Sunday, November 29, 2015

90 Day Fiance Recap - 11/29/15

Alexei and Loren

Loren prepared to celebrate her bachelorette party. Her friend Sarah came in and did not get a great impression of Alexei. He warned that he didn't want any strippers. There were, of course, strippers, because Sarah stuck with her plan. Loren was nervous but excited. Loren was announced to be a virgin (not sure if that's true!) and got a lap dance. Alexei texted her, she got upset and Sarah called Alexei to tell him to relax. He did not take it well.

The next morning, Loren wasn't back and Alexei was still upset. Loren's dad Bryan said he spoke to Loren and she insisted it was innocent. Alexei said he doesn't know where they stand and now there's a trust issue. Bryan said they both have to learn how to move on. There needs to be trust for the marriage to work.

Alexei went out for the day that Loren came home. Loren's mom said the things she's concerned about are coming true. Loren's mom asked how Loren was going into a marriage where Alexei won't talk to her. She said there's a problem here and unless Loren and Alexei fix it, there won't be a wedding. Loren lashed out and said that her mom and dad are miserable, which her mom denied. She then said her mom gets involved where she shouldn't.

Okay, so, some commentary on the event that happened above - some people will call Loren ungrateful and spoiled, or maybe call her mom over-involved. But I will tell you, I understand the culture that she comes from, and this relationship can be very normal. It doesn't mean Loren and her mom don't love each other; it's the culture that Loren grew up with. I'm not defending it, but that's the way some families interact. Some mothers can have strong opinions, and in this case, the feelings she has are not without merit. As for Loren, she knows her family better than any of us do, so give her a break - she lashed out because of emotion. Anyway, back to the recap...

Loren and Alexei were both home finally and Alexei would barely speak to Loren. Loren said she's confused but Alexei said he wasn't. Alexei asked Loren to step outside. Loren said she's concerned that Alexei doesn't trust her. It turns out that Alexei blamed Loren for going along with the plan to go to the strip club, even though she didn't plan it. Alexei felt disrespected even though Loren said she behaved. They talked in circles for a while. Alexei said he looked at flights to go home. Loren was floored. Loren said she still wants to marry Alexei but he has to figure out if he wants to marry her.

What this looks like to me is Alexei getting caught up in his emotions. He's never seemed 100% sure about his decision to come to America, and this was his way of finding a way out if he wants it. It's about Loren, sure, but it's also about Alexei's insecurity in his decision and him looking for an out if he wants it. And when Loren told him to make a decision, he had to really decide what he wanted. He said that he does want to marry her, otherwise he would have left. He said he chose to move on from the incident and he wants to get married. Loren expressed concern that Alexei would want to run back to Israel every time they fight, and Alexei wished they had more than 90 days to get married.

Kyle and Noon

Kyle and Noon went to see Kyle's mom, who he hadn't seen in ten years and who has a drinking problem. They met at Kyle's aunt Missy's place. Kyle and his mom, Lisa, seemed to get along superficially at first, although Kyle didn't tell Noon about his mom's problem. That being said, Noon sensed that something was wrong. Kyle immediately wanted to leave.

Later, Lisa was acting out of line - she asked Noon if she was only with Kyle to be in America, citing offensive examples of people who had done that. It seemed as if Lisa was drinking a lot before and during this exchange. Kyle was disappointed that his mom couldn't control herself; Noon was disappointed that Kyle hadn't disclosed his mom's problems to her.

The couple's wedding day arrived. They were having it at a Thai Buddhist temple. Noon was wearing a traditional Thai wedding dress. Kyle tried to stay calm as Noon got ready. He hoped his mom would show up, despite their differences. Unfortunately, she did not.

It was a beautiful wedding, full of Kyle's family and friends. Noon felt happy and welcomed into her new culture. The pair was so happy.

Mark and Nikki

Nikki looked online and found an $8 wedding dress. Mark encouraged her to buy a couple of dresses. He also asked her questions about where she'd like to be married. She was sad that her family couldn't attend the wedding.

