Choose Your Toppings

Monday, June 25, 2012

20 Things to Do in the Summertime Instead of Sitting in Front of the TV

Summer is a time for going on adventures, but somehow the heat always makes me want to sit inside 24/7 by the beginning of July. So if you're like me, here are some ideas that might help to keep you motivated to enjoy the summer the way it was meant to be enjoyed.


  1. Have a huge water fight. Get together with a bunch of friends and bring water balloons, super soakers, and even a sprinkler. Run around and just go crazy.
  2. Go on a bike ride.
  3. Host a bonfire. Gather your marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers and sit around a fire pit playing games and chatting.
  4. Sit outside. Find a restaurant or bar with patio seating and sit outside with drinks and appetizers (or desserts)!
  5. Get nostalgic. Create a sidewalk chalk mural, play with bubbles, or buy one of those little kiddie pools for your backyard.
  6. Plant a garden.
  7. Get healthy. Head to your backyard and do some yoga, or find a local group that hosts outdoor exercise classes.
  8. Go canoeing or kayaking.
  9. Hunt for bargains. Summer is the time for garage sales and outdoor flea markets.
  10. Have a picnic. Find some picnic tables at a local park or just bring a blanket and your favorite sandwiches and fruits.
  11. Attend an outdoor concert. Many cities have outdoor arenas that host concerts that are cheap or even free.
  12. Spend a day at the beach.
  13. Go on an adventure. Search around your state for companies that take people sky diving or up in hot air balloons. Many of these activities can only be done in the warm months, so now is the time!
  14. Go camping. Even if you don’t have a full weekend to travel, set up a tent in your backyard and pack a bag.
  15. Read. Create a summer reading list and spend the summer reading on your front porch or patio.
  16. Shop at a local farmer’s market.
  17. Go to a local art fair or outdoor festival.
  18. Go on a road trip. Even if you can only spare one day on the weekend, head to some tourist traps in your own state. Haven't you always wanted to see the world's largest ball of yarn or apple pie?
  19. Make margaritas. Or mimosas. Or create a new summer cocktail.
  20. Play backyard games. Ladderball, horseshoes, and bocce ball are all great choices. Invite your friends over for a bbq and then take your pick.
Do you have any fun summer activities to add to this list?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Flashback Friday: Dress-Up

Am I the only 20-something who still owns a dress up box? Probably.

You never know when you might need to bust out old costumes.

 
The girls and me circa 2005


Happy Flashback Friday everyone!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Farewell to Film

...cameras, that is.

If you know, you know that I'm behind the times when it comes to technology. It usually takes me at least a year to join the currently “cool” social networking site (and that doesn't include the time it takes for me to learn how to use it).  Computers and other fancy-pants things also scare me. So it’s no surprise that it took me a while to get used to digital cameras when they started making their debut. 

As someone that loves hanging pictures on my walls, putting up frames, and making photo collages, I did not like the idea of having to sort through a memory card to decide what made the cut.  Sorting through a stack of photos from a film camera that you don’t necessarily remember taking is way more fun.

Via Flickr

Don’t get me wrong, I realize the convenience of going digital. I just think it's sad that the new generations of high school students will never experience the thrill of going to Meijer the morning after a Homecoming or Prom Dance to develop their film and then excitedly examine photos with friends an hour later. Now you can instantly delete pictures that are deemed "not good enough." It's increasingly difficult to find a place nearby that still prints film. And of course, funny blooper pictures are now a thing of the past.

So goodbye to you, dear film cameras: you will be missed.  

Via Whitney

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The True Queen of the 90s Screen


I will always argue that Can’t Hardly Wait is the greatest teen movie of the 90s and that Empire Records is the perfect workplace. But today, I’d like to take the opportunity to give props to a majorly unappreciated actress of the 90s: Gabrielle Union.


When 90s movies are the topic of discussion (which happens pretty frequently in my life), the actresses that usually come to mind are those with three names: Rachael Leigh Cook, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Jennifer Love Hewitt. But I’d like to remind everyone of Gabrielle Union’s sassy supporting roles in a trifecta of stellar 90s films. In She’s All That she played Katie, a friend of uber-bitch Taylor Vaughan who was always friendly to Laney. Gabrielle also played best friend Chastity Church to Larisa Oleynik’s Bianca Stratford in 10 things I Hate About You. And finally, she played Isis, head cheerleader of the East Compton Clovers in the honorary 90s flick Bring It On.

