Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Maxwell Update

Remember when we rescued that teeny, tiny, itty, bitty kitten from our parking lot? Well, he's been with my mom for just over a month and he's not only healthier and happier, but in four weeks he's quadrupled in size — from one tiny pound to nearly five pounds.

Mr. Maxwell has also received a clean bill of health from the vet, which means that he was let out of quarantine about a week ago, and has been playfully terrorizing my mom's other cat, Sophie, ever since. The regal Miss Soph could not care less about Maxwell, and is doing her best to ignore his very existence. He, on the other hand, is being very much a little boy and trying very hard to play with her, although it's more like he's playing at her.

I visited my mom and her "kids" a few nights ago, and I couldn't believe how big he'd gotten. He appears to be a Maine Coon, and now that my mom has seen these pictures, she's preparing herself for him to turn into an enormous beast.

He sleeps on her neck every night, and is just the cutest, most playful, loving little man you will ever meet. It breaks my heart that his teeny orange brother/sister didn't make it, but I'm grateful every day that we rescued him and found him the best possible home. I'm also eternally grateful that he went to a home that I can visit on a regular basis, because I can't go too long without kissing DAT FACE and rubbing that so-cute-I-can't-stand-it leopard-print belly.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Finds

1. Black Cat Print  |  2. Cat Power Biography  |  3. iPhone Case  |  4. Boots  |  5. Hard Cider  |  6. Kettle Corn


Some things I'm loving/coveting lately: I already have quite the collection of prints from the wonderful (and so nice!) Strawberry Luna, but I may have to add this Black Cat print asap.

After finally seeing the amazing Cat Power aka Chan Marshall live last weekend, I have become re-obsessed with her and may need to read this apparently very-unauthorized biography.

I desperately want this Boston Terrier iPhone case by Marc Jacobs, but at $48 I may be waiting forever a while.

I have a pair of beloved black boots that I might consider retiring for good if I could afford these beauties from Aldo.

I've had approximately five beers in my entire life, but I always forget that I actually really like ciders — I had this Bold Rock hard cider from Churchkey last weekend, and I can't stop thinking about it. It was sweet and tart and apple-y and it made my ears hot — I wish all beers were this delicious.

If you thought Smartfood only made white cheddar popcorn, then you need to pick up a bag of their kettle corn and then pick up another, because you'll never want to stop eating it — I may have even eaten a bowl a few hours before a scheduled dentist appointment, that's how good.

We're leaving for Vegas this weekend (for "work") and then before you know it it'll be November. I feel like such a senior citizen, constantly exclaiming "WHERE does the time go!" but I really want to know, where does it go?

Have a great weekend and don't forget to check out my Blue Carrot shop sale on Fab.com — it starts Monday, October 29th at 7 pm EST.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cat Power


Sunday my man took me to my very first (and hopefully not my last) Cat Power concert in Washington DC. I have loved her since I first heard The Greatest about six years ago and I've wanted to see her live ever since. Between the cancelled tours, mental health issues and breaks, she's proved to be a bit elusive. When she does play a show, it seems like the majority of the time it's on the West coast, so when my man heard of the DC show he jumped at the chance to buy tickets.

She performed at the 9:30 Club on V Street in DC which means that not only did we have a great view, but I also got to eat this amazing, homemade cupcake before the show started. The show consisted mostly of tracks off of her new album, Sun, which isn't my favorite, but they were much better live. She did some slower stuff too,  including a tear-inducing version of The Greatest, which may be one of my favorite songs, ever. I would pay $40 just to hear that one song again.

Her voice is absolutely phenomenal, and actually somehow even better in person. She's a little strange and fractured — she forgot lyrics, mumbled nonsensically and at times seemed frustrated, but the moment she begins singing, everything else is inconsequential. If you've never heard her music before, I recommend starting with The Greatest, and following with (in order from what I think is greatest to less great) The Covers Record, Jukebox, You Are Free, Moon Pix and Sun.

Also, can you believe that she's FORTY YEARS OLD? Even though the blonde mohawk isn't really my favorite look on her, she looks like she's barely even 25 — I can only hope to look as hot when I'm her age (which is only like, 13 years away — yeesh).



This is the video is for Lived in Bars, which is another one of my very favorite Cat Power songs — maybe one day I'll be lucky enough to see it live.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cat Bounce!



Have you seen this website, aka, the best thing you'll ever find on the Internet? I can't stop bouncing the cats.

