Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Friday!

Hello from Cabo! Right now I'm sitting by the beach overlooking the Pacific and let me tell you, it is windy! But the Mexican sun feels so good right now...up against my jeans and sweater. What?! I freaking hate the cold! But if it makes you feel better, I'm wearing my bathing suit underneath.

Anywho, after yesterday's long trip (where a 44-year-old kept calling me his "future wife" on the second flight over, asked me out to dinner and drinks and gave me his digits), I took a much-needed nap and later had a wonderful five-course meal including the best beef tenderloin ever! Also, I'm starving right now and my cheap behind is munching on trail mix until dinner tonight. *Nom, nom, nom* It doesn't compare.

Dolphins. I "swam" with them (meaning I floated around them in my life vest like a helpless imbecile going wherever the wind would take me). They feel like slippery rubber. Very weird, but a lot of fun. And did you know it makes noise through nasal air sacs just below its blow hole and not its mouth? Go on and enlighten all your friends! I'll post a picture of me riding on one's belly once I get home.

OMG, I swear one of these coconuts is going to fall on my head! And you know what I'd get with my settlement money? Food.

Hope you all enjoy your weekends! I certainly intend to. There's a beach party tonight and a boat ride at sunset tomorrow. ¡Que sexy!

P.S. Good gravy a giant cruise ship just appeared out nowhere! How'd that creep up on me?

P.P.S. Aaand now it's raining sand.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Grocery Cheat Sheet

Buying organic foods can get a bit pricey sometimes so wouldn't it be nice to know which foods you'd be better off buying organic and which ones are safe as they are? Well this clever cheat sheet on My Paper Crane can help you determine which fruits and veggies are showered in pesticide residue when you're out grocery shopping...so you don't have to be suspicious about everything in the produce aisle.










Pencil vs Camera

I'm really enjoying looking through Ben Heine's Pencil vs Camera Flickr set. He takes his own photos and then sketches bits and sections over them. Simple premise, nice effect. (via Likecool.com)
Images: flickr.com

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Up Next: A String of Getaways

Starting tomorrow I'll be going on several press trips and I truly hope my first stop makes me feel like the photo above. I'm so tired, guys. From what I'm not sure, but I need sleep, fresh air and the ocean. I want to wake up to the crashing waves again.

My back-to-back traveling means I won't be around much over the next four weeks, but I'll try my best. In fact, I'll be gone a total 18 days without a single weekend in the city until the end of May. How lucky am I, huh? That said, I do wish A. and I had a bit more time together after he returns from Japan and before I leave to my second destination. (His 18-day getaway is done on Sunday.)

As much as I am excited to travel and write, I just can't wait until we settle back into our old routine. We've become such saps over the last two weeks, it'll be nice to finally have him in front of me.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The 10-Year High School Reunion

I love it when things exceed my expectations! After Friday night's kick-off event at O'Casey's Irish Pub, I actually got all excited about my high school reunion. We mingled, caught up with each other's lives and seriously, thank God for name tags. Saturday night's outing was the bigger event (I didn't bother actually going back to the high school *womp, womp*) and good gravy were there people packed into Public House. You could barely move! I was glad that I made it out on Friday night because I got to talk to other alumni, meet new people and learn some names for Saturday (can't front though, there were some names I'd already forgotten).

I was also happy for the dinner right before. Some of my high school BFFs (most still are to this day) got together before heading downtown. It was great spending time with the marrieds, a mommy, the daters and singles and realizing that no matter how much time passes we're still essentially the same silly group. I love that one buddy's loud laugh is still as contagious as it was back then. She knows who she is.

That night, I was so huggy my buddies thought thought I was tipsy. (I wasn't guys, geez. I'm sorry you're not used to seeing the touchy feely side of me.) I was just incredibly grateful that it's been 10 years since we graduated - about 14 since we met - and we're still so close. If only everyone were this lucky :)

P.S. I'd totally put up a high school pic, but then I'm sure that whole friends forever thing would go right out the window.

