Tag Archives: celebrities

The Other Royal Wedding

Pop quiz:

1.  Did you know that a royal wedding is happening this Saturday, July 2?

2.  If you did know, can you name the bride?

I didn’t think so.  And that’s my point exactly.

We’ve gone from the biggest royal wedding in history to a royal wedding two months later for which no one is even bothering to purchase new hats.  Let’s explore why.

First of all, the wedding in question is that of Prince Albert II of Monaco and former Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock.   Hmmm, a prince marrying a commoner…this sounds familiar and compelling…so why isn’t it?

Let’s look at the less-than-appetizing facts:

  • He’s 53.  She’s 33.
  • He has already fathered two children out-of-wedlock with two different women; his daughter is 19 and his son is 6.
  • Charlene has spent the last four years living in an apartment in Monaco, paid for by the prince.  She hasn’t had a job in that time, and seeing as she’s only just learning French, it doesn’t seem like she could have obtained one.

But before I get too critical, let’s not forget that she is going to be a princess.  Of MONACO, easily one of the most fabulous areas of the Mediterranean.  She’s going to live in a castle, with staff, with nothing more to do than produce an heir and appear at state events.  Sounds like a good deal to me.

Oh, and she gets a ring that takes up half her finger:

On second thought, I don’t think I would take all of that if it meant marrying him.  No offense, Al.

One advantage Charlene has over Kate is two sisters-in-law to turn to for guidance.  Kate married a man with one brother, while Charlene is marrying a man with two sisters, Princess Stephanie (shown below) and Princess Caroline.

One can imagine it would be quite helpful to have a few experienced princesses around to show one the ropes.

Though apparently they haven’t been jumping to serve as fashion advisors, seeing as they are both ill-qualified.  I can’t decide who looks worse — Charlene or Princess Stephanie.  No, Stephanie definitely looks worse.

Apparently Charlene agrees.  In a recent Vogue article, she spoke of this particular fashion misstep (at the 2007 Monaco Red Cross Ball),  “Finding my fashion feet has certainly been the biggest challenge,” she says.  “I was literally a fish out of water. I thought it was all fun, fun, fun, and didn’t give my outfit any thought. I had been playing beach volleyball all day, painted my nails red, and threw on a dress. I thought I looked great at the time, but looking back, I realize that my debut into Monaco society should have been better executed!”

When she’s that honest with herself, how can you not feel for her? 

I am the first to admit that any lady entering the world stage would probably fail in comparison to Kate the Great, but I can’t help but shudder at some of her choices.

Try not to jump back in your chair when you see this pantsuit:


But that’s all behind her now.  Soon she’ll be walking down the aisle in Armani.  Soon she’ll have designers at her disposal.   Soon she’ll be looking back at all of this and laughing over a glass of Veuve Clicquot.

Which leaves me with the final task of watching and evaluating the big day.  No matter how Charlene looks, one thing is sure: we know there will be hats.  Guests may be pulling them from the back of their closets, but there will be lots of hats. 

Stay tuned.

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A Final, Fashionable Farewell (to Life as a Commoner)

I was running on the treadmill this morning when I caught a news story about Kate and Will’s final public appearance prior to the wedding (and yes, I will refer to them with her name first, because frankly, who is he in comparison?).

The lucky location for their final wave was the Darwen Aldridge Community Academy in Lancashire, where Wills was presenting the Skillforce Prince’s Award to…does it matter?  Kate was there.  And she looked brilliant, as ever.

I am finding that she is in possession of the most occasion-appropriate wardrobe I’ve ever seen.  I never see her in a dress when a suit is more suitable (har har) as was the case today.  And despite being more attractive than most brides, she always dons stellar outfits that somehow manage not to scene-steal (seen here in a 2008 and 2009 wedding).

I must also give her my nod of approval for modesty.  She is a rare woman who can resist the urge to show too much thigh or cleavage, especially when she has such a camera-friendly physique.  This is quite the turnaround from her commoner college days of walking the runway in lingerie for charity (which is what famously prompted Wills’ interest in the first place, so I doubt she regrets it…but still).

The only tragedy about there being 18 days to the wedding is that it is unlikely we will see her again until she re-emerges as certified royalty.  Although, as the news report this morning mentioned, we can always entertain ourselves in the meantime by calling our bookie and placing bets on such things as: what color hat will the queen wear to the wedding?  which designer will Kate choose for her dress?  what are the odds she jilts William (clearly the person placing this bet doesn’t understand the lottery Kate is winning by showing up)?