Fab Sale Preview

I will be having my second Blue Carrot shop sale on Fab in less than a week — the sale goes live in the Vintage Shop on October 29th, at 7 pm EST. I've been working hard all summer collecting some really great treasures for the sale, most of which have never been available in the shop before.

If you can't wait a week to satisfy your need for vintage kitsch, you can save 25% in the original shop with the coupon code "OCTOBER25", good until November 1st.

Check out the other two sneak peeks here: one | two

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Third Presidential Debate: Recap

I wasn't able to watch the third, and final Presidential debate live last night (we were at a Cat Power concert — which was amazing), but I've been catching up all day and even if you're totally burnt out on politics at this point, I hope you enjoy this fourth, and final recap.

Appearance


We're back to party-appropriate colors on our candidates, and once again Obama is bringing the handsome with his oh-so-subtle print. Romney has also definitively decided that bold, business stripes are his jam, and as much as I love a good stripe, they still aren't working for me.


Speaking of stripes, I haven't mentioned it before, but how do you feel about Romney's white sideburn situation? My man has been pointing out for weeks how much he looks like Bruce Campbell (age has not been kind to Mr. Campbell, by the way), but his hair is more and more Paulie Walnuts every day.

Winner: Obama: Let's be honest. Romney is never, ever going to win this category.

Reactions



By now, the Mitt Eating Grin™ is the default Romney expression, and I'm continually surprised that this wasn't one of the first things to go after the first debate. It's equal parts awkward, uncomfortable, condescending and gaseous.


Obama, by contrast looks like he couldn't be less impressed by Romney's rhetoric, and at this point can you really blame the guy?

Winner: Obama: I'm pretty sure Obama isn't even physically capable of looking as awkward as Romney, ever.

Gestures

Thankfully, Romney didn't try to "Lower the Roof" during this debate, but the Obama signature hand gestures were in full effect. You had all the usual suspects including:

The Claw aka the Imaginary Softball


The Fist aka the Fingerless Point


The Chop aka the Meryl Streep


But during last night's debate, he seemed especially fond of the Imaginary Basketball.

Winner: Michelle Obama: LADIES AMIRIGHT.

Soundbites



Despite that cease-and-desist letter, Romney is still using the "Clear Eyes" phrase, although I'm sure he is much more familiar with the Ben Stein eye drop commercials than with Friday Night Lights. In the same breath he mentioned that he wouldn't wear "rose-colored glasses" when it came to Russia, but despite his insistence, I'm grateful for any opportunity to incorporate a Deal With It gif into this recap.

I think one of the best moments of the debate came when Obama countered Romney's claim that the Navy was smaller than it had been since 1916:  "You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go under water, nuclear submarines." BOOM. 

My favorite line, however was this, also from Obama: "And the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back. Because the Cold War has been over for 20 years. But Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policy of the 1950s, and the economic policies of the 1920s.”

Whereas Romney's soundbites are usually of the negative, laughable kind (Big Bird, Binders of Women) that only make him look worse, Obama's have been intelligent, genuinely funny and, only make Romney look worse.

Winner: Horses and Bayonets: Enjoying the spotlight for the first time in 100 years.

Overall


[source]

As with the last debate, I thought Obama was wonderful. He speaks clearly, forcefully and intelligently — I can actually understand most of what he's saying. Romney, on the other hand, talks and talks but doesn't really say much of anything. When I found myself agreeing with something he said last night, I realized that it was because Obama had just said basically the same exact thing, but better.

That being said, foreign policy is not really my bag (I'm an American, duh) so the debate as a whole was a bit of a snooze. It never once looked as though they were about to fist-fight (like in the town-hall debate), and the whole evening was pretty cordial. The three debates were more of a bell curve of excitement, starting, and ending on a low note.

And then, after the low note, came the scary note, when the spawn of satan Mitt and Anne, Josh Romney, took the stage with his father and continued to scare 100% of America. And worse yet, there's four more where that one came from. Eek.

Winner: Obama
Losers: The women chained in Josh Romney's basement.

The election is exactly two weeks from now, and I couldn't be more ready to cast my vote — regardless of who you vote for, I urge you to do the same. I'm sure election night is going to be a nail-biter and I would lie if I said I wasn't nervous. In the meantime, you can catch up on my previous debate recaps (first, second and VP) as well as my "coverage" of the Democratic National Convention, and I'm sure I won't be able to resist recapping the actual election night coverage.

