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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Gym, Rats!

The gym is a tough place for a woman, particularly the weight room--if you ever notice, most women stick to the cardio machines hardcore. If they can withstand the testosterone stench of the weight room, some ladies make it to the thigh ab/adductor machines, but that's about it. For the past four years, I worked out in an all-female facility at college and lived in a single-sex environment, so the wall of animal stink that hits you when you walk into the gym is particularly upsetting to my olfactory senses. At my new city-run gym, I have observed a veritable parade of weirdos and nut-jobs. Surely everyone else has seen similar cases, but it may be helpful to you the next time you're all set in a sports bra and tennies to categorize your new gym friends in some of the following ways:

1. The Too Old: Maybe it's my neighborhood, I don't know. The gym rats over age seventy, men and women, I salute you for your vigor and stamina. I hope to be as sprightly as you when I am your age. Older ladies, good on you for strength training, it fights the osteoperosis, but good god! Take it easy! Some of you older ladies are skinnier than greyhounds on the racetrack, lifting weights easily three times your body weight. I worry about your health, too, older men, but please stop talking on your cell phone earpieces while lifting weights, it is disturbing to everyone around you. Sure, men can father children at any age past puberty, but it is HIGHLY inappropriate for you to be eyeing the young women around as if they're chattel. Naughty, naughty!

2. The Too Young: Don't most gyms have rules about kids fourteen and younger being banned from cardio and weight rooms? Why are these tiny little girls who can't possibly be many years past menarche exercising like their lives depend on it? That can't be good for your growing bodies, children. Also, your little terrycloth pants and sweatshirts with things like, "PINK," or "JUICY" emblazoned on the ass, so cunningly folded down to show how perky and young you are, make me feel incredibly old at the ripe, saggy age of twenty-two. You stop that. And stop giving me the evil eye, yes I do have a few pounds to lose, unlike your stick bodies, that's why I'm here.

3. The FOSsies: Or, as I have dubbed them, the Fresh Off the Streetsies. This category mainly consists of young men working out with the heaviest weights of all, but wearing baggy jeans, sweatshirts, and regular old Vans shoes. Really? Jeans at the gym? Of course it is understandable that you are coming to the gym from work, school, what-have-you, but is it all that difficult to pop a pair of workout pants in your man-bag in the morning? Everyone else seems to handle it well enough. The bunch of you look like a teenage gang, in grave danger of getting your baggy pants caught between weight plates. BUY SOME PANTS, end of story.

4. The Exercisaholics: You. Yes, you. Stop hogging the machines, stop sweating up everything, why are you always here? The particular kind of exercisaholic that is frustrating to me are those gym rats who will yell at you if you so much as make a move toward "their" machine, take too long on a certain machine, leave their towel on the machine seat and then walk around, expecting that stinky, nasty towel to maintain their control in that small area. If you are lifting such heavy weights that you can't do your sets in one sitting, or that your body can't handle it without a long, strolling break, perhaps you SHOULDN'T BE LIFTING THAT MUCH. Also, you're using that machine the wrong way and you look ridiculous.

5. The Random Oddballs: Crazy Clown-Lips Lady. The Naricissus in Disguise as an Adonis (think a cross between Guy Pearce and Michael Vartan, only a GIANT ASSHOLE who peers at himself in the mirror and touches himself). Weird Old Lady Who Works Out in a Full Fur Coat and Jewelry (who are you?). The Boys I Go to School with Who Don't Acknowledge My Presence. Smelly Nick Nolte Lookalike Invariably Wearing Ugg Boots Without Socks, A Leopard-Print Leotard, and Daisy-Dukes.

Such characters at the gym! Who's at yours?

Monday, February 26, 2007

I think the loveliest time of the year is the spring, I do, don't you? 'Course you do.

DuWop Lip Venom 2nd Sin Spring is coming! And to get ready, I went to the DuWop event at the Powell Street Sephora on Saturday for a consultation with the founders of DuWop.

For spring, DuWop has two new products: an eyeshadow duo (with three options) and a combination lipgloss/highlighter duo (in two options). While I didn't really get to explore these two, I could see that they were very popular around the table.

