Friday, February 27, 2009

My Girl.

Finally. A video of my girl's band, The Shine, that you can actually see. Here they are performing "Rock 'n Roll" by Lou Reed and their own song "Going Nowhere" at a benefit talent show for Habitat for Humanity. Give 'em some stars, people.

Rock on, kid.

Oh, How the Rich Suffer.

From the Wall Street Journal:

"According to a new survey by Prince & Assoc., more than 80% of multimillionaires who had extra-marital lovers planned to cut back on their gifts and allowances. Still, only 12% of the multimillionaire cheaters said they plan to give up on their lovers altogether for financial reasons.

"Fully 82% of men in the study said they planned to lower the allowances to their mistresses, while more than three quarters planned to provide fewer gifts, less expensive gifts and fewer perks, like jet rides, resort vacations and top restaurant meals.

"Women were far more generous to their paramours in the face of financial crises. Less than 20% planned to lower allowances, gifts and perks, while more than half planned to raise them.

"Susan Shapiro Barash, who teaches gender studies at Marymount Manhattan College ... said women value their lovers more than men in a time of economic trouble. 'For the women, lovers matter more than ever now because the rest of life is so dreary,' she said. 'For the men, they’re just cutting across the board.'"

For the rest of the story, click here.

As always, it's not the rich who suffer as much as the poor people under them. Heh.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Times, They Are A-Changing.

Our 5th wedding anniversary is coming up in a few days. So, I said to my husband who had broached the topic of anniversary gifts, "I don't want jewelry or anything. No flowers." Of course he thinks it's a trap.

I continue, "Just tile. New tile for the 3rd floor bath."

This tile. (Recognize it? It's this brand new tile called "Subway tile." Heh.)

And the showerhead.

And this tile for the shower floor:

It'll look something like this:

It's going to be a surprisingly pricey little project. It's only a stall shower but the floor tiles need replacing and the pan needs replacing (and the plumbing fixtures and the ceiling light) and cement backerboard will likely need to be added. In fact, when I called the tile guy about the price he said he was sharpening his pencil so I didn't have sticker shock. That's never a good thing.

One week later I received two quotes: $3500 and $5100; not including plumbing, electrical or any fixtures or tile. For a stall shower. Zoiks.

He totally would have gotten off easier with Tiffany.

Because we have an old house, it's a job that needs to be done anyway. The tile is crazing and the grout is cracking and I don't want to wait until water has dribbled down through all three floors before we do something.

The basketweave floor tile is $65/foot for honed marble at my local tile store. I need 12 sq. ft. That's $800 just for the floor tile in a bathroom nobody sees. What's a girl to do? Go to my friend eBay where I found it for $11.75/sq. ft. I just got it and it's perfect!! How is that possible?

Don't ask, don't tell - that's my motto regarding deals on tile.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pipe Dreams.

From today's L.A. Times:

"An assemblyman from San Francisco announced legislation Monday to ... make California the first state in the nation to tax and regulate recreational marijuana in the same manner as alcohol.

"Buoyed by the widely held belief that cannabis is California's biggest cash crop, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano contends it is time to reap some state revenue from that harvest while putting a damper on drug use by teens, cutting police costs and even helping Mother Nature.

"Ammiano's measure, AB 390, would essentially replicate the regulatory structure used for beer, wine and hard liquor, with taxed sales barred to anyone under 21.

"He said it would actually boost public safety, keeping law enforcement focused on more serious crimes while keeping marijuana away from teenagers who can readily purchase black-market pot from peers."

An economist in Hawaii has published a paper (here) estimating $33 million in cost savings and tax benefits to that state alone.

"...California's pot crop is a $14-billion industry, putting it above vegetables ($5.7 billion) and grapes ($2.6 billion). If so, that could mean upward of $1 billion in tax revenue for the state each year," the Times article continues.

If it's already a $14-billion industry in California alone, who are we kidding to not legalize it and reap the tax rewards from it?

As part of his economic stimulus package, FDR ended Prohibition when he took office in 1933, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and millions in revenue for the federal government at that time.

