Wednesday, October 19, 2016

the best of texts from friends (and mom), part 4

in this edition, we have:

regrettable bar behavior:

makeout adventures that would make theodor geisel proud:

a full conversation that i never even had the chance to join:

unsolicited terrible tattoos:

incredulous observations:

epic sexts within a text (how meta):

online dating advice-seeking:

early bird special reports from mom:

and as always, dads:

Sunday, October 9, 2016

my fling with blue apron

isn't my kitchen beautiful? jk, i stole this from groupon

"it's easy," they said. "you'll love it!" they said. and by "they," i mean the evil marketing geniuses at blue apron, arguably the most popular meal delivery service. so, i took the plunge and signed up, hoping that it would inspire me to cook more and branch out in terms of my recipe repertoire. i lasted approximately a week and a half, and made three of the six meals they sent me before admitting defeat.

yes, i will admit that it was extremely nice to receive perfectly-portioned ingredients for all of the meals (seriously, even flour and butter). but there were so. many. ingredients. and so. many. steps. and i'm pretty sure i used all of the pots and pans in my apartment for each of the recipes. oh, they try to trick you into believing there are only six or so steps, but do not be fooled! each "step" is actually like 20. exhibit a:

aw hell naw!
don't get me wrong, the dinners were delicious. i made the beef & shishito pepper open-faced sandwiches:

and the crispy catfish with kale-farro salad and warm grape relish:

and the pimento cheeseburgers with collard greens and carrot slaw, which i forgot to take a picture of. they were all great, but it was way too much food for one person, and i'm not much of a leftovers girl, so the whole thing became pretty damn overwhelming (and slightly depressing) pretty fast.

not to mention, by the time i finished washing dishes, i felt less like a spunky, childless 30 year-old woman and more like a jaded soccer mom who was ready to feign a headache to her husband for the third night in a row. one mini-existential crisis and a freezer full of abandoned meals later, i gleefully canceled my subscription and was filled with indescribable relief. grubhub, i'm back, baby!

for couples and families, blue apron seems like it could be a great way to get more creative with meals and potentially save a very small amount of time and money on grocery shopping. however, if you're slicing and sauteing solo, i'd stick to your own devices. but, to paraphrase the old adage, better to have blue aproned and lost than never to have blue aproned at all.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

show review: diarrhea planet at the sinclair

the t-shirt i bought last night/the best t-shirt i'll ever own

gather 'round, kids ... let me tell you the story of a band called diarrhea planet, who have inspired air guitarists and drummers, made uptight prudes scowl at the mere mention of their name, and melted faces across the country.

i first discovered the six-piece revelation back in 2011ish, along with some of my other favorite nashville acts like natural child, JEFF the brotherhood, and pujol, but didn't witness their epic live show until last year. they played great scott, which is the size of a shoebox, and my friend and i were among the ... oh, four or so women in attendance. after having my mind completely blown by the four-guitar assault, i knew i couldn't go a full year without seeing them again.

this time around, they moved to my favorite venue in the area (the sinclair) and i was pleased to see that the female contingent was higher (though it was mostly just dutiful girlfriends ... sigh).

i arrived at the tail end of the first opener, local band salem wolves. they had great stage presence and solid chops, but weren't quite my cup of tea music-wise. straightforward, bad religion-esque punk would probably be the best way to describe them.

next up was western medication, a fellow nashville outfit and possibly my new favorite band. live, the vocals made me think of king tuff and white reaper, but not so much now that i'm listening to their album. and i still can't put my finger on what the music itself reminds me of. smith westerns, maybe? stone roses? it's driving me insane. regardless, i'm a big fan.

(update: i just read a youtube comment after i typed that paragraph about how they sound like smith westerns. can someone pay me for this?)

and finally, the main event ... the one, the only, the planet of diarrhea. if you haven't had the pleasure of experiencing one of their concerts, i can only liken it to a 45-minute roller coaster ride of stage-diving, fist-pumping, guitar-shredding goodness that leaves you wondering where you are and what just happened to you in its aftermath-- in the best way. the fact that nearly all of the members trade off vocal duties makes for an exciting and dynamic show as well. at one point, i was covered in beer (and god knows what else) and could not care less because i was headbanging and screaming "STREET RIP!" the power of diarrhea planet, man.

this wasn't my first rodeo, so i knew to stay as far as i could from the front of the crowd, where punk bros-a-plenty moshed the night away. 

guitarist jordan even got in on the action towards the end, simultaneously surfing and playing. siiiick.

