Monday, March 30, 2009

Already Zagat rated, but worth another mention.

As anyone who went to Fordham Rose Hill, or eats out regularly in the Little Italy of the Bronx already knows, Arthur Avenue and 187th street are a complete culinary jackpot.  Not only do the restaurants rival any others in NYC with their authentic italian fare, but there are countless specialty shops doing it right the old fashioned Italian way.

If you're looking for fresh mozzarella, don't be convinced into buying it at any of the countless vendors besides Casa della Mozzarella at 604 East 187th st.  Take a number and head straight to the back where you'll find old men hovering over steaming pots of creamy balls of deliciousness, and cringing if you ask for it any way besides fresh muzzzzahhhhrellll.  There are three size options: small, medium, and large, but the small size is by no means a meager portion.  

Zagat has already found it and reviewed it, and they have got it right this time.  It is the best mozzarella to be had anywhere outside of Rome's decadent buffalo mozzarella.  Flavorful and lightly salted, it melts away in your mouth with a full bodied cheesy taste, not the overly watery, almost rubbery mass that most fresh mozzarella can be.  It makes a wonderful pairing with a loaf of freshly sliced olive bread from the Macedonia bakery right around the corner and down Arthur Ave.   Next time you find yourself in the boogie down, be sure to check it out.

Not Zagat Rated, but Should be!

On the edges of Times Square, there typically isn't much good food to be had without insanely inflated tourist trap prices.  Yet, Hagi sits nestled in between two flashy Japanese restaurants, quietly advertising with a black sign saying Sake bar, downstairs.  It's a small basement restaurant with a Sake bar/food counter off to one side that is often the only place you can get seats.  There is always a wait, and the place is filled with japanese and japanese americans, which is the true sign of good asian cuisine.  The food is delicious, and cheap cheap cheap.  With Sapporo on tap (available by the pitcher or mug), and a selection of sakes and wines, this place is the bargain basement of food and drink.

Now, before I go to a new restaurant, I like to check out online reviews.  There aren't many to be found for Hagi, aside from one in NY Mag.  But don't, I repeat don't be fooled by this review.  Do not order the smelt fish at any cost, unless you want to eat a large sardine full of eggs.  Disgusting.  However, you cannot leave this place without trying the wasabi dumplings and tuna sashimi.  Other high notes were the hot pots, chicken meatball skewers, and pork belly with garlic sprouts.  Order a bunch of things to share, and your bill will still be under 50 with drinks included!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chinatown's Hidden Gem

If you're looking for a cheap and WONDERFUL wash, hair cut, and dry, check out D + W Salon in Chinatown.  It's at 107 East Broadway.  In this little beauty wonderland, you get all of the above and a 15 minute head massage during your wash for only 20 bucks!!  

One caveat: unless you speak Mandarin, ask for Eric.  He is just the right combo of chatty, and quiet, and his long flowing locks make you trust him with your hair.  Also, he doubles as a tattoo artist in case you want to get inked up after your blow out.

In short, the whole experience was fabulous, and it's the best cut I've had in a while.  I would recommend him to everyone.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Can't we all Just Leave Jennifer Aniston alone?

This is getting a little ridiculous.  I go to sign into my aol mail account this morning, and am greeted by the headline: "Outing Jen in a Tell all?"  With the subtext: "John denies it, but tab says he'll sell dirty secrets."  I mean COME ON!  What kind of dirty secrets could Jennifer Aniston, aka the girl next  door really be hiding?  And why would we believe a tabloid magazine over what John Mayer actually says?  I don't know why this ridiculous thing made it to the front of AOL "news" anyways.

Let's be serious here, Angelina Jolie is the homewrecking hussy who strode into Jen and Brad's happy marriage during the filming of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and did all but publicly confess to luring Brad away while he was still married.  Yet, she is practically a saint because she suddenly decided to stop wearing people's blood and kissing her brother and adopt a few kids of varying ethnic and racial backgrounds.

