Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wish List

Dear Santa, I've been awfully good this year.  I eat up all my veggies, I'm kind to animals (and my fiance!)  I'm always respectful in my work-related emails, even to disgruntled people.  And I work two jobs, so you know I'm responsible.  So here is (part of) my list...




The aptly named Audrey dress by Boden.  On sale at a whopping $188, but I'm sure your elves could make a knockoff for less.
I've waxed poetic about my love of Miss Kaling in a previous entry, but I'd love to get my lil' hands on this book.

Alex & Ani are some fab jewelry designers.  I'm still on a Zinnia/Forever 21/H&M jewelry budget, unless there's something special (and even then, I use my discount at Zinnia).  But when I have more cash, or the next time B asks me about what I want for a gift, Alex & Ani make everything I want in a good bangle.
For stocking stuffers, I always love some good quality candy.  These things are currently my crack cocaine.  I've tried to limit myself to 3 per day.  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes it doesn't.
Seriously.  Don't even tell me that those red stripes are not enticing.  I'm not normally a white chocolate fan, but this is my one exception.  AND B doesn't like them at all, so I get the whoooooole bag to myself.




So, I already own this, but.... if you're looking for a good CD to give to a female, try Florence & the Machine's newest release, Ceremonials.  I freaking love Florence, she is just empowering and airy and haunting at the same time.  If there is anyone on your Christmas list who likes good music, get them this CD.


I SO want these for my birthday (Feb. 18 for anyone who wonders). Tom's makes these great shoes that I always like on other people, but wonder what they'd really be like on yours truly.  They're a little too hipster for me.  Until now.  Coming in Spring 2012, Tom's is debuting a line of ballet flats.  Which works for me, because I practically live in ballet flats (and flippie-flops.)  My eye is drawn to the pale pink, but I could easily see myself in the bright blue, or black with off-white toe.


And last, but most certainly not least - the Harry Potter Box DVD Set.  Films 1-8.  Expensive, but so worth it.  If someone has the foresight to gift this to me, I might take a mental health day this winter and watch every.single.one.  And the deleted scenes.  And the directors' commentary.  Thank goodness the Hunger Games trilogy is only 3, because once those films are all out I'll be asking for the same thing.


Happy Happy Holidays, friends! (If I don't get a chance to blog before then).  May your festive winter holiday of choice be filled with love and cheer.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Girl's Guide to Walking in Boston - Winter Edition

A lot of people inquire about my intent to walk to work during the winter months.
"Of course you walk when its sunny and 75 out, but you can't possibly walk once the weather gets cold!"
Au contra ire, friends.  I absolutely intend to walk during the cold months, and have in the past.  Just as hardcore runners laugh in the face of cold temps, I, too, do not give up my love of the long walk to work.

My current jaunt is 4.06 miles at its shortest (75 minutes of cardio at my quick clip).
I will try to explain to my fair readers how to walk in the wintertime.  It is doable.  I should know, I didn't skip a day of walking across the Massachusetts Avenue bridge from Boston to Cambridge any day, regardless of snow, sleet, or wind last winter.  (I will admit that once in Cambridge, I cut through MIT buildings, but that is beside the point since the Mass Ave Bridge is probably the windiest point in the Greater Boston Area.)

1. Attire matters.
You need a good coat, people.  A good coat needs to be in a size larger than you would buy a shirt or a sweater, because a good coat is one that can be layered under.  I own an awesome Old Navy Parka (XL since they didn't have any larges) and a Guess wool button-up coat (L) for precisely that reason.  The Guess coat appears to fit well, but there is ample room for a fleece or hoodie.  The parka is for more extreme weather, like blizzards, and can fit a hoodie, fleece, and down vest.

2. Size matters
Not only in a size above, but the length of the coat.  A good coat covers the bum.  People say you lose 90% of body heat from a bare head?  Well, you lose the other 10% from your bum.  I don't know what it is about an uncovered butt, but it just makes you colder.  Plus, if you also invest in tall boots, a long coat leaves a mere 6-10 inch gap of uncovered leg.
If you can, find a coat with sleeves that cover your hands.  That way, when its too cold for bare hands, but too warm for mittens, you still keep your hands nice and toasty.

3. Uniqueness matters
Take it from a girl who was in a sorority.  Its really, really hard to find a black peacoat in a sea of black peacoats.  If you really like a common coat, add something like a ribbon or a pin to make sure it doesn't get mixed up at a coat check or a winter party.

4. Accessorize!
There are so many cute hats, scarves, and hand-warmers out there that are warm.  I recommend a good hat that has a double fleece lining in the ear-area.
Pashmina scarves offer generous warmth, and can be wrapped around the shoulders when you reach your destination.  Knit scarves are just as good at keeping out the cold.
I recommend lined mittens, rather than regular gloves, for hands.  Mittens keep the fingers together (except poor thumb, which can easily chill with the rest of the fingers if you don't need it for anything) and therefore warmer.  The best type are knit, then lined with fleece.

