Saturday, January 31, 2015

Linkity Link

There is a blog dedicated to recreating Bob's Burger of the Day + it kinda rules.

Remember the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book series? CBS finally got the ball rolling  + John August is working on the script.

The cast for the Ghostbusters reboot has been finalized + filming should commence this summer. Finally.

Carrick happens to be one of my favorite singers//artists + he's finally releasing a solo album.

Chemists at UC Irvine have figured out how to unboil an egg + it kind of creeps me out.

Damon Hellandbrand's Zodiac art is intense + awesome.

French photographer Maud Chalard's intimate photos remind us that love still exists.

The making of this Dior Couture dress is amazing.

Sriracha + cheese = life. Check out these recipes + whip up some Super Bowl snacks.

Birthday boy Justin Timberlake just announced that he's going to be a daddy.

Dragon Ball Z sneakers? They exist + they're under $30. Rad.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Snow Daze

the calm before the storm
spinnin' records + binging on comics
bacon egg + cheddar biscuit muffins
after the storm
urban decay vice 3 playtime

Monday, January 26, 2015

Music Monday

Friday, January 23, 2015

Linkity Link

Han + Leia = the ultimate power couple. Glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Panda Bear's latest album, Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper, is really rad. Go listen.

Want to write a book? Here are 24 things no one tells you about book publishing.

There is a dancing Jesus coloring book. He's doing The Carlton on the cover. NEED.

Chris + Liam Hemsworth = Bitman Begins? Cameos by Tom Hanks + Meryl Streep.

If you're feeling a bit under the weather, here are three ways to beat a cold in no time.

This woman chose not to have children + I totally respect that. Her body = her choice.

Groups texts are a pain in the ass. This video depicts how I feel when stuck in one.

Miso soup in the morning? See what children around the world eat for breakfast.

Alicia Silverstone is on the quest for healthy toothpaste, which is never a simple task.

A skeleton impersonating typical female Instagram pictures - this is actually a thing.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Things I'm Loving Lately

In Your Eyes
Another suggestion via Netflix, In Your Eyes is a sci-fi romantic dramedy penned + produced by Joss Whedon [Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, The Avengers]. The movie has a bit of that "made for television" feel to it [think ABC Family meets Syfy], but its forgivable.

Beer Rinse +  a Repurposed LUSH Product
The other night, I poured myself a bottle of Great South Bay Splashing Pumpkin + ended up falling asleep on the couch mid-movie. I figured I might as well use it to rinse my hair since I wasn't going to drink it. It smelled amaaaazing + it made my hair shiny = cool. As for the repurposed LUSH product, I cut a chunk off of my Pearl massage bar + used it like a body butter. The scent is much more subtle this way, plus I don't have to moisturize once i'm out of the shower.

Bacon is the Radiohead of Meats
I was discussing bacon with a friend the other day + he spouted this mid-conversation. After I stopped hysterically laughing, it had to be added to the bottom of my grocery list so I wouldn't forget [please excuse the Scrabble scores].

Miley Cyrus - Jolene
Anytime anyone talks smack about this Disney bred babe, I pull this video up. I'm all about her coming to the dark side [aka the Land of Pop], but I'd love to see her venture back to her roots a few albums from now.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sprinkled Donut Crunch Marshmallow Squares

While roaming the aisles of Target last week, I stumbled upon Sprinkled Donut Crunch. When it comes to cereal, I'm usually a creature of habit. The only time I don't shy away from new cereals is if I am making marshmallow treats, which was the first thought that came to mind when I noticed the box on the end cap [conveniently located right between the toy aisles - smart move, Target].

I planned on taking a few pieces out of the bag, just to test it [hi, not wasting calories on mediocre junk food]. Of course, a couple bites turned into a few handfuls. It tastes like a slightly sweetened vanilla version of the original Cap'n, but doesn't scratch the roof of your mouth. The sprinkles give it an extra bit of crunch, which I thiiiiink is what hooked me.

