2010 Highlights…Ramble

It’s that time of year to contemplate where life has taken us in the last year. As we say goodbye to another year of recession failures, I wanted to focus on some of the highlights.

PERSONAL HIGHLIGHTS:

My human is crazy...about me. Snorties. xx

1. This will be the first time in at least a decade I’m going out on NYE. I’m feeling very happy these days and laughing a lot thanks to my clever little French Bulldog, Elle. She is hilarious, ever-changing and makes me laugh and go on adventures I never would have gone on without her.

2. My sister got married to a very nice man. I wrote an ‘Ode’ as I am prone to do for their wedding which allowed me to joke and triumph over his brother, the best man’s, speech.Sorry Chris (not really! :P)  My dad wore a Top Hat and my mother picked out her dress with the help of David Tuterra, who was launching his new line of bridal gowns.

PROFESSIONAL

3. I used Twitter to expand my writing contacts. I have been able to write book reviews and interview authors I admire like @LizaPalmer for SheKnows.com. It helps me grow as a writer to hear from other writers and doubly as an interviewer because of the line of questions being different from musicians.

4. A new job that is so new I only just sent out an email to my contacts last week. It’s nice to feel like I am in the right place for a change.

5. All the amazing folks who answered my ’5 Questions’ – you all blow my mind. Thank you for your words and sharing your knowledge.

POP CULTURE

Top Film: Inception. Are you shocked it’s not The Social Network? Mmm, Armie Hammer, but it’s fine to see the synapses firing of someone else, during Inception, my own were ignited and invited down a tunnel that will no doubt be repeated in the future.

Action film:Piranha 3-D over The Expendables, which was just sorely lacking. I enjoyed Iron Man 2, but Piranha was the perfect mixture of a great summer movie with saucy bits that left you wanting more.

Book: This is tough but I’m going to say Just Kids by Patti Smith for memoir and then ‘cheat’ with best satire Dear Money by Martha McPhee. Smith’s book was not only a twisted rock love story, it was an homage to New York in the 70′s which inspired me.

TV: Modern Family. This is a home run of laughs every episode!

Concert: Jazz at Lincoln Center with my homegirl Karen. We were right on stage. It was pretty amazing.

Farewell 2010, you were full of highs and lows but once Elle came along it was mostly highs. xx Grrlgenius

Four and Twenty Black Birds…Ramble

As children we often get fixated on one particular story, that perhaps shapes our lives without us even knowing it, until, as adults we rediscover it reading it to the young lives that surround us. Remember this one?

Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened the birds began to sing,
Oh wasn’t that a dainty dish to set before the king?

Imagine opening that pie for real! What if the blackbirds were just a delightful name of a pie shop that was delicious and lured you there with a slogan like:

Did you say PIE?!

Mmm. A certain pregnant person emailed me about the existence of this magical pie shop, Four and Twenty Blackbirds,  on the corner of 3rd Street and 3rd Avenue in Brooklyn. I replied it looked good. She said I should go and retrieve such a pie for the holidays. The holiday pies could only be ordered online at a price of $35 plus tax, no delivery and no shipping. In order to commit to such a pie, it had to be deemed worthy. I rushed over last Sunday to sample the Salted Carmel Apple Pie only to find it had sold out from the time I called to my turn in for pie. A woman next to me confessed she and her daughter had driven up from South Carolina for that particular pie and were ready to cry. Um, hello you might get them to reserve you the pie and maybe you should order ahead before making that kind of a journey.

I opted instead for the Salted Honey Pie, which, upon first taste, had @jrjeffrey screaming “Shut the F#$ up!” It was like nothing either one of us had ever tasted before and at the point of purchase, I had a moment of doubt which evaporated into a cloud of instead addiction! We also split a piece of the Cranberry Sage Pie for a completely different savory taste. That Salted Honey Pie ruined me and when it was time to pick up the regular pie last Wednesday I decided to get a few slices to share at the office. Oh yeah, the pies at 24 Black Birds are seasonal and made to order. By the time we ordered Thursday and Friday (23rd & 24th) were already sold out so I got up on birthday at drove over to make my 8AM pick up time.

You had me at Chocolate Pecan Pie!

Salted Honey Pie, I said, hmm, you are divine but let me get a slice of the pie I’m picking up and add Chocolate Pecan Pie to as well. Oh my Lord! These two sisters, Emily and Melissa,  who own the shop are fantastic, friendly and talented.

