Friday, October 23, 2009

Wintour Watches

And no, they are not named after Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue. This new watch line is named for Mount Wintour in Canada, known for its ice climbing. Founder of the company, Leon Cohen wanted to evoke images of ice cascading in the sunlight with the 500 diamonds floating around the face of this matsterpiece, giving a whole new meaning to iced out. They are available online soon, and range between $8,500 and $30,000. I came across them in the pages of W magazine. I normally don't wear a watch, but I would wear this everyday (the gold one), and love anyone who would buy it for me.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Fun Theory (http://thefuntheory.com/)


This video was sent to me in a chain email. I watched it, and couldn't get over what a cool idea it was. Instead of trying to scare people into initiatives like saving the environment, or investing in their own physical fitness with awful consequences, why not just make it a little fun?

I visited their website because I was so intruigued (http://thefuntheory.com/). It is an initiative sponsored by Volkswagon. They tackle exercise, recycling, and putting trash in the right bin. They are successful in each endeavor, by just making things into a game.

We use this trick all the time on children, turning tasks like cleaning up their toys and getting ready for bed into a little game. I find it fascinating that this works on adults too. Imagine what kind of implications this could have for millions if a tactic like this was used in NYC where so many people are concentrated!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I NEED this nail polish NOW

I saw this nail polish color in one of my monthly magazines about a month and a half ago, at the very least. I forget which magazine it was in, because I have subscriptions to far too many. It was on a page with one of the contributor's favorite things. The caption read something like--It makes me happy every time I glance at my nails at work. I was sold. I wanted this nail polish to lift my mood every time I happened to see my fingers, and I had to have it, ASAP. However, due to the cruel trick of fashion magazines coming out a month before their actual chronological month hits, I was soon to discover that this gorgeous color would not be available until November as it is part of Essie's holiday collection.

It is called "Mint Candy Apple." I don't like the name at all. I get the mint part, it is kind of like a wintergreen crossed with gunmetal crossed with winter snow, but Candy Apple, no. And a mint candy apple just sounds gross anyways. I still want it though, and am excited for november so I can get it.

Does that look tasty?

Well, don't get too excited if it does. My dad took a recent trip to Hannaford in upstate new York (a large grocery store chain for all you downstaters who haven't heard of it), and while perusing the can goods isle, he came to the section where pumpkin pie filling normally would sit. There he had a nasty surprise. Instead of finding rows of neatly stacked canned pumpkin awaiting being made into Aunt Helen's fluffy pumpkin pie, there was a sign taped in its place. PUMPKIN SHORTAGE, NO PUMPKIN PIE FILLING CURRENTLY AVAILABLE.

Really? I know it was a bad year from pumpkins this year. A recent trip to a patch confirmed this when I saw green and pale orange pumpkins peppering the field with no hopes of every reaching their full orange ripeness due to an early frost that withered their vines. This was exacerbated by heavy rains rotting seeds, extreme summer temperatures, and two types of pumpkin rot that struck last year. But can there possibly be a shortage so great that a large grocery store chain can't find it to stock?

I did a little googling to confirm my findings, and apparently the answer is yes. Due to bad crops last year, available pie pumpkins is down to 1/3 of what it normally would be. This will impact the jack-o-lantern market, and Thanksgiving this year. But don't freak out yet. People trying to fight the pumpkin panic have suggested that we can substitute cooked butternut squash for pies this season, or try organic brands that aren't typically as popular and do not sell out so quickly.

This is all true, but what will the kids carve for halloween this year? How will they toast the seeds of a squash? Good thing I already secured my pumpkin. You should get yours, before it's too late.

*Blatant Musical Style Rip Off Alert*

Take a listen to "Fireflies," the big hit off of Owl City's Ocean Eyes album. It has been on the VH1 top 20 countdown for the past few weeks. The first time I heard it, it rang some bells. The second time, I realized what that strange feeling of deja vu was. It sounds exactly like a Postal Service track, but happier.

I took a survey of my friends to see if it was just me, or if the similarity was real. The responses I got were: "YES!!"

"That isn't a postal service song? I really thought he just got happier, no lie."

AND, "I've totally said that before."

The results are in, I am not alone. I haven't listened to the rest of the album, and although "Fireflies" is incredibly catchy, because of its resemblance to a favorite band of mine, I do not want to. I mean, really, be a little original. If I were the Postal Service, I would sue. I will not listen to an album of poser songs, and if I had a say, I would vote it off the top 20 countdown just for its lack of originality.