The Huffington Post did an article on the legalization of pot during the Michael Phelps flap. Go here to read it. From the article, the following points:
  • It's estimated by a team of 500 economists, including Nobel laureate Milton Friedman (click here for link to the Forbes article) who advised Nixon and Reagan, that taxing marijuana like alcohol and cigarettes could bring in $6.2 billion annually.
  • Job creation: farming, packaging, distribution, and of course, marketing--it's going to be a crowded playing field.
  • The Netherlands, where small amounts of marijuana are sold in coffee shops, have a lower rate of drug use of every kind than the U.S.
From the Forbes article, "If the laws change, large beneficiaries might include large agricultural groups like Archer Daniels Midland and ConAgra Foods as potential growers or distributors and liquor businesses like Constellation Brands and Allied Domecq, which understand the distribution of intoxicants." Talk to me, Wall Street.

So, what do you think? Is this a pie-in-the-sky notion (Wait! There's pie in the sky? Awesome!) or is it an idea with true economic merit whose time has come?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bill Maher...

needs a girlfriend, a mother or a gay lover.

Who let him go to the Oscars in a leather tux?

(This post in lieu of Sunday Night Confession.)

And the Winner Is...

As usual, I began the year with big plans to see all of the Oscar-nominated movies and only saw Slumdog Millionaire and Revolutionary Road (which didn't even end up being nominated). I may go to the afternoon show of The Wrestler but then I won't have time to make all my fabulous award-worthy appetizers and cocktails for the big event. I also saw part of Rachel Getting Married (long story; award nom for Best Actress) and I did see Vicky Cristina Barcelona (supporting nom).

So, which do you pick for Best Movie? Best Actor? Best Actress? And while you are watching (I will be glued to the TV beginning with the pre-show - the dresses are the best part!), feel free to leave comments rating the designer-clad attendees.

My choices are: Slumdog Millionaire (some thought it was corny - I loved it); Mickey Rourke (look up movie clips on YouTube for The Wrestler); and Anne Hathaway (Meryl Streep still must pay for Mamma Mia; I'm sick of Jolie; Kate Winslet totally overacted in Revolutionary Road so I'm basing my decision on that; and I've never heard of the other movie). In supporting roles, I choose Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road and Penelope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Your turn.

For some pre-Oscar entertainment, go here to see video clips, photos and tidbits from previous Oscar ceremonies, such as the year Barbra Streisand won a Best Actress award for Funny Girl, she tied with Katharine Hepburn for The Lion in Winter - the only tie for B.A. in the history of the awards show. You can download your ballot, too, to play along.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

True Beauty.

(Click to enlarge.)

This photo is from the cover of the new J. Crew catalog. I love that J. Crew still uses older models. And I love that this photo wasn't retouched.

How refreshing to see a 65-year-old with wrinkles.

My idol.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Rethinking the Martini.

I am not alone in thinking today's martini is a travesty. Gin (or, forbid, vodka) on the rocks, strained, is not a martini. It's not even a cocktail. The person responsible for the idea of merely waving the vermouth bottle over the glass should be whacked on the head with it. Some attribute it to alcoholics like Hemingway who wanted their liquor strong. Others blame Prohibition and the lack of availability of vermouth and bitters.

James Bond's author, Ian Fleming, is credited with responsibility for the gin-bruising act of shaking, not stirring the cocktail (shaken is referred to as a Bradford). However, according to the Washington Post, one British study pops up every so often extolling the health benefits of a martini shaken, not stirred. Good and good for you - who knew?

While there's disagreement over the origin of its name (some believe Martini came from the brand of vermouth [Martini & Rossi used to be called Martini], while some believe the cocktail was created and named for a customer at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco on his way to Martinez, Calif.), most agree that the Martinez and the first martinis originally consisted of sweet vermouth and Old Tom gin with a dash of bitters.

The proportion of sweet vermouth to gin (4:1) changed over the years, eventually ending up with a 2 or 3:1 ratio in favor of gin. City folks began to favor adding dry vermouth instead of sweet for a more sophisticated flavor and thus the dry martini was born.

