Sunday, January 25, 2009

Everybody Is A Star

Check my review of a band with the unfortunate name, Gringo Star in the new Bust.

BONUS: You'll also find the always stylish Louise Sturges (of Besosyfotos fame) and her winter coat featured in the Looks section.



Monday, January 19, 2009

Beauty Booty

As the winter seems to be closing in on us here in NYC (Currently 26 degrees F!!), I celebrated MLK Jr. day big time in my apartment getting over a head cold, and wallowing in my own pity. With my cold has come lots of scaly skin, raunchy smells, and of course, aches and pains. Wanna make out? Just kidding. Luckily, pre-leaving-fancy-magazine-job, there was a sale of all beauty products given to the mag for testing, and I acquired something like a bushel of shmancy skin swag for so cheap I can't even discuss it!

My faves out of those that I've tried:

DOUBLE DEFENSE Face and Body SPF 30 By Somme Institute
This moisturizer is thick enough to deal with my winter scales, but not make me feel like I'm wearing a grease mask. Since I've been blowing my nose every five minutes, I've developed quite the attractive chap 'stache, and this stuff has been a soothing godsend! I'm also digging the 30 SPF provided I get to see the light of the sun again!

Not that I need to reverse the signs of aging, but my boyfriend used this stuff, and said he totally noticed a difference in his skin. As a (mostly) ex-smoker, he says this stuff reversed the havoc that the cancer sticks began around his eyes.

SOS KIT FIRST CLASS FLIGHT Pure Rosewater Mist by Sheerin Okho
I don't think this particular mist is sold anymore, but now comes in a sheer lotion. Whether working all-nighters or traveling coast to coast, this spritz was an automatic eye opener, and smells amazing due to its natural ingredients (Rose, jojoba, ginseng).

I'll update when I get to the rest. My bathroom would look like Sephora if I had all the stuff I scored in view!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Chug A Lug Donna

While in San Francisco, we also celebrated my boyfriend's parents' 40th wedding anniversary. As they have become avid wine collectors in the past couple of years, we bought them a Vinturi Wine Aerator for evenings when they just can't wait for a decanter to do the work. 
After pouring through this little contraption, it makes a weird farting sound, and then-- um POOF?--the wine is automatically fuller and more robust in flavor in seconds! Pretty amazing and perfect for having just one glass-- or for pouring directly into your mouth! 

Saturday, January 17, 2009

In Vino Veritas

Bouncing in the back seat of a luxury conversion van with the commentary of a football game (Or maybe it was baseball? Basketball?!) booming in acoustic flush surround-sound under walnut wood trim was not the way I envisioned my introduction to Napa Valley wine tasting-- but who am I to complain? I wasn't paying for it. So I just sat back, tried to refrain from hurling up the bottle of Malbec plus all three Manhattans I'd imbibed the night before, not to fail to mention my breakfast (an In and Out Burger) as we jounced through the twists and turns of Northern California. On my occasional peeks out the window, though the morning was dreary and overcast, I saw some of the most beautiful land I'd seen in a long time. Living in New York City, natural greenery is like gold to me. However, being that it was December, all the vines were dry and barren, but one could imagine the lush fruit that they might produce as Spring draws near. This reminded me of my favorite Greek myth of Persephone, Goddess of Spring, Queen of the Underworld, daughter of Demeter; Demeter, Goddess of Grain and Fertility, and ironically AKA Amphictyonis-- wouldn't you know it--Goddess of Wine. With Persephone's relationship to the wine goddess, it is no surprise that she teeters between darkness and light (Remember that scene in the movie, Sideways?). Hitting a particularly sharp curve, my stomach is further reminded of the dark side of that grape, but saved when my boyfriend's sister declares that we have arrived at our first winery. 

Stop 1: Dutch Henry Winery
The tastings at this winery were conducted among the barrels of wine being distilled, which proved to be an interesting sight in comparison to the sometimes bustling, other times snooty shops I'd been to before. As I was still crawling out of my hangover, I have no recollection of the wines tried, nor whether I liked them that much. The winery did have a pet cat named, Lucille (after the song and/or B.B.King's guitar) that made a stronger impression on me than the wines. The wine did provide a certain animal quality for me that was helpful, though it was more canine than feline.