As for that Salted Caramel Pie, it was a huge hit this week and I think there may be a new tradition at the table:

Salted Carmel Apple Pie, no blackbirds inside

 

Christmas Snowy Adventures…Ramble

Happy Holidays to Everyone! This post may be early, late or right on time but either way if you’ve been wondering why my posts dropped off in December, I started a new job. Elle is very well taken care of and we still have loads of adventures which prevents me from coming home and turning into a couch monster. If you are a big fan of @Rocknroll_ELLE , you know wherever I go she enchants people, including the new office as a star of the video holiday card I produced. Hope you like it!

Hurrah how I love seeing new things and this year it included the amazing insanity that is the Dyker Heights’ Lights, which apparently draws nearly 100K visitors to that area of Brooklyn each season. We luckily went at ten P.M. on a Sunday night so there was plenty of parking and only out of town license plates. Here’s what Elle and I have been up to the past couple of days and we hope you enjoy it.

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Baby Love…Ramble

Elle is an amazing good sport about all the cute little wardrobe changes. This holiday season is an excuse for more…as if I needed one. .

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Crush of the Week: Armie Hammer…Ramble

My Boo!

Being a digital girl living in a digital world seeing “The Social Network” was mandatory. My favorite line was delivered by Armie Hammer who played both of the ‘Winklevy’ twins. They talk about beating the crap out of Mark Zuckerberg as he continues to leave them unacknowledged and conquer the world with Facebook– “I can do it, I’m 6’5″ , 250 lbs and there are two of me.”

The guy has a fantastic smile and entered the pop culture realm as a love interest for the fabulous Blake Lively on “Gossip Girl.”

Does Armie Hammer sounds like a familiar name? He happens to be the grandson of the founder of Arm & Hammer. As if you needed another reason to love him, unlike many actors who are engaged and then hit the ‘big time’, he recently married his long time girlfriend and was just cast across from one Leo DiCaprio, whom he will share an on-screen kiss. Too bad he’s taken cause he’s my first crush in ages.

Tis the Season…Ramble

I am a December Baby. It really is the most wonderful time of the year (minus the weather. brrrr!) There’s a lot of excitement and extra people in New York so please be careful. A man was tripped in front of me the other day and slameed into the arriving subway train. He went down and I started screaming for help as the other commuters went to the opening train doors and didn’t see what had happened. The man’s face was bashed in and he was bleeding. Sadly the holidays can bring out the worst as well as the best in people so let’s focus on the spirit of the season and be merry and light!

xx

Holiday Gift Suggestions…Ramble

Now that the sales are over, are you looking around saying ‘oh crap, I bought things for myself with no overall plan or strategy for what people might actually like vs. what was on sale’? Awrighty then, I’ve got a few gift suggestions for the discerning woman in your life:

BOOKS:

Dear Money by Martha McPhee is an amazing satire that sheds light on the debate of art vs. responsibility and money making. I always thought if I got married I’d like to be a working mom supporting the family. After reading this book I have to say pass on the realities of such a move. This is a throughly great read for anyone who ever had such notions and pining for their youthful dreams.

Just Kids by Patti Smith a great memoir that is a must-read for music lovers granting access to the struggling artists Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe at the legendary Chelsea Hotel among such greats like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.

JEWELRY:

Yes, it’s an old standby but …it works for most woman. Some discount sites you should sign up for to find bargains: Hautelook.com and Ebiza.com

But…for cool, trendy and small business, I have to once again shed light on my fave: KT Collection. If you follow her on twitter or sign up for the newsletter you’ll get in on discounts. Loooove my KT from my “Chanel meets downtown” jaguar ring (not couuuugar. egads! ha) to the classic gold necklaces, this is one collection that’s affordable and looks damn good.

FOR THE HOME:

Check out One Kings Lane. Oh my how I adore this site.

FOR THE SKIN:

Om Aroma & Co. is luxury for the skin. Ingredients like champagne and caviar renew the skin and smell delicious.

FOR THE HEART:

A puppy. I’m serious however, you have to include a dog trainer and to be super sweet and take on the responsibility of potty training the dog. Try some agility classes and involve the whole family.

Good luck shoppers! xx Grrlgenius

Crush of the Week: Thanksgiving…Ramble

Normally a family holiday associated with football and dysfunction, I have to give it up for Thanksgiving. It has been overshadowed by the rush of stores to move merchandise but I’m rejoicing in taking the time to truly look around me and be thankful.

What other holiday is celebrated by everyone in the country regardless of race, religion, creed, status, gender and sexual orientation to give thanks for what we have? None. Hope you enjoyed it and your leftover turkey, stuffing and cranberry sandwiches today. Enjoy the holiday season it goes all too fast.