What did you think of the debate? Did you make it all the way through without dozing off? Do you think the 1980s really called and asked for their foreign policy back?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Finds

1. Gingham Dress  |  2. The Mysterious Benedict Society  |  3. Pumpkin Spice Coffee  |  4. Kitten Flats
5. Wool Tote  |  6. Blanket

A few things I've been coveting lately: This checkered dress would go wonderfully with the tights I just stocked up on; I'm on the lookout for a new book, and after I heard this book be compared to (my favorite book of all-time) the Westing Game, it moved to the top of my list; I've been drinking Dunkin' Donuts Pumpkin Spice coffee every day for the past week and I'm already sad for myself when we run out; when (if) I start to have disposable income again, these kitten flats will be my very first purchase; and the onset of fall always has me craving everything plaid and wool — this tote and blanket are pretty much perfection.

What are you coveting lately? We're nerding it up in Washington D.C. until Tuesday — have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Creature Type: The Big Book of Cats!

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I just recently discovered the blog Creature Type, and more specifically, the Big Book of Cats project. Michelle is currently re-creating nearly 50 anthropomorphic cat drawings that she had first doodled when she was 11 (and compiled in a composition 200-page notebook aptly titled, The Big Book of Cats!) and I love everything about it.

I can certainly identity with the BBoC backstory, especially the part about being inspired to keep a notebook by Harriet the Spy. I remember being similarly inspired to spy on my neighbors from up inside of a tree and keep a log — although, unlike Michelle, I think I stopped after about two pages.

She's currently done 11 drawings from the BBoC, and I can't wait for the rest. So far my favorites are Maggy the Ballerina and Sue the Sassy Red Head.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

To-Do List: Washington D.C. Edition

Remember back in August when my man bought us Cat Power tickets for my birthday? Well, it's on Monday in Washington D.C., so we're going to make a trip of it and go for the (long) weekend. I'm betting it's changed since I was last there (almost five years ago), but I'm sure it will be very different for my man, who hasn't been since the fourth grade.

We haven't been on a trip together since 2009, so I'm just excited to explore a "new" place with him in tow. We don't have any concrete plans (besides the concert, of course), but I'm not exactly a "come-what-may" type of person, so of course I've been making a mental list of Washington to-dos:

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The Bureau of Engraving and Printing

I haven't toured the BEP since I myself was in fourth grade (must be the time for DC tours). I was on the trip with my family and right before our tour, my mom stepped on a glass bottle on the front lawn and had to go to the hospital to get stitches in her foot. For some reason, my sister, dad and I continued on the tour without her, and were given free bags of shredded money, presumably as an incentive not to sue for her injury. Typing this story now has me wondering why we didn't go with her, and makes me want to call her up and apologize right now for our insensitivity — but regardless, I do remember enjoying the tour (sorry mom!).

There's nothing quite like seeing palettes stacked high with sheets and sheets of uncut money — even as a nine-year-old I wondered what it would be like to get ahold of just one of those stacks. However as this is America, you can purchase uncut sheets in the gift shop — for a price above face-value, of course.

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The Smithsonian Museums

Hitting every museum under the Smithsonian umbrella is unrealistic, but the must-dos include the National Museum of American History for me (Dorothy's shoes!* Lincoln's hat! Julia's kitchen!**) and the Air and Space Museum for my mechanically-inclined man. Even if I had zero interest in air or space, I still have 100% interest in freeze-dried astronaut ice cream, neapolitan but of course. I've purchased a packet (or five) in nearly every museum gift shop I've ever been to and I'm not about to stop now.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

I've never been to the USHMM, but I've always wanted to go. It seems wrong to say that I'm "excited," but I've always been fascinated by everything to do with the WWII time period. Considering the fact that I can't even think about Schindler's List without sobbing through an entire roll of toilet paper, I should probably stop in the bathroom before we enter the exhibits and fill up my purse.

[source]

Arlington National Cemetery

My man was in the army, so I suspect that this is a must-do and if we have any tissues left after revisiting the Holocaust, we will surely use them up at Arlington. I was there in 1994, right after Jackie Kennedy passed away. Her gravestone wasn't in place yet, and I have some really horrible, disposable camera photos of her temporary, plastic marker in front of the eternal flame. We went through a mini Kennedy Obsession a few years back, so I would definitely like to revisit the site.

We'll do the monuments/memorials on the National Mall, but beyond that we're pretty open. Maybe I'll look into ghost tours — I did one in Salem, MA and it was pretty awesome. Any restaurant suggestions? What are some other sites we should check out?

