Friday, December 31, 2010

operation beautiful sighting

I've stopped following many of the 'healthy living blogs' out there, for really no good reason except for a lack of leisure reading time.

Despite this, I couldn't help but snap pics of these signs that were posted on a few Brooklyn parking meters. My first IRL Operation Beautiful signs (the movement started by Caitlin over at Healthy Tipping Point, who has been EVERYWHERE lately promoting her first book on the topic). They def put a smile on my face, as I'd imagine they would do for anyone feeding the meters (which won't be happening for some time - these meters were all but buried in snow).



Wednesday, December 29, 2010

pucci in the snow

And to think I almost tossed these cuties in a pre-move closet purging spree! No clue if they still make/sell them...I got them on ridiculous clearance (around $50) about 4 years ago. It took Snowmeggedon for us to be reunited.



Tuesday, December 28, 2010

snow days

We're still digging out from the blizzard over here, and what a mess it left behind! I haven't seen a storm this bad in a long long time. I headed to the gym this morning and ended up knee-deep in snow a few times (thank goodness for my Hunter boots + Fleece welly socks). Highs at the end of the week are supposed to be around 50 degrees, which means lots of black puddles and slush to jump in!

Griffin loves to eat snow

Husband walking G in snow that's taller then him!

Major fail Mayor Bloomberg - unplowed Brooklyn streets

Friday, December 24, 2010

merry merry

My family isn't much for Christmas celebrations, but it's nearly impossible not to feel even a little holiday spirit. The lights, the retail buzz, the cocktails. The sparkle!

I am officially in love with Sephora by OPI's Only Gold For Me topcoat. I wandered into Sephora two days ago, swiped this over my Forever Young lacquered pointer finger, and couldn't stop stupidly grinning every time I looked at my hand. It's grown-up glitter...a combination of tiny specks and large, geometrical pieces. The consistency is gel-like, and can be a bit tricky to get on, but it's worth it. I swiped two layers over Essie Wicked (with a coat of Essie's 3-way glaze on top to seal it all in) for a moody, yet festive look. After NYE, I plan to try this over a nude polish for a toned-down, glam look.

Happy Holidays!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

latest list: things I'm loving

Happy Friday! I know everyone is freaking out about Christmas being upon us, but I'm sort of meh about the holidays. Don't get me wrong, I love walking through the decorated streets and seeing gorgeous trees in brownstone windows, but I feel like the holidays are a big marketing ploy these days. And then NYE comes, which is always so anti-climatic. Then we have to hunker down for the next 3 months until warmer weather (and vacation days) finally comes. Ok, enough with my old-person cynicism! On to my latest loves:

Essie Forever Young polish
I've finally found the perfect red for my skin tone - Essie Forever Young - from the 2008 collection. Big Spender, one of my favorite summer colors (an almost-neon purpley pink), is part of the same collection, so I'm not surprised that I love Forever Young. It doesn't have too much orange or's really a true red. The formula is highly pigmented as well...I could have gotten by with just one coat (rare when I use deep colors), but did 2 lighter coats along with Essie's 3-Way Glaze (more on that below).

Essie 3-Way Glaze
Can be used as a basecoat, topcoat, and nail hardener. I use it as a base- and top-coat. It takes a while for nails to dry when I do this, but I seriously do not get chips for at least a week (I also keep my nails super short to avoid chips). It's really glossy as well.

Free Sudoku on the Droid
What I love about this game (aside from the fact that it's a FREE app), is that you can choose from a number of levels to play at. The easy level is great for the morning commute, since I can finish the game by the time I reach my stop on the subway. It times each game as well, so you can compete against yourself. Winning the game each morning and trying to beat my time is a great way to start the day on a good note.

The one thing about Brooklyn in the winter, I've learned, is that it gets crazy windy. Especially right around our apartment, which is a block from the water. My old trusty J Crew wool gloves did nothing to protect my hands from the wind. After a bit of research, I bought these gloves from Nordstrom. They're pretty reasonably priced for a great quality pair of gloves, and the reviews are fantastic. They are super warm as well!

