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March 2010

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Tune Time: Audio Impaired

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My first car came equipped with a radio. No CD player. No tape deck. Just crappy radio stations that played the same five songs every hour on the hour.

I drove out of town for a weekend with my pal Stacy, and the biggest part of our preparations included busting out an old-school boombox and a bunch of our cassettes for the road. Oh, and the batteries. We had to hunt down those monster D batteries to ensure a smooth ride of 1990s grunge and showtunes (yes, we were versatile). Poor Stacy coddled that heavy bad boy in her lap the entire trip, changing cassettes so we wouldn’t be at the mercy of the radio. The things we endured for good tunes!

This was just the first of many cars that had sub-par audio equipment, by the way. An ancient truck I drove actually had an 8-track. Another car had the worst, skippiest CD player you ever heard. Needless to say I’ve become accustomed to MacGyvering my audio hookup, but nothing has been quite as challenging as my iPod connection.

The first attempt at this was a jack I plugged into my car’s lighter. It worked through radio frequency, which only worked if there was an available radio frequency. Here, with the crowded L.A. airwaves, it became a nuisance, and fast. So I bought a tape-deck hookup. At first it worked well, but over time I could only hear out of one speaker unless I pulled the cord just so. I would solicit the help of my passengers to hold on while I taped down the cord in increasingly bizarre positions just so we could hear a barely discernible whisper, and only from the passenger side.

Thank god for H. He finally solved my audio woes this past Christmas by installing a stereo with a direct iPod plug-in. Most days I still tinker with the sound, wondering if I can get it to be even better, but I should always remind myself that it could be a lot worse. I could be holding a boombox in my lap.

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Wish List 03.30.10

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Don’t know what it is about spring that makes me yearn for a vase full of flowers, even though I know they will exacerbate my allergies and require the needless nipping of plants. But how about this vase full of flowers by Christine Tenenholtz? It’s pretty enough to stand on its own, without a handful of real flowers. Best of all, no sneezing or killing necessary!

Going to the Thinking Rock

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The day we went to the Thinking Rock the fog was rolling in thick off the ocean, forming a blanket of breathtaking white fluff. Last time we were there the bench overlooking the bluff at a nearby park was old and wooden and the hill was brown, dried up and thirsty after a long, dry summer. This time there was a new bench, and the hill was green and lush after a wet winter. Sometimes I forget quiet sanctuaries like this exist so close to L.A. It’s amazing how a little fresh ocean air can improve your mood.

Fashion Forward: Pom Necklaces

Were you ever a cheerleader? I was, but not for my high school squad. No, in sixth grade I was a cheerleader for my little brother’s peewee football team. We had super sexy stiff polyester tops that barely allowed movement of any kind. When it was chilly, we put on super sexy stiff sweatshirts that were equally motionless. I don’t even remember a single cheer, probably because the majority of the time on the field was spent rehearsing dance moves to “Hangin’ Tough” and “Like a Virgin” while shaking the best part of the cheerleading outfit: the pom-pons, of course.

Now I’m drawn like a moth to the flame to pom necklaces. A long chain, a pom or two or three. Who knew such a simple thing could bring so much cheer?

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100 Movies: 62, 63

And the countdown continues in my quest to watch and find something inspiring in every single one of Yahoo’s 100 Movies to See Before You Die. Today, two of my absolute favorites.
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Rose: I believe you are blushing, Mr. Big Artiste. I can’t imagine Monsieur Monet blushing.
Jack: He does landscapes.

First things first: This movie holds up in HD, friends. We watched it a few weeks ago, and it’s still amazing. The set, the CGI, the costumes. Kate and Leo still have that chemistry. The tear-jerking scene at the end where Rose dies, the Titanic is reconstructed to its original state and Jack is waiting for Rose at the clock and everyone claps … ahhh. Yes, everyone was skeptical of James Cameron and “Avatar.” But I always said, “Remember ‘Titantic’? Everyone said it wouldn’t recoup the money spent on it, and it was huge.” And I was right. Sometimes you have to put a lot on the line — your money, your reputation — to make something great, and that’s inspirational.

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Mia: Don’t you hate that?
Vincent: What?
Mia: Uncomfortable silences. Why do we feel it’s necessary to yak about bullshit in order to be comfortable?
Vincent: I don’t know. That’s a good question.
Mia: That’s when you know you’ve found somebody special. When you can just shut the fuck up for a minute and comfortably enjoy the silence.

