Monday, June 22, 2015

an unofficial history of the flower crown

Many moons ago, in a dark era before the arrival of Uber, a winged goddess named Kelsey got lost on her way home from an off-campus costume party because she had, like, wayyy too much Four Loko. As any slurring, sexy fairy is wont to do, she stumbled into a bodega for a bacon, egg, and cheese, snatching a bag of sunflower seeds on her way out in order to offset the massive carb-and-calorie guilt that was imminent. Just a few stiletto steps into a dark alley, her three-inch heel collapsed under the weight of her breakfast sandwich, and everything went black. 

When she came to, she found herself alone in a tent in the middle of the desert. She surveyed the scene: a few sleeping bags, four fedoras, and a suspicious number of unattended Apple device chargers. Peeking outside, she squinted at a large sign in the distance. “Co...Coach...Coachella,” she whispered. Kelsey lifted a gel-manicured hand up to her ear and tried to make out the chant of a crowd from afar. “This sex is on fiiiiiire!” “My jam!” she whispered to no one in particular. “I have to get over there!”

Not so fast, Kelsey. You see, just beyond the tent lay a mythical place known as the Land of the Basic Bitch. Many aspiring Coachella attendees, just like her, only intended to pass through for some Chipotle and cold-pressed juice before continuing on their way to Kings of Leon ... but they never left.

It was easy to see why. Starbucks lined the streets, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes were always in season. Rosy-cheeked millennials with Brazilian blowouts donned yoga pants, Juicy tracksuits, and UGGs of all sizes and shades. Traffic accidents were rare, but a Bitch-on-Bitch pedestrian collision — while one or both of them was scrambling to add a moment to their Snapchat stories while eating fro-yo — was a daily occurrence. Instead of a monument honoring a famous historical figure, a marble bust of Lauren Conrad sat proudly in the square. You were out of luck if you wanted to see the latest blockbuster; a double feature of The Notebook and Mean Girls sold out the town’s only movie theater daily. And yes ... on Wednesdays, everyone wore pink.

But back to our hungover hero. In a daze, she made her way out of the tent and into her promised land, passing through the rose garden where Chris Harrison hand-picked the blooms (and sometimes the contestants) for each Bachelor episode. With the sunflower seeds still in hand for sustenance, she remembered her greasy sins of the previous night and sloppily shoveled the remainder of the bag into her mouth. What she didn’t realize, though, was that these were no ordinary sunflower seeds. The non-GMO, gluten-free, organic and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious morsels that were left in her wake possessed special powers that would soon unite the Basic Bitch community in a totes unforgettable way.

Just about a year later, on their way back from an early-morning class, two unsuspecting SoulCyclers happened upon a miraculous sight in the garden. A pair of perfectly round sunflower halos, each woven together as if by magic, sat untouched amongst the roses. 

“It’s like they were made for us!” one exclaimed, unfastening her ponytail and placing the strange new accessory on her head.

“Perf for Coachella next weekend!” the other squealed, following suit.

A few well-timed, abundantly-hashtagged Instagram selfies later, and a phenomenon was born. Back in her dorm room, blissfully unaware of her trendsetter status, Kelsey rolled her eyes at the flood of floral headpieces that clogged her feed. 


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

5 things i love right now

1. this song by PHASES, "i'm in love with my life"

i was a huge fan of all of those so-cal power pop/indie rock bands back in the day: phantom planet, rooney, everybody else, the like, etc. etc. a couple weeks ago, i decided to see what former PP lead singer alex greenwald was up to because i'm weird like that. i was stoked to find out that he's making music with the former lead singer of the like, z berg, and a couple other dudes. this tune shot to the top of my summer jams list INSTANTLY. and the video isn't too shabby, either!

2. trader joe's frozen chocolate-covered banana slices

speaking of summer treats, have you tried these?! they're heavenly and they never last more than like, two days in my house. on a hot day, there's nothing better to snack on than this chill banana-choco goodness. swear.

3. silicon valley

you'll especially appreciate this HBO show if you work for a tech company like i do, but the snarky jokes are pretty universal. all of the characters are great in their own way, from meek and bumbling CEO richard to the crass, perpetually-stoned erlich. however, my personal favorite is guilfoyle, played by martin starr of freaks and geeks fame (BILL!). his deadpan jokes get me every time.

4. this pinterest-worthy quote:

can i get an amen?!

