Saturday, March 31, 2012

Five Things.

This week was pretty out of the ordinary, to say the least. More hectic than normal, but in a good sense. I didn't run as much as I wanted to (only ran Tuesday, but running tonight), but I was rather active throughout the week. Here are a few things that made this week worthwhile.

01. Sokenbicha Revive
After running on Tuesday, I had to go to class. I didn't have time to stop anywhere en route, so I hit up the school cafeteria. My school has such an array of items, and the ladies make the best grilled cheese sandwiches (the week after Easter, I am definitely feasting on one after running). I wanted something besides water to quench my thirst. Oolong tea, black tea, rose petals rose hips, and ginseng? I knew this was up my alley. Once I got into class, I took a quick sip, and was hooked. I finished the bottle within thirty minutes, and actually walked out of class to buy another one. When I was downstairs, I asked if I could buy a case, because Whole Foods is the only place that carries this, and I didn't want to drive 40 or so minutes for tea, if I could snag it on campus. Long story short, in order to get me through Spring Break, the cafeteria manager sold it to me for just above cost. They're actually discontinuing this brand on campus, but since they know I'll be purchasing Revive, they are going to keep it stocked for me. So awesome. Another simple reason why my school rules. 

02. Nail Art
I used to paint my nails twice a week, but with school, side projects and what-not, my nails weren't the top of my priorities list. I took some time on Friday, to tend to my digits. I used Color Club Age of Aquarius, and topped it with a few glitters. The tips are donned with Essie Luxeffects A Cut Above (varying sizes of pink glitter) and Set In Stones (same style as A Cut Above, but in silver). After I let the tips dry, I applied Essie Pure Pearlfection, which is a fine white shimmer, that just makes the color pop, without overpowering the polish.

03. The Kittens
In less than a month, our babies will be turning one! Time flies, and they've grown so much. When we found them on May 21, Puar weighed 15.1 ounces and Penelope weighed 14.2 ounces. When I weighed them this morning, they weight 14.2 pounds and 13 pounds, respectively. Even though they have gotten huge, they still crawl into my lap and on my chest, just like they did when they were tiny, orphaned babies. Erich and I have raised them since they were three weeks old, so we are their parents. Its also amusing at how human they think they are sometimes. Penny tries to drink out of water bottles and can open doors now. 

04. Pandora - Brand New Radio
Brand New is one of my favorite bands, and they just so happen to be from Long Island. Anytime I put this station on when I use Pandora, a solid mix is guaranteed. While driving to meet up with a friend, Taking Back Sunday's Cute Without The 'E' came on, and I was super stoked. Tell All Your Friends is the only TBS album that I can listen to, from start to finish. I have a plethora of memories connected to this album, which, as of March 26, is ten years old. Once I heard this, I knew the day was going to be fantastic, and it really was!

 05. Curry Kebob House
After I helped a friend with a party, I met up with my mom at Starbucks. We decided to try an Indian restaurant that one of her school instructors works at, in Medford. My mom had never eaten Indian/Pakistani cuisine before, so I was excited for her. Her instructor, Christine, is so nice. She suggested Weight Watchers friendly food, plus some other indulgences. We chose Chicken Tikka (pictured below) and Paneer Jalfrezi. This was the best Indian food I have ever had. Fresh, flavorful, and made with great care. We met the owner and his wife, who both share the cooking duties. They care about their customers and their staff - Christine said they're her second family. The prices were great, the atmosphere was just right, and it was a great way to spend a Friday night with my momma.

I ate a lot of food, probably more than I should have, but I wasn't worried. I had been eating pretty well most of the week, and the feast we had last night was well worth it! I weighed myself today and I lost 1.2 pounds this week (3.2 pounds in three weeks - not bad), so I must be doing something right. Its strange counting points, as opposed to calories. I used to try and stay under 1,100 calories a day, but I definitely was not eating balanced meals. With my points, the fat, carbs, fiber and protein are taken into account. I am eating more food, but I am more satisfied. When I counted calories, I would often feel unfulfilled, then binge. I never thought I would say this, but the Weight Watchers program has changed the way I view food, even only after a few weeks. I have been making more healthful, mindful food choices. 

