Tuesday, May 31, 2011

About the Ocean

Talking to Strangers

It’s something your parents have taught you not to do since you were a little kid, especially ones offering strange candy. Yet, in NYC I find myself talking to people I’ve never seen before, and am likely to never see again on a regular basis. Strangers often approach me and strike up a conversation too. I was talking to a friend over the long weekend, and she said in London, this is something people absolutely do not do, and she kind of misses it.

Think about it, you’re standing in line at Starbucks, and it’s taking forever. It’s more likely than not that someone in the line will want to commiserate with you. Or you and one other stranger happen to be the only people around to witness that totally crazy thing that homeless person is doing. It’s nice to be able to check and make sure that’s actually happening with another sane individual. A few days ago, I asked a woman to borrow a section of her paper on the subway so I could read an article about how to prepare for music festivals (Yes, I’m going to Bonnaroo, and I AM unbelievably excited). Just last evening, I was checking out at the supermarket, and not only did the girl in front of me strike up a convo, but the checkout boy decided it would be a good opportunity to flirt with me the entire time he was ringing up my groceries (Yes, it made things a little awkward). People chit chat with me at the gym who I’ve never met before about what college I went to (because they saw it on my t-shirt), or how difficult the yoga class I’m waiting for is.

I never really thought about how much I talk to people I don’t know until I thought about not being able to do it anymore if I lived in a different city. Maybe I just appear friendly, so people feel comfortable chatting me up. Or maybe I’ve been living in NYC so long that I don’t really have any boundaries any more about speaking with people I don’t know. One thing’s for sure, in a city of 8 million and counting even though I have a lot of friends, the people I don’t know will definitely always outnumber the people I do. Why not spice up our days by actually treating the people around us like human beings? The people you encounter tend to have a big impact on whether your day is a good one, or a bad one. Being nice to strangers is a really good way to make it a better one, or at the very least to make little kids afraid to bother you during your commute.

If you live in NYC, when’s the last time you made conversation with a stranger? If you live somewhere else, do you talk to people you don’t know?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Vogue Summer Playlist 2011

Looking for some new tunes for your Memorial Day weekend getaway?Check out Vogue's Summer 2011 playlist created especially to infuse your iTunes library with some of the season's freshest talent.It's got songs from Fleet Foxes, The Black Keys, Austra, The Givers, and a new artist who has earned Beyonce's seal of approval: Frank Ocean.At the very least it will keep you from playing last year's Summer Fun mix on repeat the entire way out to the Hamptons.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gen Art Film Festival

If Cinema is your thang, get ready for some big time events headed your way. The 16th Annual Gen Art film festival is just around the corner running from June 8th-14th in NYC. I will be at Bonnaroo for most of the events this year, but the 7 premiers and 7 parties sound like a blast. If you’re around the area, get the official details here and buy your tickets here available in full festival, or individual premiere packages.
This year, the festival is honoring up and comers in film making and acting including: Lake Bell, Zoe Kravitz (yea, that’s lenny’s kid), and Gabourdey Sidibe (you know you’ve seen Precious) along side the names we all know like: Greg Kineear, Jennifer Connelly, Pierce Brosnan, and Marisa Tomei. The whole idea is to herald in the next generation to be big stars, and showcase emerging talents. There are seven nights of fun in store. Check out the feature films for each below:

  • Opening night: A Beginner’s Guide to Endings
  • Night 2: Yelling to the Sky
  • Night 3: Norman
  • Night 4: Goold’s Gold
  • Night 5: The Pill
  • Night 6: American Animal
  • Closing Night: Salvation Boulevard

Passes and tickets include a 1 hour cocktail reception, the viewing of a short and a premiere, AND access to the official after party at a one of NY’s hotspots. Cocktails are included, and proceeds from tickets benefit the Gen Art Foundation. As a bonus (a major one if you as a magazine addict like me), you get a 1-year New York Magazine subscription gratis with all purchases made online. What are you waiting for? Tix tend to sell out fast! Get yours while they’re still available.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Words of Wisdom

Must See Before you Die

Well, since Harold Camping so kindly rescheduled the end of the world for us all (New date: 10/21/2011), you have a little extra time in case you missed this the first time around. It's 32 Pictures you need to see before you die (or are raptured or it's the end of days). The seven wonders of the world they are not. These pictures will not take your breath away with their majesty, or change your life. They will simply make you happy, and give you a little chuckle. And let's be real here. We could all use that before we die. My favorites?

