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Bear of Nolita

Every year I begin to feel more and more like a bear.  In New York, there really is no spring, or hasn’t been lately, and then, like a switch gone off, it’s hot.  There I emerge, groggy, fat, pale, and coming out of my hibernation of winter.  Suddenly, all around me are girls who I thought lived in Manhattan too, yet, possess the tan-taught bodies of Miami residents. How are their legs so tan when there hasn’t been a day warmer than forty?  I look down at my pale tree trunks staring back at me.  There they are in all their bluish-hairy glory.  The albino pins of someone who literally hasn’t seen the sun in over six months.  I leave the house cursing myself every first spring day.  Always, always the spring jeans feeling tighter than I remember, with just a bit of love handle hanging over, an angry reminder of too many cold nights of gnocchi gorgonzola.  Yet, I seem to be the only woman suffering from the painful, punishment of a very cold winter.

Girls on the street all have dark brown legs, as if they have been waiting and preparing for this day for months.  Why didn’t I get the memo?  Most of my snowy hours were spent in long underwear, the slightly warmer months in running tights.  Both outfits with just an elastic band, nothing to remind me of the copious amounts of carbohydrates I’ve been consuming to keep warm and fulfilled.  Not the other girls though.  Cute spring outfits at the ready, shorty shorts and booties that match their skinny bodies.  They have been waiting for this moment, to remove the layers and display all their hard work from Physique 57.  Not, me, not this wildabeast grizzly bear.

I haven’t stepped in a gym or even put on a sports bra since 2004.  Nope, I’ve been hiding up in my apartment, diligently ordering in my beloved flannel pajamas, and watching countless hours of reality TV.  Spring seemed a far cry when I debated ordering burritos or pizza with the polar vortex as my culinary guide.  But, why does the future never dawn on me?  I’m a smart girl.  I know that someday I’m going to have to be in public again.  Yet, the thought never crosses my mind when I’m flipping channels and double fisting kettle chips with a hoagie.   I once even took the liberty of stopping on a channel, I believe it was called something to the degree of “Latin Dance Fever.”  I paused, I watched the Zumba.  I thought, “boy that looks hard, might have to try that sometime before spring.”  But, never, never did I think to actually participate in said exercise; I merely watched as a spectator.

And here, alas, I find myself on the first warm spring day.  Warm is a strong word, and by warm I mean sixty.  But, to us New Yorkers, it may as well be in the upper eighties.  There is no bite in the air, the restaurants have their chairs on the sidewalk, and here I stand.  Hairy, fat, and non too happy.  A grizzly bear yawning the winter away looking at all the spring chickens out to play.  I lumber through the streets, slow in my movements, my joints still not used to walking too fast and without snow boots on.  Hunched and furry I paw through the streets of Nolita feeling like a beast.  This, this is my world, welcome.

moi

moi

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Hateship Loveship Movie

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This weekend I was at a loss as to what to watch.  Somehow, I found this indie movie, Hateship Loveship, starring Kristen Wiig and Guy Pearce.  I was a little reluctant at first, because I just think of Kristen from SNL and Bridesmaids, but I do love Guy Pearce.  What also persuaded me to give it a try, was the fact that the movie is based on a short story by Alice Munro called, “Hateship, Friendship, Loveship, Courtship, Marriage.”  I love Alice Munro, when she won the Nobel Prize my Mom and I did a happy dance for days.  So with that in mind, I gave it a go, and must say I was pleasantly surprised.  It’s a really subtle film, and the beginning is slow.  I’m telling you I watch foreign films all the time, and even for me the start was a snooze.  But, it has a steady heart beat through out the film, and I must say Ms. Wiig carries it quite well.  She plays a homely woman who falls in love with Guy Pearce via correspondence (which he doesn’t write.)  I don’t want to give too much away.  Nick Nolte is in it, and some little teen actress who apparently is the bees knees but is too Nickelodeon generation for me to know, Hailee Steinfeld.  I think she might have been in that Coen brothers movie I hated? But, back to my point.  It’s a sweet little film, that has family dynamics, romance, and an interesting spin on the human condition and how we can become programmed in the monotony of our day-to-day lives.  I think it’s playing in some theaters, and on pay-per-view.  It’s really a heartfelt, charming IFC film and would recommend it for a mellow weekend or night in.  I think you’ll be surprised in a good way.