Spring break has officially begun for me, and I am really excited. I am hoping to get some photos done for the blog, and get more entries in. The next contest is ready to go, and will be up next week. The year that was looking terrible back in January is looking pretty promising now.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Treat Yourself!

This weekend, I decided I was going to try and eat even healthier than I have been. My friend, Niko, is a personal trainer, and said that I might be eating too much sugar. Between the soymilk in my coffee drinks, my yogurts, frozen yogurt, snacks, and even the fruit I have been consuming, I needed to cut it down somehow. When I went grocery shopping, I bought lots of fish, tofu, nuts, and vegetables. I started drinking my iced coffee black with a sprinkle of cinnamon powder. I cut down my fruit consumption to one piece per day, and upped my vegetable intake. I also cut down on the junk food, yogurt, and frozen yogurt. Today wasn’t the best in the sugar department, though. I had a Chobani 0% Vanilla with a crumbled Thin Mint mixed in, and I had frozen yogurt for dinner. I’ve done worse damage before, so I’m not going to cry about it. Plus, I ran yesterday, and ate super healthy all day. Like Tom and Donna said on Parks and Recreation – treat yourself! Moderation is super important, at least for me.

Vanilla yogurt + Thin Mints = L-O-V-E.

Toppings on my frozen yogurt is rarity and a treat.
Photo from last week -  no toppings for me tonight!
Dole for days.
Lots of crunchy snacks, perfect to pair with hummus.
I did well in the grocery store! Lots of healthy snacks.

On Monday, I cooked a few staple items to get me through the first half of the week. I made some quinoa, tofu stir-fry scramble, chunky tomato sauce, sautéed spinach, and sautéed mushrooms with onions. I am not a fan of being a slave to the kitchen on a daily basis – I’d much rather spend four hours in the kitchen, twice a week, prepping and cooking. Here is one of the items I concocted this week. 

Tofu Stir-Fry Scramble
1 package firm tofu
½ cup Newman’s Own Low Fat Sesame Ginger Salad Dressing
1 tbsp + 1 tsp Sesame Oil
1 red pepper, sliced and cut into nice-sized pieces
½ pound broccoli, cut into nice-sized pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped

First, press water out of the tofu. The easiest way is to wrap the tofu in paper towels, and place a heavy plate on top. I change the paper towels about three times, in order to soak up as much water as possible. I then cut the tofu into 1.5-inch cubes, and place in a glass dish with a lid. I pour the salad dressing on as the marinade. Put the lid on your container, give a quick shake, and toss in the fridge for at least an hour. I left mine in for two.

I usually find something else to do in the kitchen while I wait for foods to marinate – slice my veggies, pull out proper cookware, and to create other items. I try to cook for a few days when I’m in the kitchen, that way everything is ready to go when hunger strikes.

About fifteen minutes before you want to pull the tofu out, toss a teaspoon of Sesame Oil into a pot. Toss the garlic in and turn the heat on. Once the garlic starts to simmer, toss in the peppers and broccoli, then cover. Turn the heat to low, and occasionally stir the ingredients around. I always toss my broccoli in right after I rinse and shake it off, so the water in the florets and the juices in the peppers help everything steam. After about five minutes or so, you don’t see any steam action, toss in a tablespoon or two of water, and stir your vegetables. This should do the trick. Once the vegetables start to get soft, turn the heat off and remove the lid.

In a large frying pan, add a tablespoon of Sesame Oil. Let the oil heat up, and then carefully add the tofu. Cover the tofu with the oil, and move everything around. I didn’t want chunks of fried tofu, I just wanted to incorporate a bit more flavor into the tofu, and I figured this would be a nice way to do that. Once most of the oil is absorbed, toss the vegetables in and incorporate all ingredients. Remove pan from heat and serve.

I some alone, and then tried it on top on quinoa. I liked it both ways!

Tofu stir-fry scramble, so delicious!

What are some healthy recipes that you enjoy making?

Kintage Is Here!

