Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Trader Joe's Tuesday: Organic Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Trader Joe's Organic Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Tastes Like:  Spaghetti-O's without the noodles.  Boom.  Light and sweet, tangy tomatoey flavor.

Great With:  Rice cakes on the side, or dipped in.  Small broccoli florets tossed on top.  And maybe just the TINIEST garnish of cheese.

Perfect For:  Quick and filling (yes!) snack on a winter day.  Sick days when you can't cook beyond microwave.  Or using as a base for a thick soup, throwing in sliced squash and rough-chopped tomatoes, making a slushy autumn stew.  Or make your own "spaghetti-O's" using this as the base and adding vegan, gluten-free noodles and crumbled-up veggie burger or not-dogs!

Must Know:  Vegan and Gluten-free!  USDA Organic!  No Preservatives!  No artificial colors or flavors!  Why, you'd have to be a FOOL not to try it!

Costs:  $2.79 for a container that makes 3-4 servings, depending on how heavy your pourin' hand is!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Stranger in a Strange Land

Once you grok this book, you won't be able to put it down.

Stranger in a Strange Land, my most recent Heinlein conquest, tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, "Mike" to his friends, a human being born on Mars.  Raised by Martians, Mike returns to Earth to grok our strange Earthling ways and teach us his. 

The beginning of the book shows us Mike's education.  Immediately bonded to the capricious nurse Jill, Mike escapes the hospital where he is essentially being kept prisoner (he does not grok any such concept) and flees to live off the hospitality of liberal and licentious Jubal Harshaw and his three lovely secretaries.  Mike is in an unusual position:  he is innocent and naive yet stands to inherit a lot of money, a lot of land, and thus he is in high demand; however, what is truly valuable may be his powers that we don't even understand.

As Mike grows to understand our human ways, he in turn imparts some of his Martian ways onto his new "family."  His innocence, his trust, his way of seeing right and wrong wind their way through lessons in Earth religion, morality, and sexuality. 

The most charming aspect of the book may be the characters we are allowed to get to know, as they let us grok them in fullness.

The Stranger in a Strange Land may not be as strange as you think.  If you're looking for a book that might shift your perspective to grok things from a different angle, SiaSL is a speedy and nicely-paced novel with interesting guesses at what "the future" will be like and how we can change it.  I guarantee it is a goodness.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Social

Sunday Social

1. 3 Favorite songs right now

"You've Made Me So Very Happy" by Blood, Sweat and Tears:

"Boogie Oogie Oogie" by A Taste of Honey:

and "The Only Exception" by Paramore:

2. 3 Favorite movies that remind you of Summer

For no apparent reason:

Evil Dead

and Reefer Madness:  The Musical

3. 3 Favorite articles of clothing you own

my kimono
my vintage 1920's fringed robe
and duh, of course my red velvet ball gown:

4. 3 Items on your wish list

hot pink Converse lo-tops
frames for my bedroom, to hang up cool stuff
and a big, floppy sun hat (like the one I borrowed from my mom on my vacation)

5. 3 Books you would recommend to someone

For a plane ride:  FlashForward by Robert J. Sawyer
For the beach:  Beautiful People by Simon Doonan
For swooning:  Job:  A Comedy of Justice by Robert A. Heinlein

It was REALLY hard to pick just three!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

#tbt Grandma's Birthday

My Grandma is an awesomely funny lady.

She just turned 89 two days ago.  This photo is from her 80th birthday party a.k.a. the last time I wore a blouse to please my mother.  I'm sure I was sweltering in the late July heat, here.  Ugh!  Look at those neutrals!  What was I thinking?!?  Just looking at the way my hair and outfit are styled (conservatively?) you can tell how much I love my Grandma.

Here's the funny thing about this picture:  I had gotten myself all dolled up and respectable for Grandma.  Just when my mom was about to press the shutter on this photograph of cross-generational commemoration, my awesome Grandma (on the right) whispered in my ear, "smile and think about sex."  WHAT!  Completely blowing my cover.  If the photo had lagged a second later, I'm sure my well-poised smile would be something entirely different:  a mixture of shock, surprise...befuddlement?

