Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Latest Obsession: The Twistband.

I have a lot of hair for being such a small person. If you haven't seen my beast fro in all its glory, check it out here to get an idea of what I'm working with. At the beginning of the summer, I had discovered the Twistband. I was intrigued by the concept - a soft elastic hair tie that claimed it wouldn't leave unsightly bumps in my hair or cut off circulation if I left it on my wrist (I often wear an extra hair tie on my wrist, as there have been times where one that was in my hair had broken). The real question was, would a Twistband be able to handle all of my hair? The folks over at Twistband sent me a few to test out.

 In order to give the product a fair assessment, I used the same Twistband in my hair every day for over a month. I piled my hair onto my head in a messy bun and put it in ponytails (high and low). I used it in the shower to hold up my sopping wet hair as it was being deep conditioned. Basically, I abused the life out of it. Like I said, its been over a month, and I am still using the same Twistband.

The picture above has two Twistbands - an unused Turquoise Tie Dye Twistband and the Lavender Twistband that I have been using for the last month. You can tell that it has been used, but it isn't really stretched out much, and you can tell its still in great shape. I really put that puppy through the wringer, too.

It still fits nicely on my wrist, and actually looks pretty nice - much more aesthetically pleasing than ordinary hair elastics. I must say, I am thoroughly impressed with the Twistband. They are a bit pricier than traditional hair elastics (a solid 6 pack will cost you $10, whereas a 17 pack of Goody hair elastics will run you $3.49 per pack), but for comfort level, Twistband takes the cake. I have been a loyal Goody gal for the last fifteen years, but I have converted to Twistbands. Seeing as I was sent a few hair ties, I gave one to a coworker to test out. The next day, she asked where she could get more, because she loved it. She also commented on how it doubled as a bracelet - I'm not the only one who thinks it doubles as sweet wrist candy.

You can snag these tressy-worthy ties from Twistband and Birchbox. The company has an array of products, such as headbands, hair clips, custom items and crayon rings. Yes, crayon rings. I totally want a set, but I might just have to wait til the holidays and request a set in my stocking.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


I'm not one for carrying around a camera, so I rely on my trusty iPhone to do the job. Here are some bits + pieces from the last week that put a smile on my face.

My business cards from moo.com arrived! They are super fun + I love how they are customizable. The folks at moo.com gave me a 10% discount to pass along to my pals, so if you want to snag a set, click here (the discount is in the link).

Erich + I went to La Tavola in Sayville for a nice, romantic lunch. We were the only people dining outdoors, so it was nice to have that privacy - its rare that we have peace + quiet. I tried my very first lobster roll (the cold variety). I was so stuffed from the yummy appetizers, that I took the entire sandwich home + ate it for dinner. Super delicious + it didn't break the bank. Gotta love lunch specials!

I laid outside for the first time this summer, for all of about twenty minutes. I'm not looking to get burnt to a crisp, but I definitely needed a bit of sunshine.

Music flashback: I jammed to M.I.A's Paper Planes, reminiscing of my summers spent at Brock's on Tuesday nights for wings + Blue Point Blueberry Ales with my old pals.

I was gifted a plethora of fresh cherries and peaches this week. I shared the wealth, because there was no way we would be able to eat this all on our own!

I am obsessed with Burger King's iced coffee. I get them to make it half mocha, half vanilla. It tastes like a delicious chocolate milk with a hint of coffee flavor. The caffeine gives a nice swift kick, which is always a plus.

If you have never watched The Annoying Orange, I highly suggest you watch a few clips on YouTube. Erich + I lazed around in bed for a bit today, watching fun stuff on YouTube. Some of the skits are cheesy, but a lot of them are pretty hilarious. He had never seen these before - he had only heard the game that I have on my iPhone. Now he understood the odd voice that would yell "knife!" from my speakers.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Adventures in American Cheese.

I love cheese. If I could survive on coffee, cheese, crusty bread and cured meats (with the occasional ice cream treat, obviously), and not become the size of a house, that would make my life complete. On Thursday, an extreme cheese monster was created, and there is no turning back for me now. I had plans that evening with my friend, Deidra, and I wanted to pick up a small assortment of goodies to enjoy with wine. Because thats how we roll, of course. Whenever I am driving through West Sayville, I always pass American Cheese, and say to myself that I needed to stop in sometime. Unless I write it on a to-do list or in my planner, its probably not happening. The other day, after having lunch with Erich, I told him I was going there.