I have been following Aileen, over at BarkerZoo, for a few months. I love reading about her life in California, her animals (especially the three-week old chicks), and her creations for her store, Kintage. I have been waiting for the store to open. Two weeks ago, Kintage finally went live. I've been so busy with school, cooking, and other things, that I didn't really get to look until today. 

Oh my goodness. Am I in heaven? Kintage is amazing! I mean, I knew the store was going to be awesome, but I am sitting next to Erich, and every time he hears me say oooh, aaah, or wow, he asks what I'm looking at. He finally stopped asking, because I kept saying Kintage! Everything in the store is affordable, and if you use the coupon code BARKERZOO, you get 10% off all items! Here are some pieces that I am in love with.

Chased By Lace Dress, $38

Deer-lerious Necklace, $22

Lace is Grace Dress, $38

Line By Line Dress, $36

Foxy Lady Ring, $12

Floral Elegance Purse, $42

French Farmhouse Crate and Bottles, $16

The dresses and accessories are gorgeous, and the French Farmhouse Crate and Bottles would make the best housewarming gift! Once I have a few extra bucks to spare, I definitely plan on snagging a few pieces for Spring/Summer.

If you haven't checked out Kintage yet, click here to go visit. Trust me, you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Music Tuesday: Everybody Else

Back in my adventuring heyday, I was heavily involved in music, and I was really into the Los Angeles music scene at the time. This was back when Maroon 5 would be able to play a venue on Long Island, and walk around busy towns, virtually unnoticed. Yeah, that used to happen, even after Songs About Jane had been released by Octone Records. Wow, I feel really old right now.

I would often make trips out to California, to visit my friend Melissa. We would always hit up a handful of shows while I was out there, and even a few band practices. There were even a few bands that I would sell merch for when they were in the New York area. One of those bands, Everybody Else, is today's featured artist. 

In 2002, their former bassist messaged me on Friendster (yes, Friendster - the grandfather of social networking sites), to tell me about the band they had just formed. Long story short, I fell in love with the EP. Ten years later, I am still listening to the band. Here is the video for First Class, which is off the album, Wanderlust, which was released in 2011. 

If you like what you saw/heard, check them out on iTunes (my favorite songs are Always, Faker, Makeup, Soldier Without an Army and Without YouIf you prefer a hard-copy of your music (which I do), you can purchase all of their albums and some custom merch here. Most of the artwork you'll see is made by their talented singer/guitarist, Carrick Moore Gerety. Support independent artists!

2004: Being silly + selling merch for Everybody Else at CBGB.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Kouture: Taking Fashion to a Whole New Level.

As I've mentioned in the past, I am a huge fan of Instagram. If you are unfamiliar with Instagram, it is an app that you can use to edit and share photos. You can use hashtags for pictures, so they can be searched by users in the Instagram community. I have befriended lots of people, over shared interests. One of those people is Kiley Miltsch. Last year, I came across her Instagram account, and she had this awesome dress I inquired about. She answered me promptly, and was super nice. You can choose who to follow on Instagram, so I decided to add her. I'm glad I did, because she has great fashion sense and family is very important to her, which I think is really cool. I found out a few months back that she will be opening her very own store, Kouture, in her hometown of Rochester, New York. Kouture will also have an online store, which will carry all of the goodies at the flagship store. Some of the brands Kiley will be carrying are House of Harlow, Jeffrey Campbell, Paige Premium Denim, and UNIF - just to name a few. I asked Kiley to connect with our readers, to let them know a little bit about the girl behind Kouture. 

Hi, Kiley! Tell the readers a little bit about yourself.
I’m a 20-year-old entrepreneur and fashionista from Rochester, NY. I’m also a fashion blogger and the founder of Kouture, a women’s boutique. Kouture is my brain child and I’ve been working on for almost 2 years now. The first store is opening Spring 2012 in Rochester, New York, and the online store will also launch then. I consider myself an artist, and fashion is my outlet. I’m a very laid-back person, but when it comes to my outfit choices, I’m always over the top.

