Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sally sells seashells by the seashore

Today I am wearing this gorgeous little shell pendent around my neck dangling from a gorgeous little gold chain. It was a gift from my lovely friend from her trip to St. Thomas. I love seashell jewelry. Generally, it makes me think of the beach, and in turn happiness and sunshine. This little guy however, has extra special meaning to me.

My grandparents winter in Florida, and have been doing so since I was a little girl. As a reward for not seeing them for months on end, my family and I would take trips down during my sister's and my winter breaks for bursts of sunshine and fun in the middle of an upstate New York winter. One of my favorite activities was combing the beach for shells. As it turns out, the kind pictured above has always been one of my favorites to find. They are just SO pretty!

They remind me of days wading through salt water, and an ice cold coke with a chicken salad sandwich from my Gram's cooler when I got taken out by a wave and had salt up my nose. They make me think of simpler times when nothing mattered except the sun on your back and the cache of shells you had at the end of the day, of tongue twisters and pictureseque afternoons.

Yep. I'm pretty sure that this necklace has contributed to my day dreaming all morning. Good thing I have a holiday weekend coming up, and I can devote myself to the beach and finding seashells as pretty as these for a whole three days. Thanks Annie!

Treat me like a lady, gosh darnit.

Lately I have been finding myself in some rather uncomfortable situations. I didn’t really think about it until I was reading an article in Glamour about how women of my generation tend to laugh off sexual harassment in the workplace rather than filing a formal complaint. Women gave reasons such as not wanting to cause a stir about something so minor in the office, or by finding other ways to retaliate against the offender by making an even raunchier joke. Other women just said they don’t really find it that offensive.

I found the article a little upsetting. I am happy that women of my generation have the freedom to have a relaxed attitude about sex, and in turn, sexual harassment. If we want to take a lover, or have a baby out of wedlock, no one is going to socially ostracize us or demand that we leave our job. That, whatever your morals, is progress towards women owning their own bodies to do what they please with them.

However, I do not think it’s ok that jokes that in previous years would have been completely unacceptable to utter in the presence of women, and would most definitely warrant a gasp and a cheek slap as a reprimand have become so common place that women feel ok about laughing them off as normal day-to-day behavior. Just boys being boys.

That is simply not true. I was discussing the matter with a close friend of mine, and she agreed. We think that women find it easier to diffuse and uncomfortable situation with laughter rather than getting deemed a bitch or uptight for scolding the offenders. I’m just not sure when it became ok to treat women as one of the guys rather than treating us like ladies as we deserve to be treated. And I’m not sure when women started accepting this behavior as typical and not maintaining that as ladies we deserve a higher standard of behavior that does not make us feel uncomfortable or objectified.

Now I know many people will disagree, and say that women have fought for equal rights, equality in everything, so why should we still want to be treated in an old fashioned way, where men treat women like delicate flowers, opening doors and paying for checks? Well if old-fashioned means treating women with a little common respect, and as something to be handled a little more gently than the boys, then bring it on. I do not need a man to support me, do things for me, or expect me to cook and clean for him. I do require that all men refrain from objectifying my body, and if that means throwing in a little chivalry while he’s at it, all the better.

I have a lot of guy friends. And as I result, I find myself hanging out with groups of men fairly frequently. I am no prude, but lately I have been finding myself getting offended about the things my guy friends feel comfortable talking about in front of me. This article made me stop and think. When did this start happening? Have they always done this? Why do I let them get away with it? Because, in truth, it does make me uncomfortable.

I used to think it just meant they felt so comfortable with me, that they thought it was ok to relax and talk about whatever in front of me. I don’t mind dirty jokes. I even like to tell them myself. Talking about sex, not a problem. It’s when it crosses the line into treating women like bodies, objects to be enjoyed that it bothers me. And it is not only the boys who are the offenders. A handful of women I am friends with joke around in the same manner. Regardless of the gender, when you start objectifying women publicly as if it is the natural thing to joke about (even if you are one) it gets on my nerves.

I’ll admit. I have been guilty of objectifying men, and talking about their fantastic abs or tight butt, but at least I don’t do it in front of other men. No, I prefer to discuss things like that in private, with a few select girlfriends where we can feel free to be as lewd as we like without risking offending anyone whose stance on the matter we do not know, or appearing to have loose morals to bystanders who don’t know the context. Even if I am not following the standards of the 1950’s housewives, I like to maintain a lady like public countenance.

So boys. Please stop talking about my boobs when I am in the room. And no, I do not want to hear about how you opted to make a reservation at the restaurant closer to your hotel so you can get your girlfriend back faster to hook up after your “romantic” dinner. I am fine with a crude joke here and there. But this is just entering the realm of TOO MUCH INFORMATION. I mean, come on. I have girl friends who don’t even go into that much detail about their sex lives with me, and it is much less offensive when they do.