Happy Birthday, Grandma.  The jig is up.  Fat chance of getting me into another stuffy blouse for your 90th.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Trader Joe's Tuesday: Dilettante Fruit Medley

Dilettante Fruit Medley

Tastes Like:  Moist fruit chunks ensconced in a thick layer of chocolate with a sweet layer of white chocolate on the outside.  Dense and chewy and lush and tangy. 

Great With:  Coffee in the morning, tea at night, more and more of these.  Chocolate addicts, pay heed!  Trail mix lovers, delight!  These need no pairing or mixing.  They are simply divine.

Perfect For:  Dessert for a picnic lunch in the park.  Sitting prettily in a cut-glass dish in your air-conditioning for guests to pick at during a casual afternoon soiree.  Sharing with a special sweetheart alongside a glass of red or dry white wine.

Must Know:  Contains milk, sulfites, and soy; manufactured in a plant that handles peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, and eggs.  Yeah, you probably shouldn't have any.  Leave 'em to me.

Costs:  $5.79 - the cost of class.  Absolutely worth it for the indulgence.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Today would have marked the 31st Birthday of my good friend, Aaron, who passed away three years ago this past winter.  The occasion never passes without its share of memories and the feeling of unfairness it brings.  Every year it gets easier to believe the unbelievable, that my friend is really gone.  But that doesn't make it any easier.  I wish I could tell you in person --  Happy Birthday, buddy.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Social

1. What is the most difficult thing you have been through?

Well, the passing of my good friend three and a half years ago was probably the top thing.  Tomorrow would have been his 31st birthday, in fact.

2. What was your best birthday?

Probably my 25th.  I celebrated for a whole weekend!  I think I read the entire first Twilight book, had my first mac and cheese from S'Mac, and a man dressed as a bong on St Mark's Place told me I looked 19.  Not too shabby!

3. What has been your favorite thing you’ve done in your own city?

Darling, I live in NEW YORK CITY.  That's such a hard thing to say...probably either the trapeze class or getting my tattoos.  I mean, I have all the options right here!

4. What is your idea of the perfect date night?

A loooooong walk.  A super long walk and probably ice cream at some point.  Scratch that, definitely ice cream, and a very long walk.  Dinner?  Used bookstores?  And ice cream.  Let's walk.  I'm easy.

5. Have you ever been to a blogging conference? If so which one(s)? If not do you want to?

I have NOT, but I'm not really sure what they are.  I don't really think of myself as a "blogger" just a super-lazy person who happens to have her own blog.  What kinds of things does one DO at a blogging conference?  Is it like NYCC?

Friday, July 18, 2014


Ladies and gentlemen, my esteemed readership:  as you read this I am waking up in my childhood home, probably hours before anyone else, debating whether it's worth waking the dog to trek downstairs to frustrate myself attempting to operate the coffee maker.  In the meantime, please help yourself to some posts from last year's vacation video bonanza!

Do You Believe In Ghosts?

Sharing is Caring...Not

If You Only Have Five Minutes to Live

Slangin' Tough

My Baby

Wow, look how weird I looked last year!  Can you believe how LONG AGO that was?  And all that's transpired since then? Oh man is it WEIRD looking back...

But going forward, I plan on taking many pictures, drinking many glasses of sweet white wine, dancing and enjoying Anderson's Custard to celebrate my inevitable crushing defeat at mini golf at Adventure Landing.  And then landing in inevitable defeat as I come to realize that Vacation Isn't All That

Thursday, July 17, 2014


This photo isn't dated, but to the best of my knowledge, it was taken sometime in the spring of 2006-7.  I have no recollection of the time or who I was with but I remember spending glorious hours hanging out with my friends in the local WAL*MART.  It was a playground for people with no better place to be.  Here I am, dressed up like an Olsen twin/heiress.  Sparkly bag, big hat, sunglasses, tiny dog.  That's some serious WAL*MART swag.

And for a serious throwback, here's the ad for the Grand Opening of the First-Ever WAL*MART in 1962!  Cool, huh?


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Trader Joe's Tuesday: Nonfat Greek Yogurt

Trader Joe's Nonfat Greek Yogurt

Tastes Like:  Fage - tastes just like Fage but at a fraction of the price.  Thick, rich, ever-so-slightly bitter in that perfect Greek yogurt way. 