And let’s not forget Gabrielle Union’s myriad television appearances in the 90s. She had roles on Moesha, Smart Guy, Sister, Sister, Clueless, and so many more. Although she played supporting roles, I say we give credit where it’s deserved. So here’s to you, Gabrielle Union, true queen of the 90s screen.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Flashback Friday: Summer Girls by LFO

Last weekend, as I was headed out to dinner with my family, a familiar tune came on the radio. My parents in the front seat had no idea what it was, and continued their conversation without acknowledgement. But then, I felt an overwhelming urge to sing/rap along: "New Kids on the Block had a bunch of hits. Chinese food makes me sick. And I think it's fly when girls stop by for the summer, for the summer." The conversation halted as eyes shifted my way. That familiar "what the heck?" look taking over the faces of my family members as they wondered what had gotten into me. I'm sure, by this point, they started to recognize the song, as it played pretty much every second of the summer of 1999.




Yes, the song was "Summer Girls" by the male trio LFO (Lyte Funky Ones, if you want to get all fancy), also known for such hits as "Girl on TV" and... well... nothing else. But for me, and I'm sure many other 20-somethings, this song will always hold a special place in my heart. Its nonsensical lyrics (seriously, who likes Kevin Bacon but hates Footloose?), uptempo beats, and tried and true story of summer love will force me to sing along even 10+ years later. Yes, I did sing along for the entire song. Yes, I knew most of the words still. And yes, it's still as great as it was in 1999. Happy Flashback Friday! What was your favorite boy band of the 90's?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Book Review: The Fallback Plan

Leigh Stein's The Fallback Plan is the story of Esther Kohler, a depressed twentysomething wandering aimlessly through her post-grad life. Many of us have been in Esther's shoes: we close the door on a significant part of our lives and face an endless hallway of doors, or perhaps, an endless hallway of blank space that appears to lead nowhere. Esther moves back in with her parents, the titular "fallback plan," and seems to be waiting for a catalyst to get her life moving again. 

It's when Esther takes a job babysitting for the Browns, a couple whose infant daughter recently died, that the story begins moving. Esther spends her days playing in the Browns' backyard with four-year-old May while May's mother Amy works on a mysterious art project in the attic. Esther loves spending time with May, but her life remains rather static as she navigates several ill-fated romantic entanglements and attempts to write a screenplay.

There's no doubt that Leigh Stein is a talented writer; however, I didn't feel like I could take anything away from her characters. I like to read novels that make a character's unique struggles into something universal, something that anyone can relate to. Unfortunately, The Fallback Plan did the opposite for me: Esther's post-graduate conflicts were so mundane that they seemed specific only to her situation. Even as someone who experienced depressive episodes in college and felt that awful sensation of standing still while the rest of the world continues moving, I couldn't seem to relate to Esther. And most of the secondary characters were like stick figures rather than actual portraits of human beings. 

The part of the book that resonated most with me was Esther's memory of a cruel and traumatizing prank at a sleepover she attended when she was thirteen. Unfortunately, the tale lasted just a few pages and didn't really play into the novel's story as a whole. I imagine that Leigh Stein's writing will only improve if she continues, I just hope that I'll find something more in her future novels.



Rating:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tips for Working from Home


Whether your job allows you to work from home once in awhile or you have your own business and work from home all the time, distractions can really deter your productivity when you work in the same place where you sleep and relax. Here are a few tips for staying on track that I’ve learned over the past couple years of working from home.


Have a Plan
Before the day even starts, you should have a detailed to-do list. Break down each task into smaller jobs that are easily accomplished. Get an early start on any tasks that take longer than normal, and then work down to the easier stuff. Once you start crossing things off your list, you won’t be able to stop.

Know Yourself
Since you can be a little flexible when working from home, it’s important to know when you’re most productive and when you should take breaks. For instance, I know I’m a morning person and I get really tired in the afternoon. So when I wake up I get to work first thing, but then allow myself some time to relax around 2pm. After that, I get a second wind and can continue working for several more hours. But without that break, I’m basically a slug for the remainder of the day. So when you’re in charge of your own schedule, it’s important that you work when you’ll actually be able to get some work done.

Find Your Space
In your home, there are places to sleep, places to eat, and places to relax. Your workspace should not be the same as any of these other places. Even if you have to work at your kitchen tables due to lack of space, change it up enough so that it feels like a workspace rather than the place where you eat. By the same token, you should dress like you’re going to work rather than going to sleep. Wearing sweatpants can make it a little too tempting to nap all day.

