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Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Harlem Shake Is The New Planking…


This is the funniest thing ever!

Reposted from Necole Bitchie



What.In.The.World?

Remember that one year (circa 2011) that planking became such a huge internet craze?  People would pick the strangest places to lie face down, with their arms to their side, and upload the photos to the internet for approval from their followers and friends.    Well now, there’s this new craze, called the “Harlem Shake” which has taken over YouTube, with over 4000 fan-made videos uploaded a day and over 175 million views since February 2. The videos feature regular folks as well as celebs like Ryan Seacrest, The Dallas Mavericks and more trying their hand at the dance.  The crazy thing about it is that no one’s really doing the Harlem Shake. Or at least the Harlem Shake we remember from Diddy and G Dep’s “Special Delivery” video back in the day. As a matter of fact, everyone looks more like they are on E if anything.

The actual song, “Harlem Shake” was released by 23-year-old Brooklyn producer Baauer last May, and the song never really made noise, however, earlier this month, a video blogger uploaded a video of himself dancing to the song on YouTube and it somehow became a phenom overnight.  How crazy is that?
Since Azealia Banks is from Harlem, it was only right that she tried her hand at a remix to the song (even if the original producer disapproved).

You can catch that and a few folks doing the new form of the “Harlem Shake” below:
Azealia Banks – Harlem Shake (Remix)

The original “Harlem Shake” video that started the internet dance craze

Ryan Seacrest – Harlem Shake

Harlem Shake ( Barack Obama Edition)

The Dallas Mavericks do the Harlem Shake


Jeff Gordon Harlem Shake



This is the best one.... my puppy Sasha's friends

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Sparks Controversy. Offensive or Overreaction?


It's been a big week for Sports Illustrated. First, a blogger leaked the swimsuit issue's much-anticipated cover, upstaging David Letterman's big reveal on Monday. Now website Jezebel is calling out the men's magazine for using minorities as "props" in photos featuring models in bikinis posing in seven different continents.
Sports Illustrated coverJezebel argues that the magazine is perpetuating racial stereotypes by drawing power and class lines between the Westernized models and the "primitive locals" and points to a long history of media using minorities as "extras", citing Nylonmagazine, the Free People catalog, British Vogue, and J-Crew.

Depending on where you look, the reaction has been mixed, even among the men who are supposed to be titillated. On Jezebel's website, one male commenter wrote, "Pics of woman with local natives is NOT hot, it's exploitative, so the mission is fail right there. Oh and exploitative. I do not know what they were thinking….fail all around." While another guy wrote, "Some of the examples are ›‹reaching a bit…the one with the boat….why pick that for China? Especially when everything I read about China is how they're an industrial powerhouse." And one helpful reader on Sports Illustrated's Facebook page pointed out, "Technically speaking they were not shot in all seven continents. While Easter Island may belong to Chile, it's a Polynesian island, and not part of the South American continent." Oy.
Shine reached out to Sports Illustrated and Scott Novak, SVP, Communications & Brand responded with "No comment" but added that the man who appears in the Namibia photos "may have done other editorial work before."
In Spain, a model leans on a Matador. (photo by Sports Illutrated)

"These photos depict people of color as exotic backdrops," David Leonard, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies at Washington State University, tells Yahoo! Shine. "As with beautiful oceans, picturesque trees, people of color are imagined as exotic, as novel, as foreign, as uncivilized and as a point of comparison for the civilized white beauties scantily clad in bathing suits. Beyond functioning as props, as scenery to authenticate their third world adventures, people of color are imagined as servants, as the loyal helpers, as existing for white western pleasure, amusement, and enjoyment."
In Africa, a black man is positioned next to a model carrying a spear. (photo by Sports Illustrated)

"As Jezebel writes, where are the images and pictures of bustling cities, skyscrapers — the pictures reify dominant narrative about the uncivilized and primitive third world. They define people of different races as 'other' and the sexual white female body as desirable, as they're to be watched, consumed, and enjoyed by men in lounge chairs," he adds. 

Evelyn Hu-DeHart, Professor of History and Ethnic Studies, Director, Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA) at Brown University tells Yahoo! Shine: "It's understandable why some would find these photos disturbing. The juxtaposition of scantily-clad white, modern, cosmopolitan and western woman against natives, animals, exotic scenery, primitives (African native), traditionals (Chinese fisherman; ethnic minority girls in China); The exception is the photo of the Spanish bullfighters, in which case the model is suggestive of the bull.  The white models are tourists and colonials."
In China, a a blond model reclines on a raft while a local man steers. (photo by Sports Illustrated)

Fashion magazines and advertising are guilty of depicting racial stereotypes, too. In August 2011, Vogue Italia's website featured an accessory they called "Slave Earrings" with the tagline, "A classic always in evolution." After the inevitable backlash, they changed the title to "Ethnic Earrings" and posted a statement that it wasn't their intention to insult anyone. That same year, the skin lotion company Nivea issued an apology on their Facebook page for their "Look Like You Give a Damn Campaign" in which a clean-cut black man held the head of a caveman lookalike with dark skin and an Afro. 
To be fair, not everyone's outraged. Most likely, the people buying the magazine aren't exactly reading too much into the photos. The Swimsuit Issue's Facebook page has 200,000 likes. As one commenter puts it: "I'll be buying my issue this weekend. I sure hope they don't sell out...." 