The Embarassed Walrus.
And the pug wearing pug slippers.

Monday, May 23, 2011

About Life

Spring Scratches

It’s the season for dresses and bare legs. It’s also the season for playing outside and being active in the nice weather. Which, as an unfortunate consequence, always means I end up with more bumps and bruises just as its time to start showing off some skin. So you decided to slide into home during your wiffle ball game on Sunday, or you bit the dust while cartwheeling across Sheep's Meadow. And now you want to wear a dress to work on Monday. What’s a girl to do about that nasty bruise?

Right after you get the injury, apply an anti-inflammatory lotion, and ice it to minimize the damage. After the bruise appears, dab on some red lipstick, and then top with concealer. The red balances out the blue tones of a bruise to help cover better than just powder. Blend out to the rest of your leg, to make the bruise match the non-bruised area. Voila! It’s like your little sports mishap never happened.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Words of Wisdom

What to Pack for Bonnaroo

 One of my friends passed along this article to help plan for what to pack and still look gorgeous after days spent sweating, drinking, and lounging around in dried mud at Bonnaroo. It’s a difficult feat my friends, especially with the lack of showering that will be going on.

The author recommends travel size mouthwash, soap, and dry shampoo. All musts-especially the dry shampoo. I say throw a travel sized toothpaste and some pocket tissues in there too. No one likes morning breath or running out of toilet paper in the porta potty. She also recommends waterproof mascara, SPF lip balm, tinted moisturizer, a sturdy cream color base, and cooling face wipes. Also musts. As a Bonnaroo veteran, I’ll share my list of things she left out that will, while not necessarily making you look beautiful, for keeping you from being that dirty hippie who stinks out everyone at the show.

 First and foremost. Yes, we’re roughing it in tents, but you need an air mattress and a tarp larger than the size of your tent. That way when there’s a torrential down pour your first night you won’t have to sleep in mud puddles. 
Rain boots. See above reason. They'll keep your legs clean, and as a bonus, they look cute with jort cutoffs.

You’ll definitely want to pack some oil absorbing sheets. I'm partial to the kind that I gushed about in this post. While cooling face wipes are refreshing in the evening, it’s so hot, you’re going to need a touch up.

While some people are against wearing makeup and fancying up at a music festival, I like to wear one spritz of a light perfume. It helps cover up days of stink, and makes you feel pretty even when you’re dirty.  If that’s not your bag, pack some dryer sheets. They keep your clothes smelling fresh, and repel bugs when you rub them all over your body.

If you have room, toss in a little something to make shade with or a tent fan. When the sun comes up, it will be so hot in your tent you’ll have to crawl out into the sunlight to survive. Even after you were up until nearly dawn rocking out to Girltalk. A girl needs her beauty sleep.

And pack a bikini. They don’t take up much room, and then you can strip down as the temperature rises so you don't get all sweaty face.

Besides that, all you need are some flowy dresses and a cross body strap shoulder bag to toss any accoutrements you’ll be needing while watching the shows (probably your pack of American Spirits, a folding hoola hoop, and money for snacks and lemonade) and a little peace, love, and happiness. I cannot wait!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How We Cry and Laugh for the Same Thing

"They say that the sun does not give off continuous light, but that it incessantly darts new rays so thick on one another that we cannot perceive the intervals between them: for the ethereal sun, great source of liquid light, assiduously with fresh radiance floods the sky, adding new light in ever fresh supply."


"Just so our soul diversely and imperceptible darts its rays."



