Monday, November 23, 2015

Bookworm Wishlist

Here's my Christmas book wishlist! These are all books that came out this year that aren't at the library. This list hits all my favorite reading topics. First off are two books by models Christie Brinkley and Molly Sims on their beauty secrets. A memoir from Leah Remini  about her experience with Scientology which is currently the #1 book on the NY Times best seller list. A book about being a vegan from Russell Simmons. And a comedic memoir by Brittany Gibbons who went on TV in her bathing suit (in Times Square) wearing a size 18.

Bookworm Wishlist

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

Aziz is a comedian and actor. You might have seen him on the TV show "Parks and Recreation", hosting the 2010 MTV awards, he's been in a few movies, filmed his own comedy special this year "Live at Madison Square Garden" and has his own series on netflix called "Master of None". He released his book this summer on the comedic pitfalls of dating in the modern world. He worked with multiple sociologists and referenced statistics to show he thoroughly researched the topic of dating. He starts with the history of dating in this country and how its evolved. And how romance has changed due to technology, ie texting and tinder. He also travels around the world to France, Argentina and Japan to compare their dating to ours. It's truly a  legit sociological study of romance in the modern age. It's the only book of it's kind out there on the challenge of looking for love in the digital age.

Many of his observations I've noticed myself such as the following trends with the advent of the smartphone. He complains about people being too busy to write you back but have time to post photos on facebook and how rude that is. (yep I have a friend like that!) "What I see out in bars today, which is usually a bunch of people staring at their phones trying to find someone or something more exciting than where they are."  "If I text someone, and they wait ten minutes to text me back, I wait twenty. We both know the other is glued to their phone. Everyone is. So if you're gonna play the game, that's fine, but I'll play it better, I'm very competitive."  "Put a group of young people in a room and they will be buried on their phones, not talking to anyone around them. You don't need to make small talk with strangers when you can stare at your phone." "As a medium, it's safe to say, texting facilitates flakiness and rudeness and many other personality traits that would not be expressed in a phone call such as cancelling plans."

On the topic of dating his statistics say that "for the first time in history, the typical American now spends more years single than married." "Living alone has skyrocketed almost everywhere and in many major cities from Paris to Tokyo to DC to Berlin, nearly half of all households have just one resident."
"Having a husband and kids isn't a prerequisite to having a well-rounded fulfilling adult life anymore." We are willing to look very far, for a very longtime, to find a soul mate.

On the topic of online dating he statistics say that "between 2005 and 2012 more than one third of couples who got married in the United States met through an online dating site." One person got approx 350 matches in 5 months, that's 70 people a month, so statistically you'll meet more people online than in person. So you can say that to the uninformed person asking why are you are online. Because "today, if you own a smartphone, you're carrying a 24-7 singles bar in your pocket." "Online dating works best as a forum where you can meet people whom you'd never otherwise be able to meet. It's the ultimate way to expand the search beyond the neighborhood" "As of Oct 2014, Tinder has more than fifty million users. New York and Los Angeles were using Tinder as the go-to dating app. People were using it to meet people for relationships."

Aziz says that "online dating is like a second job that requires knowledge and skills that very few of us have." He goes into great dept into how to do it right. He suggest resisting the temptation to start long online exchanges before a first date. "There's only one way to determine whether you have a future with a person and that is meeting them face to face. Nothing else can give you a sense of what a person is actually like, nor whether you two will spark." So he advises online daters to keep their messaging to a minimum and to meet the person in real life as quickly as possible. "If you spend your nights in endless exchanges with strangers, after a certain point, if you're still trading endless back and forth messages online you're just wasting time"

Aziz spend hours talking to women and seeing the kind of "first texts" they get from men online and he described it 'infuriating'. "These were intelligent, attractive, amazing women and they all deserved better...Most of the texts women receive are, sadly, utterly lacking in either thought or personality. What to know what's filling up the phones of nearly every single women. It's this: "hey" and while that may seem harmless, seeing it from the other side is eye-opening. When your phone is filled with that stuff, generic messages come off as super dull and lazy. Would you go to up to a girl in a bar and say "hey" ten times in a  row?"

He gives tips for men meeting women online:

  1. Don't exchange endless meaningless texts, pick up the phone and call a girl, it'll show you have confidence in yourself and you won't be wasting her time.
  2. Don't ask a girl to "hang out" make it clear it's a date.
  3. Pick something fun and exciting for a first different, not the usual bar where you just exchange resumes.
  4. Invest in a person, meaning go on a few dates with someone before you decide they are not for you because you can't appreciate all of someone's qualities from a first date.