Monday, October 19, 2009

REALLY free range chickens

This past weekend, I went apple picking at Samascott Orchards to get a couple bags of Golden Delicious (aka the BEST apple ever). We pulled into the orchard, and saw that there was a new fenced in area of Guinea hens out front, a development that I thought was a little strange for an orchard that in my lifetime has never raised animals, but hey its a recession, and we're all trying to find ways to reinvent ourselves and maybe they just want the little suckers to keep their tick population down. Then we pulled around to the back of the orchard where the Golden Delicious trees are, and we are greeted by this sight. HUNDREDS of chickens roaming around, unfenced, unchained, totally free. My camera was not wide angle enough to capture the whole other field of them over by the grain feeders where many more chickens lurked. We were all amazed by the sight, and quite amused when the chickens seemed less than phased that we were driving towards them, barely moving out of the road. A few roosters even charged the car, an attempt to intimidate us for disturbing their hens, I'm sure.


I took a few pictures from the car window, as we stopped to gawk at them, amused and a little scared that we were going to get attacked when we got out of the car. My mom grew up on a farm, I have first hand accounts of how aggressive angry
roosters can be. So, we snapped a few photos while we pondered our next move, and discussed why exactly Samascott was raising these chickens. I didn't see any eggs in the coolers up front with the cider, but organic eggs from free range chickens can go for quite a pretty penny these days.

We decided that we could take the chickens, and decided to park and get out of the car to do what we came for to get some apples. The chickens converged on us, but did not attack. They simply surrounded the car. I missed a great shot of a couple crawling underneath the car, and then some jumping u
p onto the license plate and using it as a roost. I was still a little scared to get too close.



They lurked under trees while we were picking, crowed at us, and generally made their presence known without being too threatening. We managed to pick 124 pounds of apples by the time we were done, without any chicken attacks or injuries. I looked again on the way out to make sure they weren't selling free range eggs. They were not. So, the only conclusion that I can come to is that they must be selling free range chickens to eat, and just not advertising it because they don't want to traumatize the pickers who are entertained by these lively living animals.

I, for one, would like to know that every free range chicken I buy has lived such a happy truly uncaged lifestyle in the New England countryside before meeting it's death to be made into someone else's food. You hear so many stories of "free range" chickens that are merely let out of their cage for an hour a day since the term is so unregulated. I would most definitely buy a bird from Samascott if they were for sale, and make it into a delicious dinner. For, as cute and entertaining as they were while I picked apples, I couldn't help but thinking, you have lived such a nice life, feeding on delicious apples and running around outdoors, I really wouldn't feel that guilty eating you.

Apparently I'm not as out of shape as I thought


Until this year when I went running, they typical experience went a little something like this: I hate every second of it, come home sweaty and red, and wake up the next day barely able to move my legs because my muscles are so tense and sore. I take stairs like a granny, and have trouble squatting low enough to sit in a chair.

Now, this year, I went on a get in shape initiative because let's be serious, if I don't get in shape now, when will I really? And I had the motivation of my sister's wedding and thousands of pictures immortalizing my physical condition for the rest of my life looming ahead of me over the summer. So, I picked up running more frequently and got a gym membership. Yet when I went running, I still woke up the next day with incredible pain in my shins, a condition more popularly known among runners as shin splints. There was no way to get rid of them except a partners stretch that I had difficulty convincing strangers on the running path or my coworkers to help me with. I just figured it was because I was out of running condition, and had to suffer this as my punishment. No pain, no gain. Flash forward a few months, to my mom buying me new running sneakers since mine were looking a little shabby, and a magical thing begins to happen.

She found these gems, the Asics Gel-Evolution 5, in teal and silver, because I absolutely love silver sneakers and will not be caught running in an ugly shoe. They are fantastic little sneaks. I start wearing them when running and VOILA! my shin splints disappear. Running becomes, not exactly fun, but a little less of an exercise in torture and more like a good workout.

They'll run you about a buck twenty, but I say they are totally worth it. They are designed for maximum control, and feature lightweight material, impact guidance system, biomorphic fit, and DuoMax support system. Now, I won't pretend that I know which one of these features has made the real difference, but since I received these shoes, I can run three miles without a single shin splint the next day, and they look pretty snazzy with my silver running tights too. I've had expensive running sneakers before, nikes, adidas (not to name any names), whatever was trendy and had the cutest color combo, but these have exceeded by far the performance of any of my previous sneakers. They made me realize that a good sneaker can really make a difference, so shop around people! And I would recommend them to any and everyone. Even when I wear them out, they will hold a special place in my heart as the sneakers that made me realize, maybe I'm not quite as out of shape as I thought.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Chainmail Shotgun

videoThis is the most hilarious things that one of my friends has done while drinking in quite some time. To set the stage, we've been drinking all day celebrating homecoming at our college. The beer tent has closed down for the big football game, and as usual we have decided not to go so that we can keep drinking somewhere else instead of watching our team lose in the rain.