5. Carriers
Invest in a good bag that will stay on your shoulder.  Many bags require physical handling when faced with a puffy shoulder, and fall without hooking a hand around a strap.  I have a great shoulder-bag from H&M that I can strap across my chest, and it stays on.

6. Safety
When traipsing through the city, one must be wary of anything bigger than oneself - like cars and trucks and bikes and buses and other things that go.  And one does NOT want to be that darn dumb pedestrian who darts across the street willy-nilly, paying no mind to oncoming traffic.  Because that darn dumb pedestrian makes those in large vehicles dislike us in general.
- Be aware of your surroundings.  Make sure you look for oncoming traffic while crossing the street, and keep an eye out for sidewalk traffic as well.  If you're at an intersection with flashing lights rather than stop and go, be extra careful.  Cars are looking for gaps in traffic, not necessarily at people who want to cross the street.
- Its ok to dislike bikers who ride on busy sidewalks.  If they hit you, its THEIR fault.
- Try to give a 'thank you' wave to drivers who let you cross if they don't need to.  It keeps up the good walking karma.
- Similarly, you may give dirty looks to cars that speed across crosswalks as you wait to go.  They are, in fact, jerks, and deserve the evil eye.  If one decides to be funny and speed up as you cross, take note of their license plate and car make and model.  Even if police tell you they can't do anything, you will feel better if you report that sort of activity.


7. Helpful hints!
- Invest in earring backs for any wire/hook earrings.  Scarves and wind have a tendency to kidnap earrings.
- If you're in a hurry, keep to the outside of the sidewalk nearest the road.  One can easily dodge slower walkers by walking on the curb.
- Relax your shoulders.  The cold, for whatever reason, causes people to hunch up their shoulders, which can lead to discomfort.  If you remain aware of your shoulders, you're more likely to keep them relaxed and hunch-free.
- During snow storms or showers, don't bother to apply make-up (specifically mascara) until you reach your destination.  I speak from raccoon-eyed experience. 
- If you walk for fitness, like I do, its fun to keep the exercise going while waiting for the crossing sign - I do calf raises at intersections.  Sure, people think I'm a little nuts, but it works the muscles!


I was going to upload some walk-related photos, but the camera won't turn on and my battery charger is at home.  So y'all will just have to picture me in my little hat and long coat for now.

Happy Walking!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The klutz stands alone

I was super excited last night to have the apartment to myself.

Don't get me wrong.  There's nothing I like more than curling up next to B on the couch on a cold winter's night.  Especially a cold winter's Thursday night for all our favorite shows right in a row (Community, Parks and Rec, The Office, Its Always Sunny, and The League).  Honestly, I try not to make plans on Thursday nights, because I love the NBC comedies so much.  Can't wait until 30 Rock comes back!
Anyway, back on track.  I was going to use last night to catch up on some of the shows B doesn't like, i.e. Parenthood.  (Why is NBC so low in its ratings when I feel like all my favorite shows are on that one network?)

Then Mom called, and we started chatting, and I started cleaning, because I can't sit still when I talk on the phone, and rather than pace in the apartment back and forth I decided to be productive.  I was pledging the woodwork - dresser, windowsills, etc, and decided to get behind the TV, which is always super dusty because I don't always remember to pledge there.
So I'm chatting with Mom, the TV is on in the background, I'm in the back of the TV with the wires and cables I have no clue about, and then suddenly, the TV goes black.

That's right, folks.  I was dusting so violently, I knocked out not one, but TWO cables in back of the TV.  And those are some heavy-duty cables.  Obviously there are always more cable holes than cables, so I couldn't figure out where the darn things went.
B comes home at 10 after dude night at the new BBQ joint, and is mildly exasperated at my inability to dust without damaging anything.  Hey.  At least I dust!  If he gets to snort when I trip over my own two feet as a klutz, he can't judge when I knock out cables as a klutz.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The favorites

I've been listening to holiday music pretty much  nonstop all week at work (last week as well).  Today, instead of the usual Pandora Holiday Jazz or Bing Crosby stations, I created a grooveshark list with the top songs that I love to hear at Christmas time.

1. Silent Night, Simon and Garfunkle
A gorgeous rendition, with the reading of the seven o'clock news read in the background.  The juxtaposition of the depressing, violent news with a song of love and peace makes me tear up.

2. The Nutcracker Suite, Tchaikovsky
Thanks to a father with a very particular taste in music, I was exposed to classical at an early age.  I loved, loved, LOVED the Nutcracker ballet, and still do.  The music is so familiar, its like an old friend you see once a year. 

