Thursday, June 30, 2011

10 worst food trends

Pulitzer-prize winning restaurant critic Jonathan Gold dishes out the latest food trends he can't handle

As a restaurant critic, we--that's the royal, food critic "we"--visit more than 300 restaurants each year. And we still feel that expectant thrill every time we sit down at a new table--the thrill we suspect theater critics feel with every rising curtain. But as wide ranging as our tastes may be, and as sympathetic as we are to the difficulties of the profession, not every fad coursing through Western kitchens is worth celebrating. Here are 10 food trends of 2011 that drive us out of our minds.

1. "Changes and Modifications Politely Declined.": Passive-aggressive, vain-glorious, and thoroughly maddening, this disclaimer, found printed on menus of the sort of edgy small-plates restaurants where the fried pig's ears come with finger lime rémoulade, hits the trifecta of annoyance. And to a degree, we approve of it: In a world where customers feel entitled to ask for the alligator schnitzel with hearts of palm, except made with grouper instead of alligator, avocado instead of hearts of palm, and the Tabasco butter from the crab-leg dish instead of orange honey, it puts the chef back in control. But when it gets to the point where a chef refuses to leave the bacon garnish off a dish for a guest in a hijab, or the door guy of a hamburger joint frisks you for ketchup at the entrance, it has probably gone too far.

2. Sous vide: Chefs love sous vide, a technique that involves vaccum-sealing food in plastic wrap and simmering it at low temperature for long periods of time, the way your great-aunt may have done with her Daisy Seal-a-Meal. There is no waste with sous vide--all the juices stay in the meat or fish--and it is all very scientific. But while in theory it seems like a good idea to cook a lamb loin to a perfect, rosy rare 126°, in practice it means that every bite of your main course is exactly like every other bite of your main course, which is to say bland, bloody, and soft as Soylent Green. Call us old-fashioned, but we like fire.

3. Untranslated menus: There is an iPhone app--we've seen it used--that scans a menu or sign in a Chinese restaurant and translates the characters into English. Unfortunately, unless you have mastered the idioms, knowing that a dish is named something like "peony cloud mountain" is probably not going to help you very much. Someday, the technology will be perfected. In the meantime, we'd just like to know about that plate of yu choy sum with Yunnan ham and fava beans.

4. $5 tap water: We commend good-tasting filtered water in restaurants--it is a nice gesture and infinitely better for the ecosystem than bottled water (which future generations may well regard as a symbol of impossible decadence, like ambergris omelets or larks' tongues in aspic). But charging for tap water as if it were the stuff flown in from Fiji is green washing of the worst kind.

5. Bartender overreach: The cocktailian renaissance is a marvelous thing, and we are pleased to be able to order a proper Aviation made with hand-chipped ice, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and housemade violet essence. In no way, however, does this enthusiasm constitute an invitation to doctor our nightcaps with curry leaves, flakes of nori, or artfully fried bacon spears.

6. Chef overreach: Congratulations, chef. You have managed to lay your hands on a stash of puntarelle, the rare, incredibly labor-intensive chicory shoots that until recently were found nowhere outside of Rome, where they are always served raw, dressed with anchovies. It is not necessary to make a statement by grilling them until they resemble charred radicchio.

7. Tuna surprise: There is no law that a chef memorize every species on the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch list. But surely we can agree that bluefin tuna is hurtling toward extinction, orange roughy is depleted, shark stocks are plummeting, and Chilean seabass is not dull, but endangered. A chef careless enough to leave vulnerable species on his menu is unlikely to mind his pots with the diligence one might prefer.

8. Truffle oil: Real truffles, whether the white ones from Périgord, are miracles of gastronomy. Truffle oil, a wholly synthetic substance that has come no closer to actual truffles than it has to the surface of the moon, is not. Ever smelled the deer musk that hunters like to smear on themselves during rut? Now imagine that on your next $18 plate of pasta.

9. Third-wave coffee: Do we applaud fair-trade, sustainable farmed, shade-grown joe? Sure. Why not? But when we sit down to a cup of coffee in the morning, we are not particularly interested in the blueberry, caramel, or tomato soup nuances a dedicated roaster can coax out of a bean, nor in the intricate ballet of the four-minute pour-over or the Eva Solo flagon. We want coffee that tastes like coffee, and we want it now.

10. Better living through chemistry: Some people call it molecular gastronomy. Chefs prefer Modernist Cuisine. Whatever its name, although we have seen the best minds of our generation destroyed by the quest for hot ice cream, or for a soft-boiled egg with the yolk on the outside, the effects can be stunning when executed by a master. Still, this in no way accounts for foie gras cotton candy, the Viet-No-Jito, or jellied collard greens that look and taste like drips of hardened Prell.

Jonathan Gold | From the July 2011 Issue

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Way to go Old Navy

I always love when I discover new places to shop. I never would have guessed that Old Navy had such cute plus size summer dresses. Here are the two I bought today.

Finding Mr. Right

(According to Hollywood at least)

There’s a lot of talk about what the meaning of life might be, but everyone really knows it’s romance: Finding Mr (or Miss) Right and raising a few kids is the principal motivation for every living thing from mushrooms to monarchs.

Sometimes,though, it’s hard to find the right partner. Sometimes it’s hard to find any partner. Naturally the geniuses of cinema are on hand to show us how it’s done.


Far and away the best method of building a lasting relationship is to be involved in some kind of hostage drama or dangerous cross-country chase. From The 39 Steps through to Speed – indeed as far as Speed 2 – young men and women have been finding their true love at the point of a gun.

Gunfire and peril is such a reliable relationship builder, in fact, that it can reunite estranged couples just as well as it can forge new ones: Just take a look at the most recent Indiana Jones film. Or Die Hard. Or Die Hard 2.


