Thursday, September 24, 2009

Temporary Insanity

Twice a year, the folks at the Nordstrom’s open their door two hours early for overly enthusiastic make-up junkies to preview their season’s cosmetic collection a la runway style. Knowing my addiction very well – my enabling and equally addicted friend Angela picked up the tickets for the Saturday am show.

So there we were – 6:45 am, Starbucks in hand – waiting like stressed husbands on Christmas Eve for Nordies to open the doors to us as we watched richly colorful faces wiz by to set up. Then bam – 7 am on the dot and we charge – no exaggeration –charge – vying for great samples and front row seats. Mission accomplished.

For the next two hours we were dazzled and delighted by our host Julianne De’Chaump, Regional Manager for Nordstrom’s cosmetic department and her bag of goodies. In between coaching us on skin care, and luring us into overpriced merchandise indulgences, she would draw names for glorious prizes from La Mer, on down to Clinique. It was delicious.

So here I am scribbling madly – all the products I HAVE TO HAVE. Now in a regained sense of cogency, I reread these and giggle. For example – Laura Mercier foundation primer for mineral foundation – um I don’t wear mineral foundation and a $200 clerisonic face scrubber – yep need me one of them. Oh and don’t forget – Shu Uemura face cleansing oil – yes you read that correctly cleansing – oil. Madonna uses it – so throw that in my bag! At least the samples were free.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Red White and Bull

Red bull is one of those necessary evils for me. I will bash it until I am blue in the face – with it’s horrible health track record and it’s nasty side effects including el jitterinos. But let me tell you – when I’m looking at a wasteland of energy voids – I am the first one to reach for that sugar-free vice.

But this love hate relationship is reserved just for the contents inside the can – the can itself is pretty bad ass. Look what these artists have done with it. There will be an entire show of this stuff in the main lobby of Union Station and the free event runs October 8 – 19.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just for the Halibut: Humble Pie with a Side of Tears

It happens, we’re both busy and although we share an apartment – we’ve resorted to appointments to see each other. So Thursday night Linds and I had one of our monthly dates. DC staple 1789 restaurant seemingly opted out of restaurant week last August, but fear not bargin hunters, they offer a $40 pre-fix menu (over $100 value) for the entire summer. But Thursday was their last day so we started our evening there. Neither of us has been, but every hot shot and big wig inside the beltway claims this Georgetown spot as one of their favs, so you can see why it was imperative these two no-name ladies make a reservation there right?

Converted from an old G-town townhouse – you walk into the restaurant on the street level. Below is a whole separate restaurant/bar Tombs (owned by the same Clyde’s group.) Stepping over the threshold you are immediately transported to the look and feel of colonial America, complete with formal china and shaker chairs. We were the first ones there at opening and seated right away. The pre-fix menu is essentially the regular menu – but less expensive. So from the list of entrees including rabbit, strip steak, and six varieties of fish I chose with a first course of scallops and main course of halibut. Both were hearty, and delicious – made from fresh ingredients, I could tell. But it was the desert that bumped this restaurant to the top of my list. I had the (White) Peach and blueberry buckle with peach ice cream. (I put the White in parentheses because Lindsey’s menu omitted the ‘white’ so she though I was embellishing my description to be posh.) P.S service was impeccable!

After dinner we rushed, yes, rushed, over to the Arena stage, where we had tickets to see Jane Anderson's Quality of Life. Knowing very little about theater – the hook for me was that Anderson is also the writer of It Could Happen to You and Mad Men. Lindsey seemed to recognize the four main characters, all having experience on Law and Order, but that’s like saying a pop star was on Mickey Mouse Club. Beans to me. But let me tell you this – if the word ‘life’ is in the title – brace yourself for a downer. I buffered myself with Chardonnay during dinner. But this was a really doozie.

It’s a story of two couples – an archetypal Midwestern one and the stereotypical hippie duo living in San Francisco. The wives are cousins, but they are connected on more profound level – both couples literally are in rubble.

