini TV-series on the planet. I mean, what’s not to love: it’s murder and intrigue but at the same time incredibly witty and funny. Every episode lasts as long as a good ol’ romantic comedy and Benedict – as the fantastically weird genius- shows once again that “brainy is the new sexy”

4. When he cries, it’s beautiful.

When I cry, I kinda look like this:

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When he cries, it looks as if angels are dropping raindrops on his face…

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Seriously, how is that even possible?

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5. He can be awesomely goofy

Ask any woman what she believes to be a man’s sexiest personality treat, and she will always say: a sense of humour. It doesn’t always have to be so serious. Sometimes you just need to loosen up, break free and make an utter fool of yourself.

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6. His awesomely weird name

Any other actor would have changed his name by now , but not Bennie. He stays true to his very British self!

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7. He’s not a traditional beauty

I find it rather comforting to know that even when you don’t look like an Armani underwear model, you can still become a successful actor in Hollywood. And although I would be the first to applaud when a hunky sixpack-rocking actor takes off his shirt in a movie, I would choose Benedict over all those Armani models put together in a heartbeat. Besides, look at his eyes.

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Enough said.

Proper Blokes’ Cake: Chocolate and Belgian Beer Brownie with Salted Peanut Crumble

Published June 9, 2013 by The Feminist

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Baking is often only associated with women. The mum in the kitchen baking cupcakes for her children, a girls night in with lots of brownies and Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream, Blair Waldorf eating macaroons in her bathtub,… Basically everything that involves sugar, chocolate or frosting is considered to be “Ladies Only” territory. I guess men prefer savory snacks because it is often deemed more masculine and butchy, whereas sweet desserts are looked upon as too dainty, too soft, too feminine.
I can’t really blame them, though. It is a behaviour pattern as old as food itself. Women eat sweet and men eat salty. It is practically a biological and evolutionary distinction!
However, I like to think out of the box. Behavioural patterns are there to be broken once and awhile. Just like Jamie Oliver who once created a “proper blokes’ pasta dish”, I decided it was about time to bake the ultimate blokes’ cake. This cake is based on a combo all men tend to love: beer and salty nuts. Adding these ingredients to a cake batter, however, creates a whole other dimension. Suddenly the beer turns the cake into a succulent brownie, while the salted peanuts provide that lovely crunch. Just when you think that things can’t get any better than this, I even conjured up the most amazing beer toffee sauce to go with it!
This is possibly the best cake to bake on Father’s Day: gutsy, blokey and full of hearty flavours. And I can assure you that all us ladies will love it as well!

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Chocolate and Belgian Beer brownies with salted peanut crumble


Ingredients:
For the brownie:
• 125gr butter or soy spread
• 1.25 dl Belgian dark ale
• 40gr cocoa powder
• 200gr caster sugar
• 1 egg
• 0,7 dl milk
• 140gr plain flour
• 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
• ¼ tsp baking powder
For the peanut crumble:
• 15gr butter
• 25gr plain flour
• 15gr caster sugar
• 35gr roasted and salted peanuts, chopped
For the beer toffee sauce
• 1,5dl dark ale
• 7 tbsp muscovado sugar
• 1 tbsp runny honey
• Splash of double cream
Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a baking tin with baking parchment.
2. For the brownie, pour the beer into a saucepan and add the butter. Gently heat until it has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cocoa powder and sugar.
3. Mix together the egg and milk and pour the liquid into the contents of the pan.
4. Sift together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and stir in the chocolate-beer mixture from the pan.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin.
6. For the crumble, rub the flour and butter together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and peanuts. Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top of the brownie batter and bake into the oven for 20-25 minutes.
7. Allow to cool completely before cutting it into squares.
8. To make the beer toffee sauce, heat the beer gently into a saucepan until it comes to the boil. Add the muscovado sugar and honey and let it simmer for at least 15 minutes on a low heat until the liquid had reduced and flavour has intensified. Add a splash of cream to tone down the richness of the sauce. Pour the sauce into a small can and serve with the lovely brownies.

Pimp Your Pump! My latest Fashion Obsession: Shoe clips

Published April 25, 2013 by The Feminist

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I don’t do normal. I don’t do plain. And I have no desire whatsoever to be a natural beauty. Don’t get me wrong: I truly admire women who simply put on a pair of jeans and sneakers, wear no make-up and still look absolutely fabulous. However, I just know that being that woman is not for me. I guess that this character trait often gets on some of my friends’ nerves. “Why don’t you ever wear something low-profile?!” They never say that to my face of course, I can just hear them think it. It is fashion telepathy.

Whatever. I’m not going to change simply because it makes some people feel uncomfortable. I’ve always been like that. I don’t want normal and familiar. I like weird and unknown. When I was on a holiday to Italy, I spent a lot of my time eating gelato. There was one gelateria where they had the most awesomely weird flavours. People were queuing outside to get a cone of ice-cream but literally ALL OF THEM ordered Vanilla/chocolate/strawberry/straciatella. I mean, come on! I opted for the Greek yoghurt-nougat- honey ice-cream… with dried lavender.

Anyway, enough about gelato because it is making me really hungry. 😉 This post is after all about Fashion! To celebrate my refusal of all things ordinary, I discovered the most amazingly decorative trend. Shoe clips! I am truly obsessed about it at the moment. It is perfect for pimping a simple pair of pumps. Simply clip them on and –tadaaa! – you have one jazzed up pair of dramatic shoes!

Pearl brooches, small or giant bows, flowers, feathers,… anything goes really! So move over natural looking beauties, because this Cinderella is ready to bring some pizzazz to this world!

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