3. Santa Clause is Coming to Town, Bruce Springsteen
I sang a pretty cool version of this in high school choir (with lots of bops and doo-das) but Bruce's is by far better.  I love recordings of live concerts, and that's what this one is from.  The opening is the best, when he starts asking his band if they have been good little boys and girls this year, so Santa will bring them a new saxophone.

(yes, I did just need to spell check saxophone.  don't judge)
4. Frosty the Snowman, The Roches
I was likely the only 5-year-old in kindergarten who even knew the Roches, but they were my favorite band at the ripe old age of 5 and 6, and were second in my musical heart to only the original Broadway cast soundtrack of Cats.  The Roches hail from Park Ridge, NJ, and thus like to sing in a Jersey accent every so often, like in their version of Frosty.
5. All I Want for Christmas is You, Mariah Carey
I'm sorry, Dad.  You tried to bring me up right, with Bach and Beethoven regularly in my childhood vocabulary.  I'm sorry Mom, you tried to lead me down the path of classic rock.  And I still ended up loving a Mariah Carey song.  Its just so darn upbeat!  So darn catchy!  So darn heartfelt!  She's no sultry songstress, crooning to Santa Baby for sables and diamond rings and deeds to properties.  She just wants her love for Christmas.  And at the end of the day, isn't that what we all want?
There are more.  After all, I didn't even mention Bing or Burl, Frank or Dito.  Too many to name, really.  But this is a good start.

What are your favorites, friends?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Crossed Signals

Several emails that our organization's president (i.e. my boss) has sent me have not come in - 12+ over the last 3 days.
 
Fortunately, this happened last week as well, so I was able to quickly say "No, I'm not a lazy bum, I just didn't get that email!"
After which time he read every email he sent me and we said yes I got it, no I didn't get it.  What a process.
 
And its all Comcast's fault.  Or Xfinitiy.  The cable/phone/interweb company with the identity crisis.
I am in for one busy afternoon!  Good thing I ate my oatmeal!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Not to toot my own horn

I don't want to toot my own horn or anything (I mean, not a lot).

But this year I was financially secure enough to buy a really nice holiday gift for a stranger.
C, age 2, asked the Salvation Army Santa/Angel for books and puzzles. Well, C.  You must have been an awesomely well-behaved girl, because you're getting some pretty wonderful books:

The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes




Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
 Brave Irene



Katy and the Big Snow



Rain Brings Frogs



Aaaand a lovely wooden puzzle with marine animals, that comes with a fishing rods and magnets on each piece so she can go FISHING.

I mean, if I were a small child, I'd really like my gift.
But can I just share how difficult it was to find the puzzle?  Because it was.  Three shops.  I mourn the passing of Curious George Bookstore in Harvard Square, because they would have had just the thing.  But after no luck at the Harvard Book Store AND The Games People Play, I had to suck it up and go to corporate America, aka the Coop, aka Barnes and Noble.  But that's ok, because the rest of my Christmas shopping was at local businesses.  Bam!

Hopefully this doesn't come off as too attention-seeking.  I'm just really excited.  Christmas shopping is that much more fun when you add gifts for kids.  So thank you, Colliers International (our landlord) for partnering with the Salvation Army's Angel Gift program.  And thank you, Cousin Jennifer, for having a son small enough to enjoy Richard Skerry!

Portable phones

I am the office receptionist.

Complicated telephone systems terrify me.
Fortunately, we don't use a complicated telephone system.  We have three lines.  No one has their own extension.  When someone calls for someone other than me, I put them on hold, get up, walk over to the called-for person's desk, and hand them a phone.

It means I get to get up and walk around a good deal.  I really enjoy this process.  I could shout to the people who are relatively close to my desk, but its nice to split up my sitting-at-computer-time with walking-with-a-cordless-handset time.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Advent

Thanksgiving is gone.  I can finally decorate (paper snowflakes are already in the windows) and listen to holiday tunes, but only sometimes if B is around.
 
My Dad preached a thoughtful advent sermon on Sunday, which made me remember the Advent Sundays when I was a kid.  I hated it (sorry, Dad).
I hated the waiting.  I was always excited for Thanksgiving, but after Thanksgiving I realized there was still an entire month before Christmas Day.  Pure torture.  One year I made myself so excited for Christmas (age 4) that I got sick on the day of, and was so weak my parents had to help me open my presents.  Not cool.
 
A lot of people have this reaction to the holiday season:
Honestly, I don't blame them.  With Black Friday 'officially' kicking off the Christmas season, stores opening at midnight, commercials with crazy-thin looking women working out extra hard to beat the crowds at the sales, and stories of people being shot, punched, and peppersprayed (c'mon guys, this isn't #OWS), its easy to get stressed out.