While the Pollyanna-esque Dinah from Ohio is dealing with the loss of their daughter at the hands of a psychopath murder, Jeannette, the Janis Joplin of the show, is losing her husband to cancer and already lost her home and cat in a California wildfire. Over the course of a weekend they rekindle their bond while navigating their shared recovery. Yes – there is a whole lot of crying and not just from the actors. But Jeanette makes us burst at the seams with her biting sarcasm and wit. Like I said – I’m not a theater snob -so my gage on acting is the point I realize the actors have made the characters real for me – and I believe they are one and the same. If that is the measure the acting was superb. I felt like a voyeur in this snapshot of misery. The play was beautiful, but dark and deep, not really my style of entertainment. Still, let me offer another review arguing the other side of the coin: DCIST REVIEW 

Quality of Life runs through October 18 at Arena Stage in Crystal City. Tickets are available online.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Book Review: Tipping Point

As our August book club read we decided to shake up the reading list with a little non-fiction and chose to do Tipping Point. And wouldn’t you know it…There’s a match on the cover so we ran with the match theme and had brunch at Matchbox in Eastern Market.

Nothing like sipping fruit infused cocktails and wolfing down Fire and Smoke pizza while discussing trends. And no, not just those in Fashion.

Clearly written as a business treatise on how to tap into the culture market for your product or service, this book actually applies to more than just the marketing world. The take away message is to follow Malcolm’s rules of trend setting: create a message that is “sticky”, framed in and during the appropriate context and delivered to one or all of these personalities: the connector, maven or salesperson. Do this and you will set up a wildfire of buzz and adoption. Well if this helps you sleep at night Cooperate America – Fabulous! The rest of us will keep our night light on with a notepad on the nightstand.

For a journalist writing this book, he did a bang up job for slapping together some interviews and a few case studies to illustrate his point. You see, according to Malcolm - Sesame Street, Hush Puppies, NYC crime in the 90s, and STDs in Baltimore coming and going all fit seamlessly into the steps mentioned above.

Well I call bunk. What I found frustrating about this book, was not the theory itself, these sticky messages and particular personalities and time frames all seem to be contributing factors, but the author deems them the MAIN factors for setting off A MAJORITY of trend storms. I wish he would have been a little clearer about the factors being relevant really only to these 5 cases.

But it was an interesting new way to think about communication in general. Which is why I think it’s so applicable to most professions. How just changing a word in your advertisement or communication can grab someone’s attention, and pass information; or an impression like cleaning up graffiti can create a movement and lower crime. But the most personal analysis was in the Law Of The Few or personality conduits – people who are responsible for spreading information quickly, particularly connectors: Connectors are people with a special gift of bringing the world together through their people – through their connections. I have found my niche in the world – I am a connector.

And as much as I criticized the book – I can’t help but tell everyone I know about it – almost daily!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

On the Mark

Mark, my co-worker sent this to me....THANKS!

Four Things That Make Women Unapproachable:  Dying for the guy at the end of the bar to talk to you? Men shared the surprising reasons they stay away.
By Diana Vilibert

Sometimes it seems like no amount of silent prayer or aggressive cleavage will get that cute stranger to take a hint and chat you up. Could you be scaring away men before they even approach you? We asked the male members of Marie Claire Ask & AnswerMarie Claire's online Q&A community for dating, sex, and relationship advice—what female behavior makes them scared to go in for the kill.

You Look Pissed
Hey, perma-scowl: swap the pouty lips for a genuine, friendly smile and your eye candy for the night will be more likely to approach you. The majority of Answerology men agreed that an unfriendly facial expression will keep them from approaching you, so flash those pearly whites at the guy you've been eyeing!

You’re Not Locking Eyes
What's harder than approaching a stranger? Approaching a stranger who hasn't acknowledged your existence with even a brief look. "I need to see, by her looking and smilling at me, that she wants me to approach her. If I don't see it, I don't approach," says Anonymous. So next time you think he catches you looking at him, don't look away—hold your stare for a few seconds so he knows you're looking—and that you like what you see.

You’re Too Flirtatious
A chip on your shoulder is a turnoff to any guy waiting to make his approach—but so is the other extreme. istillhatescreennames is put off when women cross the line from friendly to flirty...with everyone they see. "If she's flirting with lots of guys. Nothing like a woman who is basically telling everyone in the place that she's open for business with anyone," he says. "Flirting with everyone" would put him off, agrees Anonymous, adding another pet peeve: "Grinding out on the dance floor (yeah its fun to look at but I like to look at strippers too...but I wouldn't take any home to meet my mom)." Sure, he’ll notice you if you’re the loudest, most aggressive girl in the room—but not in a good way.