So I did. No to-do list required this time. I was a little Midge on a mission. A mission for cheese.

I walked into American Cheese and was greeted by the owner, Erin Nicosia. I told her what I was looking to get, price-wise. After asking me what I did and didn't like (anything but bleu - only on salads, at least for now), she provided me with a few samples, and explained the cheeses to me. I didn't walk in planning to write about my quest for cheese, but it was a great experience, and I was surrounded by so much deliciousness. I knew I had to blog about it - it would be a crime if I didn't! This post is going to be picture-heavy, but you need to see American Cheese it all its glory.

 I asked Erin what made her decide to open a cheese shop (I informed her that I was a blogger, so that she wasn't creeped out by a plethora of questions from a random stranger). When she was attending college in Northern California, she had fallen in love with a local cheese shop. Erin made the decision that once she retired, she wanted to open up a cheese shop in her hometown. The dream of cheese happened sooner than she had originally anticipated (we are around the same age), and American Cheese opened two years ago.

While I was snapping pictures, a woman had come in and asked for a good cheddar cheese. In my head, I was thinking, they're all good if they're in here, and Erin's response was that they were all good, but it depends on what you prefer. A sweeter cheese? Something sharper? American Cheese has a cheese for everyone. Unless you're vegan. Then, my friend, you are out of luck. As the name of the shop informs patrons, all of the cheeses sold here are created in the United States, and are from various locations throughout the country. Erin also stocks local favorites, such as Miss Amy's Preserves.

 We chatted some more and realized we have a mutual friend in common - Niko Krommydas. I should have known, Niko knows everyone. He actually wrote a few pieces mentioning American Cheese for Long Island Pulse - yes, the same place I intern. Once I chose the rest of my goodies to go with my two boxes of cheese (delicious crostini Erin prepares, Olli Calabrese Spicy Salame, and Partners Olive Oil and Herb Crackers), I was on my way. The boxes Erin created were enough for 2-3 people to share. She also put in a generous amount of dried fruit and almonds to enjoy with the cheese.

The cheeses below are Midnight Moon aged Gouda, Bella Balsamic Parmesan (soaked in balsamic vinegar, yum), and Flagship Reserve Cheddar. They were absolutely delicious. I even swung by today to snag a couple snack-sized lunch boxes to take to work with me. I already know what I want to try next time I visit - Erin's custom cheese blend, with fig and local honey.

If you are in the Sayville area, or are just passing through, I would definitely take a detour to American Cheese. This is the perfect snack to bring out to the vineyards, or over to one of the many craft breweries on Long Island. While you're surfing the 'net, make sure to check out American Cheese on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, July 27, 2012

One Lovely Blog!

A few days ago, I found out that my childhood friend, The One With The Red Stethoscope, had nominated me for a "One Lovely Blog" award. Its a great way to find new blogs, and to tell your friends in the blogosphere that you think they're swell.

Courtesy of Red Stethoscope

The rule is that once you have been nominated, you are to nominate three other people for the award. Pretty sweet, right? Now for the three bloggers I have chosen, they are not only some of my favorite bloggers, but they are also my favorite Instagrammers and my pen pals as well! I am an awfully lucky lady. Now, I present my three nominees:

The Blogture - Nicole is always posting something wonderful about fashion. I can't always make it over to the blog, but I get all of her blog posts in my emails, so I am always up to date on what she is up to. Like myself, Nicole loves to interview people, and her latest blog is an interview with fashion blogger, Rachel Schwartzmann.

brilliant nature - Corinne is a fellow Long Islander who just made the move to Nashville with her boyfriend, Andrew. Back in the day, we both used to sling lattes at Starbucks, wishing we were somewhere else instead. Corinne takes beautiful pictures, has a killer wardrobe and tells the best stories. She recently blogged about last week on instagram - if you take a close look, you can see the sleepy little postcard I sent her in the bottom right picture!

forwardfromtheheart - Sally is the ringleader behind our pen pal club! She is the proud mama of two adorable little dudes, posts the best recipes/food pictures involving avocado (mmmmm!), and is a Pilates instructor. Pilates is something I really want to try - I've only done mat Pilates, but I will be calling a local studio next week to inquire about classes. Recently, Sally raised the question about Pilates as an Olympic sport, which is really awesome.