"One firm takeaway from all our interviews with women is that most dudes out there are straight-up bozos."

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

3 More Memoirs I Like

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

I loved Mindy's first book so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one! She shares her beauty secrets and how she's not a hugger and says that in NYC that is perfectly acceptable way to be there. She talks about how friendships change after weddings and that best friends become just friends saying "we will never again have each others undivided attention. That version of our friendship is over." She wonders if she will never have a husband and all her female acquaintances will. She talks about her figure, "I physically resemble most women in this country, 5'4 and a size 10, yet somehow when I'm on the screen it's shocking to people." She goes on to say, "I'm not big like them, I can buy my clothes at regular stores! I can still fit into one economy seat on a plane." Obama's daughters read her book so she was invited to White House events. She said, "I was somehow expecting that I would be escorted directly to the President, who would appoint me diplomat to some cool little country like French Zaire (I'm assuming that's a place)." One part of the book is a fictional account of her adventures if she became a Latin teacher in NYC where she throws a party where the dress code is "Upscale Autumn." lol When you finish her book you wished was a friend of yours. Favorite quote from the book:

"I have never once refrained from eating a Gril Scout Tagalong cookie if someone brings in a box to work. The very idea of not taking one (OK, nine) seems crazy to me." 

Wildflower - Drew Barrymore

I read this short book in three days, then listened to the last few chapters on my phone as Drew was the narrator. It is not a memoir per se but a collection of personal stories of her life that she calls love letters to the people she loves. She's lived an interesting life to say the least. She tells stories about her friends, dogs, husband and daughters, and gives the reader a peek into her life throughout the years. It isn't in chronological order and she does gloss over the troubled times so don't expect some tell all book. You can find that in the memoir she wrote when she was 14.

A little backstory, she was raised by a single mom in West Hollywood leading an unconventional life. Starting off as a child address Drew was smoking and drinking by the time she was 11 and on drugs by 13. After a suicide attempt at 14 her mother dropped her off at a psych facility for 18 months. Upon her release she petitioned the court for her emancipation and moved into her own apt.

Then she went through another wild period so in the book she talks about how since the birth of her children she grown much more conservative. Because of her lonely childhood, Drew says she treasures her friendships more than ever. She doesn't speak to her mother now, but financially supports her. She writes about how her friends like Cameron Diaz and Steven Spielberg have loved and encouraged her along the way. Drew has her own movie production company, which produced the movie Charlie's Angels. Did you know she's worked on 49 movies! The book made me smile and laugh a lot and her determined optimism and gratefulness shines through this collection of stories. She's on the cover of the November issue of InStyle magazine. At the age of 37 she married her 3rd husband Will Kopelman, son of former Chanel CEO with whom she has 2 daughters. She's since started her own beauty line called Flower Beauty. Over the past 10 years she's actively worked in supporting educational charities in Kenya. Favorite quote from the book:

"It's ironic that we rush through being "single" as if it's some disease or malady to get rid of or overcome. The truth is, most likely, one day you will meet someone and it will be gone. And once it's gone, it's really gone! Why does no one tell us how important it is to enjoy being single and being by yourself? That time is defining and amazing and nothing to "sure". It is being alone that will actually set you up the best for being with someone else."

Solo: A Memoir of Hope by Hope Solo 
Hope Solo is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a World Cup gold medalist. She has been goalkeeping for the United States Women's National Soccer team since 2000. And she is regarded as one of the top female goalkeepers in the world. She says, "a goal keeper cannot win a game. A goalkeeper saves it." And that "goalkeeping isn't glamorous, it's touch and stressful and thankless."

Her life is defined by drama and chaos and she doesn't believe in happy endings. Her mother became pregnant with her during a conjugal visit while her father was in prison. She grew up a latchkey to an alcoholic mother and a tomboy from a broken home. Her father was philanderer and con man, was convicted of embezzlement and later ended up homeless through most of Hope's life. Hope book is full of painful memories and personal problems.