Today is 'cyber Monday', coined after online retailers noticed a spike in sales the Monday after Thanksgiving.  So of course all my groupon and Rue La La emails are dedicated to holiday gifts.  Which also has the potential to turn a busy Monday back at the office into a buying free-for-all.

But as an adult, I find I enjoy the Christmas Season more than the actual holiday itself.  I love Christmas shopping.  I love Holiday cups at Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. I love listening to the Christmas music on Pandora at work.  I love being able to say "Merry Christams" and "Happy Holidays" to people.

You would wonder about this, especially if you knew how long I have spent in retail.  But small shops are different than the Targets and Best Buys of Black Friday Lore.  Small shops are friendlier, warmer, and all-in-all, more helpful than the big box stores.  You get personal attention and a person who really cares about finding the perfect gift with you.

Slow down, friends.  Take a few moments to relax and remember that Christmas is about Advent.  Its about the excitement of an upcoming holiday, as much as the holiday itself.  Go from the stressed-out image to this:
 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanks and Giving

Thanksgiving is pretty much my favorite holiday.
 
 
 
I love Christmas SEASON, but the day itself always goes too fast.  Its more that I enjoy the cheer and good tidings people wish for each other, and Christmas at an independent retail store is always so pleasant (kudos, Zinnia and Book Shop).
 
But I've been very lucky to grow up with an awesome family who do Thanksgiving the correct way, i.e.
Parents tricking children into thinking pre-meal turkey was snakeskin so they wouldn't have to share
Clearing the table without being allowed to stack the dishes
Corn made by Grammie (I've tried corn made by others.  Not the same).
Violin sing-a-longs and dance-a-longs
Playing Alice's Restaurant Massacre 345634348867 times in one day
Paying respects to our dearly departed in my aunt's minivan
Watching Mary Poppins, Annie, or the Sound of Music, or all three
Day-after hike to Castle Craig, followed by either the movies or the mall (madhouses, both of them!)
To name a few...

Now that I'm engaged, I share Thanksgiving with other families as well.  This year, we're spending Thursday in Boston with B and his bro.  The three of us are cooking what WE want to eat (roast beef and macaroni and cheese, please!)  Beforehand, B and I are seeing the new Muppet movie.  Love traditions.
 
So clearly, I have a lot to be thankful for.
B
B's brother, who is now my brother
My fab friends, local and not-so-local
A sister who is almost as enthusiastic about my wedding as I am
A job with co-workers who make me laugh on an hourly basis
The Hunger Games Trilogy
The Muppets, and Jason Segal for their comeback
Coffee
Rain boots
Cuddling
Orange juice
Green tea (new discovery)
Florence & the Machine
My future parents-in-law.  I'm serious, so many people complain about their in-laws, but I have great ones.
My own parents, and their support
The blogosphere, giving me an outlet to test my writing skills
Toenail polish
Joseph's Bakery in Southie
Our beach
Being on the third floor with skylights so we can really hear the rain
Close-knit families
Instant Oatmeal Packets
The ability to read
Pandora 
Hershey's Peppermint White Chocolate Kisses

I could keep going, but I just would end up listing everything I really enjoy



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Coffee Snob

I love our new neighborhood, and some of the adorbs new places we have tried so far.

One place in particular has made me a huge coffee snob.  On the days I buy coffee there, if I need another cup later its just not the same.  Java House doesn't have its own web site, but I've linked to the Yelp! page.

Now, I do need to divulge that all I've had here is the coffee, and one muffin.  And I accidentally grabbed a chocolate chipper instead of blueberry, so I didn't thoroughly enjoy it.  (This girl loves chocolate, but not as a breakfast food, and I feel like the breakfast bar industry is trying to overwhelm us with chocolate.  But that is a different blog post.)
What is so wonderful about Java House coffee?  The flavors.  These aren't flavor syrups that make coffee way too sweet.  The beans are roasted with the syrup, so you get a much more subtle flavor.

I love the Snickerdoodle, Thin Mint, and German Chocolate flavors for hot coffee.  Just discovered Thin Mint this morning and was over the moon when I tasted it.
For iced, the Milky Way and Mocha Vanilla ones are awesome, as well as the above Snickerdoodle and German Chocolate.

One warning - they do not take cards, so make sure to bring cash, or use their ATM (with the lowest fee I've seen in Boston, $1.95!)

Friday, November 4, 2011

You really do get what you pay for

Autumn is out in full force in Boston (in spite of Monday's predicted high of 68 degrees).  I realize that while I loathed November growing up, I adore it in Boston.  The leaves still haven't all changed or peaked, so we get gorgeous scenery.  I'm still enjoying the fact that I wear pants and sweaters.  Blue skies juxtaposed with cooler temps make me smile.

However, fall and winter bring tights.  And we all know how I handle tights (see old rant here).

