Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Are You a Top or Bottom Kind of Person?

There comes a time in most relationships when serious matters start being discussed: future vacation spots, which city you could build a family in, possible names for the children and most importantly, which way the toilet paper will roll once you start living together.

I'm an Under girl and A.'s Over all the way. After a silly argument involving plans to secretly switch the roll back after our turn and a crazy accusation that I'd notice an incorrectly-placed toilet paper before realizing if the man shaved or not (ok, so what if I do?), I wondered what you readers preferred...



P.S. Hmm...the title of this post brings another poll question to mind...

"Dennis Quaid is Here!"

This video is crazy old, but if you ever need a laugh this video should do the trick :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Yorkville Crêperie

If you ever find yourself craving a delicious crêpe, then head over to Yorkville Crêperie in the Upper East Side. They serve both dessert and savory dishes, but I haven't been able to tear myself away from the sweet ones yet. On our first visit I had the Crêpe Delight, which was such a mountain of fresh strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream drizzled with raspberry sauce, I just couldn't finish it all. But as good as that sounds it took all my strength not to grab A.'s plate and devour it myself: Fluff-a-Nutter contains bananas, peanut butter, marshmallow fluff, nutella and graham cracker crumbs. I finally tried it the second time around and wow was it filling. A bit too much peanut butter, me thinks.

Now if crêpes aren't your thing (for shame!!), check out their paninis and other baked goodies along with their selection of wines, coffee and espresso (though I tend to just stick to their orange juice). And feeding you is not all this crêperie is good for; the sunny shop has comfy couches, free WiFi and great music so you can pop in on any afternoon for a study buddy session. Just try not to spend the entire time eating and salivating.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Giveaway: Sara's Gracious Goodies

After Sara Mendelsohn and her husband arrived at a hotel for a wedding exhausted and hungry from traveling and were disappointed by their welcome bag, she decided to show people how it should be done. So she teamed up with her mom and created Sara's Gracious Goodies, a gift package service based in Long Island, NY that strives to make out-of-town guests feel instantly welcome. "Having received so many of these as a guest myself, I can tell you it's quite a delight to have goodies waiting for you at check-in," Mendelsohn says. "And it's a wonderful introduction to the special events that are to come."

Today, her company caters to holidays, corporate events, bar/bat mitzvahs and, of course, weddings. "The last weeks leading up to the wedding are super stressful because there is so much that needs to get done," she adds. "Not only is it fabulous to outsource this final detail, but it allows for the bride and groom to make each guest feel appreciated by going the extra mile!" And she makes sure she brings NY businesses along with her; the company not only packages and hand delivers the bags, but also supports local vendors by working with them to provide quality products for clients.

This week one of you will win The Long Islander package, which contains Poland Spring water, Kettle Corn Popcorn from the Hampton Popcorn Company, chocolate chip cookies from Tate's Bake Shop, North Fork Potato Chips and a seasonal Rice Krispie treat from Selma's all tucked into a Hamptons Maptote! (And we all know how much I love those bags.) Just leave a comment below and a winner will be announced on Friday!

CONGRATULATIONS: Alissa is this week's winner!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Happy Friday!

Tomorrow I'll be attending a writing group meeting aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum and then being a mentor at the Kidult Youth Leadership Conference.
What about you?

Piano-playing NYC peeps: Play Me, I'm Yours set up 60 street pianos in parks, plazas and public areas across the city for anyone to play. You have until July 5th to show off your Chopin skills.
A fun BBQ timelapse video.
A. just sent me this. I asked if he'd like to test it out.
He also sent me this violently sweet depiction of us and the cool cheerleader up top :)
Hey MTA, get this going and I might like you again.
Would you like a side of heart disease with that?
A culmination of every woman's magazine.
Do you get caught up in relationship statuses on Facebook?
Ahhhhhh!

