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Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

…. Yes, I Have Them Too. My Biggest Phobias

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2009 at 4:00 am

I have a lot of phobias. I also have a lot of things that scare the living shit out of me. I will go through my phobia list, perhaps some of you have some of the same ones? I sure hope so.

1) I used to have dreams that alligators/crocodiles were walking around my bedroom all throughout my child hood. I used to knock violently on my parents door from the age of 6 through 11, asking them if it would be ok if I were to sleep in their tub. Clearly, I would be carrying my various baby blankets and G.I. Joe dolls WITH me into the tub. Either way, the concept of crocodiles and alligators still give me the creeps. I can’t figure out whether it’s more the fact that they are quiet killers or that they slowly lurk out of the murky waters.

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2) Getting sick, being nauseous– clearly I have been sick before but I truthfully just don’t like anything about it. I’d rather do anything else in life, like … become a mortician for instance. The feeling of not being in control is what I dislike most about it. I keep massive bottles of TUMS, Saltines, and Xanax close by for this very reason.

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3) Serial killers in movies that walk as opposed to run. I used to HATE scary movies, however, over the past 10 years I have grown a liking to the old school slasher flicks. I say slasher because those are truthfully the only ones I will watch (Think Urban Legend, Screams 1&3, Valentine, Texas Chainsaw) movies where there are attractive broads in white tanks, running UP the stairs as opposed to down.

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4) Wet Band Aids by the pool– OK you maybe laughing at me at the moment, but honestly, growing up I would get chills up and down my spine at day camp when I’d walk into the pool to find wet band aids and hair by the pool side. The thought of the germs on that wet nasty ass Band Aid STILL gives me the chills.

bandaid5) Finally, GREAT WHITES. I saw Jaws, of course, but prior to Jaws, I had a violent fear of Great Whites. Why you may ask? I sail, and when sailing in the dark many many things cross your mind. OH like, what would happen if a MASSIVE DEADLY GREAT WHITE, for example, DECIDED TO EAT YOUR ENTIRE DINGIE IN ONE GULP. I am still envisioning a white fin in the water every time I help my dad out on the boats.

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Here is my advice to the things that scare me: Great White, mind your own god damn business, leave us humans alone. Alligators and crocs, please stop being so sly and scary all at once — either speed up and kill me quickly or leave me be. Serial killers in movies, learn that the only proper slasher film way to kill someone IS TO RUN, not to walk. Walking intimidates not only the victim, but the viewers as well. And for the love of god, if you cut yourself and don’t feel the need for a Band Aid anymore — USE THE TRASH CAN. Is that too much is that to ask?

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I’ll Have a Milkshake, but can I have a toy too?

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2009 at 4:00 pm

I will take you down Memory Lane for just a minute. My old baby sitter Sharon used to be the chauffeur for both me and my brother growing up. I remember the countless trips to Mickey D’s after school. My parents were rarely around so in return during the school week, Sharon would pick us up from school. My brother holding his breath until he turned blue seemed to do the trick — we somehow managed to weasel our way into daily trips after school to our favorite “toy store if you will”. Also, known as McDonald’s. While I truthfully enjoyed/ and still do enjoy my fair share of fast food, there was a clear draw to the free toys given to me as a child.

I remember nights me and Bren would sit in our teepee outback behind our house. We would lay out all of the Mickey D toys we collected that week. Trade them. Boast about the ones we liked, perhaps bribe each other to “swap” for other more valuable ones. It was a major and I mean major source of entertainment for us growing up. Perhaps that’s why Shar would take us — less interaction time needed with the little bratty kids. Who knows?

What I do know is that the toys given out at these institutions really went hand and hand. I hadn’t thought NEARLY as much about the food as I did about which toy I was getting. 

o_Af66zfOm4TWNNCU-1For example, let’s look at some of the best of the best in regards to 90’s McDonald’s Toys. You gave me Beanie Babies AND Chicken Fingers? You were better than Santa Claus in my book. Over the years, I had collected thousands of “chachkies” but the Beanie Babies were the start of the good ones. I owned many real BB and loved nothing more than being able to collect “Mini”ones and bragging to my friends.