Limit Distractions
When there’s no one around to keep you on track, you have to do it yourself. It’s way too easy to get caught up in a new TV show or checking social media. Have set times where you do things like tweet or answer emails so you don’t accidentally spend all day doing those things. And while it might be okay to watch TV or listen to music while you work, make sure you’re not doing something that will completely distract you from your work. I like to watch shows that I’ve already seen at least once so they don’t take all of my concentration. Make sure whatever you do during the day keeps you motivated instead of distracted.

Provide Incentives
When you’re working to accomplish large tasks, it can be hard to stay motivated if there’s no one around to keep you on track. Letting yourself take a break or even buying yourself a little something once you’ve completed something big can help to keep you focused on accomplishing your goals. Just stick to your plan and make sure you don’t reward yourself without actually finishing what you set out to do.

There are so many ways to get distracted or off track when working from home, but with a set plan and a little motivation, it can be a really great way to work. Do any of you work from home often? Do you have any other tips that I didn’t cover in this post?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Don Cherry: Hockey's Fashion Icon

To those of you hockey fanatics, Don Cherry and his suits are burned into your retina. If not, here's a sneak peak of what I'm talking about:


Don Cherry is a Canadian hockey announcer on CBC Televsion, known mostly for his most popular and recent role as co-host of "Coach's Corner", an intermission segment on the long-running Canadian sports program Hockey Night in Canada. He has also worked for ESPN in the United States as a commentator during the later stages of the Stanley Cup playoffs. "He is known for his outspoken manner, flamboyant dress, and staunch patriotism (source: Wikipedia)."

"Flamboyant dress" is right!

I am an avid hockey fan and, even though I live in the US, I enjoy watching NHL games on the Canadian channel just for the pure enjoyment of seeing what Cherry will wear today.

Let's enjoy some of Cherry's greater moments...





Here's a behind the scenes look at how a Don Cherry suit comes to be:


Cherry admits to "not following fashion" because he's not a follower!

Some may think Don Cherry's suits are gaudy, overdone, and downright ugly but this doesn't make him anything less than an fashion icon. And to be honest, his loud threads match his loud demeanor. People ohh and awe over Lady Gaga's dresses made of meat and call her an icon. So what's wrong with appreciating the boldness of a man's wardrobe?

Interested in following Don Cherry's suits, check out these sites dedicated to them:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Handmade iPad Accessories

As we all know, I love my iPad and take it everywhere with me. I also like shopping for accessories for my iPad! Lately I have realized that there is something beautiful about a handmade item paired with a flawless industrial object, like an iPad.

Where's a better place to look for fashionable and practical accessories than Etsy? Nowhere, which is why everything you find below can be purchased on Etsy (as long as no one has beat you to them)!

1. Tangerine and Cream iPad Case (Made to Order) by LittleGBoutique


2.  Bamboo iPad Case by Primovisto



Now it's just a question of which I'm going to buy for myself! Suggestions?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Flashback Friday: Hey Arnold!


We all get nostalgic sometimes, that’s a fact. And some of us probably get nostalgic more than others. We miss the carefree lifestyle we enjoyed as children: drawing with chalk, riding bikes until 8:30 p.m., eating glue. But I’ve found myself wondering in recent years…were things really that great when we were kids? Or does the grass just seem greener in the past? I mean, there’s no way that all of the TV shows and movies and zebra stripe gum from my childhood were really as amazing as I remember them to be. So what does stand up to the test of time? That’s the question we’ll be trying to answer here at Thought Pizza. Whenever one of us has the urge to revisit their childhood, we’ll post about it in a feature we call “Flashback Friday.” You can expect these posts to appear on, yes, Fridays and to cover topics ranging from Koosh balls to Goosebumps books to Stick Stickly. For the very first Flashback Friday, I’ll be reviewing the first two episodes of the classic Nickelodeon hit, Hey Arnold! Luckily, all 100 episodes of Hey Arnold! are available on Netflix instant stream for easy viewing.

Screen Cap via Netflix

Episode 1: The gist of “Downtown as Fruits” is that Helga is directing a school play about the food pyramid or something else involving all the characters dressed as fruits/vegetables/bacon. Arnold and Gerald, dressed as a banana and a strawberry respectively, are taking the bus to their school for opening night when they decide not to put themselves through the torture of Helga’s play. They ride the bus to the end of the line and are left stranded…downtown as fruits. The rest of the episode revolves around Arnold and Gerald’s hijinks downtown: a few shady characters, a case of mistaken identity, and a bag of cash ($500 bills anyone?). Eventually, feeling guilty for ducking out on Helga, Arnold and Gerald retrieve their fruit costumes from a dumpster and return just in time for their musical fruit number.