P.P.S. As for Facebook? Well now we've all been gathering a slew of friend requests. Let's hope those people stick around months from now.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Almost Reunited and It Feels So...Blah

Shortly after graduating Brooklyn Technical High School, I wondered where life would take us over the next 10 years. I wondered who'd be married, who'd have children and if there'd be any secret scandals that had developed over time. Would we act like the mature adults we'd surely be by that time? Would we even still be friends? Back then, our reunion felt like a lifetime away.

And now that its finally here, I'm feeling completely unenthused. I'm not really dying to see anyone I've lost touch with (yes, I'm horrid, whatever) and I'm still close with my high school BFFs. I also had the great luck (or great curse) of never having dated or crushed on the boys in my high school so there's no one I'm trying to reconnect with on that end (and no one I'm wishing morbid obesity and baldness on). Come to think of it, in a school of 4,000 that's a quite a feat!

Thing is Facebook totally killed the high school reunion anticipation. Classmates, Friendster, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, all of it. There's no more "I wonder how so-and-so is doing" because so-and-so is probably on Facebook announcing every detail of her life and guess what? She just got engaged to un papi chulo she met two years ago! (Like!) And that other guy you'd known since junior high? Yup, still single and acting a fool. And while I'm not knocking it (hey, I've been all up on that news feed these days), there's very little surprise and suspense left. For me anyway.

So I'm just going to go, not front like I remember anybody's name, chill with the girls I still hang with to this day and sass anyone who asks if I'm married or having children anytime soon. True story.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Secret Behind Every Pop Song

I know it's late. I know I haven't written anything substantial since Tuesday. I know I let Earth Day pretty much come and go without so much as a peep (It's 11:15 PM though so Happy Earth Day). Sorry! But I just had to post this video of awesomeness NOW:


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Confessions of a Wannabe Domestic Goddess

You know the real reason why I resisted learning how to cook and clean as a child? Because I didn't want to end up using my skills on a man when I grew up. (By the way, plan totally backfired as I can now barely cook for myself, but anywho.) I'd see my mom slave away for us and quickly figured, "Nope. Definitely not signing up for that one." What I didn't know was that someday I'd want to do those things not out of obligation, but because that nurturing side of me would finally wake up.

And that it did during my relationship with Mr. First. Imagine my confusion when I actually wanted to help him fold his laundry and bake him crumb cakes. If I knew he'd get home from work late, I'd leave his bed made before I drove back home just so he could return to a tidy bed. I found myself doing all these little unexpected things for him because I knew it'd make him happy. Crazy thing was I felt just as happy knowing I was taking care of my boyfriend.

Seriously.

What ever happened to the tiny feminist who took a stand in the Ramos household and raised a fuss every time my sister and I had to wash dishes and sweep the house while my brother bummed around? The one who'd wondered (out loud, unfortunately) why couldn't Dad serve his own dinner? The answer usually resulted in frustration and crying tantrums: because that's the woman's role. And so grew my list of strikes against the "woman's role."

But now those instincts have rushed right back as I wonder if A. would like cupcakes with freshly squeezed lemonade. ¿Arroz con vegetales o un locrio de pollo? And oh no! Did he pack pjs for his trip? (Duh, vegetales and apparently Dickies pants are comfy enough to sleep in.) It seems no matter how many times I say I'll never tend to any man, relationships bring out the exact opposite in me. I simply want to make sure he's satisfied and comfortable. And so the goal lies in finding a man who wants to do the same for you.

I won't ever accept that women should be expected to handle the chores or that we're automatically supposed to dedicate our lives to cooking, cleaning, feeding, washing and serving. What I will admit is that we have a strong tendency to want to care for others - especially those we love. Our maternal instinct makes us feel good when we create comfort and happiness however we can. Besides, doesn't that sound so much better than "that's the woman's role?"

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Roadmap to Your Best Body

While there are some general health habits that are important our whole life through (eat well, drink water, be active and get tested), there are specific ones we should develop depending on our age. A 20-year-old's fitness routine will be different once she enters her 40s and a 30-year-old woman will have to adjust her dietary needs once she decides to bear children. Even the medical tests you should ask for change as you age and your body becomes susceptible to different health risks. So be prepared: here's how to get and maintain your best body through your 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond!