 

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 While I’m sure no one more than baby sitters and parents hated Furbies more, kids could not get enough. I had a Furby I recall, I named it something esoteric I can’t remember at the moment. Anywhoo, I was told to have the odd toy not starting quaking late at night. Clearly, my little Furby didn’t listen to my instructions, so it would start yapping it’s odd martian like mouth in the wee hours of the morning. By month 4, the Furby was asked to either be stuck in the trash can or “adopted by another family”. Needless to say, when this toy came out I was happy as a clam.

My question is this — do perhaps these great toys offered entice children to continue eating fast food? Serious Eats recently wrote a blog about the debate. I personally think as much as I believe the toys were staples in my childhood, they really DID entice me to go daily, weekly, monthly to the fast food chains. If they do decide to ban toys, I would be a bit sad…. only because it would be a large love lost. Hey wait, I still get to keep the Beanie Babies right?

Greek Nachos- NYT You’re a Genius

In Uncategorized on June 22, 2009 at 8:33 pm

I am a sucker for a weekly (cough sometimes more) trip to the local mexican restaurant around my campus in Boston. Cheap Margaritas, overwhelming heaps of nachos, and chilli I think about at night. I guess you can say I’m a Mexican Food Follower. When stalking Serious Eats this morning, as per usual, I came across a link to the New York Times Food review from the weekend. How I managed to miss it, I am not sure but luckily S.E. helped me out. The title of one of the articles read, ” The Minimalist — Behold The Greek Nacho“. I was intruiged to say the least.

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Alongside my adoration for Margs and Nachos, I am wildly an advocate of Greek food as well. Hummus?  Eh that’s far too commonplace for me. I love going to this little hidden gem of a restaurant called “Athenia’s Garden” back at home in NJ. They offer everything from delicious Bronzino to Oven Baked Eggplant garnished with mint, cilantro, lemon, and olive oil. With this in mind, I was hard pressed to figure out what this hybrid concept the NYT was referring to.

The article explained the new concept — ground lamb as opposed to beef, fresh feta instead of processed American cheese, with garnishes of tomatoes, cucumbers, and olives on pita instead of chips.

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While I realize the price to create this version is more expensive — I think it is a marvelous concept for healthy/better well being restaurants to integrate into their menus. It’s totally a comfort food reinvented. I love every minute of it.

Martha Stewart- The Woman, The Myth, The Legend

In Uncategorized on June 17, 2009 at 6:59 pm

I have never been classified as “domestic” by any means. I rarely am seen in an apron, petting a dog, or caring for a child. Over the past five years, however, my interest in cooking, photography, and reading have cornered me somewhat — I guess I have to now consider myself “semi-domestic” (like Sandra Lee makes only Semi Homemade foods). Since I have started cooking and blogging about my love for food/restaurants, I have obviously taken a liking to the one and only Martha Stewart. Out of the hundreds of food related magazines I purchase every month, I have to admit her’s is by far the most visually pleasing. It is also scary simplistic — mostly every recipe is less than 5 ingredients. I don’t know how it’s possible for her to create dishes with less ingredients listed than words in the title — but she somehow she manages to. I love her clean style of living. I can see her sitting in her Hamptons house — in a crisp white button up, jeans freshly tailored reading the New York Times waiting for her legendary Mac and Cheese to start bubbling.

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When it comes to her desserts, my mouth salivates at the thought of Martha’s creations. Perhaps I’m too old to yearn for  butterfly pretzel cupcakes for my 21st birthday dessert but it’s ok. Her cupcakes are especially beautiful and sophisticated. They aren’t over the top yet they do bring a level of excitement that’s rarely seen on cupcakes.