The next day, I went back + grabbed three more boxes - in all fairness, one of those boxes is for my cousin. But these turned out so good, I'm tempted to snag another box as a backup. Hi, my name is Michele + I am addicted to Sprinkled Donut Crunch. It could be worse, right?

Anyway, enough talking. Here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Sprinkled Donut Crunch Marshmallow Squares [makes 24 squares]
1  16 ounce bag of Marshmallows
7  tablespoons butter
1  tablespoon vanilla extract
    pinch of salt
    nonstick cooking spray

Before you start working on the treats, prep your baking pan. Line it with wax paper + lightly coat with cooking spray.

In a large pot, melt the butter on low. Once most of the butter is melted, add the salt, vanilla extract + marshmallows. Stir until melted + remove from burner [I slide to the other side of my stove to finish].

Add the Sprinkled Donut Crunch cereal into the pot + fold//stir until all bits of cereal are coated.

Scoop mixture into whichever type of pan//dish you have around. The general suggestion is usually a 13 x 9 x 2 pan, but any container you line with wax paper should suffice.

Make sure you gently press down on the cereal to help bind it better. To be honest, the easiest way to do this is to scoop the ingredients into the pan, spray clean hands with some nonstick cooking spray, then use your hands to press down on the cereal. I know, your hands will be a bit greasy, but one of the best tools in the kitchen are your bare hands.

Let the treats cool for an hour, then slice into squares.

I don't have exact nutritional information, but did some math to toss out a ballpark figure. It depends on the brand of marshmallows you choose, salted vs unsalted butter + how big you cut the squares. These numbers are an average of the ingredients I used, creating 24 servings.
Calories: 150
Fat: 1.5g
Sodium: 175mg
Carbohydrates: 43g
Sugar: 20g

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Linkity Link

Cult classic Wet Hot American Summer is returning as an 8 episode Netflix series, complete with original cast members. I'm bringing this back for the festivities.

Chick-Fil-A is finally opening on Long Island in February. Now all we need is In-N-Out.

I tempt you with chicken goodness, then tell you to look at what 2,000 calories looks like. I know, I'm going to hell. Whatever.

LEGO =  the Apple of toys?

Pablo Stanley created this rad comic of John Lennon's "Imagine."

Five things you probably didn't know about Bob Ross.

Its so awesome to see people who are looked up to as role models actually filling those shoes.

Metal babes posing with their pussies? I assure you, this is totally SFW.

What do nonemployed people do with their day? Check out these charts + see.

I don't know how many times I've had to school my Cali + Florida friends on Long Island-isms, but this list is cheesy//educational//kindof spot-on.

Fifteen things you probably didn't know about Dazed + Confused [number six is my favorite].

Friday, January 16, 2015

Banana Coconut Yogurt Muffins

For years, I have said I was going to make banana bread with the next batch of bananas that get super ripe. They almost always meet their fate via Vitamix, because I can be a lazy human + its easier to toss them into smoothies. After being on an insane cooking kick this week, I looked at my sad, brown bananas + decided they deserved something different, but still on the healthy side. After figuring out what ingredients were necessary to make banana bread [which seems to be a very forgiving recipe, ingredient-wise, which is good for impulsive//impatient bakers like myself], this is what I came up with.

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients:
3 bananas, mashed [I used my fork to squish 'em up]
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Noosa Coconut Yoghurt [I get it at Target, but you could sub Greek yogurt if need be]
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat muffin pan with a non-stick spray or use paper liners.

In a large bowl, add dry ingredients + mix with a whisk [you can sift if you'd like, but this is faster + less mess to clean up, at least in my world]. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients together. Fold in the dry ingredients + mix well.

Scoop into muffin pan, only filling three quarters of the way- these babies need room to grow.

Cook for 15 minutes. Cool on stove [in the pan] for 5 minutes, then put onto rack to cool for additional 10 minutes.