Image: optimisticthinking.wordpress.com

Friday, April 16, 2010

DIY Teeny Little Scrolls

I hadn't done anything crafty since my Christmas ornaments so when I was home sick this week, I decided to work out those creative muscles again. Inspired by this mini message in a bottle tutorial and a wish to do something sweet for A.'s trip to Japan, I came up with these cute teeny scrolls.

You'll need:
- round toothpicks (snip off the ends so no one gets stabbed, just make sure they're all even)
- double-sided tape
- strips of colorful paper (I cut mine into 1 inch-wide strips. It's also best if the paper is plain on one side so the person can read your message easily.)
- thin string
- brads, charms, tags or anything else you'd like to attach to your scroll

I'm a perfectionist so I like to lay everything out on a gridded mat. Place the paper strip design side down and space two toothpicks above the strip's ends. Cut a piece of tape just slightly shorter than the paper's width (so you don't have any sticky tape showing once the paper's attached) and tape it around the middle of each toothpick.

Wrap each end of the paper around the middle of each toothpick, pressing down with your fingernail to make sure it sticks well. Write out your message (or how about an inspirational quote?) on the plain side of the paper.

Slowly and tightly roll in each end of the scroll simultaneously until they reach the center. Wrap string around the middle, slip on a charm and then tie it up.




















I had these tiny paper bag embellishments just hanging around and they were perfect for these miniature scrolls! I wrote A.'s goodbye note on origami paper, slipped it into a red bag and he took it along on his trip :)

And I might be way too early for this, but I think I have an idea for this year's holiday ornaments. (And yes, my Christmas tree is still up!)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday Giveaway: Moregasm

And to top it all off: a giveaway! This week one of you will win a copy of Babeland's Moregasm since A. and I liked it so much. Just leave a comment below and a random winner will be announced on Monday.

CONGRATULATIONS: MommyLovesStilettos is this week's winner!

Image: store.babeland.com

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Quickie Guide to Sex Guides Part 2

Here are the final five book reviews for your enjoyment...


I'm not exactly rolling in money right now so I was interested to see what Great Sex for Hard Times had to say. I was expecting a book of fun and cheap ideas and instead received a list of reasons why sex is such an awesome stress reliever (nah, really?). There are cash-saver and quickie tips sprinkled throughout the chapters (the sexy challenges were a bit cheesy though), but I found myself skipping through all the other stuff just to locate those blurbs. And P.S. What is that cover girl wearing??

A. says: Her thighs are nice though! I like how it says "fully illustrated." How do you define "fully?" There's like 15 illustrations and they're all line drawings. The word "fully" isn't what it used to be.


Well I'm automatically skeptical when a product makes such a hefty claim like The Best Sex of Your Life does. But pushing that aside, the book shares 101 sex secrets that aren't quite so secretive: men are visual creatures who enjoy foreplay and compliments as much as we do; sex toys can strengthen your orgasms; girl on top is great for stimulating your hot spots. On and on. Well guess what? There's very little here you can't get from a couple months worth of Cosmo or Glamour. At least those are more visually appealing.

A. says: First thing I look for: pictures! ...And there aren't any. Basically it's an unorganized list of random sex "secrets." How am I supposed to find what I'm looking for? What if I'm curious about something? And these aren't secrets; these are things that you come up with on your own if you're not an uptight priss.


What's the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Moregasm? The vagina collage I was surprised with on page 16 when I first opened the book. You also get glimpses of different butts and boobs so you can appreciate how we're all different yet beautiful. The colorful guide, which is geared mostly towards women, is a fun reference to browse through and search for answers as needed or to learn something new. There's even a great Q&A section in the back that I enjoyed reading through. Some topics were relevant and others just served to open my eyes. Either way, it's nice to feel that other women have the same issues and concerns you do. And because it was written by the founders of Babeland, it has plenty of suggestions when it comes to navigating the world of sex toys.

A. says: Every one of these women looks manlier than me... Oh wait, this one doesn't look like a lesbian. It's well put together. I don't know if it should say "mind-blowing sex" on the cover, but that's just marketing shit. As a book to just be comfortable with all types of sex, it seems like it would be good. There's not too much text, it says the right things and and they treat everything real so that's nice.