Until now.
I have realized that with tights, you get what you pay for.  The old tights, the ones that run as soon as I look at them the wrong way, were cheap and from CVS.  I think I spend more money at CVS than I do on food, which is saying a lot.  The first thing I did in my adult life was get myself a CVS card, and it has come to be quite useful.  Just not for tight purchases.

My lovely co-worker mentioned last week that Lord and Taylor was having a tight sale.  On Saturday, before the really cold rain hit, I ran over there to see if anything was left.

I got one pair of patterned tights that I have yet to wear, although I've had good luck with patterned tights, so fingers crossed.

Plain black tights, clearly, were not on sale.  But I bit the bullet and picked up a pair of Ellen Tracy opaque black tights for $14 (not exactly bank-breaking, but not chump change either).  I put them on for an event today and I can tell they're really good quality.  Soft, pliable, and ready for heavy wear.

Which is good.  I'm going to need them more and more!

Friday, October 28, 2011

I Heart Mindy Kaling

I've always been a fan of NBC's Thursday night lineup (from the Seinfeld and Friends days onward).  That includes The Office.  I loved the silly, ditzy character Kelly Kapoor, but it wasn't until the past few years that I noticed her actoral name, Mindy Kaling, on the writing credits.  Apparently looks and characters can be deceiving, because Mindy is quite the smart cookie.  She's a local girl too!  Score three for local comedy writers on The Office (Jon Krazinski and BJ Novack are from Newton.)

I'm still struggling to find good comedies about a woman that aren't the normal, stereotypical type.  I loved Sex and the City, because it really threw out there all of women's personal issues (sex with many partners, STDs, cancer) for anyone to talk about.  It made women sharing experiences normal.
I just love how normal and down to earth Mindy seems.  I feel like I could meet her at a party and chill for hours.

Anyway, she gave a tour of her closet for Daily Candy, an email that sends fashion-food-makeup type details to the masses of adult women who need a few second break from their jobs and daily tasks.  I don't often read them all the way through, but I was hooked when her name was in the subject.
First off, the girl wore an H&M dress for the cover of her upcoming book.  How down to earth can you get?  It was bright pink and super girlie, but really Mindy?  H&M?  You are my hero.  I'm sure you make a good chunk of change between writing and acting, and you wear something I could afford for the cover of your new book.  That's why I heart you.

I seriously wish the video was longer.  I want to see everything she owns.  We got to see the book cover dress, what she wore to the Emmys (bright pink again, obvi), and a few pairs of shoes.  She loves sparkle.  Yet another reason we could be friends.
So Minds, the next time you're in Cambridge, look me up.  We'll have a FAB time I'm sure!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lists

In my mind, nothing is better than a good to-do list with things slowly being crossed off.  This is basically how I survive at work and get everything done.

I love physically writing and hope typing never takes over handwriting in the note-taking world, but I have my doubts.
My work to-do lists have a title up top (i.e. 10/4/11 To Do) with an arrow pointing right, indicating to me that its ok if everything isn't completed by the end of the day.  I make a box around the title.

I use either numbers or bulletpoints for my list, and write everything I need to do in blue or black ink (something categorically by project).
When I finish, I cross out.  But I don't just draw a straight line.  What fun is that?

I use a red ball-point pen and squiggle out something that has been completed.
If I am waiting for feedback on something and am halfway done, I make a note to myself in the red ballpoint pen.

Am I a huge nerd because of this?  Likely.  Do I write things on my to-do list just so I can turn around and cross them out?  Maybe.
But that's how I roll, and how I get things done.  So there.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fashion wish list

I saw with mild amusement the madness that was Target's recent Missoni debacle.  I mean, the stuff was cute, but so much hubub over a loud colorful Italian zig-zag striped collection?  For realsies?  Show me some Lily Pullitzer or Jigsaw for Target (still lusting after Kate Middleton... er... the Duchess of Cambridge's engagement announcement blue dress.)
 
Then today comes the announcement about Jason Wu's Target collection, out in February.  All I knew of Mr. Wu was a certain dress he made for a certain fashion icon:

 


Regardless of your politics, you have to admit she looks fabulous.  (Heck, this bleeding heart liberal thinks Nancy Reagan is an adorbs lady and hopes to be half that cute when I reach her age).

After some research on Google Images, I realized how big a deal this will be for my wardrobe.  With pieces priced between $19.99 ad $59.99 I must find something I cannot live without.




These items are so wonderfully... normal.  This isn't high fashion that would look ridiculous on anyone other than a model strutting down her runway.  These are tops, skirts and dresses made for the regular woman who just wants to look nice.




Mr. Wu and/or Target... you should pick a committee of regular gals to help select the pieces for this upcoming collection.