Hope you have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

On Religion

I rarely gave it much thought, this religion business. I believe in souls, life after death, in some other worldly essence beaming down on us. I believe in a higher purpose and I've wondered if I'd be happier if I possessed more spirituality. Yet I don't buy the Catholic faith I was raised under. I'd pretend to be asleep just so I could avoid going to mass on Sunday mornings and once I experienced several panic attacks while standing in a hot and crowded church for an hour, I stopped going altogether.

"Dad, why did Jesus get super powers and I didn't?" I'd ask, but no answer was ever to my satisfaction. I just couldn't wrap my mind around those stories. Reading the Bible is no easy task for a skeptic; it was an exercise in suspending reality and I quickly grew weary of questioning every line I read so I never got much farther than the point where everybody begot everyone else.

But I was baptized, I went to Catholic school and did my first communion because that's what you were supposed to do. Did I understand any of it? At 10 years old, not really, but I memorized the Our Father and Hail Mary and recited them mindlessly upon demand. As soon as I had a say, I stopped attending mass every week. I haven't done my confirmation and I haven't followed through on Lent traditions in years. Still, saying I don't believe in God outright seems too harsh, too final. What if there is one? So I've been hanging somewhere between belief and non-belief, not giving it much thought and hoping my own moral compass is enough to steer me through this life.

How ironic that now that I'm dating an atheist, religion is regularly a topic of conversation and I've had to question my own stance on the subject. A.'s position is crystal clear: he uses his understanding of the natural world to determine that there is no god or any supernatural being. Not an easy pill for everyone to swallow and I've wondered if our small differences would cause hurdles in the future. But it all comes down to this: at the end of the day there's just mutual love and respect. We listen to each other with open minds, accept the things we agree on and simply acknowledge the things we don't.

Any future children will choose their own paths once they're fully aware of their choices (so no infant circumcisions or baptisms) and if they do go the religious route, we will love and support them completely. Everyone should be free to live their lives as they see fit so long as they don't impose their beliefs on others or condemn those who reject those views.

But still, even though it shouldn't matter, a tiny part of me worries about what my family will think once they learn of the choices we'd make, the judgments that would be passed around dinner tables. Leave it to Catholicism and that ingrained guilt trip.

What's your stance on religion? Have you ever been in a relationship with someone whose views differed from yours?

Image: britannica.com

Now I Want to Go to the Fair Too...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Baked By Melissa

You know how sometimes you need a little treat just because? Just because life can be hard sometimes. Just because we don't give ourselves enough time to stop and taste the goodies. Just because we deserve it. Well last week I was strolling down Union Square and passed by Baked by Melissa, a tiny shop full of mini cupcakes. An unnecessary splurge, I thought, but I couldn't resist getting a box of every flavor in sight. And off I went to the park to sit in the grass and eat a few before dinner. I pulled out a Tie-Dye soon followed by Red Velvet and smiled as I sat in the sun thinking what a good girl am I.

(And when Two-Bite Cupcakes comes out, I'm totally making some myself!)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday Giveaway: NRDC Simple Steps Deck

Here's a fun way to incorporate more earth-friendly activities into your life: the NRDC: Simple Steps Deck. The Natural Resources Defense Council provides 50 easy actions for a healthy home and planet, each listed and explained on a card color-coded by areas in your home. So if you have a month or only a minute to spare, pick a card, any card, and I'm sure you'll find something you could do for our environment.

For example, if you have clogged drains and a free moment, forgo the toxic cleaners and instead pour four tablespoons of baking soda and ½ cup of distilled white vinegar down the drain. Cover it for 30 minutes and then flush with boiling water.

I love the minimal packaging, the simple illustrations and that it all comes tied up in a bow. To win a set, just leave a comment and a winner will be announced on Friday!

CONGRATULATIONS: Cheryl F. {The Lucky Ladybug} is this week's winner!

Image: chroniclebooks.com

How Was Your Weekend?

I approached the weekend without any plans in mind...until Friday 5 PM when A. suggested we rent a car Saturday morning and just drive up to Boston for the day to catch the Dodgers v Red Sox game. "That would be absolutely crazy," I said. "Let's do it."