Go discover some new reads, folks! Are there any blogs you think are great and you would like to share with us? Feel free to comment below and share some of your favorite reads.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Free Marc Jacobs? I'll Take It!

A few months ago, I had signed up with Oasap's blogger-friendly Fashion Hunter Program. They hooked me up with a free credit, which sat there for three months. Finally, I decided to put it to good use. I didn't want to spend any money out of pocket, so I had to find something that fit within the price range of the credit I had been given. Since there is no tax, plus free shipping, I got more bang for my buck. I decided to get something simple, to store my jewelry. I chose a Marc By Marc Jacobs makeup bag. Its a really cute print, featuring Miss Marc.

I separated my accessories into smaller bags: rings, bracelets, charms, chains, earrings, necklaces, etc. Instead of spending time untangling necklaces or looking everywhere for a missing earring, this makes it a lot easier.

 I love how nearly all of jewelry is handmade, and has been handcrafted by many ladies I am lucky to call my friends. Its so nice wearing something that has meaning to it, and is made just for me!

 I know a lot of people use jewelry trees, cork boards, or jewelry boxes to store their wares, but I feel this far more practical for me. How do you store your accessories?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Music Monday: Weezer.

I've been a fan of Weezer since middle school. I remember seeing the video for "Undone - The Sweater Song" at 3a on MTV back in middle school. I was intrigued by the band and fell in love. Over the years, I have seen Weezer play often (once my mom even had Florida state troopers looking for me and my friend, Tami, but that's another story in itself), and really enjoy the show they put on. Here is one of their most recent videos, for the song "Pork and Beans." The video features internet celebrities, memes and homages to certain television shows/films. If you haven't listened to Weezer before, or haven't seen a video, their videos are always pretty entertaining (check out YouTube for the  "Buddy Holly" video) and their songs are catchy. This track is off the bands 2008 release, known as "The Red Album." Happy watching/listening!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Single-Serving Natural Beauty? La Fresh Covers Your Bases.

Natural beauty products that don't violate your wallet are hard to come by. Finding travel-friendly versions is harder than finding a needle in a haystack... or, at least it seems to be. In my internet window-shopping, I came across LA Fresh eco-beauty singles. LA Fresh offers a plethora of products (makeup remover, nail polish remover, face cleanser, body lotion, deodorant, etc.) in single-serving packets that can be tossed in your purse or luggage, without the fear of exploding products staining (or even worse, stinking up) that overpriced designer bag you just had to have. I didn't get my hands on everything LA Fresh has to offer, but I did get to try the acetone-free nail polish remover, waterproof makeup remover, and anti-bacterial wipes.

 I really love the packaging the LA Fresh products come in. Simple yet inviting, with the ingredients listed on the pack. The bags open with a metal snap on the top, so no annoying plastic zipper that breaks and decorates your bag with packets. The bags can also be reused, as the cardboard insert with product information is removable.

The first product I tested was the Healthy Hand Sanitizer. I wanted to give this a run for its money, so I used it after giving my cats their treats, which are pungent, to say the least. My hands stunk of freeze-dried whitefish. When I opened the packet, I opened up the wipe, which is a pretty decent size. The scent is light, and does not remind me of a doctor's office. Most anti-bacterial wipes smell annoyingly sterile. These smelled really nice! They also removed the fish scent from my hand. My skin dried quickly, but was not dried out. Definitely a plus! 

I used the Waterproof Makeup Remover next. Now, I am not one to wear makeup on the regular (tinted lip moisturizer and oil-free moisturizer is my routine), but I went all out, well, at least all out for me, in order to test these babies. I put on lipstick, creme eyeshadow, waterproof liquid eyeliner, and mascara. I went out for a few hours for a friend's birthday party, then used this before bed. The scent of the wipe was strong, but smelled nice regardless. The wipe was a decent size, and got all of my makeup off quickly. The only downfall? My face felt super oily, but the wipe IS primarily oil-based. I waited a few minutes to go into the bathroom and wash my face, to see if the scent faded. It did, but not as much as I would have liked. But, I am a gal who doesn't use perfume and avoids strong scents. For some, this might be just fine. When I washed my face, the scent disappeared, which I liked.