If you’re serious about romance, there’s no place for morals. Sham weddings are a great way to kick-start a marriage. Sandra Bullock’s top relationship tip is to order a subordinate to marry you. She’s demonstrating that one right now in current cinema release The Proposal. It’s by no means a new idea: Gerard Depardieu and Andie McDowell first hit on the fake marriage ploy way back in 1990 with Green Card. It’s as sound a foundation for lasting love as it was then.

Don’t be coy, either, about underhand tactics to eliminate a potential rival. Back in 1937 The Awful Truth showed how shabby acts can ease the way for true love. It also featured a really sweet dog.

In the classic Howard Hawks comedy His Girl Friday Cary Grant repeatedly gets his ex-wife’s fiancé arrested on trumped-up charges until the poor chap sees reason and withdraws from the fray. If you’re serious about settling down with your dream man or woman, make sure you enlist a few corrupt cops.


The grass is always greener on the other side, forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest and,(although it’s not strictly relevant) a stitch in time saves nine. Nobody wants love handed to them on a plate, it’s unsanitary for one thing, and Hollywood has shown this time and time again.

From the firecracker bickering of classic screwball comedies such as It Happened One Night or The Lady Eve to the tongue-tied predictability of How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days . Julia Roberts proved in I love Trouble that even irascible bears like Nick Nolte can fall for a girl as long as she’s rude enough.


We’re conditioned by stories like Cinderella and Snow White to believe that there’s one true love out there for us all. Unfortunately, as the manufacturers of moisturising creams the world over like to remind us, we won’t look this good forever. Sooner or later it’s time to settle. When Harry Met Sally is a perfect lesson in how to win at romantic musical chairs: try to find The One but always keep your backup spouse close to hand.

If you still haven’t dated anyone by the time you’re 40 don’t hold out for perfection – learn from The 40 Year Old Virgin and hook up with the first person that shows even halfway willing. Best advice of all comes from the latest Katherine Heigl effort The Ugly Truth (above). He may be an ill-mannered misogynistic boor but he’s still a man, dammit and once you’ve passed thirty that’s good enough.


Of course romance comes easily to nerds. The movies tell us that again and again. We’ve already discussed The 40 Year Old Virgin, where a dysfunctional shut-in with minimal cool marries super-groovy Catherine Keener. Bridget Jones’s Diary extols the irresistible appeal of the female klutz. Annie Hall ups the ante by bringing two entirely different grades of nebbish together in one majestic loser romance.


If you can’t be a nerd, be lucky. Whether it’s something as unlikely as winning a lottery (It Could Happen To You) or an everyday piece of good fortune like being selected to write the lyrics for a guaranteed Number One single even though you’re just a gardener (Music & Lyrics) there really is no substitute for sheer good fortune. If you don’t have luck, make some – pitch up at a stranger’s wedding. Never fails.


You wouldn’t dream of rewiring your own house. Unless you’d eaten a lot of cheese before bedtime or something. So why organize your own relationships? If we’ve learned anything from Pretty Woman, it’s that common street prostitutes are generally wholesome, marriageable young women. Experts in leaving home (Failure To Launch) and relationship counsellors (Hitch) will definitely marry you as long as you pay them a lot of money first.

You should engage your professional with caution though: if The Wedding Planner has a message for us it’s this: the woman you hire to help you pick out some flowers will probably run off with the groom.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Victim of My Own Optimism

"I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism." -Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love

Real Women

A friend posted the link to this blog on facebook. I read it and fell in love. Had to share it here.

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real women

Excuse me while I throw this down, I’m old and cranky and tired of hearing the idiocy repeated by people who ought to know better.

Real women do not have curves. Real women do not look like just one thing.

Real women have curves, and not. They are tall, and not. They are brown-skinned, and olive-skinned, and not. They have small breasts, and big ones, and no breasts whatsoever.

Real women start their lives as baby girls. And as baby boys. And as babies of indeterminate biological sex whose bodies terrify their doctors and families into making all kinds of very sudden decisions.

Real women have big hands and small hands and long elegant fingers and short stubby fingers and manicures and broken nails with dirt under them.

Real women have armpit hair and leg hair and pubic hair and facial hair and chest hair and sexy moustaches and full, luxuriant beards. Real women have none of these things, spontaneously or as the result of intentional change. Real women are bald as eggs, by chance and by choice and by chemo. Real women have hair so long they can sit on it. Real women wear wigs and weaves and extensions and kufi and do-rags and hairnets and hijab and headscarves and hats and yarmulkes and textured rubber swim caps with the plastic flowers on the sides.

Real women wear high heels and skirts. Or not.

Real women are feminine and smell good and they are masculine and smell good and they are androgynous and smell good, except when they don’t smell so good, but that can be changed if desired because real women change stuff when they want to.

Real women have ovaries. Unless they don’t, and sometimes they don’t because they were born that way and sometimes they don’t because they had to have their ovaries removed. Real women have uteruses, unless they don’t, see above. Real women have vaginas and clitorises and XX sex chromosomes and high estrogen levels, they ovulate and menstruate and can get pregnant and have babies. Except sometimes not, for a rather spectacular array of reasons both spontaneous and induced.

Real women are fat. And thin. And both, and neither, and otherwise. Doesn’t make them any less real.

There is a phrase I wish I could engrave upon the hearts of every single person, everywhere in the world, and it is this sentence which comes from the genius lips of the grand and eloquent Mr. Glenn Marla:

There is no wrong way to have a body.

I’m going to say it again because it’s important: There is no wrong way to have a body.

And if your moral compass points in any way, shape, or form to equality, you need to get this through your thick skull and stop with the “real women are like such-and-so” crap.

You are not the authority on what “real” human beings are, and who qualifies as “real” and on what basis. All human beings are real.

Yes, I know you’re tired of feeling disenfranchised. It is a tiresome and loathsome thing to be and to feel. But the tit-for-tat disenfranchisement of others is not going to solve that problem. Solidarity has to start somewhere and it might as well be with you and me.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Oy Vey.

