Saturday, April 18, 2015

fancy dinners, dads, and old rock dudes: vegas!

a week ago, i began my fourth journey to the great city of las vegas. before my first visit, i was fully prepared to hate all of the glitz and glam and excess and craziness. but as soon as i laid eyes on the ridiculous castle that is the excalibur hotel, lost a few $20s in "deal or no deal"-themed slot machines, and wandered the strip to the sweet sounds of sketchy folks slapping escort business cards against their palms, i fell in love. vegas is truly magical; a "disneyworld for adults," as they say. my travel partner-in-crime gleni accompanied me on this particular visit, and as always, we had a blast.


rose. rabbit. lie.

we allow ourselves one "fancy dinner" per trip, and this self-proclaimed supper club in the new-ish cosmopolitan hotel appealed to us with its small plates menu, mysterious vibe, and live entertainment. it was the perfect start to the vacation!


we split two burgers here: the "nom nom"with kobe beef, thousand island dressing, and potato chips (!) and the steakhouse burger, which was encrusted with black pepper and topped with tomato confit, steak sauce, marmalade onions, and mushrooms, and swiss. I KNOW.


we made friends with a cocktail waitress at the cosmo while playing the slots, and she raved about this place off the strip that was extremely popular with the locals. on a monday night, it was positively PACKED, but the tuna tartare (above), stuffed mushrooms with chicken and chorizo, spicy beef salad, and chicken empanadas were totally worth the wait.


the chandelier

we were drawn in by the sparkly exterior, and stopped for a pre- fancy dinner cocktail. mine tasted like apple pie. mmm.


a surprisingly hip and funky coffee shop in the sorta old-and-stuffy monte carlo. the perfect spot for a caffeine boost after a day of eating and sunning. 

hershey's chocolate bar

shoutout to fermin the bartender, who made us delicious chocolate martinis that knocked us on our asses two nights in a row. here, we also witnessed a young couple doing shots of jager while their small child peered at them bashfully from the neighboring candy store. oh, vegas. :(


lady gaga & tony bennett

it might not have been the best idea to see a show sans-nap on the first night, because when they turned off the lights, we were struggling to keep our eyes open. but the show was great! ok, tony bennett forgot one of his lines, but he's like 90. and gaga kept talking in this weird baby voice in between songs and acting like she legitimately spends time with TB outside of their shows. mmmk, gaga. she does have a phenomenal voice, though. that's a fact.

raiding the rock vault

hahahaha. this was great. basically, the show takes you through the history of music from the '60s to the '90s with classic rock covers, and all of the musicians are from legit bands (whitesnake, bad company, heart, dokken). since we went on a sunday night, the crowd was small, so we got upgraded to VIP seats that were literally right at the edge of the stage:

anywho, i was singing along to one of my favorite tunes, free's "all right now," when the vocalist made eye contact with me during the third verse and moved in. he put his hand out to me, i put mine out as well, and he started pulling me towards him. i was thinking, "oh lawd, i am NOT going up on stage right now," but i stood up as he proceeded to put my hand on his thigh and touch my face, all while continuing to sing. the audience, which included a platinum blonde woman in a full-body black jumpsuit, was snickering. it all happened so fast that there's no photo evidence, but i reenacted the moment after the show with the cardboard cutout. my vegas moment!

nine fine irishmen

this irish bar was surprisingly filled with actual irishmen, and an irish cover band. we got pissed at them after gleni requested anything tom petty, and the singer CRUMPLED UP THE REQUEST and threw it on the floor. we still had fun singing along to oasis and rod stewart, though.

slot machines

i won money at a cheeseburger machine (obviously) and a wizard of oz machine, and lost money at willy wonka and ellen.  meh.


we went to the flamingo habitat at, um, the flamingo hotel, where we saw some 'mingoes chillin'. then some dude asked us if we wanted to hold birds for free, so obviously we did. my bird, named iago, lost its grip on my head and almost killed me, then we paid too much money for the above print. good times though.

