Friday, October 31, 2008
I love this holiday. Traffic was light this morning, I started eating candy corn at 10 a.m., and my work day has consisted of printing numbers for my Deal or No Deal costume and taking an extra long lunch break to check out the dressed up college kids in Harvard Square. Bonus of working in a family friendly office is that the kid's Halloween sugar high totally rubs off on the parents. The NOT fun part of the day was me sleep walking through Central Square freezing at 9 a.m. when a freakshow Scream costume jumped onto sidewalk. Boo hoo.
It wouldn't be Halloween without the cliche slutty costumes too. I can't hate though, we've all been there. KISS 108's Matty in the Morning had a hilarious discussion about Halloween promiscuity this morning. Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll came by to speak about the city's Halloween festivities and increased police presence. She noted one of the main problems of the partying to be the lack of underwear on girls. I guess it's good that the Mayor is addressing the problem but really? I would NOT forget that part of my costume ever, no matter how many Keystone's or SoCo shots I had in my dorm.
One Salem resident called in to note the joy she gets from watching all the girls strut around in their skimpy costumes at 7 p.m. and then seeing them at 11 puking their brains out in the gutter while their bumblebee friend in some lame costume holds their hair back. I guess that as I reminisce back on college Halloweens I had my day-I pulled out the minuscule "gangster" (a.k.a. pin striped lingerie) costume I wore freshman year which you couldn't pay me to wear now.
Wednesday's Lipstick Jungle had a insightful comment on the holiday too:
Kirby: I love Halloween.
Nico: Oh come on it's just an excuse for woman to dress up like sluts and for men to wear makeup without their masculinity questioned.
Kirby: ...and there goes my Jack Sparrow costume.
You hit it on the nose, Nico.
But I guess Halloween is all about being someone your not, so put on your skimpiest costume while you still fit into it and rot your teeth out. Meet you in the gutter around 11 :)
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Here in Boston, we always root for the underdog. It's a mentality I've always had, so when it comes to blogging I'm always looking for that great, under read blog that only gets a couple of hits a day to talk up. But I admit, it's hard to find talented little bloggers in the vast world of blogspots and wordpresses (did you know there's a blog born every half second?) but that doesn't mean we don't try! Hey, the Sox's hard work for 86 years payed off, right?
Blogger Chuck Westbrook is rooting for the underdog too- he is forming a group of bloggers to help bring awareness to underappreciated blogs. Here's Chuck's plan:
1. Gather some nice bloggers who believe in helping good content rise. The more the merrier. This becomes our group for the project.
2. A good, lesser-known blog is chosen. Everyone in the group will read that blog for two weeks.
3. At the end of the two weeks, the group moves to another blog to read.
Well, Blogette is a beginner blogger, and I'm always looking to bring in more readers and improve content! Pick me Chuck! :)
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
With some 200,000 stall holders it's sort of like a crafts fair, with the added convinience of the internet to sort through all the crap you wouldn't buy and organize your favorites.
The easiest way to browse through is by categories (such as clothing, books, jewlery, etc.), but you can also use their gift guide option to search by price, who your buying a gift for and what they like (example: search for a gift between $20 and $50 for my female friend who likes environmentally friendly products house warming party). Through their program Alchemy, buyers can post requests for custom handmade items, and then sellers bid on the opportunity to make the goods.The site is very well organized and fun to navigate and is the perfect place to find a unique gift for someone else or yourself!
Etsy is all feel good products too because buying homemade is always better than buying mass produced (plus you'll have a one of a kind product). You can also choose to "shop local" and buy from vendors in the Boston (or wherever) area or view their Geolocator to choose where on the globe to buy from.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Today is a holiday I can truly appreciate, National Chocolate Day!
I doubt you need convincing to indulge in chocolate, but in case you want to learn a little bit more about the girl's best friend here are some great choco facts to embrace:
Eating chocolate is (somewhat) healthy! Chocolate contains antioxidants which may help prevent cancer and heart disease. Dark chocolate contains nearly 8 times the number found in strawberries. Chocolate is lower in caffeine than tea, coffee and coca cola. Also, one plain milk chocolate candy bar has more protein than a banana.