When did you realize you wanted to work within the world of fashion?
I started working at a store called L’Avant Garbe when I turned 15. I used to go in there all the time when I was in middle school and asked the owner, Lori, for a job when I was only in 6th grade. It was something I always knew I wanted to do. I remember she called me on a Friday night when I was a sophomore in high school and I started working the next morning. Lori took me on my first buying trip to Coterie when I was 18, and that’s when it really set in that this was going to be my career. I was so lucky to be given that opportunity.

Kylie's Coterie buying trip, stocking the shelves of Kouture!

How old were you when you decided that you wanted to open your own boutique?
To be honest, I never thought about having my own store because LVG was my main focus, but I think Lori always knew I was destined to follow in her footsteps. Lori moved to France and closed the doors of LVG in 2009 and that was when the whole idea of “Kouture” was born.

This dream took how many years to become a reality?
Well, LVG closed in September of ’09, and we have been developing Kouture since then, so it’s been about a year and a half of planning.

Family is an important part of your life – your Instagram is always featuring many members of your family, which I love. How does your family inspire you?
I love that we have never met in person, yet you know how important family is to me. My dad’s work ethic is unreal. He was raised in a strict German household, growing up where hard work was expected. He has taught me that nothing will happen without hard work, it’s definitely inspiring. My nieces are my biggest motivation. Being able to provide them with a future is ultimately what I’m working for. I always have believed that everything happens for a reason and I was blessed with four nieces, if that’s not the next generation of Kouture… I don’t know what is!!

Kiley's niece, Molly, is already a budding fashionista!
Lets get down to some fashion questions! What are some signature pieces in your wardrobe?
All of my shoes! I’m addicted to Jeffrey Campbell. Shoes are such a staple piece of any outfit. You can be wearing just jeans and a white t-shirt but if you have killer heels on, it’s automatically stylish. My 2-year-old niece has already claimed all of my shoes for when she gets bigger, she’s too funny.

Who are your favorite designers?
Right now… Jeffrey Campbell, UNIF, Style Stalker, Ivan Grundahl, MINKPINK, and Wildfox. I’m also a huge fan of ACNE and Opening Ceremony.

What trends do you think are going to be big for 2012? What about for 2013?
This whole 90’s grunge look is big right now. Spikes, studs, American flags, ripped pieces, leather… its everywhere and its not stopping. I recently started ordering for fall 2012 and its still going strong. I’ll have to wait until the next Coterie to see what will trend for 2013. It’s hard to tell, the fashion scene is always changing.

WEALTH photo shoot, styled by Kiley. 

What are some versatile pieces you think every girl should have in her closet?
Every girl needs a pair of American Apparel black disco pants, a pair of Lita’s, a badass leather jacket, and a nice bag. Basics are important. A dress that can transition from night to day is always a great piece to own. I recently just purchased a long sleeved black dress by For Love and Lemons and I’ve been living it.

Any wardrobe tips for the gentlemen?
I can’t tell you how many people ask me about this, and my answer is always the same: I know nothing about men’s clothes! The only tip I have is to not match your hat, shirt, and shoes. That might be the worst look EVER.

If you could style one person of your choice, who would it be? What would you choose for them?
Kreayshawn! I love her style, it’s so different than anything I’ve ever seen, and she gives me a lot of inspiration. The best part about her style is that it’s effortless. She’s described herself as a “90’s teeny bopper in London from the hood” (haha). She’s cool. I’d love to dress her in UNIF. She’s anti-stylist, which I respect, so I don’t know if styling Kreayshawn would ever happen, but maybe I can be her personal shopper. I’d love to send her some goodies from Kouture and let her style it.

Besides selling wearable works of art, do you think that you will ever start your own line?
Absolutely! Not any time soon though, maybe once Kouture is established and I have some extra time.

You are a go-getter, so I bet you already have something else up your sleeve – what is the next step for you?
That’s a compliment, thank you. The next step is to get the doors open in Rochester and build my online store into something big. And after that, expand Kouture into other major cities. Rochester is just the beginning, it’s a starting point and a platform to build off of. I hope people can really understand that Kouture is going to be so much more than just a store. It’s a lifestyle.