if you're still not sold, i'll leave you with one of my favorite d-planet videos, a homage to nickelodeon classic pete and pete. aw yeah.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

band i dig: CRX

recently, my friend gleni sent me a link to an article about a newly-formed band called CRX that includes nick valensi (my favorite stroke/the human i would create if i were to engineer a man, weird science style) and richie follin from two excellent bands, the willowz and guards. and apparently, their debut album is being produced by josh homme of queens of the stone age. "these are literally all of your favorite dudes," she added. it's true; the only thing that could make the lineup better would be the addition of anthony bourdain.

okay, so i've only heard their first single, "ways to fake it." i'll admit that i was confused and underwhelmed upon the first listen because i was expecting a grittier sound and, well, a less smooth and sweet voice from valensi. however, i quickly realized that they're going for a slick power-pop sound a la the cars and badfinger, listened again, and it all made muuuch more sense. ever since, it's been stuck in my head all day, errday, and i'm totally okay with that. nothing too groundbreaking, but a solid, fun, dancing-in-the-car tune. here's hoping that the album follows suit. what do you think?

Monday, September 5, 2016

hidden gem: long island wine country (and mystic, ct)

about a month ago, after a furious googling session to find ideas for LDW, my friend brianna and i came across a site for "long island wine country." previously, my only associations with the area were terrible accents, a few terrible girls whom i shared a dormitory floor with my freshman year of college, and that terrible tv psychic. but i was intrigued, and we booked a tour (with vintage tours) for saturday afternoon. spoiler alert: it was great.

the ferry

first of all, i didn't think it was possible to make it to long island in two and a half hours, but we somehow did? turns out that there's a modern marvel called the cross-sound ferry that takes you from new london, CT to orient point, NY in just over an hour. easy drive down, easy ferry ride over. and our tour guide was waiting at the ferry to whisk us away with a well-air-conditioned van and promises of gratuitous pinot samples.

the wine (and the goats)

we only hit up four of the approximately 30+ wineries on the north and south forks (also new terminology to me), but hoo boy, that was more than enough.

first was sparkling pointe. we kicked things off with a bubbly toast, eavesdropped on the bachelorette party in matching hats sitting next to us, and took in the bizarre-but-fun rio de janeiro-inspired decor:

then, onto mattebella. we ate some bread with brie and a cute little boxed lunch of eggplant panini, orzo, and a chocolate chip cookie at a picnic table while the tastings kept coming. it was at this point that i really felt like i was living my best life (thanks, oprah). fun fact: the name of the winery is a hybrid of the names of the owners' children, matthew and isabella. ugh, so cute i might puke.

the third winery, lenz, was thoroughly "meh" in terms of the samples, but had a fantastic atmosphere with some chill bros covering ellie goulding and such (not pictured, sorry).

AND THEN, our tour guide surprised us with an impromptu stop at a dairy farm that was home to like a billion baby goats, some of which lived on a fake boat:

can you handle it? 'cause i couldn't handle it. it also reminded me that when i went to san francisco about a year ago, we stopped at a winery in sonoma that had a donkey farm. is this a thing? people just like to get blitzed and pet animals or something? anyways, i'm not a feta fan so the cheese tasting was kind of wasted on me. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

the final stop was one woman vineyards, where comments about our personal brands abounded. but seriously, we saw the owner/winemaker/grower during our visit, and what a BAMF. you go, one woman. i also posed in front of a tractor because it felt like the right thing to do after four generous pours of various wines:

the treehouse

since the accommodations on long island were insanely expensive, we opted to ferry back and spend the night in mystic, connecticut. before a reallyreally good dinner of blackfish at oyster club, we had cocktails at the restaurant's treehouse bar. i know! i ordered the "painkiller," which had orange and pineapple juice and rum and stuff. ambiance for daaaays:

the b&b

i'd never stayed in a true bed and breakfast before, so i was simultaneously excited and frightened for what awaited me at the mermaid inn in mystic. yo, it was adorable af (save for that creepy mermaid on the piano, but so what, who cares). less than a 10-minute walk into town, too.

our room was refreshingly tasteful and classy, and had bathrobes and a fancy glass pitcher of cognac and chocolates. if only i brought my brandy snifter...

the innkeeper, josephine, was an absolute sweetheart. not only did she put pie and cookies out for guests in the evening, but she made a bomb-ass breakfast the next morning with ~organic~ yogurt, quiche, french toast, and baconbaconbacon.

she also gave us a little goodie bag with apples, more cookies, and bottles of water when we checked out. seriously, this woman is a saint. more importantly, my dreams have now shifted from owning a bakery in santa barbara (a la meryl streep in it's complicated) to owning a b&b in a beach town. how do i own a b&b in a beach town?!

anyways, we rented bikes that morning from the town bookstore and went on a veeery short ride (i was too rusty to be trusted for an extended period of time in the downtown traffic). then i talked to the bookstore dude about how mystic is basically stars hollow from gilmore girls for a while.

