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Guys and Dolls: A “manly man” gets in touch with his “Chatty Cathy” side.
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Tuesday, 05 February 2013 17:22

Like many other Americans—and actually citizens the world over—I took part in the annual ritual of Super Bowl watching and snacking. Since I didn’t have a preference for either team, and wasn’t really all that interested in the outcome, I spent a lot of time refreshing drinks and microwaving nachos.
    In between plays, I schmoozed and gossiped. Okay, I admit it—I even talked and chatted during the game. Because of my magpie status, I was asked a few times to stay in the kitchen, which is what I ended up doing.

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On the QT: “Django Unchained” dolls have gone underground and are netting record prices.
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Monday, 28 January 2013 21:23

Director/producer/screenwriter Quentin Tarantino is turning 50 years old in March, but he doesn’t show any signs of mellowing or chilling out with age. Nope, instead the self-proclaimed “film geek” is stirring up controversy and stealing headlines with his latest film, “Django Unchained.” In case you’ve been snoozing for the past month, “Django Unchained,” or “DU,” is Tarantino’s blending of a spaghetti-western with a black-exploitation-movie vibe. It’s supposedly paying homage to the Sergio Leone European-existential epics that made Clint Eastwood a superstar as the “Man with No Name.” Tarantino is a bona fide expert in cult films, classic Hollywood, and movies that have made a difference in the social climate. He really knows his stuff, so he must have known somewhere in his subconscious that “DU” was running the risk of shaking up the status quo.

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Inauguration Ideal: Dolls venerate the highs and lows of the highest office in the land.
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Monday, 21 January 2013 15:55
The past three days have been officially labeled as “Inauguration Weekend,” and while Washington swells are dressed to the nines and burning the midnight oil, I’m home with the kiddies playing Clara Barton. (Incidentally, the town next to mine has a district called the “Clara Barton downtown” that honors the venerable American Civil War nurse.) Both my children are suffering from some form of the flu/virus/colds from hell and are shivering and hacking away. During the nursing and soup making, I’m listening to the radio give a play-by-play of the upcoming presidential festivities.
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Ikea Ideals: Like a well-loved dollhouse, there’s always room for dreams and desires.
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Thursday, 10 January 2013 15:52
One of my favorite pastimes is heading to Ikea. Luckily for me, my friends and family know my obsession with snap-together sofas and “easy”-to-assemble armoires. At Christmastime, I’m fortunate that I almost always get presented with an Ikea gift card, which means that I have the chance to take my holiday cash in my hot little hand and trundle home with some attractive, boldly colored accessories.
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Christmas Carnage: How the “Elf on the Shelf” mistakenly got incinerated in my house.
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Thursday, 03 January 2013 16:44
If you are sensitive to the wanton destruction of wayward mythical creatures, read no further. If you have a strong stomach, and realize that bad things can sometimes happen to good elves, read on. This is a true-crime account of an imaginary being:
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The Half-Time Report, Part II: A look back at the most discussed and commented-upon blogs of July to December
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Friday, 28 December 2012 14:48
Many of us have gone over the river and through the woods this holiday season to visit grandma, grandpa, assorted uncles, aunts and cousins. In other words, we’ve logged a frequent fliers’ tachometer of miles to celebrate with the whole assemblage of Christmas-sweater-wearing moms and dads, silly, smart and successful siblings, and eggnog-swilling neighbors. It’s the whole effervescent enchilada, bursting at the seams with good cheer and much merriment.
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The Half-Time Report: A look back at the most discussed and commented-upon blogs of January to June
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Thursday, 20 December 2012 20:09
It’s always good during the frenetic holiday season to take a step back and ponder the past year’s triumphs and failings, personal gains and professional stumbles. It’s a “day at the spa” for one’s soul to sit down and figure out what has brought you great joy and what has peddled despair or sadness to your doorstep. If you can calculate what has been the happiest moments, perhaps you can work twice as hard at embracing those during the upcoming year. If you know what has given you grief or has added heartbreak to your days, then maybe you can learn to sidestep those issues or ward off their reoccurrences. It’s important to review the past so the future can be better and brighter.
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Guys and Dolls, Girls and Guns? Do toy trends reflect our world or create our society?
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Thursday, 13 December 2012 14:25
With only 12 days left until Christmas, the panic of “what, where, when, why, and who” is in full gear. Back in journalism class, those were the all-important five W’s—the essential questions and considerations that had to pop up in the opening section of a news story. Nowadays, with jingling and jangling hanging above and inside my head, I’m more prone to mad dashes to the store than tracking down quotes for punchy first paragraphs. My five W’s are all about my shopping list, and what I should get the people in my family and network of friends.
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Second Helpings of Wisdom: A banquet of brainy doll talk and witty observations.
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Monday, 26 November 2012 16:07

Thanksgiving was once again a test of endurance. It’s the one meal a year that separates the men from the boys, the women from the girls, and your waistline from getting easily back into your “skinny jeans.” As always, I loved every morsel while I was savoring it. After counting the number of forkfuls, and then multiplying it by pie (yes, the baked goods, not the mathematical calculation), I realized I probably consumed more in my single sit-down than Kate Moss has in a month. That’s quite disheartening!

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Highlands Heroines: Disney’s “Brave” celebrates the strength and spirit of mothers and daughters.
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Monday, 19 November 2012 15:08

My family watches a lot of movies. Many times it’s classics that my husband and I grew up seeing and adoring—lots of MGM entertainment vehicles, cinematic adaptations of great books, movie musicals (they don’t make ’em like “The Sound of Music” or “The King and I” anymore). So, in my living room, we’re all pretty steeped in film concepts and film images. My kids are only 8 and 10, but they could give Siskel & Ebert a run for their money back in their thumbs-up heyday. They both have their opinions on what’s good, what’s great, and what’s worth watching again, and again, and again.

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