Friday, April 29, 2011

Fast Five

In a few short minutes, I'll be walking out my door to go see Fast Five. In case you are unfamiliar with the best movie franchise about car racing EVER, it's the fifth movie in the Fast and the Furious series. Not only are they bringing back all your favorite characters from Fast and the Furious (Paul Walker), 2 Fast 2 Furious (Tyrese), Tokyo Drift (Sung Kang), and Fast 4 (Jordana Brewster), but they have added Dwayne THE ROCK Johnson as the FBI agent who tries to bring this cast of serious bad boys in. After breaking Dom (Vin Diesel) out of jail, the gang is in Brazil, and have to complete one ultimate job to get out of the game for good. It's going to be epic.

Now, I know what you're thinking, first I'm a Maxwell fan, now this. Bear with me. This movie, while Tokyo Drift was questionable, even got good (ok, average) reviews from the critics. Take it for what it is, a fun action movie with bad actors that when combined make for a glorious film. At the very least, it will get you pumped for the start of summer. And, just in case you were wondering, that Jesus statue from the preview in Rio de Janeiro? Not the tallest in the World. That guy actually stands in Cochabamba, Bolivia (and I climbed it!).

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Home Free

I love having people visit me, and have been known to accommodate friends in need of a home on my couch for as long as they wish to stay. Why? Because:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Easter is one of my favorite holidays. It's not as hectic as other holidays. All that's really involved is a good meal, and maybe church. If you're lucky, an Easter egg hunt. It's a relaxed time to be with family and indulge in some pastel colored marshmallows. It's the only holiday you can not only get away with, but are encouraged to wear a ridiculous(ly awesome) bonnet. You get to dye eggs into neon shades, and decorate them with stickers. It's totally acceptable to have chocolate for breakfast, as long as its in the shape of a lamb or a bunny.

Then there's the holy grail: Cadbury Eggs. I'm not talking about the gross kind with the gooey egg colored stuff inside. I'm talking about the delicious little milk chocolate ovals covered in a delightfully thin chocolate shell. I could eat an entire bag.
This year I'm spending the holiday in Hawaii with friends. We're making a big dinner together, and everyone is cooking up a dish. I plan to make the recipe below for Chipotle Cheddar Mashed Potatoes. They're spicy, they're cheesy, they're easy and they're delicious. The perfect salty antidote to the sugar high you had from eating half a box of peeps and jelly bellies before noon.

Chipotle Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
-2.5 pounds Yukon gold potatoes with skins, scrubbed and cut into 1 inch cubes. 
-2.5 tsp salt
-1 cup milk
-2 tbsp butter
-1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese (4oz)
-2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped (1tbsp)
-1 tsp adobo sauce from canned chipotle

1. In large saucepan, combine potatoes, 2 tsp salt, and enough cold water to cover potatoes.  Bring to boil over a high heat.  Reduce heat to medium; gently boil about 30 minutes or until fork-tender.
2. In small saucepan, combine milk, butter, cinnamon and remaining ½ tsp salt.  Bring to boil.  Set aside.
3. Drain potatoes.  Return potatoes to saucepan.  Place over medium heat; toss about 1 minute to dry out.  Remove from heat.  Add cheese; stir to combine.  Add milk mixture, chipotles and adobo sauce.  Mash.  

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ranunculus, and beautiful weddings

Today I am in the wedding of two dear friends. In the spirit of happiness and love, I'd like to share a little beauty with you: the ranunculus. It is a lesser known flower that I like to think of as a cross between a peony (but smaller), and a rose, with a tight little blossom. They grow in the most wonderful array of pastel colors, and appear in florists markets in the spring. Ranunculus are my favorite flower.

Wouldn't these buds look great paired with a rainbow of tulle pastel bridesmaid dresses like these? How romantic!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cute Roulette

Does anyone else primarily use YouTube to watch videos of cute animals doing cute things? Cats in boxes? Dogs in cake bowls? Hands?

Well, if you're anything at all like me, then you'll love Cute Roulette a website that randomly selects a video of animals acting adorable for your viewing pleasure. A friend emailed me the site with one line of text, "This has Janice written all over it." And you know what? It does. The first cute I got is the helpless little kitteh pictured above. The next? A little something they like to called puppy vs. mirror.