LOL moments:
  • Helga calls her fist “Old Betsy” as she threatens violence if the group doesn’t show up early for rehearsal.
  • Arnold’s stoner face during the first five minutes of the episode.
  •  Everyone at the pool hall gets super pumped (and actually cheer) when Arnold buys “sodas for everyone.”

Screen Cap via Netflix

Episode 2: After Arnold and Gerald encounter their daily “dork parade” at school (a Texas-shaped scab and linty nougats are shared), Eugene surprises everyone by rolling up to school on a fly new red bicycle. Everyone crowds around “Eugene’s Bike” in the schoolyard, soaking up its glory. But then, in a freak accident, Arnold causes the bike to be tossed into the street and chewed up by a street sweeper. Gerald tries to console Arnold by telling him that “stuff like this always happens to the geeky kids. And of all the kids in the school, Eugene’s GOTTA be the geekiest.” Surprisingly, this doesn't make Arnold feel better. Although he resolves to make it up to Eugene, bad luck always seems to get in the way of Arnold’s attempts. In the end, Eugene has a great day with Arnold, even though he choked on a hot dog, got hit with a baseball, and fell into the river.  

LOL moments:
  • Eugene’s family exchanges gifts on Flag Day. Yes, that’s Flag Day.
  • It took me a minute to figure out why the bike’s tiny license plate read “YOOJ.” Then I realized that it’s a phonetic abbreviation of Eugene. Gold.
  • The hot dog vendor’s bored look as he hands over the “Heimlich Maneuver” guide that’s conveniently chained to his stand.
Other moments:
  • I died a little when I saw Sheena’s crusty Texas-shaped scab. Blech.
  • We get our first look at Arnold’s super cool bedroom in this episode. I still want that room, dang it!

The verdict? Almost sixteen years later, Hey Arnold! is still pretty hilarious. Although I mostly laughed at subtleties in the show’s humor, things I wasn’t likely to pick up on as a kid. I guess I was just laughing about banana suits and scabs as a kid, which is cool too. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Truths About Being an Intern

As the summer is getting under way, a lot of students are either looking for or starting their first internship. This is a really exciting time for students; it's your first look into the "real world" of your chosen profession. This is what all those years of education have prepared you for!

As a female advertising and public relations major I was expecting my internship to be a mix between Mad Men and Sex in the City: finely pressed suits and strategic business planning combined with glamorous networking parties.

Boy, was I wrong....


