Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rock rock rock and roll.

This post has been a long time coming! Though I sent out thank you cards after the wedding last August, I wanted to publicly thank four amazing ladies for their very special wedding gift to us.

Aileen, Gaby, Katie, and Perry all pooled together to get famed illustrator Rob Dobi to create a framed illustration of me & Jesse! In fact, of Jesse proposing to me!

You may be familiar with Rob Dobi's name from his site Your Scene Sucks. He also provided the illustrations for Trevor Kelley & Leslie Simon's fab book Everybody Hurts! Apparently, you can get illustrated yourself or commission Mr. Dobi to illustrate someone else, a la my four fab friends! Check out how here at Please Draw Me, where he also displays us along other couples he's illustrated:

When Jesse and I opened the gift, I immediately recognized Dobi's hand. I couldn't believe these girls did it! They worked with him to create all the minute details, too! (From my yellow bridal shower dress, my Harajuku Lovers heels, Jesse's Nikes, Jesse's Ben Sherman shirt, Jesse's tattoos!) And now we have a lovely (and crazy accurate) illustration of Jesse and me to memorialize the beginning of our lives together. My friends rule! So, again to Aileen, Gaby, Katie, and Perry - who all have lovely blogs of their own - THANK YOU!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Top Five Girl Crushes.

I've enumerated many a time my Top Five. However, I've never enumerated my Top Five Girl Crushes. These are ladies I want to befriend and converse with. I want to steal all their clothes, or simply go shopping with them. I want to pick their brains. I want to get hair and make-up tips. I want them to tell me their secrets to their confidence. These women, in my mind, rule.

I present to you, in no particular order, my Top Five Girl Crushes:

Gwen Stefani

No surprises here, right? I mean, she's been the inspiration to my LIFE since 1995. Through her music, honest lyrics (from a female point of view), fashion, classiness, business sense, and the way she seems to own at her own life - there's no one I'm more afraid of ever meeting, as well as hoping to become best friends with. If I could choose any one in this world to be a "mentor" in my own life, it'd be Gwen.

Penelope Cruz

I would be Penelope's frenemy in real life because I'd constantly be jealous of her beauty. And her talent. And her fiance. Just kidding about that last one! Kinda. She's simply mesmerizing - from Volver to Broken Embraces - and I want to figure out how to embody that hypnotizing quality. I wouldn't mind the sexiness, either.

Julie Delpy

Have you SEEN Before Sunrise and Before Sunset? Two of my favourite films of all time? You may remember me discussing how they are amazingly realistic romantic stories?? Because if you do, tell me how Julie Delpy manages to be ethereally beautiful throughout the films (and her career) with constant pre-makeover hair and little to no make-up. When my hair was long, it would look similar to Delpy's in it's frizziness and spontaneous waves. Yet, I was never so damn cool. Couple her effortless beauty with the loveliest French accent I've ever heard, and I'm smitten. Plus, she writes, directs, produces, sings, and gets nominated for Oscars for writing.

Zooey Deschanel

She's the reason I spent 2007 with bangs - the year I met Jesse. I want to steal her cute dresses and, sure, I'll take those gargantuan blue eyes, too. I remembered her very clearly from her bit part in Almost Famous. I followed most of her career since then through Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Weeds and 500 Days of Summer, and found her endearing and, suprisingly, not annoying. Then she co-founded She & Him. If you don't know yet, I basically think someone created that modern band with a 60s sound straight out of my head. And as someone close to my age that is also married to a musician (mine's cuter!), I feel like we could really bond if we ever met.

Tilda Swinton

If I could learn "badassery" from anyone, it'd be Tilda. She seems like she does whatever she prefers concerning fashion, the red carpet and her personal life - and all with a certain strength, confidence, and aplomb. Plus, she's strikingly gorgeous. If Zooey rustles up the girliness in me, Tilda (with a splash of Gwen) inspires the ties, the menswear, and any androgynous fashion I may wear on occasion. I once saw her walking out of a movie theater I was entering - I swiveled dramatically, in awe of catching a glimpse. As with all the ladies on this list, she's supremely talented. Sigh.

