Saturday, June 30, 2012

Moonlit Glass Jewelry + 15% off Entire Site!

A few months back, my friend Cristin introduced me to Tophatter, which is an auction site that always has awesome deals. I snagged a gorgeous necklace from one of the auctions, for half the price listed on the Etsy store. It was definitely a great deal. Before I sent my payment to Ailea (the seller of the necklace), I decided to head over to her Etsy store, Moonlit Glass Jewelry.

Oh my gosh. I fell in love. Her dichroic glass pieces had me mesmerized. After speaking with her about her pieces, I asked if I could show her works to my readers. Ailea obliged, and sent a bunch of pieces from the store over to me. She went above and beyond, but wanted to show the variety of her wares. The piece I won from the Tophatter auction is the Purple Sunset Dichroic Fused Necklace. All pieces are one of a kind, which I really like. What I like best is that the colors change, depending on the light. Ailea sent me two ribbons to wear it on, which I can wear alone or pair together. 

These pictures seriously do the piece no justice. Its awesome, and looks amazing in the sunlight! Ailea also sent over her Nuts and Washers Industrial Steampunk Earrings, a Lampwork Mermaid Pendant Necklace, Owl Love Earrings, Tree of Life Earrings, and a Green Dichroic Necklace. All the items are shown below, but I included the links to her store, so you can see her offerings.

When you head over to Moonlit Glass Jewelry, you will notice there are lots of options, regarding colors, and even the preferred type of chain your necklace will hang from. If you're not sure what to get, ask Ailea - she's quick at answering emails, and is super helpful! She also created a coupon code for my readers - if you use the code HAPPYWALLET, you will save 15% off your order! She recently updated the store and added a ton of new pieces, so head over to Moonlit Glass Jewelry and see what's new!

I'm going to wear one of the necklaces to my cousin's graduation party today, but I am torn between which dichroic to wear (surprise, surprise). Which pieces did you see in the store that caught your eye? Were you drawn to the dichroic necklaces, like I was, or are the metals more your style?

PS - If you'd like a invitation to Tophatter, I have 9 left. Comment with your email address, or email me, and I will send a code your way!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Oasap Clothing Giveaway!

I don't know about you, but I love getting new clothes. What could be even better than getting new clothes? Getting FREE new clothes! The wonderful folks at Oasap are holding a super giveaway - 152 items, to be exact! Oasap was kind enough to contact me to give me all of the details on the contest. Now, all readers have a chance to win, but the more folks that enter through the blog, the more prizes they will dole out to us! Pretty cool, huh?

All photos courtesy of Oasap.

Now, here is what you have to do.
1. Click here, to enter the giveaway.
2. Log in to Oasap (making an account is free, plus you get a 20% off coupon on your first purchase).
3. Choose three items that you would like to win - you must choose your size, then vote. You can do this up to three times, which will increase your chances of winning.
4. Copy and paste this link, and share it with your friends (remember, the more people that sign up through this link, the more prizes will be awarded to our readers): 

Winners will be contacted by Oasap, with the email you provided. So You have until July 10 to enter, but I would get your entries in now. Here are my three favorite pieces that are up for grabs: 


Which pieces are your favorites? How would you style them? 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Talking with Tony Lucca.

At the end of May I was given the opportunity to get on the phone with Tony Lucca, the contestant who placed third on season two of NBC's The Voice. We discussed when he was bit by the music bug, what it was like participating on the show, and I even put him on the spot regarding his top Beatles tunes. We chatted for a few minutes prior to the interview, then got down to business.

Lucca in the studio. Photo credit: Tony Lucca, Facebook.

How old were you when you realized you wanted to be a musician?
Ah man, like right away. I actually have a picture of me standing outside, when I was three and a half, just strumming a guitar. It was about 7 or 8 when I got really bit by the bug. I picked up a guitar, learned to play songs, and fantasized about the life as a rock star.

Were you formally trained on guitar or piano, or did you start playing by ear?
Pretty much by ear, a few lessons here or there to acquire theory, but I was never able to lock into it. My mom was the tenth of twelve kids that all sing or played something, so really by osmosis. I learned quite a bit from uncles, aunts, and cousins. Its been a really blessed, blessed life, for sure.