We've made it to a friend's younger brother's house who is still in college and graciously hosts us every year. We're playing rounds of fuck the dealer, darts, and never have I ever. People are playing the keyboard, a game of beer pong starts, generally any excuse to pound a natty light. Then, chainmail appears. We don't know where it came from, or why a bunch of college kids own it (my guess is someone has a little fascination with King Arthur, but I could be wrong), but it's there, and the only reasonable thing to do is drink while wearing it. Then we have a party wide round of shotgunning beers, and the natural thing to do is find the most willing, drunky who will shotgun a beer with the chainmail on. And here are the fantastic results. Watch it over and over again and it just gets funnier, and make sure to keep an eye out for the kid ripping his shirt off in the background.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

One apple, 63 Cents.

One thing about NYC that never ceases to amaze me is the prices of fruit. Maybe it is because I have grown up a country girl with easy access to not only my parent's large veggie and fruit garden, but a glorious orchard that allows you to pick everything from pumpkins and plums to blueberries. Ever since I can remember I've been making trips to Samascott Orchard, a wonderful little haven in Kinderhook, NY that claims to have a booth in the Union Square green market, though I have never been able to find their stand (and this disappoints me immensely).

I've picked Queen Anne cherries, Golden Delicious apples, Grapes, Blueberries, Pumpkins, and Winter Squash. It's been a part of my childhood. I will be visiting there this weekend to get several bags of Golden Delicious apples, fresh baked cider doughnuts, and homemade cider. It's a place that has taught me to appreciate the bounties of each season. No apple you buy in a grocery store can match the crunch and flavor of a Golden Delicious slightly pinked around the edges from the afternoon sun, sweet and straight off the tree. Or blueberries warmed by the summer morning, big and plump and juicy. It's better than candy. And I can get a whole bag of apples for 50 cents a pound.

I bought a single red delicious apple at the grocery store down the street as a snack, and it was not only mushy and bland, but cost 63 cents, for one apple. I was discussing this dilemma with some coworkers, and several of them had never been an orchard, never picked their own fruit. I never realized how lucky I was. Granted, it has made me very particular about which fruit I want to eat when, mostly corresponding to what's in season in the northeast. But a life is not fully lived without tasting fruit fresh off the vine, plucked from a branch while breathing in the fresh, crisp country air with the only sound in earshot the rustle of the breeze, and I will be savoring these moments with each bite from the bushel of apples I plan to bring back to NYC with me.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Where else would you really be?

There's a phrase that seems to be catching on lately that really gets on my nerves. Whenever I hear it, I cringe and want to turn around and ask, point blank-Why are you saying that? People use it in different contexts, talking about the past, present, anytime whatsoever. The first lady, whom I otherwise respect and admire, even used it in a recent interview with Women's Health magazine, saying "I was really IN MY BODY at that point in my life." I mean c'mon Michelle, where else would you really be? Having an out of body experience with some aliens? That sure won't win any votes for a second Obama term.

And what does that even mean? Are you fully immersed in the physical sensations you are having? Are you enjoying the physicality of a fit body that allows you to achieve your goals? Or is it just a way of saying that you were fully experiencing the moment you referred to from the tip of your head to the bottom of your toes? If so, just say that instead of some inane expression that someone made up, a bunch of other people decided was catchy, and no one really knows exactly what it means.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Recession Gets Real

So, Ok, it's been real for a while now. I've been experiencing it every time I get shut down at a job interview by the range of more qualified and also unemployed applicants waiting in line before and after me. I've noticed it every time I go to the grocery store and the same grocery list costs slightly more from month to month. I know several other people who are having similar job issues to me. I hear the odd story of people getting laid off. But this week I've seen some palpable evidence, not just rumors and personal experiences. Four, that's right 4! businesses have closed on my block, and no, I don't live in the outskirts of Queens. This is on the Upper East Side, the "wealthy" sector of Manhattan where lots of Jews and old people reside. Granted, I do live off of first avenue, a healthy walk from the subway, but still.

First Dunkin Doughnuts disappeared, and not only do I have no place directly in my walking path to get my morning coffee, but I have to walk by a vacant lot every day. Maybe it will save me $2.95 everyday, yet this doesn't quite even out with having to sidestep over the bum that has taken up residence outside late at night.

Then Champagne Video closes. Though sketchy and smelly (what proper video store isn't) even an attempt to divide it's space and sublet to a typist couldn't save this neighborhood staple. What am I supposed to do now, get Netflix?

Next a restaurant. No, I never ate there, and I do not remember its name. Yet I find it's closure mildly disturbing because I heard the food was good.

Finally, the last straw, the wine store shut down for "renovations." What kind of world are we living in, when depressed people without jobs don't even have the money to spend on a bottle of vino to drown their sorrows?! Geez louise, what's next, the bodega on the corner?

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