Wednesday, November 26, 2008
My usual Tuesday night routine is to watch my TiVod Gossip Girl, but since Gossip Girl did not air this week I settled for watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.
I had low expectations for the holiday classic that I've seen many times before. Charlie Brown serves his friends pretzel sticks and jelly beans amongst other delicacies and then they all realize the true meaning of the holiday (unforeseen I know, I prefer the Christmas version with the reject Christmas tree).
After the classic Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, ABC broke out a Charlie Brown film I've never seen before, The Mayflower Voyagers. Living half an hour from Plymouth, Massachusetts, it takes an impressive story on the pilgrims to catch my attention. I have seen the Plymouth Rock and Plymoth Plantation on far too many school field trips. For all who live nearby, I'm sure you can relate that the area loses it's historical significance after a night of Margaritas at the Cabby Shack down the road.
But, The Mayflower Voyagers, as cheesy as the name sounds, was an simple recap of the story of the pilgrims and the hardships they endured on the first Thanksgiving. When I think Thanksgiving, I think food and shopping. So it was nice to have a little reminder of the historical significance of the holiday. Those days of dressing up as Pilgrims and Indians just aren't around any more (they are actually banned in most schools I believe) and sometimes you just need a classic American cartoon to get the message through.
In case you missed the special, it's on again tomorrow at 8 p.m. on ABC. I'm a pretty big advocate for holiday movies in general, so I was happy to find this holiday TV schedule guide as well!
Monday, November 24, 2008
I’m all for chic lit., but I try and find a balance between reading trashy romance novels and non-fiction for when I commute to work each day. I’m currently reading Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald and it’s the perfect happy medium. It’s a light, girly read that I’ve been able to fly through, while still educating myself on women’s lifestyles in Iran.
The story is told by Tamila Soroush, a 27-year-old Iranian woman who moves to Tucson, Ariz. to stay with her older sister, Maryam. Tami is only visiting for 3 months care of her temporary visa, and must find a Persian husband in that time so she can stay in the States. There’s a chic lit. style love story too, think Bend It Like Beckham with a much older, mature couple and no crazy soccer antics.
Through reading about Tami, I’ve learned how courtship and marriage evolve in the Iranian culture, from flirting in internet cafes to terrifying arranged marriages. I’ve also began to appreciate the small comforts that are not afforded to young woman in Iran. It has been eye opening to learn how an Iranian woman experiences our everyday habits, such as going to Starbucks or Victoria’s Secret or going out dancing with friends.
The timing for recognizing small pleasures that are too often forgotten by woman in the U.S. couldn’t be more precise with Thanksgiving right around the corner! Curl up with Veil of Roses in your post turkey coma and you won’t be disappointed.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Oh and editor-in-chief Robin Hauck just got voted as one of the Globe's 25 Most Stylish Bostonian's, so you know you're in good hands.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Today is the Great American Smokeout. The campaign asks that smokers give up cigaretters for just 24 hours.
One out of 3 smokers die from smoking. Think about your friends who smoke, now imagine 1/3 of them dying from their habit.
You can do anything for just one day.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
On yesterday's drive into work listening to Matty in the Morning, I was impressed by guest Lauren Beckham Falcone, columnist for the Boston Herald. Lauren was upbeat, intelligent and down to earth-just the company I like for my morning coffee and commute.
Below is Lauren's comical yet interesting take on the shoppers that she's seen lined up at the local malls and why they are still vying for deals. I think she hit it on the nose.
And that’s outside. Inside? Teeming with shoppers throwing elbows for a bargain iPod Nano.
Checkout lines are the new bread lines.
At Banana Republic at the Chestnut Hill mall this past weekend, there was a 15-minute wait just to try stuff on. And Bloomingdale’s was booming, with Big Brown Bags stuffed with boxes and baubles, thanks to a 20 percent discount atop a 40-percent-off sale.
Define “cash-strapped,” please?