For other pre-wedding festivities (since I wasn’t invited to the bridal shower), a dear friend reminded me yesterday that on April 18 we can tune in for the Lifetime movie, “William & Kate: Let Love Rule.”  However, I struggle to get onboard with the lady below portraying Kate the Great:

I can’t begin to list all the ways this woman can’t compare to our bride-to-be, but for now let’s let the chunky heels speak for themselves, shall we?

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It’s Official: I’m Not Marrying Prince William

He’s engaged. 

Prince William asked his girlfriend of eight years, Kate Middleton, to marry him. 

To put my current previous obsession with Wills in perspective, consider this: my friend Amy sent me a text at 4:11AM telling me the news. 

Because news like this cannot wait. 

Because she knows I’ve been waiting for it. 

And because she knows I need to hear it from no one but her.

This is a woman who once collected every article written about Princess Diana for an entire year.  They were all kept under her bed, stacks and stacks of magazines and newspaper clippings of every detail of her life and tragic death.  I would go over to her house across the street and we’d pull them all out and stare at hundreds of photos.  We knew her life story, her family dynamics, her best dresses, her worst hairstyles. 

So, you could say it was picture perfect that a Prince William obsessor should get a 4AM text from a Princess Di obsessor.

We were 13 at the time, however, so it might seem silly that we care at age 26.  It might.

But I am not concerned with silliness, because I absolutely love royal weddings, and this one should prove to be more fantastic than the rest.  I cannot wait to see what style of dress she will choose, how decorated his suit will be, how many people will line the streets of London hoping to catch a glimpse.

Kate is already moving up my ladder of style icons.  People may joke about her over-the-top headpieces and formal hats, but I think they’re divine.  If it were even in the vicinity of socially acceptable in the States, I’d be sporting one every chance I got.

Given my propensity for formality and etiquette, I am eager to see the royal wedding process unfold.  I already admire their delayed announcement and press call, so the couple could have some private time to celebrate.  And in an age of reality TV and totally lack of privacy, I respect their decision not to share the details of how he proposed. 

These are the times when I mourn my lack of celebrity.  If I were at least a successful actress or daughter of a President, I might have a chance at an invitation.  As a Seattleite with no claim to fame, I probably won’t need to watch the mail too closely.

Which really is a shame, because I would have rocked a killer headpiece for that event.

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Fit for a King

From the age of 13 to 15 I wished beyond anything else that I could marry Prince William.  Yes, he was very cute in those days, but his being cute wasn’t nearly as attractive as his being royal.  I used to imagine the People magazine cover of our engagement and our soon-to-be wedding.  Laugh all you want, but Kate Middleton did nothing but prove that my fantasy wasn’t far from reality (just…not for me).

I had an entire wall of posters of him, postcards of his face from friends who visited the UK, and teen magazine tear-outs analyzing his moppy hair.  I even wrote a three-page letter to his fan club, which ranks among the most embarrassing acts of my entire life.

Needless to say, I developed an obsession with all things British-royalty.  The palaces, the houses in the country, the clothing, the peacock hats pinned to the sides of heads, the wealth, the formality, the etiquette, the travel.  But nothing held the same fantastical appeal as the creme de le creme: royal weddings.

Remember Diana’s?  I don’t.  I wasn’t alive.  But the pictures — my word, the pictures — showcase the over-the-top grandeur of it all.  It wasn’t their fault; as my friend Siri appropriately noted, “Diana’s wedding fell victim to the ’80s.” 

Look no further than her sleeves to understand why:

It’s madness.  She looks like she was swallowed whole by a pillow.

The entire wedding party is lost in a sea of fluff.  The wrings of flowers on the girls’ hair only causes further chaos.

All of this is freshly brought to mind because of the style triumph that was Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria’s wedding last Saturday.  It was elegant, refined, opulent and undeniably royal (despite her marrying a commoner — gasp!).

My opinion of Swedes has skyrocketed due to the gorgeous representation of the people by their royals.

Look at the joyful bride and groom:

Not only are they both gorgeous, but their clothes are picture perfect.  She wore an off-the-shoulder, age-appropriate (she’s 32) cream-colored silk gown designed by Pär Engsheden.  He donned an undecorated white-tie tuxedo with tails.