Friday

We had dinner at Republic down in Union Square - a noodle restaurant A. referred to as "the college kid's version of Momofuku." My wonton broth noodles were amazing with tasty shrimp, pork and veggie wontons, glass noodles and a bunch of delicious greens. A. kept saying I just added two extra days to my life with every spoonful of what was easily the most satisfying meal I'd had all week. And the Asian basil lemonade was so refreshing after finishing a big bowl of soup.

With our tummies full, we walked across the street to Union Square Park. The night felt perfect: breezy with a nearly-half-full moon illuminating the sky, fireflies, voices and music floating in the air. You know that crazy feeling of happiness that swells your heart and leaves you without knowing what to do with yourself so you just sit and stare at this person with a goofy smile on your face hoping that just for a moment time would simply stop? As we sat on a bench, his fingers wrapped around mine and my head nestled on his shoulder, I realized yet again that this is how I feel whenever I'm with him.

Then a damn smoker sat down next to us and lit our romantic moment on fire.

Saturday

A. and I picked up our rental car early in the morning and set off to Boston. He was looking forward to his first drive along the east coast and we were both excited about our first trip together and finally catching a game at Fenway Park. It was so much fun and hilarious at times, but it wasn't all peaches:

- Never has the difference in our music preferences been more apparent than it did during the nine or so hours we spent in the car. Every time I found a song I could sing along to on the radio, it would be met with a "This is stupid." I think the man needs to lower his standards a bit.

- Our GPS kept wanting to get stolen by taking us through the sketchy back hoods of Boston. Hearing A. go off on "her" ("Recalculate this, b*+¢#!") was worth it though.

- The Dodgers lost at the bottom of the ninth (still a great game!), it was blazing hot and we were dead tired on our drive back, but you know what? I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. We got to travel together and have a mini getaway adventure. We embraced spontaneity and experienced new things together. And even when we were tired and cranky we managed to get home (and find parking) without biting each other's head off.

A sign of the trip's success? The next morning A. said, "So I'm thinking in the fall we rent a car, drive up to, say, Vermont to watch the leaves change colors and then stay at a small bed and breakfast. Would you like that?" Love.

Sunday

The car had to be back by 9 AM so once again we were up and out early. We kept the weekend's spontaneous spirit going by grabbing breakfast at an Upper East Side creperie I'd been wanting to check out all week. Details on that shop to come, but it was so yummy, I can't wait to go back! We spent the rest of the day resting and recuping and every now and then I'd smile and say, "We went to Boston yesterday..."

Happy First Day of Summer...

Even though it feels like it really arrived about a month ago. Have any fun plans for the coming months? So far it's just the California trip on my end...unless some more spontaneity pops up. Details on my awesome weekend to come (or just read my tweets!)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Friday!

Colorful photos + jotted thoughts = The Sweeterie
Fun engagement pics with DIY backdrops drawn in chalk.
These little happy girls are so cute and way easy to make. I'd like one on my keychain.
The story of my procrastinating life.
Artwork made with staples, push pins and packaging tape.
Would you ever put your face on a condom wrapper? (via Jezebel)
A girly mobile made with things around the house.
Loving these dry erase board and sandwich baggies DIYs.

Oh, and congrats to Toojie for her beautiful baby girl and A.'s home team for winning the NBA Championship last night! Hope you all have a lovely weekend and great time with your papas!

Images: trufflegirls.com

Bakerella Cake Pops

Aack! How cute are these?? Bakerella, aka Angie Dudley, shows us how to make mini cake treats like cake balls and pops, tiny cupcakes and a bunch of other goodies you could easily gobble up 10 at a time. (Or is that just me being a beast?)

Anywho, I think her burgers and bees cake pops would be awesome for any summer BBQs on the way like for, oh I don't know, Father's Day? Or just browse through the site if you're ever in need of fun baking tips or a spark of inspiration.

And be sure to keep an eye out for her book, Cake Pops by Bakerella, which comes out in September.