polaroid fotobar

this place was cool. for 50 cents each, you could make polaroid-style prints of any photos on your phone. and they had these big fake frames where you could pose like an idiot. whee!

coyote ugly

stopped here before dinner for happy hour, since it was right in our hotel. within 10 minutes, we were forced by the aggressive hostess/bartender/dancer/whoever to join this group of middle-aged conference attendees in a drinking game that involved taking a shot with no hands, spinning around three times, "popping" our booties, and flipping our cup. i knew that my ability to twerk would come in handy someday! then the hostess harassed us for not being crunk at like, 6pm, and asked us if we were from idaho. back off, bitch!

the bar at times square

the best! there were dueling pianos and this old man that was grilling gleni about her tattoos and kept coming over and asking me who sang every song. and another guy that told me to ask a scottish man who was wearing a kilt to show me his "dirk." "NO!" i replied. "what if it's not good?" "it has to be good!" he replied. "no, it most definitely does not have to be good!" ... and back and forth we went. however, we spent most of the evening hanging out and dancing with a non-threatening 40 year-old man that was there on business by himself (whom we later referred to as "dad"). "i love you girls! you girls are great!" he shouted over and over again. he even offered to come to my rescue when some sketchy creeper kept trying to dance with me and make small talk about the bruins. dad was totally one of the highlights of vegas, and a fantastic end to the trip. never even got his name.

...also, i was unexpectedly able to check off one of my 2015 to-do list items: see the grand canyon! we flew right over it on my flight, which i'd never experienced on my past trips. still counts, right?!

'til next time, vegas!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

the characters on HBO's GIRLS, ranked from best to worst

i just watched the season finale of GIRLS, and got to thinking about how strange it is that i pretty much dislike all of the characters, yet love the show all the same. so, i decided to compile a list of the main characters (according to wikipedia..i wanted to include charlie because i miss him, but he's long gone) and where they fall for me. who do you like? who do you hate?

1. ray

the only one i actually REALLY like. he's so delightfully curmudgeonly and bitter, but also sarcastically funny and the only level-headed person on the entire show. love u, ray bb! FAVE MOMENT:

2. adam

i'm going to get some grief for this one, but you have to admit that adam is the most complex and interesting character on the show, even though he's sort of an asshole like 75% of the time. but above all, he's always honest and tells it like it is. he's a big weirdo, but at least he makes no bones about it.

3. shoshanna

yes, she can be annoyingly chatty and quirky and strange. yet, like ray and adam, she's totally true to herself and honest to a fault. she's also the most innocent of the crew, which is kind of endearing.

4. jessa

she's flaky as hell and makes terrible life choices at times. however, i totally admire her free spirit, "unsmoteable" ways and often wish i could just go with the wind and be as bohemian cool as she is. plus, her accent!

5. elijah

i always love the gay BFF character on any show, but elijah's snarkiness crosses over into pure meanness a bit too often for my taste. i can deal with him in small doses.

6. hannah

ugh. is there anyone who's more self-involved? i know that lena dunham purposely writes the character this way, but she still makes me want to shake her in every episode. prime example: when her e-book editor dies, she asks his wife about the status of her book at his funeral. that's a big. fat. nope!

7. desi

i hate how he calls marnie "babe" all the time and is like a broke-ass version of the dude from "once" and cheated on his girlfriend with marnie, who's even worse than hannah (sorry, spoiler alert?).