What are your top five girl crushes?!

Monday, June 28, 2010

I wander aimless, leering at strangers.

It's about that time again. Yes, we're a week and one day into my separation from Jesse, and no, the stagnant heated arms of the obliterating humidity aren't replacing Jesse's as I fall asleep. It happens this way. There's much to do, but my mind wanders like it sees a bright, shiny object to the west, and that would be my husband. So I drift into silences sometimes, staring out a window like I'm in a Sofia Coppola movie - pensive muteness, great soundtrack - and I think about him. We'll be together soon, but it's kind of one of those recurring and familiar feelings when he's gone away. It's not horrible, but I find myself sighing a lot.

The swell part is that he's there when I reach out for him - not physically, of course, but somewhere there. Invisible lines stretching until our voices or words connect. He's always there.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Under the Influence.

Dear Jessica,

Hey girl. Hey woman. I've just discovered that your blog still exists two years in the future, and this is good because it has brought me some EVIDENCE.

I know this is about the time that you have probably been getting a lot of that SAD KEANU meme thrown at you. I don't know what exactly a "meme" is or means, but that's what it seems to be called. Dude. You know me. I am not a sad dude. I am mother effin' KEANU REEVES. MY NAME IS KEANU. C'MON. But also, I make awesome movies with awesome stuff in them and make awesome money and read awesome books and I am friends with Jon Hamm and the point is SOMETIMES I LIKE TO HANG OUT ON A BENCH.

Your blog posts of letters from me is EVIDENCE to that.

I just like benches. They are perfect for taking in a book, a drink, a sandwich, and yes, even sometimes to think about life. I abwhore tables. (Is that the right word? That's the word of the day on my toilet paper, I've been repeating it all day and I think that's how it's spelled: abwhore.) At that moment I was not sad, I was thoughtful. Thinking mainly about how good that sandwich I just ate was. All those layers, man. That's what sandwiches are made of. Layers. Like me.

But yeah, so just to let you and your readers know: I am Keanu Reeves, and I am not sad. WHY WOULD I BE.



PS Please stop telling me my beard is disgusting. Way harsh, bro. I think it looks cool.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

We were young heartbreakers.

Yesterday, after celebrating Erica Dagley's birth, I went to work, stayed for an hour, and promptly headed back home in the throes of a tornado-like sickness involving exhaustion and nausea. Add to that the undying humidity that is slowly trying to kill me, and I nearly passed out on the subway platform.

The good news? I didn't pass out! And today I feel better! And yesterday I got to intermittently nap while watching movie after movie on my couch...

I frequent the film blogging site Scene Stealers, and last week one of their newest contributors, Vincent Scarpa, wrote an interesting post about the romantic comedy genre and the mostly awful offerings it's littered with. However, Scarpa actually loves romcoms and recommends two particular films that "both evidence all that a romantic comedy can achieve while also operating outside of the clichés that the modern romcom seems to attach to."

Me? I, too, love romcoms and completely agree with his first recommendation of Bridget Jones's Diary. The movie is a flat-out comedy in its own right, with a great romantic triangle storyline (though pretty much based on Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice) and Bridget Jones herself is so disastrous but likeable. Honestly, Bridget Jones is the only movie I've really liked Renee Zellweger in - and she totally deserved that Oscar nomination for it.

Happily agreeing with Scarpa on his first choice, I realized I hadn't even heard of his second nomination: Ira & Abby. And yesterday, in my couch-ridden healing process, I queued up the movie on Netflix Instant Watch (via Jesse's XBOX - I never though I would actually love a video game console!), and settled in.