First there were eyelash extensions. Then there was Latisse (check out my early thoughts on it here). In the quest to have lush long eyelashes, there is a never ending search for the best way to take short, nothing special lashes and turn them into luxurious curled gorgeous things that open up your face and dramatize the windows to your soul. The only question has been, do I invest in having extensions attached? Apply a medical ointment nightly to grow my own? Or just stick with plain old mascara for $7.95 a tube rather than some costly treatment.

I suppose the solution depends on how much free cash you have to throw around, and how important your lashes are to you. Personally, I never leave the house without a quick swipe of mascara. I even often wear it to the gym. Why? Because thanks to my Polish anscestry, and fair haired family, I have been genetically gifted with blonde eyelashes (read: they’re invisible sans makeup). Without mascara, my eyes don’t really pop.I would love to have gorgeous lashes without having to apply.

Now there’s the middle ground for those who are freaked out by the idea of applying medication to their eyes, or by having an asthetician attach tiny lengtheners to each individual lash. It’s called LashDip, and it’s essentially a perfectly applied, long term mascara.

You go into a salon, and have the black stuff individually painted onto lashes (both upper and lower if your heart desires). Then you skip using oil based make up removers, invest in an eyelash comb in case they get tangled, and enjoy looking doe-eyed first thing out of bed for six whole weeks!

All you have to do is go in for a LashRefresh touch up 2-3 weeks after the first painting, and apply the LashSeal two or three times a week to keep your fancy lashes clean and maintained. The web site reveals that you can even use LashDip in addition to Latisse if you’re so inclined. They’ll run you between two and three hundred for the first time, then after you’re hooked the price of visits will be dependent on maintainance required. Sounds like a bargain to me?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Words of Wisdom

Swinging Girl Necklace

How adorable is this necklace for anyone who loves to swing? The whimsical design makes me think of carefree days soaring high in the park.

It's cut silver on an oxidized silver chain. The design is available on Etsy for $80 and some change. It's made by jewelry company Markhed Design specializing in dark, sexy, edgy designs.
I'm also totally obsessed with the Circus Love pendant (above). Maybe because of that trapeze class I took a while back. Or maybe because I just saw Water for Elephants, and the circus still seems like a magical place. Either of these would add a little pizazz to a boring outfit.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Rain, Rain Go Away

So, according to the most recent forecast in NYC, it’s going to rain for all eternity. Or at least until Judgement Day if you believe these crazies

As a result, I’d imagine you’re looking for something to do indoors when you’d much rather be lounging in the park, or sipping tropically flavored cocktails outdoors somewhere by the water. I know that’s what I tend to want to do once May rolls around and starts to hint at the coming summer. 

Well, I know just the perfect thing to cure your rainy day blues. Stop by the Met and check out Savage Beauty, a tribute to the late, great Alexander McQueen. At the very least it will stop your daydreaming about warm weather and sunshine, and have you imaging yourself in his perfectly unique designer frocks. 

The exhibition is put on by the Costume Institute, and runs between now and the end of July. It will be showcasing looks from the very beginning of his career (his post graduate collection in 1992) all the way to his final collection which showed after his death during February 2011. Nearly 100 of his masterpieces will be on display including his signature designs: the bumster trouser, kimono jacket, and the Origami frock coat.

Alexander McQueen was truly an iconic fashion designer, who pushed the boundaries of what is beautiful, and tended towards the dark and macabre while still maintaining a splendidly stunning end result. What better way to weather a thunderstorm than pondering the inspiration of the notoriously brooding designer? The Met is open until 9 on Fridays for an after work stop by. Normally I would say to pop up to the roof for a cocktail after viewing, but it will probably be a washout. Check out the official details of the exhibition here

Check out the New Look

As some of my regular visitors may have noticed, there have been some layout changes going on over here in my little piece of the Internet in the past couple weeks. Now that the updates are officially complete, I would like to call your attention to the new and improved background and logo and give a BIG THANKS to the awesome Amanda Lee who used her free time (for free!) on a total stranger to make it happen.