 

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Meme-Perfect Spring West Village Lunch/Brunch

meme outside

meme outside

Meme on Hudson is the perfect spring spot for an afternoon of people watching and eating yummy food.  I stumbled upon it with a friend who lived across the street, and apparently it’s quite the West Village staple.  A little bit pricier than some of my lunch restaurants, but the food is really delicious, and honestly the people watching is out of this world.  It’s right across the street from an overly busy playground, so you can watch all the Mom’s in their designer gear bringing their children to the park.  Most of these women look far better bringing the rugrats to the sandbox then I do after spending an hour trying to make myself look presentable.  Plus, the foot traffic walking by lends yourself to not have to participate in chatter during your meal, because you are way too busy watching.  Ok, but on to the food.  Firstly we had the artichokes.  These were amazing, make me crave it every day and walk my lazy self to the West Village kind of good.  They are served with a shaving of manchego cheese and two dipping sauces that perfectly compliment the crispiness of the chokes.  I could easily eat two orders of them no problem.  Then, now wait for this because this is a real shocker, I really loved their chopped salad.  I know, salad and me, who would have thought?  But, this one is oddly satisfying, with feta and chickpeas, unlike any other chopped salad.  You really feel the Mediterranean taste come through with the zahtar, an herb combination I have really come to love.  Also, I have to mention if you are lucky enough to snag one of the coveted tables for brunch on the weekend, it’s simply out of this world.  The eggs benedict is light and fluffy, and their signature baked egg dish which comes with the Moroccan breakfast seems to be one of their most popular meals.  It’s just a great place if you find yourself in the West Village on a spring day that we’ve all been waiting for.  When the weather is just warm enough and you can leisurely drink and eat the day away.

fried artichokes

fried artichokes

signature eggs

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What is “normal” size?

Robyn in the news today.

Robyn in the news today.

 

So today in the news, I saw a feature on “plus-sized” model, Robyn Lawley.  Now, when my brain thinks “plus-size”, it thinks, boom, ass, big curves ahead, boobs for days, just all around quite large.  Then I saw pictures of her, and I just thought, normal?  I mean sure, I’m on the bandwagon.  I think that the models are far too skinny now, and that our version of beauty is simply unattainable with all the airbrushing and retouching magazines do.  But, really, this beautiful woman is considered “plus-size?”  Not that there is anything wrong with plus-size, but she just doesn’t look it, to me at least.  I simply can not get over it!  She just looks like a normal sized, striking woman.  My Mom got this fashion magazine out of the library the other day, and I was flipping though it and there was a photo of Cindy Crawford.  Gorgeous as ever, with that mole, with those cheek bones.  But, definitely way bigger than the girls today.  I kind of liked it though.  There was an authority to her, a powerfulness.  Not that I’m not all for skinny, because clothes look great on skinny.  But, the whole thing just makes me wonder.  If we think this chick, Robyn Lawley, is super curvy and plus-size, what is our definition of normal these days?

Robyn

Robyn

Cindy, not the original picture, but you get the idea...gorgeous, but certainly bigger than today's catwalkers.

Cindy, not the original picture I was talking about, but you get the idea…gorgeous, but certainly bigger than today’s catwalkers.

 

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Most Random Ramble Ever

This is just such a random ramble, but I simply had to share.  So last night I was flipping through the boob tube and I stumbled upon The Voice.  I’ve never really watched it, it’s not my bag, but I was curious to see what Chris Martin had to say(still can’t believe him and Gwyneth broke up, I mean I can, but I can’t.)  ANY WAYS!  So I was curious what he had to say, which was really nothing.  From the few minutes that I caught he sort of told everyone in his cute British accent they were good.  But, that’s not what I’m here to wax on about.  I could not, could not stop laughing at Usher!  The fool is so serious giving his critiques and he’s sitting there in a raccoon hat looking like black Davy Crockett.  I mean, no!  How could I focus on anything else?  Why does no one else find this BEYOND hilarious.  I sort of feel like he’s trying to do the cool hat thing a la Pharrell, but talk about a fail!  I know, why am I even writing about this?  Because it’s uproariously priceless people.  Imagine this dude telling you to work on your pitch.  If you don’t think it’s funny, we can no longer be friends.

I can not take you seriously oy ye pioneer man who likes to break dance and grabs crotch more than michael j. There is a dead raccoon on your head, fool!

I can not take you seriously oy ye pioneer man who likes to break dance and grabs crotch more than michael j. There is a dead raccoon on your head, fool!