The Porn Star Guide to Great Sex (out June 22) is Mr. Marcus' first book and you can tell because the writing is so simplistic. The man even refers to a commonly used writing technique among high schoolers: referring to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary to tell readers what a word means. I'm sure he wanted to back up his info with credible sources, but I think it's perfectly fine if a porn star just defined "clitoris" in his own words. At least the "professional lover" keeps it straight up (with his advice, I mean). Even though at times it felt like the book should've been titled Seducing Mr. Marcus instead, I didn't completely mind his conversational tone and anecdotes. Why? Because at least the book took a different route than many of the others on this list. That said, I'm never wearing crotchless panties. Sorry.

A. says: It's banal. He switches from first person to second person, which makes me think he didn't write all of it. The funny thing is he says do this, this and this, but he doesn't say listen to her reaction to see if it's working. And I must be a better porn connoisseur than he is because he says anal sex is relatively new within the porn world. Ha! He must not have watched any German porn from the 70's.


If size matters to you, then this mammoth of a book has the potential to thrill you. The Better Sex Guide to Extraordinary Lovemaking 351-page guide pretty much has it all: knowing and pleasing yourself and others, oral play, toys, fantasies and yes, A., even anal loving. (Don't get excited though.) I say if you want a complete sex manual, you'll be hard-pressed to find a more inclusive one than this one. My only peeve is that there isn't anything for homosexual loving. They could use some advice too! And I really like the photos even though they're totally airbrushed. A. and I made a game out of flipping open to a random page and seeing what racy picture we'd be treated to. Good stuff.

A. says: To their credit, they've got some hot females, but all of the males look like aged porn stars. There's one with such big tit-pecs, I thought it was a girl-on-girl section. I was disappointed. There's just a lot to read here. I'm not inclined to pick up one of these books in the first place, but when I see all this text, I'm really not interested in it.

*****

Phew! I can't believe we just sifted through all that. Seriously, if I ever flip through another sex book again it'll be too soon. Some were entertaining, yes, but the majority were just a collection of been there, tried that.

A: If you're really in the market for a sex guide, avoid the gimmicks and look for one that matches your personal attitude about sex. Keep in mind that a lot of advice in these books are anecdotal. I would have liked to see a more scientific approach to what works and in what situation. Then again, I'm a geek who gets excited about folding proteins and embryology.

Images: ebookstore.sony.com, sheknows.com, webster.it, amazon.com and infibeam.com

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Quickie Guide to Sex Guides Part 1

One of the things I love about my career is the chance to learn about new products, studies and books on a range of topics, but mostly ones concerning lifestyle and wellness. Now because I've written several love and sex stories in the past, I'm never surprised when I receive e-mails or review copies of the latest sex books on the market. So after months of raking them in, I've finally decided to round those up and give you quick reviews on 10 of them. But where would the fun be in doing this alone?

Which is why I've enlisted the help of A. not only because he's my boyfriend and I find him hysterical, but because what guy would actually say no to looking through sex book after sex book? Oh, and there's one other reason: he worked in the porn industry for two years and has quite the interest in all things sex-related. (He worked behind the scenes though. Read about his crazy adventures in Porn: From the Inside Parts 1, 2 and 3 as well as his series on 10 Things You Didn't Know About Sexual Biology.) I should also warn you that he has an fondness for profanity and I didn't even try to cover up his colorful vocabulary.

*****

If you've run out of locations for your sexual encounters, Sex Marks the Spot attempts to spark your creativity with - what else? - 69 places for intimate play. But with predictable suggestions like cars, the library and parks and then questionable ones like the ski lift and while driving an ATV (err?!), I have to wonder how desperate for ideas must you be that you need a book that tells you to jump in the back seat and revisit your virgin days. It's so full of clichés, I really couldn't take any of it seriously. And as for "Number 69," well you'll be providing that one yourself.

A. says: I don't think text is even needed here. Just show me the location and I'll figure it out. Nobody is going to read this shit; these tips are for idiots. No shit you need to scope out the joint when you're gonna have sex. This book would be better as a giant list with check boxes next to them. Instead someone had to make a fucking book out of it.