29 Signs Your Biological Clock is Ticking (*my "oy vey"s)

"I thought I could beat science. I thought breeding would be best left to girls with, you know, feelings. It was for women whose gag reflex is strong enough to handle rooms full of “baby pink” and stores with names like “A Pea In The Pod.” I remember watching Marisa Tomei in “My Cousin Vinny” talk about her biological clock and thinking, Dang that is one slammin’ mini dress she can pull off. Why the heck would she give that bod up for a baby with some schlub? Bitch is crazy! But lately, I have to admit, I just can’t fight this feeling anymore! Babies have won me over with their adorable powers, which are part bunny-soft, part kung-fu grip. Curse you, cuties! You are sweet, lovable lady kryptonite. So, as someone who is trying to hit the snooze button on her biological clock, I’m here to help you, my fellow womankind, to notice the sneaky signs of their newborn magic working on you ..." Simcha

  1. You’re checking out the man with a Baby Bjorn at the park, even though he’s standing next to a ripped, shirtless dude soaking up some rays*.
  2. You make silly faces at passing kids is strollers*.
  3. When you hear a baby cry you think, Aww! instead of STFU!*
  4. That woman over there is a bad mother. You’d be so much better.*
  5. Your horoscope says you’re going to be pleasantly surprised and you think you should pick up a home pregnancy test.
  6. The cutest thing in the world: baby shoes!*
  7. It didn’t even occur to you that there was something odd about a grown woman going to see “Toy Story 3.”*
  8. Pregnant ladies don’t scare you.*
  9. Dog-sitting for your friend made for the best weekend ever.
  10. You already have a pet, but you want one more.*
  11. Your mom is starting to make sense.
  12. You are getting way too comfortable talking about bodily functions.*
  13. You suddenly notice the places you go would be great to bring kids to.*
  14. One-night stands have lost their appeal.*
  15. You’ve thought about buying a onesie with a hilarious pun on it and saving it for when you have a baby.*
  16. You might not know all the adults at the BBQ, but everyone at the kids’ table knows your name.
  17. When a kid cries in your arms, you don’t hand them back to their mother.*
  18. Baby showers are full of the cutest crap, aren’t they?*
  19. You always wait, holding the door open, when you see a woman with a stroller in the area.*
  20. When you see cool kid stuff, you don’t think, I used to love this! Instead, you think, So-and-so’s kid would love this!*
  21. You have figured out how a baby would fit in your apartment.
  22. You get pangs of nostalgia for your old babysitting days. Sigh.
  23. LOL Cats is your slang. “Can I haz babeez now?!”
  24. You kill time at work surfing for adorable animal photos.
  25. Breastfeeding in public is a beautiful, natural thing.*
  26. You totally comment on more than one of your friend’s Facebook baby photos.*
  27. Your new personal hero is:
  28. The thought of giving up booze for nine months doesn’t freak you out.*
  29. You’ve already spent more time looking at the super cute baby in the photo above than reading this list.
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I have a #30 for the list....You are Googling "Biological Clock Ticking"*...


    Dumb in your 20s

    I was looking for inspiration online for a blog piece about biological clocks ticking away (the tick tick ticking gets louder the more pregnant women you're around) and/or how to cope when a long term relationship ends. Somehow I stumbled across this article; which does not involve (or inspire) either. However, some of the points were too funny not to share (and hopefully I'm not the only one who has a "Oh crap! That's TOTALLY me!" moment of realization when reading. 
    Enjoy. (My personal thoughts/feelings are italicized)

    20 Dumbest Things About Being In Your 20's

    Your 20s are just an extended period of adolescence with credit.

    The only thing worse than being an awkward 13-year-old at a junior high dance with your own parents as chaperones is finding yourself a decade later, equally awkward, with no one at all to chaperone you through this weird new thing known as "adulthood."

    While your 20s can certainly be exciting, they're not all they're cracked up to be. For the first time ever, you are left to make your own life decisions while battling the ever-present fear, crippling confusion and constant flow of failed expectations.

    Whether you're 45 and can look back and laugh, or 25 and can giggle while simultaneously curled up in the fetal position, check out the following 20 dumbest things that inevitably occur when experiencing the "joys" of your third decade of life. –Tina Smithers, age 29

    1. You discover that a college diploma doesn't mean squat:

    Fact: More than 40% of college students graduate owing over $20,000 in student loans.

    You're thrust into college at an age where you barely know your ass from your elbow, let alone what you want to do with your life. So you end up paying out the wazoo to study something dumb, like philosophy or religious studies, because it sounds cool. Four years later: Congrats! You have a nice piece of paper, no professional skills and thousands of dollars in debt.

    This was my ultimate, "oy vey" moment of the article. Hey some of us like our religious degrees thank you very much. I may not be working in the "Religious Studies" field but it got me a gig in Higher Education somehow.

    2. That darn "Quarterlife Crisis" hits when you least expect it.

    Fact: The average age of those first diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder is around 25 years old.

    That awkward, anxious, uncertain period of time that hits as you transition from adolescence into adulthood is known as the "Quarterlife Crisis" — a trendy term for the freak-out that comes with the realization that you, and only you, can accept responsibility for your decisions. I know I suffered from the QLC because I was given a book about it as a graduation gift, which I read thoroughly in between teary, frantic phone calls to my father and the occasional dosage of Klonopin. But no amount of drugs, friends, fancy cars or books can save you — you simply plow through this twentysomething purgatory as best you can. Though if you must, feel free to purchase Quarterlife Crisis: The Unique Challenges of Life in Your Twenties.

    3. Dating is a joke.

    Fact: Two-thirds of twentysomethings spend some time living with a romantic partner without being married. And then some of us lived with romantic partners before we even hit our twenties...but I realize I'm often an exception to the rule.