Mark wanted to keep Nikki happy so he took her wedding dress shopping in New York. Nikki found a dress she loved but was shocked by the $2,300 price tag. She was concerned about Mark wanting to pay for it. Mark gave some excuses against the dress, saying they are having a beach wedding. I loved how the salesperson said, "The dress is only $2,300." Nice semantics. Mark said the dress was too much money for a wedding that nobody was invited to. Nikki clearly was sad and Mark said that Nikki has to think about it. She looked down sadly. The bridal consultant said she doesn't know if Nikki wants to marry Mark.

This is such a tricky couple - Nikki sometimes seems wise beyond her years, saying Mark should keep the past in the past, but sometimes so young (which she is) - not knowing if she can live a life without kids and things of the sort. She seems to be controlled by Mark in many ways, even though he says she's welcome to leave.

Mark brought up that he wants a prenup and Nikki got upset. She said Mark is doing this because of his past. He said Nikki would need a lawyer to review it and that she has to sign it or they wouldn't get married.

The lawyer met with Nikki, and he questioned their age difference. He also said the prenup is a dagger in Nikki's back and she can't sign it. It leaves her with nothing. It gives Mark all the power and leaves no money or anything to Nikki. The lawyer advised Nikki to tell Mark it is too one sided to sign, and otherwise she won't get married. Nikki said she didn't think Mark would make any changes.

Nikki talked to Mark about the attorney meeting. Mark disagreed with the attorney's assessment, saying that money that Nikki makes will be hers. Nikki said there's no reward for her staying married to Mark. Mark said her reward is the fact that Mark is supporting her and providing a roof over her head. Mark said that Nikki can sign the prenup and they'll move forward. If Nikki refused, she'd have to go home. Mark pressed on Nikki, saying that she agreed to a prenup on their first date. She said she didn't understand what it was at the time. Nikki asked why Mark can't trust her; he made it clear Nikki has no choice. Nikki gave in and signed the paper.

Mark was so controlling in this situation - I understand that he has to protect himself, but he's being very unfair to Nikki - at least make sure she won't be out on the streets if they get separated!

Fernando and Carolina

Fernando made Carolina a nice breakfast after the less-than-perfect first meal with his mom. Carolina seemed concerned about sharing the house with Fernando's parents but was willing to try. Carolina referenced that Fernando has cheated before and she's looking around to make sure he's not cheating anymore. She came across women's underwear and confronted Fernando. He insisted they were from the past and he didn't remember where they came from.

The pair went to meet Fernando's friends. He worried that they'd put ideas in Carolina's head. The friends were concerned about Carolina's age and if she knew about Fernando's past.

Carolina struggled to get along with Fernando's mom but it wasn't easy. His mom said she expected Carolina to clean, and insulted her cleaning, saying she cleans like a baby. His mom seemed upset to have to deal with it, and accidentally closed Carolina's finger in the shower door. Carolina asked what is expected of her, and Fernando's mom expected her to be nice and for her and Fernando to get along well. She asked if Carolina's ready to be married, and Carolina said she's scared because of all of the changes in her life. Fernando's mom said said it's too soon, which is valid, but did seem biased because she clearly doesn't want Carolina around. Seriously, though, she wasn't making it easy for Carolina!

Fernando tried to make Carolina feel at home but she missed her life in Colombia. The pair discussed their wedding - either have a big one or a small one because Carolina's parents can't attend. The topic made her upset. She truly missed her family back home. Fernando feared that she'd want to go back to her country.

Josh and Aleksandra

Aleksandra took her mom to see her wedding dress to alleviate some of her concerns. Her mom was concerned that the conservative dress would be ugly but was proven wrong

Josh had his bachelor party (which consisted of pizza and video games) while the women had the bridal shower. Aleksandra noted that they don't have bridal showers in Russia. Aleksandra was given a "little pink nightgown" for her wedding night - it was not little by any means - it was so conservative!