The U.S. produces more chocolate than any other country but the Swiss consume the most, followed closely by the English.
Chocolate consumption releases a endorphins and serotonin, the same chemicals that are produced when you are in L-O-V-E.
Despite what your Mom may have told you, chocolate does not cause acne. In fact, you can pay a pretty penny at Spa Newbury in Boston for a Chocolate Body Spa Scrub, a la cocoa Spa Facial, or Chocolate Massage. My personal favorite is the Candy Bar Spa Body Wrap. For $125, "soak in a luxuriously rich chocolate bar candy wrap as you're smothered from head to toe in our chocolaty sweet spa confections. Enjoy the aromas and softer skin with this wonderful chocoholic fixing treatment". Sounds a little over the top to me. I'll stick to the Halloween candy for now.
Monday, October 27, 2008
I've been a fan of the Olsen twins since back in the Michelle days, even though my obsession has dwindled to more of a weird observation over the years. These days, I'd be more likely to scan through some bizarre fashion choices the two made instead of tune in to the Tanner family. Of course the twins have recognized this financial goldmine by launching a bio of sorts with Penguin books, Influence.
According to MK and Ashley's official blog:
Friday, October 24, 2008
Happy Friday! This morning I am working from home and I have been planning my entire week around one thing, morning TV! It's a shame that all of us working girls miss The Today Show, Regis & Kelly, Rachael Ray, Ellen, and The View which are all so much more enjoyable than the post work tabloid shots from Inside Edition and E!
I forgot how good morning TV was until the other day my co-worker and I had a discussion about how much we miss watching all of our a.m. favs (we initially got into this conversation because Ed Westwick of Gossip Girl (aka Chuck Bass) was on Regis & Kelly and did you know he is from England? English accent? See the things we miss!?).
So I thought for today I'd let you in on my so cool plans while I chill at home in my PJ's, and leave you with a little Ellen to sneak onto your work desktop in case you missed the real deal. It's Friday after all, enjoy people making fools of themselves busting a move :)
Thursday, October 23, 2008
7 year old Piper Palin has a Louis Vuitton bag and I don't. And that just makes me want to throw up. I don't like to give a 7 year old a hard time and I don't even like Louis Vuitton bags that much, but where's the intervention here!?
Little Piper was spotted earlier this week carrying a Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas Montorgueil PM , which goes for $790. Notice the jumbo McD's. Maybe the Palin family is justifying their apparel purchases by cutting back their food budget.
It's my understanding that the Palin family has been on a few shopping sprees and I'm not going to criticize Sarah Palin's wardrobe (hey, she has to keep up with Cindy McCain right?) But I think a Louis Vuitton for a 7 year old is a little much. I don't think Joe Six-Pack would buy a $790 bag for his daughter, but maybe Palin and I just disagree on our definition of middle class.
(In case you missed earlier headlines this week, according to Politico.com, The Republican National Committee has spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize the Palin family. Since early September, the family has racked up bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74. Records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree).
Hm. I would like the address and a Google map please of the Goodwill where these clothes will be donated. I'll snab the LV for myself and sell off the rest on Ebay.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Despite the fact that I love sharing photos, the last thing I usually want to do at night after work is sit in front of my computer photoshopping pictures. I love all the cropping and tinting that I can do on my Macbook that makes the pics taken from my crappy Casio camera seem like they were taken by a pro. But usually when I'm on a remote desktop my photoshopping capabilities are limied. For most of us, our work computers are sans photo shop and I always wish there was some way to edit photos on the go.
Using Picnik, you can edit your pictures right in your browser using photoshop usuals and special effects and then you can save your final product right to your computer. You don't have to download or install anything! You can play around for hours mixing photos together to create collages or puzzles, use over 35 effects to make your pic look like a neon sign or pencil sketch, or add text, shapes and frames.