    Dating doesn't exist in your 20s. If you're not busy hooking up with everyone and their mom, you're diving headfirst into a relationship with the first person who will put up with your sh*t. Unless you take the time to really get to know anyone (including yourself), and find out exactly what it is you want in a partner, you'll wind up in an unhappy relationship, battling your own personal Weinergate.

    I've never been one to be "hooking up with everyone and their mom"...and I just ended a two year relationship (the first in many many years). So while I don't fit into their "theory" necessarily I still don't know what it's like to date in my 20s.

    4. You don't take care of yourself in any shape or form.

    Fact: In 2008, approximately 27% of people aged 18 to 34 did not have health insurance. Hooray for being damn lucky and having a job with benefits!

    Note to Invincible Man: The chain smoking, heavy drinking and excessive amounts of sun exposure will catch up with you. Your Speedy Gonzalez metabolism will eventually slow down and you'll have to swap the pizza and beer for fruits and vegetables. And strawberry-flavored edible panties don't count.

    5. The place you call home is no more than a disgusting, dumpy squalor.

    Fact: One-third of people in their 20s move to a new residence every year.

    Unless you're living with your parents, what little place you can afford is merely a step above a cardboard box that comes equipped with a couple of obnoxious, lazy a-holes known as "roommates." The dishes pile up and you refuse to clean, because you always clean, and hey, it's the principle. The good news is that when you do finally get your own place, you'll get to furnish the cockroach-infested squalor with hand-me-downs and plastic junk from Ikea!

    And people wonder why I don't want roommates.

    6. You're not as smart as you think you are.

    Fact: A person's brain is not fully matured until at least age 25.

    Just because you graduated from high school and you pay your own bills, it doesn't mean you have the world on your own personal brightly colored string. You may as well take your youthful arrogance and go invest in some diapers, because You Know Nothing, a fact which you will repeatedly be reminded of throughout your 20s.

    7. You work way too hard for too little pay at a crappy job.

    Fact: People go through an average of eight jobs in their 20s, more than any other stretch. Okay let's count....since I graduated college (because workstudy jobs don't count) I've had....five....six jobs.... Guess I'm right on track. lol.

    Once you do choose a career you think you will be able to tolerate for the next 40 years, you have to start from the depths of hell. Whether an intern, an administrative assistant or somebody's personal slave, starting from the bottom isn't exactly glamorous. Sometimes you don't even get paid. While interning at a popular tabloid rag, I worked grueling hours for free, fetching coffee and transcribing interviews. The only thing I learned was how to avoid carpal tunnel. This is called "paying your dues," and it sucks balls.

    To give credit those six jobs are about 1/2 were "crappy jobs" and the other 1/2 in my "career field"

    8. You think you're fat and ugly.

    Fact: Nearly 30% of people who got Botox injections in 2009 were under the age of 30.

    You hate your big nose, butt chin, love handles, forehead wrinkles, etc. In truth, you look as good as you're ever going to look, so embrace it. And if you think you're fat now, just wait until you're a 50-year-old sloth with a beer gut and age spots.

    9. You're broke, but you spend money on stupid stuff anyway.

    Fact: We are the first generation not projected to do better financially than our parents.

    You can barely make ends meet on your pathetic entry-level salary, so you sign up for a credit card. Having an emergency card is a nice thought, but applying for five credit cards is not worth the free coffee mug. I didn't get the memo and wound up with a coffee mug, some useless handbags and $8,000 in debt. The interest made it impossible to pay off, so I cashed out my 401K in order to dig myself out of the financial suckhole, and now I have no retirement savings. Lesson? The minute you start seeing credit as "free money," you're in trouble. It's easy to swipe but a pain to pay off.

    I plead the fifth.

    10. You have reckless sex. A lot.

    Fact: 86% of unmarried people aged 18 to 29 are sexually active. Men and women in their 20s have among the highest rates of STDs out of any age group.

    You're new to this whole adulthood thing, which is why you're so good at making bad life choices, like obeying your yearning loins when it's last call at the bar. So if you're going to express yourself sexually with half of Chicago, wear a condom. They help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including the herp, the clap and the unwanted pregnancy.

    Wrong. But then we've already established I don't "hook up" with people. Hooray for not getting STDs.

    11. You still behave like a kid, so no one takes you seriously.

    Fact: Most Americans believe that "adulthood" begins at age 26. So why am I 28 (and a half) and still don't feel like I've reached "adulthood"?

    Blink-182 had a point: "Nobody likes you when you're 23, and you still act like you're in freshman year." What the hell is wrong with you? Much of the crud you pulled in adolescence is no longer acceptable in your 20s, but you're not an adult either, no matter how much you think you are. So in turn, no one really takes anything you say or do seriously. Sad face.

    12. The dreaded draft could happen at any time.

    Fact: In case of a national emergency, every male aged 18 to 25 must register for the Selective Service, otherwise known as the "draft."

    We haven't used the draft since the Vietnam War because we have an all-volunteer military. But in the event that the government calls up the draft, the burden will fall on dudes in their 20s. So practice those squats and push-ups now.

    13. You drink too much.

    Fact: Rates of binge drinking are highest among those aged 18 to 25.

    Young adults often seek reprieve from this tumultuous decade by drinking their emotions through a big plastic funnel. Whether because of stress, boredom, insecurity or simply the aching desire to get laid, twentysomethings get out-of-control tanked far more than any other age group. The onslaught of stupid beverages like Four Loko and silly get-sloshed-quick challenges (you've been iced, bro!) don't exactly foster responsible drinking, either.

    OMG! No, no, no. I drank too much my freshman year of college...have lost a number of braincells because of it. A few months back a friend came to visit. I called the FB album of pictures "Hello Luke, Goodbye Liver" because we drank so much and I felt every ounce. Then this last weekend I had another friend come out. We didn't drink NEARLY as much, but still stayed out late...and I still felt it. I realized it's not the booze that I can't do anymore so much as it is the late nights.