As my BFFL said, you can thank me later.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hawaii Bound

As you read this, I am en route to Honolulu, HI for one of my dearest friend's weddings. I've visited her there where she lives once before, and I have to say its the most beautiful place I've ever visited. I mean, seriously, you look around and you just get why everyone honeymoons there. I could not BE more excited! While I'm there I have lots of fun stuff on the agenda.
 Hang out with this cutie: Kalia
 Lounge on picturesque beaches like this one
See gorgeous sights like these
 I was here last time!
 Watch sunsets on the beach
Drink as many fruity cocktails as I can get my little hands on (that's me in the purple on an evening cruise off of Waikiki beach!). Life is good.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Kitchen Fashion

Every girl who likes to cook needs a cute apron. How else are you supposed to look cute while you wait for your dinner guests to arrive, yet not ruin your outfit? My mom has a shiny gold apron I wear every time I'm home and baking Christmas cookies or making pierogies. I have been wanting one of my own.

I've had a thing for aprons ever since I studied abroad in Madrid. In almost every souvenier shop, there were flamenco style aprons, with polka dots and frills all over. The senorita I lived with loved to get dressed up while doing things in the kitchen. She did dishes in high heels with music blaring, and cooked all fancied up with a ruffled little apron. It seemed like a whole lot more fun than wearing old sweats just so you don't get batter splatters on your favorite top. I never made it to get one while I was in Spain, but have wanted an adorable apron since.

Then I popped into Ricky's for a new nose ring, and I was confronted with a plethora of adorable aprons, polka dots, cherries, little skulls. There's one for every lady's taste. I couldn't decide which one I liked most, so I decided to hold off purchasing for the day.
A couple weeks later I was in Marshall's, and there was a whole rack of adorable aprons! And they were cheap! I bought the lovely magenta one with the gorgeous scallopped pattern pictured. It's Taaj brand, and it only set me back $12.99. The design even reminds me of something an espanola would wear. Success!
I have already worn it twice, and I have to say it makes me feel lots more fancy making dinner. What do you do/wear to make kitchen chores fun?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Food for Thought

Allure Beauty Product Finder

Allure magazine announced in their April issue that they are solving the problems of any woman who has ever tried to pick out a new eye shadow or lipstick, only to have the mission go terribly awry. They are in the process of creating a beauty product finder, guided by user inputs. It is coming soon on their website, but they have a link to beauty product award winners here to keep you busy in the meantime.

I, like most women, have my standby weekday beauty routine: apply compact, dot on a little cream blush, brown eye liner, shimmery taupe shadow, curl eyelashes, two coats of mascara finish with some raspberry lemonade chapstick. On a fancy night out I bust out my smoky eye palette, and liquid black liner for a cat eye effect. For standard weekends, I tend to coordinate my eye shadow with the color palette of my outfit. There are several routes I can go down with my makeup, but when I want to go outside my normal box, I tend to draw a blank when product shopping.

I wander the aisles of CVS looking a little lost trying to find products I read about in magazines. Or I rub endless blushes and lip tints onto the inside of my palms in Sephora with no idea what I’m really looking for. The makeup counter people in Macy’s intimidate me, and tend to be less than friendly. I want to wear lipstick, but somehow always end up with a garish looking shade. I’d like to start wearing “big girl” makeup (read: more expensive, and not bought in a drug store), but I don’t want to lay out the moolah without knowing it’s going to look good.

Enter the Allure beauty product finder. You input what type of product you are looking for (hair, skin, makeup), and choose from a selection of product options. Then you input things about yourself, your skin type, price range, and the flaws you’re trying to mask with your purchase. Then with a click of a button, Voila! Personalized beauty recommendations from Allure’s trove of editor tested products. I can’t wait for it to be ready. Happy shopping!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ferrari for your Hair

Ever since a friend took me to a Ferrari dealership, I have known that if I ever strike it rich, that's the car for me. I learned to drive on a sports car. My mom has a thing for BMW's. I've grown accustomed to the luxury of a powerful engine, and the punch of tapping down on the accelerator and going FAST instantaneously. And Ferrari's are known as the ultimate high performance vechicle. I took one look at the sexy exterior, and buttery embossed leather interior and it was love.
Sadly, I will probably never own one of these beautiful machines. But ladies, don't despair. Even if you are not a car fan, now you can enjoy a piece of the Ferrari lifestyle in your everyday beauty routine. Ferrari has paired with BaByliss, applying their ultimate Ferrari engine to hair care to produce what is probably the best blow dryer EVER.