I met Amanda Lee through the Yes and Yes Network of Nice where she offered to help people create a custom blog layout. I had been tired of my layout for a while, but lack the more advanced photoshopping and html skills to make my improvements happen. So, naturally, I emailed Amanda Lee before I even finished reading the post in its entirety.
 And, as I have come to expect from a fellow Yes and Yes reader, she was kind, smart, and a delight to work with. She smoothed out my background image to get rid of the seams with some Photoshop layering magic, and advised me on the overall shape and visual theme of my blog to come up with the snazzy new header incorporating the URL and title. I must say that I LOVE love love the end result. What do you all think of the new look?

Pop on over and check out Amanda Lee’s home on the web to learn more about her! Just a hint—she loves style, organization, creativity, happiness, and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. The things that make the world go round-if you like them, you’ll probably love her. Thanks again Amanda Lee!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bike In Theatre

From the makers of Forking Tasty comes NYC's take on the drive in theater. Since there's obviously no place large enough for hundreds of New Yorker's to park their cars (like we own them anyways), this members only movie club asks that you bring your two wheeled ride (or skateboard, or roller blades, or sneakers) to save the environment and space. Here's how it works. You sign up for the club, and they email you details of the secret location in the days leading up to the screening. You show up, and take in the flick while munching on popcorn flavors inspired by classic cinema. Daily Candy reported that the treats include:  A Streetcar Named Desire (Cajun), Indiana Jones (garam masala), Goodfellas (Parmesan and parsley), and Austin Powers (salt and vinegar). Check out the details and sign up here. I know I'm looking forward to adding this to my summer repertoire of free movies!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Issues with Blogger

Due to Blogger having some technical difficulties the past few days, I've been unable to post/a couple posts were deleted. Hopefully everything is back to normal now!

Madison Sq. Park Eats

If you live or work near Madison Sq. Park, be sure to pop over for some good food between now and June 3rd. Running daily, delicious food vendors from all over NYC are setting up shop from 11am to 9pm every day. I recommend avoiding your typical lunch hour rush, and going after 2pm if you don't want to wait in line forever. I went today, and with the help of my coworkers, we sampled most of the boothes. I had the fried ribs from Eataly, and the Crack pie from Momofuku Milk Bar. I will be going back for a shaved ice (right off the block before your very eyes!) from People's pop. Another person tried the bee sting pizza covered in sopressata, mozzerella, and a hint of honey from Roberta's. While two got the braised beef sandwich from Resto. A fourth had a pork bun and Thai tea from Hong Kong Street Cart. The people at the table next to mine gave the burgers from Cafe Suzette rave reviews. I wanted to try a taco from Calexico, but the 45 minute wait was more than I could handle. And Asia dog has a ling wrapped around the park. Everything we tasted was yummy, and made even better by the fact that you could enjoy it while lounging around under the sunshine.The longer we stayed the more we wanted to eat. And for when you're done stuffing your face? There are vendors to shop at while you walk off the sugar coma from the cookies or mini key lime cannolies you just couldn't resist trying. Get the official info here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Drop Box

This post goes out to anyone who has ever emailed a file to themselves. Now, you'll never have to do it AGAIN!

I heard about the program from my sister, who often needs to work on the same document at home that she's been modifying on her office computer all day. I ran into the same issue when I sent files back and forth and back again when I was traveling for work, and needed to access PowerPoint presentations saved on my desktop in the office from my laptop on the road. Or even if you have a home computer upstairs, and another downstairs. It's just annoying to have to keep track of which is the most recent version, and cumbersome to your email server to send files around all the time.

Enter drop box. You install it on the computers between which you want to share files. Place the file you want to open on the other computer into drop box. Open drop box on the computer number two. Voila! The file is instantly there! Magic! You make changes to the file, save it in drop box. You go into work the next day, and Shazam! The file is there, and updated! It's glorious!