Stop 2: V. Sattui Winery
As we pulled up to V. Sattui, I wasn't sure if we'd arrived at an enchanted elven village or a typical American roadside attraction. I later decided that it was a mash of both, minus the the elves-- although I think I did see a midget-- err little person. Having been attacked by twisting vines and stucco, this place really is quite lovely. Upon entering their shop, we realize that this is the Costco of vineyard shops. Bargain wines, multiple tasting stations, and an abundance of bulk wine sales greet us. Amid all of the boom, I feel like I'm going to barf, so I make a run for the cheese tasting section to try to get something more solid than a greasy burger in my stomach. I squeeze my way between a rotund fellow tasting every cheese on the chopping block, tried a morsel or two to ground my rolling belly, and score wedges of Garrotxa, Chipotle Cheddar, and Piave to munch on pre-dinner. Finally, I run back to the tasting room to, luckily, find a gentleman just opening up his station before all of the other plebs (I suddenly think I'm royalty in this fake enchanted village.) We try the wines. One of them tastes like strawberry cough syrup and is described as, "Great with pizza!" I'm almost losing faith, but we eventually come to a dry Reisling (2007 Johannisberg Dry Reisling) that I actually liked. I don't usually go for the sweet stuff, but this had a surprisingly crisp taste, and I have been dying to sip it again since we purchased some-- but alas, we are saving it for a special occasion, because back to reality--WE are the plebs. (FYI: All the wines sold at V. Sattui are only sold at the vineyard, and they welcome you to pop open a bottle and picnic on some cheese on one of their many picnic tables located on the vineyard grounds.)

Stop 3: Whitehall Lane
Quite the bare bones establishment to V. Sattui. This place had a rather small tasting counter with several reds I enjoyed, but an oaky Chardonnay that made my toes curl! Nevertheless we made it away with an equally oaky and nutty, but subtly sweet and rich Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as a good buzz. The glass-capped Reserve Cab is still on our wish list.

Stop 4: Robert Sinskey Vineyards
Lastly came this charming little tasting room, which offered a drink menu that came with a bonus: SNACKS! For each bottle tasted came a particular hor d'oeuvre to enhance the taste. After about five glasses of wine (Spitting is for dorks-- and well, we had a driver!) the munchies were most welcome. I'm pretty sure I liked all the wine here, but by this point, I cannot be trusted. We bought a bottle of a blended red called POV. All the bottles at this vineyard have photos taken around the vineyard. Ours has a sheep on it. How adorable.

On the ride back, I forgot all about my hangover, and Persephone, and the swerves and the curves. I think I just fell asleep. Cheers!


Having been stuck at home 1.) sick 2.) with no job 3.) afraid of frost bite, I've been getting a healthy dose of T.V., so I just saw that Pepsi Commercial with The Apples in Stereo's song 'Energy' in it. I actually didn't even realize it was them until I googled it, but after I did, it got me thinking. This could be bad.

First of all, here's the real video for the song directed by none other than Elijah Wood:

The video is pretty blah, but the song has been motivating me out of my personal blahs.

Second of all, I once won tickets to see The Apples in Stereo off my college radio station in North Carolina for their 2003 tour. It happened about this time 6 years ago. At the time I was going to UNC-Greensboro, and loathing all of my surroundings. Teen angst! Yessss! So I found my rather puerile review of the show.

I was 19, and looked something like this:

Apples in Stereo were really good, although the audience was being pretty lame. I mean, you would expect some people to dance or something with the kind of music that they are...but whatever. I mean, people started leaving before they even cut the lights back on in the club, nevertheless, the band came back and did an encore for the remainder of the polite people who paid to see their show. They look different than I thought they would...but they seemed really friendly and and bubbly...which I guess matches their music. was very smokey in Cat's Cradle(worse than usual)...and I thought my eyes were going to fall out. I am so glad they outlawed smoking in clubs in more reason to live there! (NOTE: BAHAHAHAHA!!!!) After the show, of course we had to go to:

(a 24-Hour greasy spoon in Carrboro. popular with the college-folk.)

(This is my friend, Adam at Time Out. He lives in Oakland now, and is married to a friend of the girl seated next him.)
So that was it...then we got back really late...and i had to park in BFE (Translation: Bum-Fuck Egypt)...and walk all the way ACROSS campus to my dorm, carrying my huge cd book, among other things. It was freezing outside. This was definitely my least favorite part of the evening.

p.s. i only have $35 in my bank account. uh mom? help...?

Not much has changed, I guess. I have since purchased an Ipod. (Although, I still have all my disks and tapes-- most likely covered in a layer of dust-- in a trunk in my apartment.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Failing Economy? Schmailing shmeconoshmy! Buy Some Stuff!

ANTHEM magazine was supposed to be doing a "Cool Stuff In '09" article, which in a sad, sad 20 page cut, turned into an online project. I know some of the items were included in their Holiday Gift Guide, but the other 70 some odd items disappeared into dust. They may have appeared on Anthem's site, but I'm not sure.