*According to their site, the Ruby Slippers will be off-view Oct. 9 - Nov. 20, which is you know, DEVASTATING to a girl who wore out her Wizard of Oz VHS by watching it EVERY SINGLE DAY as a kid. 

**Apparently Julia Child's kitchen is ALSO closed due to renovations. Who are these people in charge of "renovations" and WHY ARE THEY RUINING MY LIFE?

Second Presidential Debate: Recap

I'm not even sure where to begin because I feel like I could literally recap every second of the second Presidential debate, complete with screenshots and still have more to say. If you want to get a pretty accurate picture of what I was thinking during most of those seconds, check out my Twitter feed (Warning: I reference naughty things I'd like to do to the President on at least two occasions), but I'll try to keep my recap to what I see as the main points.

Appearance, Candidates:


While I covered general appearance during my recap of the first debate, there are a few developments worth noting. First, the great tie color switch of oh-12! Just when you think "I wonder which blue tie the Democrat chose and which red tie the Republican chose," out walk the candidates only to be sporting — gasp! — ties in colors opposite to those of their respective parties. Is this switch-up customary? Should I not have been as surprised as I was? Should I even mention that Obama's subtle patterns will best Romney's power stripes any day?

I also noticed right away that both the candidates appeared to have gotten a haircut. Mitt's shorter style does nothing to alleviate his overwhelming creep factor, but Obama's 'do is looking a little patchy. I'm hoping it's just the result of an overzealous grooming team, and not something more sinister (although be it a full-blown afro, closely-cropped or even bald, I can't forsee a day when Obama is not a fox).

Winner: Obama (forever, and ever or at least until I'm completely positive that Mitt Romney isn't going to try to steal my uterus and/or my eternal soul).

Appearance, Audience:

While the town-hall format is always a bit unpredictable, the one constant is a highly visible audience. While I don't wish to mock anyone for their question-asking abilities (seriously, if it was me I think I would throw my notecard and rush the stage, risking a Secret Service takedown to open-mouth kiss Barack — love you Michelle), I have no problem critiquing their appearance. They should be cool with this, as they were surely aware that approximately ALL OF AMERICA would be watching their prime-time debut.


First, there was Jeremy. Oh Jeremy. I will say nothing about him past the fact that I was much relieved that he wasn't secretly Adam Sandler, testing out a new character. I expected him to break out a guitar and sing his question to the tune of "The Hanukkah Song", and I'll be forever grateful that he did not.


Or how about this guy, who I'm about 98% sure was Mr. Feeny aka William Daniels. The other 1% of me says it was Cliff Clavin aka John Ratzenberger and the other, other 1% says it was neither, because they're both too smart/awesome to possibly be an undecided voter.

Speaking of which, can someone possibly explain to me how there are ANY undecided voters in this election? I (guess I) can understand how you wouldn't want to vote for either candidate, but it just seems absurd to me that someone could feasibly see themselves swinging both ways. Unless these people just claimed to be undecided so they could score primo seats, in which case, I totally get it.


No recap of this debate would be complete without Lorraine (or was it Lorraina? Gillorainne??). Until she asked a question, she was just a super unimpressed Latina with sass to spare.


Although Obama's pension joke managed to get a laugh out of her, Romney was not getting any sweet, sweet lovin' from Lorraine (it is Lorraine, right?).


I think the greatest travesty of the night, however, is that this guy's mustache didn't get to ask a question. In fact, I'm surprised it was even allowed in the room at all as I'm pretty sure it knows exactly who it's voting for, and it's not telling.

Winner: Lorraine, the person
Loser: Lorraine, the name

Reactions:


The Mitt Eating Grin™ made a reappearance, and I couldn't help but think when Romney mentioned "Mr. Gas" he was referring to the source of his sour facial expressions. Obama, however, maintained his studious listening face, and seemed to have mastered the whole "sitting on a stool" thing a whole lot better than On-Loan-from-Madame-Tussaud's-Lieutant-Dan-You've-Got-Magic-Legs-Romney.


The only thing not wooden about Romney is his incessant blinking. Dude blinks a lot. Too much, in my opinion. So much, in fact, that my man labeled him a "blinking machine." That's too much blink.


And there were even times when Romney looked as if he had forgotten that he was actually in a Presidential debate, and not, in fact, posing for a boy band photo in the '90s.

Winner: Obama

Hand Gestures:



While Obama has a few go-to gestures that are a bit distracting (the Claw, the Chop, the Point), Romney's insistence on illustrating just how low he will cut taxes by physically pushing the air in front of him down, down, down is just really, really awkward. Is there an opposite of "Raise the Roof" because if so, that's what he does.