Another ingredient that is overlooked today is water. You shouldn't really freeze the liquor and glasses and shakers - the ice needs to melt slightly into the drink to smooth it out. I still prefer a chilled glass.

Also, the martini is always made with gin - Hendrick's, Plymouth, Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire and G'Vine Nouaison are good ones; Hayman's Distillers has resurrected Old Tom for the nostalgic. There are also higher end vermouths such as Noilly Prat and Dolin to try. If you prefer vodka as I do, you will be asking for a vodka martini. And you will need to get comfortable telling pompous martini purists to shut their pie holes. Now for the recipes:

The Perfect Martini

2 1/2 oz. gin (or vodka)
1/2 oz. dry vermouth
1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
1-2 dashes aromatic bitters (optional)

Shake or stir with ice and strain into chilled glass. Run lemon peel around rim and twist into drink.

Classic Martini

1 1/2 oz. gin or vodka
1/2 oz. dry vermouth

Pour into ice-filled glass or shaker. Stir until very cold. Pour into chilled glass. Add olive.

I like to add a little olive juice (about 1/2-1 tsp.) for a dirty martini, depending on the size of the glass*. I use vodka and my preference is Stoli (I know, Stoli is so 80s) and I like to remove the pimento from Queen olives and stuff them with blue cheese. I have also found my personal preference in ratio is 2 1/2 parts vodka to 1/2 part vermouth, stirred and then shaken. Take that, 007.

The Post recommends trying a martini using Old Tom gin and sweet vermouth with a dash of bitters.

For some good recipes (including flavored martinis), click here. For all kinds of classic recipes, including the Classic Martini, the Martinez and Martinis Circa 1888 and 1900, go here to Drinkboy.

*Do not even get me started on the obscene size of today's cocktail glasses. That's an entirely different post.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It's a Major Award!

Oops, wrong one. Wait, this one:

I am unforgivably late in publicly acknowledging and passing along this award which loosely translates to "Your blog makes my dog fat" or "Your blog...completes me," I'm not sure which.

Thanks to Missy from That's So Missy for bestowing this award upon my blog.

I'll pass it along to 5 (who pass it along to 5 and so on and so on and so on...):

Raina at If the Lampshade Fits
Erin and Karly at Design Crisis
The Artist Formerly Known as The Nerdy Fashionista over at Designers Brew
Persian Tea
David at Midwestern Malaise (I just think he might like a pink butterfly award today)
I'd like to add a bonus person: Gracie at Woolgathering & Miscellany because she cracks me up

Okay, kids, take it away.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Light My Fire.



The Mogg Blogg

Color Me Happy

Absolutely Beautiful Things


Fireplace season is coming to a close. I can feel it. The birds are singing, spring is in the air. Cozy up while you can.

And what are the rules or ideas at the very least for decorating a mantle? I can never find things that look good.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ban Men from Delivery Rooms?

The practice of allowing men in delivery rooms has only been around for about 35 years but it's something today's woman takes for granted -- often whether her husband wants to do it or not.

I just came across an article written by a top U.K. ob/gyn titled, "A Top Obstetrician on Why Men Should Never Be at the Birth of Their Child."

Click here for the article.

Your thoughts?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Night Confession.

I once ironed a shirt while it was on my body because I was too lazy to take it off.

I still have the scar to prove it.

(I ended up having to take the shirt off anyway.)

Ow, My Eyes!

Please click on photos for full effect.

Is this a joke or is Domino trying to make its departure easier on us? Behold, the home of Nina Campbell. No further comment.

So as not to leave my beloved Domino on a sour note, a couple of rooms I like (minus the deer noggin):

I love the painted paneling and the sofa cushion. The homeowner shoved together two parts of a sectional and had a new cushion made. That handrolled mattress cushion has long been a favorite of mine. I wonder if the edge is uncomfortable?

Every home with kids should have a teepee. Yep, in the dining room, family room, wherever. I'd like to point out that I do not like the Noguchi light fixture - it looks like commercial HVAC ductwork.

Thoughts on the final issue or is it taboo to speak ill of the dead?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hello, Lovahs.

(Not really. I got nothing but love, baby.)