AND, it just gives me pause. If these are the “nice guys” who care about women and treat them right talking like this, then what are the real creeps like behind closed doors? It’s a view into the male psyche that I would just rather not have. I expect you to be thinking about sex during a romantic dinner. I would just like to hold on to the notion that the dinner itself is also important to you, not just closing the deal afterwards. I prefer to believe that men actually enjoy romantic moments, rather than constantly hearing otherwise from bawdy tales to the boys. Spare me the details please, and the discomfort of having to listen to it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer afternoon

"Summer afternoon- summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language." -Henry James

Monday, June 28, 2010

Beacon's Closet

I went to Beacon’s Closet for the very first time recently (finally). I’m sure that vintage loving New Yorkers would be cringing everywhere to know that I have managed to pass by visiting this thrift store/NY fashion institution for the nearly 7 years I have lived in this city. Partly this is because I am just too lazy to travel to Brooklyn very often. Yes, I know it is not very far. And no, it is not because I am a Manhattan snob. I lived in the BX for 4 years, I have put in my outer-borough time. Now that I reside on the main island, I just don’t see the point of leaving very often. Manhattan is where I have always wanted to be, and there is not much that Manhattan doesn’t have to offer that pushes me to search other places for entertainment, shopping, or food.

Anyways, I was short on closet space and cash last week, so I decided to undertake the voyage with some clothes, belts, and purses I wanted to get rid of and finally check out this mecca of second hand shopping that everyone loves so much. I have to say, I was a little disappointed. Yes, it was a thrift store on a grand scale. It had rack upon rack of clothing beautifully organized by color, and was set up to look like a real clothing store. Yes, there were some pretty cool shades, belts, and sunglasses. But because I’ve heard so much about it, I expected something special, some extra pizzazz that would wow me, and set it apart from any other thrift store I’ve been to besides the layout. On my trip, I didn’t find any clothes that I wanted, but I’m sure that if I had been more in the mood for a treasure hunt that I could have rustled up at least one dress to take home.

However, it was still just a thrift store. It had that stale smell of used clothing, and no air conditioning. While I appreciated the trip for what it was worth (and the $25 bucks I made from belts and purses I no longer wear-Free money!), I don’t know if I will be returning any time soon. I appreciate that some people love the thrill of finding a bargain among the used clothing of others, and I love the aspect that one woman’s trash is another’s glorious new Saturday night outfit. It is the existence of thrift stores that keeps me from feeling guilty when I go on a major cleaning spree and get rid of a couple garbage bags of clothing.

And yet, I fail to really understand the allure of the second hand apparel (especially shoes). I just prefer my clothing to be brand new when I purchase it, and the prices in Beacon’s closet weren’t really all that cheap for pre-worn if you know what I’m saying. And the idea of wearing some stranger’s old shoes just skeeves me out. I really want to love the thrift store trend, but each time I prepare myself to go searching for buried treasures among the racks of goodwill, beacon’s closet, or the salvation army, I generally end up dropping off my donations, giving things a half hearted glance, and leaving empty handed before I start to smell like mothballs.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Treme on HBO has recently climbed to the top of my most watched tv show list. It is a beautiful fusion of the heartbreaking truth that many families faced after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans with the wonderful strength of those who returned. It will inspire the urge to fight for what is right in the most complacent viewer.

From the makers of The Wire, a socially conscious series set in the failing communities of Baltimore, Maryland, I did not expect anything less than a plot that reels you in, characters you identify with, and nuances of social justice interwoven seamlessly in between. Treme has not disappointed.

There is the hard-partying pot head Davis with a gigantic heart who wants to solve New Orleans problems through celebration (and lots of alcoholic beverages). John Goodman plays a tormented professor who is unable to reconcile New Orleans’ new reality with its former glory. He flies from outraged activist to depressed and immobile in a heartbeat. Then there is Albert Lambreaux, a chief of a Mardis Gras troupe who refuses to let the government’s neglect hurt those in need. Wendall Pierce, clearly a favorite from The Wire, emerges as Antoine Batiste the character who you love to hate. He cheats on his girlfriend, and baby’s momma at every chance he gets. He can never pay the rent or the cab fare, yet he manages to win your heart with his chuckle and excellence on the trombone. Those musicians, they will get you every time. The vibrant characters play across a superb soundtrack of real southern jazz, blues, you name it. It is music that moves the soul. It is music that helps the refugees of New Orleans cling to the wonders of their pre-Katrina lives, and work their way through their glories and their pains.

Your feet will be itching to run to Fat Tuesday in ole Louisiana before the credits roll on the first episode.

Kafko, Kaminsky, and Kaufman: A Review

I visited Kafko, Kaminsky, and Kaufman recently for the first time. I was recommended to go by a friend. She had visited them and really liked them. I have had a host of dental woes throughout my life, so I take my choice in dentist very seriously. I didn’t want to trust just any old man off the street with my teeth. So I asked around, and my friend told me how nice everyone was. I tend to be overly sensitive at the dentist (read: I cry when they tell me I need a cavity filled), so once I heard they were kind, I was sold.