Now here's an idea for long distance family members who like to share photos. No more uploading to picasa and inviting thousands of family members to view your pictures, who then have to either download them from there, or ask you for the original files if they want to make prints. Install a common drop box account on every one's computers and there you have it. Instant file sharing. It's genius I tell you.Check out all the nifty features here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Words of Wisdom

Triumph for Transgenders

Thai airline, P.C. air contributed to a major triumph for transgendered people across the world, proving that when gender discrimination is eliminated, the sky's the limit (literally in this case)!

The carrier made headlines in January when it announced that six ladyboys (male to female transgendered Thai persons) were hired on to serve as flight attendants along with approximately thirty other men and women. The CEO of the airline, Peter Chan was quoted as saying, " We didn't start out with a policy to hire transsexuals, but more than 100 ladyboys applied when we were recruiting cabin staff, so we thought why not give them a chance?" Hurrah for his open mindset.

Ladyboys will wear the same curve hugging uniforms as female sex attendants supplemented with gold brooches identifying them as the "Third Sex," to avoid any awkward gender confusion among passengers. The ladyboys first flight leaves May 19th. Thailand is the country believed to have the most transgendered people in the world, and is setting a precendent for accepting gender archetypes outside established norms around the globe.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Now go show your mom some love!

This weekend, my wonderful mother decided to come visit me. We've had a weekend full of fun mother-daughter activities including:
  • Pedicures
  • Brunches
  • Movies
  • Tapas
If you're looking for last minute gift ideas, here's some old stand by's:
  • Chocolates or homemade cookies
  • A phone call (no mother has ever complained their child called too often)
  • A luxurious bath robe
  • New perfume
  • A massage or beauty treatment
Anything to make mom feel a little pampered, and give her a break from taking care of everyone else for once.
What are you doing to celebrate the lady who raised you this year?

Friday, May 6, 2011

What's the Deal Hallmark?

Every year, as Mother's Day approaches, I trawl the aisles of Hallmark looking for those perfect cards to express my love and gratitude for three special ladies in my life: my mom, my grandma, and my step-mom. And every year, I am frustrated by the utter lack of any selection of cards for the third woman on my list.

I just don't understand. I'm not going crazy here and trying to find a card especially for every woman I know who has a child. I don't need a card for my cousin's best friend who's a new mom. Statistics estimate that on the conservative end, 40% of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. Census data has documented changing attitudes regarding the shape of the "traditional" family for years, DECADES! This data, in sum, means that there's a whole lotta step moms out there.

And yet, card makers refuse to react to what I'm sure is a popular dilemma. Do I get the one step mom card they have? Or do I buy one of those generic "for any woman" mother's day cards that don't really get into the special relationship between step mom and daughter? And for all of you out there who didn't come from a broken home who are wondering: Yes, it is typically a slightly different relationship than the your average mother-daughter interaction.

You can't buy the card that has Mom written all over it, because most people I know who have step mothers end up calling her by her first name and never actually refer to her as mom. Why? Well, for starters, it's just confusing to call two people Mom, and in the beginning it helps to ease the awkwardness of the step mom feeling like she's trying to step into someone elses shoes. Getting a card saying mom for your step mom would just seem weird.

Out of 204 total mother's day cards on the Hallmark website, there was 1 (one!) for step mothers. There were just as many mother's day cards for Dads (why?) in the same place. Step it up Hallmark (pun intended)! Go out there and hire some children of divorcees as your card writers. Do something! As my card purchasing mecca, I hope that I do not encounter this problem in 2012.

Rompers Galore!

While I was in Hawaii, it was about 80 degrees and sunny every single day I was there, making the dress code anything that keeps you cool. After a few days, I started to notice a theme. All the girls who lived there had amazing rompers.
Now, I've done some romper shopping in the past, and have been unable to find one that flatters my figure. They're typically too short for anyone tall (or with a long torso) to sit down in without serious risk of camel toe, or ripping off one of the straps. But here they were, leggy ladies all rocking rompers that covered their thighs, and had me begging to know, where did you buy that, and how soon can I get one?
Their answers were consistent. Target! Every single person I asked had the same response.And at these prices, I might have to splurge and buy all three! The Calypso St. Bath's with pockets is a steal at $24.99. The one shouldered ruffle romper even cheaper at $19.99, and the smocked patterned one is practically jumping into my bag at only $21.99. Just one more reason to love Target (like you needed it)!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Cinco De Mayo

Have a couple of these to celebrate!