5.  this nerdy dude's hip-hop audition on so you think you can dance

i look forward to SYTYCD every year, and i always love when an unlikely person just blows everyone away with their audition. he does kind of look like bill gates!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

some thoughts on age 28

welp, there's just about a week left before i turn 29, and i've been reflecting and all that crap because i guess that's just what you do when you're marching slowly towards death (and age 30). sorry, that was #dark. 28 was an interesting -- mostly good -- age; i've joked that it was the year of my slightly delayed quarter-life crisis, which is mostly false, but not compleeeetely false. anyways!


i ...
  • walked away from a condo deal because the house had electrical issues, and the sellers (who were also my future neighbors) were insane scientologists
  • bolt-bussed it to NYC for governors ball and rediscovered the brilliance of the strokes
  • went to quebec city with my family and ate my weight in croissants, poutine, and bison cheek
  • started watching that terrible reality show "rising star" and fell in cougar lust with jesse kinch
  • took a day trip to portsmouth NH with my friend sue and bought chocolate red wine, which is simply delightful when poured over chocolate ice cream
  • began dating a seemingly super-polite dude who was obsessed with the insanity workout that wined and dined me, took me to see panic! at the disco, came over for pizza and palo alto and then ghosted me
  • simultaneously started dating another asshole because i thought he was really hot and had great taste in music and a chill demeanor and did a surfer-dude impression that made me giggle 
  • mourned the end of my grandpa's amazing 101-year run on this earth
  • conquered martha's vineyard with sue and decided i want to live in one of the gingerbread houses someday
  • finished my book proposal
  • got red balayage highlights in my hair
  • took my first business trip for a conference in indianapolis, where i got to see mindy kaling speak, high-fived the lead singer of the script, and realized that is nuts
  • went on a family road trip to wilmington, nc and was pretty unimpressed except for the whole dawson's creek claim to fame
  • saw 7,000 barrels of bourbon at a distillery in virginia and wanted to go swimming in them
  • dined at a bar by myself for the first time 
  • won tickets to a private concert with gavin rossdale, my first rock star crush
  • missed my 10-year high school reunion because a snowstorm knocked the power out in NH on the day before thanksgiving, rendering me homeless-looking
  • spent christmas with my parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, watching the interview and new girl episodes and eating/drinking/laughing a lot
  • went on a date with a guy who didn't listen to music :( :( :(
  • sobbed uncontrollably at the parenthood finale
  • nearly died trying to walk to the dunkin' donuts next door to my apartment during the 3rd snowpocalypse storm (ok, so i just fell down in the snow)
  • got a tattoo of a cheeseburger
  • finally won at bar trivia, and two weeks in a row at that!
  • decided to be, uhhhh, *friends* with aforementioned asshole, because YOLOOOO
  • felt super liberated by the whole thing until a totally fated, totally awful run-in on public transportation left me feeling like a piece of dog crap and rightfully slammed the door on that sitch for good
  • met up with gleni in vegas, got wasted on chocolate martinis, and hung out with old dudes
  • saw a bunch of great live music: catfish & the bottlemen, king tuff, the new pornographers, the barbazons, juliana hatfield, hallelujah the hills, and walk off the earth!

  • knob & tube electrical wiring is the worst. avoid at all costs.
  • french-canadians are so friggin' chic.
  • you shouldn't give a shit about someone who doesn't give a shit about you.
  • related: TRUST YO' GUT, even when your heart/ego/loins want to ignore it.
  • also related: BE BREEZY.
  • while it's not ideal, you can totally experience martha's vineyard in a day.
  • on second thought, snow is actually worse than knob & tube wiring.
  • tattoos don't hurt. like, at all.
  • vegas is magic.
  • whiskey is magic, too.
  • it's no coincidence that "tinder" and "terrible" start with the same letter.
  • if you can't find someone to join you for something you want to do, just go by yourself! it's fine.
  • the universe always knows better than you do. learn to listen to it.
  • liz phair's 1993 album exile in guyville is still just as relevant to 20-something women as it was 22 years ago.
  • YOLOOOO (that's right).

assuming you're not a young'n, what was 28 like for you?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

show review: walk off the earth at the paradise

over the past three years, some of you might have heard me raving about walk off the earth, a canadian indie band that became famous with a youtube cover of gotye's "somebody that i used to know" that featured all five band members playing one guitar. while it was undoubtedly amazing, it was their back catalog of innovative cover videos that launched me into full-blown obsession mode for a few months. like this reggae-fied rendition of wiz khalifa's "roll up:"

i had the pleasure of seeing them live in orlando back in 2012, and they put on a killer show, so i was really stoked about the chance to see them last night in boston as they toured in front of their upcoming album, sing it all away. it was fantastic!

they played a perfect mix of original songs from their last album REVO, cover tunes -- including pharrell's "happy" and madonna's "material girl" -- and of course, tracks from the new record. as this is their second major-label release, i was curious if and how their sound would change. i was pleasantly surprised to find that while they've certainly gotten a little more adventurous with melodies and tempo, they still have that buoyant, exciting energy that i love.

most of all, you can feel the passion that WOTE has for playing music, and get the sense that they'd be just as happy playing on a street corner as they would to a completely packed rock club. plus, the entire band just oozes talent, and all of the members switched instruments throughout the night with ease. sidenote: gianni and sarah, two of the lead vocalists, are kind of the cutest rock 'n roll couple ever, and i love them. also, sarah is super-pregnant with baby #2, and she rocked the hell out of this little black number. get it, girl!