No, that’s definitely awesome. I wrote something when I had heard the clip of you and Adam [Levine, Maroon 5 singer and Lucca’s coach on The Voice] performing [The Beatles] "Yesterday," and it was the second time I had seen you on the show. The first time was a fluke. I had the television on, and heard your name, and told my boyfriend that had watched you on the Mickey Mouse Club. I was floored, because I had heard bits and pieces of your work over the years, but it was always in passing. This time, I actually sat there and listened, and I was like “hooooollllllyyy shit.” 

I heard that, I said, “This is gonna be it,” and told Erich that you were going to be one of the top picks. I’m honestly so stoked that you were given the opportunity to show the world what you could do.
Yeah, well I appreciate that. Definitely, that was the goal, to get as best an opportunity as possible and I felt like we capitalized on it in the best way, in ways that I didn’t even see coming. I thought it was really a good run.

I was wondering, because I remember when I was younger and was in marching band, I had a few things I always did before a show. Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
No, I really don’t - at least none that I do consciously. I know that I do slip into sort of a zone; people close to me have pointed it out, and they’ll recognize it before I do. There is a bit of a mental space that I get into and there are idiosyncratic vocal things I do, vocal warm-ups that make sure I’m good to go, or at least I know where I stand with my voice. Some days its totally there, and some days it is not there. But no, no rituals. I’m not superstitious. If there is anything I’ve learned over the years, its that you never know where and when you’re gonna need to just get out there and do it. It’s always been my thing to just always be prepared for whatever, and trust yourself.

Yeah. Now, you said before that you are really close with your family. When you were filming, how was it being away from your wife and kids? Did they stay home, or were they nearby?
 For the most part, they were here in Michigan while I was out in LA. We were apart for quite awhile, sometimes as much as four or five weeks. As the finale got closer, they were coming out once a week. Between the second to last episode and the last episode, they stayed in LA. We spent as much time together as we could while I was slaving away [laughs]. It was tough, it was really hard, but the further along I got in the competition, the more the sacrifice felt… worthwhile, you know? The sacrificing wasn’t made in vain. Its important that you have the support, that you're able to trust in the love that you have, and the dedication you have as a family to the common goal of succeeding. Obviously my wife is made of some serious stock [laughs], and my kids, they're wonderful as well. They loved the whole experience, it was really cool for them as well.

They could turn on the TV and see dad.
Yeah, and its weird that it sort of becomes the norm for kids, but everything is relative. Its like the kids of sports stars - daddy’s on the TV every Sunday, or every few days. Its life as we know it.

How was it working with Adam Levine?
It was amazing. It was everything I hoped it would be. People always ask “why him,” and truthfully, personally, I feel like he is the least affected of the four of them. Now I don’t mean that in a judgemental way, or being critical, but what you see is really what you get with him. Hes very straight to the point, and for someone like me, that’s what I want. I'm going to set my ego aside and open myself to criticism, and I want it straight. I figured if I could get on his team, that we would develop a pretty cool shorthand and really connect and forge a productive bond. To say the least, that’s pretty much what happened.

When you had decided to go with Adam, I told my boyfriend that was the perfect choice. I could see you two sitting down, fooling around on the guitar, bouncing ideas off each other – even writing a song together.
That really almost happened, to be honest. That’s how we came about doing “Yesterday.” We were going to do “Blackbird” originally. We went in to rehearse it on stage, and we were playing it, waiting for cameras or some technical thing. I was sitting there, with my guitar, and we started strumming through the better part of the Beatles catalogue. The two of us sat in The Voice arena, with the crew and the band sitting around in the stands, really just listening to us like brothers at sound check. It was really amazing and cool, and I started strumming “Yesterday." He started singing it, we started harmonizing it, and it was like, “Ohhhh shit – that’s the one.” So we switched the song last minute. It was very cool and I'm glad it worked out.

You would have never known that it was a last minute switch, either!
I know, it was really wild.

You’ve been a musician for most of your life – is there anything that you taught Adam?
I don’t know, maybe? There might have been things that I brought to his attention that he didn’t see happening, but I don’t know. That’s a good question.