I did, however, pick up the new Lip Venom 2nd Sin. I'm a big fan of the Venom Gloss (I love Tulip, a sheer red, for a punch of color), but at the same time, I don't like to taste my lipgloss all over my glass or cup or water bottle all day -- there's nothing quite like going for a sip of water and getting a mouthful of cinnamon. I can also smell the lipgloss whenever I open my purse -- I'm pretty sure it's not leaking (I hope it's not leaking!) in there, but I can definitely smell it. 2nd Sin, however, has no noticeable taste and only the slightest cooling feeling on my lips. I put it on this morning and ate and drank all day without feeling like I was going to burn my lips or leave flavored gloss on things.

The greatest thing about DuWop, though, and this is a trick I learned from Cristina Bartolucci herself, is that everything can be used everywhere in all sorts of layers. With just three products, the Bronzerush in June, Rose Eyes palette, and Brow Kit in Light, everything could be used anywhere. The Bronzerush blush was used on my eyes to build up the pink, the Rose Eyes medium pink shade was used to punch up the color on my cheeks, the lighter pink shade was added on top of Venom Gloss, and the brow highlighter from the Brow Kit was added on top of my cheekbones. If I want, I can use anything anywhere -- nothing is "just for eyes" or "just for cheeks". (I don't think I'll put anything Venom-y near my eyes, though!) It really is about experimenting and layering and having versatile products that provide a lot for what you get. And that's DuWop's specialty.

How much damage did I do? Let's just say that I'm not going to need any new cosmetics for a long time. And by "long time", I mean... probably a couple of weeks when I'll be in New York. I think I'll mostly be looking for perfume, though, not cosmetics.

As for celebrities wearing DuWop to the Oscars, I'm afraid to say that I didn't ask! But what do you think? Any guesses, anyone?

image from sephora.com

Friday, February 23, 2007

MORE PUNCHING: We'll miss you, The O.C. (and by we, I mean me, bitches.)

Seth, Ryan, and Summer don't quite believe it in a scene from 'The Debut.'

me: Roy needs to go to rehab.
Jeanne: Yeah.
me: Or anger management and hang out with Andy.
Jeanne: Hee.
Either way, I am looking forward to someone getting punched.
If Roy goes after Jim, Karen will punch Roy. This is my hope.
Because you know Karen would be like "WTF" and then throw down.
me: Yes.
And then Dwight would leap on her.
Because you know he loves the flying leaps.
Jeanne: And Angela would freak out.
me: And stop drop and roll!
Yes! Some TV show has to pick up the slack now that the O.C. is over!
me: That would be awesome!
Ha. This is totally going into my O.C. blog post.

I really had no idea how to start this post, discussing my favorite show of all time. I love the O.C. beyond all that is reasonable. Everyone I know thinks it is stupid. My friends know better than to tell me this to my face, and instead say things like "Sandy Cohen is awesome," which only tells me they have not been watching the past two seasons, because everyone knows that Julie Cooper stole the awesome from the Cohens and ran with it. And then Marissa managed to kill herself and half of her man friends (come on, leaving the awesome seediness of Ensenada for jail is just like being dead, because you must be dead inside to want to leave La Bufadora and all the excellent margaritas and tacos that the city has to offer.) leaving Kaitlin to be everything that is made of awesome.

I am not going to do a recap of the finale post, because tons of other bloggers have done that, many of whom stopped watching halfway though the second season and thus have no idea of the annoying awesomeness that is Bullit. BANG. No, I am going to discuss this flash-foward business. This was supposed to be a happy ending, but I am just all of the confused. Yes, Seth and Summer got married. Yes, Ryan is at Berkeley. Yes, Sandy is a Law Professor. Yes, Kaitlin went on to get some sort of education. Yes, Julie went to school and actually graduated with a college degree. (okay, that was completely awesome.) But where was the Julie/Kiki love? Kirsten was nowhere near Julie's college graduation. Julie wasn't at Summer's wedding. For people that had been living together 50 minutes earlier, this was a huge source of confoundment.

Did mini-Cooper-Atwood try to play doctor with Sophie Cohen one too many times and was banned from attending functions where she would be for the rest of his life? Did this cause a rift between the Cohen-Atwoods and the Cooper-Atwoods? Are Frank and Ryan even speaking anymore? Does Ryan have any contact with his little BROTHER? You know, the one that isn't Seth? Why wasn't Julie at Summer's wedding? Where is the love? WHERE IS THE LOVE?

Ha. Sorry. Let's take a short Kaitlin is made of awesome interlude now, shall we?

So many questions, O.C. So many questions.

Fox has the fourth season available to watch at their myspace website here, in case you are interested in catching up on the awesomeness that was the fourth season. It really was an excellent batch of episodes, and probably the most fun I have had watching the show since the first seven episodes. If you know me and my freakish O.C. obsession, you know that's saying a lot.