The thing is, no matter how scary our bank statements get, we cannot stop shopping. The consumer generation doesn’t know how to do anything else. Meandering around the mall is America’s daily exercise. Yes, the high-end section of the Natick Collection is choking, with its luxury stores and their over-the-top price tags, but if you can’t afford the Prada, there’s a Payless right around the corner.
And as God is our witness, we’ll never go without a food court corn dog again.
Rather than rein it in, we just change where we ring it up. Recessionistas are an actual, sought-after demographic. The reformed label-lusting set haven’t curtailed their devil-may-care spending, they’ve just traded in their Saks card for a Marshall’s Visa. Discount stores are thriving, with Wal-Mart and BJs posting gains when everyone is in the red.
And now we have “returnistas” - those who buy, panic and return. It’s the retail version of “I didn’t inhale.”
Like the lush who kicked the booze for a few weeks, people who avoided the malls in September are rewarding themselves with a buying bender - on bargains, yes, but a good deal is just a gateway drug.
It’s hard to believe - especially when you’re 10 deep in line to buy a kid’s coat at Gymboree and listening to “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” for the zillionth time - that retail sales plunged by a record amount last month, down 2.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted $363.7 billion, the largest decline since such studies began in 1992, the Commerce Department said.
Yet consumer confidence rose unexpectedly, according to a survey released last Friday. Give credit to tumbling gasoline prices. Or maybe folks were buoyed by the fact that the Coach bag they coveted was sold out.
And heaven forbid you lose steam during a spree. At Simon malls, not only can you catch Santa, shows, movies, sales, free valet and preferred parking for carpoolers, you can chill at the Rejuvenation Stations, complete with soft-seating lounge areas with big-screen TVs, free coffee and beverages and a concierge service.
Sure, spending is great for the economy. I bought a flat screen just so the terrorists wouldn’t win. But even when we should be saving, cutting back and doing without, we’re searching for sales, standing in line and slowly, but surely, racking up our credit cards, even if it’s in smaller increments.
For Americans long used to instant gratification, the bottom line is this: It’s hard to tighten your belt when you’ve always had an elastic waistband.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Today’s Globe announced the massive plan, which is still a work in progress, to revamp the Common. The proposed main draws will be a dog park and a full-scale commercial restaurant. Other ideas include a grand entrance to the common, perhaps with a redesigned visitor center and a parade of international flags leading to the site.
Officials want the initiative to be primarily supported by private fundraising (Ah hem, Beacon Hill yuppies, cough, cough) so yea! for none of my few tax dollars being contributed either.
"I would like to see some real nice little refreshment carts out there where people could pick up food," Menino said in an interview. "But I don't want to see liquor at the Boston Common at all. You've got kids playing there; it's a family atmosphere, where people can walk through."
I think we all know that there are enough brown bag drinkers in the park as it is, but if Menino is thinking more hot dog and roasted nuts stands I do not consider that an improvement. Take a hint from NYC, Menino, it won't kill you.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I hate to follow up yesterday’s post on job losses with another Debbie Downer topic, but last night at my company’s Q4 meeting we got the official news I’ve been dreading. Time to pack away my party dress I bought in August and forget my plans of sipping on company bought champagne: our holiday party has been cancelled.
I suppose I should be focusing on our CEO’s more optimistic announcements that we won't be having any lay-offs or pay cuts, but I’m giving myself one day to pout. I love Christmas and all the cheesy, over commercialized, over the top festivities that go along with it. So what better way to celebrate than to go all out on your office’s dime?
At least the news didn’t come as too much of a surprise, given the trend of a no frills holiday season for most offices and many families. Many NYC bashes have taken big hits, and I’m sure the cancellations in Boston will unfortunately soon follow.
Woman’s Wear Daily reported that Marc Jacob’s cancelled his annual masquerade holiday party, which had been scheduled for December 10th at the famed Rainbow Room in NYC with a "Rock and Roll Circus" theme. Marc Jacob’s holiday soiree is known for being an over the top event, W Magazine described the glamour of last year’s event:
“Masked revelers at Marc Jacob's annual holiday bash at Gotham Hall took the Venice Carnival theme to heart, partying as if the city of canals would be underwater by morning. Gondoliers hit up the champagne fountain, French poodles flirted with one another and women strapped on corsets so tight they could barely speak”.