Where do you see yourself and Kouture, five years from now?
I have big dreams. I see myself living in Rochester still because I could never live away from my nieces but doing a lot of traveling. I’d like to see myself growing the “Kiley Kouture” brand and doing personal shopping/styling for some big names. Hopefully there will be a few Kouture stores starting to pop up and I can expand to the West coast. I have my eyes on LA. Maybe I’ll have a big warehouse space for Anything is possible with drive and motivation.

A bit off-topic, but I know that music is a great motivator for most of the people I speak with, and I’m sure Kouture will always be boasting a killer soundtrack. Choose ten songs to make a mini Kouture playlist for our readers.
I’m a huge fan of anything rap which, in my opinion, is the staple of motivation music.  It’s all about working hard and getting money. The music I play in Kouture probably won’t be what I’m listening to in my car (haha) but these are the top 10 songs that come to my head:
Did it on em’ – Nicki Minaj
Stay Schemin – Rick Ross
Peso – ASAP Rocky
Juicy – Biggie Smalls
Make Me Proud – Drake/Nicki Minaj
I’m about cream – Meek Mill
I’m the best – Nicki Minaj
Steady Mobbin’ – Lil Wayne
Who gon’ stop me – Jay Z/Kanye West
HYFR- Drake/Lil Wayne    

I can't wait for Kouture to open - Kiley has been working diligently, and I love to see my friends succeed! 

Venture over to the Kouture website, and make sure you check out Kiley's blog. If you're on Instagram, you can Kiley under the name KileyKouture. If you dig the songs Kiley chose, I made a playlist on Spotify, which you can snag here.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

GK Lion Special.

Last month, I mentioned that my friends, Zack Jones and Sean Harvey, were making a video of epic proportions, to help me raise funds for the 5K I am running on April 28 at The Bronx Zoo. We got a sneak peek back in February, with Ginger Talk, the prequel to the GK Lion Special. They have been working tirelessly on the video, and today, it was finally finished.

I can't thank Zack and Sean enough for helping me out with this. I think the video is hilarious. A lot of hard work and effort went into the creation of this, and I am grateful that my friends put this together. Back in February, I had mentioned to Zack that I was collecting donations for my run (if you'd like to donate, click here). He didn't have the funds to contribute, but he said he would make me a video. This is more than I could have asked for, I am so grateful. Some of you might not find the video to be your cup of tea, but the guys did this whole thing to help me raise money, so please respect their art.

Here is the GK Lion Special, enjoy!

Old Habits Die Hard.

This week on Bloggers for Health, we were asked to recognize our bad  habits, and what steps we are taking to make changes.

Since I have been more conscious of my fitness and what I've been eating, I am more attuned to the bad habits I have. Here are a few I noticed this week: I have an insane sweet tooth, salt is also a problem, I drink far too many iced soy lattes, I don't drink nearly enough water, and I need to eat more vegetables. Seeing as I have had to count points for everything I put into my mouth, I am noticing patterns and becoming more aware of what I eat. 

It also didn't help that my "lady friend" came to visit in the middle of the week, so I definitely did some emotional eating. When I weighed in this morning, I am the same weight as last week. I was a bit bummed, but then I realized that I used all of my extra points this week, PLUS my activity points. I also went out to run three times this week, plus went out for two walks on the days I didn't run. After I post this, I am going to hop on my mom's exercise bike for at least fifteen minutes, and flip through the latest issue of NYLON. My weight not budging could be attributed to a few things - eating so much food this week (I didn't go over any allotted points, though), retaining water due to all of the salt I ate, or muscle gain. 

Now, what exactly have I decided to do about these bad habits? I decided to break them down, by each issue, in case you have the same problems as I do.

1. Sweet Tooth: Allow myself one small "junk food" treat per day. If I decide to go and get frozen yogurt, the only toppings I am adding are fruit. I usually don't ever put toppings on, but this week, I went a bit crazy and was sugar happy. Once in awhile is alright, but its not good to do regularly. I am going to try and cut down my sugar in all aspects of food I eat. I am going to incorporate more fruit, but I am not going to overdo that, either.

