November 10, 2023

11 Hip Phrases You May Want to Know

Image: Pexels/Cup of Couple

It’s almost Thanksgiving, so you know what that means.

There’s the prospect of nearly three different generations gathering around the table to cut the turkey, feast on trimmings, and catch up on life.

And that means lots can get lost in translation.

But if you’re like me, that moment has already arrived.

Back in the spring, my 10-year-old daughter tried teaching me the choreography of a new mini dance routine that had just started making the rounds on YouTube Shorts. And, apparently, whatever I was doing with my arms was all wrong.

“That’s cringe, Mom,” she said in a judgy tone. 


I didn’t quite get what she was saying, but I knew it wasn’t good. “Excuse me?” I said genuinely, perplexed.

“Cringe,” she emphasized. “Like, it’s embarrassing.

Okay. Duly noted, I thought. So cringe—a verb—is now an adjective? Got it.

Don’t let this happen to you.

As we age, it can be hard enough to keep up with the latest slang as it is. Add to the mix social media and the lightning pace with which technology progresses and new words and phrases can arrive on the scene so fast, it makes our head spin.

Here are a few to make note of:

1. Glow up
This means a makeover or transformation from bad to good, as in, “I feel like I really glowed up this year because I started a great new job.”

2. Stan
Rumor has it, we have rapper Eminem to thank for this one: In 2000, he released The Marshall Mathers LP, on which his track, "Stan," told a tale about an extreme fan named Stan. But in terms of slang, stan is a combination of "stalker" and "fan." If you stan someone, it means you're obsessed but not in a creepy way, as in, "You paid that much for concert tickets? You're totally stanning Taylor Swift." 

3. Salty
It means annoyed by, upset by, or resentful of something that has been done or said, as in, “Of course I'm salty—you made fun of me in front of all our friends!”

4. Bougee
A shortened form of "bourgeois," this term refers to the display of ostentatious or sophisticated behavior, typically associated with a perceived middle or upper-class lifestyle. People often use it to describe someone pretentious, materialistic, or striving to portray an image of social superiority. “He’s so bougie, he’ll only order filet mignon!”

5. Ghostlighting
Ghostlighting is a hybrid of two concepts, gaslighting and ghosting. It references the act of someone ghosting you—which means, ceasing all communication with you—and then coming back into your life and pretending that they never ghosted you and not giving an explanation. “I can’t believe he thinks everything can go back to normal after ghostlighting me!”

6. Snatched
Similar to glow up, this term is more focused on one’s physical appearance. If someone is looking snatched, they look really good, as in, “Hey, gorgeous, your makeup looks snatched!”

7. Cap
An older but still relevant term, cap means to lie, as in, “Quit capping and just tell us the truth!” However, if you say "no cap" it means you are being authentic or truthful.

8. Sip tea
Sip tea is an alternative to "spilling the tea," meaning you're sitting back and listening to gossip rather than partaking in it. Example: “I’m right here sippin’ tea. Please, continue with your story.”

9. Trill
"Trill" is an amalgamation of the words "true" and "real" and is most often used in the hip-hop community to describe a person who is widely respected, honest, and successful. As country-pop artist Kane Brown sings in his hit, “Grand”: “I always keep it trilly with the fans.”

10. Whole
This word is as it sounds, but it describes something that usually wouldn't be characterized as whole, because it's common sense to know that it is. For example: A whole person, a whole baby, a whole dog, etc. For example, “I peeked inside the carriage, and there was a whole baby staring back at me.

11. Fire
Something that is really good—amazingly, crazily (in a good way). As in, “Did you see that documentary? It’s fire.”

And guess what?

It’s likely that once you get these definitions down pat, they’ll be outdated. And it’ll be time to learn new ones.

© Copyright Courtney Conover, 2023

July 11, 2023

5 Eyesores Houseguests Notice First

Image: Pexels/Ketut Subiyanto

Did you know that out of all the months of the year, July ranks third in popularity? 

According to Ranker, a website that polls millions on everything from film to sports to food, July even topped December, which clocked in at fourth; May secured the top spot, while June came in second.

Regardless of where you stand in this debate, we can’t deny that July is pretty swell. (Yes, it can also be sweltering.) But high heat aside, this month does carry an array of undeniable perks: For starters, there’s the 4th of July holiday, the three Bs (boats, beaches, and BBQ), and the joy of a warm July night is simply unparalleled.

And all the above usually leads to one thing:

The guests are coming. I repeat: THE GUESTS ARE COMING!

Whether your abode boasts a backyard oasis, a plain ‘ol porch, or a DIY fire pit, chances are probably fair that you’ll play host at some point this month. And even if your get-together is outdoors, guests will still be traipsing through your home to use your bathroom or fetch more ice for the cooler.

That means, unless mitigated, your home’s messes and clutter will be on full display. According to professional organizer Meredith Goforth and Imane Fiocchi, founder of Neon Lace, a textile and dye studio that specializes in table linens and kitchen accessories, here’s what tends to be most noticeable:

Small Piles of Mess
If they’re small, they can’t possibly be a big deal…right? Not so, says Goforth. And that’s because these small piles have become common blind spots to us, but they stick out to guests immediately. “We become accustomed to clutter in certain areas of the home,” Goforth says. “Piles of shoes by the door, stacks of mail on the counter, or pet hair that always lingers on the couch.” These are the kinds of things that stick out to fresh eyes.