Bridal Dormant Gene…Ramble

Kate Middleton you certainly have a life of scrutiny cut out for you! All the hilarious articles about British Brides worrying you will schedule your wedding the same day as their’s taking away their “princess” day combined with the SNL Weekend Update comment “A women in Ohio yelled at her cat, Kate Middleton ruined Thanksgiving!” is too hilarious. Oh Kate, you are adorable! I think you’ll make a great princess but first you are a bride and so I now must reveal my theory on brides.

Theory: When a man proposes and places an engagement ring on the fourth finger of the left hand (hey just speaking for Western culture here!) a gene that is dormant is awakened. This gene causes:

1) Memory Loss

2) A 1-2 exsistence of the “Princess” Complex, which is akin to the God complex men suffer from but basically means they feel they have license to order people around like… a princess. Is that really what’s in the princess etiquette handbook?

3) Amnesia of anything non-wedding related like parking tickets.

The Cure: Placing a second, circular band of gold on the fourth finger of the left hand!

5 Questions with @Dogboyinc…Ramble

The search for a dog trainer plagued me and Rocknroll_ELLE for several months. First there was the “alleged” Dog Whisperer of the neighbourhood who is studying to be a zoologist who failed to show up or cancel last-minute several times. We would run into him and he would act like we went on a few dates and it went bad. Seriously. Next we went to a puppy class where we learned “your pet doesn’t work for beef jerky, it works for love” and apparently if that doesn’t work use a choking collar. I used the American Kennel Club for references and found one I liked but she was getting married and occupied with that.

Finally our neighbour insisted we use Dog Boy Inc. His logo is pretty awesome and I was glad that someone  I knew had used him before and low and behold we had a winner. Robert Haussman, aka Dog Boy, has trained Elle to even roll over and play dead aka “bang bang.” I think it’s an absolute necessity of any urban dog owner to get some kind of training for their dog and so happy I found a really excellent one!

1. What questions should a pet owner ask about a potential dog trainer?
The thing to be aware of when hiring a dog trainer is that training is a fairly unregulated field.

A. Ask if they have any certification. The certification council for profession dog trainers has a pretty good track record and has an online database of trainers for dog owners who are in the market.

B. I would also ask what their method of training is and be sure it is humane in nature and doesn’t revolve primarily around dominance, or shocking and choking your dog. Although leadership is a key element to a healthy relationship with your dog, many trainers mistaken this for the need to use force to force the dog to submit which is nonsense and has a tendency to do more harm then good.

C. Last I would ask for referrals. Be specific, if you have an aggressive pit bull than ask for a referral of someone with an aggressive bit bull who they have worked with.

2. In your opinion is training a dog necessary for urban dogs? All dogs?

I think training your dog is the ultimate way to spoil you dog. It is responsible pet ownership to be sure your dog knows what is expected of him and what is appropriate behavior in the humane environment that he shares with you. You can’t punish him for rules he doesn’t know he has broken. So yes absolutely!

3. A couple of weeks ago a delivery man who was mauled by 3 pitbulls in Brooklyn. There were signs posted saying ‘beware of the dog’ but he did not speak English. One of the dogs died in the mayhem and the other two were ceased and await action. Do you think those Pitbulls are trainable to be aggressive but not immediately attack a person who is in their space?

That’s tough to say. More than anything it is a responsibility issue for the owner. If you have dogs for the purpose of protection (which I am not a fan of in the first place) there should be preventive steps in place to ensure the safety of the community you live in. You wouldn’t leave a loaded gun out on the coffee table during a dinner party, someone could get hurt or worse. Pit bulls get a very bad reputation because of owners like this. These particular dogs we’re likely trained to be aggressive and poorly trained at that. I think it boils down to stupidity. And it is unlikely that the dogs will be able to be trained to be selective about who is and is not allowed on the property. This is an issue I take to heart since I love the bread and so many are put down each year because of stupid humans.

4.  In your experience, who needs the training more the humans or the canines?

Humans! Lol. Dogs are fairly predictable, humans are always a wild card…

5. A lot of new dog owners face the challenge of training their dogs but strangers want to pet their dog and throw off the behaviour. What are some tips for to avoid the awkward neighbor from rewarding your dog with affection while you are training your dog?

Try and involve them! Tell them you are in training and you can really use their help. They will either joyfully participate or recoil in horror. If someone is particularly uncooperative tell them your puppy is sick and highly contagious…lol.