Regardless, here are some of my blurbs:


The Optoma Pico Projector, an itty bitty video projector retailing at $430, hit shelves this December—it’s perfect for slideshows of holiday folly and impromptu, lo-fi movie dates. This little baby projects an image from most smart phones, iPods, and other handhelds for instant entertainment straight out of your pocket, with a maximum image size of 66 inches. One caveat: the amplified sound is as teeny as the 4.2-ounce device itself, so get an earphone jack splitter to watch with a buddy.

Buying a digital camera can be tricky these days. On one hand you need something pro for those weather-beaten captures of your cross country trip next summer. On the other, you need something fast to bust out when you find your roommate locked out in nothing but his socks. Olympus understands. Not much bigger than a Twinkie, the compact, Olympus Micro Four Thirds Camera is smaller than its big bro the Four Thirds Camera, and comes fully equipped with auto-focus, interchangeable lenses. To top it all off, looks like a mini-version of your dad's leather bound job from the 70's.

It's a motorcycle! It's a car! No-- It's a Carver One. This 3-wheeled Dutch hybrid vehicle steers like a car, but carves like a motorcycle for tight handling, earth-friendly fueling, and safety. And did we mention it’s fast as hell? The compact design allows tandem seating for a passenger, and easy parking in crowded, urban environments. While this should be available in the U.S. by late 2009, you might have to swim across the pond to try out this ride sooner; the release date in the U.S. for this fuel-efficient car-cycle keeps changing due to our heavy road rules and regs. (President Obama: Do something!) Check it out in Europe in 2009, and cross your fingers for a swift American release.

Object Oriented

Every morning, without thought, I take her in my hand, get her wet, and stick her in my mouth. She feels so under-appreciated-- So used! (I’m talking about my toothbrush, with its stoic curves, of course). Have you ever thought to examine and appreciate the mundane accessories that populate your life—the toasters, the forks, the pencils? If so, take note: filmmaker Gary Hustwit is a lover of objects, and in his upcoming film Objectified, he and his associates show us the beauty in those every day objects that we often forget to adore. "The term objectified has two meanings, " Says Hustwit, "One is 'to be treated with the status of a mere object.' But the other is 'something abstract expressed in a concrete form.' It's the act of transforming creative thought into a tangible object, which is what designers in this film do every day." Although Hustwit will be giving thought to those tangible things that many consider mundane, Objectified features some of the top chihuahuas in the design and art world—Paola Antonelli, Curator of Architecture and Design at NYC's MoMA, Jonathan Ive, Senior VP of Industrial Design at Apple—so expect bells and whistles on those forks and pencils.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Wino Forever


Friday, January 9, 2009

Baby It's Cold Outside, But I've Got My TV To Keep Me Warm

BIG LOVE season premiere january 18 9pm
I have been waiting for this for what seems like a DECADE! I've even resorted to watching the old episodes On-Demand. In fact, HBO is offering three 2 minute sneak peaks of the new season for those who can't wait till next week! The sporadic seasons of Big Love might be blamed on last year's writer's strike, but I'm not certain. With the wide spacing of the seasons, I get freaked out with all the kids on the show, because suddenly they've all aged so drastically. When the first season ended Ben, the eldest son was a soft-faced little boy, by the time Season 2 began, he returned 2 feet taller, and totally makeoutable! Margene's babies went from newborn to about 10, okay 2, and she herself went from fat to anorexic. By next season, I won't be surprised if Sarah, the eldest daughter is 35, with 5 or 6 of her own kids running around!

Ah! I love this show. The drama, the score, the characters. Can't wait!

The season premiere was totally disappointing and boring, but I'll still watch it, and hope it gets juicier. Mmm, incest (It's not really though, right? They share a half sibling, but that doesn't make them related. It will just make for um, awkward family reunions. Yeah.)

Honestly, the premiere of this show made me nauseous. I will still watch it though, as I am sort of desperate.

See above-- AND I went to Trash Bar to see a friend of a friend play one night. About 10 people were there, but apparently, they had been taping in there earlier for this show. I'll always find guilty pleasure in TV shows, movies, and books set in NYC so I can pick out the places I recognize. (i.e. The Real Housewives of New York, Gossip Girl, Sex and the City, Woody Allen movies, Rom-Coms, Cactus Flower, The Great Gatsby, American Psycho, and of course, Breakfast at Tiffany's)

Does anyone know when this premieres?! Last I heard there have been no new scripts written!! If this show ends and more trashy reality shows replace it, I might lose faith in the media all together. Last season didn't start till last July, so I'm not too worried yet.