Great With:  A dash of raisins stirred in.  Or some wacky flavoured jam!  Or scooped out like dip for navel orange wedges or Granny Smith apple slices.  Or both!  Or all three!  Or all four!  Let's get crazy!

Perfect For:  A protein-rich, satisfying breakfast or a quick, hunger-annihilating snack.

Must Know:  Well, it ain't vegan!  But it makes the Trader Joe's gluten-free list, as does most Greek yogurt anyway.

Costs:  $4.99 for two pounds of yogurt!  That's insane, since a similar-sized carton of anything else, anywhere else will run you closer to $10!

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Colossus of New York

Once you read Colson Whitehead's Colossus of New York, you'll never look at the city again.  His keen observations in short snippets are the perfect bon mot to pepper your conversations with annoy your friends with. 

"Colson Whitehead says "...you are a New Yorker the minute you say, 'That used to be Munsey's, or That used to be the Tic Toc Lounge.'"

"Colson Whitehead says "There are eight million naked cities in this naked city -- they dispute and disagree.  The New York City you live in is not my New York City; how could it be?"

"Colson Whitehead says this was his first view of New York City from back in the seventies - hey, where are you running...?"

Nevertheless, if you dream of taking a vacation here but can't afford it, or if you have been here and want to really know what the locals think, read this book.

Though his chapters are like a magnifying glass on the city and its culture, most of the paragraphs are only loosely themed around one subject, jumping from objective observer to inner monologue and from mind to mind.  He creates his worlds by picking like a bird:  a string, a stick, a piece of fluff, a found feather.  All the little bits go into building Colson Whitehead's nest of prose.

With a rhythm that moves along as steadily and relentlessly as the city he describes, The Colossus of New York will sweep you along and leave you as breathless and dizzy as getting lost in the Port Authority underground at rush hour (or any hour, for that matter).  It will take you in and spin you around and depress you just a little before spitting you back out into your real life which, if you're lucky, is smack dab in the middle of the Colossus of New York.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Social

1. Tell us about the family you grew up in, parents, siblings, grandparents.

So my mom worked in libraries while I was growing up, and my dad worked in library administration which means I have a deep-seated appreciation for books.  Two younger brothers:  one two years younger and one nine years younger.  When I was fourteen, I "adopted" a brother from a chatroom.  Hiya, hermano!  He's older than me. 

2. Tell us about your husband, fiancé, boyfriend, significant other.

You askin' me to kiss and tell?  You wish. 

3. Tell us about your children. If you don’t have children, talk about your fur children.

Don't have either to speak of.  Man, this Sunday Social is kind of a bust!

4. Tell us about your best friends. How long have you known them? How did you meet?

I have friends all over the place:  Alabama, Baltimore, Upstate NY, Florida.  Nobody close to speak of. It's kind of sad and lonely but...damn.  Forgot where I was taking that.  I guess I value my independence and *breaks into sobs* I'm so lonely!  Just kidding.  I talk to my friends all the time and I am so thrilled to have surrounded myself (if at a wide range of distance) with such brilliant and fantastic people!

5. Tell us about any other special people in your life.

Errrrm, that about covers it.  I have some co-workers I'm fond of,but other than friends and family, who else can you think of?  I'm going to be visiting my extended family at the end of the week, which is really exciting.

Friday, July 11, 2014

One Hundred Demons

Fear not!  One Hundred Demons by Lynda Barry is not entirely scary!  It is sweet, insightful, revealing...and because of that, it is completely terrifying.

Lynda Barry's demons take the form of all of our fears and hopes gone awry.  I don't want to spoil a single moment of this beautiful memoir-esque collection of tales, but suffice it to say, it was a doozy. 

If you, like me, are a fan of the classic autobiographical graphic novel, please do not be daunted by Lynda Barry's One Hundred Demons.  Don't be afraid of the big, collage-style pages, don't be put off by the loopy handwritten text, don't let the foreign language words frighten you away.  It is not to be missed!  Not a single demon.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

#tbt Flattering

I always thought neon pink was a flattering colour on me.  Soft lighting, my best friend.  And as far as flattering angles go, those of us with big noses know to look no further than the overhead angle.  Boom.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Trader Joe's Tuesday: Eggplant Garlic Spread

Trader Joe's Eggplant Garlic Spread

Tastes Like:  Kind of like moist, savory baba ganoush...