You’re Surrounded by Friends
Admit it—your awesome group of friends can be a little intimidating, especially when a strange guy approaches to hit on just one of you. seanc writes, "Being surrounded by more than one friend makes her less approachable because of the embarrassment of being rejected in front of more people." Make sure you're giving him the opportunity to approach you alone—check out the jukebox and linger for a bit, or offer to grab the next round of drinks for your friends.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I'm Kindof A Big Deal

Another one from the "People know my name" files. 

Lawson Vaughn, soccer player for the USA Chivas sat at my table. He and his two friends (another soccer player and his gf.) were very nice. But it happens - I have no idea who they are when the start to casually name drop.
"I'm in from LA."
"Shut Up - I'm from San Diego!, What brings you to DC?"
 "Playing against DC United."
"Oh you play soccer? that's cool - you do look like a runner. bet you can't wait to get back to L.A., I sure do miss my taco shops! Now I have tried to explain to people why guacamole is so much better in Socal - but most people here are grossed out by avacados........"
Thank God Todd was there to go fluff his ego - FAIL: the pro-sports thing went right over my head as the great guaco debate came to the forefront. Whoops!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A View From The Top

Scratch this one off the bucket list!

Is it wrong to start your bucket list at age 5? Right or wrong….I did it. I saw Top Gun and aside from that movie cementing itself into the top spot of my all time favorite movies, it also sparked my interest in aviation. I will fly a plane before I die …and hopefully live long enough to get a license for it. So when a PR woman for sprayed her press release I bit. Heck yeah! I will absolutely take you up on your offer for a free flight lesson just to see what it’s about. So my camera sidekick Sam and I jumped in the cockpit. Once you started the plane, the only usable tape we could get was b-roll – so I fired off my off-the-record questions to poor Tony Chandler, our instructor. “Ever met a pilot afraid of heights?” I asked as Sam was turning green in the backseat. But Tony was no victim – he fired right back. While I was panicking about taking over the controls – he reassured me with this little treat. “It’s not the crash that will kill you…it’s the sudden stop.” “Bet you tell all your first-timers that.” He just laughed. But after about 10 minutes I relaxed and started having fun – taking us into dips and hard turns. The actual maneuvering the plane was not the hard part – it was like learning to drive an automatic at 16. The hard part was compensating for the whole 3rd dimension. The car goes forward and turns – the plane does that plus up and down. Sounds simple but after a few dips I can see why you need 40 hours of practice before licensing. Now to find a sponsor for my $10,000 hobby.

Zumba Switcheroo

So it's been a little while since I've been to a class let alone visit my world famous gym (you know the one I just HAD to join in January.) But I figure I'm paying for it so I might as well use it now. I was also inspired after our recent cruise, where apparently we were operating on high octane buffet food (just wait until the study comes out...crack I tell you), and hit the gym at 7 am Bermuda time, daily. (that's right I said daily.)

Anywhoo, EVERYONE at the pub swears up and down that Zumba changed their life. Low and behold they have Zumba at my WFG, (World Famous Gym) so I take a little nap (shut-up) and head over for my 7:30 class. Leaving the ipod in the car I skip body onto the hardwood floor with 20 other classmates.

But for a dance aerobic class they all seem to have a lot of equipment...steps, free wights, yoga mats, ok, but then they all start getting dumbbells. Toto- were not in Kansas anymore. This can't be the dance sensation that's rocking the Millennial gym generation. Wait is belts, multiple wight belts...and these aren't spry little 20 somethings....most of these women have hair cropped shorter than Dad's....hmmm. Just as I was packing up and heading to my safe elliptical, sans ipod (ugh kill me now), I was spotted by Alecia...the instructor...DAMN.

"Let me help you set up," she says, "you're a new face, must be your first Powerflex class." Too embarrassed to hurt her feelings and peace, I follow this perky little drill sargent for the next hour through more weight reps than I thought possible. And I loved it! I am so deliciously sore. Maybe next week I'll try Zumba (now that I have the updated class schedule.)