Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Guess who came crawling back to me?

I had a feeling that Hotmail would come crawling back after I announced our breakup publicly on Friday (http://cestlaviebyelle.blogspot.com/2010/03/breaking-up-is-hard-to-do.html). True to form, Hotmail did just that-around 12:45 AM that very night!

I was getting ready to go to bed and decided to check my Blackberry one last time before turning the lights off only to find my missing emails from the week. They came in one after one...it was a walk of shame of sorts. The nerve of Hotmail to show up like that when I had clearly decided to move on with Gmail. What's a girl to do?

While I am happy with Gmail's courtship so far, I have to admit that I really miss Hotmail's layout and ease of use. Let's face it, I was with Hotmail for over 7 years. It just feels right and comfortable to me. However, I cannot forget the way Hotmail so rudely chose to end our relationship with no explanation last week. Gmail was more than eager to accept my offer to date unlike Hotmail who just used and abused me. So, now I am stuck between the two. I'm still with Gmail, but I am seeing Hotmail again. I guess it's true that all you need to get email is another email address.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Get your greens on!

As the weather finally starts to warm up, I encourage you to go green by heading to farmer's markets to stock up on fresh produce, herbs, and other yummy finds. Not only will you be saving money (grocery stores mark everything up), but you will also be supporting local farmers. Depending on where you go, you might also find a wider variety of foods to choose from than a traditional grocery store. You can also shop for homemade soap, lotions, candles, and other fun items. Just don't forget your reusable shopping bags. Happy shopping friends!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Breaking up is hard to do...

I can't believe it is over...a 7+ year relationship down the tubes. For no apparent reason, Hotmail decided to break up with me on Tuesday. We have never had one issue in our very long stint together. When everyone else switched over to Gmail, I remained loyal to Hotmail-only to get dumped. I just can't believe it. I guess Hotmail was just not that into me.

Was it something I did? Was it something I said? Was I being too needy with my constant emailing from work, home, and my Blackberry? Could Hotmail just no longer stand the pressure? Hotmail even went as far as having no phone number for me to call to fix our problems. We were together for over 7 years, and all I get is an extremely unhelpful Q & A section on Hotmail's site to answer my break up questions. Unbelievable!

I asked Gmail out today, and it said yes. With fun colors and setting to choose from and a much more user-friendly format, I think Gmail and I are going to be quite happy together. Hopefully I won't give in and try to log into Hotmail after one too many cocktails...I wouldn't want Gmail to find out.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ten Commandments for a Responsible Dog Owner

In honor of my beloved dog Georgia, I am posting the Ten Commandments for a Responsible Dog Owner. I have read them before, but my friend David tweeted them earlier today, and I just had to share them with you too. They come to us courtesy of http://www.findoutaboutdogs.com/.

1) My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years. Any separation from you will be very painful.
2) Give me time to understand what you want of me.
3) Place your trust in me - it is crucial for my well-being.
4) Don't be angry with me for long, and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment. I HAVE ONLY YOU.
5) Talk to me, Even if I don't understand your words, I understand your voice when it's speaking to me.
6) Be aware that however you treat me, I'll NEVER forget it.
7) Before you hit me, remember that I have teeth that could easily crush the bones in your hand, but I choose not to bite you.
8) Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I've been out in the sun too long, or my heart may be getting old and weak.
9) Take care of me when I get old. You, too, will grow old.
10) Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, "I can't bear to watch it" or, "Let it happen in my absence." Everything is easier for me if you are there. Remember, I love you.
I love you Georgia!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hello Rewind

Today's go green tip comes to us from Daily Candy. Looking for something to do with your favorite old t-shirt other than using it for a cleaning rag? Look no further. Send it to Hello Rewind, a New York-based company that will turn it into a sleeve for your laptop. How cool is that? Plus, the proceeds will benefit sex trafficking survivors.

The process is fairly simple. You pay for it on the company's Web site (http://www.hellorewind.com), and they send you a pre-paid envelope for your shirt. You mail them your shirt, and 4-8 weeks later you will be fitting your laptop with a custom sleeve.

Considering that over 17,000 people are forced into sex trafficking each year in the United States, it's time for us to take a stand to end this horrific crime. Who knew that going green could be so noble?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Lend a helping hand

Over the past few months, I've witnessed something quite amazing. People want to help each other...I really think that some of us thrive on helping others. Sure, no one is perfect, but I truly think that most people are good-we want other people to be happy, to succeed, and to do great things. This warms my heart and makes me smile.

I've noticed this in small ways like when my friend Jennifer and I would occassionally have to ask people for directions in NYC. Maybe we just happened to ask the right people, but everyone seemed happy to help and eager to make sure we knew where we were going. We even had someone write down a list of places we should check out...while we were all standing up on the subway.

I've also seen how people want to help others in the aftermath of recent catastrophes like the earthquake in Haiti. Millions of dollars have poured in because people don't want other people to suffer. I think that most of us realize that life is not an island, and that we are all in this together. Let's do our best to make the ride safe, fun, and enjoyable for everyone. There's just no need to not help someone if you can do so.