Friday, February 13, 2009

Sweet Hearts.

All images via flickr.

Have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Koala Love.

I saw the photo of this yesterday on Pigtown Design but this video will break your heart (in a good way).

Millions of animals have been killed in the Australian wildfires and many more have been injured. If you are inclined to make a donation, click here.

UPDATE: Uh-oh. I noticed this morning on Yahoo that Koala's a star. Just wait til Fuck You, Penguin gets a hold of him. Oh, no, too late (actually, it's a different koala, but who cares?). If you have no idea what I'm talking about, click here. It's the funniest thing on the internet.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Dream House is for Sale.

Click on photo to enlarge.

Here it is, styled by Vogue.

Here it is with photos by the realtor.

More realtor photos.

As reported by the eagle-eyed Habitually Chic and quotable Page Six, my favorite residential place in the whole world (okay, in the U.S.) is for sale. The white marble-clad, unbelievably fabulous residence of the chic-and-sadly-divorcing-but-already-happily-dating-others Janklow kids on West 12th Street in NYC between 5th and 6th Avenues is for sale.

If you have $25 million lying around, contact Brown Harris Stevens NYC or go here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Note to Self.

Start pronouncing it Pahkistahn.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Night Confession.

When I was in first grade, I had a crush on a fat, redheaded, redneck boy named Kenny.

The students in my class were sitting on chairs in a circle and Kenny and I were seated next to one another, holding hands. We were having a spelling contest and when you answered correctly, you got to leave the circle and return to your desk.

When it came to my turn the teacher asked me how to spell "as." I intentionally misspelled it so I wouldn't have to leave the circle and stop holding hands with Kenny.

As it turned out, because I misspelled the word (I don't remember how I misspelled it: az?) I had to go to the end of the circle, so to speak, to start over.

The things we do for love.

[This is my feature where on Sundays I share with you something that you may not know about me and you share something related or otherwise, depending on your mood, about yourself.]

Friday, February 6, 2009

Thank God It's Friday with an Apostrophe.

I see this misused on otherwise brilliant blogs all the time. I'd like to offer quick help to resolve the burning question: It's or its?

It's = It is (or it has). Every single time.

Its = Possessive. Every single time.

If you can't decide which to use, just remember it's is a contraction and it's= it is (or it has as in "it's been raining"). If that's not it, it's its. Got it?

Now, it's (it is) time for a little Friday entertainment from my favorite band, The Shine (my girl is its drummer), performing its original song, "Going Nowhere."

UPDATE: New song (poor picture quality due to low lighting at venue) but still a good song.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What's Wrong with America, Part I.

In 50 words or less. (And two pictures.)

"South Carolina authorities in the county where Michael Phelps was spotted smoking from a marijuana bong say they are considering a criminal charge against the Olympic superstar." -AP

"Madoff hasn't been indicted. He's being held under house arrest at his multimillion-dollar penthouse." -AP

Or as I've said before: go here to see it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Inside.

Hotel de Glace, Quebec

Hotel de Glace corridor, via Octobre46 flickr

Jukkasjarvi Ice Hotel, Sweden

Jukkasjarvi, Sweden

Jukkasjarvi Ice Hotel, Sweden

Hotel de Glace via Octobre46 flickr

Hotel de Glace Bar, Quebec, via Octobre46 flickr

The dacha from Dr. Zhivago

Although they look like movie sets, Ice Hotels are temporary structures made entirely of snow and ice (except for the fireplaces and the vodka). The first one popped up in 1989 in Sweden as an igloo intending to provide temporary shelter for an art exhibition. Some people brought reindeer hides and spent the night, reporting it to be an amazing experience. The builders of the igloo expanded on their idea and the Jukkasjarvi Ice Hotel was born.

The hotels offer day tours or for the heartier tourist, overnight stays. There are wedding packages available, including same sex weddings (forget California, make it really memorable!). Their beauty is truly ephemeral, lasting about 3 months before they disappear.

For more on the Hotel de Glace, click here. The website wouldn't allow me to download photos and they are worth seeing. For the Jukkasjarvi Ice Hotel, click here.
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