I can already sense my boss getting excited about all the Halloween pictures I'll be editing on company time...
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
You may notice a new feature on the right panel of my blog today entitled "Blogette Reads". For now I just have a few pages, but I'm hoping to document all of the noteworthy blogs that I follow so you can have more posts to read too! Enjoy!
Monday, October 20, 2008
Trashy mags are a guilty pleasure for me, an indulgence best enjoyed in small doses. I refuse to pay for them, but I'll usually have gone through the entire stack at the gym by the end of the week.
One of my favorite sections has always been the "worst-dressed". I think of the photos as a little pick me up. If you can spend $6,000 on a Zac Posen dress and still be slammed by US Weekly, I feel o.k. for sometimes trying to get by in my college sweatshirt and jeans. At least I don't look like a disco ball like Jessica Simpson (see above).
The originial chief of the fashion police, Richard Blackwell, died today at 86. Mr. Blackwell was the first to compile a "worst-dressed list" nearly 50 years ago, inspiring the Perez's of our generation to thrive off of celebrity flaws.
Some of my favorite divas have benefited from Blackwell's buzz in their "any press is good press" wealth. According to Mr. Blackwell, Lindsay Lohan "went from adorable to deplorable:, Britney Spears wore "a bra-topped collection of Madonna rejects are pure fashion overkill", and Victoria Beckham topped his list as the #1 worst dressed celeb of 2008.
Friday, October 17, 2008
[Photo: wineshop by paul goyette on Flickr used with permission under Creative Commons Copyright.]
Blogette's typical Friday afternoon:
5 p.m.: Appreciating gorgeous crisp fall evening, leaving work content and craving wine
6:15 p.m.: Proceed into Liquor Store determined. Will find perfect bottle of wine.
6:30 p.m.: Stand in Liquor Store isle completely overwhelmed by 1,000+ bottles of wine, stare dumbfounded and observe what other people are buying
6:40 p.m.: Begin to wish I could casually stroll in and pick up random bottle of wine (mental note: research good, cheap wine). Meander towards wine specials, drawn to pretty bottles. Indecisive. Too many pretty bottles.
6:45 p.m.: Exit store unsatisfied with Barefoot, Yellow Tail or random cool label wine that was on sale.
Why do we find ourselves in this situation girls? Sticking with the same bottle of Kendall Jackson chardonnay is like picking out the same nail polish color for your pedi every week. Why not consider the other endless possibilities?
I'm clearly not the person you want to get your ritzy wine recommendations from, but I do know from years of waitressing that a $10 bottle of wine can taste the same (if not better) than a $50 bottle if you're choosy with your selection. So I did a little research and came up with a Vino Grocery List. Consider it a bucket list for diva wine dabblers:
Luna di Luna ($7-$20): These jewel colored bottles are gorgeous, cheap and offer pairings of traditional grapes. My favorite in their line is the blue bottle of Sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot Grigio, which is inspired by the famous Murano glass of Venice. Amongst other vibrant choices are the Merlot/Cabernet in Ferrari red and a sleek jet black bottle of Sangiovese/Merlot.
Xplorador Concha y Toro ($7): When you think red you usually think Italy or California, but these reds represent Chile's new move towards wine-making. The Merlot is available at 7-Eleven (!) but tastes like it's a hand picked from an Italian wine cellar.
Castle Rock Carneros Pinot Noir 2003 ($10): Pinot Noir is usually a good transition if you're not a big red drinker. It is usually more on the expensive side, especially since it's such a trendy red right now, but I found this one on countless under $20 lists online.
Saint M Riesling 2006 ($12-$15): Riesling is a German white that is usually on the sweeter side and a good choice for a summer or desert wine. Be careful when buying though, label’s with trocken (“ dry” in German) will be dry. Look for "Auslese" if you want the sweeter taste.
Little Black Dress Wines ($6-$10): I'm aware of my aforementioned label problem, but this wine (especially the Pinot) is a high quality white and is perfect for girls nights.