Aleksandra told her mom she's not 100% ready for the wedding but she thinks she'll get more used to things soon. Her mom gave her a pep talk about Josh is a great guy. Aleksandra hoped for a happy future.

Josh and Aleksandra got married! To thank her parents for their support, the ceremony would be in Russian. After the wedding, Aleksandra seemed thrilled and sure of her decision. They had their first dance, and Josh was nervous because Aleksandra's a good dancer. I'm wondering if their song was changed for TV because they were dancing a bachata and the song was absolutely not a bachata.

Melanie and Devar

At first, I trusted Devar but as the show went on, that became less and less. However, he did seem to be at least somewhat truly involved, especially when it came to Melanie's son Hunter. Hunter was really excited to have Devar as a stepdad.

Melanie's sister Bev said that Melanie should do what she wants and she supports her. However, she still didn't trust Devar based on stories she's read online about people coming over from Jamaica to send to send money to their families back home.

Next week is the 90 Day Fiance season finale! Let's see what happens!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Sears Shop Your Way Rewards Down - 11/27/15

Yes, this is a reality TV blog, and yes, this is off topic. But if you are trying to shop today, Black Friday 2015, you may be incredibly disappointed if you go to Sears.

I shopped at Sears today, only to find out that Shop Your Way rewards were not working. So what did that mean? That meant that the store couldn't look up my rewards points, couldn't give me rewards points and couldn't give me proper sale prices. So if you purchased anything today, check your receipt - we got screwed and had to get back in the eternal line for price adjustments.

Coupons also weren't printing out until our final purchase (we made three) so we couldn't even use them today. We would have used them to buy more but we did not.

Here's what went down. We bought a bunch of stuff, and I noticed that the Star Wars tank top I was buying as a gift rang up at $11.99 instead of the $8.99 advertised sale price. (Side note - if you like Star Wars, they literally have everything Star, everything.) So I went to check the price and saw it was supposed to be $8.99. I got a price adjustment. Then I tried to buy some sweaters (we had gift card money left over that I wanted to use) and realized again, the sale price wasn't ringing up. Then it hits me - the price was $15.99 but marked down to $13.99 for Shop Your Way members. Since Shop Your Way was down, nobody was getting the sales prices. Sears screwed people over on Black Friday and the employees - and probably customers - didn't realize it!

So if you shopped at Sears today, check your receipts carefully. You may have been cheated out of savings owed to you.

My husband thinks that this was done intentionally by Sears so people wouldn't call in to claim their reward points and Sears wouldn't have to honor their sales. I'm not convinced of this, but I don't think Sears was in a rush to fix the problem.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Watch Philadelphia's Dunkin Donuts Parade Online and See Up and Coming Dance Star David Suarez

Tomorrow, on Thanksgiving 2015, turn on your computer from 8:30 AM - 12 PM to watch the Dunkin Donuts Thanksgiving Day parade to see David Suarez, up and coming hip-hop dancer, perform.

You can watch the parade here:

Friday, November 13, 2015

Girl Meets World - Girl Meets Belief - I'm Not Loving Their Use of Religion

While I usually write about unscripted (or pseudo-unscripted) television, I need to talk about tonight's Girl Meets World episode. Ultimately, I did not like it.

As I watched Girl Meets Belief, I was happy with it - it showed kids who had belief in a higher power and those who didn't. It was fair and balanced - some did, some didn't. Farkle aired on the side of science and Maya was rightfully cynical. Riley and Lucas, who are similar in many ways, both had belief in a higher power.

My problem came later in the episode when Corey, the authority figure (Riley, Maya, Farkle and Lucas' teacher, and also Riley's father), shared his belief in a higher power with the kids. Between his convincing and Riley's, Maya seemed to become at least somewhat of a believer, which was evident when she told Riley that she prayed at the end of the episode.

