Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Our Girl Crush List

It seems like a pretty good time to be a woman over 35!

First, we have Amal Alamuddin, i.e. the future Mrs. George Clooney, i.e. the Second-Best Long Brown Hair in the United Kingdom.

I have a feeling she is the kind of woman who always walks around looking like this, but she definitely caught on early to the fact that, post-engagement, she is always going to be photographed, so she prepares accordingly. Gigabytes of server space have already been used to wax on about how obviously smart and together she is, and to celebrate the fact that George Clooney - George Clooney!! - is not marrying some vacant 23 year-old actress. Amal, good for you. We anticipate many YBMMF appearances in the future.

Even more Gigabytes have been devoted to evidence that Angelina Jolie is a very beautiful and stylish woman. Obviously. However, this event really caught my eye:

William Hague, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

That's UK Foreign Secretary William Hague on the left; the two of them chaired the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict; she also worked to develop a UN Protocol on the subject. I believe I speak for all people who do this for a living when I say that developing a protocol and hosting a FOUR DAY meeting are some of the most tedious-yet-important parts of diplomacy. Plenty of stars appear make a perfunctory trip to some third-world country, get photographed playing with a kid, and consider their philanthropic box checked. Not so for Angelina. She clearly has found an issue she deeply cares about and devotes a lot of time to it. Even more broadly, she now strikes me as the type of woman who has picked her priorities: family, work, and UN issues, and focuses almost exclusively on them. When is the last time you saw a story about her vacationing on a yacht, or buying something ridiculously expensive, or getting into a fight at a bar? She doesn't have time for that crap. That's something that all women - even though we don't have the bone structure, the bucks, or the Brad - can get behind.

And finally, to the most powerful of the three, National Security Advisor Samantha Power.

Smart? Check. Successful? Check? By all accounts, a generally nice and normal person? Check. I particularly admire her openness about balancing work and family, and her willingness to show that side of her, imperfect as it may be (as it is for all of us). She doesn't seem to have a need to shriek "everything is perfect!" through gritted teeth. An inspiration to all of the working moms out there!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Afghan Presidential Election: Either Way, Dapper Wins!

As Afghans go to the polls in a runoff election to determine Hamid Karzai's successor, this much is certain: the next Afghan president will carry on Karzai's legacy of being one of the world's best-dressed leaders. Rivals Abdullah Abdullah (the Afghan politician so stylish they named him twice) and Ashraf Ghani both understand how to rock a tribal/western mix. Let's go to the tap.


Yep, that is a neck scarf, with some sort of cool tie. And a white jacket. And that's not all.

We have your plaid jacket, with a well-selected tie/shirt combo....

Your Nehru jacket, and a pose in front of a portrait of Massoud...

And a circa-2001 portrait. I think I speak for a lot of ladies when I say: no wonder we supported the Northern Alliance.

Now, Dr. Ghani. It's hard to select favorites - his looks can be broken down into three distinct categories.

1) The Vest

2) The Scarf

3) The Vest-Scarf Combo

He definitely has a more distinctly South-Central Asian look than Abdullah, which makes sense, given his need to overcome the fact that he lived in the West for far longer (and went to Columbia).

Either way, hats (or turbans) off to both - and I look forward to seeing either man's wardrobe choices on a world stage.

Friday, June 6, 2014

D-Day Commemorations: This Is How to Do It

I can't imagine the work that went in to planning the 70-year commemoration of D-Day, which featured no fewer than 19 heads of states and monarchs. Far from a major city. Outdoors. Flanked by what appear to be thousands of veterans and spectators.  Just the thought of coordinating all of the helicopter landings and security details raises my blood pressure.

But, given the orgy of amazing photos coming out of this event, it's totally worth it. The past and the future of Europe's leadership blend really nicely at this one (Queen Elizabeth, I should note, is actually a WWII veteran).

Excited: A female decorated war veteran appeared thrilled to meet President Obama face to face at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer

Do you think she thought in 1945, that 70 years later she would be meeting the U.S. president while someone took a picture of her with something called an iPhone? Nonetheless, it's sweet how thrilled she is. A lot of my favorite photos from today are of veterans mingling with POTUS and others and participating in the ceremonies.

