Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I like the way you move.

Facts about my birthday and how awesome my friends are...

  • Jesse took me out to dinner at Lil' Frankies and he bought a Ben Sherman shirt for the evening that he hoped "would match my nails" (it did!)
  • Jesse then led me to a "dessert place" that was actually the bar Hi-Fi and a ton of my friends were there which was incredible and great and I felt very loved.
  • Erica picked out IRON MAN 2 as my theme, see photo above. That pin's ribbon says "Birthday Hero."
  • As well as the other Curbside ladies, Amber and Kells, getting me Magnolia cupcakes and cards with kittens on them!
  • All the online love! Thanks, people!
  • At Jonah's birthday hang out on Monday night, Fred Armisen and Abby Elliot showed up (because his awesome, talented, extremely nice sister Vanessa is a featured player on SNL this season!) and he proceeded to make a joke about "have SNL actors ever come to your birthday party?" He mentioned this not only on Monday night, but AT my birthday last night. It was okay, because guess what? Brandon Flowers has been to one of mine! Boom.
  • Unfortunately, Robert Downey Jr. could not make my birthday party.
  • Came home to a cute scarf and earrings from my new roommates Sam & Jim! (I'm wearing the scarf today!)
  • As part of his birthday gift, Jesse and I are going to see American Idiot on Broadway tonight - and Green Day's lead singer Billy Joe is making a special appearance!
  • Pee Wee said happy birthday by spooning with me as I went to sleep. He's a cuddler.
It was a truly memorable birthday and I am so grateful to have such wonderful friends!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

And the sky was made of amethyst.

Thanks to That Ain't Kosher, I had to make a list of seven things - anything. Her own list was quite off-the-wall interesting, and I'll be honest: she's much more creative than I am in discovering what seven things she should cover. However, most of the thoughts on my list are thought about on a daily basis. I present...

Seven Things I Wish I Could Do

01 Dye my hair lavender.

In college, I tried many times to dye my hair purple. It never took because I refused to bleach my hair. And my hair is near-black. With my current position in the corporate world, I don't think having lavender hair would help my professionally, and I'd like to be taken seriously. Also? I highly doubt I could even pull off lighter hair, at all. But I truly lust after a lavender similar to Kelly Osbourne's former shades:

02 Cook intuitively.

I can follow a recipe - I'm good at directions. But understanding food, cooking, baking, measurements, and taste is just out of my scope. I wish I could "whip up dinner" without it being a lengthy process of should I do this or that? Can I do without this one ingredient I don't have? Of course, I overanalyze nearly everything, and meals I cook are not safe!

03 Whistle.

Seriously, I can't whistle. In elementary school (prime whistle-learnin' times) we were banned from doing so, and nobody ever taught me. I look a fool if I even try.

04 Wear socks and heels.

I used to harbor hate for this look secretly because I can't ever do it. Personally I think it's pretty impossible to look the "cute" way it's supposed to unless you have skinny legs. I have shapely legs, and socks with heels would cut me off in severely unflattering ways.

05 Not feel guilty if I ever dressed badly for a couple of weeks and taped myself solely to convince What Not to Wear producers that I deserve a $5,000 shopping spree.

I've given this a lot of thought. But I know there are more deserving people of such sprees than me. I'd feel guilty every time I donned a piece from what would ultimately be called the "Shameful Selfish Shopping Spree Full of Deceit."

06 Related: wear the stylish ensembles created by J.Crew's stylists for their catalogs and not look like a crazy person.

I know I would look ridiculous. But also? Affordability is an issue here.

Sequined shorts + bowtie thing? Couldn't do it right.

So many layers on me would look bulky, not effortless.

These textures look lovely here, but probably monster-like on me. (See also #4)

Okay, OKAY, some of them are actually NOT styled that well, but you get my point.

