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Keep your explosions out of NYC - or else.
Keep your explosions out of NYC - or else.

Stop blowing up NYC

Action movie writers and directors – put up your dukes. I've got a longstanding issue with you blowing up U.S. cities on the big screen – especially when you attempt to nuke New York City.

My irritation with this silver screen charade was documented back in 2008 in a New York Times article that quoted me (via my maiden name) regarding movies' ("I am Legend" and "Cloverfield") cinematic obliteration of the city I spent a great deal of my childhood, teen years and college experience in getting blown to smithereens.

Now, a spontaneous trip to see "The Avengers" last weekend has reignited my loathing of on-screen explosions in the Big Apple.

Understand – nothing thrills me more than repeat rear views of Captain America or gratuitous shots of Thor's biceps beaded with perspiration and riddled with bulging veins as he summons his hammer, but I'm sick and tired of seeing New York City and its monuments ravaged, blown up and destroyed on celluloid. Am I the only one that is sensitive to the fact that this actually, so tragically happened?

The writer of that NYT article, Brooks Barnes, uncovered that obliterating New York City on the big screen is quite purposeful. Turns out foreign markets champ at the bit to see our homeland get its ass kicked. Makes my stomach turn to think that U.S. filmmakers purposefully use negative domestic imagery to make more money in the overseas market.

Call me oversensitive (as I know that's certainly not the worst thing I've been called), but can't we torch a fictional city or some unknown far away place that isn't so familiar? At the very least, perhaps just not paint such a graphic motion picture for America-haters to jerk off to. I want our superheroes to turn their superpowers to good use – to avenge this nasty for-profit habit of American moviemakers.

When did "XOXO" lose its innocence?
When did "XOXO" lose its innocence?

The "XOXO" debacle

This actually happened – just not to me. (Yet.)

Weeks ago, a married, female friend of mine sent out a mass text wishing everyone in her phone a "Happy Easter! XOXO"

A few moments later, my friend's phone rang with the irate wife of a work colleague on the other end.

"Whose phone is this?" the fuming spouse demanded.

My friend explained and the wife inquired, "Why are you sending my husband XOXO's?"

The conversation escalated, threats were hollered and things ended un-amicably. The husband called my friend apologetically. But, the damage had been done – all with a few characters in a text that don't even spell a word, but imply something much deeper for some people.

Admittedly, this could happen to me at any moment. I abuse the "XOXO" on a daily basis.

I sign emails, texts to both sexes and even pantomime my beloved signature in conversations – drawing "XOXO" with my pointer finger in the air.

To me, these letters mean "hugs and kisses." However, this is more of a quick wrap of the arms around the receiver's body and a peck on the cheek. Not a passionate, drawn-out embrace followed by tongue.

My intention is never sexual with this salutation, but more a signal of affection to those who receive it from me.

If you get an "XXX" from me – that's a different story.

I recently went to a band's website – they offer free downloads of their albums signed, "XO." Does that mean they are including a free make-out session with every download? Well, maybe – they are a band after all.

So, what do you think? Has "XOXO" lost its innocence? If so, I better stop using it with my brother, male friends (especially the married ones) and colleagues of either sex.

I am clamoring to know, when did "XOXO" become a sext?

Makeup and fashion trends are going bold with a splash of citrus this season.
Makeup and fashion trends are going bold with a splash of citrus this season.

Color me orange

You'd have to be colorblind not to catch that orange is all the rage right now.

When I walked into Sephora a while back and saw that the authority on color, Pantone, had collaborated with the beauty brand to create a makeup collection centered around the citrus-y shade typically blazoned on day lilies and construction workers, I felt a color trend being coerced into my brain's palette.

Seeing the hue that has no rhyme reminds me of way back in 2001, when I worked as a retail makeup artist for MAC Cosmetics. Our counter manager told us "never to judge the more "mature" ladies who buy Morange lipstick in bulk. Wearing orange reminds them of a time in their life when they felt their most beautiful."

I never did denounce; in fact, I made it a point to buy my very own tube of Morange. I wore that bold pumpkin lip with matte skin and a simple eye flicked with a checkmark of black liner. I even had stripes of rust incorporated into my then-dreadlocks to coordinate with my new fave.

And now, it's all coming around again as hues of apricot, coral and straight-up vibrant orange are everywhere. Goldfish-themed manicures, Dorito-colored denim, cheddar-chalked or colored hair, marigold shoes and yes, fiery makeup are making fashion-forward statements right now.

Here are a few tips to make the tangerine trend work for you.

  1. Pick your battle. Choose only one area to emphasize when using orange. If it's your makeup, don't wear the orange jeans or try to choose one feature to place the color on. Don't be like me and necessarily coordinate your hair to your lipstick. Especially if it's orange. It's just a bit – much. A solo splash of bright carrot or a sheer wash of soft salmon strategically placed is effective and tasteful. The lips or cheeks are an especially lovely place to wear the makeup trend, while a pop of the pigment works fantastically as a solo accessory like a purse, pair of heels or chunky necklace.

  2. Pick the proper shade for your skin tone. Bright, true orang…