Well, I guess we’ll find out when we hear the next [Maroon 5] album.
Yeah, exactly.

Regarding the other contestants. You're essentially stuck with the same people for weeks on end, and I guess in a way its almost like summer camp. Who did you connect with, and feel like you gelled with the best?
I knew Justin Hopkins before the show, we shared the stage before, and it was cool to see him again. It was sad to see him go, but he lost to my new friend, Tony Vincent. We were roommates through the blind audition phase. We got close and made lifelong friends, so that’s very cool. Jordis [Unga] was one of my closer friends on the show. I mean, gosh, after awhile, you really get your time with everybody. You really take to some people and people endear themselves to you. Jamar [Rogers] was another one that towards the end I became closer to, and developed a mutual admiration society with [laughs]. It was really a great crop of people.

Now, I know you had to work on material for the show while you were in LA, but did you get to work on any new songs while you were filming?
Here and there; I was rehearsing with my guitar a bit more. I would sit in my hotel room, strumming while watching television. Largely, surviving something like that requires a pretty intense head space that leaves very little room for free association and creative thought. Unfortunately, I didn’t get as much writing done as I had hoped I might. With that being said, I got a ton of inspiration. Just absorbing my surroundings and my personal trajectory on the show alone is quite a story that I look forward to getting at creatively and writing about, with some hindsight perspective to go with it as well.

Were there any songs that you wanted to perform on the show that were shot down?
No, anything he “shot down” was usually with good reason and his whole objective was to make sure whatever we did was bulletproof. Especially after we became aware of our critics [laughs].

Especially when you get that close to the top. I don’t want to say you have to pick something that’s safe, but you don’t want to go out on a limb where it could screw you.
Yeah, that was the thing. Do we lay it down the fairway, or do we go for something more cutting edge and really ruffle feathers? The difficulty [The Voice] runs into is that by bringing in pre-established artists, people that have history, is they open themselves up to the possibility of artistic vision, strong opinions, and strong personalities. They have a bunch of artists trying to do what artists do, like obscure songs, taking popular songs and making them their own, and really changing things up. That’s cool, but only so far; only to a degree, and then it doesn’t work well for TV, ratings and all that shit. You learn that people are as apt to vote for a song as they are the singer, which became apparent to me when I did the Britney [Spears’ "Baby One More Time"] thing. Again, the timing of it was spot-on, the context was there, it was great for my story; nonetheless, what made that so strong was that there are so few people, especially of the target demographic of the show, that don’t have some type of personal connection to that song. People voted for that; people purchased that. Obscure songs are like a one-way ticket home, and you have to try to steer clear of that if you can.

We briefly discussed tour dates, which are listed here. Tony will also be touring with The Voice contestants in early 2013, so keep your eyes peeled for those dates.

Now, I have a few questions that are a bit unrelated to the show. What would be your dream collaboration?
I would love to do a record with Bonnie Raitt, k.d. lang, and Paul Simon would be cool. I would love to tour with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I want to write and produce a hit for Seal and Sade to sing together – I think that would be pretty cool.

That would be pretty badass.
That would be amazing. There's lots music I would love to make happen with [various] artists. Just having come from a pretty wide range of music appreciation.

What have you been listening to?
I’ve been driving around with the kids since I’ve been home, so we put a playlist together for them, and what they’re currently into. My little girl is a big Jessie J fan, so we’ve been listening to “Domino” and “Price Tag” a lot. My son is a big Maroon 5 fan now, so I’m getting my fair dose of “Payphone” and “Moves Like Jagger.”

So you leave Adam and you still can’t get rid of him now!
I know, exactly. Personally, I’ve been rocking out to [The Black Keys] El Camino record, and trying to get caught up on their stuff, because I’ve become a late-bloomer fan of theirs.

Any television shows you got hooked on while you were in LA?
I became a huge fan of Awake, and I'm a big fan of Parenthood (Tony made a cameo on the show in 2011).