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The other aspect of her empire that I adore is her outdoor decorating. Personally, I live in a college style apartment so my desire to slave over the table with a hot glue gun to make “trimmings” for my pillows is very low. Her outdoor spreads in the magazine, however, are out of this world. I don’t really have a lot of outdoor events seeing as that I live in a Brownstone with a lovely view of the dumpsters. But if and when I own my own house (furnished with Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn of course), I will most definitely be incorporating many of Martha’s ideas.

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So in conclusion, Martha, if you happen to stumble upon this page, I hope you take it upon yourself to obtain my contact information and give me a ring. I would be more than willing to help in furtheing your already successful empire. I would even burn my fingers with the hot glue gun for you — now that’s love.

Lady Gaga or Lady Cuckoo? You Decide

In Uncategorized on June 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm

Here’s the thing. Everyone who currently lives in the US knows who Lady Gaga is by this point, I’m sure of it. For some reason though I still can’t decide exactly what my opinions are on the singer.

I thought she was a foreigner up until a week ago when I was told she graduated from Tisch School of Performing Arts at NYU.  That changed everything for me — I saw her as being some Swedish import that made it big over seas. Perhaps an American music manager heard her record and flew her to the US to test her hits out on American turf. When I was told she graduated from NYU the intruige somewhat faded — ok great, you graduated from Tisch. As did everyone else in my high school who performed in the musicals. I just think it was a big letdown.

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In regards to her music? Catchy. Poppy. Lucrative. She knows what works for her audience so I will give her credit for that. I unfortunately am stuck having to blast her jams in the car when I’m riding with my girlfriends to the bars. Her songs are very repetitive and very easy to memorize — aka, money makers. I wonder why she doesn’t break out of her comfort zone and dabble in more musically complicated/ challenging songs? Hmmm… I think I know the reason. $$$$$$

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Then, there’s her style.  That seems to be the biggest question mark in my book. Is she aiming to be the next Madonna or the next Angelina Jolie? I realize she is inspired by her quote on quote surroundings but I think some of the outfits she chooses to wear are just down right ridiculous. Yes, Lady Gaga I understand you liked to play with orgami when you were a child– however, that does give you the right to then go ahead and wear actual pieces of orgami on your dress.

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So, in a nutshell I can’t figure out what exactly my take is on Lady Gaga, I don’t think she’s half bad but at the same time I don’t think I necessarily like her either. Maybe if she did something shocking perhaps, like write a song about going to “Rehab” (cough Amy Winehouse cough) and then became a severly addicted drug abuser I would be more inclined to lean more favorably towards her. Hm.

The Hess Collection Winery

In Uncategorized on June 15, 2009 at 5:28 pm

I have been to a few really unbelievable wineries but nothing can compare to the Hess Collection. For starters, my mother and I picked Hess for its unique combination of both artwork and wine tasting.

Donald Hess, the owner and creator of the vineyard, aimed to display an entire art exhibiton alongside the countless rooms of wine barrells and tasting areas. While the vineyard itself was literally a four mile drive up a spiral street with NO side railings, it was definitely worth the drive. I don’t think that the exterior of the building was anything out of the orindary however what was featured inside most certaintly was.

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The three story building featured some extremely notable artists while others were a bit less well known but just as skilled. Two of the coolest pieces in my opinion were created by the artists Franz Gertsch and Leopoldo Maler.

v-hess-work395_1Johanna II – Gertsch

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Hommage, 1974- Maler

Johanna II was one of the most remarkable pieces I have ever seen in person. The massive painting looks more like a photograph than I have ever seen before. The incredibly fine details such as the wisps of hair and the peach fuzz on her face make it almost impossible to believe it was a painting. A cool fact about the piece is that if you look at it from the right, it looks like she is very solemn/serious, however, when you view it from the left it looks as though she is crying. Very very spooky and worth seeing in person.

 Hommage was just as shocking of a piece. This installation piece featured an old typewriter with actual flames bursting from the keys. It was symbolic of his uncle’s death as a result of his association with political activism and journalism.

