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Well I haven’t posted in a couple days and I guess that’s because the whole new book thing was a success–popped me right out of my rut. Although it’s not superbly well written or anything like that, Happens Every Day is an honest, sad, real story–and a quick read.

The author, Isabel Gillies, used to be (or still is?) an actress on Law and Order SVU, so I googled her yesterday, out of curiousity. I’m an avid googler and and pretty good at tracking people down online, and the links I followed led me straight to her and her ex-husband and his new wife, the husband stealer. In the book, Gillies talks about “Sylvia” and how they were friends until “Sylvia” stole her husband, “Josiah”. Anyway, a quick google will lead you straight to their real names and their faculty web pages at Oberlin College. Not to mention students (or readers of the book?) bashing them on ratemyprofessors.com

Crazy how the internet works, huh? Nothing is private any more. I myself have had second thoughts about starting this blog–along with posting anything to Facebook, or the whole Twitter phenomenon. There are tons of articles out there about how people have gotten screwed by putting things online. Like the people who have gotten fired over things they’ve ‘Tweeted’, or been embarassed at work over their Facebook photos.

I should mention that I’m addicted to Facebook (along with much of my generation) and I admit that in the past I could have been more selective of what went on there. But live and learn, I guess.

Since nothing you post is really anonymous online, how can you keep yourself safe? With Facebook’s TOS scare in February, the abundance of blogs and journals and diaries, and now Twitter, which can be a forum for telling the world exactly what you ate for lunch, or giving a blow-by-blow of your affair, anything you put into words is immortalized online forever. Which means it can pop up again in a job search, when a first date goes home and googles you, when you run for a public office, or when your mom, or even your kids, learns how to google. Do you really want your boss/boyfriend/mom/kids/general public to know your every thought/activity/interest from when you were in college?

Scary stuff.

Easter cake pops!

After seeing all of Bakerella‘s gorgeous cake pops, K1 and I decided we had to try for ourselves–with fabulous results if I do say so myself!

Over the last few days we gathered all of the supplies we needed–cake, frosting, chocolate to melt, all kinds of candy and sprinkles–$60 worth of supplies!!! (I’m seeing more decorating projects in our near future…) We laid everything out:
p1010036

We had a little bit of everything it seemed. After rolling up the little balls of cake and sticking the lollipop sticks in them, it was time to dunk in the melted chocolate and decorate.
p1010049We used vanilla cake/frosting, and chocolate cake/frosting. Then we made some marbled when we got bored…
p1010042p1010041

All in all, these turned out 100 times better than any of us expected. The bunnies, sheep, and chicks look almost just like (or better then!) Bakerella’s. We can’t wait to try some more of her creations. We have PLENTY of leftover sprinkles. Here are some more choice examples:

My menagerie!

My menagerie!

Ridiculously cute chicks.

Ridiculously cute chicks.

The boyfriend's Easter basket.

The boyfriend's Easter basket.

K's creation that's possibly the cutest thing I've seen.

K2's creation that's possibly the cutest thing I've seen.

Cocoa digging into a 'mess-up'.

K1 digging into a 'mess-up'.

This is what I needed after staring at sprinkles for 4 hours.

This is what I needed after staring at sprinkles for 4 hours.

Happy Easter, everyone! Hope yours is as fun and creative as ours 🙂

Reading rut.

One of the things I miss most about commuting via subway/T is that solid 45 minutes to an hour worth of reading every day. I used to go through about 3 or 4 books a month that way. There was just something about being able to enjoy the morning commute without having to be fully awake and paying attention that I loved. I started a new job in October, and with it a new commute – in the car. 40 minutes of paying attention and road rage – not quite the same start to my day!

um, you can't actually click this to see inside :)

um, you can't actually click this to see inside...

I tried books on tape at first, but couldn’t really get into it. I suppose I should’ve tried more than one, as reading Divisadero was nearly as painful as listening to it… K1 and K2 both seem to dig the books on tape–it cracks me up that K2 listens to romance novels as she bikes to work. But for whatever reason I never tried again, and resigned myself to radio in the morning. Now, I love me some NPR as much as the next person but if I don’t make it to work before the BBC comes on at 9, I end up riding in silence. Granted, I think I’ve become more aware of current events from the 1.5 hours+ of NPR every day recently, but I really miss escaping into a good book.

Of course, I’ve kept reading. Problem is, I’ve been reading the same book–The Secret History–for 44 days now (thanks, Goodreads.com! awesome site, BTW, you should join). Part of the reason is that I only read a few days a week, before bed, now–which basically means 5-10 minutes before crashing. The other part of the reason, of course, is that I’m not reading anything I’m addicted to. If I’m addicted to a good book, I make the time to read it. (A third part of the reason, I’m realizing, is all the damn blogs I’ve been reading lately…)

happenseverydaySo I took the time to browse the current NYT bestsellers, and I think I’ve convinced myself to give my current book a rest and pick up a new memoir. The past year or two I’ve been more into memoirs and seem to go through them faster. On my list is Happens Every Day. I’m headed to Border’s tonight to pick it up–I’ll let you know how it goes!

Is there such a thing as a good, safe tan?

jergensWell, both the Ks and I are heading to Vegas in a few weeks with some friends, so the topic has been on our minds recently. We all want to look our best when we hit the pools and casinos in Sin City –which means adding some color to our pasty post-winter Boston bodies. Which means tackling the debate: tanning bed vs. tanning lotion. I’m a faithful user (and big fan) of Jergens Natural Glow Express (I remember when this stuff–the non-express kind–first came on the market and every Walgreens in Manhattan was sold out for like a month). I use it on my face regularly during the winter to get some color–and doubled up for special events like New Years Eve. However, even I realize that I’d need like ten bottles to prep for Vegas.