This is an ever-changing list for anyone, including myself, but I had to ask: top five Beatles songs? I know its hard to answer off the top of your head.
“I’ll Follow the Sun” [long pause, its as if I could hear the gears turning in his head],“Here Comes the Sun.” Yeesh, anything off of Rubber Soul, and [more thinking and murmuring] I’m a big fan of Abbey Road as well. “Blackbird,” obviously… that’s too hard [laughs].

I know, I was contemplating emailing the question to your management, but I wanted to see how you’d answer under pressure.
[Laughs] My gosh, I could talk Beatles all day.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to have an in-depth discussion on the Beatles, because he had another interview lined up. It was wonderful chatting with Tony. He's a down-to-earth guy who worked hard for the success that he has attained. I wish him the best.

If you want to hear some of the songs Tony would have liked to perform on The Voice, check out his Spotify playlist, Celebrity Sway (songs I would have LOVED to sing on The Voice).

Lucca at Spotify headquarters. Photo credit: Tony Lucca, Facebook.

For those of you who are on Long Island, Tony will be performing at the Tanger Outlets Sound of Summer Series this Saturday, June 23, at the Arches in Deer Park. Admission is free, so be sure to get there early. I will be there, along with my awesome photographer, Avalon. If you see us, come over and say hello!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day.

My poppy, me + my dad dancing in the kitchen, circa 1984.

Nearly thirty years ago, Vincent Falcone became a father for the first time. That day would change his life forever, not to mention give him a few grey hairs. He was (and still is) a fantastic father. He helped me pick apples from the tree when I was too small to do it on my own, exposed me to excellent music, bought me breakfast (bagels + a cappuccino) nearly every single morning when he drove me to high school, ironed my clothes (because I was too lazy to do it myself), and didn't let me get away with murder. I was taught to respect others, to be a hard worker, and to not do anything half-assed. Even though I was a pain in his ass, he and mom raised me well. I am truly blessed to be his daughter. 

Since he's 1,200 miles away, I don't see him nearly as much as I'd like, but I get to talk to him on the phone a few times a week, even if its only for a minute. Sometimes I really wish he would text, but I should be lucky that a) he uses a cell phone, and b) that he can function on the internet, although when I tried to explain a coupon code to him, i'm pretty sure I confused the hell out of him, haha. I'm actually emailing him a few links to my blog, because he's never seen it before. I've mentioned it, but I don't think he knows what a blog is. I guess he will know now, right?

Here's a song for my dad. I remember my him singing the original version (sung by the Beatles, if you aren't familiar with it) when we were younger. I also remember my dad being a big fan of Steve Martin (watch the "King Tut" video - it'll make you laugh - old SNL skits are amazing), so he will definitely appreciate this!

Happy father's day to all of you dads out there - including pet dads, you deserve recognition too! I hope you all enjoyed the day, even if you didn't get to spend it with your dad. If he has passed, I hope you got to tell wonderful stories about him today - just because he isn't here doesn't mean you should stop celebrating him. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, and have a great week!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Late Night Ramblings of a Slightly Coherent Being.

I have been graced with the attention span akin to a child hopped up on refined sugar. So much is swirling through my head, and my focus shifts before I can finish blinking. Finishing this grad school project that's due tomorrow. The paper I don't want to write, but I feel guilty about, because I actually like the professor and enjoy the class content. Summer classes are such bullshit. 

My summer playlist on Spotify is seriously lacking - I need to add to it. But what? The songs I keep adding are recycled from prior summers. Am I creature of habit, or have I just lost touch with current music? Lots of new music sucks anyway, so I guess that'll be the excuse I use. Jimmi, one of my old baristas, sends me a plethora of tracks via Spotify. For being such a young creature, he has decent taste in music. He reminds me of myself at that age - anatomy aside. How old is he, anyway? I ask, and he responds with, "20 boom." You have to know Jimmi to understand how that would come out of his mouth. He speaks as he types - hand gestures and all. He was like, seventeen when he started at the latte hut.

Shit, i'm getting old. I'll be thirty in less than five months. 