Great With:  Spread, as they suggest, on rice crackers or corn cakes.  A dip for carrots (my favourite)!

Perfect For:  This would be a great spread for sandwiches.  I used it in a pasta dish with spiralized zucchini and heirloom tomatoes and it was fantastic!  This is a versatile texture and sweet/savory flavor that lends itself to getting creative!

Must Know:  Appears on the gluten-free list on the Trader Joe's website, but I can't find it on either the vegan/vegetarian lists, even though it doesn't contain any meat or animal ingredients.

Costs:  $2.49 and it goes a long way!  Good thing, because you'll be using it a whole lot!

Monday, July 7, 2014

That's Comforting

So summer is finally here.

Last year, I balked at the expense of an air conditioner and decided to tough out the heat and MAN OH MAN it was the hottest summer I can recall.  I can still feel the oppressive humidity that kept me from sleep so THIS YEAR, I vowed NEVER AGAIN, and I purchased an air conditioner.

Thank godlessness I did because the mercury has been threatening to explode from the top of the thermometer like a black-and-white cartoon!  And while I have been looking forward to sitting in the grass in short dresses and the sweltering heat is only too happy to oblige, there is something I'll miss dearly for the next few months....

BLANKETS!  I love blankets.  I have so many - fleece blankets, cashmere blankets, afgans, you name it.  I could go on blankets for hours, days, my whole life!  I have an entire Pinterest board devoted to my love affair with plush, down comforters - THAT'S COMFORTING.  Here are some of my favourite blankets:


Organic Cotton Pintucked Duvet by West Elm comes in many colours to suit many tastes, is classic and dreamy, but also not too frilly!

The Magical Thinking Wood Block Medallion bed-in-a-bag set from Urban Outfitters gets me, like, gets my hippie side SO HARD, man!  I just love it!

Love is...the Georgina Duvet from Anthropologie.  The biggest splurge.  It kind of looks like a designer gown, which is also a big splurge, though, and how often do you wear a designer gown versus how often do you sleep in your own bed?  If you can refute that logic, I don't want to know you.

And I loved gawking at this bedroom setup from Design Sponge:

Nina and Will's home in Philly is bright and colorful while remaining elegant and adult.  Definitely take the virtual apartment tour!

And while you're at it, follow my Pinterest board THAT'S COMFORTING devoted to my belief that true love is staying in bed all day with coffee and a crossword puzzle.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sunday Social

Before we commence with the Sunday Socialing, Happy One Year Anniversary to my roses tattoo!  Seems like only a BILLION years ago!

Ouch!  Look at that bruising!  I forgot how...fresh they looked at first!  One year out and they feel more and more a part of me every day.  I can barely imagine what I looked like without!  Just feels...wrong!

Now, onto the questions:

Sunday Social

1. Favorite Genre of Music?

Oh no.  Lately I've been really into either jazz (Louis & Ella FTW) or 60's British Invasion stuff.  I love pretty much all genres, though, except I'm not particularly fond of country music (it sounds like getting your teeth drilled to me!) or repetitive, unimaginative rap.

2. Favorite Genre of movies?

I'd have to say "Classic Hollywood," like How to Marry A Millionaire and Gone With The Wind.  Old films have a dignity about them, a sincere devotion to art, it seems.  Something sorely lacking with today's films.  I've also been binging on the rom-coms on Netflix that I've never seen before:  Picture Perfect, 13 Going On 30, Something's Gotta Give, While You Were Sleeping, The Runaway Bride... and it turns out I like them a lot!

3. Do you watch Reality TV? If so what was the first show you remember watching?

I watched anything MTV had on.  True Life the documentary series was particularly riveting.  If that was on, forget about the afternoon.  I'll still follow RuPaul's Drag Race but I rarely have time to watch TV.

4. Actress you’d want to be BFF’s with?

Hats off to Diane Keaton.  Absolutely resplendent.  I would love to have her on my speed-dial!