Oh lord, this is about as bad an attempt to say goodbye to the O.C. as that crazy montage. Then again, I have never been coherent when talking about this show.

Image from http://www.screencap-paradise.com/index.php

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Come on, Barbie, let's go party!

So there's no question that I am definitely a fan of cosmetics, particularly MAC and their varying collections. I jumped in with both feet when they launched the A Muse collection last August, as I was already planning a very mod makeover. (It hasn't really happened yet. I'm still hesitating on that nude lip everyone likes so much. But I've definitely got the hair going now.)

I also love getting makeovers. There's nothing I like more than being put in a chair and having people tell me what to buy. Makes the guesswork a lot easier, especially since I have a tough time matching concealers on my own. However, I've had enough makeovers to know which colors the artists will reach for for me.

And so when I went for my Barbie makeover on Sunday, I told the artist right away that I knew the failsafe colors for my coloring: pink, brown, or green eyeshadow with pink lips, and that I knew I had enough of these colors. Unfortunately, pretty much the entirety of the Barbie collection is just that: pink, green, and brown eyeshadow with pink lips.

Raquel Welch for MAC
So what did I come away with? Turns out I'm not so much of a Barbie girl -- I got three things from the Barbie collection and two from the Raquel Welch collection. Granted, who wouldn't want to look like Raquel Welch? But it's true that my coloring matches hers much better. I also already had some of the collection, so now I have even more.

I think I'm done with MAC for a while now, though. While I liked getting my makeover and the ultimate look I got, I also know that I probably could have put that look together on my own, as I'd already bought the Amazon eye quad and Raquel lipgloss -- the colors I walked away with were practically matches to the eye quad (pale gold, warm brown, dark purple) and the lipstick to go with Raquel. I'm not terribly excited about Balloonacy (more purples and pinks), and since I've bought at least one thing from most of the collections from A Muse on, I think I'm ready to take a break.

Am I done with makeovers? Heck no! I'm going in on Saturday to the DuWop event at Sephora. I'm absolutely looking forward to it (getting matched with Revolotion Face? Yes, please!) and to learning about what they've got in store for spring... especially since you know there'll be celebrities wearing DuWop on the red carpet on Oscar night Sunday. You'll hear it here first!

images from maccosmetics.com

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

These are delicious.

Hi folks. Just wanted to drop a line to say that these Loacker wafer-cookies are, um, TOTALLY SCRUMPTIOUS in the lemon flavor. Light, airy, melty-in-your-mouth-y, with a whole lot of refreshing lemony bite. Unlike a lot of lemon confections you'll find in stores today, these European creme "wafer cubes" don't have any dye or food coloring to enhance the yellow. Of course, they're still a LITTLE BIT bad for you, but with zero trans fat (...I don't really know what that means) and proclaimed no hydrogenated fats, Loackers are a pretty healthy substitute for regular chocolate-chip cookies, if you're a snacker. Besides, now is the season to start enjoying everything lemon-flavored! From what I've seen at my local farmers' markets, Meyer lemons seem to have recovered in full force from the terribly damaging frost we had in California about a month ago.

If you want to make your own lemon delights, try this recipe for Lemon-Honey Drop Cookies with lemony icing, adapted from Cooking Light:

1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil or applesauce
2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp fresh lemon juice, or juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white whole wheat or whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup fat-free yogurt, plain or lemon-flavored if you love it

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Beat the sugar, oil/applesauce, and lemon rind with a whisk until light and fluffy. Mix in honey (you can just eye it and squeeze straight from the bear-bottle, or spoon it out in globs if you have fancy honey), lemon juice, and egg until well incorporated.
2. Stir together dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a separate bowl. Alternate mixing the flour-mix with yogurt into the wet mixture. Does that make sense? Mix about a third of a cup of dry mixture into the wet mixture, then mix in a glop of the yogurt, then go again with the dry mixture, continue, but make sure you end up mixing in the rest of the flour mixture last.
3. The resulting batter will be silky and a light yellow-vanilla color. Drop equal spoonfuls onto two greased cookie sheets, lifting up the spoon as you drop to make a little swirly flourish on the top of the cookie. They will bake and stay like this, it's cutesy.
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes. While they're baking, make the icing by whisking together:
1 cup powdered sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp grated lemon rind (you can keep this separate to sprinkle on top to be extra fancy)

Using your whisk, swirl icing all over the still-warm cookies and allow to cool. The cookies will be cake-like and light, with shiny/glossy frosting.

