Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Photo-A-Day Challenge - Recap

The month truly flew by!  I loved following along with the challenge, even when it created, ahem, unique challenges.  What a month it's been!


1.  You
2.  Breakfast
3.  Something You Adore
4.  Letterbox
5.  Something You Wore
6.  Makes You Smile



7.  Favourite
8.  Your Sky
9.  Daily Routine
10.  Childhood
11.  Where You Sleep
12.  Close-Up
13.  In Your Bag
14.  Something You're Reading
15.  Happiness


16.  Morning
17.  Water
18.  Something You Bought
19.  Sweet
20.  Someone You Love
21.  Reflection
22.  Your Shoes
23.  Something Old
24.  Guilty Pleasure



25.  Something You Made
26.  Colour
27.  Lunch
28.  Light
29.  Inside Your Fridge
30.  Nature
31.  You, Again


















I'm playing along again in February...who's with me?

check in out at fat mum slim!


Monday, January 30, 2012

No Hope For Womankind?

Dear Hope,

I assume by your name and byline picture that you are a woman.

I also assume by your condescending and indelicate tone that you have never suffered even a moment's embarrassment in your entire lifetime.  Nobody has ever called you "porcine", and a fairy appears in your dreams once every lunar cycle to give you the exact time and date of your period for that month.  How lovely!  How convenient.

Unfortunately, not all menstruating women are are charmed as you.  Sometimes, our periods change due to stress, eating habits, a myriad of other reasons.  Occasionally, mishaps occur.  Thank goodness for you, Hope Carson, for pointing out the flaws and foibles of women!  I certainly hope I never run into you on a day when I'm sporting a new pimple, or my lipstick is smudged, or I have - god forbid - split ends!

You're not the first woman in society to try to make herself feel better about her flaws by putting a microscope on the flaws of others, not as long as there have been playgrounds and pigtails to pull.  But that's not good reason to join the cycle.

We are all women.  We are born women, or choose to be women, or are born women until we choose not to be women.  We fall down, we hope nobody saw, we get back up again.  We get groped on the subway.  We have doors slammed in our face.  We are invisible.  We fight back.  And yes, SOMETIMES, we menstruate.

My hope for you, Hope, is not merely that you should suffer a karmic menstrual mishap the next time you attend a funeral.  Afterwards, I want you to see that you are merely one of us, a mortal, a fallible, human woman.  And if you prick us, do we not (if you'll pardon the expression)...bleed?


Signed,

Been There, Done That, It's Not Pretty, Move On

Team Christina from now on!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Downtown to Chinatown

So once a week, my friend Connie and I get together under the noble banner of seeing more of this great city we are so fortunate to live in.  When in reality, we just take tons and tons of Instagram photos.  The plan was to walk downtown, to visit Park Here, on the advice of Gala Darling.  And then, we would visit Chinatown.  In a nutshell, DOWNTOWN TO CHINATOWN.

This was the gloomy, rainy day I started out with.  There is no filter on this picture:


42nd & 5th:  Thoughtful Library lion saved you a seat.  You're welcome!

34th & 5th:  It was so foggy, the entire top of the Empire State Building disappeared!



Who says I don't work on my day off!  Holding up streetlamps is a tough racket!

29th between 5th & Madison:  I have always thought this church was really beautiful.  Here's just a taste:


23rd & 5th at B'way:  Madison Square Park always has some wacky art exhibit.  This time, there was a cartoon playing on a TV in a tree!  And this really cool fountain!


A quick stop into Fish's Eddy to ogle dishware, a brief hurricane (no kidding) and we were at our indoor oasis at 201 Mulberry Street!  I'll let the pictures do the talking!!!


It was so refreshing and relaxing to escape from the heavy winter layers, sink into the oversized, metallic beanbags, and listen to the cheerful mix of happy conversation and easy listening music.

Finally, CHINATOWN!  We bought treats and necessities at an ENORMOUS grocery store, took a picture of this gorgeous balcony display, then ate dinner next door at Nice Green Bo on Bayard Street.  It was so delicious and really cheap! 



And of course, we had to have ice cream at Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.  Mine was Blueberry, and it was AWESOME!  Come to think, last time we hung out, we had ice cream, too.  I think that would make a nice tradition.


Then it was onto a train, back up to Times Square, for the Hell's Kitchen tour of Ghosts, Murders and Mayhem!  It was thrilling, grotesque, sweet, and tragic.  I can't wait to learn the stories myself and start giving the tour in the spring!  Time to squeeze in a few last shots.  The Millennial ball from the ball drop at the Times Square Visitor's Center:


And this dude, in a bowling pin costume, who was whacking people on the head as they walked past!


Hope I didn't "bowl you over" with too many photos, but I love these little photographic adventures in the city!


