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Monday, December 29, 2014

Nicki Minaj is queen, I am her subject, and on December 15th she issued a decree.   After a year dominated by Iggy Azalea getting 'Fancy', Nicki shifts the spotlight back where it belongs with her new album 'The Pinkprint'.   Her single 'Anaconda' is reminiscent of the more pop friendly eccentric Nicki we all know and love, with a video that had me very curious as to how she can move her ass like that.  But what I really love about this album is songs like 'I Lied', 'Bed of Lies', and 'The Crying Game': songs that make you feel something.  No offense to Iggy, she's got a great voice for rapping, but songs like 'New Bitch' and 'Fuck Love' are great to run to, but they don't connect with me as a listener.   Nicki raps as easily as she breathes.  She makes it look so easy, and frankly she makes Iggy Azalea look like a novice.  
'The Pinkprint' is graced with features from Beyonce, Ariana Grande, Jeremih, and of course Drake and Lil' Wayne among others.  'Truffle Butter' which features Drake and Lil' Wayne has a simply unbelievably smooth sound, and Lil' Wayne's verse on 'Only', for lack of a better word, SLAYS. Their performances do their job perfectly, which is to highlight Nicki's talent.  

Long story short, buy the album because it's glorious.

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Friday, December 26, 2014

There were a number of highly anticipated films released on Christmas day; 'Unbroken', 'The Interview' and 'Annie' to name a few.  But the film I ended up seeing was 'Into the Woods'.  I didn't know what to expect upon walking in, but was pleased with this irreverent mash up of classic fairy tales.  The music was tremendous, and the performances (especially of Meryl Streep and Anna Kendrick) were spectacular.  They seemed to have quite a bit of fun with the stories and didn't take them too seriously.  The number "Agony" demonstrated that very well and had me laughing out loud a number of times.
However, I will say that I enjoyed the first 1/2-2/3 of the movie much more than the last bit.  The story really lost me when they kept moving to different people in the woods.  It felt very aimless and somewhat disorienting.  I also had a problem with Johnny Depp's slightly pedophile like pursuit of Red Riding Hood.  It was unsettling to say the least.
Aside from those elements, I thought the film was quite enjoyable.  The set and wardrobe were gorgeous, and all around I think it is a great choice for an outing this holiday season.
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Saturday, December 20, 2014

If you don't follow Miguel's social media (or if your best friend isn't a connoisseur of hip-hop like mine is), then you may not know that Miguel released three new tracks on his Souncloud account yesterday.  Do yourself a favor, and head over there for a listen.  The gent that released favorites of mine such as "Use Me" and "Girl With The Tattoo" has done it again.  The tracks feature his unbelievable vocals, and are punctuated by well placed electric guitar work.  I have been especially loving "coffee", which was on repeat for the better part of the evening last night.
I highly recommend you take a listen, but let me just say that if you don't enjoy music of an "explicit" nature, then Miguel may not be your cup of tea, though he certainly is mine.
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Friday, December 19, 2014

I moved!!  Yes, after four long years living in "Happy Valley", I've finally made it back to the east coast.  I have been so lucky during my time in Utah to have found some incredible life long friends. And because I am absolutely terrible with goodbyes, we decided to go about it in the comfort of my favorite restaurant: Communal.    
Simply put, Communal is bliss.  The restaurant encourages farm to table practices as well as family style dining.  It is quite pricey for a young adult's budget, but is worth every penny.  I have been for dinner a number of times, but due to my work schedule had never been able to go to Saturday brunch.  In order to satisfy this ambition, I arranged for my last day at the bakery to be this past Friday and informed my friends that brunch would be happening the following morning.  
I could not have wished for a better final get together.  We were seated in a secluded alcove with an enormous table for the four of us; our waiter was an awkwardly familiar face, and the food was divine.   Saying hello to a mimosa and heavenly pancetta hash made saying goodbye to these girls so much easier, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

I'm going to drop some knowledge on you, I love the Victoria's Secret Fashion LOVE it.  I watch it every year, and it is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season.  That being said, with the wrong commentary, it can also be an incredibly uncomfortable experience.  As you probably know, the show aired this past Tuesday on CBS and it was glorious.  The performances were stellar, the costumes were unbelievable, and all the models looked fantastic.  Now do you notice that I said fantastic?  I didn't say that they looked thin, or disgustingly skinny, or that their bodies were "bangin'", or that they should eat a cheeseburger.  I didn't say any of those things because positive or negative, commenting on another woman's body or on your own body is NEVER appropriate and only furthers a culture of negative body image.
Now I understand that there are many problems within the fashion and entertainment industries that put the health of models and girls everywhere at risk, but any and all comments on the way their bodies look only makes it worse.  I think sometimes we assume it's okay to say positive things about women with more voluptuous figures and to say negative things about women with thin figures, but that is NOT acceptable.  When you voice negative comments about thin women (body of a twelve year old boy comes to mind), you are alienating a group of women and telling them they don't belong.  When you comment that said woman is so thin and that you wish you had her "thigh gap" (a horrendous new trending topic) you only further our society's preoccupation with achieving a "perfect" form. 
Instead of thinking about or discussing the way our bodies look, let's instead think in terms of health and comfort.  Are you healthy?  Do you feel comfortable in your own skin?  These are questions that are actually worth considering.  The worst question in the world is "Do I look fat in this?"  Do not ask this question, the answer will never be relevant to the actual question at hand: "Do I feel comfortable in this?", which only you can answer.   
Don't misunderstand me, I think it's acceptable and should be encouraged to compliment yourself and your peers, it's the way you do so that is important.  If your friend has set out to become healthier and she's looking great.  Tell her she looks great, fantastic, healthy; but don't tell her she looks skinnier and that you're jealous of her collarbones.  Because a) that's weird, and b) now everyone in the conversation is preoccupied over their body image.  Let yourself be more than your body, and give everyone else (including VS models) that same right.
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Friday, December 5, 2014

I saw The Theory of Everything this week, and don't even know how to describe my response to it.  Everything about it was breathtaking.  It had stunning visuals that are typical of Focus Features, but the performances of the cast were UNBELIEVABLE (I caps-locked to convey the gravity).  Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones spoke volumes with little dialogue, and had me laughing and crying at numerous points throughout their performances.