HBO Presents GREY GARDENS april 2009
I am also extremely psyched to see HBO's presentation of Grey Garden's in which Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange take on the roles of Little Edie and Big Edie, respectively. The film will not just be a reenactment of the documentary, but will delve deeper into the pasts of the women, and what brought them to the house that came to be Grey Gardens. I noticed much negative commentary over the choice of Barrymore for the part, but the makeup on her in the scenes shot inside the house is exquisite, and she truly embodies the part. As far as her acting chops go: She has done a lot of fluffy films, but her skills truly do ring out in films such as Woody Allen's, Everyone Says I Love You-- Lest we forget, she IS a Barrymore!


Plus people tell me I look like her so, you know, I dig her.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

December 2008 to Now.

Got laid off from my (semi-)fancy magazine job, but I didn't care that much. Great experience, low pay. Note: No job in the magazine industry is fancy. Looks like six to ten of my acquaintances have had the same thing happen to them recently, so I don't feel like a total loser. Left for North Carolina two days after my last day on the job. Immediately upon landing headed to NorthLake mall in Charlotte. Only 4 shopping days till Christmas! Bought my boyfriend a couple books-- one of my favorites, Like Water for Chocolate, and The Koran-- He said he wants to read the major religious texts this year. Got the fuck out of there before my head exploded. Headed to Concord Mills, another mall full of fat, sluggish shoppers. Got a 20-minute massage in the middle of the mall by a small young Asian kid. Worried that my ass crack was hanging out of my jeans the whole time, but then sorta got into it (Not in a sexual way). Met back up with my mom, feeling tired and sick, stopped at a craft store for some yarn. Spent the rest of the night on my parents' new leather couch engulfed in their plasma screen making a scarf for my stepmom. Woke up the next morning feeling mildly hungover even though I hadn't drunk anything. Headed to another mall. Bought my dad a Studs Terkel book, my boyfriend a robe, socks, and underwear, and my mom the new one by John Grisham-- Oh and my brother a Panthers jersey. At some point, bought my mom some other stuff, but this is all getting boring by now. Christmas Eve morning I woke up still feeling exhausted, but feeling like I could run a marathon from the adrenaline I was pulling out of the reserves. Headed to my grandparents'. My grandma has an embroidery machine, so I embroidered some gifts for my boyfriend's family. Got in a fight with my mom, because I needed to meet up with an old friend, Maren, from college, but went anyway. Had shitty wine at an Italian restaurant where they tried to charge us for Frangelico that we didn't drink. I almost told them to leave it on the bill, and bring us the shots-- but didn't. Went to my Aunt's for my family's traditional Christmas Eve celebration. Played Christmas charades and the gag gift game. Wished there was alcohol or a nap involved. Stayed up till 3am helping my mom wrap my own presents, and thinking to myself how much a waste wrapping presents is. Christmas morning started at 9am. Stockings, presents, ate quiche. Got to my dad's by 11:30am- presents-- headed to my grandma's. Nursed a glass of wine. Headed to my other grandma's. Walked into a fight between my teenage cousin and my mom because she told him to stop texting at the table. Ah, kids these days! After dinner everyone is forced to open gifts one by one-- a close equivalent to a 3-hour Indian burn. Loved to see the family though. Back to my mom's. My friend, Matt came over to chat with me while I packed. We went to high school together, and he lived in NYC for awhile, now he's in Austin. I miss him. The next morning I was up by 7am and at the airport by 8am to head to San Francisco. My plane was delayed by 3 hours, but I made my connecting flight in Chicago by 5 minutes. On the plane to SF was trapped by the window by a lady with MS who couldn't move her legs. To get in and out, I had to fully straddle her, so I didn't get my free soda for fear of not being able to get out to pee. Met my boyfriend's parents for the first time. Felt anxiety over whether to shake hands or hug upon meeting them. I awkwardly did both. Had my third Christmas dinner of the season, but I was starving, so it was okay. Went to Fisherman's Wharf, and saw the seals, but most of them were retired for the winter. Had a decent soft shell crab sandwich, and bought some greens at the fresh foods market for New Years day. Tried every free sample I came across. Also, got a migraine, and felt like I was going to puke later in the day. Took a nap. Went to a restaurant called Bix that was all decorated like the 20's for my boyfriend's parents' anniversary. I mean, it was decorated like that all the time, not just for the dinner. Had marrow bones that were so rich the marrow