5. Actor you’d be happy to be stuck on an island with?

After watching 13 Going On 30 I would totally take Mark Ruffalo to the island.  I mean, whatta Hulk!  That kid is alright.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Charles James: Beyond Fashion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I am not lying when I say that I was nearly moved to tears at the Charles James:  Beyond Fashion exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  When people say they are "stunned" by grandeur, this is precisely what they must be talking about.  The exhibit does not allow photos (which is okay because it's too dark for a decent picture anyway) but to give you an idea...

Charles James is famous for his structural and opulently-draped and -shaped ball gowns.  Picture the film stars of the '40s and '50s.  Picture Grace Kelly.  These gowns are so beautiful you will feel transported. 

I couldn't help but think of my favourite old Hollywood movies.  How to Marry a Millionaire, anyone?  All those movies where the fashion is the uncredited costar, brought to life.  Seeing them up close was almost more than I could handle.

Perhaps the coolest part was the computer screens which showed detail of the sections of cloth, how they would drape, and break down the process behind building and creating these magnificent works of art.  Yes, ART!  Charles James sculpted amazing silouhettes out of luxury fabrics the way a classical scupltor would out of clay.  If you don't think looking at a bunch of dresses could be a moving experience, you clearly haven't moved to experience the Charles James:  Beyond Fashion exhibit yet.  But hurry up!  It's only going to be open to the public for another month - exhibit closes August 10th!  Move it!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

#tbt Clingin' to Big Red

Back in 2005, I was clinging to a lot of things I probably shouldn't have. 

The delusion that I could still pull off being a blonde.  I'm talking full-time blonde here, of course, not the partial blonde that I currently rock to, if I may say so myself, great success.

My high school glory days, as evidenced by the Odyssey of the Mind t-shirt I'm wearing here.  I had graduated three years ago, and hadn't solved a Spontaneous problem since spring of '02!  Yet I still wear the swag.  Huh.

Baggy jeans with a hole.  Can't tell from this picture, but this worn-out pair of bell-bottoms was probably purchased at WAL*MART and loved to pieces.  I still have trouble throwing away "perfectly good" pants: my boyfriend jeans from college now have sizeable holes in both the left knee and, er, "seat".  But I can't bring myself to throw them away.  Why?  I'm a clinger.

And in this photo, I'm clinging to the roof-rack of Big Red, the family van since 1998, a Dodge Grand Caravan I totalled almost two years to the day before this picture was taken.  Big Red was my first car, and constantly breaking down.  Brakes were a serious issue:  brake pads would wear through faster than I could afford to replace them on the steep hills of Binghamton, NY, giving Big Red the occasional nickname "The Red Scare" when nearly rolling through stop-lights out of control-like. 

Sadly, in a matter of mere months, I would trade in Big Red for Bonnie Blue, a slightly smaller, compact and newer van.  But I'll always cling to this photo and to the memories of me and Big Red, rockin' the grunge Tawny Kitaen look in my parents' driveway.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Currently...in July

Dotty and dopey and dripping with dandyness!  Sunny days are here at last and I'm making the most of it, stretching my legs on the sidewalks and giving flight to my fancies.  I'm taking strolls and seeing sights so sweet it's like my heart could burst. 

Monday Night is still Hulu night as those episodes of Sailor Moon continue to roll out, slowly but surely.  It's so hard to be patient when you get only two episodes at a time!  That's just enough to whet one's appetite for more adorable, empowering kawaii-ness!

Pandora Radio - every cool place uses Pandora (I've asked): trendy restaurants, second-hand clothing stores, hair salons, tattoo parlors!  My two main stations lately are 90's Pop and 70's Rock.  One makes me feel like I'm in another era, the other makes me feel like I'm in high school again.  Guess which is which.  But guess wrong and I cut you.

READING:  I've been on a Heinlein kick since reading Job: A Comedy of Justice.  I totally grokked Stranger in a Strange Land last month and just started in on Time Enough for Love.  Nobody - but nobody - writes sassy banter like Heinlein.  I can't recommend it enough!