For further inspiration, check out the American Wine Awards 2008: Best Wines Under $20.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I looove holidays, and mostly for the food. These days you can usually even expect a good brunch out of Mother's and Father's day, but other "Hallmark holidays" are the worst.
"Hallmark holidays" ironically are not on my x list because of their over commercialization (I can appreciate a nice Christmas tree in Macy's in September) but rather because they do not usually involve food and because greeting cards now cost more than my morning coffee (and those crazy music ones can top out higher than dinner).
Today's official holiday might be Hallmark's most lame attempt, Boss's Day. Supposedly it is a day where we are supposed to thank our bosses for being kind and fair throughout the year.
So in case you forgot to pick up a greeting card on your way to work today, take a tip from Jeffrey Yamaguchi, who clearly shares my opinion of the ridiculousness of this "holiday"...
Here's a few of his realistic Hallmark card entries from his "What To Say To Your Boss On Boss Day" :
"Thanks for calling me during my vacation -- I knew something was missing, and when all that work stress flooded back into my core, I figured it out immediately."
"Thanks for using your expense account to buy our holiday gifts -- at least we got something decent this year."
"Thanks for 'working from home' so much."
"Thanks for 'running late' so often and causing our never-ending staff meetings to be cancelled."
"Thanks for dancing like that at the office party and even giving the thumbs up while I captured the whole thing on video with my cell phone."
"Thanks for always thinking of us. We've come to love and cherish the leftover danish from your meetings, given that that's about all we ever get. Happy Boss's Day!"
"Thanks for always keeping me in the loop. For example, I love how you come by my desk and tell me the coffee pot is empty, every damn time. Happy Boss's Day!"
"Thanks for always stepping in front and taking the lead. You really know how to take credit for everyone else's ideas and hard work. Happy Boss's Day!"
"Thanks for all your efforts. Such as the way you can just keep on talking about absolutely nothing and make those staff meetings drag on forever, to the point where everyone just wants to stab their own eyeballs out. Happy Boss's Day!"
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I'm an observational commuter. Occasionally on the T, I'll get into a book and politely keep my head down, but for the most part I'm a starer. Actually, I take advantage of the fact that most people are not starers. I'm that person that you don't think is watching you pick you nose or send cheesy texts to your girlfriend or listen to Ace to Base on your IPod. (Side note: I am always amazed at the things people will text/email with the assumption that no one is reading. Scandalous.)
Before you go and think I'm a creep, I'm going somewhere with this. For the most part, the findings of my staring are overwhelmingly positive and even uplifting. I find that most riders are more than happy to give up their seat and try to clear the way as much as possible on a packed train. Even cell phone gabbers aren't that bad. I actually enjoy my T observations because they sort of give me a little faith in the benevelance of Bostonians.
So, imagine my surprise to find that this week the MBTA put bright posters on 600 subway cars and 400 buses with messages such as ,"Don't be a drone on the phone.","Be sweet. Offer your seat.","Don't be a lout. Let them out." and "Don’t dash without your trash."
Umm question: What is a lout? Are there people that seriously use the word drone? The "Courtesy Campaign" is a valiant effort, but based on these signs I'm guessing that the MBTA is not working with the likes Arnold or Hill Holiday.
In past "Courtesy Campaigns", MBTA employees distributed $2 Dunkin' Donuts coupons to passengers performing small acts of kindness. That's my kind of a brownie point. But last I heard the MBTA was in some serious financial trouble so I doubt I'll be getting free Dunkies anytime soon.
I do appreciate the MBTA encouraging common courtesy, but I think that there's a bigger picture as well as other issues that I'd rather have my Charlie Card fee go towards, like safety for woman traveling at night.
For now, I'll have to settle for the new signs adding a little comedic relief to my commute. And I'll add drone hunting to my staring routine.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I apologize that my mini getaway to NYC coincided with a bit of a blogging hiatus over the long weekend. As much as I love my weekend trips to NYC, having a Friday vaca day plus a Monday holiday had me thinking bigger and better things in travel (bigger meals in Italy and better beaches in Greece anyone?)
