Thankfully, Amy is a professional writer — and when the Internet asked, she delivered a spectacular backstory behind the viral pic.
So, a couple people have asked for the story behind The Dress. Sorry for the delay! I have four kids (yes, I married him) on summer break, so my permanent state of being is “frazzled.” I called my daughter “mom” the other day.
LOLz! Been there!
But she was up to the task and delivered a Twitter tale complete with twists and turns.
I didn’t know what my mother-in-law planned to wear. I didn’t think to ask.
The morning of the wedding, all the women in the bridal party cram into a tiny room in the church. You know, body glitter and hairspray everywhere. Fifteen coats of mascara. Putting napkins under your pits so you don’t sweat on your dress.
She walks in. I see it.
I don’t remember much about the day. Most people say their wedding is a blur, and that’s true for me, too. But I know I said this: “You… You could be the bride…”
Later, my sister (matron of honor) said she didn’t pull me aside and talk about it because she hoped I was too distracted to notice. My college roommate (bridesmaid) said the same thing.
But secretly, they both spent the reception looking at me, then each other, then MIL, then me, then the cop the venue made us hire—hoping I didn’t go for his taser.
I’m happy to report the wedding unfolded without bloodshed, or anyone being shoved into the champagne fountain.
Not only that, the marriage has gone well — so well Amy now has a much better understanding of her mother-in-law.
Here’s the thing: My mother-in-law is extremely frugal. And I don’t mean she just enjoys a good bargain. To understand her, you have to know where she comes from.
She grew up in extreme poverty. As a child, she used to sneak into the kitchen and eat match heads. That’s a pica craving, and kids do it when they’re malnourished.
When you grow up with nothing, it stays with you. Forever, I think. No matter how much money you earn, there’s always that little fear in the back of your mind that someone might take it all away.
But her upbringing didn’t make her hard. Or cruel. Or selfish.
Not the type to try to steal her daughter-in-law’s big day, in other words…
However, she’s a bargain hunter to the bone. Her money saving strategies are legend—and often hilarious. At family gatherings, we amuse ourselves telling stories of crazy shit she’s done to save money.
For example, she takes the olives and celery out of a Bloody Mary and saves them for salads.
She once walked casually to the table where I was eating a subway sandwich and put my discarded cold cuts in a baggie because “someone will eat them.”
Sound like any mommas you know?
When Sally Jesse Raphael was popular, she didn’t have the money to buy red glasses, so she painted hers with red nail polish.
“I still have those,” she says.
She was so excited to turn 60, so she could claim her discounts. As long as there’s a bargain involved, she doesn’t care about getting older.
When my husband and his sisters were young, and they went to dinner, she’d try to get coupons back from the server so they could reuse them.
She always has a plastic water bottle in her purse. At restaurants, she’ll fill up her bottle with water from the table. “Why not? I’m paying for it.”
She brings her own mint and lime to restaurants because “the bartenders don’t know how to make a good Mojito.”
That one isn’t so much about money, it’s about taste.
When my daughter drinks ice water, my mother-in-law makes her put the empty glass on the counter. “Leave the ice in there…it’ll melt and make more water.”
And the dress? You guessed it. It was a great deal.
So when she spotted The Dress at an incredible bargain, she couldn’t turn it down. If you ask her now, she says she feels terrible about it.
Although, she also told me, “I think I’ve still got it. We should raffle it off.”
She’s frugal. But she’s also incredibly generous. When my twins were newborns, she drove across town every night, slept on the sofa, and did three feedings. For two babies. Every night for months.
She regularly shows up at my house with bags of new clothes for the kids. (Because she’s a kick ass bargain hunter.)
When I got my first job, she hemmed all my work pants because I can’t sew for shit. And because she was proud of me.
She never misses a band concert, sports event, talent show, science fair…you name it. She’d walk over hot coals for her grandchildren. She gives them everything. Because, you know, she grew up with nothing.
This is so sweet! You guys, we did NOT expect that when we started reading!
So, yeah, the wedding dress was a shock. But it gave me a pretty funny memory. No one who attended has ever forgotten it. And, you have to admit, weddings can be forgettable.
Sure, she wore a wedding dress to my wedding. But she has more than made up for it since. When I told her about this getting a lot of attention, and said I worried it might hurt her feelings, she waved it off. “Whatever makes me famous.”
And, because I’m a romance author, I’d be remiss if I didn’t add: And they lived happily ever after.
Awwwww! So sweet!
And, after her mother-in-law’s heart, way to segue into a shameless plug! We got you, gurl!
Amy Pennza is a romance writer alright! Though we doubt her work has anything as wholesome as the tale you just read…
She’s the author of some choice looking erotica, including sexy werewolf books called the Lux Catena series.
The only place Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has time to read anything that isn’t one of her briefing books is when she’s on a plane. In April 2018, Harris saw a harrowing story in The New York Times Magazine detailing the unique horrors of maternal mortality for black women.
“For black women in America,” the article reads, “an inescapable atmosphere of societal and systemic racism can create a kind of toxic physiological stress, resulting in conditions — including hypertension and pre-eclampsia — that lead directly to higher rates of infant and maternal death.”