Although I do have to say that there is something strange about Obama's withered-hand-T-Rex-arm grip on his microphone, so, I call this one a draw.

Winner: Obama's microphone; even if his grip is strange, I'd give anything to be held by Obama.

Overall:

Just as Biden really brought the heat during the VP debate, Barack's performance more than made up for his lackluster showing in the first debate. He was forceful, intelligent, straightforward and just really, really awesome. He even went as far as to actually answer the questions, especially the ones concerning women's rights and gun control.

Romney on the other hand, started off well, but by the end was clearly flustered. He mentioned that he had an entire binder of women, but never actually spoke to if they were paid equally or not (imma go ahead an guess "Hell No") and basically said if everyone waited until they were married to have kids that there would be no more gun violence (whaaa??).

But the best Romney/Obama moment came when Mitty tried to bring the heat, claiming that the President had not in fact referred to the attack on Libya as an "act of terror," and when challenged further, Obama simply stared him down and replied "please proceed, Governor." Boy was Mitt's face red when Obama urged watchers to read the transcript and Candy Crowley (bless her heart) backed him up. It was all downhill from there as Mitt stuttered, stammered and lied his way to a losing finish.

Therefore, I declare the winner of this debate to be Obama, by a much-deserved landslide.

Conclusion: Mitt "Dramatic Chipmunk" Romney, 0; Barack "Withering Stare" Obama, 1.

I also recapped the first Presidential debate as well as the Vice Presidential debate and I'll be back with one last post after the fourth, and final debate which airs Monday, October 22nd at 9pm EST. We'll be at a concert in Washington DC that night, but I'll try to catch up/recap as soon as possible.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Parenthood Playlist: Part 2

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I've been obsessed with Parenthood since the very beginning — now that it's in its 4th season, it's somehow managed to get even better. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I cry at least once during every single episode. I've never wanted to be part of a fictional family so much (with the possible exception of that other Lauren Graham show) and every cast member/character is practically perfect. All other aspects of the show aside, one thing I consistently notice is the music.

During every new episode there is at least one new song that catches my attention, and I immediately go to this amazing site to find out what it was — and then I buy the artist's entire album(s). I've discovered so many of my now-favorite artists and songs this way, and I thought I'd share a few of my recent discoveries with you:



Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes

No one in the band is actually named Edward Sharpe and their website is a little... odd... but their music is absolutely fantastic. As soon as I heard "Man on Fire" — played on Parenthood when Victor hit his home run — I knew I had to have that song. To my delight, the rest of their album "Here" is just as good. Additional favorites are "All Wash Out" and "Child".

Foreign Fields

Their album "Anywhere But Where I Am" is super mellow and extra sweet — just like the scene where Crosby and Jasmine are watching Jabbar sleep, accompanied by the song "Names and Races".



Alexi Murdoch

He has had songs featured in the first three seasons of Parenthood, including "Wait", "Through the Dark" and "Towards the Sun", but it's "All of My Days" from the album "Time and Consequence" that has quickly become one of my very favorite songs of all time. The lyrics are perfect and it's a surprisingly great car-singing song, which is always high on my list of requirements for entry into favorite song territory.

Blind Pilot

I discovered the song "I Buried a Bone" while re-watching the first season on Netflix, and was especially happy when I went into work the next morning and found that all of Blind Pilot's music had already been added to our music server.

Are you guys watching Parenthood yet? It's seriously the best show on TV and I get major anxiety whenever there is talk of it not getting renewed. Go catch up on this season on Hulu, especially if you need a good cry.

See Part 1 of the playlist here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fab Sale Preview + Coupon Code


Here is another sneak peek at my upcoming Blue Carrot Shop sale on Fab — the sale will feature more than 100 new items, most of which are completely new finds for Fab. The sale starts Monday, October 29th at 7pm EST, and runs for a week.

If you can't wait that long to snag some great vintage goodies, you can head over to the shop, which has recently been updated with a ton of new treasures. And because October is my very favorite month, you can save 25% off your purchase using the code "OCTOBER25", good until November 1st. I've got a busy few weeks ahead with two trips and the Fab sale sandwiched right in the middle, but I'm never too busy to pack some packages so buy away!

Check out the first sneak peek here!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Vice Presidential Debate: Recap

Due to a concert (Ingrid Michaelson, which was amazing by the way), I was unable to watch the Vice Presidential debate live last night, but as soon as we got home I brought the laptop to bed and got up to speed.