This recipe makes anywhere from 14-16 muffins, depending on how high you fill the pan. If you only have one muffin pan, pour the rest in a loaf pan//small glass dish [coated with non-stick spray] + let that cook for an extra five after you take the muffins out.

Seeing as I went pretty mellow on the ingredients in here, I didn't feel guilty splitting open a muffin + adding a bit of butter. Its amazing if you do it while they're still hot, but you can toss the muffin in the oven//microwave to warm it up.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Jason Michael Brescia on Bridge and Tunnel

Last week, I had the opportunity to interview Jason Michael Brescia, writer + director of Bridge and Tunnel, a film about a group of twenty-somethings living on Long Island. We discussed the ideas behind the film, the soundtrack + even got a little bit of an inside scoop regarding his follow-up film.

How did you come up with the idea for Bridge and Tunnel?
Well, I had the idea to make a movie about twenty-somethings living on Long Island almost right after I finished my first feature film, The Newest Pledge. I knew I wanted to tell the story over a course of time. I wanted to play around with the narrative of it and I started off thinking I was going to make a few disjointed short films, then find a way to tie them together, but ended up instead focusing on letting a few characters evolve over time, and that sort of came together as i started to write it in 2011//2012.

Yeah, I liked how you included in the storm [Hurricane Sandy], because a lot of people on Long Island were affected by that, including myself [we had been evacuated + came back to foot of water in our apartment].
We were getting ready to go into production in 2012 + this was all happening. While this was going on we had no power; our friends were evacuated. I was like, well this is the reason why the story [is going in this direction] + why I wanted to make a movie about Long Island. It all made sense, not that we were capitalizing on it by any stretch of the imagination. We were making a movie about what life was like in 2012, so naturally, you can't tell the story without that.

I totally agree - when I was watching the film it didn't feel like it was fabricated. It felt very natural, so to speak.
We didn't want to get preachy with it, we wanted to show the characters living through it. We didn't want to get political - we just wanted to show how people lived through that, outside of it [the people who were affected by the storm firsthand]. Mainstream media showed Chris Christie and the concert with Bruce Springsteen at MSG. We weren't at that concert, Chris Christie never came to our street. Instead, what it was it that we were all really cold, there was no power, but we figure out a way to get through it. And then it snowed.

Yeah,  that whole ordeal was a shitshow. But, I like how the events weren't the central focus of the film. You addressed the topic, but the scenes were character driven, not situationally driven.
When you're writing a story like that you have to fish for excuses to get everyone into the same room. When you get to a certain age, you and your friends just don't end up in the same room as much as the characters on a TV show do, like Friends. They all just happen to be hanging out the the apartment at the same time. That doesn't happen in real life - everyone is too busy. If you're telling the story about a group of eight people, chances are those eight people are in the same room together maybe once or twice all year. Its usually something like a Super Bowl party or New Year's, which we used in the film. We were lucky that this was a year that the Giants were in the Super Bowl. We caught a break that we set out to tell the story of 2012 [back in 2011], and we are going to write this script next year and tell the story as we watch time unfold. Actually, in the original draft of the script [before the storm had occurred], Lina [Natalie Knepp] comes home from the city for Thanksgiving, and they go out the night before..

Typical Thanksgiving Eve shenanigans.
Exactly. Everyone's loose + relaxed. When she comes home after the storm [the characters end up going out because they are cooped up with no power], everyone is tired + on edge, + it worked so much better that way; it felt natural.

I hate to say it, but the timing of the events worked to your benefit for filming.
Yeah, if we weren't going into production when we did, there would have been no way to recreate that sort of set design. We wouldn't have been able to go to the wreckage like we did. Like you said, we weren't trying to capitalize on it. When we shot in Long Beach, we went to the neighbors to explain what we were doing, and they've all been very supportive. The apartment we showed that flooded out? We met some of the people who lived there, and they've even come to the screening to watch the movie. Its almost been a release for them, to be able to watch the film and tell their story. The whole purpose of the movie was to show what life was like, sometimes to a flaw, that we go that far with it.

