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Religious Sister Wins Chopped and Other Notes from the Week


We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.

Thanks But No #ThxBirthControl

After this week’s Glamour Women of the Year awards, which included recipient Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood, social media saw the birth of a trending hashtag #ThxBirthControl. Women everywhere began counting the ways they’re grateful for the pill. But Mary Claire Lagroue shared a different story with us at Verily this week—one that bemoaned how, for many women who take it for non-contraceptive reasons, the pill often covers up more problems than it solves. —Mary Rose Somarriba

Drinking Champagne Is Good for You!

This week news broke of a surprising remedy for preventing dementia . . . champagne! Great news just in time for the holiday season, and all the more reason to toast to your health. —MRS

Baby, It’s Even Colder Outside

What were you thinking, Bloomingdale’s? The upscale clothing company apologized this week after publishing a holiday ad showing a man looking sly while a woman is looking the other way, with a caption that reads, “Spike your best friend’s eggnog while they’re not looking.” Um . . . how did this not set off any red flags? I can just imagine some editor saying “strike the word ‘her,’ and put ‘best friend’—that will make it sound less rape-y.” Yeah, no.

What they missed was the reality that date rape happens most commonly with people the victims know well, so far from fixing things, that almost makes it worse. Newsflash to marketing: There’s nothing funny about spiking people’s drinks without their knowledge. And who is this marketed to, anyway? Please, people. Let’s be better than this. —MRS

Jesus Christ Soup-er Star

You don’t often see religious sisters on TV, much less on cooking competition shows. So a Franciscan sister turned heads and hearts when she won this week’s episode of Chopped. All four competing chefs dedicate their time and talents to serving those in need in soup kitchens. But Sr. Alicia Torres, 30, who vows to live in poverty, chastity, and obedience, is a rare flower in a sea of millennials who often seek the opposite.

Smiling all the while, Torres radiates immense joy. For her, this was “an opportunity to have the world see a different side of who sisters are.” But she also hopes it will bring more attention to the issue of hunger and how we can help. Her award-winning dishes included sweet potato cranberry hash and curry turkey. “I believe the kitchen is my canvas where I get to express myself creatively,” she tells the judges. Torres adds that exercising one’s talents helps take us “from where we are to where we could be.” Indeed, she is a beautiful model of how to become our best selves in serving others. Congratulations, sister! —Krizia Liquido

Red Cup Riots

Every November, Starbucks releases a much-anticipated red cup to commemorate the holiday season. In past years, the cups have featured snowflakes, pine trees, and reindeer, but this year the franchise decided to use a minimalist design: an undecorated red cup. All was fine and well until certain Christian groups began to voice their disapproval, claiming that Starbucks was eradicating Christmas from its company and threatening to boycott peppermint mochas.

Starbucks responded that its design was meant to welcome all beliefs by introducing a politically correct subtle ombré red cup. However, it’s worth noting that Starbucks hasn’t used any overtly Christian designs on its cups—only winter ones. Some say this controversy, rather than hurting Starbucks, is offering free publicity when an Arizona pastor told his supporters to buy a coffee, give the name “Merry Christmas” to “trick” the company into writing the name on the cup, and then share the image on social media. The response? Most people don’t care. —Blanca Therese Morales

I Love Lucy in Color

For the first time ever, America’s classic redhead will be in color this Christmas. CBS will be airing two I Love Lucy episodes on December 23. Without commercial interruption, we will get to see the comedienne in “The Christmas Episode” and the memorable “Lucy Does a TV Commercial” (Vitameatavegamin, anyone?). —BTM

Salesforce Shows One Way to Solve the Wage Gap

Salesforce made waves this week with an announcement that it adjusted the salaries of its workers in order to eliminate its gender wage gap. The company, which employs significantly more men than women, has previously come under scrutiny for discriminating against women. So, Salesforce launched an internal study to evaluate men and women in similar positions, which revealed inequality in salaries between the sexes. Along with the salary adjustments, the company has taken a strong stand to promote equality by also setting goals for the number of female executives and speakers at customer events.

“It is encouraging to see Salesforce take such a thorough approach to addressing wage inequality. . . . Correcting for legitimate sexism without punishing hard workers takes deliberate and honest scrutiny of one’s payroll and business practices,” Baleigh Scott writes for Verily. Bravo to Salesforce. —Diana Stancy

Kate Winslet Has a Different Take

The Oscar-winning actress shared candid thoughts in an interview that went viral this week, gaining much criticism. To Winslet, talking publicly about wages is a little “vulgar” and not so becoming. Maybe it’s just her British sensibility, she admits, but in her opinion she’s never had to fight for anything as a woman in her career. This comes in contrast to Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence’s public stance against Hollywood’s wage gap that gained headlines last month. Baleigh Scott assessed the criticism that Winslet has been getting for taking a less-popular stance and why, despite the wage gap reality that many experience, we maybe shouldn’t dismiss Winslet so quickly. —MRS

A Little Accountability Would Be Great

After Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, refused to bench one of his players upon the surfacing of photos depicting the player’s ex-girlfriend beaten and bruised, ESPN anchor Wendi Nix suggested letting business economics take the lead. In comments aimed at advertisers who support the NFL, Nix said in a statement, “When economic principles can’t be applied with even the smallest measure of social responsibility, there’s one effective solution, and that’s to let dollars vote.”

Anna Quinlan wrote this week that she agrees with Nix. “At the end of the day, Nix is right. The NFL is a business, and it’s out to make a profit. The cha-ching of all those dollar signs can make it awfully hard to hear the message that, as fans, we demand higher standards. . . . So let’s put the outcry to action and cast our votes.” —DS