Not-So-Clean Bathrooms
There’s one room in the house that requires a more thorough cleaning, Goforth says, because guests will absolutely notice a dirty bathroom. “To go the extra mile, I also like to organize the bathroom cabinets with anything a guest may go looking for—like pain reliever, mouthwash, or feminine hygiene products,” Goforth says.

Overlooked Entryways
Think about it: A large portion of how a visitor views your home is predicated on what they see as soon as they walk in. Says Goforth, “The front entryway is your home’s first impression—and you shouldn't forget to keep it tidy and fresh.” To spruce things up, she recommends adding seasonal décor and a clean doormat and removing any kids’ toys or dead plants. Fiocchi agrees. “There are two major culprits that often affect your entryway: shoes and packages,” she warns.

Overstuffed Closets
This area can be difficult to camouflage—especially during colder months when hanging up guests’ jackets and coats are a necessity. But even in the summer—when you may not even open a closet, guests will surely notice a closet’s inability to close properly because of the hoodie, softball bat, stray boot—you name it—that’s this close to tumbling out.

Kitchen Catastrophes
Goforth acknowledges that keeping your kitchen tidy can be tricky because, she says, “if you’re serving any food, it’s impractical to expect a sparkling kitchen.” Therefore, some signs of food and drink preparation are unavoidable—and entirely acceptable. However, that’s no excuse to make a massive mess, either. Goforth’s advice? Think: clean surfaces and clear clutter.

Closing Thoughts
When all else fails, the duo offers these nuggets of conciliatory advice: “If you don’t have any overnight guests, bedroom doors can stay closed,” Goforth says. She also notes that playrooms are allowed to be reasonably messy—especially if it’s a kid-free event. Fiocchi adds that even pet toys are granted some leeway.  Finally, there’s this: “No one really cares about the garage,” Fiocchi argues. “So, when all else fails, just store all the mess in there.” 

© Copyright Courtney Conover, 2023

June 01, 2023

Who was the world’s oldest verified human?

Image: Pexels/Shvets Production

“I only have one wrinkle,” Jeanne Calment of Arles, France, once said. “And I’m sitting on it.”

As you might surmise—just from that quote alone, Calment wasn’t the kind of woman who bit her tongue.

But, then again, when you’ve lived to see the age of 122 like Calment did, I think you’ve earned the right to be a bit cheeky.

Most would agree that a good sense of humor contributes to one’s overall quality of life. And prior to her historic passing in 1997, Calment essentially proved at least that much to be true: She didn’t take anything too seriously—including herself.

Here’s another Calment zinger: According to The Irish Times, when the crowd gathered at Calment’s nursing home to celebrate her 120th birthday back in 1995, Calment, who outlived both her daughter and grandson, revealed that she was awaiting “death and journalists.”

I read an article on Calment’s life weeks ago, and it got me thinking about the keys to contentment and longevity, which, to be fair, I tend to do this time of year anyway.

While the anticipated newness of January often prompts many to ponder and reevaluate their lives, I’ve come to feel similarly about the month of June. Some might find this odd because June is the year’s half-way point. But, when you think about it, this month often has all the makings of a This Is Your Life episode, as many of life’s biggest milestones traditionally occur within these 30 days. From graduations, weddings, anniversaries, and more, the incentive for celebrations (and new beginnings) abounds.

But back to the topic at hand, which is how to live long.

Turns out, prior to her death, Calment sat down with Jean-Marie Robine, an expert demographer who studies the links between health and longevity. And Robine narrowed down three fundamental reasons why he believed Calment lived as long as she did.

1. Wealth

It’s no surprise that having a little extra coin can make life easier, and this is a notion that Calment benefitted from having grown up in a bourgeois family in the south of France. For starters, Calment attended school until the age of 16, which was uncommon for women during that time. She also took private classes in cuisine, art, and dance until she married at age 20.

2. Not smoking—until much later in life 

Times have changed tremendously since Calment was a young woman. Robine stresses that we must consider what life was like at the end of the nineteenth century in a tiny town in the South of France. Case in point: Women weren’t allowed to smoke—until they married.

Robine says, “It was absolutely forbidden—and impossible—for a girl, and specifically in a bourgeois family, to do that.”

So, when Calment’s husband offered her a cigarette, she jumped at the chance to indulge in something that had long been considered risqué.

Enter irony: When Calment smoked for the first time, she didn’t like it and ended up quitting…until she turned 112 when she resumed the habit while living in a nursing home.

3. A full dance card

And just to clarify for younger Dispatch readers of this publication, having a full dance card means that your social life is out of this world. Robine learned that, due to Calment’s immense freedom, she spent most of her time attending social events and meeting new people. She traveled often with her husband and even (gasp!) saw the construction of Paris’s Eiffel Tower. Said Robine, “She was discovering this fascinating world at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century.”

Ahhh, to be young, rich, footloose, and fancy free. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it?

Many of us, unfortunately, simply can’t relate to such good fortune and are more accustomed to stomaching the grind of a 9-to-5, enduring the perils of childrearing, and having to soldier through a garden variety of life’s annoyances.

And if you fit in the latter category, there’s still hope: As a disclaimer, Robine assures, “We have to keep in mind that a big part of the longevity of Jeanne Calment is due to chance because it’s just so exceptional.”

© Copyright Courtney Conover, 2023