All in all it is quite the vineyard/ art gallery. We even made some friends along the way:

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True Blood- Season Two Premiere

In Uncategorized on June 15, 2009 at 2:32 pm

I will admit I tend to get a little turned off when things that I enjoy become popular. For example, cough, my interest in the Stephanie Meyer books over a year ago. I wrote a blog expressing my strange interest in the tween vampire books. Shortly thereafter, every other 15 year old did too and the phenomenon began. My interest in the premiere of the show True Blood prompted me to write a blog about it. I was intruiged by the dark and twisted opening, as well as the racy human/vampire sex scenes. After the show took off, however, I became less interested in tuning in.

 

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The second season premiere was one I knew I had to watch though. As I expected, I was shocked/grossed out/begging for more by the end of the episode last night. It was racy, vulgur, and gruesome all at once.

Sookie’s character’s never been my favorite — she’s somewhat of a weak actress (Pacquin) but she does bring a sense of naivety and beauty. Although Pacquin’s a beautiful actress, I wish the casting director would for once place her in a new waitressing outfit. Maybe she should switch careers so that her attire would change too?

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I loved, and still do love Jason (Stackhouse) the most. His physique which is showed off countless times per episode is probably the main drawl to his character. He’s rarely shown with a shirt on, and I can’t say I mind. His acting is extremely believable too — I wonder where he’s going with this religious zealot personality he’s developed.

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While I think I enjoyed Season One more, I am looking forward to seeing just how racy this season will be. I am already immune to graveyard, vampire, bloody, sex scenes — is that a bad thing?

…. My To Do List

In Uncategorized on June 14, 2009 at 4:41 pm

So, the more I read Travel and Leisure and Food and Wine, the larger my To Do List gets. By “To Do” I mean more along the lines of “Hotels and Restaurants I Need to Visit“, you catch my drift. Here are the top items on my list, enjoy:

 

The Fountainebleu Hotel- Miami, FL

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While I wasn’t around when the Rat Pack was popular, I do know the impact it left on American Society. The Rat Pack inspired hotel, which recently spent MILLIONS of dollars on renovations, is THE hot spot to go to in Miami. Celebrities and wannabes alike flock to this hotel to see what all of the fuss is about. That’s precisely the reason I too, would like to stay there. Ok, so what if I’m not a celeb? I can still feel like one right?

L2O Restaurant, Chicago, IL

b-The-dining-room-at-L-40d793fcf698-1I don’t think there is anything on the menu that is necessarily out of the ordinary, however, it truly is a culinary experience so the critics say. I would love to buy myself a tan JCREW windbreaker/pea coat and head to the windy city for a long weekend. I would immerse myself in the bustling nature of the city just for that weekend, eat some good meals, make up an alias when I meet people and then head back to Boston. 

Delano Hotel, Miami, FL

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Now, I have had dinner/ drinks at The Delano, but I have never stayed there. BIG BIG DIFFERENCE. Let me explain why. I’m the person who goes outside to the pool area after dinner in the dark to look around see what I’m missing by not staying there. Let me explain, the Delano is THE spot to be — for the pool that is. The cabanas/ chairs have to be booked far in advance and come bearing a heavy price tag. I think when I’m a wealthy adult, I will spend some of my play money to buy myself a pool side cabana seat at the Delano. I will come decked out in a light wicker hat, gold stilettos, and a mini poodle. I think it sounds like a great plan, I don’t know what you think, but hey who cares — it’s my fantasy not yours.


School Lunch Issue

In Uncategorized on June 11, 2009 at 3:54 pm

So USA Today reported this morning that there’s been a large influx in the percentage of state incorporating low income student lunches into their school systems. Over 20 million students are currently enrolled in the lunch aid programs across the nation. While I think that the program is absolutely crucial I don’t believe that there is enough funding allocated towards the issue nor do I think the quality of food they are providing the children is beneficial to their health/wellbeing.