Bank of America, American Express, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are all cancelling or cutting down on the festivities too. The Estee Lauder annual Christmas party and the famed Conde Nast (publishers of The New Yorker, Vogue, Glamour and Vanity Fair) lunch at the Four Seasons are also not being scheduled. Viacom, whose parties are normally hosted by divisions such as MTV and Paramount Pictures, is opting for a more than fair trade. They’ll be getting two extra paid days off in lieu of the usual holiday party.
For those of us that have fallen into the hands of Scrooge, we are not alone. Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a global outplacement firm, found that 77 percent of companies are planning holiday office parties this year, down from 90 percent in 2007. The firm also found that one in five companies is scaling down its usual year end party.
In the spirit of the holiday season and giving, I suppose it wouldn’t be appropriate to fulfill my dreams of ice sculptures and gourmet hors d'oeuvres at Top of the Hub. I’ll make due with a more modest celebration and be happy that my office isn’t cutting any of its charitable giving. But I’m not returning my party dress yet, just in case ;)
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
You can dispute whether or not we are in a true "recession", but it's undeniable that a lot of people are uneasy about the future of their jobs.
Just this morning when I was walking through Harvard Square, I passed by a few construction workers on their coffee break. I overhead one of them say "Yea I'd be better off investing in a Santa suit and walking around going 'ho! ho! ho!". The thought of him resorting to working at a mall and listening to some little kid's Christmas list did make me laugh, but I got to thinking, how many people are going to end up taking unusual jobs veering away from their original plans?
We all had our dream jobs for after college. Mine was to be a high-end public relations specialist, which really isn't that different than writing for a glamour magazine or planning couture fashion events or creating T.V. ads for exciting new products. They are all virtually unattainable in today's economy. A lucky few may end up at Elle, but for most of us we found a happy medium between something we like doing and something that pays the bills.But don't fret if Nina Garcia isn't knocking on your door. Did you know that the average person changes careers (not jobs) an average of five times in their life? So if the industry you're in is in a slump (or if you just hate your job), there still may be hope for a promising career change in the future.
Boston.com featured a story last week entitled "Recession-proof? The economy's effect on hot jobs". They highlighted a number of jobs that The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted would grow rapidly between 2006 and 2016. Despite recent troubles in the economy, they managed to come up with 15 careers that are "recession proof" (Santa suits aside). A few of note were Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists (your always going to have messed up kids) and clergy (more people praying to God to get them out of debt!).
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
We have all seen the photo, but few know its' history. According to CitizenSugar.com , on August 15th, 1945, the couple joined thousands of people celebrating in Times Square after Japan surrendered. Shain says a sailor suddenly grabbed and kissed her — the precise moment a Life magazine photographer caught it on film. Life never found the couple, but had many claimants. None were confirmed and the pair remained a mystery.
Monday, November 10, 2008
This weekend I opted for a relaxing Saturday night, celebrating my younger cousin's 13th birthday with our family. I was expecting a quarter-life crisis hanging out with a bunch of teenyboppers as the old working girl, but things turned out surprisingly well.
After a long dinner, wine and a huge slice of birthday cake (with ice cream of course), I was feeling great. Late night, I even got into some insightful and serious conversation with the birthday girl and her fellow 13 year old friends. I heard all about their weekend plans, complete with their love life synopsises and the juicy details from the prior evening's middle school dance.
Friday, November 7, 2008
This is where the kicker comes in that MGD failed to mention, MGD 64 only has 2.8% alcohol while the average light beer has 4.2%. And we all know where the Tequila in your Margarita stands.