Christmas presents already!  I'm not telling, but I hope everyone likes them!  I've also decided that my wardrobe needs more anklets, you know, for all those skirts I'm wearing and for when I kick up my heels and paint the town red.  So I've been making macrame anklets...WITH BELLS ON THEM! 

Trying my hand at stand-up.  Every time I talk to a stranger - at work or a cashier/waiter-type person - I get asked if I'm a comedian.  Huh, maybe it's worth a shot, at least to try it once.  I don't have stage fright, that's for sure!

EATING:  I bought a box of Edy's Outshine Fruit and Veggie Bars on a lark a few weeks ago and they have become part of my daily routine.  I can only find the variety pack near me of tangerine carrot, blueberry medley, and strawberry rhubarb (my favourite!).

LOOKING FORWARD TO:  My annual trip to Binghamton/Buffalo to see family I haven't seen in person in 6 months to a years' time.  I can't wait to relax, catch up, play games, and take a little - not needed but certainly not unappreciated - breather from bustling city life.  I'm excited to sit on the porch with dad for long chats, shop around town with mom, play cards with Grandma, and dance my butt off with my cousins but there had BETTER - mom, are you reading this?  There had BETTER be ONE EVENING of mini golf at Adventure Landing followed by a chocolate-vanilla twist at Anderson's Custard or so help me I will cancel this bus ticket.  Okay, maybe not.  But I will pout if I don't get rainbow sprinkles on my sneakers.

Warmer weather means finally getting to wear all the cute outfits I bought in late spring!  Pushing the boundaries of my usual explorations further uptown, downtown, and eastward...even as far as (GASP!) BROOKLYN! 


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Trader Joe's Tuesday: French Vanilla Coffee

Trader Joe's French Vanilla Ground Coffee

Tastes Like:  Nutty, bitter, and dark...just how I like my men.

Great With:  something sweet at breakfast-time.  Wonderful for machines, but perhaps a little too rough-ground for pour-over method.

Perfect For:  MORNINGS.

Must Know:  labelled Kosher on the package!

Costs:  $6.99 - pretty competitive for ground coffee!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Storied Lives

Telling stories is just in my blood, I guess.

As a child, my dad's autobiographical rambles were often met with groans at the dinner table.  Yet I remember them now.  My mother was a professional storyteller - she even got paid!  Sometimes in pie.  That's a true story.  So I suppose ending up as an actor-turned-tour-guide is just genetics at work.  Nature and nurture.  And I cherish the role.

Y'see, I think I've come to a pretty good conclusion on the whole "telling stories" thing.  I believe that telling stories is what separates us from all the other animals.  Yes!  Fables, morals, fairy tales, jokes, I'd even go so far as to say interpretive dance is the one leg up we've got on all the other bipeds out there in the world.

You're thinking, "She's crazy.  There is no way a bunch of made-up rigamarole is the one important and defining characteristic of humanity."  Well, let me tell you my story:

Stories teach us how to be human.  Fables and parables give us rules to live by.  Do as I do - or sometimes, as I don't.  Who doesn't remember at least one of Aesop's gems of wisdom?  Or how about the tale of the ant and the grasshopper?  Fairy tales too:  Cinderella teaches us humility, kindness, diligence.  Hansel and Gretel warn us to steer clear of greed.  It may sound Grimm, but we learn to behave by having these warnings pounded into our heads.  Even religion:  I'm not going to go too far here, but every culture has a creation myth that shows the importance of humankind in relation to the world around them.  The stories of who we are and how we came to be were all we had to trust in for centuries.  Passed down by oral tradition and honed over telling and retelling, stories older than we are have become part of who we are.

Stories are how we relate to other humans.  When we attempt to connect, to forge new relationships, to re-establish connections, we do it through stories.  When I'm getting to know someone, I always look for a good story out of them.  If you open up and share a bit of your life, a funny anecdote or defining moment, you invite another to do the same.  We let others into our lives through our stories.  And even those who have always been there:  our family will regale us with stories of their lives growing up so we understand where they're coming from and in turn, where we come from.  And I'll bet you and your closest friends have a couple of "inside jokes" that you constantly remind each other of - jokes like the punchline to the story that starts "Well, I guess you kinda had to be there, but...".  We are all players in and audience to each other's stories.