Monday, February 11, 2013

You'd Be Surprised at What's Tax Deductible


What's a more valuable tax deduction, a deadbeat boyfriend or a vicious guard dog? It depends on how big a deadbeat the boyfriend is.

No, this isn't a bad joke.

It's among the things taxpayers ask each year as they try to squeeze out whatever deductions they can.

And tax experts say they've heard it all.

Among the zaniest: How do I value a taxidermy I donated to charity? (It can involve estimating stuffing and mounting costs.) I'm putting a swimming pool in this year, I'm going to use it for exercise, can I deduct it as a medical expense? (Likely not.) What if my neighbor gives me a cow in exchange for help building a barn? (You must report the fair market value of that cow as ordinary income.)

Some people "are very creative and want to see if they can outsmart the tax code," says S. Miguel Reyna, a certified public accountant in Dallas.

Of course, many of the queries aren't so offbeat. Here's a sampling of questions that tax experts are often asked.

1. Can I deduct my pet?

Fido may feel like your child, but that doesn't mean he'll land you a tax break.

That said, there are rare circumstances where a pet may qualify for a tax deduction if you itemize. If your pet is a service animal for a disability that you have, the cost of buying, training and maintaining the animal may qualify as a medical expense. This typically includes vet visits, grooming and food, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

A big caveat: You can only deduct medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income in 2012. (The threshold is 10% for 2013 for most people).

What's more, you may be able to deduct costs related to a guard dog employed by your business for protection, depending on the circumstances, according to G. Scott Haislet, a CPA and tax attorney in Lafayette, Calif.

2. Can I claim my girlfriend or boyfriend as a dependent?

"Boy, that one comes up so often," Bob Meighan, vice president at Intuit's INTU -0.34% TurboTax, says of this question. "The answer is yes, in some cases."

Claiming a dependent reduces your taxable income. Dependents can be family members and individuals who aren't family members, but meet criteria.

To claim a nonrelative as a dependent, he or she had to live in your home for the full tax year and make less than $3,800 in gross income during that time. You also generally must provide more than half of the person's financial support, and he or she can't be claimed as a dependent by anyone else, among other criteria, says Mr. Meighan.

3. l left a bag of clothes at Goodwill. What's stopping me from saying it's worth $10,000 and deducting that amount?

If you itemize your deductions, you may be able take the charitable deduction for donating clothes that are in good condition to thrift shops. But gauging the value of that out-of-style blouse requires help, especially since some charities leave it up to you to determine how much you've given.

The Salvation Army has a guide to help calculate the value of clothing, furniture and household goods at satruck.org/donation-value-guide. TurboTax also offers free estimates atItsDeductible.com.

What's stopping you from writing off more than the true value? The IRS has documentation rules for these kinds of donations that vary depending on their value. If an item or group of similar items donated is worth more than $5,000, you typically have to obtain, among other things, a qualified written appraisal of the item or items donated.

4. My doctor said that I need to lose weight. Can I deduct my gym membership?

In theory, some weight-loss-related expenses are deductible. In practice, deducting them is tough, say tax experts.

You only qualify if you need to lose weight because of a specific, doctor-diagnosed disease, says Gil Charney, principal tax research analyst at the Tax Institute at H&R Block HRB +0.08% .

The only costs that would then qualify as medical expenses would have to be specific to your weight-loss regimen. So a so-called general-use item, such as a gym membership, wouldn't pass muster, but a specific weight-loss program would, he says.

Again, you can only deduct medical expenses once they exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income for 2012.

5. I bought a tricked-out new computer, which I partially use for my studies. Is it covered under education tax breaks?

The Lifetime Learning Credit and American Opportunity Tax Credit allow students and parents to subtract a certain percentage of educational expenses from their tax bill. But whether a computer qualifies depends on where you go to school.

You can put a laptop's cost toward these credits only if the device is formally required by a school or degree program, says Mr. Charney. You'll want a receipt for the purchase and documentation of the school's requirement.

The Lifetime Learning Credit is a credit of as much as $2,000 for qualifying educational expenses, available to joint filers with less than $122,000 in modified adjusted gross income and single filers with less than $61,000. The American Opportunity Tax Credit is a credit of as much as $2,500 per student and has a slightly higher income threshold: $180,000 for joint filers and $90,000 for single filers. You usually can't claim both.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Toni Braxton Promotes New Film ‘Twist Of Faith’

Toni Braxton was out promoting her new film "Twist of Faith" in a black belted dress and pink peep toe pumps. She looked flawless to say the least and I am loving those pumps. 

She plays the role of Nina, a single mom and choir singer who falls in love with a songwriter names Jacob. Jacob though is an Orthodox Jew who moved from New York to Alabama after witnessing the murder of his wife and three children. Jacob is embraced by Nina and their gospel community and music brings them together as they try to make some sense of his past and their possible future. 

The premier of the movie will be on Lifetime, February 9th @ 9pm. 

Check Toni Braxton out below and also where to get a pair of these pumps!

(Images from here)


Find these pumps at the ShoeBox New York for $695!

Things I Love on Fashiolista!!!


Disclaimer:_____________________I do not own any rights to any images on HoneyBEE Billi unless stated so. Most images are derived from google image search and the sites it leads me to. Seek permission for images that belong to me before use.
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