I suppose that at a long day at a football game or a party you may opt for something that you can drink a lot of before getting a solid buzz, but this is America. What hard working citizen looks forward to casually enjoying a few beers for sake of flavor. Oh, and just try and pass these things off with your most loyal consumers Miller, the college kids of America. They'll laugh in your face. We're in recession here. There's no way their going to pay for 2 beers when they can get drunk off of one.
Labels: partying and drinking
Thursday, November 6, 2008
The show follows eleven aspiring fashion enthusiasts who vie for a much-coveted editorial job with Elle magazine. They work as assistants to Elle's Fashion News Director, Anne Slowey (think Heidi Klum) and each week one aspiring fashionista gets the boot and most likely balls her eyes out. It's like Project Runway and Real World reality drama dumbed down for high school girls.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
What a proud day to be a citizen of the United States.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
So I was going to blog today about something voting related (ohh such long lines, what a good American citizen you are, etc.) but then I realized that I should be writing with the assumption that you're better than that. Of course you voted! I'll save the political blogging for when we have a new President chosen tomorrow!
So while everyone is in their "I can change the world" mentality, I have the easiest way ever to support non-profits, and all you have to do is search the internet!
Think of how many times a day you Google something and think of how much money Google already has. Now, think if you could give to charity just by changing the search engine you use.
With each search you launch on GoodSearch.com, about 1 cent goes to the charity or school of your choice. You simply select an organization from a database of thousands or add your own. Set it as your homepage to replace Google and let the do-gooding begin.
GoodSearch also has a spin-off online shopping mall, GoodShop.com that donates a percentage of each sale to the charity of your choice. Participating retailers include Apple & ITunes, Banana Republic, Bloomingdale's, Ebay, Gap, Nordstrom, Old Navy, Sephora and Target (and that's just a few!)
Not sure which charity to choose from the thousands? Here are a few of my favorites:
Crittenton Women's Union (transforms the course of low-income women's lives in the Boston area so that they can attain economic independence and create better futures for themselves and their families)
Operation Prom (helps low-income students attend their proms by providing free prom dresses and tuxedo rentals)
Teddy Bears for Hope (provides new teddy bears to children around the world whose lives have been ravaged by tragedy)
Big Sister Association of Greater Boston (helps girls realize their full potential by providing them with positive mentoring relationships with women)
Everybody Wins - Metro Boston (increases children’s opportunities for success in school and in life through one-to-one reading experiences with caring adults)
So good work for voting but c'mon, everyone voted! Go a little further to do good.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Browsing in Sephora is like being a kid in a candy shop. I never know quite where to begin. Every few months I avoid a trip to the Pru and order my "signature scent" online, complete with 3 free samples, free shipping and free gift wrap (steal!). I avoid wasting an afternoon shopping as well as spending a significant portion of my paycheck on completely unnecessary products.
I always wish I could venture away from my normal scent, Stella McCartney Stella. I try, but the oodles of bottles are so overwhelming and eventually all of the scents I try just end up blending to one weird flowery musty smell on my wrist.
Sephora's currently offering a set for choosy girls that are looking to invest in a new perfume, or just for those who want to pick up some freebie travel samples and try new scents.
The Scent Sampler Best Sellers for her includes ten samples of Sephora's top-selling women's fragrances for $50. The catch is that the set also comes with a gift voucher for $50 that can be redeemed at any Sephora store for a full-size bottle of any one of the samples included. So you can sample them all and then choose your favorite. I'm thinking it's perfect to give leau of a gift certificate for the holidays and much safer that picking out a full bottle for someone else.
The samples include: Aquolina Pink Sugar, Bulgari Omnia Crystalline, Calvin Klein Euphoria, Givenchy Very Irresistible Givenchy Sensual, Gwen Stefani LL.A.M.B., Lavanila Vanilla Grapefruit, Marc Jacobs Daisy, Philosophy Amazing Grace, Stella McCartney Stella, and Vera Wang Princess.
I'm thinking the Stella is going to be the first sample to go, but who knows-maybe this choosy girl will end up making a switch (sans a smelly wrist)!