8. marnie

can we all agree that she's the most terrible of the terrible people? between her pretentious posturing, obsession with her singing career that's never ever going ANYWHERE, and her homewreckin' behavior, i don't think there's anything she could do to change my mind about her. however, she did give us this scene where she awkwardly covers kanye west's "stronger" at her ex-boyfriend's startup party, which might be my favorite of the entire series. so thanks, marnie!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

5 things i love right now

1. female-fronted garage bands

i'm usually iffy on "chick rock," but there are a couple of groups out there that have recently sparked my interest in the genre. both of these tunes seem perfect for chillin' on a stoop with an ice cream cone and pining over cute boys with your BFFs. the twin river track also has one of the most strangely clever videos i've seen in a while.

bully - "brainfreeze"

twin river - "bend to break"

2. this tank top

whenever i find myself in macy's, i instinctively gravitate towards anything that's part of madonna's clothing line, material girl, without even realizing it (because i'm actually 16 years old). so naturally, upon seeing this incredible spray paint-patterned top, i fell in love and had visions of all of the amazing spring and summer adventures i could have in it. aw yeah.

3. the trailer for montage of heck, the kurt cobain documentary

y'all know i love anything grunge/nirvana/kurt, so clearly this documentary will be a must-see.

4.  ben & jerry's cherry garcia ice cream

can we like, make this a thing again? i've always been partial to phish food and half-baked, but i was in a fruity mood the other night and decided to branch out to another classic. cherries, chocolate, and a nod to a rock legend? all about it.

5.  brandy melville

i made my first visit to this store in rome a few years ago. while i was immediately confused by its one-size-fits-all approach, i was also infatuated with its california cool apparel. now that there's one in boston, i get to spend way too much money on impractical crop tops, tees that say "RADICAL," and big plaid flannel shirts. yes!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

around town: new highway hymnal and hallelujah the hills at the paramount center

i decided to make it a point to see more live music this year (like i used to back in my high school and college days), and i've gotta say, it's greatly improved my life so far. there's just something about the experience of seeing a band -- whether they're local garage rockers or an up-and-coming indie group -- that is so life-affirming and exciting and fun. last night was one such experience that was particularly unique, and i haven't blogged in like, foreva-eva, so i figured i'd write about it.

the show was apparently the first of its kind at this small theatre space in the paramount near downtown crossing in boston. this theatre typically hosts, y'know, plays and artsy performances rather than raucous rock shows, so my buddy brendan and i weren't quite sure what to expect when we passed through the doors and were greeted by a fancy-looking bro that directed us to the show upstairs. the best way i can (and did) describe the venue: "this is like, out of a movie. one of those teen rom-coms where the main characters go to the local hot spot to see some really cool band play." between the exposed brick, the cute makeshift bar in the corner, and little tables with black tablecloths scattered throughout the room, it oozed classiness. i dug it. but onto the show!

new highway hymnal, a local psych-shoegaze-garage trio, opened. i'd seen them open for bass drum of death a couple of years ago and was super-impressed by their musical prowess since they all look soooo young. their songs have all of the things i love: fuzz, distortion, male/female vocals, and great melodies. also, the female bassist was rocking these awesome ripped black tights that i really wish i could pull off in my daily life.

let's talk about the crowd for a second too, because it was kind of weird. it was a mixed bag of emerson students, cutesy couples, and older dudes with beards that rivaled brendan's. we were fascinated with one of these dudes in particular, who was engrossed in his smartphone for much of the night, and made up wild stories about how he was obviously sexting a honey he met on a dating website for grateful dead fans. obviously.

oh, yeah, hallelujah the hills! i'd also seen them once before, and actually discovered them in kind of a strange way. i used to intern for lead singer ryan walsh's brother right before i moved to boston, and he mentioned them after i told him about my plans. i immediately fell in love with their triumphant group vocals, odd lyrics, and songs that you can't help but sing along to, like "wave backwards to massachusetts." they have a super upbeat energy and funny onstage banter; you can just tell they're having a great time. 

at one point, ryan regaled us with a story about how he was on the train during one of the snowpocalypse storms. while trying to point at something, he inadvertently stuck his finger into a stranger's mouth ("full insertion.") he assured us that, even though we were breaking in this new concert space and it might feel a bit strange, nothing could be more awkward than that moment. 

as you can see, they also had this running montage of video clips playing on a screen throughout the show. according to ryan, it was supposed to be a "pink floyd-type thing." trippy, mayne. sometimes it was amusingly distracting, but it certainly added to the whole quirky vibe of the night. 