And here is Jennifer Aniston, on the other side of things, just trying to stay out of the media's attention--she has made it very known that she hates paparazi---and have a normal relationship, but people just won't let her alone.  Meanwhile, Angelina practically whores herself out to photogs, and has even struck deals with them to allow them to take as many pictures as they want of her as long as they only publish flattering ones.  Yet she is cast as the demure mother, only looking to save the world.

Can't we just let the media competition die?  I mean, really, I'm pretty over it, and if we're gonna compare these two leading ladies Jen really needs to stop being demonized.  Don't get me wrong, I love Angelina and her movies.  I'm just saying, wronged women, single divorcee--let's cut Jen a break here.  She can definitely do better than John Mayer anyways--she was Rachel from Friends.  She's absolutely hilarious, and had a hair cut named after her.  Enough said.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Drugged Out Lashes

In the process of creating new pharmaceuticals to treat emerging or previously untreatable ailments, often new and highly beneficial side effects are found.  Not to the tune of those constantly annoying tv commercials listing possibly rectal bleeding, cramping, loss of vision......but side effects that can treat another previously untreatable condition.  For example, Viagra was first intended to lower blood pressure and was used as a cardiovascular drug.  It's "exciting" abilities were simply a pleasant surprise during drug trials.  Additionally, Minoxidil, a common drug used for hair re-growth, was pioneered to treat high blood pressure, and by coincidence, left it's users with a much fuller, longer, head of hair.  Even Botox wasn't originally intended to smooth the forehead wrinkles of the upper crust, but to still spastic eye lids.

Recently, another pleasant side effect of a common drug has been discovered to solve the beauty woes of your average lady.  The drug Lumigan, typically used to treat glaucoma, has been found to make eye lashes grow longer, darker, and generally more lush.  It has been conveniently repackaged, and renamed by drug company Allergan as Latisse, and is now available to be prescribed by dermatologists to clinically enhance your batting beauties.  All it takes is a nightly application of the gel to lashes, and within 4 weeks lashes should begin to grow longer and darker.  It is not a permanent fix, however, once you stop using Latisse, your lashes will recede to their previous length and pigment.  

I first came across this story in Marie Claire magazine, and wasn't sure whether I should be thrilled or appalled.  I mean, finally, I could have those dazzling long lashes I have always wanted?!  I mean what difference is it really applying gel in the evening or 3 swipes of my favorite mascara every morning?  This could totally revolutionize the make up industry and make mascara obsolete! Could this be the answer to all the prayers of my fellow fair headed sisters, eye lashes that can be seen without any make up?  

But then came a wave of doubts.  I can't lie, it kind of freaks me out that a medication used to treat such a serious illness such as glaucoma could now be marketed for such a superficial purpose.  And, with it's recent approval for such use, how can we be sure that there will be no damaging side effects down the line?  I mean, what if one day we do, heaven forbid, come down with glaucoma and have been using Latisse for years, will our exposure to the drug limit its effectiveness to treat an actual sight-threatening illness, or will we not care since our overly long eyelashes have been obscuring our sight for decades anyway?  Why are we so obsessed with having long lashes anyways?

Marie Claire cites that lashes are a symbol of youth and fertility, and lists a long timeline of the beauties through history who have achieved notoriety for their lashes i.e. Cleopatra, Twiggy, and J Lo. Yet, I think these gutsy women went down in history for a little more than fluttering lashes.  And can't we get lash extensions installed without the risk of clinically messing with our genes?  Or at the very least, just pick up a pair of falsies at the drug store?  

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday Night Drink Deal

Mondays are a lovely evening to go out.  Not only does it give you something to look forward to on arguably the worst day of the work week, but it sets a tone of fun and relaxation that shouldn't be saved for Fridays only.  When I can tear myself away from episodes of Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill, or when reruns force me to look for outside entertainment, I like to head to the Stumble Inn.  Located on 2nd ave on the corner of 72nd, it makes a nice pairing with happy hour.  Dollar mugs start after your typical happy hour ends, and a fun crowd enjoying the cheap drinks will make you forget that you're drinking on a Monday.  