Author Kidder Kaper, a sex game designer and host of the Sex is Fun podcasts, has created this cool comic book-style sex manual that might draw your guy's attention, which is great if you want to get him involved in your exploration. You can go through Sex is Fun together, discovering each others likes and dislikes through the workbook-style activities and find ways to bump up your sex life along the way. I actually enjoyed the workbook pages and think it can help the timid types start a discussion with their partner. Who knows? You might discover you both have superhero fantasies you'd like to play out.

A. says: I like it because it treats sex the way it should be treated - it's fun! Though it might shock people. There's the graphic gay sex and if you're not prepared for that it might make you uncomfortable. I think the workbook activities are cheesy though. I'll do whatever the fuck I want so if I see something I like, I don't need a worksheet to prompt me to do it. But I like it. It's entertaining, exciting and completely vulgar. [Minutes later...] Butt sex!


I'd recommend The Mominatrix's Guide to Sex to some of you if I didn't think the author was so demeaning. The book means well with its goal of whipping withering sex lives back into shape, but must it do it with reminders of how stretched out your vag and how busted your face have become? Shoot, this book even served as psychological birth control for me. Kristen Chase keeps it way too real for my tastes, but maybe some of you enjoy that type of tough love. The book manages to dispense bits of helpful advice in between the name-calling (shout-out to all you C-section bitches!), but perhaps it would've been better served with a little more class as I'd think the target audience already has enough self-esteem issues. Then again, they could get a laugh from their own self-deprecation.

A. says: I was curious because every guy is interested in pregnant sex, but whoever this woman is has such a condescending way of communicating her tepid humor. I don't want her as my mom, I'll tell you that much. And there are no pictures so I'm completely unstimulated.


The green fad has claimed our food, our homes and clothes so it was only a matter of time before it tried to crawl into bed with us. With tips like how to shop for organic aphrodisiacs, making your own oil blends and a list of "earth-friendly bands and musicians," Eco-Sex shows you how to make your romp in between those bamboo sheets completely sustainable...provided you find a partner who's as über-eco-conscious as you. Personally, thinking about what's living inside my mattress will totally throw me off the mood, but that could just be me.

A. says: This is all dogmatic hipster bullshit. There's absolutely nothing sexy in this book. When I'm fucking, the last thing on my mind is whether or not I'm carbon neutral.


The Sex Instruction Manual is a funny guide that teaches the "mechanics of sexual intercourse" with its insert tab A into slot B illustrations. You won't find any surprises here, but the guide's techy set-up is amusing and would better serve first-timers without a clue rather than those of us looking for new tricks to test drive.

A. says: The illustrations are entertaining but they're not arousing by any chance; it's like watching two bathroom door markers go at it. And it's almost too basic. Everyone knows that when a guy comes he shoots stuff out. [Minutes later...] Anal play!

*****

So that's it for now, but tomorrow we'll review five more for you. Hey A., how's about a break for a little "oral interfacing" (aka kissing)?

"How's about you interface with my-"

Baby!

Images: sourcebooks.com, infibeam.com, webster.it, ecosex.net and chroniclebooks.com

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Assumption Song

A. just sent me this funny little video. Let this serve as an intro to the posts to come as well as a side of my boyfriend you haven't met yet...


Friday, April 9, 2010

Happy Friday!

First off, thanks for the kindness and support on yesterday's post. You guys are incredibly sweet! Even though I've never met the majority of you, it means so much that you care enough to leave an encouraging word or two. I'm just glad the weekend is almost here...

Spa Week is upon us once again.
Yet another useless talent I want to master.
Designers at ChopShop teamed up with WellDone to create this eye-opening T-shirt with 27 statistics about the global water crisis. Proceeds will provide clean water to those in developing countries. (via Swissmiss)
How to quit a ballet company.
I love this tiny message in a bottle tutorial. Can't wait to use.
Creamy Lemon Crumb Squares. Want.
A few words to the publishers of the letdown that is Porn for Women.

