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.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

i wanna be like killer mike

in the year of our lord, 2015, the great philosopher big sean (sean don if you're nasty) rapped, "i wrote myself a million dollar check in fifth grade/I put it on the wall and promised it'd be this way." while the line doesn't quiiiite rhyme, the motivational sentiment remains.

clearly, my man sean is also a proponent of the law of attraction. i was intrigued when i heard this lyric, as the LOA typically appeals to bizarre middle-aged white men that host sweat lodge retreats, millennials who read the secret and attribute every good or bad event to *~the universe~* (guilty as charged), and jim carrey. the basic tenet is that like attracts like, and that positive thinking brings about more positive circumstances in our lives. pretty straightforward stuff. and then, i realized what i love about hip-hop. well, besides those sick beats that i bump in my impreza en route to my corporate job, and the fetty wap lyric, "so fine, i swear i see you with my left eye."  what i love is the unapologetic arrogance of its key players. all dj khaled does is win. every time you see drake, it looks like he hit the lotto TWICE. 2 chainz just ate a $300 hamburger. lil' wayne's been fly so long, he fell asleep on the fuckin' plane! nicki minaj is on a diet, but she's doing donuts in the six-speed. and don't even get me started on kanye.

while some may view this ridiculous bravado as off-putting, i think it should be an inspiration to us all, honestly. misogynistic lyrics aside, i think that all of the bragging and boasting can certainly be applied (more humbly, natch) to our own ambitions and pursuits. i won't go so far as to say that these mainstream rappers are lacking in talent; have you heard some of kendrick lamar's brilliant verses? but also, have you heard some of french montana's terrible verses? "shorty saw the wings on the car/she forgot about her plans for tomorrow?" i could probably freestyle something that's ten times better ... and probably have, after a few glasses of riesling. i think that was also the night i felt inspired by chris brown to change my tinder tagline to "i don't fuck with broke bitches." but i digress.

my point is, it seems to me that most of these guys quite literally faked it 'til they made it, writing rhymes about bugattis, bling, and bitches until that actually became their reality. or such is the story they tell us. for all we know, they could be living at a holiday inn and relying on food stamps. but we buy into their larger-than-life projections and set our sights on more for ourselves, with aspiring teenagers peddling mix tapes on the street and upper-middle-class women like myself trying to twerk at suburban dinner parties.

you may not dream about fancy cars or private jets or gold grills. personally, i'd feel pretty pimpin' with a six-figure salary, a published book, and an apartment with in-unit laundry. when i crank up the waka flocka flame as i'm churning out a blog post, or nod along with rich homie quan while i'm lugging my sheets and towels to the washing machine in the basement, all of those things feel a bit more within reach, thanks to their not-so-quiet confidence.

come to think of it, i guess a million dollar check would be pretty nice, too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

50 things that make me ridiculously happy

at least once every year, i dig up this xojane article in which julieanne smolinski shares her happy list -- stuff that always makes her smile and reminds her of the good in life, including "videos of pigs running" and "terrible magicians."  i did a similar post a few years ago, but i felt like it was about time for a refresh. what would be on your list? share 'em in the comments!

1. bungalow houses
2. pizza parlor smell
3. this video that i took of drunk basics singing miley cyrus in a new orleans karaoke bar

A video posted by Kim Windyka (@kimmyloowho) on

4. the fact that there's a band called diarrhea planet and they're actually good
5. rapping A$AP rocky's "fuckin' problems" in full
6. summer thunderstorms
7. this banana cake i bake that's soooo gooood
8. dunkin' fucking donuts
9. exchanging a smile with a cute stranger
10. the "daughter's hand" episode of beavis and butthead
11. the idea of getting a beavis and butthead tramp stamp
12. dancing like a ratchet ho to hip-hop in my apartment and sometimes in public
13. watching hip-hop choreography videos
14. going to weddings
15. saying "dishes are done, man" from don't tell mom the babysitter's dead, apropos of nothing
16. meeting delightfully weird people while traveling
17. sleeping in my own bed after traveling
18. sinbad's stand-up comedy
19. synchronicity
20. tilt-a-whirls
21. a first kiss that gives me the tingles
22. when multiple friends send me hanson-related content at the same time because they know how much i love them
23. the song "move, bitch" by ludacris and mystikal
24. tacky thrift store t-shirts
26. finishing the crossword
27. skateboard vert competitions
28. my friend's apartment in portland, maine that's straight out of the '90s:

29. kurt vile's wakin' on a pretty daze on vinyl
30. jackass
31. coolidge corner in brookline
32. american eskimo puppies
33. butcher-block countertops
34. this live performance of "get found" by bass drum of death

35. remembering that my old neighbor had ass-length blonde dreadlocks
36. pretty much every line from she's the man
37. buying apple cider donuts in the fall
38. a good cross-breeze in my apartment
39. witty text banter with a guy i really like
40. harry styles
41. porch swings
42. rompers
43. jaren johnston's voice, goddamn:

44. vacation anticipation
45. pickford in dazed and confused
46. eating brunch and reading trashy magazines at the counter at trident booksellers on newbury street
47. the sweet vanilla cinnamon candle from anthropologie
48. the strokes from 2001-2004
49. when my family and i drunkenly dance around my aunt and uncle's kitchen island with utensils at almost every gathering
50. bars that have big buck hunter