I start an internship on Thursday. I'm nervous for a few reasons. I've never had an internship before. Sure, i've gone through the hell known as student teaching, but this is different. The rest of the interns are pretty young things, who I doubt would get that reference. No offense. Actually, they might, since Ryan Murphy violated it for Glee. Ehhh, they'd probably have to Google it. This is just as bad, if not worse, than the first day of school. I will be up insanely late the night before, nervous as hell, for absolutely no reason. This has been going on since elementary school and it still happens in college. It didn't happen for my summer classes, because I was too preoccupied with what had happened with Dom

What the hell am I going to wear? I have a closet full of dresses, but I also have two hampers overflowing with dirty clothes. I'll have to settle for something hanging in my closet. First world problems. As long as I pair it with a clean bra and underwear (don't fret, there are plenty to choose from) and a pair of Jeffrey Campbell shoes, i'll be set. Tomorrow night I'll play dress up, and Erich will only half pay attention to me as I ask him what I should wear on my first day. He'll eventually say yes to an outfit, even if he doesn't really look at it. The next day, as i'm getting dressed, he will suggest something else I tried on the night before. This happens all the time. I'll get pissy with him, and say that he should have been paying attention when I had asked him the night before. The likely response (or excuse, call it what you will) I will receive? "Babe, I was raping noobs." Ladies and gentleman, I've lost my boyfriend to fucking StarCraft. 

It could be worse.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

LA Music Scene Darlings + Musical Escapism = JJAMZ

Back in my late teens/early twenties, I would spend most weekends (plus a handful of weeknights) adventuring along the east coast, seeing bands from across the country. Although I was in New York, surrounded by many great local acts, I was drawn to many bands from the west coast, particularly those who were popular in the LA music scene. My adventures even took me to California a handful of times, in which my wonderful friend Melissa was my guide. Back in 2006, I remember receiving a MySpace request from someone, or something, called JJAMZ. I had no clue who it was, so I poked around before I let them be my friend. Once I looked around, I realized that it was a band, comprised of some of my favorite musicians. JJAMZ, pronounced, juh-jamz (you gotta put a little stutter in it), is the musical love child of long-time friends James Valentine (guitarist for Maroon 5), Jason Boesel (drummer for Rilo Kiley, The Elected and Bright Eyes), Alex Greenwald (actor and Phantom Planet frontman), Michael Runion (solo artist), and Z Berg (lead singer and guitarist of The Like), in respective alphabetical form. The side project was formed as an outlet for the friends to express themselves, outside of their current obligations.

Valentine, Greenwald, Berg, Runion + Boesel. Credit: JJAMZ

Since I received that MySpace request years ago, I hadn't heard much of the band, until late last year. JJAMZ was signed to Dangerbird Records, and their debut album, Suicide Pact, is slated for a July 10 release. I got my hands on the tracks "Heartbeat" and "Never Enough," and the tracks are amazing. Z's sultry, slightly raspy voice, pairs perfectly with the melody provided by her talented bandmates. The songs definitely have an electronic feel, but upon listening closely, you can tell that the arrangements are multi-faceted. These would be a perfect soundtrack for a Bret Easton Ellis novel (well, minus American Psycho), or a welcomed addition to the Drive soundtrack - especially "Heartbeat." If these songs are any indication of what will be delivered on Suicide Pact, this album will definitely be one of the best albums of the summer. I'd love to get my hands on a copy before it hits shelves, to give it a few listens and write a solid review, before it goes live. 

JJAMZ will be on the road, joining the Nylon and Starbucks Frappuccino Summer Music Tour with Neon Trees. Check out tour dates and snag your tickets here. Seeing as I have seen 3/5 of the band perform live on numerous occasions, I highly recommend you get your tickets early - its going to be a good show. 

If you like what you heard, head over to for a free download of "Heartbeat." While you're there, you can also check out the video for "Never Enough." Don't forget to check JJAMZ out on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Teeccino - the Greatest Thing Since... Real Coffee.

A few months back, I was flipping through the channels and stumbled upon Dr. Oz. I've watched him on and off for years, and I adore him. He's so nice and his smile and positive attitude are contagious! At the moment I began watching, he was telling a viewer about an alternative to coffee. I was curious, because decaf coffee freaks me out. Why? I'll explain.

