Thursday, July 25, 2013


Do you ever feel the need to just overshare? Or talk about intimate personal matters at great length? I'm not saying I do, just posing a question. I mean, sometimes, you just want to know if someone else is having the same problems you are. Maybe that salad you had at lunch didn't agree with you, and you just want to know if anyone else had the same issue, so maybe it's the restaurant's fault. Maybe you just want to know if the color of a bodily fluid is "normal." Or you want to commiserate with others, see if they have tips on facial hair removal. Or you're looking to confirm that your family is in fact, the craziest. Perhaps during an emergency situation you happened to come across the wonder of a fabulous public restroom - clean, well-lit, with towels and lotion - and in the process of sharing this wonder you maybe went into too much detail about what led you there in the first place. In theory, of course. Or as a question posted anonymously somewhere.

Generally speaking, I have no problem with what any of this stuff that some would consider TMI. Except perhaps if you share overly intimate details about your significant other, because I'm terribly immature and may have problems looking them in the eye and not giggling after learning about how they cried during that thing that time while naked.

Having a place to overshare is why the internet was invented.....right? The problem is that the world wide web literally contains too much information, which can be overwhelming. And then I have a hard time shutting my brain off in order to go to sleep. So then I feel the need to blab on and on about tossing and turning and how the only thing that puts me to sleep is trying to watch the movie Eat Pray Love which works better than a sleeping pill for me. (I've seen her eat, pray, and love - but never all the way through from start to finish.) And because I'm sleepless and maybe a little delirious and have OD'd on Orange Is The New Black (loving it!) suddenly I think Julia Roberts' character in that movie is totally Piper from OITNB and that movie would've been a whole lot better if instead of whining in Bali she would've been thrown in jail with Crazy Eyes and Red. And there you go, I've gone and thrown out a little TMI on the inner workings of my warped mind.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Feeding the habit

My friends sometimes call me a human IMDB. I haven't retained school knowledge that could perhaps help me advance my career, but I can remember the lyrics to songs from the TEEN WITCH soundtrack, and the fact that Robin Lively, who starred in that movie, is Blake Lively's sister, and the guy who played the love interest Brad in that movie also played Kevin Buchanan on ONE LIFE TO know, really useful information like that.

Besides watching a lot of TV and movies, my knowledge about things entertainment, pop culture, and beauty related comes from reading magazines and regularly checking-in on web sites dedicated to my various interests. Thought I'd share some of my favorites (AKA the ones I visit the most), in case you have similar interests.

For beauty info, these are some of the ones I visit like a junkie looking to get a fix:
  • I love the Beautylish site for their online community of fellow makeup-aholics, with all kinds of beautiful and inspiring ideas for costume, theatrical, and everyday makeup. They also have interesting articles with beauty tips and some product reviews. Plus, Beautylish has a great online store that sells cult/hard-to-find makeup lines. (Which they ship with lovely little personalized notes like a care package. Making it extra dangerous for this addict.) 
  • In terms of thorough product reviews, I don't think anyone does a better job than Temptalia. She tests makeup products, grades them, and includes a lot of great photographs that swatch each product. Her focus tends to be a little heavier on higher-end products, which can lead to a long and very expensive wish list.
  • Of course you know I have to recommend the website of my favorite Youtube video making sisters, the Pixiwoo team, but even cooler is their online/mobile app TWO magazine - with tips from pro makeup artists, gorgeous photography, and all kinds of makeup-related inspiration and recommendations.
Favorite sites for fun pop culture:
  • I have been reading the Pop Candy blog for years. I don't remember how long ago I first stumbled across it, but I became a loyal reader since the first time I did. I love that it covers all things pop culture - movies, TV, music, books, and more, but with a definite opinion. I think of Whitney Matheson, the blog's author, as one of my online "friends." Over the years of reading her posts I've found that we don't have super similar tastes in music, but I really trust her book recommendations. (And she even gave me a nail polish recommendation once, so her enabling is really prize worthy.)
  • I started reading Television Without Pity recaps of TV shows back when most of its focus was on shows on The WB, and the site had a different name. The network no longer exists and the site has changed names twice since I first came across it, but I still enjoy a nice snarky recap or weecap every once in awhile. Their photo galleries can be quite entertaining as well. They've branched out and do some movie reviews as well. 
  • I became a regular reader of NEW YORK magazine's Vulture entertainment blog more recently that the previous two, but we've gotten close quickly. I think it was The Thinking Woman's Guide to FIFTY SHADES OF GREY that solidified our relationship. Like Pop Candy, it covers all things pop culture, but unlike Pop Candy, there are a team of writers, so there are various perspectives - which means some posts feel way more thought out than others. The comments section on some posts are sometimes way more entertaining than the actual posts, and probably what keep me as a regular reader.
For foodie fixes:
  • If you like to cook, or just look at pictures of delicious-looking food, or recipes from restaurants you love or simply must visit one day, you have to check out Epicurious. It's tag line is "for people who like to eat" and I find it extremely apt. Their Pinterest boards are food porn you should avoid if you're on a diet or fasting. They also have some really good instructional videos with how-to-instructions on various techniques. It's my first stop when looking for recipes.
  • Find. Eat. Drink. Food/travel tips and recommendations from chefs, bartenders, and artisans that share their best addresses around the world. I wish they had a non-iPhone app as well. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Book lover