after a drive to dubois beach in nearby stonington, it was 11:30am, aka time to start drinking again. enter saltwater farm vineyard, a converted airplane hangar.

and what's a day in mystic without a slice from its most famous pizzeria? somehow, despite having visited the town a handful of times, i'd yet to make a visit to mystic pizza, which inspired the 1988 movie with julia roberts. the wait for a table was insane, so we snagged some seats in the bar area and took it all in. surprisingly, the pizza was delicious, and i devoured it in like 30 seconds, prompting brianna to laugh at my unbridled enthusiasm. i was hungry, man.

even if you aren't a wine aficionado, i highly recommend LI wine country -- and mystic -- for a day or weekend trip. for northeasterners like myself, it's a helluva lot closer than napa and sonoma, but i had just as much fun as i did at the wineries there. cheers!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

5 things i love: '90s one-hit wonder edition

what are your favorite OHWs from the greatest decade ever?

1. spacehog - "in the meantime"

come on, i'd deserve to be tarred and feathered if i didn't include either this or "possum kingdom" by the toadies, though i think this one has a slight edge in terms of being the most '90s song of all time. as soon as i hear the opening "oooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooooh-ooooh" i'm instantly transported to that glorious era of flannel, scrunchies, and doc martens.

2. citizen king - "better days (and the bottom drops out)"

god bless the music director at 92.9, who apparently loves this song as much as i do. i've heard it on the station approximately 5 times in the past couple weeks and it was what inspired this post. it teeters juuuust on the edge of carefree sublimey/311 fare and jangly alt-rock and trip-hop in the perfect way. but, uhh, have definitely been picturing a mark mcgrath-y bro as the lead singer for the past 17 years. mind = BLOWN. at least i got the frosted tips part right.

3.  tom cochrane - "life is a highway"

damn you, rascal flatts, for ruining this gem. with his swoopy blonde locks and leather jacket, tom captured my six year-old heart from that first harmonica wail. the fact that he's canadian is just a bonus. GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME YEAH!

4. alana davis - "32 flavors"

usually, when i say, "i haven't thought about that one in forever" in reference to any given song, i'm lying and just trying to pretend that i'm not a huge music geek that regularly thinks about one-hit wonders. BUT, when consulting a list of flash-in-the-pan tunes yesterday, i realized that i really, truly haven't thought about this song since i was 12 years old. i'm so happy i rediscovered it -- and alana davis' entire debut album, which was in heavy rotation for me in 6th grade. this is actually an ani difranco cover, but i much prefer it to the original. so much soul.

5. deadeye dick - "new age girl"

confession: while i do vaguely remember this song from dumb and dumber, it wasn't until last month that i heard it randomly and decided that i loved it. from the weird collective "RUH" noise to the lyrics about this crazy bitch mary moon (who, FYI, is a vegetarian and will outlive all the septuagenarians), it's awesomely bad. but it's also just a great time. LOL @ the line "she don't eat meat, but she sure like the bone." what the hell is going on in this video?!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

around town: open newbury street and st. agrippina's feast

though i've lived in the boston area on and off for the better part of the past 10 years, i truly never tire of being a tourist here. this is especially true in the summertime, when every weekend means some sort of festival or feast or other such whimsy.

when i read a couple weeks ago that iconic newbury street was going to be temporarily car-free all day today, i decided to take my "real" camera and re-explore the city on foot.

i began in the south end with a visit to the recently relocated sowa open market. i've gotta say, it was lacking the energy of the old market, possibly because there seemed to be far fewer vendors. meh. i got bored and wandered down some side streets and admired the brownstones instead:

then it was off to open newbury street, which was just such a great sight to see. cafe tables in the street, children on scooters, families playing four square and cornhole, people hula hooping, couples playing ping pong, and instagram husbands maxing and relaxing in lawn chairs. i hope they make this a regular thing.

i passed through the common and faneuil hall...

next was the north end, where the locals were celebrating st. agrippina's feast. fun fact: our girl agrippina is the patron saint of thunderstorms, leprosy, and evil spirits. pretty killer combo, i must say.

anyways,  i'm always nostalgic for this neighborhood, as i lived here for two years in college, and the procession used to pass right under my window every weekend in the summertime. as much as it pains me to see that the powers that be have allowed pinkberry and some other bullshit chains into the neighborhood, it still retains that authenticity and italian charm that made me fall in love with it a decade ago. i mean, a dozen guidos carrying a saint statue covered in dollar bills past a fried dough stand while their fathers yell "nicholas!" or "tony!" and a band of police officers play "when the saints go marching in?" it just doesn't get better than that.