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Drag Queens are the shit

I recently attended a drag queen hosted bingo game. Those ladies really have something to teach the rest of the female public, and it goes something like this. If you've got it, or think you have it, flaunt it. All that matters is that you are happy with yourself and other people will be entertained.

If you feel like a diva, you are a diva.

Don't let society's idea of what you should be hold you down.

Don't be afraid to show your true colors.

Just be your crazy self and have fun, no matter what anyone else thinks.

Sometimes unconventional can kick conventional's butt.

You are wonderful no matter how fat, skinny, tall, manly, womanly, gaudy you are and everyone should know it.

I think these ladies show a lot of lessons to be learned. Check them out at:

Music to my ears

It’s funny the random places that you tend to discover new music. It always sneaks up on you. You’re in the midst of doing something else, something totally unrelated and you hear something you like and that’s it, you’re hooked. It’s amazing the power that music has over you that way, it has the power to take over a moment, and to make you remember a moment just by the song you were hearing at the time.

I remember several specific moments like this. I discovered India Arie’s music for the first time while shopping in Contempo Casuals before it turned into Wet Seal. I was just browsing the tank tops, and “Brown Skin” was playing over the sound system. Luckily there was a video to match, so I could identify the song and artist.

Although all the lyric databases online have made it easier than ever to find a song that has caught your ear when you’re on the go. All you have to do is remember one line, enter it into google in quotes, and bam, the mystery is solved. I remember when making mixed tapes when I was younger how difficult it was sometimes to identify songs unless the radio host happened to come on directly after the song you liked was playing. Even on MTV, back when they used to play music videos, they would often cut off the beginning or the end when it showed the artist and song title.

I discovered Gavin DeGraw from watching One Tree Hill on the CW, and getting its theme song stuck in my head. I also found out about Citizen Cope from watching One Tree Hill, which while a stupid show, has excellent taste in sound track. The CW has even gone the extra mile for you, and will list the song title and artists from recent episodes of its show. Or, for those of us who watch tv with their computers on their laps, like me, it is instant google gratification.

I learned about Kings of Leon from Gossip Girl, and Ingrid Michaelson from an Old Navy commercial. I heard a song by A Fine Frenzy while drinking at Off the Wagon, and managed to remember the song thru a text message to myself. And lately, I’ve been listening to K’naan due to a recommendation from a co-worker. It’s funny the ways that good music can find you.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Blast from the past ad campaign that I’m loving:

CK One. I loved this scent on boys in middle to high school, and I love it on men now. I have noticed a resurgence of ads and scent inserts in many of my magazine subscriptions in the past few issues, and it’s a throwback that I cannot be happier about. Rediscover this classic guys, and you’ll find the way to my heart. Yet, some things never change. Although this perfume/cologne is marketed to women and men, it’s still a little heavy and masculine for most ladies in my opinion.

Recession Specials: Wednesday NYC Drink Deals

I’ve been drinking and eating out on the cheap for years, so it comes as a mystery to me that so much press has been recently dedicated to how to do this. I don’t really understand why so many people spend ridiculous amounts of money on alcohol and food when it can be had so cheaply in so many places, or how people are so mystified by the concept of the deals to be had. So, I’ve decided to make the world aware of the deals to be had in NYC for each day of the week, and they’re the kind of deals that mean you can go out with $20 in your pocket, tip the bartender and still go home with a healthy buzz.

Wednesday has to be my favorite night to go out. It is entirely underrated because most people tend to get into a Tuesday/Thursday drinking schedule and stay home on hump day, but Wednesday is the diamond in the rough, the hidden gem in the middle of the week.

There is The Hill in Murray Hill featuring $3 glasses of champagne for girls. There are Turtle Bay, and MJ Armstrongs which BOTH have dollar drafts of Bud Light and CL Smoothies all night long. Then there’s 1849 in the Village has $7 pitchers and 10 cent wings during happy hour. This place makes a nice double header with Ladie’s Night at Off the Wagon, starting at 8pm that has $3 you call it drinks for ladies.