    14. You can barely rent a car, and if you do, you have to pay for your age.

    Fact: In 2008, approximately 27% of all U.S. car crashes involved drivers under the age of 25.

    You learn to drive at 16 — that's nine solid years of behind-the-wheel experience! Yet you are stuck paying insane fees if you want to rent a car and are under the age of 25, because apparently, you are not to be trusted. Then again, it could be because you drink too much.

    15. You can't take back those stupid, impulsive decisions you make.

    Fact: 36% of those aged 18 to 29 have at least one tattoo. Yea. So what?

    Twentysomethings are fickle beings, so if you love Tweety Bird now, you might not love him at 40. Therefore, it might be best not to get the dumb yellow cartoon tattooed on your forearm, unless you've given it a lifetime of thought. I proceeded to get a large, emo-esque star tattooed on my wrist (see above) when my boyfriend and I broke up. Maybe I wanted to deflect the pain from my newly broken heart, or perhaps I was acting out, but either way, I can't help but wonder what the hell I was thinking.

    Okay. Yes, I have a tattoo. No, it isn't of a cartoon character or other similar stupid image. No, I didn't get it because of, while with or after a boy. I got it because I wanted to. It's an image I know I can live the rest of my life looking at. It's an image I spent years contemplating before getting. And it's located in a place that won't stretch drastically with weight, age or babies. Sorry if yours is.

    16. Your friends are jerks, and you neglect the important people.

    Fact: Between the ages of 15 and 25 is when most people establish lifelong friendships.

    Many of your buddies are suffering from their own mid-20s meltdowns, so in turn they behave like selfish, jerky turdheads. You don't really care, so long as you don't have to sit alone at the bar. Meantime, you often neglect those who really matter, who love you no matter what — your family and friends who stick by you through all the boozy blackouts, broken hearts and bad hair days.

    If any of my loved ones read this and agree that I'm neglecting you. Please smack me upside the head. I have tried to 'weed out" the jerks and people just taking up space in my life so that I have time for those that mean the most. Hopefully I've succeeded.

    17. Crazy, crippling, ridiculous insecurities are around every turn.

    Fact: Of people 20 to 29 years old, 41% feel significantly pressured or have "almost more stress than they can bear."

    Full of firsts (first job, first apartment, first raise, first bounced check), this third decade of life can come as a shock. Nothing (I mean, nothing) is ever how you plan it. You're probably not going be married at 25 and making six figures at 27. You might get laid off or knocked up or terminally ill. There's no way to tell, but you focus so hard on the destination, you miss the journey entirely.

    Well, at least I know I'm not alone with my disappointments.

    18. You're overly obsessed with social media and your imaginary friends.

    Fact: 48% of 18 to 34 year olds check Facebook right when they wake up.

    Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare — these are the only links to your old life, your friends from high school or college. You hang on to this time period desperately, spending more time than you like to admit voyeuristically obsessing over everyone else's seemingly better, more interesting lives. But no one posts photos of their breakup or that time they got fired. Their lives suck as much as yours does! Besides, most of these people aren't even your real friends

    Can someone explain to me what FourSquare is? I'm still confused. I thought it was the game with chalk and a big red rubber ball we played in the street and had to dodge being hit by cars? There's an online version now? 

    19. You're a whiny, spoiled brat.

    Fact: Nearly two-thirds of young adults in their early 20s receive economic support from their parents. The number of twentysomethings living at home has risen by 50% since the 1970s.

    Twentysomethings often take their parents (and everyone else around them) for granted, thanks to a false sense of entitlement because it is so haaaard being a young adult these days. So they sob into their smartphones and iPods and MacBooks, when they should really be slapped for being such silly, clueless tard monkeys.

    20. You freak out over turning 30.

    Fact: At age 30, you're older (and wiser) than 42 percent of Americans.

    Attempting to survive your 20s can be so startlingly horrific, it would only make sense to get psyched about your 30th birthday, right? Yet so many twentysomethings obsessively dread entering this newer, gentler, kinder decade, when we should all take solace in the fact that the 30s are when the fun really starts. (Or so I hear.)

    Nope. Not me. Sure there are things I thought I'd have and be doing (or done) by the time I reached 30 but I'm not freaking out about it. I'm not rushing to fill a void before life goes "downhill". I look forward to 30. I will be waiting there the eve of my birthday with open arms waiting for the older-wiser me.

    Sources: NY Times, ABC News, NCBI,, LA Times, U.S. Census Bureau, Online Schools, CBS News, Hallmark Research, AAD.

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Missing You

    I miss you.
    I miss you and I can't tell you I miss you.

    Almost a month of missing you.
    Almost a month of missing you and keeping it to myself.

    I thought I'd miss you less just because you were never physically around in the first place.
    I was wrong.

    I manage to have days when I don't think of you...
    But just because I don't think of you doesn't mean I don't miss you.

    That first week I waited to hear from you...
    Waited for an email or text telling me not to go...
    Telling me you loved me.
    It never came.

    Just because I was the one to say goodbye doesn't mean my love for you isn't still there.

    I wish you would read this and feel how my heart aches.
    How I feel like my emotions are ready to burst.
    I wish you knew how much I missed you and still could call you mine.

    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    Bathingsuit Blues not just for Women

    I love that the NY Times printed an article about a man having drama with picking a bathing suit. I think sometimes we women forget (or don't realize) we're not the only one's out there with body issues struggling to find the perfect fit.

    *          *          *

    Does This Swimsuit Make Me Look Fat?
    By Henry Alford

    IN its Platonic ideal, a bathing suit removes you momentarily from yourself, and perhaps unleashes heretofore dormant aspects of your personality. Wriggle into a great-looking suit that’s black and snug and tailored, and suddenly you’re ready for an underwater cocktail party; rock a pair of floral Hawaiian board shorts and suddenly you’re convinced that the only way to spell “dude” is with two o’s.