Gathering: State leaders gather for lunch on Friday at Chateau De Benouville on Friday. Obama and Putin, who have not yet met on the trip, are both in attendance

I know it's impossible to avoid smushing them all together for an awkward group photo, but man, think of all the collective time spent chit-chatting while waiting for Putin not to look Photoshopped in. And then giving up. I'm really glad Queen Elizabeth and Queen Margrethe (who, btw, are related) are in there to break up the black-suited bloc; Queen Maxima was there too, (not in the group photo, I believe, because she is not technically a head of state), and looked absolutely lovely, which she always does, because, hello, she's originally Argentine, and they know what works for them.

Kidding around: President Obama has a laugh with Queen Maxima of e Netherlands at the international D-Day commemoration ceremony in Ouistreham, France

Yeah, she is totally who I would talk to in order to feel less awkward among some of the other folks at this party.

Meeting: Putin is pictured in his first meeting with Ukraine president-elect Petro Poroshenko since the election. They chatted with Germany's Angela Merkel following the photograph on Friday

Cough, cough. For the billionth time in 2014, let me say "we are all so lucky to have Angela Merkel." She is not leaving Poroshenko alone with Putin yet some adult supervision. Also, this photo got me wondering about which language people used all day. I think she and Putin are the only folks present who aren't really comfortable in English, and that's Putin's interpreter on the far right. So Poroshenko probably has a 30-second jump on what he's saying as she waits for it to be translated into German. The same interpreter is on duty when he chats with Obama in other photos, so color me impressed: simultaneous interpretation into one language is really, really difficult, but to work in two is seriously impressive.

Oh, and, of course:

Warm: The Duchess of Cambridge beams as she chats to a veteran at a tea party in Arromanches

Thursday, May 22, 2014

In Honor of the Unofficial Start of Summer

Dear Christine Lagarde,

I have no doubt you are an amazing, interesting, smart, funny woman. Really. And, since you are French, I also bet you read interesting books, eat responsibly, and speak with an appropriate volume at all times, even though you now live in America.

However, we need to talk.

There are two possible explanation for why you are suddenly the same color as John Boehner, and thus just one step away from getting made fun of by the President of the United States for your not-so-subtle orange hue. The first is that your favorite thing about America is our wide selection of self-tanners, which, I must admit, have some a long way from the ones that used to automatically turn your palms orange and smelled like Sun-In. The other explanation is that your admittedly athletic lifestyle has actually exposed you to this much sun - but I find it hard to believe, given that you have a super-serious desk job.

The next time you head to CVS or the tanning salon for your fix: STOP! You are a beautiful woman! Your clothes are great! You don't need this

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Latest Twist in the Ukraine Crisis: Kitschottiere Postponed!

Among the many sad stories to come out of Ukraine today: events have gotten so serious that they have allegedly postponed the wedding of boxer/politician Vladimir Kitschko and Nashville (admit it, you've watched it too) star Hayden Panettiere. They both seem like nice people, and she gave a good speech at the height of the Maidan frenzy back in December - but the thing I like most about them is the fact that he is, not kidding, at least twice her size. Look!

And she is probably wearing serious heels underneath that dress too. If I ever meet them in person, I will have to make an effort to restrain from squealing "you guys are SO cute" in some wildly inappropriate setting. We applaud their political sensitivity, and wish them the best.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Nerd Prom: If You Pay Someone to Be Your Date, Is That Okay?

Now, we are big, big fans of the White House Correspondents' Dinner, and the glitz it lends to our otherwise salmon-pants-and-Toms-loving capitol. And I love the glimpse of an actual, outside-the-Beltway celebrity at this event, as long as that is a celebrity who a) has demonstrated an interest in public policy or b) is in a show in which he/she demonstrates an interest in public policy.

Exhibit A:

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is pictured. | Getty Images

Yes. I hope Gary is carrying the Leviathan and making sure she doesn't mix her meds with too much booze and then sleep with her ex-husband.

But then there are those who don't meet the categories outlined above. Those who are less likely to appear at a Congressional hearing on Darfur, or vaccines, or...anything. I give you:

 Jason Binn and Sofia Vergara are pictured. | Getty

Don't get me wrong: she's funny, and she has awesome hair, and I can't believe she has a teenage son. And it wouldn't strike me as odd, except she was at the SAME DINNER last year.

This is a woman who said in 2013: "I would be lying to you if I didn't say the success of it. For me, it has allowed me to do the things I always wanted -- my endorsements."

Is she really on hand to advocate for more federal funding for tree pollen allergies? Or for additional wells to be built in the Central African Republic? Or to speak up for military victims of sexual abuse? I somehow doubt it.

So, this leaves me with just one question: HOW MUCH ARE THEY PAYING HER? AND WHY?