07 A month-long vacation once a year for me to spend living somewhere around the globe.

Going somewhere for one week or one weekend can sometimes be exhausting for all the planning and activities packed into it. I'd like leisurely vacations in foreign places to explore at my will and take in my surroundings - with my husband, of course! Basically, I want my summer vacations back. (You know, before summer jobs were a requirement.) Places I'd stay? South of France, Buenos Aires, Vienna, George Clooney's Italian Villa (I'm sure I could make that happen), Japan, Spain, etc., etc., etc.!

Jesse and I would simply call up George for the keys.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Come take my pulse.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've hardly had enough time to see as many movies in theaters as I usually do. I've only seen three in the span of three weeks I believe. This is STRANGE for a woman like me.. Just this week alone I plan to see three! But here are my thoughts on the three past:

I Am Love

I'm a sucker for anything SWINTON. She's one of those scene-stealing actresses on whom you involuntarily concentrate your gaze at all times she's in view. Therefore, I was excited for this Italian-language film starring and produced by her.

For a moment upon it's opening I thought I Am Love was set in the 1960s due to the exquisite Milan mansion's decor, the classically styled costuming, and the haze of the actual filmstock. Obviously intentional, for a story about a priveleged family entrenched in the old, traditional way of The Family Business into a new, global economy. Similarly, Swinton's character Emma has an "awakening" about her rich but routine life and embarks on breaking free from the matriarchal role she's been designated.

Swinton's superb, per usual, but Emma isn't the most likable character. She may be the least likable character in the whole film, and you follow her closely throughout. The other characters aren't terribly thought-out or given much depth, but they serve their purpose. The directing is interesting, at times sweeping and other times confusing but interesting. I let the movie settle with me for a couple of weeks before finalizing my opinion on the film, all due to what I thought of the ending. It's an erratic culmination - gigantic music, rampant reaction shots of each of the characters, and the worst costume decision in a movie filled with impeccable ones (if they were going for juxtaposition, I don't buy it - not in that outfit). I sadly have to say that while it was a pretty and captivating movie for the most part, I didn't enjoy it all.

Bottom line: C; ambitious but falls short - though Swinton may get some deserved recognition this awards season.

Going the Distance

Rom-coms are usually enjoyable, but I sit through them having to cringe, wince, and ultimately ignore many lines or character stereotypes in order to not walk out of the theater. Much like a horror movie, I want to scream out things at the characters who are acting completely inplausibly. Luckily, Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, and the ace supporting cast of Going the Distance saved me from such a dilemma.

The story revolves around Erin and Garrett, two people who meet one night in a New York bar under not too out-there or gaggingly meet-cute circumstances. She's a 31-year-old intern at a newspaper, and he works A&R at a music label. Grad school calls Erin back to San Francisco and the two lovebirds decide they like each other too much to break up, and so: the funny trials and tribulations of a long distance relationship!

And while these trials and tribulations are not unexpected, they're actually believable. I don't think I've witnessed a more "real" rom-com, and it's not just because I've done long distance relationships. The openness of the friendships and dialogue strikes true, as well. The film is rated R, mostly due to raunchy lines and sexual situations - there are plenty of dick jokes, semi-nudity, and crass interchanges. But um, I realize that that's similar to how my friends and I interact as well. Our dialogue and e-mails would most likely be more on the rated R side of things, and my husband and I have made plenty of similar jokes to those between Erin and Garrett. To be sure, the raunchy comedy is light (it's never "sick"), and it's delivered superbly by the leads as well as Christina Applegate, Jason Sudeikis, Jim Gaffigan and Charlie Day. I haven't laughed that hard in a movie theater in years.

The best thing about the humor in Going the Distance? I wasn't offended. Like I've said, I think every rom-com I've seen cracks a joke that makes me cringe as a woman (see: every Katherine Heigl movie ever). But the writer of Going the Distance (male) was an equal opportunist - there are dick jokes, but vagina jokes too; where there's two dudes talking about sex, we get two women discussing it as well. I didn't get squeamish in my seat, I didn't roll my eyes, and the characters were likable to acted truthfully!

Bottom line: A+ for a rom-com, B overall; hilarious, sweet, and thoroughly enjoyable.