Put A Little Britain in Your Life

I love British television.  It's bold, smartly written, and short.  You can watch an entire series in the span of an afternoon!  And loads of it is available to watch instantly on Netflix!  If you're ready to take the leap and try some new shows, but aren't sure where to start, here are seven suggestions:

If you like Meet the Parents, try The Worst Week of My Life

Source
Ben Miller (rhymes with Ben Stiller!) stars as hapless Howard Steel in this Murphy's Law of sitcoms.  "Anything that can go wrong, does," is the tagline used by it's writers.  This past-faced, laugh a minute show is like watching a chain of dominoes fall down. 


If you like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, try Doctor Who

Source
Both shows are comedy-infused science fiction cult classics with devoted audiences, and with good reason.  Doctor Who already has a huge American following.  Gripping, highly accessible, kitschy and well-written, if you like science fiction, you're doing yourself a disservice every minute you spend reading this sentence and not watching Doctor Who!


If you like Friends, try Coupling

Source
 Six friends:  three guys, three girls.  Two fall for each other right away.  Two more eventually come to recognize their mutual attraction.    And two on hand for hijinx and comic relief.  Smart writing, likeable characters, and some bizarre rants you won't be able to stop laughing at.  Spend 14 hours to watch the whole of this series and you won't be sorry you did.


If you like Bridesmaids, try Pulling

Source
Women can be just as shallow, raunchy, and misanthropic as their fellow comedic counterparts, as demonstrated in this family un-friendly 12-episode series.  If you like bold humour, outrageous situations, and trashy jokesters, you'll laugh your arse off at the appalling situations these women find themselves in.  Warning:  this is decidedly a black comedy.  If you hate potty humor, implied animal abuse, excessive nudity, and depressing situations, avoid this show like the plague!!!  If, however, you're like me and nothing can shock you, you might just be surprised by Pulling!


If you like Saturday Night Live, try That Mitchell and Webb Look

Source
In terms of sketch comedy, Britain has us solidly beat.  There are numerous sketch shows and comedy duos out there, but That Mitchell and Webb Look is something special.  Sometimes political, sometimes nonsensical, always hilarious.  There are 6 seasons to get lost in, and something for everybody on the roster.  Now THAT's Numberwang!


If you like Jane Austen, try Downton Abbey

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Downton Abbey, the current season of which is airing on PBS, is an early 20th Century period drama gaining viewership and popularity as we speak.  Dame Maggie Smith herself plays the Dowager Countess!  The show follows the lives of a wealthy family, their three unmarried daughters, and their many, many servants!  The lush costumes and settings draw you in, but the complicated entanglements of the characters will keep you hooked.  Catch up on the first season on Netflix, then watch the second season unfold as it airs!


If you like South Park, try Spaced

Source
Spaced almost defies comparison, and that is precisely why it's worth checking out.  Set in the late nineties, many of the references are dated ("retro?") but the writing and the jokes are timeless.  The characters are so loveable that you just may miss them when the series is over:  wannabe comic artist Tim and his amateur writing friend Daisy pretend to be a "professional couple" to rent a flat in boozy Marsha's house.  They acquire tortured artist Brian as a new neighbor and friend, as well as adding Daisy's shallow friend Twist and Tim's bizarre military-obsessed old chum Mike to the mix of zany characters.  And then there's Colin, probably the cutest dog on television.  If you remember the 90's fondly, you'll appreciate this charming little time capsule with it's nerdy references and heart-warming message.


Happy viewing everyone!  If you've seen any of these, let me know what you think!  If you haven't, you're totally welcome...  ;-)



Thursday, January 26, 2012

Let's Get Real

Reality TV is neither real, nor TV.  Discuss.

Source:  E! Online Store
 I may be late to coming into this realization, but I am becoming more and more disenchanted with reality television.  I used to get excited about a new episode of Teen Mom or Jersey Shore, but lately I find I have no desire to watch either when I have the opportunity.  I find that the more I watch reality TV (not game shows like Top Chef or Project Runway, but shows like 16 and Pregnant), I find that it just glorifies addiction, mental illness, and supidity.

Source:  MTV.com
I never thought I would hate Reality Television!  I used to gobble up their bizarre characters and storylines like there was no tomorrow.  The Girls Next Door.  The Osbournes.  Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica.  True Life.  Made.  I watched it all, all the time.  Weekends were marathons on E! when I could spend the whole day Keeping Up with the Kardashians.  It used to be so new, and so fun, to see the way other people lived!  They had wacky adventures!  They threw ham!  They couldn't figure out whether Chicken O' the Sea was chicken or fish!

Source:  MTV.com
Somewhere along the line, at least for me, it just devolved.  Lost its charm and became all about open bars, hot tubs, and pregnancy scares.  We were no longer getting an eyeful of the "other half," we were spying on the "other other half".  The young, uneducated, poor, desperate, and sometimes downright idiotic.