Eddie didn't appear to be playing a role at all, rather he became Hawking and told his story with unbelievable grace and the complexity that it deserves.  Felicity was flawless.  She showed the world a real woman, rather than a saint, who was Hawking's partner not caregiver.

Needless to say, I highly highly recommend you see this film, and to bring everyone you've ever met to the theater with you.
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Sunday, November 30, 2014

It's finally happening, I'm moving out of Happy Valley (Utah County).  In two weeks time I'll be home for Christmas in Maine and then it's on to Massachusetts in January.  I may be very excited for the move, but there are many things I will miss about Utah.  So in order to bask in the nostalgia of the last four years, I've decided to revisit a bunch of my favorite places we don't have back east (basically I've been hitting In-N-Out pretty hard).  

If you live in the area, or if you watch Cupcake Wars religiously, then you're probably familiar with the joy that is Sweet Tooth Fairy cupcakes.  So, I've never been a huge cupcake person, or cake person really.  I'm ALL about the pie.  But let me tell you, Sweet Tooth Fairy has definitely converted me.  It's 100% the best cupcake I've ever had, but the Strawberry Shortcake cupcake?  Oh my my, that just might be the best thing I've ever eaten.  Just look at it.

Right?!  It's unbelievable, and I am a complete chocoholic.  Needless to say, I highly recommend you visit their shop by University Mall and consume the Strawberry Shortcake cupcake.  Your tastebuds will thank me.

Now, have a great week, and excuse me while I cry over my impending loss.
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Okay friends, I really only have one goal when it comes to this blog, and that is consistency.  I'm starting out with posting just once a week, but hopefully that will increase in the future.  With that said, I almost thought that I wouldn't make it this week.  It's been a busy one.  I worked between 10-13 hours every day, so when I came home at night I wanted something quick and comforting.  Grilled cheese fits the bill pretty well, but then I had a thought.  What if I put some of my raspberry jalapeño jam on my grilled cheese?  The result was breathtaking to say the least, and I'm posting this in the hopes that everyone will try it.  

I assume that everyone knows how to make grilled cheese, but let me just mention that if you want your grilled cheese to be regardless of whether you add jam, you MUST have Muenster cheese.  It just isn't grilled cheese without it.  

Well that's really it, it's yummy and probably the only thing that got me through this week.  So, if you feel like you need a warm hug with a kick, try this out.  

Hope you all have a great week, I'm going to focus on the AMAs now.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Welcome, welcome!  So here we are, at the beginning of something new.  It's exciting right?  Embarking on a new journey, setting out on a quest.  You'll have to forgive me, I'm currently watching Percy Jackson, and this blog has apparently become my Golden Fleece.  Alas, my aim is not a mythological object.  No, our quest is much simpler, but possibly more daunting; and that is BETTER EATING FOR BETTER LIVING.

Basically folks, I operate under the assumption that as one betters their relationship with food, that will in turn lead to a happier, healthier life.  But don't worry, it won't be all quinoa and chia seeds around here (although those are both fantastic), I believe in a more traditional and well rounded diet.  With that said, let's bring on the cookies and ice cream!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cazookie

  3/4 cup butter, softened
  1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  1 tsp vanilla
  1/4 cup molasses
  1 egg
  1 cup pumpkin
  2 cup flour
  1 cup oats
  2 tsp cinnamon
  1 tsp ginger
  1/2 tsp cloves
  1 tsp salt
  1 tsp baking soda
  2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

  Vanilla ice cream to gloriously heap on top

Preheat oven to 500 F.  Grease a pie plate or a round cake pan, I like to use the butter wrappers for this.  In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar.  If you don't have anything fancy, a fork works great for this.  Then add the vanilla, molasses, egg, and pumpkin.  In a small bowl, mix together the flour, oats, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, and baking soda.  Once they're mixed you can add it into the wet ingredients a little at a time until you get a pretty thick dough.  Then mix the chocolate chips so they're evenly distributed.

Next you're going to fill the cake pan with about a third to half of the dough you just made.  (Yes, this recipe makes enough dough for two or three cazookies.  Trust me, in an apartment with four female twenty somethings, you're going to want cookie dough on hand.)  Then press it into the pan so that it's at least an inch thick.  Don't worry too much about getting into the nooks and crannies, it will spread.  Then stick that sucker in the oven for 8 minutes, also take your ice cream out of the freezer, you want it good and soft.  After 8 minutes, take it out and immediately top with that ice cream.  Grab a couple spoons and dig in.  The idea is to eat it while it's gooey, but obviously try not to burn yourself!

For best results consume with a couple of friends and the season premiere of The Newsroom.  Your pan should look something like this:

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