I loved it! And also recommend it. Apparently it was straight-to-DVD! Jennifer Westfeldt, whose movie Kissing Jessica Stein I absolutely loved when I saw it in college (she wrote & starred in it), also wrote and stars in Ira & Abby. Oh, you may also know that Jon Hamm is her boyfriend, and has been since 1997. In fact, he has a bit part in this pre-Don Draper 2006 film. As a grungy ex-heroin addict! (Note: he's still disgustingly gorgeous.)

Here's the first thing I liked about it: you ever notice that the men in romantic comedies are usually perfect? Like, a real catch? Even if they seem like crap at first, they usually have a heart of gold? (See: Hugh Jackman's Eddie in Someone Like You). And that makes sense because women are the main audience for such movies, and you want your audience to want the guy - a miraculously perfect guy that exists no where in reality. Ira is probably the furthest from perfect dude ever in a romcom. He's so neurotic, dependent on therapy, and borderline infantile, that you kind of want to cringe at him, this supposed romantic hero.

But as a couple, Ira and Abby make sense. This isn't a movie about two people coming together by the end to live happily ever after, this is about two people who decide to be a couple and the trials and tribulations of a relationship. A will they/won't they stay together as opposed to get together. It has serious notes, for sure, and I enjoyed the push and pull of the story. Both lead characters are a little weird in their own ways, but ways that make them much more accessible in reality - they're not the flat, 2D characters usually portrayed in the genre.

I actually don't care to say much more about the film, because you should add it to your Netflix Instant Watch or buy it or what have you. It has some fabulous lines, lines that have stuck with me even today. (Also: Scarpa's review contains lots of spoilers, so don't read it before watching it! I also skipped that portion until I had seen the movie.) Has anybody else seen the movie? Thoughts?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


To be honest, we were out celebrating until 3am last night (this morning?) and this is the best I could muster. I think Erica knows how much a bad photoshop shows my love. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010



You loyal readers already know I love this album. I mean, have I stopped talking about it in the past three weeks since I heard it?! Seriously. But! Here's exactly why I love the album, the band, and why you should go ahead and purchase it!

I'll be honest: I'm always a little wary when a friend or acquaintance hands me music they've created or been involved in. Mainly because I understand how much effort and time and even soul goes into such a thing - and I'm scared I might not like it and have to lie just because I know how devastating criticism can sometimes be. It hasn't happened often, but still - it's happened.

When my good friend Tyler (drummer for AGBPOL, old friend, and boyfriend of one of my best friends) sent me the album, I had a few stirrings of anxiety when I added it to my iPod. However, after one listen, I sent him back an e-mail exclaiming how good it was and that I needed the album artwork, permission to post a song, etc., in order to spread the word.

My friends and his musical cohorts are talented! Creative! Original! Worthy of attention!

Have You Seen My Prefrontal Cortex? flows easily from the first notes of the opening track, "Alligator Bop." The music takes over quickly: I was immediately mesmerized by the first guitar sounds, the deep vocals, and the punching drum sounds. Before the first song was done, I was already swaying in time to the music. The songs all mesh together in a way I admire from some of my most favourite albums ever: I understand how they work together, but they all have particular nuances that set each song apart. In these days of single mp3 downloads, I appreciate when albums make sense from start to finish.

AGBPOL's album also achieves another level of specific Jessica Maria criteria, what I like to call the "life soundtrack factor." This factor specifies songs, albums, etc., whose sound is so particularly right, they have the ability to be associated with filmic moments. Like, it's the perfect background to walking down a busy street, or driving down a sunny highway. Songs I can use as my own personal soundtrack. There are some great albums that don't even achieve this; for instance, I really enjoy the new Gaslight Anthem, but their latest doesn't have the life soundtrack factor for me. It may for you, or someone else. In fact, in San Diego over the weekend, Jesse and I were driving down the highway blasting the new Gaslight, but I wasn't digging the mood. I switched it to AGBPOL and felt immediately more at ease with this "scene" in my life. (I watch too many movies, huh?) Anyway, if my life had montages in it, it would provide good music for that, too. I actually want one of these songs to be used in a final montage scene on a television show. Not kidding.