Honestly, I didn't know what to expect when I had viewed the trailer, but after watching the film, everything made sense. It felt real. Who didn't go to the Hamptons because of scheduling conflicts; the quick exchanges at the funeral before Meghan [Brianne Berkson] has to leave the group to go to work. Real life surrounded the storyline.
The funeral was a way to get all of the friends in the same room. Thats the way the project was, trying to get them in the same room.

It's either events of catastrophic proportions or an event that everyone needs to be at, but that is realistic, though. I don't know how many times I'll try to make plans to get my friends in the same room. The last time it happened was for a wedding party, for our dress fitting. But, if we try to make plans for dinner, we are rescheulding three times, who can't come because something with the baby, etc. It doesn't happen like it used to anymore.
Thats what we were saying. The challenge in writing it was creating organic situations for the characters to interact within.

What was your favorite part of the movie to film?
My favorite part? Pretty much any shoot that takes place indoors or in some sort of business was always the most difficult to shoot because we would have to go in after they closed. On those days we didn't start shooting until 2 or 4 am, so the best would always be when we'd wake up and have to shoot scenes at the church, and that was a 10am - 5pm day, that was great. There weren't many of those.

John Nolan's video for "Here Comes the Wolf" was filmed at local music venue, Amityville Music Hall.

Now, how did you end up choosing Ryan Hunter + Brian Byrne to work on the score?
Ryan and I had gone to high school together, but we weren't friends back then. One of my friends was the Envy on the Coast tour manager [Hunter + Byrne's former band], so we kept in touch through the years. Ryan had given us some NK songs to use in The Newest Pledge, and was on board with Bridge and Tunnel from day one. Ryan came by the set once or twice, + as soon as we had stuff to show him, he + Brian got to work + they put their stamp on it. From there, the whole soundtrack unfolded. Ryan did a great job + Brian's great at helping Ryan create + manifest the sounds he's hearing in his head + how to get it onto tape. Ryan is a genius at the writing part + Brian is equally smart at creating + engineering.

Now that this project has come full circle, is there anything new you've been working on?
I'm moving onto a new project, which will start filming in June.

Are you allowed to reveal anything?
Its almost a continuation of Bridge and Tunnel, with people that are a little bit older now. Bridge and Tunnel is kind of like that purgatory phase, where you're in-between childhood + adulthood. The new movie is like, adulthood has started, this is what its like, have fun.

Have you finished writing it?
I'm a few drafts deep, but we're not at the final draft yet. I started writing it in late 2013, after Bridge and Tunnel wrapped.

Are you sticking to the same format you used for Bridge and Tunnel?
It's different, stylistically + tonally. Its for lack of a better word, its lighter viewing. Its not as real. Bridge and Tunnel is real, almost to a flaw where if you're not paying attention, you'll think nothing happened throughout the movie. This is more of a narrative film, where Bridge and Tunnel was a lot of subtext that needed to feel really real, almost documentary style. I want this to feel more like you are watching a movie, to the style of it.

Will you be working with many of the same musicians that you worked with on Bridge and Tunnel?
Nothings confirmed with that. I've spoke to Ryan + John Nolan [Straylight Run, Taking Back Sunday] to let them know that this project is happening, and I'm sure that at some point, that if they have the time, both will find ways to be involved in the project, which i think is cool. I'm sure I will connect with Brian at some point, but this movie won't have a score.

So this is going to be more like a soundtrack.
Yeah, just because it fits what it is - a score would take you out of the concept of what the new film is. There is going to be plenty of music. John + I spoke a few times about it. When John became involved with Bridge and Tunnel, he was coming into a finished product, there was only so much he could do. He had been working on "Here Comes the Wolf" at the time, and he and the producers made it more cinematic to "fit the film," but this time he'll be more involved in the beginning of the project; he'll have more of a clean slate. It'll be cool to give someone like him more of a wide palate of colors to play with. He did such a great job with Bridge and Tunnel, with such a small palate of colors. Now its like, John, here is this wide scope - give us what you got. It'll be fun.