2. Salt: I had corned beef, PopChips, popcorn, cheese, canned soup and lots of other salt laden goodies this week. I'm just going to have to read labels more closely, and use other spices for flavor. We also got takeout a couple times this week, which didn't help, either. On Sunday, I plan on preparing some healthy goodies for the upcoming week, so I have healthy snacks/meals on hand.

3. Iced Soy Lattes: I don't add additional sugar to my coffee beverages, so this one will be a cinch to resolve - switch to iced coffee with soy, or drink unsweetened iced tea. I also have a bad habit of drinking Sugar Free Red Bull, which I am putting a stop to. Once the remaining cans in my fridge are gone (I bought a case back in January), I'm not buying anymore.

4. Water: I have a very strange relationship regarding drinking water - the less water I drink, the less appealing it is to me. The more I drink, the more I want it. I have been picking up two 33.8 oz water bottles at night, and have to drink them the next day. I know, water bottles aren't the best thing to buy, but I have owned numerous reusable water bottles in the past. The either get misplaced, they sit in my car for days, and they overall just creep me out. If buying bottles of water will keep me hydrated, then so be it.

5. Vegetables: I love veggies, but sometimes I'm too lazy to prepare them. This week, I noshed on  grape tomatoes, baby carrots, brussels sprouts, grilled vegetables, and salads. Not horrible, but I could incorporate more colorful and varied items into my regime. When I run to the store, I am going to grab an assortment of vegetables - especially ones that I can toss into my purse and eat on the go. 

Now that I have a plan of attack for this week, I am going to make a note and stick it to my front door, with those  five problems jotted on it. It'll be a small reminder for me to develop healthier habits. What are some habits that you'd like to 

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Little Tuneage To Get You Through The Weekend.

This is a song from my friend, Gordon Kenny's band, Double Wonderful. I first met Gordon, when he was in the band, The NSG. We met at Nassau Community College, when they were supposed to play a show with My Chemical Romance. MCR didn't show up, for a family illness/death, so Straylight Run filled in. Gordon also introduced me to Degrassi, so I am eternally grateful to him.

Its happy and catchy. If you dig it, here's another video to dance around to. I can't help but giggle at the antics of Gordon + Matt.

May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor.

I was supposed to see The Hunger Games at 12:01a today, but I didn't want to throw off our sleep schedule, so I returned our tickets. I also had to babysit at 6:30 this morning, so that would have been disastrous. I am patiently waiting 'til I feast my eyes on this gem. I read all three books, and thoroughly enjoyed them. 

Since I got home, today has been a lazy afternoon with Erich. I went outside for a quick run while he did some homework - I had trouble breathing, so I cut the run short today. I'm pretty congested and haven't been feeling so hot the last few days, so I'm sure that has something to do with it. I ran up to the latte hut to snag some iced coffee (I switched from an iced soy latte to iced coffee with soy, to cut out unnecessary calories), and picked up a delicious fruit salad from Edible Arrangements - yes, the same place with the ridiculously awesome - and overpriced - fruit baskets. We drove to Heckscher State Park to enjoy the scenery, then proceeded to drive around aimlessly for about fifteen minutes.

When we were stuck in traffic on Sunrise Highway, I got anxious. People cutting each other off, braking out of nowhere, and gigantic trucks - everywhere. I distracted myself by looking at my iPhone. I found a hilarious meme for The Hunger Games earlier today, so I went looking for more.  If you're not familiar with what memes are, read up on them here.

Here are a few that had me hysterically laughing. If you haven't read the books or seen the movie, these might not make too much sense, so I apologize. All images courtesy of Meme Generator.

Alright, enough memes. I'm going to attempt to braid my hair like Katniss for the movie tonight, thanks to the Refinery29 tutorial. I've never French braided my hair before, so this might turn out to be a total fail. Lets hope for the best!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

SugarClips Giveaway!

A few days ago, I posted an interview with Bean. I mentioned that she runs a bunch of really awesome Etsy stores, but what I didn't tell you is that she was the next giveaway on the blog. This giveaway is a bit different, though. Read on, ladies and gentleman.