From the very beginning to the closing statements, I thought this debate was infinitely more interesting than the first Presidential snooze fest. It didn't hurt that Martha Raddatz not only did an exceptional job at having normal eyeballs, but in actually moderating the debate

For this recap, I'll stick to the same categories I used when I recapped the first debate.

Fashion


Much like their running mates, Biden and Ryan adhered to the party color scheme, and Ryan continued the Romney trend of the larger flag pin with — that damned spot! Although I now know (thanks Google!) that the "spot" is actually a "star", that doesn't make it any less distracting. I like Biden's tie less than Obama's, but I still think it's a better choice than Ryan's lavender, candy-cane striped number. 


I also think it's worth noting that just as the relative size of each flag pin corresponded with their running mates', Biden's notepaper was about half the size of Ryan's. Maybe it's the 8-pt-font-loving designer in me, but I appreciate the Obama camp's simplicity in all areas of their campaign, from teeny tiny flag pin, to yes, even the teeny tiny notepad.

Winner: Biden

General Appearance:


While Joe Biden is pushing 70, I have to say, I'd do him. He's trim and fit and feisty as can be — I actually think I'd much rather see him shirtless than Paul Ryan (even with all the ab talk). And can we talk for a minute about his teeth? If the Obama-Biden ticket cares as much about America as they do about dental hygiene, then I think we're in good hands.

Paul Ryan works out, I get it, we ALL get it, but to me he still looks like a bug-eyed goon. Not to mention the I-dare-you-to-find-a-creepier-dominant-trait-than-a-widow's-peak, widow's peak. I realize he was born with the unfortunate thing, but his hairstyle does nothing for it, except protrude over it like some sort of gelled, blacker-than-Jim-Lehrer's-pupils, weirdo hair awning. Apparently, if elected, he would be the first Vice President in history to have one — is that really the type of history-making gesture we need to be making right now? No thanks.

Winner: Biden's dentist

Facial Expressions:


From the minute Paul Ryan opened his mouth, Joe Biden's reactions became all I cared about. His mix of laughter, head-shaking and utter disbelief was always more entertaining than the drivel coming out of his opponent. He looked exasperated and exhausted by Ryan, and my only regret is that he wasn't eventually driven to yell "GET OFF MY LAWN", although the use of the word "malarkey" came close.

Ryan, on the other hand, didn't stand a chance with his doofy, passive, "I'm listening" face. ZzzzZzzz.

Winner: Biden

Soundbites

[source]

I will just say this: for better or worse, Joe Biden is a soundbite machine. He says what he means, and that sometimes means saying things like "big fucking deal" or other decidedly un-presidential (or vice-presidential) statements. In last night's debate he referred to the Ryan as the Congressman (which he had been asked not to do) and his "friend" and managed to use "malarkey" and "this is a lot of stuff" within minutes of each other to describe Ryan's inaccuracies. I'm trying hard to remember one memorable thing from Paul Ryan, but nothing comes to mind — and even if it did, Biden had me at "malarkey".

Winner: The TV censors. Not one f-bomb from Biden the entire night and boy I bet they were happy about that (me, not so much).

Overall


I think it's no question that Biden "won" by a landslide. He was forceful, knowledgable, experienced and heartfelt (try not to tear up when he mentions his first wife and daughter) — everything I want in a potential President. I realize you don't necessarily vote for the Vice President, but "suitable replacement" is high in the job description. About ten minutes into the debate my man turned to me and said "All issues aside, I CANNOT see Paul Ryan making a good president," and I couldn't agree more. 

But I think the real winner in all of this was: the widow's peak. Once only associated with villains and monsters (Dracula, the Joker), Ryan has brought this creepy hairline into the forefront of American politics, and as it currently commands more attention and is far more memorable than the dull Congressman on which it resides, I declare it to be the winner of this debate.

Who do you think won? Are you as excited for the last two Presidential debates and/or as creeped out by the widow's peak as I am? 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pitch Perfect


Have you guys seen Pitch Perfect yet? I saw it this weekend, and while it wasn't as laugh-out-loud funny as I expected, it was more all-around enjoyable. Rebel Wilson (of Bridesmaids fame) was definitely the funniest, and I found myself enjoying the music a lot more than I thought possible.



Anna Kendrick was likeable, but her voice was downright amazing (she did her own vocals). My favorite part was her Cups song audition — you can download the original by Lulu and the Lampshades here.