I realize this is a TV show and Corey told the kids why he believes in God outside of the classroom, so I'm not sure it breaks any laws, but:
- This sets a dangerous precedent for the rights of students and teachers in public school classrooms. Pushing one's own religion is not allowed in the classroom, and rightfully so. People have, and are entitled to, their own beliefs. Teachers are not legally able to project their beliefs to their students in public schools because everyone is entitled to freedom of religion. Even though Corey shared his beliefs outside of the classroom, he did so to several students from his class.
- This episode gave the impression that it's okay to try to convert non-believers into believers. It is absolutely 100% okay to discuss religion with others, but it can lead to unethical behaviors when you're teaching kids that talking about religion (or lack of) can lead to the conversion of non-believers to believers.

Don't get me wrong - I believe strongly in religious freedom. People are entitled to believe in whatever they believe in. Whether people are religious or non-religious, that's perfectly fine. But the episode gave the impression that non-belief is the less correct option, and I think that's a dangerous message for children. The show aimed to portray that it's okay to have differing beliefs (which it is) but gave a different twist at the end.

One other thing - I didn't like how the show implied that believers are better people than non-believers, like how Riley, as a believer, does the right thing because she believes in a higher power, whereas Maya doesn't because 'nobody is watching her'. It creates a strong link between ethics and religion, and that isn't fair - there are plenty of wonderful non-believers in the world.

What are your thoughts?

Project Runway Junior - Did The Concept Work?

Today, I watched the first episode of Project Runway Junior. I was initially skeptical of the show, as spinoffs of this type don't always work, but I am so glad I gave it a chance. It was great!

Project Runway Junior was so much fun to watch. Why? Because it was fun, interesting and positive. The participants are talented and likable. They've got varied design aesthetics and backgrounds. And they seem like cool people! I can't believe the maturity and stylistic knowledge that these kids have, and the youngest is only 13 years old.

I had my favorite participants right from the get-go. First is Maya, who at thirteen years old, is wise and talented beyond her years. She seems so driven and confident - and she's humble, too - she admitted when Tim Gunn used a word she didn't understand. I also think Matt is fantastic because, well, he just is. He seems like he's so much fun, and his style matches his personality.

There certainly were cringeworthy moments. One of the participants. Sami, said she's making a dress for an older woman, like one in her thirties. Ouch. To be young and think that your thirties are old!

If you're skipping this show because you think it'll be a watered down version of Project Runway, please understand that this is not the case. The first challenge was just as difficult as a challenge given to the kids' adult counterparts, and they have to do the exact same work.

We learned that the winner of the show would get a scholarship to FIDM, $25,000 to launch their line and some other stuff. Success would be judged by former PR contestant Christian Siriano, Kelly Osbourne and fashion director Aya Kanai. Tim Gunn isn't a judge, but he will have a save to keep a contestant of his choice.

As the designs came down the runway, you could hear the kids reacting positively to the outfits. It was so nice to hear the support.

Sami, Maya, Zach, Samantha, Victoria and Jaxson were called forward at the end. Everyone else was safe.

Jaxson designed an outfit with buildings on the back in fun colors, and the judges ate it up. The judges loved that it was literal.

Zach was advised to be careful of his pleating and that his outfit looked dated.

Samantha was inspired by the casual vs. work looks in New York. She was told that her outfit looked expensive. The simplicity won her points.

Victoria was criticized for not including the details on her skirt all the way around.

Maya got complimented for the movement of her look.

Sami was inspired by taxis and that inspired the back of her dress. She had construction issues with her dress, and was criticized for adding volume to a woman's waist, where she won't want it.

In the end, Samatha took the win for a chic, modern and cool design, and we said goodbye to Sami, the first casualty of Project Runway Junior.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

90 Day Fiance - 11/8/15

Alexei and Loren

Alexei and Loren got settled into her parents' three bedroom condo. Loren's dad made it clear that he didn't want to hear any of their private moments. Loren struggled to fit Alexei's stuff into her room.