She's independent, outspoken and honest, self described as not the outgoing and bubbly type like the rest of her teammates. She was famously benched in the semifinals of the 2007 World Cup after criticizing to the press her coach's decision to bench her causing the team to lose. Her punishment was to carry the team equipment at practice. And she wasn't allowed to suit up or be on the field for the national anthem, eat with the team, sign autographs, plus her teammates refused to ride the elevator with her. The Mean Girls of the team even sat her down and went around the room to say why they didn't like her because they felt there was no justification to put down a teammate. Yet if it happened on a men's team it would have been quite a different situation. Her coach even suggested she give back her tour money and bronze medal. However contractually it was her right to be on the tour even thought the team didn't want her there. So she put herself through hell to be there. Fans yelled FREE HOPE SOLO to support her during the team's petty backlash against her. 

I learned some interesting things about women's soccer. When she first started playing for the Women's United Soccer Association in 2001 crowds were dismal, television ratings were abysmal, and her salary was $30K. Now she plays for the Seattle Reign and her salary is somewhere between $22K and $65K. But her net worth is estimated at $2.5 Million from endorsement deals with Seiko, Simple Skincare, Nike, BlackBerry, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, and Gatorade which she may have lost due to recent personal drama. In 2012 her boyfriend was arrested on investigation of assault following an altercation that left Hope injured. The following day, he was released after a judge determined there was not enough evidence to hold him. They got married the next day. In 2014 she was arrested for assault on her half-sister and nephew. Charges were dismissed due to lack of corporation from both alleged victims. Hope claimed she was defending herself from an attack by her nephew, who is 6'9" tall. 

  Hope was a contestant on my favorite show Dancing with the Stars in 2011. She revealed that it wasn't really a competition but an "orchestrated reality show as there was a secret memo that said who was going home each week". When her book was finished she was told there was a possibility that she would be excluded from the Olympic team because of the book so she had to postpone the release which she thought was a double standard since plenty of male athletes release books whenever they want. She's also been the victim of death threats mailed to her house and her iphone pictures were hacked.

This book was a fascinating read for me, as someone who doesn't even watch soccer. I learned about the game, the industry, how while trying to be the fittest player on the team she didn't drink for 5 months even on her days off. I could not put this book down, it was so good. 

Check out my other book posts: 3-fascinating-memoirs and 3-must-read-memoirs.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Salt-N-Pepa: Push It

For Halloween this year I was Salt from the 80s rap group Salt n Pepa. I thought it was a super fun costume and most everyone knew who I was, although I got a few people asking if I was MC Lyte or Queen Latifah. I usually buy pre-made costumes but putting together this DIY was fun although no cheaper. I loved the 80s door knocker earrings and gold chain! I used fabric glue to cut out the logo from a t-shirt and glue it to the back of my jacket. Instead of carrying a boom box I wore a boom box ring. I went out both Friday and Saturday nights in the costume which was super comfortable and warm, pretty unusual for a Halloween costume! I didn’t even need a purse because the jacket (which I found in a thrift store) had zipper pockets, score! Funny story from Friday night. I thought I was going to spend the whole night at a house party so I didn’t bring my ID. But my friends wanted to leave and go to a bar. The bar had a huge line down the block but we heard the bar playing Salt n Pepa’s "Push It" song so my friend said to the bouncer that he should let us in and he did! I walked in to my costume's theme song and got high five's from people which was fun! lol If you're not familiar with Salt n Pepa here's a little history lesson from Wikipedia.
Salt-n-Pepa made their impact on hip-hop by being the first all women rap group.  The trio from New York have won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Group back when major record companies were reluctant to sign hip hop artists. Pepa married Treach of Naughty by Nature (you down with OPP?). Salt decided to quit the group in 2002, stating she had enough of the music industry and no longer wanted to be involved in it.  But the group got back together in 2007 when the Salt-n-Pepa reality show debuted on VH1. 
The song "Push It" was released in 1987 and for a song that's nearly thirty years old, "Push It" has lost none of its original luster. It peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1988 and re-entered the charts after the group performed the track at Nelson Mandela's 70th Birthday concert, eventually peaking at #2 that summer. The album sold one million copies making Salt-n-Pepa the first female rap act to go gold or platinum. The song is sampled in Pitbull's song "Hey Baby (Drop It To The Floor)." You might recognize some of their other songs: Shoop, What a Man, Shake Your Thang, My Mic Sounds Nice. Last November they made this Geico insurance commercial performing "Push It".

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween Recap

As I've done every year I like to post pics of some awesome celeb costumes for my favorite holiday!