The Truths of Being an Intern
  1. You might not get paid. Students often think they are entitled to monetary pay for their internship work. Technically, you're getting paid with experience, advice, networking contacts, and a possible foot in the door. Anything else is just a bonus. Keep an open mind about taking unpaid internships, they might work out better for you. Internships at non-profits are 99.9% unpaid, however these positions are unanimous for giving their internships more freedom when it comes to independence on projects, working hours, and more! Also, your commitment and working for free looks good to future employees by showing your love and passion for your career.
  2. Business casual for employees has taken on a life of its own to include sundresses, flannel button-downs (which I'm assuming replaces a dress shirt), flip flops, and even yoga pants instead of dress pants (I swear, I've seen it). Companies don't seem to be cracking down on their dress code out of fear of hurting their employees' feelings, discrimination, or even sexual harassment suits. "Everyone is doing it" is not a good excuse not to dress you best. Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. If you look like the college intern, that's all they'll see you as!
  3. Think of the most boring and most mundane aspect of your chosen profession. Cold calling? Answering phones? Filing papers? Scheduling meetings? And multiply that by 40 hours a week. Bottom line, interns are only with a company for a limited amount of time so employers are not going to go above and beyond to create a real position for you when you'll be back at school in a matter of months. Even if the internship position will just be immediately passed to a new intern, that's still someone they'll have to extensively train and that's not time in money well spent. You won't have much involvement with any monumental business strategy or planning. It's more likely that you will have involvement with execution of a plan rather than starting from the ground floor.
  4. Life in the corporate world moves slowly. As Millennials and college students, we're used to keeping up with a fast-paced life style and we are accustomed to changing roles and tasks fairly quickly (from esteemed partier to honors student, from class clown to aspiring business professional). However, in the corporate world there are a lot of roadblocks, red tape, and hurdles to overcome to get anything done, especially in larger companies. Everything has to be approved by dozens of people, committees, and organizational teams before it can become reality. Be patient. Stay on top of everything and nicely remind people when they fall behind on a task (non-intern employees are way more busy than you and their time is more precious than yours). Push hard but not too hard. Just understand that everything happens slower in the business world. Everything will work out with time.
  5. If you learn nothing else, you will learn how the real world works. The wonderful part about being an intern is that you'll work side-by-side with seasoned professionals. Whether they want to share their wisdom or not is another question. However, you'll learn about business/office etiquette, how to work with people on a professional level, polishing up your communication skills, personal time management, personal development, and corporate business models first hand. You'll get an overall view on how things work. These are things that you can't learn in the classroom that will be vital to surviving and being accepted into your first career job.
  6. The Devil Wears Prada is not a joke. There are internships out there where your supervisor will treat you like their personal butler--picking up dry cleaning, making coffee runs, cleaning their office, and maybe even taking care of their pets. They are clearly taking advantage of their position and you definitely do not have to stand for that. Try speaking with them about ideas you've come up with that will be of value to your learning experience with the company. Ask for permission to join a project team that is working on something you are interested in. Confront them about  your job duties and how they are not in line with the initial job duties you received and how they are not of value to your education. In the end, you want to be proud of your internship. When people ask about it you want to be able to boast about your new-found skills and work experience, not how many venti drinks from Starbucks you can carry at once.
  7. Meet as many people as humanly possible. Introduce yourself and try to network on LinkedIn with as many people as you can at the company. Make sure they know more than just your name, try and work with them on a project, take special interest in something they do--connect with them so they remember you. You never know who you are going to need to contact in the future. On your last day, back up all your contacts out of your work e-mail system to use for further reference.
  8. Ask for a signed letter of recommendation on your last day. Letters of recommendation always come in handy when looking for employment after graduation. However if you want a year and suddenly ask for one when you need it, your previous employer might not remember you. They politely write you a letter and send it over but it will lack the personal qualities that you would have received had you asked for it while you and your work were still fresh in their minds. 
  9. They're always going to say they want you to come back. Almost everyone I've talked to at the end of their internship has been so excited for their future graduation because their employer indicated they wanted them to come back to work for them. I'm pretty sure they say that to everyone. They've already spent time (and maybe money) grooming you for their company but chances are there are a lot more interns graduating then there are jobs available. But always apply for their openings, indicating that you were previously an intern, and always keep in contact with them! You never know what will come around further down the road!
  10. An internship is one-tenth the job duties of the actual position. Internships are great learning experiences but they are forgiving to the fact that you are also a student and have other things going on. They're not trying to stress you out. They just want to give you a taste. Once you are a salaried employee, you can multiply these job roles by 10 and then you might be close to the real job duties. More projects, more overlapping, more tasks, more team collaborations, more everything! Get ready!
Honestly, interning was one of the best experiences of my life. After I adjusted to corporate life, I was lucky to have supervisors that really took me under their wing: I shadowed everything they did as well as being able to run my own small projects. But it wasn't the glitz and glory that I had expected it to be. I worked hard and for free, for little or no recognition from my coworkers. I dedicated myself to their projects and even spent my own free time at home brainstorming new ideas and problem work-arounds that never saw life. Although my work might not have been valued by the company, I valued my time there and all the things I witnessed and experienced. That year of internships prepared me for the working world more than any part-time job or college class ever did!

Have you recently completed an internship? Or are you currently an intern? What are you quickly learning about your role in the company? We're eager to hear from you!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Book Pizza: Where Books and Awesomeness Collide


Thought Pizza is a place for all kinds of likes: people who like movies, people who like sports, people who like making things, and of course, people who like to read. For those of us who like to read, I’d like to introduce you to a magical part of the Thought Pizza world – Book Pizza. Book Pizza is the book club here and we can’t wait for all of you bibliophiles to get involved. We’ll be selecting one book every month and anyone who’s interested can discuss it in a few different ways. First, you can participate in our Book Pizza forum here. Feel free to start your own threads and discussions; we want you to be involved! You can also talk about the book on twitter using the hash tag #bookpizza, but try not to post too many spoilers there.

Book Pizza’s pick for June is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. From Amazon.com: “The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. 

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.”

So pick up a copy of The Night Circus and get ready to discuss your heart out! Each month when we announce the new Book Pizza selection, we’ll also offer a poll so that you can tell us what books YOU want to read. 




Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Leading Off

Hello everyone! I figured that I would formally introduce myself so you know what you’re getting yourselves into. First of all, my name is Lindsay. I’m about to enter my third year (whoa) of college. I’m a Communications major and recently decided to minor in Theater.

