Thursday, February 25, 2016

bloom with me (on a budget!)

Here in NYC, despite a mean streak of rainy days, the temperatures have been unseasonably warm and the air is filled with a faint but lovely smell of spring. Though I don't trust Mother Nature not to hurl another blizzard our way (it is only February 25th!), it's been nice to shed some layers and consider the possibility that the dark and cold winter is ending.

These spring vibes go perfectly with the arrival of spring blooms at all the bodegas and sidewalk flower shops (a favorite NYC-ism of mine!) and even my beloved Trader Joe's is looking spring-ified! Since we all know that fresh flowers improve your mood, I thought I'd share some of my tips and tricks for always having beautiful blooms on a budget!
* Keep it healthy
Since the reason grocery store and bodega flowers are usually cheaper presumably has something to do with their freshness and quality, you've got to put in a little extra effort to make them last. This isn't foolproof, but some of my best tips are:
- always cut each stem after you buy it and before you place it in a vase
- change the water frequently or at least don't forget to add fresh water every day or two
- put a penny in it! Seriously, if you want your tulips to stay standing for longer and bloom more boldly, put a penny in the bottom of the vase. I don't know why, but it works!
* Arrange it!
It's tempting to purchase prearranged bouquets, but I find that you often see a decrease in the quality of bloom (because they may not all be equally fresh) or you end up with something that isn't quite what you were hoping for. Often you can create your own arrangement for less than the pre-made ones and they come out even more lovely. HERE, HERE and HERE are some great tips for making your own arrangements, but some of my biggest suggestions:
- think about a variety of size, color and texture, even if you're only buying 2 blooms to combine. If you're buying different flowers, mix big and bold with something small and soft. 
- cut them at different lengths; this allows the arrangement to look more dynamic
- remove the leaves; I learned this one online and it works like a charm... when you strip off most of the greenery on each stem the arrangement instantly looks more professional
- consider an unusual vessel. It doesn't always have to be a vase, maybe it's a cool jar or 2 or 3 small vessels placed next to one another in an "arrangement of arrangements". 
* Think long term
Though it's tempting to purchase a bundle of flowers that's in full bloom, unless you are in need of a pretty display immediately, resist the urge. Buying flowers that are mostly unbloomed means they are fresher and if well cared for will literally blossom before your eyes. Not only is it fun to watch the flowers "perform" but it means they'll stay lovely on your table for a few days longer than if they were already in full bloom when you bought them.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Want to make your next road trip WAY more awesome?

Relax Morgan, this time you can sit in the passenger seat!
How about you bring Morgan Freeman along for the ride!? The dream of having your ultimate co-pilot guide you through traffic and all the twists and turns of your journey can finally be a reality thanks to the newest Waze app voice feature.

That's right, you can now set your Waze GPS to "Morgan Freeman mode". This brilliant integration into Google owned navigation app (which in my opinion is the best out there, including the most up to the minute route guidance, warnings about speed traps and cops and great "what's near you now" info) is a promotion of Freeman's new movie so he actually navigates to you as if you're the President of the United States (#dreamsdocometrue).
To have Freeman dictate your driving directions all you have to do is is open up Waze and click Settings>Sound>Voice Language>Morgan Freeman! Best of luck my happy travelers, tell Morgan I sent you :) 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Hump Day Distractions

I know we cruised right through my beloved President's Day and didn't even give mention to the always lovely (hehe) Valentine's Day, but here we are at hump day and I've got some goodies to share so I'm sharing them!! Enjoy!

* Shut the F up Cadbury, this is insane!!! Who's coming with me to London!?
* I'm taking this quote from the always wise T. Swift to heart...
* When you live in NYC, having your kids share a room is pretty common. Some think of it as a negative to city living, but if this is what it could look like, I'm all for it!!
* This is a really thought provoking article on the importance of in-person "quality time" with friends and family.
* Infatuation is the outstanding restaurant reviewer and locator website/app you've been waiting for (available for NYC, LA, San Fran and Chicago last I checked!) 
* I love puns so much it's ridiculous.
* This is the most horrifyingly hysterical thing you will see all week.

Monday, February 8, 2016

All Hail Queen B (again)

I'm not sure that I've ever (intentionally) blogged about the same topic twice, but when Beyonce is concerned, it is apparently warranted. Because honestly, we need to talk about how insanely fierce this woman is... again.

Beyonce dropped a surprise single and music video on Saturday (bam!) and then played that single, essentially debuting it (since many missed the "breaking news" on Saturday) at the Super Bowl on Sunday followed immediately by a commercial announcing a world tour (BAM!BAM!!) Aside from the fact that literally no other artist has the chops to rock millions of people with a song they've never heard before, Beyonce outperformed the other halftime show musicians by a landslide while not-so-subtly serving up a hot slice of political pie. That's because Beyonce's new song, Formation, is a racially-charged anthem which evokes the long forgotten era when outstanding music was also a voice for expressing outrage over social and political issues.
The video for Formation has already been viewed over 12.9 million times on YouTube as of my writing this. As always, Beyonce looks damn sexy, her lyrics are ridiculously witty, the choreography off the hook and most impressively, she is conveying a serious message. Beyonce is declaring the importance of her heritage and her race... she is challenging us to think hard about the state of these things in our country through music and imagery.

As The Daily Beast noted, BeyoncĂ© and husband Jay-Z have paid to bail out protesters in Baltimore and Ferguson. Tidal, a music service Jay-Z started that BeyoncĂ© partly owns, announced a $1.5 million donation to the Black Lives Matter movement and other social justice groups. Beyonce is a babe, but she is also an activist and she tricked us all into listening by shouting it out at the Super Bowl while dancing like the sexiest woman on earth (black panther salute and all).

So all hail Queen B for somehow taking our worship to another level. Just when we thought she couldn't get any more more sexy, any more empowering, any more popular, she showed us all her Formation.*

* Read more about the stir created by Formation HERE.
* PS, Gaga had her Whitney moment with that anthem. Slay it girl!