February 5.  Four months away.  Yes, friends, it is already on my Google Calendar.  Who wants to take a trip to the South Bay Center Target on what I am sure will be a bitter cold day for some hot fashion?

 
 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lines

It felt good to blog the other day... and a friend of mine then texted me, saying she was relieved to see me pop up on google reader - she had been concerned I was stuck underneath a pile of bridal mags.

Fear not, Em!  I am here!
I love a good cheesy pickup line.  Not because it works (well, sometimes it does). But because its better than some of the more skeevy lines I've gotten in the past.  Being innocent looking and somewhat cute can really bring out the sketchballs.

I've always been a fan of this one:
How much does a polar bear weigh?
(I don't know, how much?)
Enough to break the ice!  I'm Tom.

Yes, that was used on me.  And it worked.  But I got dinner and drinks out of the deal, so there you go.
See, any dude can go with the "Hey baby," "Hey mama," and the like.  It takes a real brain to use a memorable line.

"Hey, do you think those girls are Eastern European or something?"
(That also worked.  B's bud JT used it the night I met B.  Win!)

You know what doesn't work, men?  Whistling.  Obvious ogling.  Inappropriate comments.
Hint - if you wouldn't want someone saying that to your mom, sister, or girlfriend, don't say it to a random stranger.

But every so often, the simple "Good mornings," go a long way.  No, I may not stop to chat, but the simple greeting will go a long way.
On my old walk to the gym, one of the men who swept the sidewalk every morning always sang and greeted everyone who walked past.  He was my fave, with his loud "Good morning, beautiful!"

Which was much nicer and made me feel much more secure about myself than the dude who asked if he could have my number at 6:30 AM.  Seriously, dude??  At least wait until you're ordering a drink next to me at a bar, and make a little chit chat first.  And I still won't give you my number.  See the ring on my left fourth finger?  I'm taken.

Ok.  Pseudo-rant done.  Hope it was enjoyable!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I can haz fame?

I know, I have been rahther MIA lately, friends.  I blame busy-ness.  Between moving, amping up the wedding planning (weee!) and having buddies in town (yay!), September has been a complete blur.

So, to get back into blogging, what better way than to cover another blog?
My dear buddy AT, author of La Cucina Francesca, recently posted about a dish I made.  She does a lovely cooking blog (and wowed us all on July 4th with an America Cake).

The FI often questions my cooking abilities, mainly because I rarely use them.  Now that we have a larger kitchen, I may start (he suggested I try to cook once a week.  Not looking likely this week due to short-staffedness at the shop, but perhaps next time).  Anyway, my favorite part is the photo of me, unseeding a poblano pepper.  Wearing my sunglasses.  Indoors.

You see, dear friends, it has been a while since I chopped an onion.  B chops them all the time, but apparently I am too far away for them to have any effect.  Not so when I chop them - my eyes burned like a mofo.  I kept squinting and closing them and battling it out with the onion until I had a genius thought:
Sunglasses.

Threw on the sunnies and voila, burning sensation gone (or at least much milder than before).  I totes recommend sunglasses for cooking eye protection when you're in a bind and tearing up.
And now I am on AT's blog and famous in my own right.  Yay!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

NBD

Irene: NBD
 
Well, at least not in our neighborhood.  I did see the pictures of downed trees and floods in the surrounding areas, but we were fortunately unharmed.  Even managed to have an ironic Irene photo shoot on our venture for caffeine this morning (because I am miserable ball of headache without it.)  The poor folks at Dunkin Donuts, CVS and Whole Foods had to make it to work without the assistance of public transportation.
 
But I digress.
You know what else is NBD?  Students.  Yes, they are back, with a vengance, and you can pick the newbs out from a mile away:
- Carrying a single key and ID holder with BU/Northeastern/Harvard colors on a fresh new school lanyard
- Carrying an 8/5 x 11 brand new orientation folder
- Trying to pay for the bus with a $20 bill and expecting change
- U-hauls lining the streets (not just students, but we must all adhere to their schedules when renting new apartments)
- Girls traveling in packs of 8+ on their way to a party.  Here's a hint ladies, you won't get in with your entire floor in tow.
- The panic mass exodus 5 seconds before the T doors close when the aforementioned group realizes almost too late they need to exit the T
- Sept 1: People driving furniture in pickup trucks.  Not moving, mind you.  Finding items thrown out and re-using them.  Not a bad idea, until they "accidentally" (on purpose?) steal a chair outside your new building
- Young 20somethings doing their entire food grocery shopping trip at CVS, right in front of you and your shampoo and conditioner.  Really dude?  You eat that much ramen and still maintain the 6 pack showing through your Ed Hardy tee?
- At least one U-haul becoming stuck under a too-low underpass on Storrow Drive
Glad everyone managed to stay safe.  Don't forget to re-batten your hatches on Sept. 1!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Seriously???