To say that I am a sports fan is an understatement. I am completely and utterly invested in just about every sport I watch. That’s why I decided that the only career that would make sense for me was something involving sports. My ultimate dream is to have my own sports talk show one day.

The first game I ever fell in love with was baseball. I can’t point to a certain time when I remember watching my first game or learning my first rule. It’s been with me for as long as I can really remember. It all started with my best friend, my Paw Paw.

photo via mecookie

I loved spending any time I could with my Paw. Since he spent most of his time watching baseball, so did I. He was so excited to teach me everything he knew. He would tell me stories from when he was a kid which made me fall in love with the history of the game as well. We watched or listened to every single game together. For my entire childhood, the Detroit Tigers were a losing team. It was all I knew, yet there was nothing I loved more than watching them play.

When the Tigers made it to the World Series in 2006, it was one of the greatest memories I have ever had. After years and years of seeing them lose, I got to experience what it felt like to win - all with my Paw Paw sitting on the couch across from me. I can still remember his sweet smile when Magglio Ordonez hit that walk off home run in the bottom of the 9th inning.

Last year, my Paw Paw suffered from a collapsed lung. He was in the hospital for a few months and every time I visited, we watched the Tigers. He became progressively sicker and it was difficult for him to talk. The last conversation we had was about Jose Valverde.

A few days later, he was sent to hospice care. On June 11, I sat by his bed and held his hand. He wasn’t awake, but the doctor told us that he could still hear us. As usual, the Tigers game was on the television. I broadcasted the entire game to him. We watched it together just like we had for my entire life. That night, the Tigers won the game to take over first place in the American League Central. It was the last game I ever watched with him.

At 3:57 A.M. on June 12, 2011, my Paw Paw passed away. I didn’t know how I was ever going to be able to watch another Tigers game again. I associated it so much with him that it broke my heart to even think about it. Then I realized that the only thing that would make me feel better was watching baseball. When the Tigers beat the Yankees to advance to the ALCS, my phone rang, just like it did so often after a Tigers game, with my Paw Paw on the other line. Though it had been months since he died, when I heard the phone ring I immediately expected to hear his voice. The caller ID read “Unknown Number” with the phone number “000-000-0000”. It may sound silly, but I took it as a sign. My Paw Paw will always be watching baseball with me.

Sports have a way of bringing people together. Families, friends, and complete strangers enter a whole different universe when they’re supporting their favorite team. A team can lift the spirits of an entire state. Every sport is exciting and unpredictable in its own way and I’m constantly amazed at the ability of these athletes. Through the good, bad, and ugly, it’s always a joy for me to watch.

I’m so excited to begin writing for this site. I’ll be sharing my opinions, posting recaps, and giving you fun facts and information along the way. Here’s to another memorable year in sports!

An Ode to Bromances

The bromance: a romance between bros. This is no ordinary friendship between dudes. A bromance requires that male friends are so close that their relationship takes on some of the qualities of a romantic relationship. Here are some of my favorite bromances from TV and movies.

Troy and Abed (Community)


photo via
Abed: Announcement number one: all announcements will be cool from now on.
Troy: Announcement number two: butt soup.


Merry and Pippin (Lord of the Rings)

photo via
Pippin: You need people of intelligence on this sort of mission… quest… thing.
Merry: Well, that rules you out, Pip.


Chandler and Joey


photo via
Joey: Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if our duck and our chick had a little baby? We could call it Chuck.
Chandler: Or Dick.


Cory and Shawn (Boy Meets World)

photo via
Cory: Shawnzie?
Shawn: Yessie?


Shawn and Gus (Psych)

photo via
Shawn: I’m Shawn Spenstar and this is my partner Gus “TT” Showbiz.
Gus: The extra T is for extra talent.


JD and Turk (Scrubs)


photo via
Turk: It sounds like you're asking me out on a man date.
JD: Turk, why are you so afraid of loving me?


Han Solo and Chewie (Star Wars)


photo via
Han: Get in there, you big furry oaf. I don’t care what you smell!


What are some of your favorite bromances?

Lookin' Good in the Summer

This post originally started off as a “from winter to spring/summer wardrobe change” piece.  However, our team here has been working hard to perfect the site for you all and have pushed back the launch date a bit at Thought Pizza.  Needless to say, we said goodbye to winter long ago and are well into warm weather.

That being said, I still feel like many of my clothing pieces have a slightly dreary seasonal look to them, mainly when it comes to color.  I am not drawn to super girly things, bright highlighter neon pants/shirts/shoes/whatever make me nervous, pastels are for the Easter bunny, and I feel weird when I have too much pink on. 