“It was devastating,” recalled Harris to HuffPost this week. “When I was able to see to the numbers, it propelled me. It prompted me to do something.”
Women living in the U.S. have higher rates of maternal mortality than those in other high-income countries, due, in part, to the disproportionate rates of pregnancy-related deaths for black women. A recent CDC study found that black women are 3.3 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women. This means that for every 100,000 live births, nearly 43 black women will die.
Harris forwarded the Times article to her staffers and encouraged them to read it with the intent of figuring out what could be done legislatively. Nearly a year before, in the summer of 2017, Harris had read a Vox article about Stanford University’s California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, an initiative that collects data on maternal health, identifies preventable complications and then figures out next steps. She sent her staff that one, too.
Every day we wait, every day we don’t address it, is a day that a mother could possibly die.Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)
Her team got to work on what would evolve into the Maternal CARE Act, a bill comprising three key components that address the issue of black maternal mortality through a systemic lens. The legislation aims to make providers aware of any underlying racial biases they hold via implicit bias training, to commission a national study to develop ways to institute that training more broadly and to establish care programs that provide integrated services to pregnant women and new moms.
The bill, to be reintroduced in the coming weeks, is part of a current onslaught of legislation attempting to address the issue of black maternal mortality. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) reintroduced the MOMS Act, a complement to Harris’ bill, in January. In March, Illinois Democrats Rep. Robin Kelly and Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth reintroduced the MOMMA’s Act.
“I can’t sit by, knowing this is something that is happening, and not do something about it,” Harris said.
Harris didn’t simply send the articles out to her staff and sit back waiting on someone to hand her a finished piece of legislation.
“She made sure we all read it,” said Rohini Kosoglu, Harris’ Senate chief of staff. “‘This article came out, have people seen it?’ We sent it around, then she would follow up: ‘Have you guys read it?’ [and] have a conversation about it.”
The senator wasn’t checking in every day. But every few weeks, often when it was least expected, she would inquire as to the status of the bill. “She wanted to make sure that we’ve identified an issue — people are hurting who are vulnerable people — and that we are sticking to a decent timeline to get this all done and out,” said Kosoglu.
“Every day we wait, every day we don’t address it, is a day that a mother could possibly die,” Harris said. “Or just not receive the kind of health care that can lead to the best outcomes in terms of her health and the health of her baby. I take it very seriously.”
Harris has always been acutely aware of disparities in women’s health. Throughout her life, she listened to her mother, breast cancer researcher Shyamala Gopalan, discuss how health issues affecting women of color aren’t given the same level of attention.
“The fact of it is not shocking, but to see … the documentation of it and the unfairness of it — it’s just so wrong,” said Harris. “You don’t have to scratch the surface of this issue very deep to know it is literally all about racial bias.”
You don’t have to scratch the surface of this issue very deep to know it is literally all about racial bias.Kamala Harris
Whenever a policy issue pertains to vulnerable populations — particularly women and children of color — Harris’ zeal becomes more apparent. In one instance, she went up to Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) on the Senate floor to discuss black maternal mortality. Harris wants other lawmakers to be aware that socioeconomic status and educational attainment doesn’t prevent black mothers from dying.
“It’s literally all about race,” reiterates Harris while noting that Scott was “surprised and concerned.” (Scott’s office did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.)
“I think of that as being a part of my role and my responsibility as a leader,” she continued, “which is to help educate people about issues that they should know about and that if they knew about would prompt them to act.”
Jamila Taylor, a senior fellow and the director of Women’s Health and Rights at the Center for American Progress, reached out to Harris’ office to collaborate on the issue after the senator tweeted out a column Taylor had written about black maternal mortality for Mother’s Day. This sparked a series of meetings and conversations that took place throughout 2018 and 2019. Taylor, who helped write the legislation, continues to work with Harris and her office today.
“They were attentive. They were always seeking to learn more about the issue,” said Taylor of Harris’ staff. “They really wanted to get a grounding — and also wanted to make sure that she had a grounding — before they decided how they would enter into the space and what kind of legislation they would introduce.”
After months of research, the bill began to take shape. The first piece of the Maternal CARE Act focuses on establishing a $25 million grant program — $5 million each for fiscal years 2019 through 2023 — for medical, nursing and other health professional schools and training programs to institute implicit bias training.
The second part of the legislation provides $25 million in grants to up to 10 states so that they can establish pregnancy medical home programs that would deliver health care services to pregnant women and new mothers in hopes of reducing adverse outcomes. (Stanford’s CMQCC initiative would help inform the second piece of Harris’ bill, the Pregnancy Medical Home Demonstration Project, said Kosoglu. And working on that piece alone took about a year.)
The third calls on the pregnancy home medical programs to circulate their practices and commissions a National Academy of Medicine study that would provide recommendations for incorporating implicitbias recognition into clinical skills testing for all accredited medical schools.
Including bias training in the bill was of high personal importance to Harris. She had studied the issue and how it relates to policing during her tenure as California attorney general — under her directive, California police underwent implicit bias training following high-profile shootings of unarmed black people that, she says, reinforced her understanding that implicit bias has fatal consequences.