Now, I know that my ramblings are quite idealistic in nature, but I don't care. I would rather continue thinking that people are good and want to help each other than think the opposite. My motto has always been that if you have it, give it, and if you need it, take it. Let's always remember to help each other sweet friends because we are all in this together.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Movin on up

Today's go green tip is all about moving. Opting for reusable plastic storage bins in lieu of boxes is a great start. These have been my life saver over the years as I move a lot. You can easily stack them up when they are empty and when they are full. Plus, you can use them over and over again...I have yet to have one give out on me. Another idea is to save the packing materials you use instead of buying more each time. I always save the packing materials I get when I order stuff online-it's easy and free. I realize that you need some sort of storage space to keep all of this stuff. If you have the extra room, there's really no need to keep buying and throwing away perfectly good boxes/bins. Cardboard boxes break down quite easily, so save them if you can.

If you use a car or van to move your stuff instead of a moving van, make less trips by filling it up to capacity. If you use a moving van, try to make an educated guess as to what size you get instead of just guessing and ending up with an enormous van that is only half full. It will cost you more money, and it is worse for the environment. These easy steps can save you money AND help the environment. What's not to love about that?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Elevator Pitch

Why is riding with a stranger in an elevator so incredibly awkward? Is it the enclosed space or the forced conversation (or lack thereof) that makes things so uncomfortable? Being that I live on the 20th floor of a high rise condo building and have a dog, I spend a LOT of time riding the elevator each day. I walk Georgia an average of 3 times per day (more when I have time), plus I am in and out several times per day. That means I ride the elevator an average of 8 times per day. Wow! Plus, I take the elevator at work when I'm wearing very high heels which is almost every day. That makes for a lot of uncomfortable elevator rides. I guess I can always try to make it for fun by choosing one of the 50 Things to do in an Elevator http://www.lifeisajoke.com/miscellaneous88_html.htm.

Having Georgia with me makes it less awkward as I can always fuss with her, and people usually comment on her beauty, good behavior, and piercing blue eyes. It's when I'm alone that things feel weird. Do I say hello to every person who gets on the elevator? Do I force a conversation? Do I say goodbye to them? I read an article recently about elevator etiquette, and I was shocked to see that I violated the #1 rule: Do not use your phone while on an elevator. WHAT? WHY? I think it is less awkward and therefore more polite to check my Facebook, Twitter, and emails instead of waiting in silence or having some lame conversation about the weather. Am I off base here? Is a smile or a nod not enough?

Now, before I get some angry emails and/or comments, don't get me wrong here. I am all about having pleasant conversations with strangers in places like elevators, subways, etc. We've all heard the song "Love in an Elevator" right? I just don't like feeling obligated to talk to someone. Heck, my friend Jennifer and I struck up conversations with strangers all over New York last week...it's how I've made some great friends over the years. I guess I just want to know whether or not it is considered extremely rude to fiddle around with my phone, stare at the wall, or do some other sort of behavior aside from having to make small talk with a stranger. If it is, then I guess I will start working on my elevator pitch immediately.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New York State of Mind

I think I am still on a high from my recent trip to New York last week...this city is my playground, and I enjoyed every minute there. My dear friend Jennifer came with me which made the trip even more special and fun. Here is a recap of our adventures.

Jenn and I landed on Wednesday and took a cab to my friend Hattie's office to drop off our bags. Then we walked a few blocks to Cheap Jack's (http://www.cheapjacks.com/) to check out their vintage finds. Jenn scored a muted orange slip inspired top, and I picked up a fantastic polka dot dress from the 80s. I'm not sure that Cheap Jack's should be the name of the store; I think just Jack's would be more appropriate. Next, we walked over to Shake Shack (http://shakeshack.com/) for a delicious lunch in Madison Square Park. I enjoyed a portabella veggie burger, and Jenn and I shared fries and a caramel shake. The shake was ah-mazing! I highly recommend this fun spot to grab a quick bite in the park.

We headed to H&M for some more shopping and then to Brooklyn to Hattie's apartment. After resting for a few hours, we headed out to dinner at Pacifico (http://www.yelp.com/biz/pacifico-brooklyn-2). It was a decent Mexican meal for a reasonable price. Then, we met our friend Tiffany at Deity (http://www.deitynyc.com/home/) for some underground salsa dancing. While the dance floor was a bit small, the music was pumping, and the atmosphere was quite unique. Deity is a former synagogue that has been converted into a bar with an underground dance club. Not very Kosher if you ask me, but we enjoyed it nonetheless.