    My annual quest for such a garment got its kick-start in late May when a friend e-mailed me a link to a site called Socialite Life, which featured a folio of 23 photos breathlessly headlined “Jude Law: Shirtless in Cannes!” Squinting rakishly in the brilliant Mediterranean light, Jude looked worldly, post-coital, regnant.

    When you clicked on the upper left hand of the first photo, you learned (incorrectly, I found out too late) that Jude’s fetching canary-yellow bathing suit was from Dsquared2 and cost $268. I downloaded the image, and hied myself to Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue, where I showed it to a smiley salesman in his 20s named Beau.

    I told Beau, “I want to be mistaken for Jude Law.”

    I explained, “My looks are kind of preppy and innocent, so I need a suit that will take me to ‘wayward English schoolboy’ rather than ‘toffee-nosed prat.’ ” Beau said, “I understand.”

    I did not tell Beau about how I recently dropped my Scrabble board and tiles onto the sidewalk in the middle of Sheridan Square, creating a clattering hailstorm of nerddom; I did not tell Beau that I recently had a heated discussion about the use of the semicolon.

    The store, alas, could not find the fetching canary yellow suit, but Beau whisked me through the men’s department, showing me other options. We hit Etro, Michael Bastian, Thom Browne. When we saw six black, slinky suits coiled like snakes in the Dolce & Gabbana section, I said, “Ooh, these might be too Jude Law.”

    Once in the dressing room with Beau’s and my three picks, I came face to face with a thorny verity: It is the curse of the middle-aged male body simultaneously to shrink and enlarge. Your belly pooches out, ever more parabolic, while your legs dwindle down to mere sticks, two knobby rods with the surface tension of plucked poultry. One day you look down at your half-sphere atop its two spindly rods and realize, “I’ve turned into a Weber grill.”

    The suit most flattering to my Weber grill was a pair of belted, snug-fitting, mid-thigh $230 Orlebar Brown trunks. “These are Jude-like,” I told Beau as we gazed into the fitting rooms’ mirror. “Jude would accessorize them with designer shades, a shirt unbuttoned to the navel, and a whisper of Drakkar Noir masking a base of animal ripeness.” Beau’s eyes widened, and I sensed that he wanted to introduce me to a licensed professional who could tell me all about lithium.

    Alas, the color of the Orlebar Brown trunks (fiery tomato) was too bracing for my Pepperidge Farm brand of wholesome. I headed on to Saks, where I showed my Jude photo to three salesmen. But they also couldn’t find the yellow trunks. A thin, expressionless young Michael York look-alike showed me other possibilities, but I demurred. I apologized and said, “I think I’m hung up on looking like ...”

    “... Yeah, yeah, yeah: Jude Law.”

    Eager not to beat a dead horse, I left my photo of Jude at home for my next two bouts of shopping. During the course of two days, I would visit eight more stores and try on 26 more suits. I loved the festive, Lilly Pulitzer-esque prints at Vilebrequin (which, as I now know, made the Jude Law swimsuit), but the suits’ puffy, bustle-like silhouettes vaulted my pear shape from Bosc to Bartlett; I loved the contained but non-packagey look of one pair of Marc Jacobs’s trunks, but wondered if I wanted to pay $345 for something that would be riding shotgun with a lot of cocoa butter and PABA.

    A perfect fit kept eluding me, and kept me from being the best Jude I could be. A pair of knee-length board shorts in a floral print at Osklen in SoHo looked great except for a strange gap they created between their waistband and my spine.

    “These make me look like I have a little storage area,” I said to the salesclerk, a sly brunette in her 20s. “A place for pencils or filberts.” (Her: “Yeah.”)

    In another instance, it was equally the fit and the fit’s attendant implications that slowed me in my tracks. “I can’t tell what the look is,” I said to an H & M salesclerk referring to a pair of $17.95 tight navy square-cut nylon trunks with a red, white and blue rope belt. I asked, “Is it randy French sailor, or is it Fourth of July picnic on the town green?” Harried, she told me: “They’re Swedish, that’s all I know. They’re from Sweden.”

    My favorite salesclerk was a middle-aged woman who was eating a salad when I walked into her tiny, messy boutique, Pesca, on East 60th.

    “I like the elastic waistband,” I said of one of her suits, all made by a company called Sauvage; she explained, “they use a very good Lycra.” She left her desk to come look at me standing in front of the mirror in a sky-blue mid-thigh number. “I’m 49 years old,” I told her, “but in these I look 48.” She said I looked sexy. I thought of my Jude fixation and confessed to her, “I probably want the world to think I’m sauvage, but in reality I’m more domestique. In reality, I’m more médecin de campagne.” She asked if I was a doctor.

    I finally hit pay dirt at Parke & Ronen, a Chelsea boutique that sells many scanty men’s clothes hammered in the forge of brazen confidence. The store’s fitting mirror, unlike the ones at all the other stores I visited, faces out onto the street. The mirror’s daunting amount of requisite exhibitionism rattled me when I skittishly looked at myself in the first suit, but by suit No. 5, calmed by the store’s friendly staff, I was shirtless, unfazed and furtively bopping to the Lady Gaga throbbing over the sound system.

    I loved a pair of fitted $95 Parke & Ronen four-inch trunks in a blue, green and purple floral paisley on a white background; they had a two-grommet tie waist that cinched away all Weber-based impurity. The suit’s overall effect was slightly ... swinging London. Slightly ... Jude Law dirty weekend. Kuh-ching.

    I first wore the suit to the N.Y.U. pool, where its comparative jauntiness, against a backdrop of collegiate Speedos and board shorts, was galvanizing. I can’t say I swam any faster, but I certainly swam with more verve.