The last product I tried was the Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover. I used it to remove Essie's Pretty Edgy from my toes. When I opened the package, I had to double-check to make sure this was the nail polish remover. It smelled amazing. How is this humanly possible? Nail polish remover is supposed to burn your nostrils, right? Well, this smelled the best out of all three products I tested. The wipe is textured, which would be really useful for those stubborn glitter polishes. I recommend starting with your smaller toes, and working your way inward, as the wipe will become covered in polish. I only used this on my toes, but there is no way I would have been able to use it for both my hands and feet. If you want to remove a mani/pedi, make sure you have two packets on hand.

Overall? LA Fresh packets are definitely worth purchasing. Not only are these good on the go, they would be great as a backup if you run out of your usual product, and would be really great in a goodie bag for a gal's birthday party. I really want to try their deodorant packets, simply because the fact that its deodorant in a packet is intriguing. I'm also curious to see how their sunscreen, insect repellent and dental mitts work. LA Fresh is running a sale on numerous items on their site, and offers free shipping over $50. I also noticed they carry items for men, pets and your tech gadgets. That makes it a bit easier to rack up $50 on the site, now that you can cover your bases for all of the travelers in your house.

Have you come across any other natural to-go products that you love? If so, let me know. These are the first that I have found that fit my needs.

Monday, July 16, 2012

UNIQLO x Coca-Cola Giveaway.

Last month, the folks over at UNIQLO clothing contacted me and asked if I would mind giving away a few free tees, to show off their UT Grand Prix 2012 design contest winners. They told me that the theme was Coca-Cola, and I immediately said said yes. First of all, I am all for supporting the artistic creations of others. Secondly, my family loves Coca-Cola. I remember reading the email and texting my cousin, Lisa, to tell her about it. Since I was a little girl, Coca-Cola has always been a household fixture (even when I was too young to drink it). My mom has lots of Coca-Cola holiday memorabilia - she even snagged a few of those awesome grocery store displays when I was younger. I spent my summer in Italy a few years back, and I made sure to collect as many Coca-Cola glasses from McDonald's (yes, they are everywhere) as I could pack in my suitcase for my Uncle John. Don't worry, I only ate McDonald's twice while I was abroad.

Out of 6,288 entries from 22 countries, only ten winners were chosen. Below are the winning designs, which are up for grabs. The shirts are mens sizing (click here for size chart), and are pretty slim fitting. The shirts are valued at $19 each.



To enter the contest, check out the Rafflecopter contest entry below. The more entries you complete, the better your chances of winning are. Which design is your favorite? I chose the design on the bottom right. Have fun and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Here, There, and Everywhere.

Recently, I have been MIA on the blog. Things have been pretty hectic over here, but in a good way. I finally snagged a part-time job, which means I will have income rolling in. Its not what I thought I would be doing, but its close to home and its money. One school starts up I have to find a month-long student teaching placement. The hours will collide, so I don't know how that will pan out. I'm really not concerned at the moment, because I need to figure out what the academic deal is on the first day of class. Speaking of class, I started summer classes: part deux. Same professor, less classes, but much longer hours. I love the professor and the course, and my classmates are great - definitely makes a five-hour classes bearable. Next week is the final week, but due to the holiday vacation, I will be in class 25 hours next week. Not to mention I still have to go to work, put in some hours at my internship, plus do required schoolwork. I can't wait until the weekend is here, and this weekend isn't even over already!

Lets see, what else is new in my neck of the woods. Oh, I colored my hair again. I decided that before I head back to the classroom, my mane needed some fun colors. My friend Christina redid my highlights, then added some pink, purple, and teal. The teal (which was a mixture of a green and blue hair dye) wound up spreading all over my head, so its a unique shade at the moment, but it looks pretty cool. She plans on adding more pink into it, so she can enter a color contest this summer. 

Lazing around on July 4.

I keep forgetting to post about this, but I met Tony Lucca! He played a free show at Tanger Outlets in Deer Park at the end of June (told you I was behind on posts). I wound up running the merch table and met some really nice local fans of his, which I will see at the NYC show in November - the show is during the week of my 30th birthday, so if you dig his music you should definitely join me! Like I mentioned in a previous post, Lucca sounds phenomenal during live performances, and now I got to experience it in the flesh. It was pretty hot out, but that didn't affect him or his bandmates. Vocals were on pitch, guitars were in tune, and the audience loved it. Seeing as the venue did little to no promotion for the event, there was a decent turnout. Had they actually promoted it, even if it were just a week prior to the show, the turnout would have been at least double. I took my photographer, Avalon, with me. This was her first show, and she was a bit nervous. I told her to just go for it, and I think she did pretty well, seeing as this was new territory for her. Sometimes you need to be thrown into the water in order to learn how to swim. While slinging merch, a lot of folks came up to me and said they had never heard of Tony Lucca before, but they really enjoyed his music. Every single person who said that to me bought at least one CD, which was awesome. 