Source:  MTV.com
I believe there are only two possible audiences for that sort of thing.  The first type of viewer gets it.  They realize that they're watching people you do NOT want to emulate, and they watch for the schadenfreude and to laugh at these people's foibles, like modern day jesters.  The other audience is the one that scares me.  I see people watch these shows and seek to EMULATE the behavior they see portrayed.  Or was that the intention of reality TV all along?

Is anyone else getting sick and tired of this so-called "reality" TV fad?



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Non-traditional Traditional Grilled Cheese

This is pretty much the only thing I will stoop to cook for myself., because it is so easy, fast, and incredibly delicious!  All you need is:

2 slices of your favourite bread
Cheddar cheese - as much or as little as you want!
Gulden's or your favourite brown mustard
Mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip)

First, slather some mustard to taste on one or both slices of bread.

Add the cheese!  I like real cheddar.

Close up the sandwich, then lightly spread some mayo on the outside of the top of the sandwich.


Flip that upside-down onto your skillet, then mayonnaise the underside (yes, I just used "mayonnaise" as a verb.  Come at me, grammar bro!).  I have done this A LOT and found this is the easiest way.

Turn on your skillet to high and wait a couple minutes.  This next step is crucial:  Before you flip, take a spatula and press down on the sandwich lightly but firmly.  If the top slice sticks to the spatula and pulls off, DO NOT FLIP IT YET.  Big cheesey mess.  If the ENTIRE SANDWICH lifts up, you're ready to flip!  Slide the spatula under and flip that puppy!

I keep flipping her over and over until I get a nice, deep char.  Mmm, greasy cheesy heaven!


Cut your sandwich into triangles (the only respectable sandwich shape, IMHO!) and enjoy!!!

Obviously, this is a very simple recipe, but the mustard gives it kind of a British flavour (like Welsh rarebit) and there are so few ingredients that this is a dish that's always on hand.

If your tastes run more gourmand, check out the blog Grilled Cheese Social!  Make sure you have your sandwich made already, though, because it's going to make you hungry!!!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Spike

For some reason, strangers always feel comfortable opening up to me about the weirdest things.  Their dead daughter.  Their diabetes.  Whatever.  I guess I'm just super approachable?  Simon Doonan, my style guru, says that if you dress "common," people will feel more comfortable opening up to you.  Time to chuck the jeans and sneakers routine for something a little more...intimidating?  Voila, today's outift:


It has spikes on it.  SPIKES!  Nobody wants to tell a girl wearing spikes about their prolapsed colon on the subway...right?


Or so I thought.  As I left the house, I ran into my neighborhood admirer.  He always compliments my outfits.  Maybe he's a deeply undercover fashion designer?  Today he stopped me yet again.

"Do you want me to ask you your name?"

"Huh?"  I replied, cleverly.  Does that even make sense?

"What's your name?"

"Meghan,"  I blurted out, extending my hand briskly, hoping for a quick shake and a goodbye.

"My name's Mike," he ushered in quickly, but I misheard him.

"Did you say 'Spike'?"

"No, MIKE.  Here, I want to show you something..."  He unzipped his jacket and pulled it open to the side.  What could he have in there?  Stolen watches for sale?  A puppy?  Probably stolen watches?

"Thanks, Mike, but I'm really in a hurry..."  I started to bolt up the hill away from the situation when he started to lift up his shirt.  I froze.  My eyes focused on the waistband of his pants, searching for the gun I was certain I'd find.

"My tattoo!  It has spikes in it!  I thought you'd like it!"

"Great!  See ya around, Mike!"  Oh well.  I guess wearing spikes to ward off attention from strangers is NOT a viable strategy.  I almost regretted not taking a picture of the moment to show you all, it was so odd and surreal.

And as I turned the corner, I worried to myself.  Was I rude to Mike just then?


BOOM.  That's why strangers feel comfortable baring their souls - and chestpieces - to me in the street.  Like it or not, not matter how I dress myself, I am and will always be (gulp)


...NICE !!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mani Mondays - Matte Scientist

Last week, I finally found some Essie Matte About You!  I've been hunting this little bottle of magic all over Manhattan!  It instantly gives your shiny polish a matte, satin (but still opulent!) feel LITERALLY doubling your nail polish repertoire with a single bottle!

Here's an example of some matte over mint:


It's a whole new polish!  The mint goes from being bright and summery to matte and wintry in a single coat!

I wanted to play around with a matte glitter look, that was still "gritty".  Hello black polish and pink glitter!  Barbie toughness!


The matte doesn't completely eliminate the glitter shine, it tones it down to feel more "everyday" and less "juvenile".  The matte black was less shiny and more tar.  It looked like a drag queen spilled her makeup in an alleyway on a rainy night.  So, um, beautiful.