What most impresses me, I believe, is that on the one day when she could have worn head-to-toe five-carat diamonds, sapphires and family jewels, she instead chose to wear the cameo tiara her mother wore on her wedding day in 1976.

Don’t get me wrong — it’s still stunning.  But it’s less obvious and ostentatious than the typical crown associated with royalty.  After all, what does she have to prove?  We know she’s going to be Queen; no need to flaunt it, I suppose.

What’s amazing about her groom, Daniel Westling, is that he was her personal trainer.  Not royal.  Not a billionaire.  Do you see why I employed fantasies of a girl from Seattle marrying the future King of England?

Question: can you imagine being the mother of a commoner marrying into royalty?  I honestly can’t conceive of a more daunting wardrobe situation.  The entire royal world will be attending your son’s wedding to an actual princess, 500 million people will be watching on TV, and you have to walk in there as the only woman without a crown.  Ouch.

I’m sad to report that Westling’s mother failed to rise to the occasion.  She’s wearing a dress any mother-of-the-groom could find at Moms, Maids and More.

After the ceremony, the bride lifted her 16-foot train and looped it around her arm so she could hit the dance floor.  It occurs to me that this seems like a hassle, and certainly a lot of fabric to keep track of, but then again royals don’t bustle their dresses.  They have giant trains for a reason — they’re royalty.

The handsome duo didn’t disappoint for their version of a rehearsal dinner, either.  A gala dinner and concert were given for the couple the evening prior to the wedding, and the results speak for themselves:

Impeccable.  I can’t help but note that the groom has to be the most modern-looking man to become a prince in recent memory.  Those glasses and that hair make him look as if he’s partner of a Manhattan design studio.

Clearly I’m already toe-tapping in anticipation of the next royal wedding, between my former flame and his commoner girlfriend.  It’s only a matter of time before he pops the question, and only a matter of taste whether their wedding will receive the Words Become One nod of approval.

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C U Soon

I am not proud of this, but I have my DVR set to record only two shows.

Brace yourself.

One is The Real Housewives of New York (gasp!).

The other is Oprah (shudder).

For inexplicable reasons, I’m actually more embarrassed to be associated with Oprah.  The Real Housewives series is the most fantastic reality show on television, and allows me to indulge in my “mid-week uptown apartment/weekend Hampton’s beach house” fantasy.  Of course, the women are despicable and immature, but that only serves to stroke my moral superiority. 

See?  It’s the best show on television!

Oprah on the other hand, makes me feel like a stay-at-home mom who has never heard of real news and has no connection with the outside world other than through this billionaire talk show host.  If I’m ever watching Oprah and Mike comes home from work, I’m instantly inclined to change the channel out of sheer humiliation.  It’s as if he’s just caught me singing into my hairbrush in front of the bathroom mirror.

One could understand my dilemma recently when Oprah started a “No Phone Zone” campaign in an effort to get people to stop texting and driving.  Ask anyone (especially Mike) and they will say that texting and driving is one of my biggest issues.  It’s about the only thing that turns me into a total policing mother around my spouse, friends and family. 

Driving drunk and texting behind the wheel are the exact same thing to me.  Texting might even be worse because your eyes aren’t even on the road.

But now that Oprah has championed the agenda and called it her own, I don’t want to say two words about it.  It makes me feel like one of those sycophantic Oprah worshippers who blindly take on issues just because Ms. O said to.

I just realized that I am insulting Oprah-lovers.  I am sorry.  Just remember the line between love and hate is incredibly thin; look at me DVRing her every day.  Such a hypocrite.

One may wonder why I bother to record her when I have such loathful feelings toward her.  It’s simple: the celebrities.  No one gets the interviews Oprah gets.  Who did Reille Hunter sit down with in her home?  Who does Bono visit when he comes to the States?   Who does Julia Roberts tell the sex of her unborn babies to?

My point exactly.

Luckily, Oprah is not the only one taking up the texting battle.  A far more genius anti-texting advertising campaign in Seattle is run by none other than a funeral home.

This is on the back of metro buses all across the Seattle area and I have one thing to say:  YES.

I love the shamelessness, the offensive nature.

But I also love that it makes its point painfully clear — your life is at stake.  It is not worth it to text and drive.