I was also comforted by their Polish sounding names. I’m Polish myself, and I’ve never known Eastern Europeans to be anything less than extremely competent at anything. So I scheduled an appointment with them for 8am one morning before work. I went in expecting a cleaning, and I left with a diagnosis of needing 4 crowns, possibly 2 veneers if I wanted all my front teeth to match perfectly (obviously I would!), and teeth whitening from Dr. Kaminsky. Additionally the periodontist (Dr. Kaufman) came in and diagnosed me with advanced gum recession and recommended 3 gum grafts to fix the problem along with a mouth guard, since apparently I grind my teeth. But no cavities! WOO! Even after maxing out my insurance benefits for the year, this would cost me hundreds of dollars out of pocket.

Let’s just say that crying would be putting my reaction mildly. I was devastated. Not only do I hate having dental work done with every fiber of my being, I find it terrifying. However, after leaving I became skeptical of their diagnosis. I mean I have been to two separate endodontists, an oral surgeon, and a dentist/periodontist in my time, and none of them have ever recommended such aggressive treatment. Additionally, the suggestion of the mouth guard made me suspicious since I am notorious for sleeping with my mouth open, which I am pretty sure is the opposite of grinding your teeth, and I already have retainers from when I had braces that have not been damaged by my "teeth grinding."

So, I sought a second opinion, and spoke with a trusted family dentist. This dentist did not come to the same conclusions. He has taken care of my teeth my whole life, and is aware of all the root canals, and tooth trauma I have had. He said the gum treatment was the only thing that he could see I possibly needed and that was not emergent. He also said that the crowns were completely unnecessary unless the teeth in question were really bothering me (they are not). Then I visited another dentist in NYC for a hands-on examination and viewing of my most recent x-rays. She too came to the conclusion that crowns were completely unnecessary at the present time. She said that in the future she would most likely recommend a tooth implant rather than a crown if the teeth begin to degenerate.

Then I consulted with my friend who recommended Kafko, Kaminsky, and Kaufman to me. She told me that when she went, Dr. Kaminsky said she needed 8 fillings (which she had), and a root canal (which she also had). Then by a strange coincidence, once her insurance was maxed out for the year at her next check up there was nothing wrong.

I will not be having any dental work done there any time in the near future.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tomorrow I see the Man of my dreams

I remember the first time I heard Maxwell's music. I had stayed home "sick" from school. I must have been in 5th or 6th grade at the time because it was before I was allowed to watch MTV. Naturally, I was putting my time at home to good use, and lounging in my sister's bed watching the forbidden channel. It was the beginning of a long love affair between me and the channel, where I would watch nearly any programming they played.

Maxwell Unplugged happened to be on. I was practically hypnotized. He was SO cute with the big fro, and his music was unbelievably soulful. Ever since that day I have been a fan. I own all four of his albums, and absolutely swoon for at least one song on each one. Sumthin Sumthin has been a long time favorite of mine. It has made it to many mixed cd's and playlists. Yet, the single of his latest album, Black Summer's Night, entitled "Pretty Wings" knocked me off my feet nearly as much as the first time I heard him sing. Yes, that is how good it is. Though I love him just a teensy little bit less without the fro.

Now he is performing a free concert tomorrow for the Today show in Rockefeller plaza. AND I'm going!! I am totally not a morning person, but I am dragging myself out of bed to make it at 7am. Watch for me in the audience. I'll be the one screaming "I love you Maxwell!" and looking like the super fan that I am. Check one more thing off the list if items required to make my life complete.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My new headphones

I bought these new headphones today to replace the crappy Nike ones that bit the dust a couple weeks ago. They are Sony MDR-EX35V earbuds. So far, I've owned them for about 6 hours and I like them a lot. Qualities I love:
-They come with a little fleece pouch to store them in
-The fleece pouch is complete with a little rubber thingy to wrap the headphones around during storage to keep them from getting tangled or damaged
-There are 3 sizes of rubber ear bud covers, not that my ear canals are going to change size, but they will come in handy when I inevitably lose one of the rubber covers
-They're PINK!
-The bass is pretty good for earbuds
-They really stick in your ears, which makes me think they will be fantastic for running
-They were only 30 bucks, so when I inevitably lose/destroy them I won't feel too bad
-And best of all, they actually play music, in both ears. I have been so deprived without headphones this past week, now that I have them again, I'm not sure how I survived so long without them.
I recommend.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity

Over the weekend, I went and saw the American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, followed by drinks on the rooftop bar while gazing at this glorious bamboo jungle gym that Doug and Mike Starn had erected over the veranda. It turns out that you can take guided tours of the bamboo jungle at certain times. They take you through a maze of paths that stretch up to 40 feet over the roof of the met. It looks/sounds like such a little kid’s dream! I will be returning to climb the bamboo jungle at a later date.

I had been wanting to see the American Woman exhibit for quite some time; the artwork on the roof was just a bonus. I find it totally fascinating to see the connections between what is going on in the world and the fashions of the time. I find it equally fascinating to see how fashions cycle through time periods. I mean, there’s only so many ways to cut a dress right?

The exhibit covered the 1890’s-1940’s of fashion. It broke the periods down into 6 archetypes of female fashion: the heiress, the Gibson girl, the Bohemian, the Suffragette/Patriot the Flapper, and the Screen Siren (in chronological order).