The blow dryer boasts up to 2,000 hours of drying time (where the typical dryer lasts only 200) with a Turbo option to increase air flow by 15%. There are six heat and speed options, with 2 nozzles and 2000 watts of power. Testers for Allure magazine's April 2011 issue said it straightened thick curls, gave hair a glossy sheen, and cut hair drying time in half.

So how does it work? The engine is sealed with lubricated ball bearings (the first time this technology has been used in blow dryers) for smoother operation, and boasts Ferrari's signatureV12 engine with a 12 bar rotor system offering high torque and best performance. Buy yours on Amazon for $194. A bargain if you ask me.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Showing Some Leg

In NYC, it's officially spring. The trees are blossoming, and the daffodils are out. Its finally the season, after an incredibly snowy, cold winter to ditch the tights and start showing a little leg-I'm talking real skin. The micro mini look is over this year, in favor of hemlines dropping to the ankle and below. And the side slit is officially back in, popping up on runways all over the place.Go pick one out and flash the world some knees and thighs that have been covered up for far too long. Find this one on Asos.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


So you got a little over enthusiastic when you joined Groupon, and bought EVERY single thing that was A. 50% off, or B. sounded remotely interesting. I know I did! Nothing like the high of getting something for an extremely discounted price.

Or maybe that pole dancing class just didn't seem like a good idea anymore after your martini buzz from happy hour wore off, and you had a little drunk online shopper's regret. We've all been there. Word to the wise: Keep your laptop closed, and your credit cards safely in their wallet when having a couple glasses of wine on the couch after work.

Well, there's a website for those predicaments. It's called Lifesta, and it's a handy dandy market place to buy daily deals, and sell off the junk you thought you wanted from sites including Groupon, Living Social, Buy With Me, and Life Booker Loot. Problem solved. OR problem magnified, since I didn't even know about Buy With Me, or Life Booker Loot until visiting Lifesta. Just another sale waiting to happen in my email inbox!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Every now and again, I’m struck with a bad case of the gimmes (people who read the Bearenstein Bears books know what I’m talking about). It usually happens around my birthday, while coming up with ideas of gifts people could give me, and day dreaming of how to spend the $50 bills appearing in my mailbox from relatives. It taps into all the things I want, but that on a normal day I understand, I probably shouldn't run out and buy it all at once. Then the flood gates open, and I’m overwhelmed with all the stuff I want. Annddd I have to remind myself that I’m a big girl, I don’t have to have everything, but maybe buying myself a few special birthday gifts would do the trick to satisfy the sudden little kid-esque greed. Here's a list of some of the things I’m lusting after.

Container Store CD boxes and organizers: Get in my life. My closets are beyond messy.

Michael Kors watch: Why are you tempting me by being on sale?

Benetint Stain: I should have this because it is multipurpose

Beige Nine West Wedges. You would go perfectly with all my dresses for my Hawaiian Vacation

iPod arm band: How did I ever run without you?

Friends Complete Series, you would bring me so much joy.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Advice from a Rapper

Remember all those times your mom (or grandparents) made you turn off your hip hop music? She said it was because the language was too filthy, or the bass was too loud. You knew it was because rappers had a bad rep for pimpin ho's--generally disrespecting women, smoking drugs and being violent. You knew that underneath all the bling, there was some real lyrical genius, and musical talent. Hello? That's why you listened to it right? Not just because you wanted an excuse to wear tight tank tops like 50 Cent?

Well it turns out yo momma was depriving you of some good old fashioned sound advice. From the rappers. That's right, they were actually spitting real motivational speeches in their beats.