Did you know that most coffee companies, including your beloved Starbucks, use a chemical process to remove the caffeine? There is an alternative Swiss water process which can be utilized, but its pricier and more time consuming (fun fact I learned: when you use the Swiss water process to remove caffeine, it produces green coffee extract, which Starbucks is now using in their new line of Refreshers). So, needless to say, I avoid decaf coffee like the plague.

Now, the coffee alternative Dr. Oz shared is called Teeccino. Its a caffeine-free herbal coffee. Herbal coffee? Hmmm... I was skeptical, and went to the website to read ingredients. All natural ingredients, mostly organic (some are 75%, some are 100% - depends on the product), and fancy flavors. I wanted to give Teeccino a spin! I inquired about the products, and Teeccino said they would send a few samples over to me. Awesome. Well, when the package arrived, it much bigger than I had expected. 

They sent me Teeccino in two forms - tea bags + ground for all-purpose coffee pots. Since I haven't had a chance to get through all of the Teeccino yet (cutting caffeine back has been a grueling process, but I'm doing it, slowly but surely), but I got to sample the tea bags, so I can give some feedback on those thus far. The four tea bags I received were Chocolate, French Roast, Hazelnut and Vanilla Nut. If you have a nut allergy, do not, I repeat, do not drink the ones with the nuts. As I always say, read the package beforehand.

So, the first flavor of Teeccino that I tried was the Chocolate. I was surprised at how much it actually smelled like chocolate. When I sipped it black, it wasn't bad, but working for Starbucks for ten years gave me a serious coffee tasting palate. I knew that I would enjoy this with some sort of creamer. I used  bit of a sweetened cashew creamer, and it was delicious. I tried the French Roast, which was better than regular french roast coffee. I hate French Roast in coffee form, but could drink this. Again, tasted better with a sweetened milk product.

I finally put my finger on what Teeccino tastes like - flavored pods for my Keurig (which hasn't been used in about a year now)! They flavor is enhanced by adding a drop of sweetener and creamer. Or, a sweetened creamer, which I prefer - all natural, of course. My favorites were the Hazelnut and Vanilla Nut. I am actually enjoying a cup of the Vanilla Nut right now. We are out of my regular creamer, so I used a splash of Erich's favorite - Horizon Organic Lowfat Chocolate Milk. I must admit, it tastes amazing. I try to avoid dairy, but it was only a tablespoon, nothing crazy. Definitely enhanced the flavors and added some body to the beverage.

So, what is the consensus of this coffee snob? Teeccino is the way to go, when it comes to the realm of decaffeinated beverages. My favorite is the Vanilla Nut, but if you have nut allergies, steer clear. You can snag Teeccino at your local Whole Foods, or you can order straight from their site. They are running a special on their Sampler Pack, exclusively through Facebook. If you "like" Teeccino, you can order the Sampler Pack for $10.99, including shipping, through the provided link. Like them here and click on Special Offers tab. Trust me, its worth it - even if you keep it in the house for guests who prefer decaffeinated brews.

Next month I will be reviewing the ground flavors of Teeccino I received. I plan on testing out some iced coffee, along with some sweet treats. Are there any sweet treats you would like to see me make with Teeccino? Suggestions are welcomed!

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Deal I NEED To Share.

Now, seeing as I can't let my friends pass up a killer sale, you should head over to Karmaloop. They are moving into a new warehouse, so they are having a crate sale. For the last week, they have had 20%, 30%, 40% and 50% off crates. This morning, owner Greg Selkoe announced they added a 75% off crate.

There are some choice items in the 75% off crate. There is something for everyone - guys, gals, even the kiddos. If you need to get some early Christmas gifts, a present for yourself, or items to sell on eBay (trust me, you can make your money back PLUS some on a ton of items, especially those Jeffrey Campbell shoes), go check it out.

To get the discount, you need to use the promo code CRATES at checkout. To get an extra discount, use the rep code ShortGirlLongIsland. If you spend $100, shipping is free. If not, it's between $4 and $6.50, which is still pretty cheap! Here is the link - what are you waiting for?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Featured on Why I Blog Wednesday

Yesterday, I was featured on my pal Lori's blog,  A Little Slice of Special. She's an awesome blogger + a short gal, just like myself. Check out Why I Blog Wednesday, and make sure to check out the rest of Lori's site!