The majority of school lunches consist of food high in trans fats; some popular options include French fries, onion rings, hamburgers etc. The less nutritionally beneficial the food is, the less expensive it is as well which leads me to the big problem. While there are some schools that offer healthier school lunch options such as salads, wraps, and vegetable platters, they are all much higher in costs. Therefore, the only students who will be opting for the healthier foods are those who are more well off.

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The typical lunch for a student in middle/high school consists of something like what’s featured above –Chicken fingers which are fried, ketchup loaded with sugar and sodium, and French fries.

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This is an example of a much healthier school lunch consisting of Flank steak, sauteed spinach, tofu and brown rice, a pear, and soy milk.

Let me preface my statement by saying that I don’t think most schools could ever offer dishes such as flank steak as part of their normal daily lunch menu. I do think, however, that school systems nationwide must aim to create healthier and less expensive options for students who are part of the lunch aid program.

The increase in costs is the major concern for most education systems; they believe that increased funding for healthier lunches results in decreased funds for other things such as physical education programs, class field trips, and books. While they do have a point, I believe the health of their students should be made their main priority. Without proper nourishment, students mentally and physically are not working to the best of their ability.


…. Are Fanny Packs Still Made? My Questions for Napa Valley

In Uncategorized on June 9, 2009 at 4:05 pm

So, I’m back in the Old South Jersey, sitting on my bedroom floor reminiscing about my recent trip to the lovely Wine Country.  I will say this much, Napa is breath taking. The scenery is out of this world, as are the endless amounts of wineries. The drive through the town as well as the bordering towns such as Yountsville and Sonoma are just as impressive. Hundreds of rolling hills, grapevines, and sunlight. Who could ask for more?

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While sitting on a very long plane ride last night a question hit me. Why don’t San Francisco residents have second homes in Napa? Think about it…. All well-to-do NYC residents have houses in the Hamptons, all Bostonians have places in the Cape/ Nantucket. Why is it that people who live in either LA or SF don’t have second homes in this breathtaking, serene town? I think I figured out the reasoning after having spent just four short days there. The tourists.

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While going to countless wineries, I couldn’t help but notice the lack of culture/style the tourists who were visiting the vineyards had. I am not snooty by any means, but I would say out of a handful of 10 “fellow wine tasters”, at least 8 were featuring the oh-so-attractive Fanny Packs and or were severly over weight. The outfits matched their looks as well; many belly exposing midrifs were found, along side “pedal pushers” which were outdated before they even became fashionable.

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You would think in a town such as Napa the clientele for the wineries would match the classy feel of the vineyards/ town as a whole. That’s CLEARLY not the case. I over heard many many people saying how they weren’t willing to pay “10 dollars a head” for a wine tasting. No offense, but going INTO a winery you should know the minimum they will ask for a wine tasting consisting of four (sometimes even three) wines is ten dollars. Come on now!

In addition to the odd tourists, I was so surprised at the LACK of nightlife. Literally, the town shuts down its big bulbs come 9 o clock. No I’m not kidding. The only “bar” if you could even call it that, called Downtown Joe’s, is open late. The scene at Joe’s’ on a Saturday night is straight out of Superbad so it seems. The most diverse group of bar goers can be found in this hole in the wall restaurant that’s converted into a “bar” at night. Me and my mom were surrounded by ALL walks of life:

SoCal Army men up to Napa for a “good time” – aka on the prowl for drunk women who went wine tasting all day

Drunk 60+ year old couples who somehow managed to stay up past 9 o clock even after the day full of wine tastings

– The group of attractive SF girls in Napa for a Bachelorette Party who realize they are “too hot” for such a dive bar

– Then there were the townies, one of which was 24 and tried to take both me AND my mother home, that was amusing

– Finally, there was us. The two dressed to go out for a nice night “out on the town” only to find out… Joe’s was our only option

So in conclusion, Napa I ask you this: Why do you have such an ecclectic group of toursits? Why do you have no night life? And why for the love of GOD are fanny packs still produced?