Oh, Tarantino. I remember when I saw this movie in the theater, and how taken I was with the nonlinear storyline and witty dialogue. First a restaurant robbery, then a hit on a few surfers, a boxer on the take, a royale with cheese, a dance contest, a wallet that says “bad motherfucker” on it, a heroin overdose, a “miracle” … and so on. The acting is superb, with John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Eric Stoltz and Bruce Willis on top of their games. But mostly I was smitten by Uma Thurman’s character. She had style, and I’ve often sought to emulate that coolness. There is a lot to draw inspiration from in this film, but I’ll mention the thing that changed my life: the soundtrack. In particular, surf music. I became a fan of it that day in 1995, and to this day when I hear “Comanche” I’m reminded of the noir mood of this film and for a moment I can pretend I’m just as cool as Mia Wallace.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

I’m such a creature of habit. I’ve had a variation of the same haircut for four years, this choppy short shag with longer ends in front. And, like clockwork, I go to my trusty stylist Reva every two months to get it shaped up. When I feel saucy we do a different bang. Sometimes it’s jagged, sometimes it’s straight. But friends, I have a confession to make.

It’s been three months since my last haircut.

I finally decided I wanted to grow out my hair, and I knew the only way I’d stick with it was to not go to salon. I knew that if I ventured into the salon I’d say, “Slice it up, and slice it up good!” Now it’s time for my next confession.

My hair is driving me crazy! I don’t know how I ever grew out my hair in the past. It’s shapeless! My bangs are in my eyes! Ugh. I cannot tell you how excited I am to see Reva this Saturday. But I’m on the fence over what to do.

Should I …

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… get my current hairstyle cleaned up and cut as choppy as salad, like I usually do?

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… go the complete opposite and cut it off even more, finally going for that Keira Knightley haircut I so admire?

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… trim it up but let it keep growing in a fringy ’80s rockers fashion?

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… trim it up but let it keep growing into a blunt bob?

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… or somehow mimic this bad-ass hairstyle, which is a hyper exaggerated version of what I already have?

Decisions, decisions.

Images via 1001 Hairstyles and Simple Hairstyles.

Wish List 03.25.10

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Bees are buzzing around the bush outside my front door now. This must mean it’s spring. It also means I run swiftly past, my gaze pointed at the sidewalk and holding my breath, till I’ve passed the network of stingers. Bees don’t like eye contact. Or breathing. Tips to live by, friends.

In the spirit of spring, I’m drawn to the bird’s nest rings by Quaint Creations. Love, love, love the gold wire with green eggs. 100 percent bee-free, too.

Fashion Forward: Stripes, Part 2

Before you start thinking I’m obsessed with nautical stripes (I’m not obsessed! … OK, maybe I am just a little bit), there is a reason for this madness. I’ve heard from some of you who are wary of stripes because of the age-old adage that horizontal stripes make you look wide, and no one wants that.

I have a few outfits to show you that may change your mind. It’s as easy as layering, and as someone who doesn’t like to expose her arms I consider myself a layering expert. Putting on a cardi or jacket can really break up those horizontal lines while still showing a peek of those sailor stripes.

Look #1: A jean jacket, breezy skirt and sandals for an easygoing weekend look
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Look #2: A boyfriend cardi, boyfriend jeans and wedges for lounging around
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Look #3: An airy vest, bermuda shorts and flats for a summer barbecue
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Look #4: A fitted cardi, pencil skirt and fashionable wedges for the office
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Look #5: A blazer, trousers (or trouser jeans) and peep-toes for lunch date
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Fashion Forward: Stripes

For my 13th birthday I was given the luxury of a $100 shopping spree. I thought this was a lot of money (and it kinda was back then) but even as a newly minted teenager I was aware of how quickly it would go. I was thrifty, determined to get the most for the least. I think I drove my mom crazy, walking back and forth between three of the “cool” stores, comparing prices and trying on stirrup leggings in various shades of evil (yes, it was a dark moment in fashion history).

Somehow among my loot I ended up with two nautical striped shirts and one very unfortunate pair of nautical striped stirrup pants (such a dark, dark moment in fashion history), so even though I was thrifty I was very sure of nautical stripes and how awesome they are and always will be.

I’m loving the selection this season. There are great shirts in retail and vintage. How many nautical tops could you grab for $100?

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1) Anthro, 2) Anthro, 3) Anthro

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