Video Mood Ring: The Weepies

19 Sep

There really is a song for every mood. Today’s mood: Tired, wistful, and determined. The perfect song: “You Can’t Go Back Now,” by the Weepies. Bonus: The video features muppets.

I can’t really say
Why everybody wishes they were somewhere else
But in the end, the only steps that matter
Are the ones you take all by yourself



What to Read…in Synagogue

18 Sep

When my dad first sent me a link to this story, I thought, “Hmmm…is he trying to tell me something?” Eh hem.

Let’s be real, you’re not a very good Jew. Madonna speaks better Hebrew than you. You have no idea why the Jewish calendar year is 5771. You feast on swine, you date goyim, you haven’t been to synagogue since the mid-5760s. When you planned your vacation, Israel didn’t even make the shortlist. If people still worshipped idols of the pagan god Baal, you’d totally be waiting in line for tickets, with your hair styled like Baal’s and a matching Baal T-shirt.

Touche. But I do not feast on swine.

Let’s just say that I have always made it a point to bring reading materials to synagogue with me  – and I don’t mean portable copies of the Torah. How else does one get through the long services, sung mostly in Hebrew?

Especially in those early years, before my bat mitzvah, where I was, like, legally required to attend synagogue every week. If only I had seen this list then. The books I once tucked into my purse – and then into my prayer book – looked more like this:

See Dad? It could have been much, much worse. At least I wasn’t reading Daphne Merkin in synagogue. Sheesh.

The new “it” diet?

17 Sep

Gwyneth Paltrow, Chelsea Clinton and that guy from the Old Spice commercials are going gluten-free. That’s right – they’re axing gluten, a protein found in most grains, cereals, and breads, from their lives. And suddenly, the gluten-free diet is the biggest Hollywood diet trend.

Seriously? If someone had told me gluten-free would be the next big culinary thing 15 years ago, I would have laughed, and then asked, “Have you tried gluten-free rice pasta, or dry, tasteless gluten-free cookies?

I got my first sampling of gluten-free foods some 20 years ago, when my mom was diagnosed with Celiac disease, an inherited autoimmune disease in which the consumption of gluten damages the lining of the small intestine. In other words, even a little bit of gluten can make a Celiac very sick.

It’s a serious illness, and the diet – well, there was nothing particularly trendy, tasty, or even healthful about the gluten-free diet back when she first started on it. Gluten-free foods (breads, waffles, snacks, cookies) occupied one measly aisle of the local natural foods store. Characteristically, they were chalky, dry, flavorless, and highly caloric (thanks to the large quality of butter and sugar added to make them more palatable). My mom ate them because she had to. My family ate them (from time to time) with her, in solidarity. And then we snuck out to eat “real” food.

About five or six years ago, we began to notice gluten-free foods becoming more mainstream, accessible, and decidedly yummier (and healthier). Restaurants started offering gluten-free menus, bloggers started chronicling their experiences, and online shopping has made it easier for Celiacs to have good food delivered to their doorstep. Gluten-free bakeries are popping up around the country, and other high-end bakeries are offering assortments of yummy gluten-free goodies along with their flour-laden staples.

This means that being a Celiac is no longer a sentence for a life without good food, and dining out is hardly the ordeal it once was for the gluten-free set. I’m all about increasing awareness, but as far as people opting to eat gluten-free for trendy reasons, well, that’s just crazy. Avoiding wheat products is harder than it looks. And from what I’ve heard, when Celiacs go on a gluten-free diet, they usually gain weight (because they are finally able to absorb nutrients). So if gluten-free is the new no-carb, it seems a bit, well, weird.

Even if the trend dies off faster than it started, there are certainly positive things that come from having glamorous celebrities endorse a diet. So, thank you, Chelsea and Gwyneth – because of you, ordering my mom a gourmet birthday cake will be much, much easier!

Earworm Alert: Lissie

17 Sep

She looks and sounds like a cross between Jewel and Aimee Mann, and can do a killer cover of Gaga that’s better than the original. I’m in love.

Video Mood Ring: “Let the Rain” by Sara Bareilles

16 Sep

As it pours buckets of rain in my small town, I find myself humming this song off Sara Bareilles’ new album, “Kaleidoscope Heart.” It’s catchy – particularly the chorus of “Let the rain, come down, make a brand new ground.”

The whole thing feels very Hakuna Matata to me, which is a good thing.

And I could really use some cheering up before taking my dog for her nightly walk in a flash flood.

Gilmore Girls on Film

15 Sep

Dear Gilmore Girls:

It’s been a while. We had a good run, didn’t we? I watched you obsessively from, oh, 2000-2007, between college and grad school classes and on sick days at work. I pilfered your witticisms to use on unwitting friends. I mimicked your fast speech patterns unsuccessfully, delighted in your pop culture references, and even asked my hairdresser once to give me the “Rory Gilmore.” (My best friend, whom I’ll call “Fashionista,” still swears it was my best haircut). Whenever I pass through picturesque small towns, they remind me of Stars Hollow, and I look around, wondering who is their Miss Patty, or their Kirk. Because every small town has a Miss Patty and a Kirk.  I even asked my mom once, in a fit of angst, if she could be less Emily Gilmore, and more Lorelai. (She didn’t get it, until she watched a rerun. She was not amused).