Image: bakerella.com

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gossip Girl

Lately I've been thinking a lot about gossip: how quickly you can get wrapped up in it, what it creates in people and how it makes me feel when I participate in it. It's so easy to get caught up in the latest chisme when there are magazines, websites and Page Six's dedicated to celeb lives, who's hooking up, who's separating, cheating, adopting, etc. Why should anything beyond their work matter to us?

Then there's the role it takes in our personal lives. Instead of confronting issues head-on and leaving it at that, we talk behind each other's backs fueling rumors and creating new ones as we go. And even if we don't create or spread the gossip ourselves, the simple act of listening is bad enough.

I can admit that I'm one of these people. Girl talks become gossip fests in which we analyze and speculate about everyone else's lives and as much fun as it is to get sucked into it, in the end it just feels...gross, wrong, like I should know and be better than that. And so it goes until the next time someone goes, "Yooo, guess what I just heard?!"

This needs to stop, for me anyway. As hard as it may be, I don't want to continue being a cog in any rumor mill. If someone comes to me with the latest news on so-and-so, I'm turning the other way. Now I'm not referring to well-intentioned updates about someone I haven't talked to in a while. I mean the snide remarks and malicious comments you probably wouldn't want that person to ever hear. If I wanted to know that person's story, I'd just give him/her a call. If he/she doesn't give up the info then maybe it's because he/she doesn't want me to know and that is just fiiiiine by me.

Surely we have enough going on in our own lives that we don't need to go meddling in things we've no business meddling in. But if you're that starved for entertainment, I hear those celebs put out movies every once in a while.

Image: thefreshxpress.com

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Madison Square Park's Event Horizon

I was never really a Madison Square Park goer always opting for the slightly closer and larger Central Park. But lately I've been making quite a few trips down to 23rd and Fifth Ave: burgers at Shake Shack, a writing group meeting and this past weekend's Big Apple BBQ Block Party. Once there, it won't take long before you start noticing the naked men around you.

This is all part of the park's current public art exhibition, Event Horizon by Antony Gormley, which consists of 31 life-size iron and fiberglass forms of the artist making their mark throughout the park and on the rooftops of buildings in the Flatiron District - even the Empire State Building. Gormley's goal? To play with perception, make us aware of our surroundings and think about how we fit into the urban landscape.

"My intention is to get the sculptures as close to the edge of the buildings as possible," Gormley says. "The field of the installation should have no defining boundary. The gaze is the principle dynamic of the work; the idea of looking and finding, or looking and seeking, and in the process perhaps re-assessing your own position in the world."

It's a little creepy at first, but soon enough you'll be playing Spot the Naked Statue and walking around while gazing up at the sky. How many can you find without resorting to the map?

Event Horizon will be on view at Madison Square Park through August 15.

Image: madisonsquarepark.org

"Forgetfulness"

I'd never read Billy Collins' work before, but I came across this animated version of his poetry and instantly heard myself in his words.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Senhor do Bonfim Wrist Ribbons

If you look through my pictures as far back as November 2008, you'll sometimes spot a thin piece of red string tied around my left wrist (like here). No, it's not to raise AIDS awareness nor did I start practicing Kabbalah and warding off negative forces. This string, known as a fita, came from Brazil and traveled to the States with a coworker who'd bought a fistful of them as souvenirs.

These wrist ribbons come in all colors - each for a different saint - and bear the words "Lembrança do Senhor do Bonfim da Bahia" meaning "In remembrance of the Savior of Bahia." (Senhor do Bonfim refers to Jesus, "Our Lord of a Good End"). Measuring 47 cm/ 18.5 in, which is the length of the right arm on a Christ statue in Bahia's Senhor do Bonfim church, the ribbon is tied around the left wrist in three knots, each one signifying a wish. Once the string falls off naturally, your wishes will be granted. Mine were:

1. That I'd have a wonderful time on my own in Cancun. (I did.)
2. That 2009 turned out much better than 2008. (It was.)
3. That Mr. First and I get back together.