Aspiring jet-setters such as myself will love the hidden gem Girlfriend Getaways, a magazine where you can find steals catered to just you and your girlfriends' travels (this is not your typical National Geographic fashionistas).
Their first issue was over two years ago (by Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, the travel pro's), and based on my reading Girlfriend Getaways has come a long way since then. I scoured the shelves of Borders and Barnes and Noble for the magazine, but it seems as though it is an order by mail only. But the website is one of the best I've seen, with all you'd expect from a great girly magazine plus some additional features:
*Stories for those who enjoy the great indoors too: A Bachelorette Handbook, an informative 'Don't Let Wine Intimidate You' guide , yummy recipes for girls nights and a "Scrapbook" section where Gawker blogger Jessica Coen chronicles her travels.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
We’ve all done it. Circa 2 a.m. Saturday night, you stumble in from the bar, plop down in front of your laptop and proceed to compose a gmail response to your boss (one less thing to do hungover) or profess your love to your ex-flame. I’m an on the go-offender myself. Damn blackberry email capabilities.
Well this week Google announced a side-kick to assist in combating drunk habits, “mail goggles”. The term is a play on “beer goggles”, the sad but true presumption that after a few glasses of wine, the scrawny guy in the corner with the sweater vest increasingly resembles John Mayer.
At the bar, we have our girlfriends to assure us of the true nature of our prey (I do believe my best friends saved me on my 21st from going for a 40+ married man). At our computers, we now have Mail Goggles on our side.
Google’s plan is to make sure that you really want to send that email by automatically prompting you to answer five simple math problems before you hit the ‘send’ button. Apparently if you can do a little addition and subtraction, you should be aware of the consequences of your emailing. I've never been a math quiz and I'm not sure how accurately this is all going to resonate with a tipsy Blogette, but I'm definitely seeing success for a similar Facebook app.
According to the Official Gmail Blog, Mail Goggles is by default only active late night on the weekend, as that is the time you're most likely to need it. Once enabled, you can adjust when it's active in the General settings.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
For those of you who can only have so many cashmere cable knit sweaters, did you know that JCrew has a trendier, less preppy little sister?
Madewell 1937 was founded right in New Bedford, Massachusetts. It's long since then been acquired by JCrew and has a lot of nice alternatives to critter clothing for sophisticated yet ecletic folk (for 20 to 30 percent less than JCrew too).
The fall collection is a women's-only line of tight skinny jeans, long grandpa style cardigans, slouchy bags, and modern accessories such as bright rumpled scarves. They have a real focus on "staple items", especially jeans, to promote value instead of volume. Consider it a cross between Forever 21 and the Gap.
The items in their fall collection that caught my eye were garment dyed jeans in "fall colors created using an old school dye process" ($98.50) and vintage looking boots in Italian leather and suede.
Madewell only has eight stores, and we're lucky to have one right here at the Natick Mall! Otherwise, you can order through their website where it's still archaically "call to order".
NYC girls should hit up their flagship store in SoHo, which has been hosting “Denim After Dark” parties on Thursday nights complete with discounts, DJ’s, mojitos and cupcakes. You can also stop by SoHo for their Saturday afternoon “Made-in Madewell Series” to check out how-to workshops and special appearances from NY artists, designers and editors.
For those serious about Madewell shopping, today and tomorrow you can save 15% off your order by joining their Facebook group.
1245 Worcester Street, Natick, MA 01760
SoHo Flagship Store
486 Broadway at Broome Street, New York, New York 10012
with additional locations
Monday, October 6, 2008
Today’s post was going to feature gorgeous panoramas of fall foliage, recipes for apple crisp and fresh apple cider, and photos of artsy pumpkin faces that I carved out Sunday night.