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Spicy Chickpeas

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I was at home watching a movie and was desperately craving something salty and crunchy (huge surprise.)  I scoured the cupboards and couldn’t find a chip or cracker anywhere.  Literally, the only thing we had in the kitchen was a can of chickpeas.  Never to be one to let that salt craving go, I decided to make a spicy chickpea snack.  I have to say they were oddly satisfying.  It’s funny too, because the other night I went to ABC Cocina, (finally I tried it, and yes it is that good), they serve spicy chickpeas at the table, so clearly I am on trend.  You can alter this recipe however you see fit.  Maybe add more spice if you like that, I also grated a little lime zest on mine afterwards to go for the whole citrus/spice thing.  But, the chickpeas are oddly adaptable so you can’t really go wrong.  Be sure to turn them over once or twice whilst they cook, so you get a nice, even crunch thing going on.

 

Spicy Baked Chickpeas Recipe

 

You Will Need:

 

  • 1 can chickpeas (organic is great) you can also do two if you are a porker or are having peeps over, just double recipe
  • 2 ½ tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Grated zest of lime or lemon (optional)

 

Recipe:

 

Preheat oven to 400.  Drain and rinse can of chickpeas (it’s weird mine bubbled which freaked me out, but apparently that’s from the starch.)

Dry your chickpeas with a paper towel (if they have too much water on them the spices won’t adhere.)

 

Once dry place chickpeas in a bowl and thoroughly coat with your olive oil.  Stir those bad boys around so they are nice and covered.  Then add all the spices and stir again til the little babies are coated in that spice goodness.

 

Arrange in a single layer on oven sheet.  Bake for 30-40 minutes (stirring every ten or so they cook evenly) or until crisp.

 

Let cool then add the grated zest if you so choose. (Do choose, it’s yummier.)

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Heart of a Lion-Powerful Movie

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You know those nights, where you try five movies and hate all of them, switching from one to the next?  I had one last night, and finally ended up relenting to watch a neo-Nazi Finnish movie called, Heart of a Lion.  Obviously, I was a little bit reluctant to dive into neo-Nazi on a Sunday night, but really it’s one of the best films I’ve seen in a really, really long time.  Basically it’s about a skinhead, crazy Finnish guy who is part of an even crazier neo-Nazi group in Finland.  He falls in love with a woman who has a biracial young son named Rahmu.  It’s one of those movies that had me so anxious I was pacing around the room and yelling at the screen.  The director is really one to watch, Dome Karukoski.  He kept the pace and tension throughout the whole film.  The movie dives into so many topics, like love of “the Fatherland” vs. “fatherhood.”  Family issues, wanting to belong, and humanity.  I really loved the movie.  I could have used one more scene at the end, because I am a cheesy American, but honestly, the whole thing was incredibly powerful.  I’m not sure if it’s out on DVD yet, but it should be playing at some Indie theaters.  At very least, you must write it down for your Netflix list for when it does come out.  This movie blew me out of the water.  It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a movie that has me still thinking about it the next day, but here I am.   Really, find this film and watch it if you can.

 

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Vogue Magazine

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Never am I left feeling quite so terrible as when I am finished reading Vogue magazine.  I feel that it was put on this earth to make you feel truly awful about yourself on many different levels.  Obviously, the girls make you feel fat, that’s a given.  Clearly they are skinnier than you were as a fetus, but it’s not just that.  It’s the articles as well.  A few months ago I read an article about hiring someone to pack for you.  That’s correct, literally pack for your vacation.  It’s bad enough you can’t afford to go on said holiday, but on top of which, you have to have someone pack your clothing in your Louis Vuitton.  I mean come on.  I also love the “wardrobe items” they pick for your getaway.  To me, shopping for vacation means hitting Old Navy hard.  Buying clothes I undoubtedly know won’t last longer than the season and a few washes, but at $9.99 who cares?  Vogue cares, that’s who.  For Anna Wintour your vacation wardrobe should include cashmere sweaters and Eres bikinis that definitely cost more than you can sell your aging eggs in your uterus for.

 

Then let’s talk about some of their columnists.  Plum Sykes for one.  I remember an article she wrote about going to a weight loss/detox facility.  First off, I love how they send the stick thin reporter to the detox clinic.  Couldn’t they send a Ricky Lake one, or do those not exist in the walls of Vogue magazine?  She begins her article with telling us, she starts off each day with a croissant, and then continues to report how the doctor told her she is vastly underweight.  She is five feet ten and weighs 128 pounds.  Right, croissants, every day, I’m sure.  How do they not see the irony in this?  How can anyone relate, let alone the reader, to being a buttery pastry consumer who is underweight?  These are not real people!  I’d like to read about the woman who wasn’t wealthy and lived off Subway sandwiches and dollar New York pizza slices.  Send her to the detox clinic, I’d like to know some of her tips, those I could relate to.