Only my trip to Cancun came and went and the string held on. A year flew by and still it stayed on my wrist, worn and thin, but nowhere near letting go. My wishes no longer mattered, but I was curious to see how long it'd take for it to finally fall off. Wearing it was no bother and I'd grown used to the piece of string I'd been carrying for a year and a half. But at some point I started getting superstitious about it. Even though I didn't care nor did I fully believe if the wishes would come true or not, I was a bit concerned about the bad luck that would supposedly fall on me if I cut the ribbon - something A. had been wanting to do for months. "Under no circumstances will I cut this thing right before I board a plane," I'd say. "And if it makes it to my wedding day, then I'm just leaving it on at least until the ceremony is over." You know, just in case.

On Saturday morning, I finally let A. rip the ribbon. He didn't want me buying into any superstition or carrying around a reminder of the past. But as much as he rejects all beliefs, I think he just wanted to make sure that the third wish never happened. I was completely fine with it, saying, "Better now than before a major life event."

So will I really have bad luck fall upon me? Who knows. But I must say, I didn't feel sick until the day A. broke the string.

Image: travelogue.travelvice.com

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday Giveaway: The Sex Instruction Manual

Another goodie from our sex guides roundup, 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. So leave a comment below for a chance to win this for any rookies you know...or just keep it for yourself. I promise I won't judge.

A random winner will be announced on Friday!

CONGRATULATIONS: Intense Guy is this week's winner!

Image: chroniclebooks.com

The Lelo Liv Vibrator

For those who like their vibrations with a side of penetration, then check out the Lelo Liv vibrator. It's small, but powerful (making it a wonderful travel companion) and with five different stimulation modes each in varying intensities, you're sure to find a setting that hits your spot. The sweet part? It's incredibly quiet. (Because I don't know about you, but buzzing sounds are not only distracting, but a call for embarrassment as well.)

The sleek silicone body is great for insertion - especially for ladies who are a bit more hesitant with the self-screwing and are turned off by larger toys. The curved shape makes it comfortable to use on yourself and works lovely for both clitoral and G-spot stimulation. Just use a bit a of lube (as long as it's not silicone-based) to make the moment much more pleasurable. The intuitive interface dial is simple to master and fully lockable so your toy won't give you away unintentionally.

And Liv isn't just fun for her. I mean what guy wouldn't love having a hand in getting her off and then using it on himself? An insecure one, perhaps. The toy's only drawback is that it's not waterproof. Otherwise, those showers would get a whole lot steamier.

Image: babeland.com

Friday, June 11, 2010

Iron Man 2

[It doesn't take much for me to enjoy a superhero movie. Have them fly around blowing stuff up and I'm happy. Even better, dress a cool chick in a skin-tight outfit, have her kick some serious bad guy butt and I'm yours. A. on the other hand actually grew up reading comic books, so his review of Iron Man 2 is a lot more critical than mine. Still, here's my take...]

I finally watched the first movie last weekend and it was so good that I couldn't wait to catch Iron Man 2 the following day.

You know how some characters that moonlight as superheroes go through great lengths to keep their alter-ego a secret? Yeah, not billionaire playboy Tony Stark. He is loving the spotlight, feeding his ego with over-the-top expos and stunts to show off his power. When the U.S. government wishes to confiscate his suit for military use, he goes on to say that instead of criminalizing him, they should be thanking him for the longest stretch of peace the world has seen; that there is no one in the world with the ability to do what he does...until someone drops in and attempts to push him off his pedestal.

Robert Downey Jr. as the semi-pompous/impulsive Stark is entertaining to watch; you don't always know what move he'll pull next. There are moments when he starts getting slightly annoying - actually, the whole drunken battle against his buddy Lt. Col. James "Rhodey" Rhodes (now played by Don Cheadle) seems a bit pointless - but you can tell that deep inside he just wants to do what's right. After years of promoting and developing weapons of destruction for Stark Industries, he wants to undo the damage his inventions caused.

I did feel that the first film could have used a stronger female counterpart as Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts, organized and motivated as she was, needed more oomph. Enter Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), an undercover superhero sent in to work for Stark Industries by the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcements and Logistics Division (S.H.I.E.L.D.). She proves to be quite the asset later on and looks damn good doing so. Her fight sequence (too orchestrated perhaps) made me want to yell out, "You go, girl!" It also made me want to run out of the theater and karate chop some strangers, but that's neither here nor there.