my favorite part of the evening, without a doubt, was the encore. of course, they had to reenact the performance that got them their big break. but halfway through the song, they switched into a flawless medley of covers, including miley cyrus' "wrecking ball," "rude" by magic!, and avicii's "wake me up."

following that, they launched into a perfectly sunny song from their last album, called "summer vibe." beach balls were tossed into the crowd, random people came up onstage to dance, and general merriment ensued.

basically, a walk off the earth concert is like a giant beach party where everyone is singing and dancing and smiling and just feelin' fine. i haven't had that much fun at a show in forever. if you like music and happiness, go see them!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

the best life lessons from mom

with mother’s day just around the corner (aka tomorrow), i’ve been thinking a lot about the important things that i’ve learned from my dear mama, and there hav
e been many. she’s imparted wisdom on love, education, friendship, career, and just about everything else under the sun. most of these gems fall into the “everything else” category, so i present a few of my favorite, completely impractical “mom-isms” that have served me well throughout my life.

  1. always have a bottle of wine on hand.

this one may seem obvious, but actually has a couple of different reasons behind it. sure, it’s always wonderful when you can pull a bottle of riesling out of your fridge after a particularly awful day and just go to town. however, my lovely mother promotes wine possession for just-in-case purposes. you know, like just in case your cool new coworker with BFF potential invites you over for a friday night dinner party, or just in case you decide to make some killer chicken piccata that calls for a few splashes of white wine. with at least one bottle on the premises at all time, you’ll never be stuck in a jam. who knew that vino could be so practical?

2. treat your purse like your second home.

no doubt about it, i’m a purse hoarder, and i blame my mother. money, receipts, jewelry, food items (wrapped -- I’m not a monster!) ... they’re all in there. however, the most important item? a tissue (or three). the bottom line is that it always pays off to carry some sort of absorbent material with you at all times, and my mom instilled that in me early on in life. how many times have you caught a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and go, “WHAT IS THAT ON MY NOSE?!”  just as you’re cornered by your crush, or boss, or someone else super-important that does not appreciate your booger shenanigans. sure, it’s still awkward to wipe your nose in front of them, but it’s much more awkward to have an entire conversation where both of you are trying to ignore the gross reality. sure, this is an extreme case, but you never know when you’re going to spill a little coffee on your desk or need a makeshift napkin for that afternoon snack, either. thanks, mom!

3. when in doubt, dance it out.

whether i’m sad, mad, or just plain grumpy, the first thing i do is crank up the hip-hop and go nuts for about 10 minutes. my dear ol’ mom has always been an advocate of the dance party, and taught me that it can do wonders to turn your whole mood right around. she’d probably frown upon me twerking to raunchy rap, but what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her. by the time I’m tired out from shakin’ what she literally gave me, i’ve usually forgotten whatever i was upset about in the first place.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

around town: the barbazons at the middle east

last night was one of those rare occasions where i truly enjoyed every single one of the bands that played. if you weren't there, y'all missed out on a killer time. so lemme tell you about it.


solid garage rock jams from providence. the lead singer reminded me of tim lincecum and so i just stared at him the entire time, basically.


oh my god, i can't remember a time i've been so energized and excited by an opening band that i hadn't heard of before. like, legit, i kept mouthing "holy shit!" during every tune. i'll be honest -- when they took the stage, all donning black tees with scorpions on them and black bandanas over their mouths, i rolled my eyes. two songs into their set, and i'm frantically texting my show companion -- who hadn't arrived yet -- "this band is KILLIN' IT. get over here." not a word was uttered nor sung the entire time, but i was totally captivated by their aggressive, slightly sinister, surf rock sound. i'll let the music speak for itself:


and then for something completely different, doug tuttle and his band (which included apollo sunshine's jesse gallagher) took the stage for some super chill psychedelic tunes, bruh. having consumed two mixed drinks at this point, i swayed back and forth pretty much the entire time and think i said "i want to smoke a joint to this."  loved their whole vibe. listen and you'll see what i mean.


who i actually came to see in the first place! my favorite local band, these guys and gals were known as the fagettes until about a month ago when they made the decision to adopt a less controversial name. anyways, it's always a bit of a throwback for me to see them, since frontman ryan major used to play guitar in this '70s-style punk band called red invasion that i used to go see in high school. jesus, i sound old. :(

in addition to introducing their new name, the barbazons were also celebrating the release of their new LP, avec plaisir. it came out on wednesday, and i think i've listened to it about three times already. it's a great listen from beginning to end, but "on drugs" is my standout favorite.

they have amazing energy and their '60s-inspired, jangly tunes just make you wanna daaaance. there were tambourines and maracas and saxophones. by the end of the show, ryan was probably drunk and definitely shirtless, venturing into the crowd while posturing and posing with total mick jagger swagger.

best show i've been to in a dog's age!

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!