The heiress was the earliest period, when young women started investing in European couture houses with their families’ money. The dresses were satin and gold. The women were gilded lilies, expected to sit still in their corseted waists and look pretty. The second was the Gibson girl. Women started to express their need for activity in sports like tennis and sailing. Clothes adjusted to allow more freedom of movement. Clothes became less fitted, more conservative, and almost business like. Women became more liberal in their movements, and the clothes reflected a sportier feel. There were long pleated skirts, and sports coats with big puffy shoulders. The third period was the Bohemian. It was a similar movement to the Gibson Girl, but rather than expressing themselves through sporting activity, women began to invest themselves in the arts for a means of conveying their emotions. The dresses we long, mainly shapeless, and flowing (think Olson twins), and incredibly beautiful. Head wraps were in style. Women were more often patrons of the arts rather than creators of the arts at this point, but they were investing themselves in creative pursuits.

Next came the patriot/suffragette. In this section, I learned 3 things: 1. They had video at the beginning of WW1, and it was playing tapes of women enlisting in the armed forces/working in factories. 2. Women’s mass display of patriotism during WWI was directly related to their obtaining the right to vote 3. Women were allowed to wear military uniform in WWI, and they were on display in this exhibit!! It was pretty cool.

After the patriot was the flapper, a period of shapeless shifts designed to showcase a lean androgynous shape, which was popular during the 1920’s. Need I say more? This is probably the most recognizable fashion there. The dresses were sequined and flashy, yet not body-hugging. This must have been the period when the horrid drop-waist was invented. Any fitted portion of the dress fell below the natural hip. I found this very surprising. I never realized how loose the dresses of the flapper era were. Their intricacy of design was still unbelievable, the sheer amount of time spent hand-sewing sequins and beading is remarkable. I would love to see something like that made today.

Last in the collection was the screen siren. This was during the 1940’s, a time of the movie star bombshell. It was the first silhouette designed to flaunt and enhance a woman’s natural curves, namely her bust and hips. It was the era of Rita Hayworth, and Lena Horne. The only word to describe it would be pure glamour. Some of the dresses on display were in such good condition, they looked as if they could, and should be worn today.

The exhibit said that the flapper and the screen siren are the archetypes that have had the most lasting impact on American women’s fashion today, and I can clearly see the reverberations of these styles today. I truly enjoyed the collection. I learned a lot, and I see the echoes of my sisters decades ago in the fashions of today. I highly recommend this retrospective as a look into how American women took part, in their daily clothing and daily dress, in shaping a female national identity at times when women’s rights were no where near what they are today. Definitely go see it. At the very least, it will make you think how lucky you are when you realize how recently it has been that women are allowed to wear pants in public.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sex and the City 2

I finally made it to the theatre to see Sex and the City 2 last night, and while I was a little disappointed in the overall story line, it was an overall satisfying experience. There are two things that I must applaud these ladies for:

1. Looking so utterly fabulous at their age, I mean seriously, they have better bodies than I do
2. Fighting so hard against the social norms put on women to settle down, marry, and have kids.

This movie is all about women having the opportunity to have a voice, choose their life path as they see fit, and essentially live the lives they want, not the lives anyone tells them they should be living. This has been the undercurrent/moral of the story of Sex and the City since its inception, but I guess the directors of this movie wanted to make it extra clear this time around in case anyone missed the message in oh, I don't know, the past 12 years since the series started. From the get go, it was all about women's empowerment. The whole Abu Dhabi scenario was just a gratuitous little chance for the directors to escape the prying eyes of NYC sidewalkers while filming, and to throw the outspoken I'll-do-what-I-want attitude of Carrie, Samantha (especially), Miranda, and Charlotte against the backdrop of the culturally conservative nation they could think of.

I did like that Smith Jared made an appearance, and the new man they found for Samantha was nearly as hot. Who knew that was even possible?! I liked that they finally let Charlotte admit that motherhood is hard, and that she is not, in fact, a robot. I LOVED that Carrie's gay best friend married Charlotte's gay best friend.

But, the whole Carrie plot, who is normally my favorite character was just lack luster. I actually disliked her whole part in the movie. I mean, come on. She made being married to the man of your dreams look like it sucked. And seriously stop cheating on Aiden with Big and Big with Aiden already. That was so 3 seasons ago. Whoever was her hair stylist throughout the movie should also be fired. Let's be serious here, no one gets rewarded for cheating with black diamonds.

Am I happy I saw it? Yes. Do I hope and pray they won't make another? Please don't let them!

Gil Scott-Heron is playing for FREE in Central Park June 27th

I CANNOT believe that NYC scored the godfather of hip hop to perform a free summer stage performance in Central Park. He is putting out his first album in 15 years. I'm pretty pumped. Miss this show, and miss seeing a legend, free charge. I am pretty pumped. Have a listen to his new single.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I like the way these guys think

It's called the Zeo, and it is like a personal sleep coach invented by three college seniors who were sleep deprived (most likely from partying too much) and instead of taking the simple way out, and cutting something out of their schedule to sleep more, they invented a nifty gadget.