So instead of "from winter to spring," I’ll just give some general guidelines on how to not look like a Debbie Downer if you, like me, prefer to wear mostly neutral and/or dark colors.

1. Messy hair is a summer staple.  Especially for those of us with hair that isn’t naturally poker straight, there’s no point in trying too hard.  Beachy waves, ponytails, buns, braids, all good summer dos.
     2. Small splashes of pink are very clean looking. Even for those of us that aren't big fans of the color, a small bit of pale or light pink is sometimes refreshing (like a scarf!).
    3. Dull colors are still colors, don’t forget about them. And a floral print (or any print for that matter) can liven up a dark outfit.     

       


     


       

































    4. Try fabrics that flow, no matter what the color. Dresses work well for this: breezy and light!





























    5. Stripes are fun (white and blue especially give you a nautical, summery look).

    6. Nail polish: it’s just great all year round. 

    7. And lastly, lipstick is the quickest way to add some color to anything.  Maybelline baby lips is one of my favorites; it’s a moisturizing balm, has SPF 20, and comes in different shades (including clear).  

    There you have it. My quick fixes to summerfy your wardrobe. 

    And don’t worry, boys, not all of these style posts will be so focused on girl things. I’m also really looking forward to doing some more interactive projects with the style portion of the Though Pizza, so stay tuned and happy summer! 





    So, what's going on with the whole gay marriage thing?


    After skirting the issue for most of his term in office, President Obama recently spoke out in favor of same-sex marriage, stating that, “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.” While every news outlet from here to Jupiter has expressed their varying opinions on the President’s proclamation, it’s safe to say that this issue isn’t going anywhere soon.

    Chris Kirk and Hanna Rosin have analyzed the marriage and divorce rates in the six states that allow same-sex marriage. The verdict? Divorce rates have remained mostly the same; marriage rates saw brief jumps immediately after same-sex marriage was legalized and then leveled off around the previous rates.

    The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal are representing 25 couples in Illinois suing in the pursuit of legalizing same-sex marriage. Illinois enacted civil unions a year ago, but most couples involved in the lawsuits want the same recognition as heterosexual couples.

    Tracy Thorne-Begland, an openly gay judge who lives with his partner and two children, was blocked by the Virginia House of Delegates in his bid for a position on a general district court. According to Bob Marshall, Virginia state Delgate, Thorne-Begland’s sexual orientation makes him “an aggressive activist for the pro-homosexual agenda.”

    If you were wondering about gay marriage in the comic book world, look no further than the Astonishing X-Men #51. Northstar, the Canadian superhero who came out in 1992, will wed his partner Kyle in the volume to be released on June 20th.

    Microsoft's So.cl: Is it a social network?

    Microsoft recently hopped on the social networking bandwagon and unveiled a new online project called So.cl (pronounced "social") which they define as:
    "...an experimental research project, developed by Microsoft’s FUSE Labs, that lets you use search to express and share ideas through beautiful story collages. So.cl is for anyone who has something to say - richly, simply, elegantly.  So.cl helps you create rich stories (posts) by making it easy to assemble and share collages of web content.  So.cl helps you discover people with like interests, and discover interests shared by people you like."
    As much as Microsoft beats around the bush about So.cl, calling it an "experimental research project," it is still a networking site created for socializing.


    Some of the key features So.cl boasts about are:
    • Share Your Search - With So.cl you can share your searches with others and help them discover what they might be looking for. So.cl uses the Bing search engine for its social searching so I'm guessing it is going to be pretty similar to that of Google+.
    • Discover New Interests - So.cl can help you find topics that fit your current interests, find new interests, and connect with like-minded people who love the same things you do.
    • Start a Video Party - Video parties are Microsoft's equivalent to the grandmas watching the Kim Kardashian sex tape's recipe for success. The gist of video parties is that you can assemble a list of videos to watch, then invite all your friends to a virtual party where you can watch them all together and have a good time. If your friends aren't funny enough you can even view existing parties that were held by other So.cl users. I have to admit that this is kind of a cool concept.
    So.cl  users can create and maintain profiles, follow other users, and share posts with their network. Instead of status updates, check-ins or "tweets," your So.cl posts revolve around internet searches. This is where the "search experiment" comes into play.

    At first this made me nervous. I don't want my friends knowing everything I search the internet for. However users' posts (or statuses) shows the search the user conduced through the So.cl search bar--not what was searched using the Bing.com search bar.