Angry Birds
If there is one other game you need in your life, it's Angry Birds. I realize I'm a bit behind on this craze, but I totally get it. The birds...they're angry. These nasty pigs stole their stuff, and they want it back. The pigs are all like 'come and get us b*tches!' and hide in these elaborate fort things. And the crazy birds use kamikaze tactics to bust 'em down. The sound effects are hilarious, and it's just a feel-good kind of game. It's $0.99 on the iPhone but FREE on Android phones.
Photo credit: NYT article linked above

I usually make it a point to avoid this place around the holidays because of the constant throngs of tourists, but recently made an exception to pick up some basics. I love this place! The prices are fab and the quality is pretty great. I am loving my 2 new pairs of the Skinny Straight jean (a great year-round style), and Jeggings (they call them Legging Pants) that are perfectly stretchy and pigmented with a mid-rise, smooth waistband, and all the details of an actual jean (all for a solid $19.90). They're currently giving them away on sale for $9.90 (the Skinny Straights). Oh and Uniqlo does FREE hemming. They also vanity-size like crazy, which is such a mood booster. I'm also obsessed with the Heat Tech products - my savior in this cold snap (especially the tops and socks). If you're in the market for a great stand-in for the classic Patagonia fleece jacket, they have them for men and women, for around $20. New Yorkers - run....Out-of-Towners - make this your first stop on your next visit.

Monday, December 13, 2010

wedding review: Forever Flowers, Boca Raton, FL

I've posted before on my wedding vendors that I loved (my decorator, DJ, caterer, and hair/makeup artist), and those that I was lukewarm about (my day-of coordinator). This is the first review of a vendor that I wasn't happy with. That may be the understatement of the year...I would seriously advise anyone to run far away from this vendor. Here's the story.

After the wedding festivities are finished, the last thing most people think about is flower preservation. I didn't have a bouquet in the traditional sense, but we did exchange floral garlands that were an important part of our ceremony. These aren't just flowers strung together...they're intricate creations with rose petals and metallic ribbon and thread. Ours turned out beautifully (see below), and only after the wedding weekend did we consider artfully preserving them.

Photo taken by: Milton Gil Photographers

Enter Forever Flowers. I can't remember how I found them, but they claimed to preserve flowers and create keepsakes from all over the country. We described our garlands to them, and they assured us that even though the garlands aren't typical of their usual pieces, they could create a keepsake for us. We packed up the flowers in tissue and cold packs, and overnighted the garlands to Forever Flowers in Boca Raton, FL.

Fast forward to a few weeks later. We would be passing through Boca on our way to a wedding from Miami. We figured we could stop in to Forever Flowers and nail down the specifics of our keepsake. The shop is fairly small...the main room for customers has tons of frame samples, fabric choices, and samples of work on the walls. The appointment was promising at first, but quickly went downhill. Since we had no concrete ideas about what we wanted our keepsake to look like, we turned to the staff at Forever Flowers to guide us (they did, after all, claim to be the experts at this), and got no help. At one point, my mother-in-law responded with "you are the experts, shouldn't you have some ideas about how to do this?" To make matters worse, the quotes we received were way over what was initially estimated. They offered to just give us the dried garlands should we choose not to move forward, but would not refund our initial deposit (already a sizable amount). So we decided to just go through with the piece, hoping it would all work out in the end.

Over the next few months, Forever Flowers was fairly unresponsive (in fairness, we weren't great at responding to them was pretty busy in our first year of marriage). The far worse complaint is that they kept increasing the amount we owed them! The longer this process was drawn out, the more we just wanted to give them what they wanted so we could get the piece and be done with it. When we finally received the piece (they would not ship it...we had to enlist a family friend to pick it up), they hadn't even used the right glass (we wanted super-clear museum glass). We contacted them about the mistake, and their response was to chastise us for being 'difficult to work with', and state that we actually underpaid for the piece so we should essentially either deal with the mistake or pony up more $ to fix it. Oh no they di'nt! We just said to heck with them, we'll keep it even with the flaws, and good-riddance.

The final straw in all of this? Some of the pieces from our garlands are falling off, making a sad little pile at the bottom of the framed piece. Surely, with their 'vast expertise', they should have foreseen this and advised an alternate way to display the garlands?

So, in short, we hated them! The summary of why:

1) They promised that they could work with our non-traditional it turned out they could not.
2) Their initial quote to us was way off. Expect to be overcharged. What's worse is that they ask for more money after they have your pieces, so you have no choice but to keep paying.
3) They are slow to respond, and seem to have some internal communication issues with their staff.
4) If you have something basic that you want framed, I'm sure they can do a fine job for you. Anything more complicated should be taken elsewhere. It seemed like the most complicated pieces they do are arrangements of bouquets with a picture or invitation. I know, soooo complex. But this seems to qualify them as 'artful' and 'creative' (rolls eyes). Worse is that they don't offer much guidance or advice for your pieces. Indecisive types like myself should steer clear.
5) If they make a mistake, the customer is never right. Unless you get angry and yell at them (poor Husband reached his breaking point much later then I did). And threaten to post negative reviews on every wedding-related website out there.

Sure, they can handle simple and uncomplicated. But so can your local company. Who won't overcharge you. Or leave you with a piece that's falling apart. And be courteous throughout the process. Is that really too much to ask?