The Zeo is a headband that tracks your cycles through the four stages of sleep, two of light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep. These fellas learned in a psychology class that a NASA study concluded that pilots woken out of a light sleep were much more functional that those woken out of a deep sleep. AHA! They figured. They could out smart sleep. If only they could wake up while in light sleep stages, they could sleep less overall but still feel refreshed.

Thus, there would be time for partying until 4am, and still make it to class able to take notes at 8. It's really quite the innovation, and captures the spirit of the college student. No, I won't give up something I enjoy, I'll just get better at doing everything else more efficiently to fit it all in.

The Zeo has the capability to rouse you from the light sleep stages rather than breaking into the middle of your REM dreams like your alarm has a tendency to do. When you wake up during this phase of the sleep cycle, you may feel better overall than if you interrupt deep sleep.

Doctors say that no one is capable of being fully rested on 5 hours of sleep, and that those who claim they can be are delusional. FINALLY someone is backing me up on this. They also confirm that the only way to really treat your body right is to give it the sleep it craves.

Yet, at a time in my life when there just is too much to do, and too little time, the thing I find myself cutting out is precious sleep. I wander around sucking up Dunkin Doughnuts turbo iced coffees, and being grumpy at work. I know the answer would be easily to sleep more, but let's be serious, that probably won't happen. And I am not alone! This month's issue of Vogue had two articles on sleep and staying awake, one devoted to the zeo and sleeping better, another totally devoted to coffee and the various type and varieties. We apparently live in a society where no one can fit in as much sleep as they want, which makes the awakeness industry one of the top in the world with coffee traded as the second world wide commodity after oil.

If I had a Zeo I could maximize the power of the sleep I do get. Maybe it would finally give me the time to fit in the gym before work AND happy hour after work. A girl can dream right?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Today's Words of Wisdom

I just started reading Valley of the Dolls by: Jacqueline Susann, the pop-culture classic novel. Already by page 10, it has provided me with a fantastic quote that makes me sure it is going to be a good book.

"There was an acceptance at face value in New York, as if everyone had just been born, with no past heritage to acknowledge or hide."

So true.

Liquid Powder gets an extra aqua blast

Ever since I started wearing makeup, I've been using Cover Girl Ultimate Finish Liquid Powder. What can I say? I've never really had bad skin, and I'm a sucker for cheap make-up that does the trick. Foundation was way too heavy. I just needed light smoothing out, not total coverage. Yet I found powder to be rather useless. It didn't even look like I put anything on. Then I discovered this gem, and lo and behold! They even had it in a pale enough shade (Ivory) to match my skin tone. It is as easy to apply as powder, but with a little more substance. Cover Girl calls it liquid powder because it's like a cross between compacted powder and liquidy foundation. I also found that it worked as under eye cover up too if you applied it close to your lower lid, since it blends so seamlessly.

AND THEN...I went to Duane Reade on my lunch break the other day for a new compact. Ultimate Finish Liquid Powder was no where in sight. Instead I see a panel full of Aquasmooth Compact Foundation in its place. Since the name was so similar, I assumed that Cover Girl had done away with Liquid Powder and replaced it with the snazzier sounding Aquasmooth.
So, I bought one and called it a day, assuming it would be mostly the same product. After consulting the Cover Girl website, it turns out it is not. They still make Liquid Powder, apparently my drug store just doesn't carry it. Now typically I'd be annoyed at having switched to a new product unwittingly, but I have to say I kind of like it.

It is just a slightly more foundation laden blend, so that if you dip the sponge in, it's more liquid than powder. I like it better. It goes on faster, and provides more coverage without the need for multiple coats. And with all the late nights I've been working these past couple weeks, it's really done a fantastic job hiding the circles that have developed under my eyes. It is slightly more gooey though, and now that I now I can have my old standby back again? I'll most likely go back. Old habits die hard.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Buyer Beware: Nike Vapor Headphones suck

Do not buy these headphones. The are Nike Vapor headphones, and let me tell you, the website gives an enticing description. Don't let it fool you. I received them for Christmas this year. I picked them out because I heard they were good for running. Well, good for running they were. Until they stopped working piece by piece until now I have a set of totally non-functional headphones that are torturing me by keeping me from listening to my ipod at work.

The headphones themselves are very short, to accommodate putting your ipod in an arm strap, or holding it while you run, without a lot of extra cord flapping around. The genius part was that they came with a radio cord (I think that’s what its called?) that extends the headphones length just enough so I can put my ipod in my purse and still have them reach my ears, or balance it in the cup holder of the elliptical so I can read my magazine with my hands free.

First the radio cord went. It was an inconvenience, but I managed. I could no longer set my ipod on the machines at the gym, or drop it in my bag. No, I had to constantly be holding it while in motion. It was a pain on my commute, but I could still set it on my desk and listen, and it really wasn’t too bad to have to hold it. It made changing songs convenient.

Then the right earphone stopped working. This really pissed me off, but I have been far too busy to run out and buy a new set, so I made do. It’s better than no music at all.