The dudes of AGBPOL should also be commended for creating such a fun album. I think I enjoy singing along to Pete's "oh oh ohs" and "woah-ohs" the most. Jesse and I were certainly doing that over the weekend. I've loved "ohs" in songs since hearing No Doubt's "Just a Girl" and especially in "Sunday Morning." Also, songs about spiders, zombies, and vampires? That's fun to decipher, too.

The point? Have You Seen My Prefrontal Cortex? is now available to purchase at their site! Check it out! Buy it! Take a listen! How do you like? Does it have a life soundtrack factor for you at all?

Also, here is their awesome, low-budget video for "Alligator Bop"! -

In related news, TONIGHT we'll be celebrating the release of their album at Erica's Trainwreck Tuesday at Angels & Kings! If you're around, come by! Also, at midnight, it's Erica's birthday!!!, so it's due to be a real funfest. Info on the flyer above!

Monday, June 21, 2010

I'll make my way back home to you.

The weekend went splendidly. I rather love San Diego after this, my second visit. It's beautiful, the weather is ideal, and we have good times with great friends there. As I got off the plane yesterday, into the dank humidity that blankets New York, I already longed to be back in Southern California - for not only the weather but the husband I left behind, too.

We stayed at a gorgeous resort, walked along the beach, met up with Aileen and Erica for the NBA championship game, did a little shopping at some lovely shops in Encinitas, went to a Padres vs Orioles game on a whim, hung out with Brendan, Jill and the whole Klein family - including his new three-day-old Lulu!, and Jesse even ate fried butter at the San Diego State Fair.

I loved the quiet moments, too. Jesse and I spent a good chunk of our vacation driving to places around San Diego, and along the PCH. We would blast music, sing it, or just talk. Or not. It's always fun, and comforting to be with him.

We decided we had to visit the San Diego Zoo, and unlike most of my zoo memories, this one didn't smell too bad! I got to see a cheetah (the best animal ever), a panther sleeping right up close, and a baby panda bear with its mom!

On Sunday Jesse drove me mighty early to the airport, and we said our goodbyes as we usually do. He's off to do about three weeks of Warped Tour, and I have a million things planned here. And how was your weekend?!

Bonus: me and baby Lulu hangin' out:

PS Babies are tiny.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I ain't into goin' steady.

My airport outfit! Okay, so I decided to forgo the Panama Hat mainly because I had just blowdried my hair, didn't want any kinks, and um, I realized traveling with a hat would be annoying. Perhaps those celebrities wore hats to fend off paparazzi flashes? I'll let you in on a secret: nobody is waiting to take my picture at airports! Well, except for Jesse, at baggage claim, above. I went with my Gap Born to Fit skinny jeans, gray tank top, with my Aerie cotton/linen long sleeve shirt. (Which, by the way, I'm obsessed with - long sleeved and so light! I have it in both navy and ivory.)

Jesse and I are having a wonderful time in San Diego. I'm going to be really bummed to have to say bye to him & the wonderful, non-humid weather on Sunday. Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

And she will always keep your cards close to her heart.

How very coincidental that yesterday the daily Who What Wear newsletter e-mail I subscribe to dedicated their latest with "What They Wear: Airports." Coincidental, you see, because today I'm off! I fly with the dapper husband to San Diego through Sunday!

The trip is purely a vacation to relax away from the New York hubbub, see friends (and their new babies!), as well as get a little time to ourselves before he heads to the Warped Tour. I'm excited for a respite from all the fast-paced fun of New York.

But I digress: I had to size up who I'd be dressed most like this afternoon at the airport. And since I'm already taking my own Panama Hat (guess where I got it a couple of years ago?), travel in my jeans and long-sleeved shirt, it seems I'll be "stylin'" like Emmy Rossum. Though isn't airport "style" just "what am I most comfy in"? The Panama Hat was by sheer coincidence - you can't pack a hat. Unless you have hatboxes; I don't.