And speaking of books and porn and such, next week I'll be posting reviews of 10 sex books I've received in the past year (this is such a hard job). The fun/crazy part is that A. will be contributing as well so stay tuned!

Image: flickr.com (via blog.krisatomic.com)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Toughing It Out

So I'm having one of those moments where one side of my brain rags on me for not being accomplished enough while the other shuts it up by presenting all that I've done. It's been tiring to say the least (not to mention neurotic).

Can you believe it's been nearly five months since I was laid off and decided to freelance? I'm surviving, I'm doing fine, but it's been such a struggle to do better. My motivation ebbs and flows leaving me with bursts of inspiration one week and completely dry the next. I've been wondering if I've been fooling myself, if perhaps I can't make this work for much longer.

Luckily, this week the tide has come in and I'm doing my best to ride it for as long as my spirit will let me, jumping on ideas as they appear, casting net after net to see what might catch. Today brought in three new stories to add to a calendar full of upcoming press trips.

"It's not enough," one side says.
"You've done well," says the other. "Be proud and keep going."

This girl has dreams to bust through doors and let the world knows she exists. Little by little those dreams will come true because she will make it so.

"She hopes."

Image: annisarahma.tumblr.com

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Transferrable Skills of Past Relationships

Have you ever sat and thought about all the stuff you did (or didn't want to do) in your previous relationships that then made you a much better boy/girlfriend in your following ones? Because that's exactly what I was thinking of Sunday night when I was hanging out with A.and some of his (and now my) friends to watch the Yankees v Red Sox opening day game. Back when I was with Mr. First, I'd want to spoon my eyes out whenever I got stuck watching sports on TV. You cannot imagine the boredom. (Attending Phillies games was a different story. I actually enjoyed those.) But because he was such a baseball fan, some of it started to seep into me. After we broke up, I still followed his beloved team and cheer for them to this day.

A mild interest in baseball is not all I've received from the past guys I've dated. Thanks to them, I expanded my music collection, learned about a range of topics (comic books, video games, sports, history, science, sex, etc.) and ultimately learned more about myself- good and bad qualities alike. So then I started wondering what my relationship resume would look like if I were ever thrown back onto the market...


What would yours say?

P.S. I didn't add him to my resume, but I picked up a few things about relationships from my dad like the importance of curiosity, taking an interest in people and broadening my circle. He also taught me how to give and expect respect and love without resorting to violence, stand up for myself and be self-reliant. Oh, and how to be late for everything.

Image: Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hello, April

I don't know about yours, but my April has been off to a beautiful start. Friday evening, I surprised A. with a picnic in Central Park. We threw the frisbee around (I sucked by the way)...

and checked out this couple making out in a tree. I was so tempted to run up to them and sing the k-i-s-s-i-n-g song, but I didn't want to ruin their moment. A. and I had ours an hour later when we finally said the l-word :)

Much to my delight, Saturday was incredibly spontaneous. (I love walking around aimlessly, don't you?) Our first stop was Newmindspace's massive pillow fight in Union Square. Unfortunately, we didn't bring pillows to beat the crap out of total strangers with so instead we chilled by the sidelines and watched the madness unfold. Even Waldo made an appearance!


Then we walked down to Astor Place where we grabbed strawberry and banana crepes and empanadas at a street fair while popping into random stores and pointing out "Pillow People" along the way.

Sunday's warmth was just calling for another trip to the park. We set up mat in Sheep Meadow, played frisbee (I rock now by the way) and did some serious people watching (read: checked out the sunbathers). It was nice to just lay on green grass again.

See? A beautiful start. How was yours?

Oh, and for those who didn't warn me that Up is the saddest movie on Earth: good looking out, punks.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring Festival Dreams

Now that the sun's out more often and the weather has warmed up, I've been itching for a chance to get out and celebrate. Here are some fun ideas to do just that:

It all starts with some festive invites.

Accompany with magic juice. (via A Cup of Jo)

Will the little ones prefer bunnies out of felt or paper?

And for a fun parting gift: fabric covered flower pots! (via Creature Comforts)

Hope you have a lovely weekend :)

Images: Each from respective links.