 

Plum isn’t the worst though, the worst is this chick, Elizabeth von Thurn und Taxis.  Her stories about her monthly “getaways” are so ridiculous that after I’m finished reading I have to Google for more information.  One tale talks about all of her friends who seem to be mostly aristocrats(do aristocrats still exist?) and how she was at one of their “weekend” trips.  During the trip she had to simply borrow some Dior from her mother’s vast couture collection so she would have something to wear to dinner.  Ok, stop right there.  To me “weekend” jaunts with friends might include driving somewhere, no further than a couple of hours, and staying at some inn or b and b while we apple pick and go antiquing.  But, be clear, we never even actually buy anything whilst antiquing, it’s more glorified window shopping in a quaint town.  Now hers, her trip requires couture for dinner at home?!?!  Finally, I had to Google who this Vogue reporter was.  I mean who, who wears couture to dinner at a stately country home?  A motherfucking princess that’s who.  Bitch is a German princess.  Apparently, they literally based the Princess Diaries on her.  Oh yes, I can seriously relate and understand the life of a fucking princess.  Nothing to put your day to day into a harsh reality when you find yourself in your sweats eating stale pizza from the night before for breakfast reading about the tales of a real life princess.  Oh you get me all right Vogue.  Yet, I keep coming back to it.  Like reading something that is so far from my reality gives me some voyeuristic pleasure.  It’s like watching Real Housewives.  Nothing can I relate to, but I watch mouth agape, thinking “people live like this?”  That’s how I feel every time I read Vogue.  Flipping though the pages, the Balenciaga rattan purse for spring.  It’s made out of freakin palm leaves like a mud hut and costs twelve hundred dollars, but will someone see this somewhere in the world, and think, “oh I’m buying that for sure!”  Do people read about the vacations they describe, the far off villas, that are eco-friendly and have no electricity, but cost three thousand a night.  Are there people somewhere on the planet who read about the resort, and make a note to actually go there later this year?  Or are most readers/subscribers like me?  Reading like a poor, fat voyeur, wondering if that’s “real life” for some?  I don’t know what’s wrong with me?  Do I suffer from Vogue masochism?  Surely, that’s not hard to believe because if any one looks like a closeted dominatrix, it’s certainly Anna Wintour.

 

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Song For First Day of Spring-Lykke Li

Boom!  Today is the first day of spring! Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite one hundred percent feel like it here in good ol NY.  But, I’m trying to tell myself that it’s only going to get warmer.  Today it’s supposed to be around fifty, which no doubt will feel like the tropics after the miserable winter we’ve had.  In ode to this, I thought I’d post a song.  I love Lykke Li, she’s from Sweden and is way cooler than I’ll ever be.  I actually heard this song in Blue Is the Warmest Color, which is a French film that’s pretty good.  If you haven’t seen it I recommend.  I loved the first half of the movie, but word of warning, the second part is essentially lesbian porn.  I’m not kidding.  But, still a good film.  Ok, I digress, back to the song.  Listen, dream of spring, warmer weather, lesbians in France, just kidding!:) Just enjoy the song, and thoughts of being able to feel your toes again and not having to wear long underwear everyday.

 

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Oven Roasted Beets

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I do not like beets.  My sister loves them, my Dad is determined they are “filled with iron” and tries to get me to eat them all the time.  Somehow I can’t escape these sweet root vegetables.  I decided to make them one day for my sister, after she’d had a long day.  It’s the easiest recipe, and if you are going to eat beets this is really the way to go.  They go great on a nice arugula salad with goat cheese, or by themselves if you are a beet head like my sibling.  A word of warning though, they are kind of dangerous to cut in half.  If you can buy smaller beets, do so, safer for your fingers that way.  Also, I can not stress the importance of fresh herbs here.  To me, thyme, is definitely by far the best, but I could see rosemary, tarragon or bay leaves being great as well.

Roasted Beet Recipe

You Will Need:

  • 1 bunch of beets (organic and local is clearly the way to go)
  • tinfoil
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh herbs (preferably one nice bunch of thyme)
  • good olive oil

Recipe:

Preheat over to 400.

Wash your beets and cut them in half.  If they are huge baseball ones, cut them in half again.

Take a pizza pan and cut a big piece of tinfoil about the size of two pieces of paper (better to have more than less.)  Place some of your beets in the middle and drizzle with olive oil.  Cover them with pieces of fresh thyme and salt and pepper.  Then wrap and cover them to form a pouch.  Place these on a cooking pan and cook for 45-50 minute, or until easily poked with fork.

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make sure it's sealed up like a beet tipi, the steam is what will help cook those bad boys

make sure it’s sealed up like a beet tipi, the steam is what will help cook those bad boys