Ok, far be it from me to judge the nuptials of others.  I'd totes go deaf to defend my gay friends' right to be wed.

But these two wedding themes take the cake in the "Most Politically Incorrect" category.


1. Depression-Era Hobo Wedding!
I get it.  You love the vintage feel of the 1930s.  You love the 'pull yourself up by the bootstraps and have a good time' ideals of those years gone by.  And in the current economic era, it does stand to reason that we all watch our spending a bit.
That being said, I think its a little insensitive to our grandparents and great-grandparents who actually lived through the Depression, and knew people who had to beg from door to door in order to feed families, who told stories of friends of friends who served wanderers ketchup and hot water for free and turned their back while the wanderer made tomato soup.

My co-worker asked me to please not  have this as my wedding reception theme.  That I can do.  After reacting, I said something like, "I think the only way to be less PC is to have a slavery-themed wedding."

Wish granted, apparently.

2. "Colonial-themed wedding" aka WHAT were they thinking?

Again, the fashion of the era looked beautiful.  I think the level of detail this bride and groom sought, with colonial-themed photo ops, travel trunks, and binoculars was awesome.

Then you take a look at the staff.  And the guests.  Every single guest was white.  Every single staff member was African.  And this was done completely on purpose.  And the wedding was in (wait for it folks) South Africa!  A nation with a rich history of racism and discrimination.  I'm still reeling from this one.
The original blog post was taken down (presumably because the bride and groom received an overwhelming number of negative comments.)

Again, I would not begrudge a bride her dream wedding, but when you involve a parody of poverty or racism, things start to get dicey.  Just sayin.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Nods

Hello, friends.

I know, I have been absent for a few weeks... 3 straight of 10+ hour workdays, and working weekends doesn't exactly make a girl want to sit down and blog.  (In fact, it makes a girl want to flop down in front of the TV and do absolutely nothing.)

Speaking of television, the Emmy nominations came out today.  I'm a sucker for the award shows and the Emmys are no exception.  I sometimes wish that I was invited to fancy pants award ceremonies, or at least that my office had its own version of the Dundees.
While I think that most of the shows nominated are exceptional (mostly because I enjoy many of them), there were a few notable absences that I cannot help but talk about.

1. Walking Dead

A TV show about a zombie epidemic, Clare?  Really?  You ask.

Yes.  A TV show about a zombie epidemic.

You see friends, B is a zombie-holic.  I'm telling you, if the world were to ever actually have a zombie epidemic, B and I would be in prime condition to survive... or at least, B would be, and he would clearly protect me from the zombies.

Walking Dead isn't just about Zombies.  Its about love, marriage, cheating, drama, family... you name it.  Most of all, its about survival and fighting against all odds.  Its the perfect show for a male/female couple to agree on, because it has drama for the ladies and zombies for the men.  The acting is exceptional, most notably Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes (ladies, you will remember Andrew as the uber-cute man secretly in love with his BFF's new wife in Love Actually.  Seriously, what's not to like?)

Walking Dead received a Golden Globe nomination, which made me hope it would get the same in the Emmy race.  Too bad, but hopefully it got enough of a cult following after last season that we will keep getting renewals from AMC.
2. Community

This lovable gang of misfits literally keeps me in stitches during each episode of Community.  It opens NBC's Thursday night lineup and does a fantastic job.  I often try to avoid making plans on Thursday nights because I am that obsessed with the lineup.  Other shows I can watch the DVR'ed episodes after the fact, but Community, The Office, Parks and Recreation, and 30 Rock are a must watch as they appear on TV.

I absolutely adore Joel McHale.  His dry sarcasm is perfection in every way imaginable.  Add him to Danny Pudi as Abed and alone they would be a wonderful duo, but add the rest of the cast and you have comedic gold.  Why Community had zero nominations is beyond me.  Modern Family received several nominations for supporting actors... Why not Community?
3. Breaking Bad
I was rather upset with this until someone on an EW board pointed out that there was no season of this show within the Emmy nomination timeline for 2011... so I'm letting it slide for now.
I literally JUST started watching Breaking Bad in anticipation of its newest season (B DVR'ed the older episodes) and as I told him, its almost as addictive as the crystal meth Walter cooks on a weekly basis.

4. The Housewives Franchises
 I'm only half kidding.
   
I will still watch the Emmy Awards.  I will still glue myself to the TV for Red Carpet and onwards.  But I will begrudge the judges the overlooked series.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Crazytrain

I haven't been able to post in a while, 10 hour + work days does not an energetic blogger make.

I just wanted to say hello, and wax poetic about the Florence and the Machine show last night at the B of A pavillion.