Whew.  I feel a lot better having said that completely apart from any Oprah influence. 

But I’m still going to watch her show today.

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Excuse Me, Mr. President: An Etiquette Special Edition

See if you can spot the numerous faux pas committed by both me and the patrons I encountered.  The following is a true story.

Last Friday evening Mike and I were having dinner at Sostanza Trattoria in Madison Park with our friend Meredith.  As we ordered wine, the restaurant was just filling up for the night.

I happened to glance over to the table next to us and see a nice-looking couple seated next to the fireplace.  I stared for a second at the gentleman before realizing he looked familiar.

“Doesn’t that look just like Phil Eaton?” I asked Meredith.  We both attended Seattle Pacific University (me for only a year) of which he was president.

“Eh, kind of, I suppose,” she replied, not finding this the least bit interesting.  I considered how to redeem the topic.

“Remember how he used to invite students to his home once a year, to make us feel connected to him or whatever, but we were all just annoyed because he lived in this fabulous house while we’re all killing ourselves to pay $25,000 a year in tuition?” I ventured.

Then we were off and running.

“Yes!” she said.  “It was criminal what they paid him, and remember how he would drive to the school in his A6 and it made all of us cringe?  University presidents are so overpaid.  They’re just glorified speech-makers,” she concluded.

“Oh Eaton can’t hold a candle to UW’s president,” I added.  “He’s ranked among the highest paid in the US.  It’s absurd.  I read he makes $900,000 a year.”

Having fully vented our grievances on university presidents, we moved on to happier topics.  Soon we were laughing, enjoying our meal and our bottle of local Washington red.

“Excuse me, you all really need to be quiet,” a stout woman in her fifties was suddenly standing over us, speaking to us like we were in second grade. “This is a public restaurant and people are trying to eat in peace and you’re laughing so the whole place can hear you.  You need to speak quietly to each other so only those at your own table can hear you.”

We were all so stunned by her pretentious speech that we simply stared at her, mouths agape.

She returned to her seat without another word, and none of us could recover the conversation for the next two minutes because of the offense.  Gradually, because we couldn’t help it, we giggled about the absurdity of someone speaking to us like children, especially in the context of any place outside of a library.

A few minutes later we heard a woman sitting across from the Phil-Eaton-look-alike laughing happily.  Mike couldn’t help himself so he leaned over and said, “Hey, keep it down; this is a public place.”  We just about died, this was so funny, but we weren’t sure if she would agree.

“Oh you’re such a party pooper!” she laughed back at him.  Fearing that she would think he was serious, I leaned over to her with one hand covering my mouth and explained, “We just got scolded in those exact words by that woman over there.”

Suddenly, she was totally intrigued.  “Really?” she said with enthusiasm.  “Oh you must be joking.  It’s Friday night!  This is a restaurant!  We can be as loud as we want!” she said, swinging her glass of red wine around to face us.  “Who is that woman?  I mean, honestly!”

The relief!  The balm to our souls!  Despite being the same age as the crotchety “party pooper” who rained on our parade, this woman was fabulous.  I especially liked her purple-framed glasses.

After another hearty exchange, she returned her focus to her table.  Meredith and I immediately agreed to name her Viv.  There was no other name for a Madison Park socialite who loved red wine and young people with equal fervor.  However, I still couldn’t shake the feeling that her husband was familiar, so I turned to Mike and Meredith and resumed my earlier verse of, “He looks so familiar!  I can’t shake that he’s someone I know or someone famous or something.”  They both rolled their eyes.

“If you really want me to, I can just try to find him on my iPhone,” Meredith offered in a last-ditch effort to shut me up.  “We’ll just start Googling Seattle celebrities.”

“OH MY GOSH!!  OH MY GOSH OH MY GOSH!!”  Suddenly I knew exactly who it was.

“IT’S MARK EMMERT.  It’s the freaking UW PRESIDENT,” I explained.  “I am a COMPLETE IDIOT.”

“WHAT?!” Mike exclaimed.  “How could you not recognize him when you went to that school?  Do you realize we were just talking so loudly about his salary that we got ‘shushed!?'”  We all looked at each other in the face-draining panic that accompanies such realizations.  We had just criticized the husband of our darling Viv, the one we wanted to be our friend and take us around to cocktail parties.  Had they heard?  Could they have?