We went to breakfast with Hattie on Thursday and then spent all day shopping. The highlight of my day was finally getting to go to Topshop since it opened a month or two after my last visit to NY. Next, we headed back to Brooklyn to check out a few shops we read about online. Neither of us had ever been to Brooklyn before, and we both really loved the Williamsburg area. I found a great cross-body bag at Jane's Closet (http://www.janescloset.com/). We enjoyed some amazing pizza and then went back to Hattie's for some R & R before dinner. That night we dined at DBGB (http://www.danielnyc.com/) which was absolutely fantastic. Jenn and I agreed that it was the highlight of our trip. We sat two tables away from Nigel Barker, and Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber sat behind us. The food and drinks were amazing, and we didn't leave until almost 12:30 AM. C'est magnifique!

We headed back to Manhattan on Friday to drop off our bags at the Waldorf and to do some shopping. While waiting on the corner of 5th Avenue and Madison for Jenn, I saw Eliott Spitzer. I wanted to punch him in the face as he blatantly checked me out-sorry buddy, your cover is blown! No more young girls for you. We checked out Bendels and then took a stroll through Central Park. Then, we grabbed some lunch at a cozy Italian cafe on the Upper East Side before checking into our room at the Waldorf. It took every ounce of self-control in my body not to skip through the halls of the hotel Eloise-style, but I refrained from doing so. Maybe next time ;)

Jenn and I started off our evening with a quick cocktail at Peacock Alley Bar at the Waldorf. Then, we met my friends Dean and Sean at Sidebar. I had met Dean at a bar in Chelsea last year, and we have stayed in touch thanks to Facebook. Next, we met our friends Raina, Chelsea, and Tiffany at Balade (http://www.baladerestaurants.com/) in the East Village for a delicious Mediterranean feast. After dinner, Tiff, Jenn, and I headed over to Little Branch (http://nymag.com/listings/bar/little_branch/) for some yummy cocktails. This underground speakeasy is somewhat hidden, and I highly recommend going there for a customized cocktail made with fresh squeezed juices and the like. We met some new friends there and ended up heading to Home Sweet Home with them for some 60s music and dancing. My friend Jarrod from high school also met up with us at the bar. It was a very late night, but we had a lot of fun. That's what I love about New York...you have an excellent time and leave with some new friends.

Jenn and I rallied Saturday morning for some breakfast and a quick stop at Crumbs Bake Shop ( http://www.crumbs.com/) where we picked up some cupcakes to go. I picked out Caramel Apple, and Jenn got Peanut Butter Cup. We both agreed that they were the best cupcakes we have EVER had.
All in all, it was an absolutely amazing trip. We didn't have any travel problems, the weather held out, and we had the best time ever. I will never forget the good times we shared, and I look forward to more adventures in my favorite city in the world.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Why not Abeego?

Today's go green tip comes to us from a recent Daily Candy post. Instead of using plastic bags for snacks, storage, etc, check out Abeego's new line of all-natural storage products. You can choose from wraps, snack cones, and flats. The products are made out of a hemp/cotton fabric that has been infused with beeswax and plant extract. They can easily be cleaned with soap and cold water and come in a variety of fun, bright colors. You can keep one in your bag to bring to bag up leftovers at restaurants instead of using the plastic or Styrofoam containers they give you.

Now, I realize that I recently wrote a post about Ziploc bags (http://cestlaviebyelle.blogspot.com/2010/02/ziploc-talk.html), but I am offering this idea up as an alternative to using plastic bags. I have not seen any Abeego products in person and cannot testify to how well they work and last, but I am intrigued.

For more information on this line, go to http://abeego.ca/index.html. If you try them out, please send me your feedback. I think they are innovative and just plain cute...they remind me of handkerchiefs.

And the Oscar goes to...

(photo courtesy of www.ew.com)
Sandra Bullock for her stunning, gold Marchesa gown. Her look resembled that of Veronica Lake-very old Hollywood glamour. Sandy has never looked better and deserves every bit of happiness for her grace, humility, and talent. Congratulations on a well-deserved win!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Empire State of Mind

I can barely contain my excitement knowing that I will be shopping Fifth Avenue with one of my best friends in less than 24 hours. We will be going to an underground salsa club in Brooklyn, searching for vintage treasures at Cheap Jacks, and sampling some of New York's finest restaurants and bars. Let the games begin. Expect an update next week with tales of our Big Apple adventure.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A whole new wave of clean!

Today's go green tip comes to us from The Green Life. Keeping your microwave clean can actually make it last longer. For those of us (like myself) who are extremely Type A, this is great news! Clean=good in my book.

Here is the information from The Green Life: "Keeping your microwave clean by covering food (a plate or glass lid will do) can make it last significantly longer. The vapor released when the food cooks permeates the machine's interior and can, over time, cause problems. Vapor also transfers grease and residue, resulting in rust and corrosion. As for bags of popcorn? Put them on an inverted bowl or plate. They contain foil strips that can warp the turntable."

Not sure how to clean your microwave? Place a bowl of water, with slices of lemon and a cloth in it, in the microwave and turn it on for 3 minutes. After this, the steam will have loosened any bits of dried up food, and you will have a nice fresh cloth, to wipe it down with. Magic!

I don't know about you, but I had NO idea that an unclean microwave could cause so many problems. Happy cleaning!