“When those women walk into a clinic or doctor’s office or a hospital, they are not taken as seriously as other women simply because they are black,” said Harris. “And that is about racial bias. It is about the bias that the person they are talking with brings to a decision about the legitimacy of their complaint or concern. So I wanted to address it at that root.”
When Harris’ team ran the idea of including implicit bias training by professors, medical professionals and experts, Kosoglu said they agreed it was necessary. “We were able to take that concept with her guidance on directing us how to do it, and have our experts say, ‘Yeah, we should be doing that here in this field,’” said Kosoglu.
It wasn’t easy to pin down those specifics. Staff still had to ensure that there’s accountability for the fact that black women are treated differently within the medical system.
The Center for American Progress’ Taylor hasn’t seen any recent drafts of the bill, but she has provided feedback on which components her team thinks should be strengthened. “All people who are interacting with women in the health care system … should be trained — not just the docs, not just the nurses,” she said.
“What are the other sort of training or educational entities for health care professionals and other support staff that could use training like this?” she continued. “And also not just implicit bias. It’s also explicit bias. So how do we get at some of those pieces and aspects of what is happening and how these things manifest in the health care system?”
Harris echoed this sentiment to HuffPost. “People should not consider it something that affects ‘them,’ as in the ‘other.’ The health status and the well-being of a black mother is an issue that should concern everyone — just like the maternal health of any woman should concern everyone.”
It rocked the internet, and quickly after the entertainment industry, as it was soon revealed that Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman Macy were among those indicted on bribery and fraud charges. For days it seemed like the scandal — in which parents of soon-to-be college students allegedly bribed athletic department officials across the country to accept their kids as phony athletic recruits — was all anyone could talk about!
What came as a shock to all of us when the announcements were made back in mid-March was actually the end result of a months-long federal investigation into William “Rick” Singer and his widespread bribery ring of rich and influential parents who seemed to recognize there was a “side door” to admit their children into prestigious colleges like Stanford University, the University of Southern California, Georgetown University, Wake Forest University, and many more institutions of higher learning around the country.
As noted in part one of our extensive breakdown, Singer had a variety of tactics to help facilitate admission for the children of rich parents, like bribing athletic department officials and coaches to admit the students as recruits even if they weren’t actually ever going to play on those sports teams once at school.
Interestingly, her husband William H. Macy was NOT officially charged with anything in the investigation, even though Singer’s admittance and follow-up seems to suggest the actor was at least partially involved here with Hoffman to bribe officials’ assistance while their daughter took her SAT. No matter; the feds will get to the bottom of everything soon enough as more parents continue to plead out and/or take their chances with a day in court.
Officially, the actress pled guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud as part of the fall-out from the federal investigation known as “Operation Varsity Blues.” She has admitted her role in paying $15,000 to Singer himself, in order to fraudulently boost her daughter’s SAT score as part of the nationwide college admissions scam.
The star had previously released a statement taking responsibility for her actions and admitting guilt while showing at least some level of regret, so it’s possible a judge may acknowledge that as appropriately remorseful and lighten her sentence, especially after her guilty plea in court. Regardless, you can’t help but wonder whether this was a smarter move than Loughlin’s choice to go it alone in court against the full resources of federal prosecutors…
From Wake Up, San Francisco… To, WAKE UP Inmate 145622!
“Aunt Becky” has already become something of a catch-all meme to describe similar crimes, scams, schemes, and calculations would suggest that much of pop culture and the entertainment world has already firmly attached this controversy to Loughlin, and Loughlin alone. Much more so than her husband, and even more so than Huffman, who opted to lay much lower than Loughlin’s fam, along with her relatively straightforward plea deal rather than choosing to fight it out in court.
Preparing A Defense
As Loughlin and Giannulli reportedly begin to realize just how much trouble they may be in, the couple have worked to prepare their legal defense. And that defense is… uh, well… they are apparently going to argue that they had “no idea” that Singer was going to bribe coaches at USC with their half a million dollars, putting forth the idea that the pair was supposed to be completely in the dark about what was happening with their $500,000.
Apparently, while the criminal complaint itself allegedly makes the pair look like criminal masterminds in conjunction with Singer, they will argue that they really didn’t know the legalities of what was going on. In other words… they’re not lawyers or experts on college admissions or the law — they’re just parents who simply wanted to make sure that their daughters got into a good school.
Believe it or not, Aunt Becky is far from the only one to pull an Aunt Becky! And more stories of educational deceit of various varieties are now coming out about several different high-profile celebs unrelated to this college admissions scandal, too. What a weird world we live in!
And then there’s R. Kelly, who allegedly pulled a REVERSE Aunt Becky on his poor daughter late last year, reportedly pulling out from paying for her books and college tuition despite being legally obligated to do so. He left her high and dry without warning or notice, even going so far as to have her kicked out of student housing without any warning once he stopped paying the bills like he initially promised to do. Brutal! Like Lori, R. Kelly is quite the fan of specious legal defenses, so maybe this makes sense…
Whew! Well, there you have it, Perezcious readers! Quite a bit to take in, right??