I reasoned with them.  “Why would she have spoken to us if she heard us chastising her for being wealthy?” I asked.  “Come on, Viv loves us!”

By this time Meredith had pulled up an image of them on her iPhone.  Granted, the image was at least five years old, but we held up the phone, looked over at them:  confirmed.

“She’s not Viv,” Meredith read from Wikipedia.  “She’s DeLaine.”  Of course — even more of a president’s wife’s name than the one we gave her.

“Oh and you were almost right,” she continued reading from her phone.  “He’s not just one of the top-paid presidents.  It’s even better: he’s ranked second.  SECOND.  Bested only by Ohio State’s president.  Emmert makes $906,500 per year.”

Of course he does; our Viv/DeLaine deserves it.

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Stars! They’re Just Like US!

The most startling aspect of the Richard Heene “balloon boy” debacle isn’t that he used his children as pawns, or that he wasted taxpayer dollars so that hundreds of people could look for his not-missing child, or even that he lied.

The most remarkable part of the story is that he did all of this for…a reality TV show.

Way to set that bar high, buddy.

As the story of the hoax broke, people were outraged, and rightfully so, but they should not have been shocked.  Heene is not the first person to shamelessly put his family up for auction to the highest bidder in the name of fame.  If “Octo-Mom” can have networks knocking on her door to give her $50,000 an episode, who can blame mad-scientist Richard Heene for wanting some green?

People used to only have a shot at fame if they were enormously talented and landed that one-in-a-million chance of connecting with the right people, living in the right city, and succeeding on their thousandth audition.  Now, everyone is under the impression that if they put themselves out there, are weird enough, and are OK with being filmed in their home, they will gain national recognition.

Decent behavior and dignity have taken understudy roles, unfortunately.

Example: “The Real Housewives” series.  There is not one ounce of regret or embarrassment for being portrayed as vain, selfish, catty women.  They are proud of it.  But at least the networks know this and play it up to embarrass them.   It’s like the viewers and the producers are in on the same joke at the absurdity of their behavior.  (Full disclosure: I think these women are pathetic…yet I am obsessed with the New York branch.)

But I don’t think this type of behavior is exclusive to those who believe in extra-terrestrials or those who are just extra-fertile.  I think all of us have that same desire for fame, to some degree.

It’s as if most of us crave worship.  We want others to look at our lives, approve, and envy.  We want people to admire us and want to be like us.

If anyone thinks they are above this banal behavior, they should check their Facebook profile.   It’s like our very own non-celebrity People.com or US Weekly.  We post ultra-flattering photos and compose status updates that practically scream, “Look at my fabulous life!”  It’s akin to having a personal PR campaign.  I am utterly guilty of this, and when I think about it, I feel a self-repulsive shiver.

Few people ever post honest struggles or content that would put them in an unfavorable light.  I agree with this to a point; after all, not everyone should enter our dark places, and perhaps Facebook is light-hearted enough that we should keep it positive.

But the point stands:  we seek to be adored.

Cough, cough…this blog…cough, cough.

I mean, honestly.  I am not going to avoid admitting I enjoy that people read Words Become One.   If I were to balk at myself right now, you wouldn’t even buy it.

Besides, blogs are naturally muddy waters because it is not possible for any blogger, however humble, to pretend that their site does not begin and end with him or her.  She is writing from her frame of reference, about her thoughts, in her own life.  Whether it’s a news analysis blog or a mommy blog — it is unavoidably about the writer.

So what to do about it?  How does anyone conquer this need to gather the masses in praise of oneself?  What will convince Richard Heene that he should get a job like any other father, rather than seek fame to his family’s detriment?

Practicing the art of humility would seem most obvious, but it is also quite difficult because as soon as we’ve done it we have the tendency to destroy it by thinking, “Hurray!  I’m being humble!”  If you can avoid that catch-22, please tell me how.  It’s very annoying.

Worshiping God is one weapon in this inner battle.  Through giving honor to Him rather than to myself or others, I realize that He is infinitely deserving of my admiration.  My own flaws and faults, by comparison, make me slightly ill.  And I want to be idolized?  Barf.

For now, I will do one small part by ricocheting this me-me-me blog into new territory.  I am handing Words Become One over to a guest blogger next week.  I will not reveal who this blogger is until next Wednesday, but trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Neither will I.  After all, I chose the writer.  (Because remember, it’s all about me.)

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