Stories will stay behind even after we're gone.  When people ask us, "What was so-and-so like?"  We must convey them through stories.  We remember the past in stories:  dates, places, they don't mean anything.  What happened in our histories, both personally and as a society as a whole, are stories.  Each moment draws us into the future, each past one is a new story. 

I am proud to call myself a storyteller.  Bastion of knowledge, weaver of tales, keeper of secrets that I'll gladly share if you come in close and lend me your ear.  Stories keep our histories, our humanity.  I'll take that title, thanks very much.  End of story.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Social

Sunday Social

1. What was your college major? Did you ever change majors?

My major was, officially, Comparative Literature.  I switched from a Theatre Major in my final semester.  I'm glad I did!

2. Best purchase you’ve made lately?

The other day, I went to a gelateria I often pass on my ghost tours and had the MOST AMAZING GELATO.  New York City dwellers, if you remember trying gelato that one time in Europe and want to recapture it, Amorino Gelato will bring back insanely happy memories.  Memories that you...affogato? ....until then.  Seriously though, the affogato is amazing.

3. Something silly we don’t know about you:

Silly? Um...  my whole existence is pretty silly, I guess.  Hard to narrow down to one thing!  I guess the funniest thing is that I'm a total klutz.  I was trying to be super smooth the other day and I caught my shoe on the sidewalk and WHOOPS!  Klutz alert.  Maybe it was actually cute and endearing, like Usagi/Sailor Moon.  Yeah, hopefully.

4. Favorite Holiday?

Without a doubt, Halloween is my favourite holiday!  Uh, I love candy?  And ghosts?  And Comic Con is like two weeks before that!  Halloween is all about being dramatic and indulging in your desires.  I loooove that.

5. The first thing you do when you wake up?

I shuffle my way into the kitchen and start brewing coffee for the day.  I know that's a cliche, but it can also cause problems:  if I'm still kind of sleepy, I will make greivous errors in my coffee process:  forgetting the fiter, forgetting the grounds, or even forgetting the water and wondering why it's taking so long for my coffee to get made!!!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Brooklyn Flea

Yes, folks, Brooklyn Flea is bizarre.  Uh, a Bizarre Bazaar.  And it suits me just fine.

I made the schlepp out to BK on a very sunny Saturday morning and was stunned to find first, the Brooklyn Flea is...kind of hard to find.  I had to walk several blocks along a highway, through construction sites, answer three riddles posited to me by a bridge troll...(maybe)...and pass through several blocks of residential space to get to it.

Let me clarify, I had been to the indoor/Winter space years back, which seemed a lot closer to the Atlantic Ave/Barclay's Center stop (easily accessible from almost every train, it's like the equivalent of Times Sq/42nd Street Station in Manhattan - sorry, Brooklyn, I had to put it in Manhattan terms).  But the summer space is...a little trickier.

But don't worry - you won't miss it.  Once you round the corner, crowds will lead you to the fenced-in area filled with vendors.  Again, not to be critical, but I thought the flea was larger indoors?  But also, more crowded, because of the confined space.  However, I could be wrong.

It seems that the flea is made op of two main categories of vendors:  FOOD and VINTAGE CLOTHING.  Oh yes, baby, oh yes.  And this ain't your street-fair fare.  There were gluten-free options, bizarre ethnic food with a hipster twist, new inventions to tantalize the palate - guaranteed, you will not shop hungry.  Skip breakfast, it will be worth it.  And the vintage clothing ranged from affordable to...slightly more than.  I find that vintage shopping can be daunting because, like the food, it all looks just so good, but I went there with a mission:  to find a chic little chiffon scarf for a vintage/French feel and I found one!  For cheaper than the list prices on Amazon.com!  From a super nice lady who chatted me up and guys!  It even matches the Big Blue Hand Chair!