Oh, Robert Rodriguez. As a Latina, I appreciate his consistent casting of Hispanic actors and Latino-influenced/-set storylines, but I don't think I've ever quite come around to actually liking him. I always like parts, but never the whole.

I can take movies that are supposed to veer "B-movie" with ridiculous action and incredibly bad line delivery, sometimes at the camera. I know it's all in fun, and I do laugh and enjoy it if done well. The constant gore and male-gaze nudity: less so. It's redundant, uninspired, and where I thought he'd be more similar to his friend Quentin Tarantino, he just keeps turning out more like the directorial efforts of their other friend Eli Roth (vomit).

Danny Trejo plays what I can only now assume is actually Danny Trejo, since it's the same intimidating ex-con persona role I've always seen him in. He fits, of course, and I went along with his character and all the hilarious implausibilities. I really liked Michelle Rodriguez' character, though she also gets typecast as your typical Latina tough girl, I suppose. Along with some turns by Robert DeNiro, Jeff Fahey, and Steven Seagal, plus a hammering-over-the-head story about politics and illegal immigration - you've got at least something watchable.

Here's what's not ever watchable: Jessica Alba. I tried with all my might to dig the beautiful "actress," because I like to support the notion of more Latina actresses on screen. However, she's not an actress. She can't even act badly as all the characters in Machete do. She is, quite plainly, The Worst. I've never wanted a character to die so badly than hers in Machete. I just wanted her off screen, to save me from constantly cringing and making my skin more susceptible to wrinkles in my future. If I keep seeing her in films, I'm going to have to name a future wrinkle after her.

Bottom line: D; it's funny in its ridiculousness, but was not worthy of my money, if you ask me.

Have you seen any of these movies? Thoughts?! Let's discuss in the comments!

Monday, September 13, 2010

We're so close to something better left unknown.

I actually ventured into Fashion Week events on Friday with the celebrations of Fashion's Night Out. Who can turn down the free stuff? I catalogued most of of it on Tumblr for "10on10" - an endeavor organized by Caitlin in which you take ten pictures over the course of the day of the 10th. But the details of Friday include this -

How hot does my Zoya Julieanne manicure look? Amber, Erica and I all decided to get painted the same color! I love how it's basically a deep black with shades of purple shimmer. Three days later and I'm still staring into my nails every few hours. Even better - I got to take home this color plus three others from Zoya's Fall 2010 Wicked & Wonderful line. I have a new fave polish brand, I think!

Friday night was also highlighted by an acoustic performance by Metric at the Juicy Couture store. Sure, I've never stepped into a Juicy store before (and probably never will again...) but it was worth all the pink sweatpants and "bling" to check out Emily Haines' belting out songs acoustically. I've had "Gimme Sympathy" in my head ever since. She has a hauntingly beautiful quality - both in her voice and appearance. A definite girl crush...

A couple of hours later Erica and I were in Brooklyn at a bar with a bunch of friends, and upon checking Twitter, I realized that I missed another girl crush, Alison Brie (Community, Mad Men) who happened to show up at Juicy mere minutes after we had rushed out of there. Instant sadface upon my realization.

After my one fashionable night wrapped up, Jesse and I spent Saturday hanging out together and planned a little date night of Thai food on St. Marks coupled with the film Machete (review forthcoming). A nice quiet evening after a fluttering couple of weeks of travel (him), work (me), and organizing (me). We left the movie theater to find out that Diaz was a few blocks away, so we headed to see him and friends. Ending up at Hi-Fi, our night was suddenly joined by more friends in the form of Adam and Kelly and Jon Cheese - who spotted us in the window. The night stretched into the morning, and I haven't seen the hour of 4am since probably the first year of dating Jesse. We referred to it as "just like the old days!" (Three years ago.)