And is it just me, or does the poster remind you a lot of the one for Bridesmaids? Similar poses, position (funny, larger girls stage left, please) and general attitude, not that Pitch Perfect could have picked a better movie to imitate. Bridesmaids it's not, but grab a friend and go see it — and just try to get the Cups song out of your head.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Say Cheese!

We didn't really do much of anything this weekend, which ended up being pretty nice. I've still yet to get cornstalks for the porch, and I'm wondering if it's even worth it now — part of me says CORNSTALKS ARE THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS, and part of me doesn't want to deal with trying to transport them in my teeny (and currently very clean) hatchback, when we're not even going to be home for the last half of October. If this is the only thing I have to worry about, then I guess I'm doing pretty well.

This isn't Heini's, but we stopped along the way, lured by the promise of antiques.
We did manage to take advantage of the nice weather on Saturday with a drive to Amish Country. We only live about a half hour away from Heini's Cheese Chalet, which, if you've never been, is heaven on earth. They manufacture their own cheese, and you can sample EVERY SINGLE ONE. And it's completely serve yourself, which means that you're free to ignore the "Take One Sample Only" signs, and go at it. Even though we go every couple of months, I still try every one like it's my first time. They had pumpkin cheese this time, which was actually kind of gross. I'm partial to the sharp cheddar, swiss and especially the chocolate/peanut butter cheese — it's like fudge, but creamier, tastier and all around amazing.

I look at this paint-by-number every time we go into this antique shop. I need it, right?
After "lunch" at Heini's, we did some antiquing, but we only went to one of our usual places because, and I never thought I'd say this, I'm a little sick of treasure hunting right now. It feels like I've been buying non-stop in preparation for my upcoming Fab sale, and I think I just need a little break. I've also been updating the shop, so hop over there and check it out (don't let all my hard work be in vain!).

Side note: have you tried out the new (I think it's new?) panorama feature on the iPhone? I'm kind of obsessed with capturing everything in panorama — it's super easy, although the photos take up a lot of space (usually around 17 mb). The only bummer is that outside of my huge monitor at work, they're hard to display. They don't fit into the square format of Instagram and they're super tiny on a phone or Facebook. Again, what a problem to have, huh?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fall Friday

I took this while sitting at a red light, I promise.
Happy Friday! The leaves are really starting to change around here, and it's hard for me to even keep my eyes on the road — they're so beautiful. I love this point in the season when only about half of the trees have started to change, and there's still some gorgeous greens mixed in with the reds and oranges.

I really don't think I could live in a place that didn't have seasons. As soon as one season is wrapping up, I'm usually more than ready to move on to the next. This weekend I hope to cross some of my top fall to-dos off my list, including cornstalks and pumpkins for the porch, and a hopefully a hike. It's supposed to be chilly here, but this weather is heaven to me.

I'm excited about the Vice Presidential debate next week (even though I'll miss the live broadcast due to a concert, but I'll catch up — and write a recap — as soon as I get home) and our upcoming trips to Washington DC and Vegas. We'll be in Vegas for a trade show, so I won't have much time to explore, but our DC trip is completely open — what should we do? I've got a few museums and monuments on my list (American History, Air and Space, most things on the National Mall) but I'm open to all suggestions, especially places to eat. I'm pretty much a pro at planning out sight-seeing adventures, but I always find myself coming up short when it comes time to pick a restaurant.

Are you guys doing anything fun this weekend? What are you most looking forward to this fall? Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

First Presidential Debate: Recap

Did you guys watch the first Presidential debate last night? I forgot to bring my Bingo cards, and I couldn't drink because I ended up being the one to drive — all of which left me with ample time and a clear mind to, you know, actually listen to the debate.

While Romney has since been declared the "winner" based on, as far as I can tell, the facts that he didn't allow the President to steamroll him (by being incredibly defensive, and at times, rude) and more clearly defining his policies (sort of, and sometimes by just flat-out lying). That's all I'll say about the politics of it, because let's be honest: I consider myself to be adequately informed on the issues regarding both candidates and I made up my mind long ago to vote (again) for Obama. I have his campaign magnet on my car and my Facebook cover photo is a picture of the Obama family into which I Photoshopped myself — I'm about as far as you can get from an undecided voter.

So, all of this means that while I consider, listen and appreciate the actual substance of a debate, I was watching more for the entertainment value. If you didn't get a chance to follow along with my somewhat frequent live-tweeting last night, I'd like to recap a few of my thoughts:

Fashion:


The very first thing I notice about any two candidates are their ties. A suit is a suit is a suit, so we're very limited in our fashion discussions (just one more unfortunate side-effect of a male-dominated race). The party-designated red and blue color schemes is a given, but I thought Obama's subtle pattern was a better choice than Romney's dated and gaudy businessman stripes. I will say, however, that the occasional moiré interference created by Obama's fine pattern was a tad distracting.