    I wore it one sunny afternoon on my building’s roof deck, where I didn’t need to sip at a Pimm’s Cup or a Campari; both were implied. I wore it to my office one hot day. Indeed, so comfortable and unbosomed was I in it that I decided to wear it for a trip I’ve happily made four times before: out to Amagansett, where I like to spend the night on the beach.

    I made a reservation on the jitney. Doubting that any changing room would be open by the time I reached the beach at 7 p.m., I wore the suit under my pants to make the trip out to Long Island; as I boarded the bus, I found myself smiling slightly, and thought, “I am wearing very exciting underpants!”

    I spent a lovely, contemplative evening picnicking and walking around a deserted beach in the suit (though it was, alas, too cold to swim); I crawled into my sleeping bag at 10 p.m. The suit’s smoothness felt satiny and delightful against the sleeping bag’s slippery insides: a hot dog in a bun. The surf raged, the stars twinkled. I felt new and brimming. Jude at last.

    But then, just after midnight: blindingly bright car headlights aimed at my head. “Hey! Hey!” yelled a male voice from inside an East Hampton Marine Patrol vehicle. The officer then asked, with some irritation, “Why are you sleeping on the beach?” Groggily, I explained, “I just bought a new bathing suit.” He snorted and said: “You just bought a new bathing suit! What kind of reason is that?” I mumbled an incoherent answer. He wrote me a summons.

    It was too late to call anyone. Back up in Amagansett, I sat on a bench on Route 27 and waited for a 4:20 a.m. jitney back home. “Jude, Jude, Jude,” I thought, “Where have you taken me?” Many inebriated 20-something revelers sauntered by, including a young woman skittering in high heels who, on hearing that I was waiting for a 4:20 bus, gushed: “Oh my God. Oh my God.”

    Moments later, I took my summons out of my pocket and gazed at it. I contemplated the embarrassment of a forthcoming appearance at the East Hampton Town Justice Court. I thought, I’ll definitely need to be at my most confident and cool for that. I thought, I’ll definitely need to be at the top of my game. I thought, I’ll definitely need to wear the suit.

    Friday, June 3, 2011


    How amazing and yummy is this? Yay Stumptown Coffee!
    *          *          *

    Stumptown Stubbies
    by Oliver Strand

    Give Stumptown Coffee Roasters points for style. The small-batch roaster just started selling cold-brewed coffee in dark amber glass bottles — stubbies — that look as if they belong in a cooler on the porch.

    The coffee itself is delicious, sweet and clean, and drinking it from a stubby makes a difference. Even though it’s chilled there’s no ice, so the flavor is pure and undiluted. (Right now Stumptown is only bottling cold-brewed House Blend; single origin coffees will be offered this summer.) The bottle has a heft that feels good in the hand, and the shape of it triggers an involuntary shift in posture — shoulders open, arm cocked to half-mast, weight shifted to one leg. It’s hard to be uptight with a stubby.

    Then there’s the obvious: it simply looks good. This morning, I met up with a friend who was taking his daughter to school and popped open a couple of stubbies for the walk down West 13th Street, finishing them off as a stream of toddlers surged past us. It felt much more satisfying than sipping iced coffee through a straw sticking out of a sweaty cup.

    Which is part of the idea. Duane Sorenson, the owner of Stumptown, said he was tired of the plastic waste that goes into serving iced coffee. “I wanted to find a way to continue to serve cold-brew but eliminate all the plastic,” Sorenson said. “Up until recently we were using a plastic cup, a plastic straw, a plastic lid. I wanted to put it all in a recyclable vessel where it would taste great.”

    But really, Sorenson is playfully plumbing his youth — the stubby as madeline. The inspiration for the bottle comes from the Olympia Brewing Company (slogan: “It’s the water”), a Pacific Northwest institution that shuttered in 2003.

    “My daddy had stubbies in the crisper, where you’re supposed to keep vegetables,” Sorenson said. “It was filled with stubbies.” His whole childhood was filled with stubbies instead of iceberg lettuce.

    Right now the stubbies are only available at Stumptown locations in Portland, Ore. Starting next month the bottles, which are made in Portland, will be shipped to a Stumptown roaster in Red Hook, Brooklyn, to be filled there.

    Soon New Yorkers can start the morning with a stubby from the fridge. (There are already refillable growlers of cold-brewed coffee appearing in and around town.) The best part of waking up is reaching for the bottle opener.

    “It’s like the olden days,” Sorenson said. “Like when your dad always had an open stubby in the car.”

    Something like that.

    $3.50 for a 10.5-ounce bottle. Currently only available at Stumptown Coffee Roasters locations in Portland, Ore.; should be available at New York locations by July 1.

    Weight = Life Burden?

    So my first thought when reading this article was they need to do way more research and study various generations as well. I'm not denying that being an "over weight" teenager is hard (on both girls and boys) and that studies have shown women make less then there male counterparts. But this study is all over the place (in my opinion) - from women who are heavier are less likely to graduate college, to they are less likely to be hired for a position (with of course fostering the stigmas and stereotypes of "fat people are lazy"), to plus size girls aren't active in sports in high school, etc. 

    Maybe it's just me and my personal story not connecting AT ALL with what they're "findings" are showing. I was on the "heavier" side in HS and not only graduated HS with a 3.75 but went on to be accepted into a highly rigorous academic college program (which I finished in the normal 4 years) and then went on to a (mostly) satisfying (female dominated) career (making 15.50/hour). Thank you very much.

    Like I said, an interesting read nonetheless but perhaps a bit early to publish their "findings"

    *          *          *

    Heavy in School, Burdened for Life
    By Christy M Glass, Steven A Haas and Eric N Reither
    Published: June 2, 2011

    MUCH of the debate about the nation’s obesity epidemic has focused, not surprisingly, on food: labeling requirements, taxes on sugary beverages and snacks, junk food advertisements aimed at children and the nutritional quality of school lunches.