Today, only 6 months after their purchase, they are completely broken and useless. I had to borrow my roommate’s ear buds just to go to the gym tonight, and I am mad. I take fairly good care of my headphones. I at least take enough care of them that they should last more than 6 months. Is that really how disposable we are making everything these days? 6 months, then buy a new set, you’ll probably be sick of them anyways. Well, I was a little sick of them, and I do want new headphones, but I wanted it to be on my schedule, not Nike’s. Don’t fall into the same trap I did. Keep away from these awful headphones.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Settling for plastic sporks over real silver

There is a funny phenomenon going on in my office around lunch time. Most everyone in the office brings lunch at least several days out of the week. But that isn’t the weird part. Most people don’t bring sandwiches, salads, or other standard lunch fare, but full on meals in tupperwares including rice portions, meat portions, and veggie portions all in separate containers. Some people even have special little naan carriers that are really quite cute inventions. Again, I don’t think this is the weird part. I often bring leftovers for lunch simply because if I have a sandwich and some chips at noon, I’m absolutely starving by 6pm. Whereas if I have say, a pork chop and some zucchini I’m full for much longer.

Here’s where it gets strange. Most people bring several containers. Each segment of the meal is in a separate container rather than all in one giant container, there’s a large one for rice, a smaller one for veggies, another smaller one for meat. This one guy even has a little tea pot made for the microwave that he uses to brew a pot of tea each lunch time. Then after the meal is finished, they all wash their dishes. I skip this part. You won’t catch me using the dirty office sponge. I used it once, and my hands smelled like musty sponge the entire day.

Even though most people bring several containers full of food, no one, I repeat NO ONE brings their own flatware. It’s not just like they forget it occasionally. I have witnessed the daily routine while waiting for the microwave over and over again. Pull out 4 tupperwares from office refrigerator, unwrap, open containers to vent, place in microwave, while food is heating, retrieve plastic fork and plastic knife from kitchen cupboard. I just don’t understand it. If you are going to the trouble to bring a cooler full of food to work, and doing your dishes afterward before you go home, why aren’t you bringing anything to eat the food with? It can’t be easy to cut all that meat with a plastic knife. And really, it’s horrible for the environment. I bring my own flatware when I bring meals that require a knife and fork. I consider the cabinet of plastic utensils as there for a last resort, if say, your delivery guy forgot to include utensils or you somehow forgot to put a fork in the bag in the morning, or if we are having catered food for a meeting.

I just can’t figure it out. It’s clearly not because they don’t want to have to carry anything home with them, they already have a separate little lunch bag for food. It’s clearly not because they’re worried a soiled fork will get the cooler messy. They are already washing all the tupperwares. It doesn’t make any sense. Maybe it’s the idea of getting one over on the company by using the only free things they provide (plastic cutlery being one) to the maximum. Maybe it just hasn’t occurred to anyone. I thought about asking, but I didn’t want to be that girl scrutinizing everyone’s eating habits in the office lunchroom.

What strange office lunch rituals have you witnessed?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Reality TV

I have a confession to make. I watch really bad tv--really bad reality tv. I can't help myself. I want to hate it, but I don't. I actually love it, a lot. I just watched the Hills. I am currently watching Keeping up with the Kardashians.

That's right. I'm not talking the normal kind of reality tv that everyone watches, American Idol, So you think you can Dance, The Bachelorette, etc. I'm talking the shows that not everyone has heard of, that you're a little ashamed to admit that you watch. If it is on MTV or VH1, I probably have seen it quite a few times.

Now, let me explain the Hills. I gave it up because it was just too annoying to watch. BUT THEN, Heidi went and got all that upsetting plastic surgery, and Spencer turned into a religious freak, and WHOAH CRAZY it's like a train wreck of insanity that I just have to see how it turns out. Then there's the odd celebrity dating shows What Chili Wants is my current fave. Watch the trailer above and tell me that the old TLC songs don't make you want to watch it even a little bit. It's my love of TLC that drew me in in the first place. It's kind of hilarious to see what a dating complex Usher gave her, and I'm sorry to say that I watched For the Love of Ray J seasons 1 and 2. And Kendra, well, I got hooked on her wacky hilariousness back when she was on the Girls Next Door.

I do draw the line at watching Holly Madison's new show in Vegas. I will watch quirky, strange, straight up weird, maybe a little pervy (Ray J), but trashy I can't do. Sorry Holly.

What's your guilty tv show pleasure?

Monday, June 7, 2010

A lesson in life (and getting the coffee you want)

This article is SO true. You have to watch out for those people who are mean to service people for no good reason. It screams poor values. AND, as someone who has waited tables myself, being mean to the person in control of your food and drink is no way to get what you want. It's just a way to get decaf when you ordered regular, have your food take longer, and a surly wait person. Sometimes it's just worth it to sacrifice your tips when someone is that big of an asshole. Check out their article on a Situational Value system and the workplace. Makes you think of a few good questions to ask in interview, no?

The latest twist on a French Manicure

I was flipping through the June issue of Marie Claire, and I noticed a fantastic new nail trend in several of their photos. It's a twist/toughening up of the traditional white tipped nude nail combo that makes up the classic French manicure.