I took a batch of these to a local meeting of my college's alumnae, and they were a big hit amongst the awkward cream-cheese roll-ups and bottles of wine!

Image from timeinc.com.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

It's a dog's world

On one of my various trips back and forth from San Francisco to Oregon, I found a necklace on a card -- a tiny briolette of pink jade on a thin silver chain. I also had the option of buying it on a silk thread, but I knew I'd rather not buy a necklace that would eventually break and fall off, even if that was the entire point of the necklace. I tried googling the name when I got home, "Dogeared Jewelry", but at that time there was little to no information.

Well, now Dogeared Jewelry has its own retail site, Dogeared.com, where you can buy their jewelry directly. I was charmed by the necklace above, the Pearls of Success -- just a tiny white pearl with a flat back on a silver chain. It's a reminder that even a grain of sand, with time and patience, turns into a pearl. It's the kind of thing I need to be thinking about lately. Sometimes it takes time and patience to achieve the success I want.

For simple, sweet necklaces that go with everything, check out Dogeared Jewelry.

image from dogeared.com

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Kinako-Black Sesame Shortbread Wafers

This is the life: Hitchcock's Torn Curtain is on TV, and I have made cookies. Kinako and black sesame shortbread cookies, in fact, a recipe born out of failure, rock-hard cookie dough, and a little ingenuity/inspiration from the Japanese grocery store. Black sesame seeds are wonderfully nutty and complex in flavor, you'll often find them in Japanese and Taiwanese cuisine. Kinako is toasted, finely ground soy powder, it's a light-brown color and also can be described as nutty, buttery, and airy. In the summer in Japan, you'll see freshly made mochi and various kinds of candies coated in kinako powder. Both black sesame seeds and kinako pack a good protein punch for what they are--try mixing ground black sesame seeds or kinako into cold soy milk, or adding them to a smoothie.

The recipe is based on one from, unfortunately, Martha Stewart's website that I have found to be delicious and reliable, using matcha powder. I meant to make these as cookie-cutter cookies since I have a new cutter in the shape of an adorable fleur-de-lis, but the altered recipe makes a tougher dough after chilling. Spread out the making of these cookies over two days to give you time for clean-up, although these only take one or two bowls, two cookie sheets, and a rolling pin.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (you can also replace 1/3 of the butter with 1/3 cup of applesauce, but be prepared to cream the butter for longer)
1/3 heaping cup of confectioner's/powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup black sesame seeds
2-3 tbsp kinako powder

1. Cream soft butter in a bowl using a whisk for a few minutes until lightened in color. (If you are using applesauce for a lower-fat recipe, whisk them together until fully combined.) Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla until completely combined and no more lumps of sugar are in the butter mixter.
2. In a multi-cup measuring vessel, stir together the remaining dry ingredients (flours through kinako powder) until combined. The mixture will be kind of grey-ish. Don't worry, it's good for you.
3. Stir the dry mixture into the butter mixture gradually, in about three batches, until completely incorporated. The resulting batter will resemble pastry dough. Now, make sure your hands are clean and dry, and knead the dough into a smooth ball until it no longer feels dry or powdery. Pat this ball into a thick disc, wrap securely in plastic wrap, and put into the fridge.
4. The next day, pull the disc out, unwrap it and put it out on your workspace on top of a piece of parchment paper. It will be hard as a rock, but don't worry. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
5. Make sure those hands of yours are clean and dry again. Separate your dough into 12 to 15 equal pieces. Take a piece in your hand and knead it a little bit until it is warmed and soft, roll between your palms to make it into a small round ball, and flatten onto the parchment paper. With your rolling pin, roll it out into a thin, round wafer about the size of your palm. The edges will crack a little bit, but it adds to the charm.
6. Continue with the rest of the batter, rolling out into cookies. Bake at 275 degrees for twenty minutes until lightly browned on the edges. Allow to cool on the cookie sheets. The cookies will be light, flaky, crispy, oh, and DELICIOUS.

They're great with milk or tea--I've already eaten too many for one night! Enjoy!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Five Pharmacy Favorites

No, this isn't a post about the greatest over-the-counter products or prescription painkillers--sorry to disappoint. What this IS about is some of the great products you can find at your neighborhood drugstore that will make you feel all pretty and clean. New shampoo and face wash is always exciting, but you shouldn't have to shell out more than ten dollars for a couple of ounces of soap. Here are my top five products I've picked up in the past year, starting from the top of your head to your tippy toes!