Loren's sister, Rebecca, came to visit on her college break. They Skyped with Alexei's family, who he missed a lot. The family made it clear that things hadn't been great since Alexei left, and Alexei let us know that he'd done a lot to support his family when he was there. Loren was upset after the Skype conversation. She locked herself in the bedroom. Her father thought she was feeling guilty, even though she shouldn't - Alexei said he made his own decision to come to America. Alexei took it in stride until Loren talked about it, but then he got upset too.

Josh and Aleksandra

Because she missed dancing, Josh took Aleksandra salsa dancing. She was incredibly disappointed by the dancing and atmosphere. More and more, she realized she missed her life in Prague. She called her dance partner from Prague and cried about how much she missed her old life. Her friend told her she'd be fine, but she was concerned about marrying so young.

Mark and Nikki

Mark said he's been busy since Nikki's arrival. He hadn't dedicated much time to them being together. Nikki decided to clean to help Mark. She decided to arrange the books from large to small. Mark was upset because he had the books in categories of his own. Mark said he'd have to talk to Nikki about things having a sense of order; Nikki said she needed some room to do things her way.

The pair sat down and talked, and Nikki shared her concerns about Mark working a lot and not showing her enough affection. Mark said Nikki should appreciate what he does because he does it for her. Mark said Nikki has to figure out if she's happy.

Melanie and Devar

While Melanie worked, Devar called home. He was concerned about his sisters paying their bills and said he'd help to pay them when he gets a job. He noted to the confessional that Melanie doesn't know about this plan.

The pair had dinner with Melanie's sisters, Bev and Sherry. This was Sherry's first meeting with Devar. Sherry asked a lot of questions, including how many girlfriends Devar had - he said one. What? He also said he hadn't had one night stands. When questioned, Devar said he felt awful that he couldn't work because he wants to help support Melanie and Hunter. When asked, Devar said he'd be sending money back home - 9/10s of it! Melanie was shocked and said she's now be considering a prenup. Devar later told the confessional that he would send the money whether Melanie likes it or not. Melanie did not take it well. She told him she busted her butt to get him to America and it's not cool that he'll be giving up the income he brings in.

Carolina talked about how her parents thought Fernando was faking that the visa was taking so long, so to show them she was serious, she went wedding dress shopping with her family. They were clearly devastated about her leaving.

Fernando taught Carolina how to speak English. Fernando said her English wasn't good, but she definitely tried. Fernando told Carolina he has to go back to the US soon. Carolina wasn't happy and was concerned about Fernando cheating when they're apart. Fernando accused her of being a jealous girlfriend, but to be fair, she had reason to be - Fernando had hardly been faithful in the past!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

New Show on TLC - Coach Charming

TLC gave us a new show tonight called Coach Charming. It's about Bill Alverson, a divorced lawyer who is a world class pageant coach.

Bill is an intense coach. He noted that it's tough to switch from teen pageants to miss pageants, and proved this by asking a girl, Lexi Collins, who was trying to convert to the miss pageant circuit about politics. When she stumbled on her answers, he told her she's got a lot to learn.

Bill has a larger than life personality. His kids seemed somewhat horrified by his self tanning habits and his desire to exercise by the pool. They were also shocked by his idea for a family portrait before his grandchild is born - everybody jumping into the pool in their bathing suits.

I have to admit that Bill knows what he's talking about. When he saw Lexi tap dance, he ripped her dancing apart, although nicely. He told Lexi that her dancing was too childish, yet she made things too sexy.

Bill gave us some insight into some of the contestants he's worked with - they don't always the most talent, but he makes sure they draw you in; they've got to find their it factor and they can be winners.

My opinion on this show? I love it. It's funny, it's awkward, it's ridiculous. It's got a grown man showing young ladies how to pivot and rock out a pageant stage. It features someone who's larger-than-life, his more reserved family and the women who he makes into pageant stars. If there's one thing TLC knows how to do, it's pageant-related television, and this show is a winner for TLC. Is it the best show ever? Not by any stretch. But it's a heck of a lot better than TLC's other new show, Ballroom Blitz, and it does feature a guy trying to talk to his daughter-in-law about kegel exercises. Awkward!