Marie Claire used dark shades for the tips, think hunter green and navy, and extended the curve of color down the side of the nail making a half moon on the end of square nails. I LOVE it.

Though I think it looks more fall-like than the full neon nails that I plan to rick all summer long. As soon as autumn rolls around though, I'll be running to my favorite salon with this picture in hand.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Overflowing with love

I went to the most fabulous wedding last night. My beautiful friend pledged to love and honor her man for the rest of her life. It was a wonderful evening. The toasts we so touching, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. The view over the Hudson was magical. I was with friends who I've known my whole life. We were all filled with joy, love and happiness. We told each other how much we love each other, how beautiful everyone looked, and generally gushed about how much everyone means to everyone. Weddings are such happy occasions that you can't help but look around, take stock of your life, and appreciate all the love you have in it. It makes you want to go find your special someone and hold them close. So, in honor of the emotional sap this little occasion has turned me into for the weekend, I present you with two of my favorite love poems. Now go give someone you love a hug. And a kiss.

The first is by E.E. Cummings:

somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look will easily unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be close to me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you the closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

The second is from a much lesser known poet. Her name is Kristen Savitri Bergh. She died tragically at age 17, but not before leaving behind a wonderfully gifted book of poems called She Would Draw Flowers. This is my favorite from the book. It is called To Zusha.

Forgive me
if I accidentally
slip and fall
into the rainbowed
pools of
your eyes
they are lined with crystals
and reflect the forest

… incense in a fire
you burned unnoticed
your spirit curling sweet
and mysterious
hiding in their smoke and

……Oh but I love you ‘cause
you make my body want
to dance and I’m on fire
filled with your
cinnamon music

Saturday, June 5, 2010

It's wedding season!

Today I am journeying to Upstate New York for the wedding of one of my childhood friends. She's my first friend to get married, and this will be my first non-family wedding EVER! June kicks off wedding season, aka summer, the most popular time of year to get married. This time next year I'll already have one wedding under my belt for the year and two more on the horizon for the summer months. And I can see why it's such a popular time of year. Despite the fact that thunderstorms are a constant risk of ruining your outdoor photos, it's just gorgeous weather! I am so excited to see all my friends from home all dressed up in their lady clothes and to dance the warm summer night away with the happy couple!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Codzilla

This past weekend I checked one of my summer goals off my to-do list. I rode the Codzilla through Boston Harbor. It was one of the highlights of my memorial day weekend.

They call it a thrill ride, and it is! The boat cruises slowly out of the harbor no speed zone, giving you a view of the city with a tour like commentary. The two guides put on a play of sorts about how a giant cod fish (aka Codzilla) may attack once we get out into deeper water. Now, while no one really understood the one guy ranting about codzilla in his faux pirate accent, it was fun to have a "scary" little story behind why we were about to speed and spin the boat around. Supposedly, Codzilla was attacking and we were trying to escape.

The boat proceeded to spin, twist, and essentially do doughnuts at high speeds near a small island. It moved in ways I didn't know a boat could move without flipping over. With all the fast about faces, the Codzilla boat created huge waves, soaking my friends, and many of the other passengers. It was like a raging river ride on a real body of water. Pick the wrong seat, and you are going to get wet. I recommend waiting for a really hot day when you want to get hit by a giant wave over and over again. Just keep your mouth closed. No one wants to be drinking that water.

I was looking at sightseeing cruises in NYC for when some relatives come to visit, and it turns out that NYC has it's own Codzilla. It's called the Beast. If it's anything like the Codzilla. I recommend. Despite being rather chilled, and much more wet that we expected, my friends and I had a great time!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

This commercial has me totally brain washed.

OHMIGOD have you seen this commercial yet? It has me entirely brainwashed. I need it. I want it. I have to have one of these cars. And it is practically an economy sedan at 31 mpg.

Words of wisdom for the day.

The best place I've seen this quote was in a thank you card. How sweet!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Park Ave Now has Crosswalk Signals (at least at 59th street)

Waaay back in Oh-Seven, Gothamist reported that crosswalk signals were in the works for Park Avenue above Grand Central. Now, in the past 2 weeks, this battle waged over the city's sidewalks in midtown for over 100 years has finally come to a close. There are suddenly brand shiny new crosswalk signals (with buttons to push to cross) and sounds for the hearing impaired on Park Avenue at least on 59th street.

I happened to traverse this same path last week on May 19th, and there were no signals. Now, today on my way to the same Crate and Barrel the signs had magically materialized,complete with a little picture key as to what the walking figure, the blinking hand, and the solid hand really mean. Turns out that all New Yorkers have been doing it wrong for years. The flashing hand does not indeed mean: dash-across-the street-as-quickly-as-possible-before-the light-turns-yellow-when-the-hand-stops-blinking. In fact, the flashing hand means DO NOT start crossing, only finish crossing if you have already started. Who knew?