Beyonce and family as the movie Coming to America

Ellen Degeneres as Karla Kardashian

Charmaine Daudu as North West

KimK as herself, remember this floral gloved dress she wore to the 2013 Met Gala  

LeBron James as Prince

Ashanti smurf & P.Diddy who showed up at the party in a horse drawn carriage with a trumpet announcement

Kendall Jenner dressed as Karl Lagerfeld and his Cat Choupette - as did  Josh Duhamel and Fergie

the ladies of The Talk

The Today show cast as Peanuts

the ladies from The View

Jessica Simplson and hubby as Christie Brinkley in National Lampoon's Vacation

Katy Perry as a microphone
Katy Perry again

The Rock as Popeye

Little Mix as Kiss

Beyonce dressed as Storm for Ciara's halloween birthday party

Julianne Hough - vampire queen

Kelly Ripa - Magic Mike

I'll post my costume tomorrow! 

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

October Recap

This month I made a big effort to get outside to enjoy the fall weather, fresh air and checked off my fall bucket list.
Haunted Forest
I went to a haunted forest which was a pretty cool concept! I’ve gone to haunted houses in previous years but they always have a cheesy factor to it with the decorations and all. But an outdoors haunted experience was a really unique experience. You walk through a dark trail in the woods and there are numerous "jump scenes" along the way with frightening zombies and other ghosts, ghouls and goblins popping out. I was so scared I kept my eyes closed for it and held on to my friend's arm the whole time. I couldn’t even tell you what the clown faces looked like because after they jumped out on us, they would continue to walk steps behind us. I was screaming out to my friends "he's still with us" and my friends told me they were going to have nightmares with me saying that. lol At the very end we walked through a house in a pitch black hallway with narrowing walls. Then 3 guys came at us with chainsaws and we screamed our heads off. If we ran right to one room to avoid one another one would meet us in that direction. I have to say nothing compares in terms of the scary factor as a haunted forest!

Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch
I did a corn maze a few years ago at night and dark, rainy and cold. We got lost and I hated the whole experience. This time I went during the day and studied the maze map during orientation as the paper maps they gave us were useless. I ended up being the leader of my team and got us out of there in 20 min! So this time the maze was fun! Afterwards we did a pumpkin sling with miniature pumpkins to see how far we could swing them. This place has the best decorative pumpkins for sale, every variety. I’ve been eating a lot of baked pumpkin oatmeal, so delicious! After that we went to a winery and sat outside with a bonfire.

Here’s my carved pumpkin.

White House Garden Tour
I haven’t been to the White House in years and even though the tour didn’t actually enter the White House, it was cool to walk around the grounds. Every President planted a tree in the garden and they show a picture of the planting next to the tall tree. I saw Michelle’s vegetable garden which had quite a few greens growing. The Obama’s also planted a playground for their girls when they first moved in. I posted the pics in this post.

The arboretum is a beautiful hidden oasis in the city that I  absolutely love!  In the fall all the trees are beautiful rainbow colors and you feel transported miles away in this peaceful, tranquil, calm place. You can go hiking within the city on paved paths! They have a Bonsai Tree collection which were also changing into fall colors, so they didn’t look real but were so beautiful. Here are my pics from my visit last year.

Wine Stomp
During the beginning of harvest season a local winery hosted a grape stomping contest where guests compete to stomp out as much juice as possible with your feet. Remember that episode of I Love Lucy where the ladies did this? I’ve always wanted to try it since seeing that episode.
Escape Room
Have you been watching the TV show Quantico on ABC this fall? I’m really enjoying the mystery series and on the show the FBI recruits in training enter a room and train to deciphering the clues to figure out what happened, which is similar to the Escape Room. I got a group of friends together and it was our first time doing something like this. The premise is that you are an agent who has to find the identity of a traitor and also find the codes to deactivate the security system that locked you in the room before the police arrive. It was a fun concept and yes we had to ask for hints to help us along the way. The 45 minutes seemed to fly by and no, we didn't make it out. We almost did though. Even though it was really hard we definitely want to do it again. It really challenges you to think outside the box, put together a really big puzzle and work as a team. It was  like nothing I have ever done and such a great time!

I did a review of the cult following spin studio last year, but this month I’ve really stepped up my game going one a week burning 400 calories during each 45min class.

I'm busy planning a weekend trip to San Francisco next month! It's been a couple years since I've been to the golden state so I'm excited to go back!
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