Gilmore Girls, you saw me through my first quarter life crisis, and Rory Gilmore, you took me back to my very own high school years at a Chilton-esque private school – plaid uniform skirt and all. Sure, I wanted to shake some sense into you when you broke poor Dean’s heart that one time, and then, later, poor Marty’s heart. I secretly wished I could eat like a Gilmore, and, well, still look like a Gilmore.

It’s been three years since your final season (which, let’s be honest, was terrible, as far as last seasons go), but yet, I still miss you. Which is why my heart skipped a beat upon hearing that you might become a movie.

Would I love to see my favorite mother-daughter duo back in action on the big screen? Shockingly, no.

My memories of you are too precious, and I fear they would be tarnished by the making of a Gilmore Girls movie. I don’t want to know if Lorelai and Luke live happily after. I don’t want to know if Rory gets laid off from her reporting gig when journalism goes bust. I don’t want to watch Paris in action as a doctor with no bedside manner. And I don’t want Stars Hollow to become larger than life in a movie theater.

But will that stop me from being first in line to buy tickets? Never.


A devoted fan

Sickly Chic

8 Sep

It’s every woman’s worst nightmare. Your name has been called from the hospital waiting room, and an overly friendly nurse is escorting you past the receptionist’s window. You wince as the nurse asks to “get your weight,” and then you enter the small, sterile examination room to find the most horrifying thing ever laid out on the exam table: a freshly bleached hospital gown.

There seem to be two varieties of hospital gowns – the paper variety and the cloth variety. Paper hospital gowns are often (a) see-through, (b) susceptible to rippling in half if you move a millimeter while wearing them, and (c) horribly uncomfortable and unattractive. Oh, and they’re hardly ec0-friendly. Cloth gowns are more eco-friendly, but they are (a) always too big, (b) impossible to close properly, and (c) horribly uncomfortable and unattractive.

In short, they are an embarrassment to anyone who has to wear them, meaning, well, everyone.

Enter Diane Von Furstenberg, who has teamed up with the Cleveland Clinic to make hospitals a bit more fashion-forward. Yes – the world famous fashion designer’s latest project is reinventing the hospital gown.

Call me crazy, but the designer label gowns leave me feeling a bit, well, queasy:

Where to start…

The colors are all wrong. Sea foam green and aqua? Seriously. And the busy print? Egads. Oh, and the cut – I get the v-neck concept, and I see that she was attempting to mimic the flexibility of the ever-popular wrap dress, but Diane Von Furstenberg should know better than to cut the “skirt” mid-calf (the most unflattering length possible). Plus, the gowns have no shape, and do little do define one’s natural waist (which is the smallest part of the body, of course).


What would Tim Gunn say?

Thao Nguyen

1 Sep

There’s nothing like the rush of “discovering” a relatively unknown artist and falling in love at first listen. That’s what happened when a Facebook friend (a rock journalist), posted this video a couple of weeks ago on her page. And I’m still listening. It’s called “Body,” and it’s by the adorably funky Thao with the Get Down Stay Down. The director is by the equally adorable Dianna Agron, of Glee fame.

If you can’t get enough, check out Thao Nguyen’s 2008 “Tiny Desk Concert,” from NPR.

Darling Alexa

26 Aug

Alexa Ray Joel, daughter of supermodel Christie Brinkley and piano man Billy Joel, has lived a fairly low-profile existence… until last year. Sure, her father wrote a super sweet song for her when she was 9 -“Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel)” – and she decided as a teenager to follow in her dad’s footsteps and pursue a music career. But she is most notorious these days (in the tabloids, at least) for two things: a nose job and, sadly, a suicide attempt.

Let’s just say I did not have the highest of hopes when her name, and new single “Notice Me” came bopping onto my car stereo a couple of weeks ago. She has a distinctive voice – think Minnie Mouse meets Lady Gaga – and knows her way around a catchy beat, but as soon as she dove into her chorus, I just couldn’t turn the dial fast enough. The second time I heard the song on the radio, I listened for a few beats longer:

I can light up a room now
I can write a good tune now

Can she? I’m not yet convinced.

Then, a link to the tune’s music video appeared on my Facebook news feed last week. I’m not sure what drove me to do this, but I clicked on it. Weirder yet, it got caught in my head. Big time.

I can’t decide if I love it or hate it. But I’ll give her this – it’s hard not to notice her.

Time to Drool

26 Aug

What happens when Margaret Cho, Patty Griffin, and Fiona Apple collaborate on a comedy song about Margaret Cho’s dog, Ralph? Pure genius!

Download the song here.