The other day one of my best friends was telling me that her almost 8-year-old daughter (who also happens to be my goddaughter) had started reading A WRINKLE IN TIME and was really loving it, and what a kick it was for her (my friend) to get out her own old copy of the book and show her daughter they shared a favorite. (After getting over the hurdle of the vastly different cover art.) A WRINKLE IN TIME was one of my favorite books as a kid as well, and I after re-reading a few years ago, I have to say, it's a childhood favorite that really holds up.

This little exchange with my bestie made me realize that although I say in my bio that I love books, I haven't really talked about any in this blog. Haven't written a review, or even a list of my favorites. Mostly because I always feel a bit self-conscious when I talk about books. I think my reading habits reveal my inner 22-year-old more than my outer way-older-than-that-adult.

Look, I've read some literary classics - and not all while in high school or college either. I've read works by Jane Austen, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, John Irving, and Gustave Flaubert for fun. But if we're being real here, and I'm all about keeping it real, most of what I read is not all that highbrow. I mean, I'm pretty sure that over the years I've contributed considerably towards Nora Roberts' dream home, or at least its kitchen. I've read everything Chelsea Handler has had published. And I somehow made it through every single book in Charlaine Harris's seemingly never-ending Sookie Stackhouse series.

Which isn't to say I'm not picky. I'm not above enjoying a semi-predictable formulaic plot, but I hate Nicholas Sparks books, and refuse to watch any movies based on them. I say that as someone who read A WALK TO REMEMBER before watching the movie. And then became increasingly angry when I realized that according to Mr. Sparks, apparently important lessons in life and love only happen when someone dies. (We parted on poor terms.)

My biggest weakness, apart from adventure romance novels, is young adult fiction. I may be way older than the target audience, but there are a lot of really great stories to be read in the YA section, they just happen to have lead characters in their teens. I seem to have a particular soft spot for post-apocalyptic young adult series - I've loved THE HUNGER GAMES, THE MAZE  RUNNER, THE UGLIES, MATCHED, and DIVERGENT. (I will probably watch and have issues with the inevitable movie adaptions of all of the above.) Not to say those are the only YA books I've read in the past couple of years. I sobbed reading THE BOOK THIEF and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. I felt like THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER and KING DORK were about friends of mine, and READY PLAYER ONE was a fun nostalgia trip. I did not enjoy the TWILIGHT books though - mostly because (a) I didn't buy into the love story at all and (b) I hated the character of Bella in particular, and pretty much every character in the book in general. But I sure have had fun discussing some of the more ridiculous plot points with friends! (Have refused to watch the movies.) Next up in my very long to-read queue: CHOCOLATES FOR BREAKFAST, which I'm really looking forward to thanks to an endorsement from Whitney Matheson from the Pop Candy blog, upon whose recommendations I have found and enjoyed many of the books I just listed. (I should probably do a separate post of all the various enabling blogs I read.)

One of my to-read piles
Thanks to a friend who shared her e-book library with me, I have hundreds of unread books in my e-reader, and over a dozen unread books in my to-read pile at home - but I'm always open to new recommendations. Particularly if the main character is a kick-ass woman. Or if it's a book of humorous essays. (Funny books are my favorite reading for travel. David Sedaris, Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling got me through some boring ass flights in the last year.) But please, the only shades of grey I'm interested in hearing about are references to makeup. (A nice grey nail polish, for example.)