Jesse heads out to Los Angeles next weekend for Tony Thaxton's Analog Playset Custom Toy Show & Auction. He'll be displaying his own version of the toy, along with the likes of Joe Ledbetter, Sherri Dupree-Bemis, and many others. If you live in Los Angeles, I'd check it out next weekend, too! Jesse is working diligently on his piece. And yes, you read this poster right, Andrew McMahon of Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin will be performing!

On Sunday we ventured to Queens to hang out with Erica and Diaz at a sports bar for all the Fantasy Football fun. I'll refrain from bogging this place down with Fantasy talk and perhaps keep that to Tumblr. I must say that my team performed pretty well this week, despite my previous misgivings about my roster.

Now I'm back to the grind - which you may have caught a glimpse of on Friday's 10on10 - and staring at my manicure for the most part. How was your weekend?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Say Happy Birthday to Andrew, via charity:water !

My friend Andrew, also known simply by his last name Keller, has decided to do something very charitable and selfless to celebrate his 25th birthday on September 25th. He's donating his birthday to charity:water. The non-profit organization brings clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations, and allows people such as Andrew to set up a personalized page to gather donations in the name of their birthday or weddings or what have you. In Andrew's own words:

i've recently started talking to the wonderful people at charity:water and have become inspired by the work that they do, and how little it takes to help so many people for so long.

i'm turning 25 years old on september 25th and wish to know that because of my friends, my family, and even total strangers a difference is being made in the lives of those that really need it.

i grew up in new york city, with amazing access to museums, theater, music, and food. there are people who are growing up without access to clean water.

feel free to make a donation of any amount, and certainly if you're so moved, forward it along to your friends and family.
This is me passing along his cause to my friends. My birthday happens to be a mere three days after Andrew's, and if you were thinking of gifting me in any way, I'm going to pass you along to Andrew's page to donate. I'd start my own campaign, but I'd like to work towards Andrew meeting his goal! (Plus, we've joint-birthday'd in the past, so it's not a new idea, right?)

I just donated, and maybe you'd like to donate a small amount towards Andrew's cause as well. 100% of the donations go directly to fund clean water projects in developing nations.The charity:water homepage describes the water crisis:

Almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean drinking water. Unsafe water and a lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of all disease and kill more people than all forms of violence, including war. We're working to change that.
Thanks for listening, and I know that Andrew's good soul appreciates your attention as well!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Echoes and silence, patience and grace.

I've been obsessed with oversized cateye sunglasses for a while. Specifically, I fell in love with them last summer in LA when I tried on a pair of Ditas:

I couldn't afford them. And I still couldn't afford the gorgeous ChloƩ brand sunglasses that came out in January - oh how I lusted for them!

But last week, wonderful designer sale site Ideeli had a ChloĆ© sunglasses sale and in the preview photo were The Sunglasses. Technically, they're named the Tilia sunglasses. Marked down by $200, and with some credits, I now have The Sunglasses!!

I'm totally in love with them. The retro design, the oversized-ness, the star bolt in the corner. Though summer is nearly done, I'm hoping for many a sunny day walk through Manhattan in the next couple of months. What do you think?! Do you have an Ideeli invite? If not, here it is! Do you have a pair of sunglasses or other accessory you've been coveting? Do share!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My friends, in fact, rule.

Well, well, well, it's already September! Add in a cliche about time moving so quickly, and that will have to suffice for how busy I've been. Two important matters to broach today, however:


We've been friends since the 8th grade! We're two similarly-minded ladies who grew up in the military and as of last year, live in the same city together again - something which I cherish and never take for granted. Especially when I want to watch French movies or go to a book swap: she's always there! Three cheers to beauty splurges, bacon arms, and many more years of friendship!

Secondly, it's the end of an era! Erica and I moved into our Brooklyn apartment together FOUR years ago! As of yesterday, she's resettled a borough north in Queens and her new places sounds fabulous. We're both stoked on everything right now - neither of us are those "scared of change" type people. Congratulations to Erica and her new digs, as well as a toast in commemoration of our first years of navigating New York together!

My friends are the best and I am - every day - so honored to have them in my life!