OH, and i wanted to steal this amazing white light-up arrow that they had onstage (in the bottom right of the picture above). i was eyeing it the whole night and i don't think i can rest until i find it or a reasonable replica. holler at yo' girl if you can assist with this mission.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

should've swiped left: a collection of tinder haikus

happy v-day! i've been thinking about my experiences over the past year or so that i've spent on tinder, and figured that i should memorialize my weirdest dates from the infamous app via haiku. please feel free to contribute your own in the comments. also, i received a message this morning which read "are you going to be a snow angel for the blizzard?" oof.

p.s. the above image is from an amazing tumblr, tinder messages on valentines


We met for coffee
I ended up in your loft
The old bait-and-switch


You were from Quebec
Drinks, dessert, Eurotrash club
And lots of groping


Violin maker
And a nursing school drop-out
Argued against weed


Still in the closet
You loved the barkeep's bow tie
We got the same drink


Snobby southern boy
Your disdain was palpable
But you liked good bands


A finance fellow
Loved to sing acapella
Acapella sucks

Saturday, February 7, 2015

show i love: hindsight


i've been spreading the gospel of hindsight to my friends since i watched the first episode over a month ago, so i figured i'd tell the internet about it.

it's no secret that i'm obsessed with all things '90s, and often feel like i'm a misplaced member of gen-x. i mean, one of the best days of my life was the one where i got to see buffalo tom and the lemonheads perform on boston common for free. so when i heard about a show that revolved around the idea of a woman being transported (via elevator??) back to 1995, i was all in immediately.

surprisingly, the writing and acting are actually quite good, and all of the characters are interesting and relatable, so it's not even a guilty pleasure by any stretch. the soundtrack is spot-on (toadies! alanis! REM! dishwalla!). plus, john patrick amedori plays the main character's shaggy stoner brother -- the one in the trailer that assures her it is indeed 1995 -- and i'm completely and totally in lust with him. unf. if you're reading this, JPA, call me.

but back to the point. please watch this amazing show. it's on vh1. wednesdays at 10, though i watch it on demand because workaholics/broad city obviously takes priority over everything. i'm sure you can find it illegally on the internet, too.

that's all i've got, so i'm gonna go listen to some spacehog and buy some doc martens now.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

around town: forge baking company

as a coffee addict, baked goods aficionado, and a writer, i'm forever on the lookout for a place to set up shop and toil away for a couple hours on a sunday morning. let's be real, half of that time is probably spent trying to find the perfect spotify playlist and/or facebook stalking and/or people watching. but i digress.

i recently read on one of my favorite local blogs, somerville beat, that a new cafe had emerged on the scene. while i'm quite loyal to my ol' standby (kickstand cafe in arlington), i was in the mood to mix things up and give the new kid a chance. i'm so glad i did!

forge baking company is housed in an old warehouse space within a shopping plaza (no parallel parking, hallelujaaaah!). it's totally bright, open, and airy. oh, and big! it always bothers me when cafes have like, 2 tables in the whole place. i wanna sit and sip, man. sit and sip i did, thanks to the abundance of seating, which included a counter that looked into the kitchen. no secrets here! there was also a ton of cool art on the walls that i dug.

the menu is large and varied, with both sweet and savory offerings. fresh-baked pastries, muffins, and scones are available alongside more substantial sandwiches and salads. i obviously got the house-made s'more pop tart, because ... uhhh, WOULD YOU JUST LOOK AT IT?

i should also note that there's free wi-fi -- which, as far as i'm concerned, should be a requirement at any coffee shop. you'd be surprised how many places in the area don't offer it, though (::cough::rhymes with "weasel"::cough::).

overall, forge is a great addition to the neighborhood with good coffee, good food, and good vibes. i'm looking forward to becoming a regular!