The soundtrack you had for Bridge and Tunnel was great, too. Lots of bands that were born on the island.
I wanted to create a soundtrack that had lots of homegrown artists. I know when people think of the type of music our generation grew up with, John is one of the people at the forefront. For the characters who are in Bridge and Tunnel, the music they would have been listening to is what [is on the soundtrack]. Getting people like John, Vinnie Caruana [The Movielife, I Am the Avalanche], Bayside and Ryan involved in the movie… wasn't really a choice. If I wanted the movie to be authentic, I couldn't fill it with background bar noise - it had to be what these people had grown up listening to. We were really privileged to get that + John was the domino that sort of, in a way, legitimized us to everyone else. At the end of it, I'm proud of the soundtrack and the movie, + I think we did it justice + over time, I hope people discover them [the film + soundtrack] + think its cool.

Bridge and Tunnel will be streaming for free until the end of the month, which you can watch here. You can also snag a copy of the soundtrack from Enjoy the Ride Records, which I highly recommend [I'm picky about soundtracks, but this one is killer from start to finish].

Because I'm a music nerd + I could tell that Jason had great taste in music, I had asked him to put together a playlist of some songs he has been into lately [which is how I discovered the latest Music Monday], so head over to Spotify + give it a listen.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Linkity Link.

Its National Pizza Week, so snag a slice + start… coloring? Okay.

Life getting you down? Well, fix that shit + make yourself happier.

Valentine's Day can be annoying for singletons, but Lush's holiday release is magical. I don't want a boyfriend - I'd rather have True Romance.

Making French macarons is something I've wanted to try forever. This lavender with lemon curd version sounds amazing.

So much elementary school nostalgia for babes born in the eighties.

This Donut Apron DIY tutorial is delicious + I kindof need one now.

My friends know I avoid anything wedding related [well, relationship related, but i'll leave the discussion at that], but IF [biiiiig if] I ever decide to venture to the dark side, I'd be okay with this badass Lightsaber engagement ring.

Soup is perfect during these chilly months + Emily's minestrone can be modified to suit a variety of dietary needs.

I'm just starting to creep into my thirties, but here's some insight for when I hit the old age of youth.

Winter is not my BFF, but these 56 life hacks make it suck less.

Marvel just released the Ant-Man teaser trailer, so go check out Paul Rudd + try not to drool on your MacBook.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Couchsurfing Practice.

Sounds coming from the garish infomercial are what startled my slumber. I didn't want to hear about empty promises from paid actors, but I was too tired to find the remote + change the channel. It took me a good minute to realize I had fallen asleep on the couch for the second time this week + its only Wednesday.

The couch is my sanctuary when sick, or where I bundle up in blankets on cold days off to be a useless human + binge on movies. Over the course of the last few months, I find myself waking up in the middle of the night [sometimes in a cold sweat], slumped over uncomfortable pillows, usually with my socks tossed onto the living room table. Most of the time I don't even bother trudging up the stairs to my bedroom - I simply readjust the pillows, cocoon myself in the blanket + turn onto my other side.

While snagging coffee with a friend last week, I mentioned how I had been gravitating toward the couch out of nowhere. Since taking a handful of psychology courses, he likes to play therapist, telling me that its either because I don't like sleeping alone in my bed anymore, or I am mentally preparing to move + crash on couches while I find a place to live. Although his response was half-joking, I have toyed around the idea of selling most of my belongings, packing up my car + moving westward. I've always wanted to be able to pick up + go, but the annoying urge to be responsible + play it safe usually wins.

Until now..

I think I need a new adventure.