One lucky reader will win a custom made SugarClips hair clip of their choice.

To enter
Go over to the SugarClips Etsy store, and look around. Then, leave a comment (with your name and email address), telling me what your ideal hair clip design would be. It can be something you saw in the store, or something you would want Bean to design for you.

Bonus entries:
Follow short girl, long island via Bloglovin' or GFC.
Like short girl, long island on Facebook or Twitter.
Tweet about the contest, using this tweet: "Check out the SugarClips giveaway @stellarmichele + @beanshootsyou are holding over at short girl, long island.:"

Now, for any extra entries you complete, you must post each in a separate comment. If you put them all into one comment, they will not count. Be sure to include your name and email address, blog link or twitter name in all of your comments, so I can reach you if you are the winner.

Pretty sweet, right? Well, we've got more for you! If the winner of the giveaway also happens to purchase an item from SugarClips between now and March 31, the winner will receive not one, but TWO hair clips of their choice. To make the deal even sweeter, Bean has also provided a 10% coupon code for the SugarClips store: sgli10. No purchase necessary to enter the giveaway, this is just a perk!

Contest ends March 31, 2012 at 11:59p, EST. Winner will be notified via email and will have forty-eight hours to respond.

Good luck!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Why, Michael Bay? Why?

Dear Mr. Bay,

I heard from various news outlets today, that you are taking on the project of the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film. When I heard that, I was stoked! Armageddon was awesome, and the Aaron Burr: Got Milk? commercial was genius - I even showed that to my 11th graders when I was student teaching. What you did with Transformers was great, although Revenge of The Fallen and Dark of The Moon could have had better plots, and you should have kept Megan Fox, even if she was annoying the shit out of you... alright, I'm getting a bit off track here. 

Then, like a silent fart, bitch slapping our olfactory systems without warning, you stunned us all with these words.

Michael Bay talks Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by stuffwelike

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as lovable aliens? Lovable? Absolutely. Aliens? Sorry, the only lovable aliens I'm down with are ALF, Data, E.T., Mork, Spock and a handful of characters from Star Wars

Did you not notice the word mutant in their description? Have you not read the comic books, watched the animated series, or any of the movies (even though, I will admit, most of the films were subpar)?

I looked up the words mutant and mutation, to make sure I wasn't going crazy.

mutant (noun): of, relating to, or produced by mutation : a significant and basic alteration: change; a relatively permanent change in hereditary material involving either a physical change in chromosome relations or a biochemical change in the codons that make up genes;

Nope, not going crazy.

I know, you're a Hollywood bigwig, you can do whatever you'd like. But who is the goon from the studio that said this was alright? This is worse than any movie remake or sequel. I guess because it was Michael Bay who suggested it, they decided that kissing your rear was worth raping and pillaging one of the coolest parts of the late 80s/early 90s. I'm a girl, and I loved TMNT. It was one of the few things I actually agreed on with my younger brother. I even made sure he didn't destroy his action figures, because I told him that one day, they might be worth something. Those action figures? Still safety nestled in his childhood bedroom, in their special TMNT carrying case. Most of his other toys? Maimed beyond recognition - hey, that sounds like exactly what you're going to do with this film!

Others have spoken out across the internet, but I'm sure we will all be ignored for what Hollywood wants. Why? Because you will probably add a plethora of fancy CGI effects and get the hottest celebrities on board for the film, and clueless morons will still see it, regardless of how far off the storyline is. I, for one, won't be there. If this hits theaters with the turtles as aliens, I won't watch any more of your films. If you're going to fuck with my childhood, I'm not putting a cent back into your greedy Hollywood pocket. This might seem crazy to some, but your storyboard ideas for this film are even crazier.

Please, do the world a favor. Don't turn the turtles into aliens. Giorgio Tsoukalos wouldn't do that, and he and Stephen Hawking are the only two dudes who can pull the alien card.

Michele Falcone

P.S. - If they're aliens, then they're technically not turtles anymore, either. 