The only other discernible difference between the two was the size of each candidate's ubiquitous flag pin. While Romney's trumped Obama's in shear size (compensating for something, eh Mitt?), it also had a weirdo black spot that my friend Brianna likened to a spy camera. Sure job creation is important, but tell me Mitt, WHAT WAS THAT SPOT? 

Winner: Obama

General Appearance:


I know, I know, it's what's on the inside that counts, don't judge a book by it's cover and all that jazz. But I'm a graphic designer, a visual person by nature and an American. Looks count. While I happen to think that Obama is just a stone-cold fox in general, I thought he looked great last night. Trim and healthy, if not a tad weary, but dude's trying to keep an entire country afloat while fighting daily for the chance to just keep on fighting. Just the fact that he's still standing is a miracle to me. Also, while I know it's probably a byproduct of said stress, the salt-and-pepper-closely-cropped-hair look is really working for him (for me).

By contrast, Mitt has always just sort of creeped me out. From his staccato, maniacal laugh to his thick, dark eyebrows that always seem to be threatening to obscure his vision completely, dude just weirds me out. Sure his wife says he's a jokester and a great guy (!) but to me he just seems like a painfully square, rich, old, out-of-touch businessman who would suffer from vaguely bad coffee breath (even though he doesn't drink coffee because, you know, magic underpants and whatnot) and sneak up behind you for an unsolicited shoulder rub.

Winner: Obama

Facial Expressions/Reactions
 

If you're catching up on last night's debate, I highly recommend seeking out a video that includes a split-screen at some point. One thing I could not get over was Romney's expression while Obama was speaking. One part "I have gas" and two parts straight up creep, I described Mitt's "smile" as a Mitt Eating Grin™. Did no one do a film test of his "listening" face before the debates?


Every time he tried to change expressions, the resulting one was more unsettling than the last. When it came time for the closing statements, I barely heard them — I was too busy feeling uneasy with his wide-eyed, soul-less stare and his "my neck is the same width as my head" rigidity.


Obama chose a more studious, considered look while Romney was speaking, and came across as thoughtful and dignified. In the rare occasions that he smiled, I was so blinded and mesmerized by his perfect, whitest-of-white smile that I would have married him on the spot (if he wasn't so heart-warmingly happy with Michelle — Happy 20th you crazy kids!).

Winner: Obama

Soundbites

[source]
I said I wouldn't comment further on the actual things said during the evening, but I think it's necessary to mention a few soundbites that stuck in my mind. Romney threw around the "love" word more than a few times, first saying that he "loved coal" and further clarifying that he loved "clean coal". Now, I'm not an expert on how fossil fuels work, but my basic knowledge tells me that this is just impossible. An oxymoron if you will. Hey Mitt, I bet you LOVE jumbo shrimp too.

Mitt also went on to declare his love for Big Bird — as a preface to his declaration that, as President, he would cut government spending to PBS. To which I immediately replied, STAY AWAY from my Downton Abbey, you troll.

Notable Obama themes included calling out Mitt's penchant for not revealing his intended policies — "I think the American people have to ask themselves, is the reason that Governor Romney is keeping all these plans to replace (my policies) secret because they’re too good? Or is it because that somehow the middle-class families are going to benefit too much form them? No." — and, of course, his anniversary shout out to Michelle.

Winner: Mitt Romney had more memorable soundbites, but his PBS comment makes me unable to declare him the winner of anything, ever, so Obama.

Overall


So, who do I think won the debate? If you've been keeping track, you might say Obama. But I'm going to throw a last minute curveball and propose that the real winner of this debate was not Barack or Mitt, but Jim Lehrer's pupils. As a life-long sufferer of lazy, perpetually dilated pupils, I couldn't stop staring into the deep, dark, bottomless pools that dominated the PBS moderator's eyeballs.

Maybe it was just dark on his side of the auditorium, maybe he's on medication, or perhaps he was just high as a kite. Either way, I kept waiting for the Devil himself to unzip his Jim Lehrer suit and swallow Mitt Romney whole. Thus, I declare the winner of the first debate to be Jim Lehrer's pupils, in hopes that they appreciate the shout out, and spare my eternal soul.

Winner of the first debate: Jim Lehrer's pupils