In the end, I enjoyed the movie even though the final battle was a bit too quick and easy for some. Yes, there are several acts of genius that seem completely impossible regardless of how smart these characters are supposed to be, but it's a superhero movie. Some suspension of reality is necessary in order to buy into any of it and I just take it for what it is.

Also, I think I've developed a slight crush on RDJ and Scarlett Johansson.

Iron Man 2: 3.5/5 Toasties



Image:
realmovienews.com

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)"

This is also time for me to start taking belly dancing classes and tantalizing the world with my moves.

Shakira and South African group Freshlyground teamed up to record this year's World Cup anthem and I find it so infectious, I dare you not to get up and jump around. It almost makes me wish I were a soccer fan just so I could get swept up in the excitement of it all, but for now it does a great job of hyping up my mood and fighting off this week's stress.


Waka waka, eh eh! So who's going to be glued to the TV starting tomorrow?

P.S. The video will also raise money for 1Goal, a campaign calling on world leaders to provide education for 72 million children worldwide by 2015.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Year in Japan

Two months ago, while A. was still in Tokyo, I nearly pulled what would've been the gutsiest, most irresponsible move of my life: I almost bought a ticket to go out and see him. It would've been exhilarating and unbelievably rash of me to catch the next flight out to Japan and prove to myself that I, too, was capable of crazy fits of madness. In the end though, the impending poverty I'd surely face upon my return was enough to make me stay.

So instead I swooned over A.'s photos of vibrant neighborhoods, colors splashed across every inch of space. I'd google each place he mentioned in his e-mails imagining myself walking through the streets alongside him. How badly I wanted to travel across the globe and experience these places for myself!

It's nowhere near actually being there, but Kate T. Williamson's A Year in Japan manages to capture some of the magic that lies within Japanese culture. With her journal notes paired with such detailed watercolor illustrations, Williamson delves into the intricacies of everyday life and presents an eye-catching tour through the heart of Japan. A place where karaoke is taken seriously, tofu is sold from wooden carts pushed by elderly men and the people believe that a rabbit on moon pounds rice into mochi.

Some concepts, like riding a bullet train (shinkansen) and the difference between a maiko and a geisha, I'd already learned through A.'s adventures, but I thoroughly enjoyed this visual journey. Once I picked it up one morning, I couldn't set it down until I'd spent the entire year with her.

Image: markzipan.wordpress.com

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Phillies and the Lakers

I've a confession to make: I haven't watched a single Phillies game all season. I don't know how many wins they've managed or where they've played. In fact, I've been losing interest in the team altogether. When Roy Halladay completed that perfect game weeks ago, that was the first time I'd seen them in action and that was only at the bottom of the ninth.

I guess it doesn't help that deep down the reason why I started cheering for them was because I still wanted a connection to Mr. First - who, by the way, still keeps me up to date on his beloved team whenever he decides to e-mail. I guess now that time has blurred up our ties so much, I don't need to cling onto the past as hard. I'm ok with letting that go.

Now A. is from L.A. and in his eyes Kobe aka "The Lakers" can do no wrong. Before he popped into my life, I'd never seen an NBA game and now here I am slowly pushing aside the team I rushed around to see win the 2008 World Series and hoping the Lakers win the finals this week. It's becoming less of a forced activity as I've just started watching the games on my own or checking the score first thing in the morning as forecast into A.'s mood for the day.

Sports have been so important in these guys' lives and somehow they've manage to wrap me up in it. I'll still automatically check if a random guy's red cap has a "P" on it and I'll perk up if a Phillies game is on at a bar, but I've noticed that the closer I get to A. the looser my grip gets on the Phils.

That said, I wouldn't mind if basketball season were over before I got too caught up in it.