    But obesity affects not only health but also economic outcomes: overweight people have less success in the job market and make less money over the course of their careers than slimmer people. The problem is particularly acute for overweight women, because they are significantly less likely to complete college.

    We arrived at this conclusion after examining data from a project that tracks more than 10,000 people who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957. From career entry to retirement, overweight men experienced no barriers to getting hired and promoted. But heavier women worked in jobs that had lower earnings and social status and required less education than their thinner female peers.

    At first glance this difference might appear to reflect bias on the part of employers, and male supervisors in particular. After all, studies find that employers tend to view overweight workers as less capable, less hard-working and lacking in self-control.

    But the real reason was that overweight women were less likely to earn college degrees — regardless of their ability, professional goals or socioeconomic status. In other words, it didn’t matter how talented or ambitious they were, or how well they had done in high school. Nor did it matter whether their parents were rich or poor, well educated or high school dropouts.

    Our study, published last year in the journal Social Forces, was the first to show that decreased education was the key mechanism that reduced the career achievement of overweight women — an impact that persisted even among those who lost weight later in life. We found no similar gap in educational attainment for overweight men.

    Why doesn’t body size affect men’s attainment as much as women’s? One explanation is that overweight girls are more stigmatized and isolated in high school compared with overweight boys. Other studies have shown that body size is one of the primary ways Americans judge female — but not male — attractiveness. We also know that the social stigma associated with obesity is strongest during adolescence. So perhaps teachers and peers judge overweight girls more harshly. In addition, evidence suggests that, relative to overweight girls, overweight boys are more active in extracurricular activities, like sports, which may lead to stronger friendships and social ties. (Of course our study followed a particular group from career entry to retirement, and more study is needed to determine whether overweight girls finishing high school today face the same barriers, though these social factors suggest they do.)

    That overweight women continue to trail men — including overweight men — in educational attainment in America is remarkable, given that women in general are outpacing men in college completion and in earning advanced degrees.

    What does this mean for policy? Previous studies have shown that overweight adolescents feel stigmatized by their peers and their teachers, have fewer friends and often feel socially isolated. Teenagers who feel less connected to teachers, school and peers are less likely to graduate and go on to college. So policies to help overweight girls need to work on two levels: promoting healthful behaviors and shifting attitudes.

    Obesity is occurring in children at younger and younger ages, so prevention needs to start as early as primary school. While early intervention has obvious potential health benefits, it is also critical from a career perspective. In addition, overweight girls should be encouraged to participate in college preparation courses and extracurricular activities. Health education that focuses on diet and exercise but does not stigmatize overweight teenagers is critical.

    Teachers and principals need to be aggressive in limiting bullying and looking for signs of depression in overweight girls. Teenage girls, regardless of body size, struggle with self-esteem and are at higher risk of depression than boys, so expanding health education to include psychological as well as physical health could help all girls. Public health campaigns should reframe the problem of obesity from one of individual failure to one of public concern.

    The economic harm to overweight women is more than a series of personal troubles; it may contribute to the rising disparities between rich and poor, and it is a drain on the human capital and economic productivity of our nation.

    Christy M. Glass and Eric N. Reither are associate professors of sociology at Utah State University. Steven A. Haas is an assistant professor of sociology at Arizona State University.

    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    What's Best for Me.

    This is sort of how I've been feeling the past few days. 

    Down with the world falling on my head but knowing that things...
    Life...could be worse. 

    In March my boyfriend and I had our first huge fight. It resulted in a 24-hour "break up" but by the end of the next day we were back together - realizing words were said in the heat of the moment and not truly meant. We patched things up and tried to make things better. 

    Without going into it things too much, this past weekend I told him I just couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't keep coming in last behind his job and the rest of his life....I felt like an afterthought. 

    He still is the love of my life and it's hard to imagine him not being there ten...twenty...thirty years down the line. And (without being disillusioned or getting my hopes up) he might be. I don't know. For now though it just isn't meant to be. 

    I haven't really told people (expect one friend) mostly because we "broke-up" not that long ago and the last thing I need right now is a "I told you so"..."See?" or the even worse "You deserve better". What I need is for understanding that this is a hard time right now. 

    I haven't cried. 
    Not really. 

    I suppose part of me is still in shock.
    Waiting to wake up and have in next to me and this all be a bad dream. 

    I love him. 

    What can I say? 

    It hurts but I need to survive. 
    I need to do what's best for me.

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011


    Love Me Like a Man

    A little bit of Barber

    Okay so it's not's BBQ pork....but still this was my first "meat pie". I've made Shepard's Pie before but that doesn't involve a crust.

    We were originally going to use the left over BBQ pork in a calzone but we haven't found a raw pizza dough we care for. So we ended up picking up a package of Pillsbury pie crusts.

    I'm sorry I can't give out exact measurements...I didn't cook that way this time. It was all freestyle.

    Basically I had 2 cups of shredded BBQ pork (homemade but you can always find the store bought containers in the refrigerated section).

    2 large baking potatoes - washed, not skinned, and par-boiled in Garlic Salt water.

    A tablespoon of chopped garlic.

    1/2 bag of Mexican Corn-Black bean mix (I think it's S&W in the frozen section)

    Mixed them all together and tossed it in a 1/2 baked bottom pie crust (see picture) then topped it with 1/2 a container of Fresco Cheese....add the top crust and bake at 450 for about 20 minutes.

    I sprinkled more cheese on the top of the crust the last 5 minutes to give a little extra crunch.


    Cinnamon Pumpkin Empanada2

    Pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla

    Fill a few teaspoons of filling into Pillsbury crescent rolls

    Use another to make a top. Press edges

    Bake at 450 for at least 20 minutes or until golden brown

    Let cool

    And enjoy.