My only "tip" is this:  Essie Matte About You creates a dramatic and beautiful visual effect, but it isn't as strong a "topcoat" as I would like.  It's been one day, and I've already noticed some chips.  So if your polish is fairly chip-prone, I would do a regular (shiny) topcoat (I use Sally Hansen usually) and THEN add the matte on top.  It would be easier to correct chips in the matte coat than having to re-do the whole nail.

Overall, I am so pleased I was able to find Matte About You!  I'm truly "Matte" over it (and all the opportunities for puns!)

***Please note this is a free and honest review of Essie Matte About You.  Essie has not paid me in any way to review their products but if they felt so inclined to send me free nail polishes, I would certainly not object.***

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Snow Day!

Today we had our first *real* snow!  That one before Halloween was a fluke and everyone knows snow before November is NOT SNOW!  We woke up to a veritable winter wonderland!  Fluffy flakes falling so dense and fast they obscured the bridge and the view of New Jersey:


And it was fun to watch the flakes collect on the windowsills through the airshaft!


It was the perfect excuse to stay in, knit, watch trashy TV and catch up on some important reading!


Did anyone else get snow?

You Say Yes, I Say No

As long as I can remember, I have been vehemently counter-culture.  I listened to oldies radio in elementary school and eschewed the Top 40 stations being played on the bus.  Bucking trends, I wore nothing but leggings well after they ceased to be popular.  I preferred reading books alone to playing outside with friends.  I took pride in being a rebel.

...and I'll never ever be any good...

But there are times when I think maybe I go a little too far.  Like when the movie Titanic came out, and all my junior-high friends flocked to see it multiple times, I steadfastly refused to see the movie.  It was too popular!  When I finally saw it years later, I realized it wasn't half bad.

Should I cave?  Should I watch Downton Abbey and eat at Shake Shack?  Are Megamind and Despicable Me really as good as they say?  WHAT IS THE APPEAL OF LEGGINGS?!?  How do you go bare-legged in winter and not freeze? 

Ugh.  I sound like I've been cryogenically frozen.  Can someone tell me which pop culture is worth tasting and which is worth skipping?


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Brooklyn, You're OK

 "I like the island Manhattan
Smoke in your pipe and put that in!"
- Stephen Sondheim, West Side Story
(cut him some slack, there's not a lot that rhymes with Manhattan, okay?)

If you know me at all, you know the disdain I have for Brooklyn.  Not PEOPLE FROM Brooklyn.  Remember, I was a bridge-and-tunnel for two years, remember?  So I empathize with the terrible public transportation.  But my own visits to Brooklyn have always resulted in one of four outcomes:

1.  Get lost
2.  Get drunk
3.  Get accosted
4.  Be disappointed
(sometimes all at the same time.  Take THAT rhyme, Sondheim!)

Barbed wire, empty lots, and garbage.  Oh yeah.  That's the Brooklyn I know and fear.
So when a friend and I decided we should see more of the city, I surprised myself by suggesting Brooklyn.  She is more of an adventurer than I, and from what I could tell, she had actually had some GOOD experiences in Brooklyn (is that even a thing?).  Who better as a guide, then?


We decided to walk across the Willamsburg Bridge, with hopes of ending up in Williamsburg.  It's a fairly pretty bridge, and then..



Oh yeah.  That's my Brooklyn!  Always classy.  But what's this?


A glimmer of hope in my least favourite borough?  Can it be?


It can!  Williamsburg has some really pretty educational graffiti.  Like this one, that shows us that robots worship carnations.



And that biking can be good for the environment, AND good for found-object art!


And this one, that shows us that...dolphins rape people.  Huh.

And in Brooklyn, the seasons all blur together.  We kept seeing discarded pumpkins, all over the place, more so even than discarded Christmas trees, which one might expect.  Like this:


And there are some really pretty buildings, like this one with copper trim and a weathervane.  It was hard to get a good photo, and we decided to take a ride down to Park Slope.

Park Slope is THE BOMB!  They have tons of really cute stores, like this one:


Where you can buy cool stuff like THIS:


And best part!  It's for education!  Check it out!

Remember my fond love for Grand Army Plaza?  Well, they have one in Park Slope, too, but it has an arch!


And it's right across from the Brooklyn Public Library, adorned with gold hieroglyphics and symbols!


All that Brooklyn made me hungry...!  Oh look!  Ample Hills Creamery (yes, for Walt Whitman!)


Literally, you guys, LITERALLY the BEST ice cream I have ever eaten.  It had M&Ms and pretzels and potato chips and candy and OH YEAH FRESH-MADE ICE CREAM not to mention oooh the colors...!


So Brooklyn, you're not Manhattan, but I'll allow you to stay.  You're a'ight. 
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