Images: sportsblog.projo.com and masslive.com

Monday, June 7, 2010

Productivity and Pomodoros


I'm on deadline again this week and today I've got quite the ambitious to-do list. With three stories due by Friday (including my break into another national woman's magazine!), I really can't afford to waste much time even though procrastination runs through my veins.

A couple weeks back I read about The Pomodoro Technique which works under the concept that breaking up tasks and time into 25-minute-long chunks with breaks in between will increase your productivity. After every little pomodoro - or tomato in italiano - completed, you get a five minute break and then a longer one after four pomodoros. All you really need is a timer and a piece of paper to chart your progress, but mytomatoes.com makes it really easy to track how much you've accomplished in a day.

I've yet to make it past four consecutive pomodoros, but hopefully today I'll be able to focus for a nice chunk of time before the ADD tendencies kick in. Oh, and my reward for being good? A movie date to see Iron Man 2 tonight. (But let's face it, I'll still be going even if I'm bad.)

Image: pomodorotechnique.com

Friday, June 4, 2010

Vanity Fair's NYC Summer Guide

There's always plenty to do in NYC year-round, but once summer arrives there seems to be an explosion of fun events to attend. Not only that, but you actually want to leave the house and enjoy the warm weather. So where to even begin?

Vanity Fair's annual All-Access Summer Guide to NYC lists the top events, bars, restaurants - even food trucks! - to hit up over the next few months. So round up your friends, discover some new venues and drink and dine al fresco while you take in the scene. It's going to be one hot summer.

Image: urbanimpressionist.com

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sex and the City 2

Dear God where do I even begin with this one...

"It was a complete waste of time and money" would be a good way I guess. I cannot recall a movie that had me so bored and disinterested while watching. Embarrassment even crept over me for the people involved in this film, those who found an ounce of entertainment within it and my pathetic self for agreeing to go see it.

Sex and the City 2 presents our four aging ladies two years after the last installment and yet it seems like no time has passed by to them. Although their lives have changed somewhat, they still run around as if they were 30-year-olds, chasing glitz and Cosmos with the youngens. If you thought it was impossible, prepare to be impressed: Carrie surpasses her level of annoyance here. You'd think that finally catching the man she'd been chasing all those years would make her happy, but alas! The woman wants to hit the town while Big wants to stay home together and eat -gasp!- take-out. She wants "sparkle" in their lives while he's perfectly happy watching old black-and-white movies and snuggling in bed. She gets on her hubby's case over his feet on the couch so often that by the time she asks Big, "Is it because I'm a bitch wife who nags you?" after he suggests space between them, you just want to yell out "YES!"

As for the other women: Samantha is on the brink of menopause and fighting it with every pill/food/lotion she can find. Miranda up and decides to quit her job at the firm after her boss has trouble listening to an empowered woman. (Kudos to her for finally shedding her high-strung persona and just chilling out. It was long overdue.) And knee-deep in diapers and toddler tantrums, Charlotte's having a hell of a time maintaining that cheery disposition of hers. After Samantha comments on her nanny's reluctance to keep her big boobs in check, Charlotte's obsessive/jealous ways emerge.

When Samantha scores the girls an all-expenses-paid trip to Abu Dhabi, their corny nonsense continues in the Middle East (Warning: a karaoke scene is included). Now, if someone found the plot to this film please let me know because to me it just seemed to be a succession of lavish scenes. In fact, Sex and the City 2 would have been better served as a slideshow with captions; the "dialogue" only popped in as filler between shots of luxurious locales and fashion spreads. I mean, did they really need to change twice just to ride a pair of camels? (In heels no less!) Better yet, did a camel toe joke need to happen?

I will say this, I semi-appreciated the mom heart-to-heart-over-cocktails when Miranda finally got Charlotte to vent. That could very well have been the only "real" moment in the entire movie. When Carrie committed a relationship faux pas overseas, my heart came back from the flatline. "Finally!" I thought, "Something might actually happen here." But don't get your hopes up, kids. At the end of the day, this was just a serious letdown that couldn't end soon enough. And might I point out that there was barely any sex and there was hardly any city? That alone earns this negative toasties.