In-effing-credible.
That woman knows how to sing.  I swear she has to train physically as well as vocally.  Likely both at the same time, considering the rapid speed with which she ran across the stage belting her lungs out.

Obvi the songs I knew best were my faves.  During Cosmic Love a sheet of twinkly star-lights shone from stage.  And the crowd went literally crazytrain when she belted out Dog Days are Over.  We all had a sing-a-long.

Florence knows how to engage the crowd too.  Several times she mentioned having never played in front of such a huge group before, and made Friends references while talking about the massive lobster she ate earlier that day.

We laughed.  We cried.  We sang our lil hearts out.

I don't think any of the major media outlets have reviewed it yet, but trust me, friends, if you have a chance to see her live, take it and run with it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

City Noises

B and I are planning a move when our lease is up in the fall.  I like our apartment, I love its location close to everything in the city.  One major drawback of our apartment is also its location... on one of the busiest streets in the city.  This street runs through at least three cities (if not more), and connects to a major highway and crosses under a major hospital.

We were talking on our respective cell phones today, B at the apartment and me walking down our street, a good four blocks away.  I heard VERY loud sirens on his end, and faint sirens on mine.  Sure enough, down came the motorcycled police officers who stopped traffic to leg eight full tour buses drive by.
Someone please explain that to me.

Not so great for maintaining a quiet apartment.
We often joke that in order to sleep in our next apartment, we will need to make a CD (like Whale Sounds or Ocean Breezes or Enya) that will lull us to sleep, but with city sounds.  Here are some of the sounds we will need:

Sirens
Horns
Fire truck/ambulance horns (we all know these are much more abrasive than car horns)
Car alarms
Cars
Loud rap music
Loud hard rock
Loud any other type of music, especially if blasted after midnight
Large truck hitting a curb or pothole
Bus (and bus kneeling noise)
Bottle/can collectors with clinking glass going through our garbage
Drunk people
Drunk people having half hour conversations trying to convince other drunk people to go home with them
Truck drivers arguing with each other
Squeaky breaks
Thumpy the upstairs neighbor
Opera singer who only practices at 7 AM on weekends
Vomiting sounds
Loud cell phone talkers
The man who walks down the street singing to his parrot (perched on  his shoulder - true story)




 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bravo, Bravo.

We all have a reality TV habit (or many of us do).  Even B admits to enjoying the occasional show regarding residents of a coastal town in New Jersey.  But in my humble opinion, no one does reality right now better than Bravo.

MTV \started it all with The Real World, and did so spectacularly.  I cannot tell you how many illicit episodes I watched in high school.  I'm sure that if my parents had known the content, they would have put a stop to it.  I just loved knowing that these were real people with real problems, causing some real drama.  I even wanted to BE on the Real World.  I had my role all planned out, the small town girl who was nice to anyone.

Silly me, I went to college instead.
Fast forward a few years without a heck of a lot of TV access (two separate years in the UK will do that to you) and suddenly the reality craze sweeps the nation.

I have to say it.  I love the Real Housewives of just about anywhere.  I finally caught up with NY and NJ tonight after a rather long day at the office, and am now feeling refreshed and ready to read the blogs and dish about them with my friends.  I try not to judge TOO hard.  After all, I don't know these women.  They don't know me.  They don't tell me their life stories, their hopes, dreams and aspirations.  But that's the thing about reality TV, more so than other shows or movies.  We really feel like we know them.
Being real people too, not celebrities (although they quickly turn into celebs - hello, Bethenny Frankel) we can connect with them on a different level.  This isn't a thirty minute scripted program (ok, it kind of is), this is their real lives, with their husbands, kids, and dogs.  They buy Thanksgiving turkeys, they take their daughters to gymnastics, they take fab 2 week vacays to Morocco (waaaaaait a minute.)  We end up taking sides in their fights with each other.  Are you team Jill or Team Ramona?  Team Alex or Team Luann?  Team Theresa or Team Melissa?  Team Cedric or Team Jiggy?

Regardless of your affiliation, you have something to dish about with your girlfriends the next day, or whenever you manage to watch it on your DVR.
I must say, though, no show has gotten me so hooked as The Rachel Zoe Project.  I mean, what a business the woman runs.  She gets to go to fashion shows, snag looks and dresses, and outfit celebrities for the most important award shows of the year.  I didn't start watching until Season 2, but I'm totes hooked and looking forward to the premier on August 2.

So when perusing what else Bravo has to offer this summer, I came upon Fashion Hunters.  Done.  A show documenting the lives of the Second Time Around staff (not in Boston, but still my favorite store)? I'm so there.  I cannot stress enough my love for my fashion finds at STA and am thrilled they are getting the publicity they deserve by this new show... I just hope it doesn't drive up the prices!

So - highlights of the summer?
Lil Sis returning from Australia
Wedding planning (obvi)
Bravo!