And so I put on my stupid hat and drove to the tanning salon. I signed up for a package and told myself that tanning a few times in preparation for a vacation isn’t like those girls who tan every week all year. I tell myself this each time I go–and I’m a smart girl, so why do I let myself put these blinders on? All in the name of beauty? I don’ t get it either. I know the dangers, but I do it anyway.

Well, after going a few times, I decided that maybe it wasn’t worth it and maybe it was pretty risky and basically I talked myself into acknowledging that tanning is pretty bad for me. Then I started researching spray tanning. Now, admittedly, spray tanning has come a long way since it first showed up in the late 90s. It no longer means an automatic orange hue–some girls look really great afterward! But I think it takes practice and trial and error to find a brand and a process that works for you.

bride-wars-hathaway-tanIn the name of research, my (female) roommate (K2) and I decided to check out the local Mystic Tan last night. We showered and exfoliated first, put on some grungy sweats, and headed out the door. We had seen Bride Wars together this winter, and were a little afraid of coming out looking like a burnt carrot, but neither of us planned on sabotoging the other’s tan, so we thought we’d be ok. Let’s just say that this morning, I woke up to the Boy calling me “Little Brown One.” I am definitely brown–and browner in some places than others! When you head into the spray booth they give you lotion to put on your feet/hands/nails to prevent the ‘tanning juice’ from getting into your nail beds and the dry skin in that area from soaking up too much tan juice. I wish I had thought to put some on my face! Waking up this morning my forehead and my cheeks were a nice brown color, but so were my chin and upper lip! Not so pretty! I scrambled up some lemon juice and baking soda (thanks, J.Lo in The Wedding Planner!!) and scrubbed a little bit, but still opted for some major make-up help to even things out. We’ll see what it looks like in a day or two. I haven’t seen K2 yet today but she says she’s not that dark. I guess I’ll find out at home tonight!

So here’s my frustration: Doctors and experts everywhere tell you that tanning is SO BAD FOR YOU AND YOU WILL GET CANCER, but then no one tells you any safe alternatives. One experience with a bad spray tan can send you right back into the tanning beds, or out in the sun! So instead of telling us that we need to always wear SPF 60 and hats and long sleeves and stay in the shade, why don’t doctors make some serious recommendations? Because really? Vegas? Long sleeves in the shade? Who are you kidding!? It’s like telling kids that the only way not to get pregnant is abstinence. Since it’s not realistic to tell people to stay pasty white all the time, it would be nice if they could tell us that hey, getting a slight tan isn’t as bad as burning, or something. Or is it? Why won’t someone just be honest? You either have the tanning salon’s propoganda about Vitamin D, or the dermatologist’s lecture on skin cancer. There has so be some sort of balance in there. Anyone?

I’m off to go squeeze some more lemons.

I love getting emails! I’m sure you do too. Which is why I sign up for a great daily when I see one. Right now I get three(ish) and a couple weeklies – and they’re worth every KB of inbox space! Consider yourself enlightened:

Daily Candydailycandy
I’ve been a reader of Daily Candy since I lived in New York. They have several editions (Boston, New York, Chicago, Everywhere, etc) and I’ve switched editions as I’ve switched cities. Each day the girls at Daily Candy recommend a local restaurant/museum/activity, or a cool new designer/band/CD, or write-up a new business in town, etc. It’s like having a girlfriend who’s super in-the-know (or being that girl when you relay the info to your friends!). And once a week they put out a “weekend guide” that has some great ideas about how to spend your weekend. Go sign up!

hungrygirlHungry Girl
If you haven’t heard of Hungry Girl yet, you might be interested in doing some googling! Hungry Girls is a company run by Lisa Lillien, who has now published two cookbooks of super low-calorie recipes. Each day the email has new products, tips, and tricks for how to cut calories in cooking. Once a week (Tuesdays?) there is a new recipe using low-cal ingredients or a cool new product to recreate a meal/dish that is traditionally high in calories and fat. HG has really cheesy names for these “recipe swaps” but if you can get past the cheesiness of the emails you can pick up some good tips!

Groupongroupon
I JUST signed up to get a daily email from Groupon like last week, and so far, so good! It’s also a city-based thing, but they have Boston, Chicago, and New York editions. The process is based on offering a really good deal to a local business, and you only get the coupon if enough people sign up that day. For example, today’s deal is a coupon for a Haircut, Blowdry, Mani/Pedi, and Eyebrow wax (normally $160) for $49!!! Everyone who pays the $49 gets the coupon, if 20 people buy in. (Currently there are over 170 people who bought in, so we all get the coupon!). In the past there have been restaurant deals, car wash deals, and yesterday was a dentist deal! It’s based on group buying power. Good stuff

Anyway, if you’re like me and enjoy some inbox love, these are great. If you have any daily stuff you’d like to suggest, leave it in the comments!

Introductions

I’m a twenty-something girl living life in Boston, dealing with a boyfriend, dog, friends, clothes, food, money and trying to stay in shape. I work in publishing and miss living and working in New York City.

Cocoa and coffee sort of captures my personality (personalities? not that I’m schizo or anything!). Sometimes I think of myself as a quiet, introspective, sit-by-the-fireplace and read, sip cocoa, and pet the dog kind of (countryside) girl. And sometimes I’m a career-minded, fashionable (I try…), girly, smarty pants (read: know-it-all) who requires daily injections of coffee to keep me going (city girl).

And aside from having internet pseudonyms that could pass for stripper names, I’m just a (relatively) normal girl, just trying to survive my twenties!

Who are you?