1. If you are like me and suffer from hair that will transform itself into a horribly unbecoming triangle at the slightest hint of heat, dryness, movement, or humidity, Sunsilk's anti-poof shampoo will change your life. It smells faintly of blueberries (being blue to boot), and smooths out poof-o-matic hair in a jiffy, even without conditioner! Compared to the Dove "Intense Moisture" shampoo-conditioner I was using before the Sunsilk, my hair is lusciously manageable, and retains its style without feeling volume-less and sad.

2. Herbal Essences's new line of fancy, neon-colored shampoos actually do something for your hair, unlike their older formulations of what seemed like random, ineffectual plants and odd things. The "None of Your Frizziness" conditioner, as annoying as the packaging with trivia questions and kicky little slogans is, has been a trooper at combating frizzy hair from humidity and drying shampoos, and smells like a nice little citrus-mango concoction without being overpowering.

3. Neutrogena Visibly Even foaming facial cleanser looks suspiciously like face-wash for older ladies, what with the understated white and bronze-y packaging, but it's wonderful. Creamy, smoothing, and just slightly exfoliating so that your face feels squeaky-clean instead of ravaged by a pile of sandpaper.

4. Crest Whitening Expressions Vanilla Mint Toothpaste. If you find the usual cinnamon or mint-flavored toothpastes to be overwhelmingly harsh for your delicate mouth, or you just like vanilla, I've found this toothpaste to be a nice change from the norm. As to the whitening effects, it's neither here nor there, but the vanilla is a charming perk to the usual boring tooth-brushing process.

5. Dove white beauty bar soap with moisturizing lotion. I had been using man-soap, bar soaps like Irish Spring, the strong-smelling anti-bacterial stuff, for a while when I bought a box of this Dove soap. It's absolutely lovely, foams up into quite the lush lather, enough to shave a girl's legs with and to act as a full-body wash. A lightly scented bar soap that still gets all your stink and sweat (what, I work out!) off without leaving "moisturizing" residue on your skin, the Dove soap is great.

You don't have to take my advice, but if you find yourself in need of excellent, cheap beauty products, feel free to try these out!

images from drugstore.com.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

My Boys

When I first saw the ads for My Boys last year on TBS, I was skeptical. Sure, Jordana Spiro is cute, but a girl just being friends with guys? I was convinced the character of P.J. was going to be one of those annoying girls who hang out with guys because they're secretly pining for one of their friends. Or all of their friends. Thankfully, she's not.

So then how does this work as a romantic comedy, the next coming of "Sex and the City," as it's been touted? Well, it doesn't. Nothing is going to be the next Sex and the City. And My Boys isn't laugh-out-loud funny all the time, and it hasn't been playing up the romance aspect as much as it could either. P.J. "hooks up" (the vagueness of the term "hooking up" is later used for a joke,) with a friend of a friend, Bobby, in the first episode, who quickly becomes part of the titular group of boys. But the relationship fizzles quickly, and is barely mentioned in the later episodes, despite the fact that the two are both sportswriters for rival publications and see each other for work frequently. The lack of continuity in regards to romantic feelings and/or sexual tension is one of the things that keeps the show from living up to the hype surrounding it.

Despite the lack of romantic interactions, the cast has amazing chemistry with one another. I find the interactions between P.J. and the poker game guys to be hilarious and realistic. It's very close to how I interact with my guy friends, and the cliches work because they are true. I especially love the interactions between Mike and Kenny- their best friend antics (pulling each other aside in the middle of a date for a conference is one noteworthy example) are realistic, but still humorous.

The series picks up steam towards the last couple of episodes when we get to see more of the poker groups' lives outside of the core group. Meeting the friends and family of the core group exposes new faucets of the characters that make me want to continue learning about them. For example, why do Stephanie and Kenny totally hate each other? It's one of the funniest recurring jokes on the show, and I hope they explore the chemistry between the two actors further.

The show has been picked up for an additional nine episodes, which should air this summer. It will be interesting to see if the rest of the first season can live up to the hype. I think it's a good show with a lot of promise. I just hope it doesn't get hindered by the press surrounding it, since that was one of the things initially off-putting to me about the show (as you can see from the first half of this review.)

If you're curious, you can watch the episodes at TBS.com or on the endless repeats on TBS.

Image from imdb.com

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