Jessica Wright, a graphic designer from Austin, Texas has distilled out these little nuggets of wisdom and made a blog out of it. Advice from a Rapper gives you words of wisdom straight out of the mouths of rap legends like Tupac, Cypress Hill, and Biggie in a cute little graphic matched up with the faces who gave it to you, and the album and song title in case you want to have a listen.
Not only do I feel a little inspired, I created a new playlist of some of my old favorite forgotten songs. What's up now Mom?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hipster Trap

Most people I know who have less than perfect vision hate (HATE) wearing their glasses. They live in contacts, and often go around bumping into things, and mistaking deer on the side of the road for large rocks when they run out of lenses, or their eyes are irritated. They dislike the glasses that much that they will wander about in a blurry world just to avoid wearing the things.

I was at a concert on Monday. Several of the band members, and audience alike wore oversize glasses. My friend mused, "I wonder how many of their glasses are real?"

I looked around. My guess? None. The glasses looked like costume accessories. I have been lucky enough to be graced with perfect vision. I can't say I would ever pick up a pair of frames just for fun that I didn't have to wear. That's what sunglasses are for, right? But now, it's a legitimate hipster trend to wear "nerd" glasses for show, as a "cool" (read: trying waaay to hard) accessory. Now for your viewing pleasure, here's some pictures of other things that look silly in faux glasses.

 If your adorable teddy bear can't pull it off, what makes you think you can?
 People with mustaches. This might be ok sine they're wearing them to as a joke, obvi.
 People who are seriously wearing fake glasses and being serious
 Puppies with scarves
 Puppies with hipster hats
And finally Stitch. Now, don't embarrass yourself, and go sell all those clear lens frames to Beacon's Closet you know they'll be snapping em up left and right.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Favorites

I saw Pearl and the Beard for the first time ever last night, and I think I'm in love. The band is made of three people making beautiful harmonies to the tune of the cello, drums, and a guitar. I'm downloading their new cd Killing the Darlings as we speak. Have a listen, and try not to tap along on your thigh a little.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Stand with Planned Parenthood: TONIGHT

Do you support freedom of choice? Do you respect women, and their right to have control over their own reproductive abilities? Or do you just like safe sex?

Come to the Bowery Ballroom tonight to support Planned Parenthood in their fight to overturn the legislation trying to take away their federal funding (read: shut them down). Tickets are $25 to get you in the doors (opening at 7). That will get you 4 bands, and the warm fuzzy feeling you get when you do something good for other people.

Kicking off the festivities at 7:30 are Pearl and the Beard singing folk melodies to the tune of organic sounds like the washing machine, followed by The Bloodsugars, Anna Egge, and the headlining band Thao and the Get Down Stay Down. You’d spend that much on a Monday night CVS run for nail polish and face wash anyways. And let’s be real here, this event is going to be much more fun.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sutras Collection

Just when you thought a girl couldn't get any more fabulous, she goes and changes up the game. Again.  In addition to being a princess, single handedly revolutionizing women's fashion with the iconic wrap dress, and presiding over the CFDA as president, now she's adding jewelry designer to her lengthy list of conquered frontiers. Diane Von Furstenberg created the Sutras collection for H. Stern complete with rock-crystal cabochons (gems that are shaped and polished rather than faceted) set in glossy 18 karat gold. Each piece is engraved with one of DVF's personal motivations: Love, Laughter, Freedom, Harmony, Confidence, Truth, and Life. The collaboration began seven years ago, inspired by jewelry making techniques from the Mughal Empire of Jaipur, India, but DVF recently added eight pieces including those pictured above ranging in price from $3,200 to $8,200. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Coffee Connection

If you’re anything like me, when a dude asks you out on a date to grab a coffee you think:

  1. Yawn. Are we serious? Coffee is the best this guy could come up with?
  2. It’d better be Irish coffee we’re talking about.
  3. He just wants to be friends or is a major hipster who hangs out in coffee shops.
  4. All of the above.

Well, the April issue of Marie Claire magazine is throwing my typical date theory for a loop. They agree it may be a tad unoriginal, but  insist that the coffee date has its romantic perks (especially with this unseasonably cold weather we’ve been having!). For starters, if you have no chemistry, you can suck down your latte and get out of there fast (my advice, not Marie Claire’s).

Second (and this is really from the mag), data form Yale University implies that when two individuals drink hot java together, the drinkers perceive the other person as more trustworthy because the insula part of the brain is activated by the heat of the beverage. This center processes both physical and emotional warmth, and may generate some warm feelings towards your coffee partner. I wonder if the same thing works with hot toddies?


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