Myths Busted by The Beauty Brains

Remember all those weird beauty questions that pop into your head when you’re reapplying your chapstick for the 100 billionth time today, or when you’re looking at your empty tube of persa gel, the huge zit on your forehead, and wondering what you have laying around the house that might cure that monster?

The May 2011 issue of Allure magazine set out to solve some of these myths along with the folks at the Beauty Brains, and to –FINALLY- set your mind at ease. Hint: Use this post as ammunition in clearing up that long standing debate with the BFF about which is truth and which is urban myth.

Here’s the fact vs. fiction break down:
  • Chapstick actually IS addictive: It tricks your body into thinking lips are properly hydrated, which signals to stop new-cell production, leading to dryer lips that make you want to apply more gloss more often. Petroleum and beeswax formulas are the most habit forming, because they’re best at staying on your lips and making them feel faux-moisturized for the longest.
  • Human saliva CAN cure zits: Yes, though it is gross, spit contains histatins, little antibacterial proteins, that help clear up the bacterial growth causing your blemish.
  • The moon DOES make your hair grow: The changes in melatonin levels that arise with the fluctuations of the light in the night sky can cause flux in hair follicle growth.
  • Armpit hair CANNOT grow long enough to braid (unless you have tiny tiny fingers): Hormones in the human body signal to hairs when to stop growing. Most people’s underarm hair reaches a maximum length of 1.5 inches before your body hits the off switch.

    Want more? Check out the Beauty Brains’ book Can You Really Get Hooked on Lip Balm? 
     Or, take a look at the blog updated with a new feature about every two days. Bonus: you can ASK THEM QUESTIONS to find out the answer to the myth that’s been naggling at your subconscious for years if you haven’t spotted its answer above. Yesterday’s topic: Does botox turn you into an Emotionless Zombie? Spoiler alert: the answer is YES.

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    Migraine Sufferers Rejoice!

    As anyone who suffers from migraines knows, they are pretty much the most terrible thing in the world. Your head pounds with the slightest movement, even the softest light hurts your vision, you could throw up at any moment, and while migraine drugs can help, sometimes the only way to cope is laying in a dark room with an ice pack on your forehead. This can be particularly inconvenient when you're at work, or out say living your life in the normal world.

    I have migraines, and I've tried various cures: chewing ginger candies, taking prescription pills, over the counter Excedrin migraine, and good old fashioned curling into fetal position in bed and waiting for it to end--each with limited relief. When combined, they can be much more effective, but sometimes there's that unstoppable headache that keeps powering on through even the best medications if you don't catch the headache just as its coming on.

    Yet relief may be in the future. A recent study in Nature Genetics reports that scientists have identified a gene variant among migraine sufferers that affects glutamate regulation. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter, that signals to other cells by binding on to them and activating the nerve receptor. This new study suggests that the amount of glutamate does not adjust properly for people with the gene variant, and the build up is what causes  crippling brain pain for migraine sufferers. This breakthrough may lead to prescriptions that smooth out the glutamate flow, preventing migraines rather than treating the symptoms after they arise, like they never even existed.

    Family Resemblance

    Did you know that actress Mamie Gummer is Meryl Streep's (and Don Gummer's) daughter? Because I didn't even know that the best actress of all time had any offspring. I've been watching Mamie in ABC's Off the Map for the past few months, and failed to make the connection.
    In the island adventure medical drama (think Lost meets Grey's Anatomy), Mamie plays Dr. Mina Minard one of several tortured souls (I mean doctors) who have all fled some sort of tragic past in the United States for a fresh start practicing medicine in a remote island clinic. I know, it sounds terrible, and it may possibly be cancelled/not renewed after the close of its first season 4/7, but what can I say? Grey's Anatomy's plots have been ho hum ever since Izzy left the show, and I need a medical drama to fill the void.
    Now that I know, I can definitely pick out the family resemblance. The only question is, do we think that Mamie inherited her momma's legendary acting skills?