I will probably make Jesse take a picture of me at the airport while we're waiting at our gate. You know, evidence and all. Plus, I will be bored. Do you care what you wear to airports? Do you break out your nobody-knows-I-own-this velour track suit? Is it bright pink? Is there something scrawled on the butt of it? Details!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Take me out to the ballgame.

The weekend was a rousing success. For starters, I lived near or below that Citgo sign in Kenmore Square all four years of college at Boston University. I worked under it both as a Resident Assistant and as a cashier at Barnes and Noble. It sits atop a building close to Fenway Park, visible from the park, and always featured on the televised Red Sox games. So this weekend Jesse, me, Jim, and Jim's family (Lisa, Jim, and Amanda) went to see the Red Sox vs Phillies game at Fenway. We had great seats behind home plate, and luckily, underneath the overhang so we didn't get wet in the constant rain drizzle of the day.

Now, I've been to a few ballparks in my day, but Fenway always feels like home. No matter how much they add to it, it still feels old and historical - the scene to many a statistic, a legendary play, a heartbreaking play. A lot comes to mind just when you take a look around and see names like Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski in huge letters, or fans still sporting their Nomar Garciaparra tees. Even the roar of the crowd echoes nostalgia to all the other games I've been to. And Saturday's game added to the aura of Fenway in my mind: Daniel Nava, a player just sent up to the majors from the Paw Sox, came to his first at-bat for the Red Sox, and with the very first pitch, hit a grand slam. Only three other rookies in history have ever done the same, with only one other doing it with the first pitch. Jesse, Jim, me, and everyone in the stadium were on their feets yelling and clapping. I was trying to scream while choking down my cotton candy - this was my first time witnessing a grand slam live in the stadium!

I've had many memories at Red Sox games, and especially at Fenway Park. My Uncle Arthur was at this past Saturday's game as well, and told Jesse about the time he took me to a Red Sox vs Tampa Bay game back when I was in college. He had gotten us the "Steinbrenner Seats" right next to the opposing team's dugout - we had a superb view. And apparently Tampa Bay's second baseman was making eyes at me, which made my uncle very protective. Sometimes the memories aren't exactly statistical!

I'm pretty sure you can tell from the above picture, though, that I love baseball games, Red Sox games at Fenway park even more so, and especially Red Sox games at Fenway Park in which they beat the defending National League champions. Boom!

Gonna have some great fun!

Even though A Great Big Pile of Leaves' album Have You Seen My Pre-Frontal Cortex? isn't officially being released until next week on June 22nd - they have collaborated with scene-bible site and for TODAY ONLY the album is available for download for FREE!

Next week expect my full review on its release date! I have still been listening to the album non-stop and currently my favourite song is "Learn to Share." I was listening to this song last week as I was crossing 5th Avenue and seriously almost did a little dance on the crosswalk. It makes me wish I had a group of strangers who walked around me on busy streets, who would break into choreographed dances when my iPod struck a certain note. I would be at the center of these numbers, of course, lip syncing with a big smile on my face. What, you've never wished the same?!

Back to the music at hand: what are your thoughts? I assume you'll download it, because, um, it's FREE and why wouldn't you? You're still able to pre-order a physical copy for $5, too, in case you like it so much you hope this band keeps making music. (What a concept!) Also, that version has extra tracks! Feedback, let's go!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Slow down, we've got time left to be lazy.

Yesterday the sunny, beach weekend was shot by impending thunderstorms. A quiet relief settled upon me with the prospect of staying in. However, that all changed late last night. Today the husband and I embark on a little trip, a little impromptu traveling. Tomorrow we'll continue on to a town teeming with nostalgia for me; I'm already relishing the sites that were the background to my life for four years. And we'll take in a game, too.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Everything lovely, effortless, safe.