 I didn't speak to Lucca until after the show, but he's a really nice guy. His bandmates, Steve and Mic, are pretty awesome as well. Definitely folks you could sit down and bullshit with over a cold beer or three. Too bad there wasn't time to catch another interview over a game of darts. Maybe next time. 

Me and Tony after the Tanger show.

One of my best friends since childhood came for a quick visit on Friday. Sean came to New York on business, but caught a flight to Long Island so we could hang for the earlier part of the day. We feasted on bagel egg sandwiches at Corey Beach, lunched with my friends The Rachel's (they are both named Rachel and they are best friends, its awesome) at C'est Cheese, and Sean had his first taste of Ralph's Famous Italian Ices. It was a fun-filled afternoon, and I was sad to see him go. Hopefully I will be able to see him after he gets back from London - he will be at the Olympics this year!

C'est Cheese in Port Jefferson = insanely delicious!

I wish I could write more, but I have an overabundance of schoolwork to complete before class tomorrow. I had planned on getting some done during the week, but I decided that enjoying myself was a bit more important. Sometimes you just need to live a little. When it comes to academics, I perform best under pressure anyway, so getting everything done in one day is a challenge I enjoy. I hope you all enjoyed your weekend and have a great week! 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Suicide Pact: JJAMZ [album review].

Last month, I gushed about how stoked I was for JJAMZ to release their debut album, Suicide Pact. The awesome folks over at Dangerbird Records send a digital copy my way, so I could give readers a review of the album before it hit stores. Now, when I listen to an album, I always attempt to enjoy it from start to finish. Most times, I end up skipping songs, or just turning the music off altogether. I loved Suicide Pact so much that I listened to it in its entirety, then gave it another listen as I was skimming the latest issue of Long Island Pulse Magazine (I proofread most of it in the office a few weeks ago, so I read what I hadn't at my internship).

This is the best album I have heard this year, by far. I even like it better than the latest Fiona Apple record (which I thoroughly enjoyed). Yeah, I just went there. If major music publications don't have this album listed in their Best of 2012, I might lose what little faith I have left in humanity.

Suicide Pact clocks in at around forty minutes, and opens up with a rousing entrance of instrumentation, followed by vocals, courtesy of Z Berg on the track "Get What You Want." Within the first minute of the song, you get an idea of what the band has been working on for the last six years - good things come to those who wait. Bandmates Greenwald and Michael Runion accompany Z on many of the tracks, but these gentlemen are no slouches. Runion takes the vocal reins, dancing listeners through "Cleverly Disguised," and Greenwald bares his cords on "LAX." With that said, this album is truly a team effort, and Jason Boesel and James Valentine are essential pieces of this musical equation. Even though this is the bands debut album, they are seasoned musicians, and it shows. The instrumentation, syncopation and harmonization is on point, and seems to be effortless between these long-time friends.

While I love this album in its entirety, here are a few of my favorite tracks:
Suicide Pact - Even with the lyrics "you turned your back on the suicide pact + left me dancing with the dead; all you had to do was simply follow through," you can't help but dance in your seat a bit. Who would have thought a song about death could be so fun?
You Were My Home - I don't know why, but this reminded me of The Cure, especially the guitar on this track. Around the 2:23 mark, Z's voice reminds me of Björk's "Human Behaviour." Maybe I'm just a bit strange, but the build-up just made me think of that song each time I listened to this.
Poolside - Fuck, Z, you killed it on this track. I truly love Z's voice, and I feel this song just shows off her vocal range beautifully. Again, top-notch instrumentation and balance. This is also now one of my favorite songs to sing while driving. How can you not help belt this out from behind the wheel?

Suicide Pact will be available July 10 via  iTunes, Amazon + Dangerbird Records. If you are impatient, you can pre-order the album. If you are in the New York area, JJAMZ will be playing at Webster Hall on the album release day, supporting Neon Trees. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster. Additional tour dates are listed on the JJAMZ site.