Interview: Christina "Bean" Fiorino.

If I haven't typed this for all to read, I absolutely love Long Island. There is so much that this 118 mile-long island has to offer. Arts, culture, music, nature - Long Island has it all. Even though I moved away for eleven years, I came up every summer to visit, and dreaded going back to Florida. Through my various ventures, I have met many people who are doing awesome things. Last month, I interviewed Niko Krommydas, beer blogger extraordinaire. This month, I interviewed Christina "Bean" Fiorino, another short girl residing on Long Island. Bean is an artist of various mediums - she has an eye for great vintage finds, she makes killer creations, and is an excellent photographer. Like myself, she is often mistaken for a teenager, but that just means we've retained our youthful glow! ;)

Bean, wearing one of her cookie hair clips.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I come from a family full of artists- all different kinds.  I was lucky enough to be born with the same gift.  My imagination runs wild and it’s hard for me to stay focused on one type of art when there is so many to choose from. I’m a hands-on kind of girl and I don’t mind making a mess (although, I hate cleaning it up).  I was born and raised on Long Island.  There’s tons of competition here, but I learned that you can’t get discouraged by it and only learn and grow and become a better artist.  I’ve been told that in the art world “everything has been done” and that as an artist it’s our job to turn it into something special.  I sort of disagree with this…there are plenty of things that haven’t been done yet…we just aren’t using our imaginations to their fullest potential.  As artists, it’s our jobs to show the world something they haven’t seen yet and inspire future artists.

When did you decide to pursue photography professionally?
It’s never really been a “profession” to me, really.  I started my own business a few years ago, but it’s such a cut-throat industry that eventually I just found it more fulfilling to just photograph for myself.  There’s just so much you can do with photography if you’re not afraid of criticism and rejection.  However, if you start out shooting for yourself, you won’t be afraid to stray away from your comfort zone.

What was the first art medium you worked with?
Probably something made by Crayola.  Does that count? 

How did you come up with the names for your Etsy stores?
For my vintage shop, History, I was looking for a way to incorporate “vintage” without being too literal.  RABBITteeeth I recently confessed to my boyfriend that he was the inspiration behind the name.  Basically, he looks like a rabbit when he sleeps and I just liked the way it sounded.  I added the extra ‘e’ for no special reason.  Finally, I have SugarClips opening soon, which is my hair accessory shop.  I just thought it sounded cute.

Strawberry Glazed Donut, $10 at SugarClips.

When did you start making hair accessories?
Sometime between 2006-2008.  I honestly don’t remember exactly when, but it was my very first Etsy shop.  I sold feathered headbands.  I turned it into a print shop, but eventually closed it due to being too busy with school and work.

What inspires you?
A good song, childhood memories, nature, Disney World and Tim Burton.

Out of all of your art endeavors, which is your favorite?
I guess photography would have to be my favorite since I’ve been working on my skills since I was 15.

Where do you get your design inspiration?
Again I’m going to have to go with Disney and Tim Burton.  There are just so many elements to both.  Disney is extremely whimsical and Burton has a mix of both whimsy and creepy, which sums up a lot of my work.

Sugar Skull, $10 at SugarClips.

Do you plan ahead when you’re designing, or are most of your designs sponataneous?
A little bit of both.  For my hair pieces, I could be out shopping and have something pop into my head and I’ll spend hours planning it or I will be sitting at my desk kneading clay for however long until something strikes.  When it comes to my photographs, 99% of the time it’s planned ahead.

Do you prefer listening to music when working on your pieces? If so, what?
I do prefer it, but more often than not I’ll find myself working in silence.

What is the next step for you?
Most likely getting the hair accessory shop up and running.

What is your favorite piece(s) that you have in your store(s) right now?
My favorite vintage piece is a piece I just sold.  It’s Betsey Johnson dress from her 1980’s “Punk Label” collection.  It was one of those Little Black Dresses with a Betsey twist.    

Bean, wearing the Soft Pretzel clip.

You can check out Bean's photography at Christina Fiorino Photography and her Etsy stores can be found here: History, SugarClips, and RABBITteeeth.