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    Take Back the Tap

    I drink a LOT of water. It all started back in elementary school when my mom started getting special permission from the teachers to send me with a mug (read: 90's speak for an insulated bottle with a straw) of water when I was sick. From a young age, I felt unable to go without a sip for more than a matter of minutes. Now, my sister and I don't take a 20 minute drive without filling up our water bottles first, and I'm pretty sure my co-workers think I have pre-diabetes because of the number of times I hit the water cooler daily. I'm like a succulent plant, the more I suck up, the more H2O I want.

    But, I never buy bottled water. First, it's terrible for the environment. And, why pay for what I can get outta the tap for free? Contrary to popular belief tap water is actually more highly regulated than bottled water by the government for purity and cleanliness standards. I had a little scare after that whole nalgene's emitting PCB's thing, but now I've got an aluminum bottle and I'm good to go. Last, what's the real difference between the bottle and the  faucet?

    Well here's the fancy water terms decoded. If your bottled water says purified on the label, well, guess what? It's filtered water. The same kind you could get out of your Brita pitcher, only treated to reduce the chlorine taste. Is that really worth $2.25 and some plastic in a landfill? Spring water (like Evian and Poland Spring) bubbles up to the surface from deep below the earth naturally. It is slightly less damaging to the environment because natural springs are self replenishing, and you get the bonus of mineral deposits like calcium infused in your water. Artesian water like Fiji brand? It's well water, just a giant man made well that pulls from a huge deposit, yet very similar to the one you may have at your house (if you live in the country). Get more info from the movement to take back the tap here.

    Though they're all dressed up in fancy marketing campaigns designed to make one bottle seem more refreshing than the next, all that bottled water filling the coolers at your local drug store, and all those trucks idling outside your office are just that-plain old water. Save yourself a lot of money, and mother nature a lot of pain by filling a reusable and tossing it in your purse and treating the pre-packaged stuff as a luxury reserved for when you're parched and a long way from home.

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    Vicious Vintage

    Vintage is officially the latest trend in fashion. People throw the word around in every possible context. There are countless blogs (including two I read on the daily) devoted to documenting throwback styles in new clothes as well as thrift store finds. Goodwill went from someplace little kids were ashamed to buy clothes to a trendy place to shop. Everything old is new. And I'm not mad about it. The pin-up silhouette of nipped waists and full skirts flatters my figure, and you can't beat a unique brooch to add a little pizzazz to an otherwise Meh ensemble.

    Yet, buyer beware. If your yen for the retro feel includes actual old stuff made of metal (think antique-y bracelets, jewelry, toys or kitchenware), this little hobby could be putting your health in jeopardy. Women's Health's May 2011 issue reported on a study from the Journal of Environmental Health that found high concentrations of lead in all except one vintage item. Some of the 28 items tested had as much as 700 times the amount of lead deemed safe by the government. Lead is a dangerous heavy metal, that can cause nervous system, heart and kidney damage, fertility problems, and death in high doses. There's a reason they banned it as an ingredient in paint ladies and gents.

    But don't despair. You don't need to abandon your love of everything old school yet. Just make sure to test the lead content of those earrings you've had your eye on before you buy. Home Depot sells an instant swab test that detects the presence of lead for $25.  That will run you a whole lot less than the hospital bills you'd incur from some good old fashioned lead poisoning

    Spotted: Sharif Atkins

    I'm moseying down Park Avenue today about 20 minutes ago, only to spot Dr. Gallant from ER crossing my path (again!) between 25th and 26th Street. This is the second time I've bumped into the actor, also known as Sharif Atkins, in my NYC daily life.