    Interested? There's two ways to sign up for an account. You can either sign into So.cl using your already existing Facebook account or through your Windows Live account. Using a social network account to log into a pretending-to-not-be-a-social-network social network sounds confusing!

    All of this sounds like a social network. So what does Microsoft have to say about that?
    So.cl is not meant to replace existing full-featured search and social networking tools. It is an experimental research project using a minimal set of features which help combine search with the social network for the purpose of expressing and sharing ideas with rich visual collages, organized by interests.
    So it's an add-on to existing networks? And they're not a Facebook competitor? Then they better have something awesome and new to be worthy of our time...

    Although So.cl doesn't bring a lot of new features to the table (let's be honest, it's a lot like Google+), there is potential for a great tool. Several moons have to align for So.cl to really take off, including:
    • Bing popularity - Bing's search engine has to grow in popularity for this tool to be worthwhile for users. The more people using Bing the more content will be curated through So.cl.
    • Users - So.cl's current users aren't quite grasping the whole idea. Some users tag their posts as "tech" because they originally search something techie, like a laptop, but ended up posting a link to something completely opposite, like children's games. Once users understand that they play a role in the success of the content, this issue should auto-correct.
    • Privacy - Privacy on So.cl is basically all or nothing. There's no in between or customization of privacy settings.
    I'm not entire sure what Microsoft is up to with So.cl... Is it really an experiment? Why are you spending so much money on an online network if it's not going to compete with the big boys (Facebook, Twitter and G+)? The world may never know...

    What do you think? Is So.cl here to stay? 

    Lessons Learned From Working With Kids

    I may not be a parent, but unfortunately, I have plenty of experience with children. I've worked in the kids' birthday party business for over seven years in a special ring of hell called Pump It Up. Let me tell you now: kids are terrifying. I can't say why I've lasted so long working around these crazy little people and I don't know why I haven't gone crazy yet myself. It probably has to do with the perks of getting to play there whenever I want; moon bounces are awesome!

    There are some ways to cope, however, when the little monsters get out of control. Here are some survival tips (parenting advice, if you will) that I've picked up over the years:
    • Crying generally stops with a band-aid and/or ice pack, no matter what the problem is.
    • Quarters will usually stop screaming tantrums (and also will get he/she to leave you alone while it plays crane machines and games).
    • Children of all ages should wear diapers in public...no need for details here, you can use your imagination.
    • Kids under the age of five should not be given expensive parties in loud places; they get scared and become hysterical (watching this happen gives some people the giggles, but parents may not appreciate the laughter).
    • And lastly, for the same reason, small kids should not have characters at their parties. These crazy big-headed life-size cartoons are even frightening to grown-ups:
    Keep these tips in mind if you are ever in a situation with anyone below the age of approximately 10. Then after you get rid of the little ones, come hang out at Pump It Up! The inflatable party zone is much more fun when no kids are around.



    DIY Pizza Pillow

    To celebrate our Thought Pizza Party, I thought it only fitting to create some kind of pizza-related DIY project. I just moved into a new apartment and am looking for unique decorations, so the idea for a pizza pillow came naturally. Here's how to create your own:


    What you need:
    • Yarn (yellow, red, and beige)
    • Crochet hook
    • Two pieces of beige fabric or felt
    • Cotton stuffing or batting
    • Many different felt colors (I used burgundy, brown, black, green, and white)
    • Sticky back velcro
    • Scissors

    Start by crocheting three circles using your different yarn colors. The yellow circle should be about 11" in diameter. The red circle should be about 12" in diameter. And the beige circle should be about 14" in diameter and fold over onto itself as shown. If you need patterns for how to crochet circles, you can find them here. And you can use one of these patterns to make your beige circle. (Just don't finish closing the circle)


    Take your beige fabric and begin stitching them together in a circle that is the same size as your beige crochet circle. Once you've gone almost all the way around, fill it with stuffing, then finish sewing.


    Put the beige pillow inside the beige crochet circle. Crochet the yellow circle onto the red one, and crochet the red circle onto the beige one as shown. Now your pillow should look kind of like a cheese pizza.


    Cut your different topping shapes out of felt. You can use the photo below as a guide, or add your own toppings. My pizza includes pepperoni, mushroom, onion, green pepper, sausage, and olive. Use the "pointy side" of the velcro and stick it onto the felt toppings. You can cut it if the toppings are too small. The velcro should stick right onto the yarn.




    So now you should have a pizza pillow that you can customize with your favorite toppings! Enjoy!