Now bring yourself back into reality and sympathize with my participation in alternative fall festivities for 20-somethings. I apologize for the lack of a feel good, pick me up Monday post, but I’ll spring for honesty instead. I spent Saturday at Harpoon Brewery’s Oktoberfest and Sunday I was way too hung over to even leave my couch, let alone drive to the boonies of Western Mass. for climbing trees and picking out gords.
So I’ll indulge you in my weekend spent with Southie’s finest keg killers, complete with chicken dance and polka contests, keg bowling and German chocolate cake eating contests. I know, you’re dying for the apple pie recipes already.
Aside for a small tasting of Wiener Schnitzel in Austria (gross), I was an Oktoberfest virgin until this weekend. First impression of Oktoberfest was that it reminded me of a carnival for nostalgic recent graduates dying to relive their day drinking days (myself included). But after a few UFO’s and bumping into old friends, I began to appreciate the atmosphere and the obscenely long times for keg beer and porta potties just faded into the crowd.
I looked online to try and be scholarly and give you all some cool facts about Oktoberfest being more than just drunkenness, but I didn’t find much. And I don’t like to endorse researching at Wikipedia, but their entry too accurately summed up Harpoon’s festival this weekend:
“There are many problems every year with young people, who overestimate their ability to handle large amounts of alcohol. Many pass out due to drunkedness. These especially drunk patrons are often called "Bierleichen" (German for "beer corpses"). They are brought by staff to a medical tent where drunks as well as sick people are treated.” Gotta love quality shared research. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oktoberfest)
We only lasted until around dinner time (Weisswurst, Sauerkraut, and Bratwurst only satisfy you for so long) but my guess is that there were Bierleichens aplenty in Southie come Saturday night. Something we can all appreciate, German or not.
Labels: partying and drinking
Friday, October 3, 2008
Translation: now not only can you watch Lipstick Jungle and Gossip Girl online, but you can post full episodes on your friend’s walls for quick reference. “Check out the skirt Serena is wearing after the third commercial!”
Also, I thought the catchphrase of Facebook was “Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life”, (referencing the new facebook’s homepage), aka encouraging person-to-person communication. Not sitting on your Facebook page for hours on a Saturday morning watching every past episode of The Office.
I think Mark Zuckerberg is just encouraging us to be zombies in front of the Facebook screen (think ad revenue) instead of zombies in front of the TV per usual. Slide, Inc. is already the most popular third-party application, with 20 million active users monthly.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
I really hate to Palin bash. It’s just too cliché. But Sarah Palin BINGO was just too tempting, I hit print instantly.
I can’t think of a better way to fully acknowledge the Palin ism’s that I am so highly anticipating hearing tonight.
You can’t beat applying a classic American pastime to a classic American bimbo. The fact that she’s a politician too is just icing on the cake. Enjoy :)
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Well, I've got a good one for the candidates this week:
Who came up with the idea to call this plan a “bailout?”
Honestly, bailout!? You couldn’t pick a more negative word to scare off impressionable voters in an election year. It practically screams “rescue Wall Street with my hard earned tax dollars”.
My immediate, and I admit, incorrect assumption for the blunder was the Bush Administration. But with infamous slogans such as “weapons of mass destruction” and “the war on terror”, surely President Bush knows how to use political spin to his advantage and couldn't have been the culprit in the "bailout" coining.
President Bush has actually avoided using the “b” word. On last Wednesday’s prime-time address, he called on Congress to support his administration’s “rescue effort.” On Saturday, in his weekly radio address, he called it a “bipartisan rescue package”.
Government officials have similarly avoided using the term “bailout”. During the presidential candidates’ debate on Friday, the moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS called the plan both a financial rescue plan and a bailout. Both presidential candidates avoided “bailout” in their answers.
I am usually one to side with the first amendment, but in this case the media is to blame. I am baffled, and convinced, that their word choice has had much to do with the outcome of Congress' decisions over the last few days.
At a time when even Wall Street execs can’t predict the future, it is unfortunately very difficult to find an unbiased opinion. I’ve realized the power of rhetoric as a public relations tactic and have been inspired to read beyond the headlines. I hope you are too.