    Previously I saw him at the Lincoln Square movie theater in line to enter, sporting a fedora. Today he wore jeans, a tee, and a light jacket. He smiled at me (probably because I was staring him down) as we crossed paths right outside Bank of America. He'll always hold a special place in my heart as one of my favorite characters from possibly the best medical drama ever. These days, he's playing FBI agent Clinton Jones on the USA series White Collar, and is shown undercover below.
    Though I'd have to say in person, he looks more like this. Clean cut, dashing, and slightly like he had climbed out of my TV. I wonder what he was up to in Murray Hill? Besides making my lunch break a little more interesting that is.

    Sunday, May 1, 2011

    Words of Wisdom


    For book club this month we decided to read Tiny Fey's new novel, Bossypants. Why, you ask? First, because she is absolutely hilarious, and we all enjoy a book that makes us laugh out loud on the subway, creeping out any strangers nearby. Second, because she's based in NYC, and living here, I feel like I'm having a bit of an inside joke with any author who also calls this city home. Book club members, if you haven't finished the book yet, you may want to stop reading here. Or, if you're not planning to read the book anyways, keep on going and then you'll have something to talk about at our next meeting.

    When I picked up Bossypants, I expected a funny collection of essays about Tina Fey's life. What I got was so much more. Here are some of the highlights:

    1. Anecdotes about how a scary Dad (read: Don Fey) can intimidate just about anyone, including Alec Baldwin and Lorne Michaels
    2. A healthy dose of girl power from a woman who started out without a whole lot, and forged ahead until she had her dream job, dream family, and the admission that yes, quite a bit of exhaustion comes along with having it all (but you can get it if you want!)
    3. An explanation for why when something is really awesome, I also refer to it as sick, a word whose synonyms include: ill, nauseous, dizzy, queasy, bored and fed up. Why, you ask? To quote Tina Fey, because, "The more New Yorkers like something, the more disgusted they are." Read: The marble counters in the apartment were so sick they made me want to break my own jaw with a golf club. I can't take it (loosely paraphrased from Bossypants).
    4. Finally understanding that New Yorkers love manicures so much, because according to Tina, it is a good exercise to "sit in an enclosed space full of fumes, holding hands with a stranger for twenty minutes while everyone around you speaks a language you don't understand" that will prepare you for coping with riding the subway. Especially the 6 train.
    5. Admissions that despite being the ultimately successful superstar that she is, Tina still harbors anxieties about her body, has issues with photoshop, and has little fears like telling her babysitter what do do
    Then, finally her Rules for Improvisation, that could really be applied to as rules for most life situations (we're really only improvising as we go along right? Right.). Rule number uno is AGREE and SAY YES. If you're into sketch comedy, you understand why this is important to keep the fictional scenario you're improvising from falling flat. In life, though I don't recommend you exclusively agree and say yes, it makes sense to, "start from an open-minded place. Start with a YES and see where that takes you." Wouldn't it be so much nicer if everyone came from a place of yes rather than starting with no? Agreement rather than discordance?

    Rule two is not only to say yes, but to say YES, AND. In this part, you agree to respect what the person you're interacting with has laid down, and now it's your turn to add something of your own. In other words, contribute, give your two cents, throw your hat in the ring, always make sure that your presence is adding something no matter where you are, or what the situation is. 

    The next rule is MAKE STATEMENTS. This means rather than putting all the burden on everyone else in your life to find answers for you, start out with some answers of your own for them to react to. And for women especially, it means break that obnoxious habit of crescendoing at the end of every sentence so you seem unsure. Just go out there and tell people how it is.

    Finally, THERE ARE NO MISTAKES. Isn't this a nice way to think about life? If you're in an improv scene, you're not going to stop the show and say no, no, no, this is not how it was supposed to go. In life, you don't often have the opportunity to go back and get a redo, so you might as well just start thinking of all your colossal screw ups as opportunities to either go in a different direction, or reinvent yourself in the current scenario.

    Have I convinced you to go out and buy the book yet? 


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