And I think it suits me just fine, non?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

#tbt Carousel Rider

The other night, my aunt texted me this picture completely out of the blue!  I have no idea when it was taken (judging my the blonde boy in the background, possibly 1987? 1988?) but thought I'd share.  I've been really nostalgic for carousels lately.  My hometown of Binghamton is well known for its carousels.  Homesickness is creeping in again.  Sigh.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Trader Joe's Tuesday: Coconut Body Butter

Trader Joe's Coconut Body Butter

Tastes Like:  DO NOT EAT THIS PRODUCT!  Dab a little of the rich, thick-churned creaminess onto your skin and rub it in and you'll feel good enough to eat.  And you'll smell like a pina colada.

Great With:  Itchy, dry, or cracked skin.

Perfect For:  Overshare?  My psoriasis breakouts.  Dry, cracked, winter hands.  Rough spots on your feet.  And for giving massages.

Must Know:  Cruelty free!  And though the list of ingredients is looooong, most of the ingredients are "certified organic."  I don't know if this is a "vegan" bath product, but it sure doesn't aggravate any of my skin sensitivites, so that's all I care about!

Costs:  $5.99 but trust me, a little goes a looooong way.  I've had my container for almost a year, and thanks to the incredibly thick texture, it spreads beautifully and only a little is needed for high-impact moisturizing.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Diggin' on Degas

My favourite collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is unquestionably the Degas pieces.  There's a couple of rooms of sketches, statues, and paintings by the Impressionist master Edgar Degas just close enough to the rooms housing your big names - Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso - but secluded enough that you can stand almost uncomfortably close to the art and cry silently to yourself at how beautiful it is appreciate the unique approach to sketching and colour!

When you get close enough to notice, you'll see that the color, light, and shadow is comprised of bold zig-zags shooting violently in every direction.  The grain of the walls, the texture of the skirts, even the way the light falls across the back of the dancers' shoulders!  I like to imagine Degas scribbling quickly and purposefully at each drawing and look at the flawless result!

Above were two pastel creations, here is one of Degas' oil paintings.  According to the info at the museum, the pastel-like texture and blending of colour came about by poking and jabbing the paint onto the canvas in layer after layer!  Degas (who if his self-portrait is true, was kind of a Baldwin) strikes me as a funny character:  a dude who hung around ballet classes all the time only to take out his frustrations scribbling and jabbing away brutally at a canvas to create....beautiful ballerinas.

As a last bit of advice, always remember to stand close to the painting so nobody can see your tears so you can notice the subtle details that others may have missed!  Phew!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday Social

Sunday Social

1. What’s your favorite scary movie?

Does The Goonies count?  It's not that I don't like scary movies, I guess I don't particularly like one more than the other.  So I'm saying The Goonies.

2. What is your favorite weird TV show you think no one else watches?

I love Cosmos!  I keep trying to get people to watch it so we can talk about how amazing and beautiful it is! 

3. What is the song you can sing all the words to without any music?

I could probably sing the entire libretto of several musicals.  Definitely Aspects of Love, Evita, and probably Les Miserables.  I know all the words to the songs from Rent.  I miss musicals, dude.  I just started listening to Miss Saigon because I remembered that it exists.  Man, remember Jekyll and Hyde?  Around my birthday I always get really nostalgic.  My life has been beautiful and interesting, and I love reminding myself of all the wonderful things I have lived/seen/done/heard/visited/loved.  And right now, that's Miss Saigon!

4. What is your favorite book to re-read?

Kurt Vonnegut's short story collection Welcome to the Monkey House always reminds me why I love science fiction. 

5. The one website you visit more times a day than others?

I guess Bloglovin'?  I don't do facebook too much, twitter kind of overwhelms me, and Instagram probably doesn't count?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

It wouldn't be a trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden without taking a photograph of the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. 

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is free on Saturdays from 10am-noon.  That's the time to get there - the paths aren't crowded, and you can get close to take photos!

The real upside of getting to the garden before anyone else is having the entire greenhouse area to yourself.  My favourite is the cactus room!

Here's something new:  after Hurricane Sandy, several trees were felled, and artist Roderick Romero created a tree house using pieces of wood from those trees.  Being alone in the garden, you can sit on its benches and breathe in the musky, wood scent.  And without anyone to watch, you can take selfies without shame!

After the garden, swing down to Prospect Park to visit the Farmer's Market, take a stroll through Park Slope, or hang around for an evening at the museum!  Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a great summer getaway.

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