dripped down my chin, tuna ceviche with jalapenos, and lamb sirloin. My headache was gone, so we met my friend, Leti from NYC at another bar that I forget the name of in the Mission, and later danced at a bar called the Knockout that my boyfriend claims he had been to before, but I dunno. Kind of drunk, we cabbed it back to the Marina, the hoity toity neighborhood my BF's sister lives in. Up and out the door by 10am for a ride to Napa Valley. We'd rented a van and driver, but the twists and turns on the way there were making me nauseous. Stopped at In-n-Out Burger. People rave about that place, but I'd take Wendy's or Taco Bell over that mash any day of the week. Yes, I got it "animal style." Stopped at a bunch of wineries. Ended up with three bottles in comparison to Mike's family's 6 cases. A meager, but good start to our collection. Napa is beautiful though. Go there to dream. That night, I think we had sushi at a place called Zushi Puzzle.  Sashimi, sake, rolls, the usual. I can't remember what we did later. Might have just had wine with Mike's fam. The next day walked from the Marina to Lower Haight. My legs are still burning from it. Found a rad vintage Betsey Johnson sweater dress at some thrift store there, ate pizza, and gave some away to some gutter punks. On the way there Mike realized the Butthole Surfers were playing the Fillmore, and got Gibby to put us on the list. I was psyched because we didn't get to see them in New York. This old hippie was doing those crazy psychedelic oil projections behind the band, which was cool. Just to note: The bouncers at the Fillmore are fucking dickwads. Met a girl outside the venue from Spain. I think her name was Ana. She had recently married her ex-boyfriend of eight years and said, "As long as you love, nothing else matters!" Grabbed a cab to a bar in the Mission appropriately named Casanova's to hook up with Mike's friends. The ratio of dudes to girls was 4:1. I went in to pee, and overheard a convo between two highly made up gals, "Brian Boitano? Don't we know him?" "Yeahhh. Didn't he go to --insert high school name here--?" Regarding the scrawling, "I <3 Brian Boitano!" on the wall by the bathroom mirror. As I was jetting out of the place, ran into Mike's friends who ushered us to a bar around the corner surrounded by bikers. Slow-danced to Love and Rockets, So Alive with Mike, and established it as "our song." I know, barf. On the cab ride home, had an arab cab driver who wore a purple turban, and good-heartedly talked to us about love and marriage. Next morning realized our legs weren't the best mode of transport, and took the 22 Bus to Pacific Heights for some upscale thrifting. I got an incredibly short vintage Ungaro dress to wear New Years Eve. It's turquoise and looks good with my hair. Mike found an awesome three piece suit, but it was a tiny bit too tight, so he decided against it. Made fajitas for Mike's sister and her boyfriend, and rang in the New Year at a dive-y sports bar in the Marina called the Horseshoe. Mike's sister's boyfriend is obsessed with all sports, but especially the Oakland Raiders. Mike bought everyone tequila shots to toast instead of champagne. We wanted to get out of the Marina, so we went to another party that Leti told us about that was basically a college kegger thrown by adult goths and ravers-- Or those reminiscing "the good ol' days." She wasn't there though, so we met her at another party full of party kids whom I felt I might have been friends with a few years ago. We arrived back home at 6am. Slept the majority of the next day. Saw that Benjamin Button movie. The next day was Mike's 30th birthday. We had really good vietnamese in the Financial District, hot toddys at Vesuvio where I ran into my long lost friend Adele who was bartending there, then took BART to Berkeley, which was totally pointless. I wanted to go to this little Ethiopian place I saw there, but met up with Mike's sister instead, who drove us back into the city, and steaks at Izzy's in the Marina. Got really drunk later on Manhattans at another dive that I liked better than the last one we were at. We returned home to take stupid drunk photos of each other that we can never show anyone. The next afternoon headed to the Mission again on a bus. Buses in SF are not like NYC subways. Quickly learned to sit in back, as sitting in front will force you to sit next to every homeless and/or crazy person smelling of urine/feces that boards. One guy got on with his own squishy butt cushion smelling like a booze factory, and made friends with another who thought he was Howdy Doody. Got Mike Mexican food at a place that looks like it could be in LA, and new shoes from a store that mostly sold colorful suits to pimps or those who wanted to look like them. The food was mediocre, but the shoes are A+. Arrived back in New York a couple nights ago. I've been sitting in my pajamas for a full day now staring at two unpacked suitcases.

To Do In 2009: 1.) Unpack suitcases 2.) Find job.

(This has been an homage to Bret Easton Ellis.)