Sex and the City 2: 1.5/5 Toasties



Image:
eonline.com

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

BCBG Fashion

After our first attempt to find a dress for me to wear at an upcoming wedding left our heads spinning, I decided to spare A. from that torture and set out to find one on my own. I'll admit we were really ambitious. I mean Bloomingdale's, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Macy's all in one afternoon? I'm surprised the guy had that much determination!

Since I stick with what I know, naturally I turned to last year's dress...or more specifically, the label inside the dress: BCBGMAXAZRIA. I nearly bought a new BCBG dress last year (before turning to my closet) so I knew I was drawn to their designs. I just hoped I wouldn't have to tailor it drastically. This little number first grabbed my attention, but after I showed A. the website and my contender, he wanted to see me in this black-and-white dress instead. Before I knew it, he'd found the closest store and we were walking down to Madison Avenue. (P.S. Talk about man of action!)

I have to say that Faith was awesome. Not my hope that I'd find the right dress, but the helpful saleswoman who brought me dress after dress to try on all in size 0. I was never frustrated, I didn't lose my patience and not once did I beat myself up for being so damn tiny. With a bit taken in from the sides, I pretty much fit into each one she had me slip into...
With each dress, I'd slowly step out of the dressing room and quietly call out to A. so he could come give his opinion. As much as I loved that I could fit into the dresses, we just weren't drawn to any of them. I already envisioned another dreadful day of shopping in our future until Faith passed me one last dress...

I slipped into it and just felt beautiful. I was drawn to its turquoise color and after I made him assure me that I did not in fact look like a mermaid, I fell in love. I stood next to A. in front of the mirror and thought, "Wow, I actually look like a woman. I think I've just found my dress."

Images: all bcbg.com

Smooth Skin Options

Shaving could very well be my least fun activity in the shower. It's so tedious and I'll only have to do it again in a few days time. But as fun as it is to hear A. call me "cactus legs," I'd rather suck it up, pull out my Venus and get my body fit for the summer season. Lord knows the pain (and upfront expense) that is waxing is only for special occasions! What hair removal method do you usually go for?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tuesday Giveaway: Sex is Fun!

Now that Sex is Fun! is finally out, I figured one of you would love to win a copy for your own naughty pleasure. Here's what A.and I had to say about the book in our sex guides roundup a couple months ago...

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.

So just leave a comment below and a random winner will be chosen on Friday!

CONGRATULATIONS: K. Rock is this week's winner!

How Was Your Memorial Day Weekend?

So I've been gone for nearly a week now (how shameless), but plenty has been happening on my end...

Thursday

First off, my sis and her boyfriend graduated! A. and I celebrated with them and some friends that night. The boys proceeded to watch the basketball game at a bar and I proceeded to accidentally pour beer all over my burgers. Never leave the ketchup right by your drink, folks.
Friday Saturday

Don't ask me what I did on Friday because I really don't remember. I just know Saturday was unfortunately gorgeous. Unfortunate because my sister and I postponed her graduation picnic in Central Park because of the supposed thunderstorms that were going to be in the area. But guess what? A. and I found THE dress for me to wear to that California wedding! More details to follow, but I absolutely love it...and I rarely use love when it comes to clothes.

We spent the rest of the day in Central Park making fun of bratty little kids and chicks who put booties on their designer dogs. Later that night, Kobe aka "the Lakers" made it to the NBA playoffs and Roy Halladay pitched a perfect game for the Phillies (only the 20th in MLB history)!

Sunday

Who cares about Sunday other than the fact that there was still no rain in sight, I went back to Central Park to crash a picnic and then wasted 13 bucks on Sex and the City 2. Trust me, a review of that wretched movie is on its way. Moving on...

Monday

Picnic day! After a few last minute scrambles to get everything ready, the graduation picnic went off perfectly. The sun was bearable, a light breeze was blowing and we managed to find a patch of fluffy grass in the packed Sheep Meadow. It was such a wonderful time, I'm almost willing to go through the hassle of planning another park party in the future. Only next time might be a little more spontaneous and a little less reliant on the forecast.