The signals are nice, and really take the pressure off while dogding traffic, but they border on annoying. They repeat over and over. Don't walk. Wait. Don't walk. Wait. Don't walk. Wait. The entire time you stand there, as if the light didn't seem long enough when you are trapped in the median in the middle of park ave because it's so wide you couldn't quite make it across in time (I HATE it when that happens)! But they are state of the art.

The reason the MTA has waited so long to install these, and risked so many pedestrian lives in the process is because Park Avenue is this segment of town is not really a road. That's right. It's an 18-24 inch thick "deck" constructed over the trains entering and leaving Grand Central, which thousands of cars barrel over at high speeds during rush hour. That makes me feel safe, I don't know about you. I mean who wouldn't want TONS of metal on top of a platform that is a mere 1.5 feet thick? Porches never collapse-right?

So, the main fear was that if the MTA dug holes in this narrow layer of pavement to install the typical traffic and crosswalk signals that it would cause massive flooding into the train tracks. Yet, the city and the MTA managed to come to a 35 million dollar solution, to overhaul the roads surrounding Grand Central. This agreement was settled in 2007. The results are just appearing around the area now. Hey, I mean at only $5.7 million put towards the traffic signals who's really in any rush to get the job done? Fingers crossed that when I take the Metro North this weekend no tunnels of water come pouring down through the new holes in Park Ave.

Group Work

I had a realization last week while I was at work, about why all your K-12 teachers seemed to insist on making you do all those stupid group projects that everyone hated, and it suddenly became clear why teachers always insisted on giving a group grade and refused to break it down to the individual level. If you were an over achiever like me in high school, you will remember the frustration I’m talking about. It was always obvious in group work that some people were working harder, and doing more of the work than others, but regardless of the role you played in the group, you received the same total grade for your combined result. I’m sure you can remember how this scenario spun out.

You are assigned a group of people to work with. They may not be the best and brightest in the class, or they might be the all-stars. That was not for you to choose, it was simply the luck of the draw, or rather, whatever way of creating the groups that the teacher settled on. You all worked together to divvy up the responsibilities and create a group work plan to get the project done. Without fail, there was always at least one person in the group who did a fantastic job, and at least one person in the group who failed to pull their weight. They either simply did not do the work, or did a poor job of it. Depending on the size of the group, there were several people who did the job at an average level. They completed the assignment, but it didn’t really dazzle you in their efficiency or level of excellence. You were not graded on the effort you put in individually, but on what the group produced as a whole, which tended to be an average of the abilities in the group.

Typically the person who did a fantastic job would end up doing more of the work for the slackers to avoid the inherent sabotage to their own grade that this would entail. Their extra work would raise the total product and up the average to a higher grade level. OR, if the group in question could prove that one person was a total slacker, they would do nothing, then go whining to the teacher that it wasn’t their fault and get their grade raised.

Now, many teachers would raise said excellent pupils' grade, not wanting to penalize them for the poor work ethic of another. This is where my sudden realization came in to play. Group grades always used to get on my nerves in high school, and even in college when it became clear that they helped some people to coast by on the hard work of others.

Yet I say that the teacher who raises the grade, while rewarding the individual for her own merit, does nothing to prepare kids for the real world. All those teachers who stuck to their guns and said the group grade is everyone’s grade (no matter how annoying it was at the time) were really just doing us a favor and giving us a preview of how annoying it is to deal with people in "real life" after college.

The realization I came to was this. I had always thought group work was intended to teach you how to play well with others, how to foster cooperation between people, a ploy to encourage bonding between strangers in a classroom, and an exercise in harnessing the strong points of every one's abilities to create a better product than one person can do alone. This would be the ideal group. However, in life there aren't many ideal groups (as in high school and college) in which everyone wants to work hard, and produce the most that they can. Be the best that they can be, so to speak. Most groups will have the standard division I recognized, where most are average, some slack off, and some work harder.

Does group work teach cooperation? No. Does group work teach you how to exploit the efforts of others to your advantage? Yes.

In real life (read: your job), you can’t pick your group. This is how jobs work: Do the job asked of you in the allotted amount of them, get paid. Do not fulfill your job responsibilities, get fired (especially in today's economic climate). You are subject to whoever is working on the same project as you at the same time, regardless of what you think of their professional abilities and capabilities. I can guarantee you that your boss will not be sympathetic if you go complaining that Suzy isn’t a go-getter, so you won’t be caught working with her. AND it would be extremely unprofessional behavior at best.

No, instead you must struggle along with whatever team of people you happen to fall into, and make the best of their performance because the bottom line is that if the job does not get done to your boss's satisfaction, then you will be in as much trouble as everyone else in the group regardless of who did what. Your boss wants her deadlines met, and a finished product-that is that. Your grade will not get raised. You will not be promoted, because you did not do what it took to make success happen. You just have to work hard or harder than everyone else, and hope that someone is noticing how everything is panning out. Hope that it is those who deserve it getting that promotion, not those who just twiddle their thumbs and wait for someone else to finish the project.

Yes it sucks. Yes it's still annoying that the superstars have to pull the weight of all those losers out their sitting around watching youtube at work. But now at least I know where my professors were coming from.


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