That said, there is no excuse if money is your excuse to stay in and not just to go out and have some cheap thrills.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What I'm listening to now:

If you like Jack Johnson, and Ben Harper, and a few Maxwell oldies are your guilty pleasure, you'll like this guy.  He's not really a new artist, apparently he's been around since 2005, but he's totally worth a shout out, and  new to me: Amos Lee.

Pigeons: aka Rats of the Sky

Pigeons have to be one of the most annoying creatures of all time.  Not only are they everywhere, pooping and dirtying up the city, I'm pretty sure they can be classified as the rats of the sky.  

They have always been a minor annoyance to me, but more recently, they have become a nuisance of a whole different level.  This has happened over the course of two incidences.

The first, I am sitting on a park bench off of 9th avenue, near between 56th and 57th street.  I'm dodging my duties as a flier distributor to have a snack and take in a little sunshine.  Per usual, there's a homeless man sleeping to one corner of the park, and a small flock of pigeons wandering around looking for some obnoxious tourist to feed them.  

However, in the midst of my much needed relaxation and rest to my feet, the pigeons start acting a little nutsy.  They are getting anxious and cooing more loudly, generally exhibiting signs of agitation.  This one, especially agressive pigeon keeps getting closer and closer to me, which is really freaking me out since there is no one to witness it's weird behavior.  First it hops up on the bench next to me, and after I shoo it away gets right up next to my feet.  Then it starts hopping onto my Ugg boots like it is trying to roost on my feet.  Needless to say, I find this very distressing, and instantly shake my feet to get it off as soon as it starts to settle in.  This happens three to four times, and in typical New Yorker, not phased by much, style I continue to sit on the bench despite the pigeon's weird activity.  I think it's a little strange, but I'm not going to let it deter me from my goal.  

Then, out of nowhere, a gigantic hawk swoops out of the sky and directly onto one of the pigeons in the middle of the flock, a mere four feet from where I'm sitting.  It clutches one unlucky bird in it's death talons, and turns to look at me before taking off again with the whole dead pigeon in its claws.  Weird, huh?

Now I've recently moved into a new apartment and feel extremely blessed not to have windows overlooking the street because of the loud street noise that tends to wake you up in the middle of the night.  Yet, the scourge of the skies has been disrupting my peaceful nights, by congregating in alleyway onto which my window currently opens.  

At any given time, there are one to two pigeons sitting on my windowsill scratching around and cooing, constantly.  I would just like to know why no one has invented a pigeon zapping device.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Super Hero Trending

Maybe it's the upcoming movie release of the graphic novel Watchmen. Maybe it's two of my favorite bad ass fashion trends that are out right now. But there is definitely something in the air that is making me want to dress up in sky high black leather heels, tight pants, and rock a super hero attitude. I'm talking vamp.

Here's how to get the look. Start with a pair of the liquid black leggings that are quickly making matte, fabric leggings yesterday's look. Just a little warning: they will make your ass look as sexy as you think they will. They aren't for those who are shy to make a statement. The ultrashiny, looks-like-patent-leather-painted-on will draw strange looks from strangers. These pants must come with a sassy attitude.

Saver: Silence and Noise, Super Shiny Black Legging $28 from Urban Outfitters.
Spender: Members Only Rubber Legging $88 (Now found at Urban Outfitters for $59.99!!)

Next, find a pair of ankle booties to match, with a sturdy, I could kick butt in these, heel. I prefer 3 inches and up, otherwise the effect is lost.

If you like to dream big, and have serious cash to spare, complete the look with Gucci's Babouska bootie:
But know that if a shoe has a name, it will cost you an arm and a leg to buy it.

Or for those of us who can't afford designer prices, check out Steve Madden's studded bootie, aptly called the marvel bootie after the comic book line.Or for those of us even more on a budget, watch TJ Maxx for Madden Girl boots, which they frequently feature at prices as low as $30 per pair, a style that's still knockout, but not a TKO punch to the wallet.


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