Last night, I waded through the dreary Brooklyn weather with Jaime to arrive at an impressive little bookstore called Word. My bare legs were cold with a sheen of mucky rainwater backsplashed at my ankles, my sandals were soaked and I'm pretty sure my toes had started to prune - I had not prepared for rain before work! It was well worth the trek, however, because author Jenny Hollowell was reading from her debut novel, Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe.

The small room crowded with other valiant weather warriors, everyone eagerly listened to the young, poised Hollowell as she read four chapters from her book. From what we heard, I can tell you the book has depth, an acerbic wit, and sounds like it's sprinkled with some Didion-inspired prose. And I love Didion.

Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe (also a line from the book) is about a woman named Birdie who flees Virginia and her Evangelical upbringing for Hollywood, and becomes a body double for an actress. I am quite excited to start reading the book, and as Jaime and I are in a book club together, we decided it would be our next book for the group. And what a better place to recruit others into our book club - at an event based around the very book everyone was buying? So, our book club expands and if you'd like to read along, you can purchase Hollowell's novel via Word's own online shop here!

I'll circle back on the book in July after our group's meeting and anyone else who read it should tell me their thoughts then, too! In other book club news, Jaime and I just wrapped up Cormac McCarthy's Suttree this past Saturday over brunch:

Jaime above, complete with a Southern-ish cocktail that uses mint and sweet tea vodka - because Suttree takes place in Knoxville, Tennessee. You may know McCarthy from his popular book-to-screen adaptations of No Country for Old Men and The Road; I was enthralled by Suttree and the prose of the novel. The descriptions of Knoxville and its dismal surroundings, the portrait of a man afraid of his own mortality, and the surprising humor in the characters he meets along his miscreant adventures in the dirty city in the 1950s made for something I could hardly put down, with paragraphs I would reread right after I finished them. I obviously also recommend this novel!

But - back to last night - after getting my book signed by the author, she and a small group of the literary revelers traveled to a bar nearby for some drinks and snacks. There's just something about talking to others who enjoy reading; we shared good books we'd just read (see above), our excitement to read Jenny's book, and that evolved into conversations about media and advertising and etc., etc.! Jesse ended up coming by with friends to join the small table soiree (yes, I'm calling it that) and in the end, it was quite a fulfilling evening of boisterous conversation.

Are you into checking out Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe? Suttree? Have any book clubs of your own or a book you think I'd particularly enjoy?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Failure to get wright.

Recently, four wonderful friends (Jaime, Gaby, Cara, Amber) and I decided we wanted to go see a cheesy romantic comedy. We walked past all the girls in the theater lobby sporting stilettos and Sex and the City tees (really, ladies?) and went for the Queen Latifah/Common offering of Just Wright.

Here are some thoughts on our experience:
  • How was Paula Patton so good in Precious and so awful in this?
  • I usually hate people who talk during a screening - except when a movie is completely laughable, like this one. There was much yelling at the screen.
  • One particularly amazing moment of loud reactions: as Latifah's character is explaining to her father that she's single and getting older, she says, "Dad, I'm 35-years-old..." as they delve into a serious conversation about marriage. Upon Latifah saying this line, a girl behind us goes, "OH MY GOD." To the fact that she was 35. And single. We all burst into laughter so hard, Jaime was snorting.
  • Common should stick to not acting.
  • Is this movie over yet?
  • I don't buy Pam Grier as a girly mother who wants to marry off her daughter. Nope.
  • Queen Latifah? Pretty, pretty good. Love a strong headed, uncompromising lead.
  • No, seriously, why is this movie not over yet?
  • Professional basketball players are awful actors.
There you have it. We really did expect it to be a good movie! More 13 Going on 30 caliber than Failure to Launch - in terms of the RomCom genre, of course. Anybody else torture themselves with a viewing?