Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ski resort etiquette

I am on a winter vacation, snowboarding in New England! I'm having a great time, but I thought it would be helpful to give some advice for visiting ski resorts. So here's a list of rules I think everyone should follow:

1. Don't take other people's stuff. It's actually kind of amazing that in this day and age there are still places where you can leave your things out in the open and chances of anything getting stolen are slim to none. But every once in a while, something goes missing. So make sure to mark your belongings with your name, or some sort of obvious marker (ex. I have a red ribbon on my bag). So let's keep ski resorts trustworthy, and only handle your own things.

2. When you're done eating/getting dressed, leave the lodge. There are only so many chairs and tables to go around. So once you're ready to hit the slopes, don't dilly-dally. Just get out there! And once you're finished with your snack/lunch, move so that other people who haven't eaten can use the space. Don't be a table/chair hog!

3. If you're slow on the slopes, or a beginner, wait for the faster, more experienced skiers and snowboarders to pass you. Now, I don't consider myself an expert, and I don't like to speed down the mountain. But it is very frustrating when I'm trying to do my thing, and there's a family in front of me traversing the entire mountain at the rate of slugs. I fell several times just trying to avoid hitting people who didn't know what the hell they were doing. If you can't handle it, wait your turn, or stick to the bunny slope.

4*. Snowboarders: When you're waiting in the line for the lift, and one of your feet is off the board, clip the straps of the loose binding together. It's difficult if I'm trying to get on the lift with you, and I keep stepping on your straps. It's not that hard to tuck everything in nice 'n' tidy. 

5. If you're the extra single on the lift, please attempt to make polite conversation. I know some people don't like talking to strangers, but if you're going to be sitting next to some people for the next five minutes, you might as well be friendly. Even if you're just commenting on how great the hills are or how cold it is, that's better than sitting there totally mute (or ragging on our older boards, as one gentleman did to us). It makes the lift ride less awkward and more pleasant, and you might make a friend.

6*. If you're with friends/family on vacation, don't call/text you significant other who isn't with you. Seriously? You can't go a few hours without chit-chatting with your lover-boy/girl? I went several days without talking to my boyfriend before I checked in with him. It is just so rude to talk/text to other people who aren't even present in the room, while ignoring people you're actually with at that very moment.

*My own sister and father are guilty of these.

And a little special rant to ski resorts: WHY must you cater to families? Okay, I get it, ski lessons are expensive, and you want kids to enjoy skiing so that they spend their own money at ski resorts when they grow up. But it must be obvious how less enjoyable to ski experience is for those of us who don't have children. And it's not just the fact that these kids are on the slopes either going super-fast or slow as molasses, messing up my groove. It's actually all of the stuff that has nothing to do with skiing or snowboarding. For example, Cannon Mountain had a bouncy castle IN THE LODGE. I had to eat my sandwich next to a handful of kids jumping and screaming inside this box that is clearly meant to be outside. Yes, I realize it's very cold. Guess what? Don't have a bouncy house. Ski resorts are not required to have bouncy houses. And Bretton Woods had a rock climbing wall inside as well. Why? I'm trying to enjoy my clementine, and instead I have to watch a bunch of kids belay off the walls and hang from the ropes like monkeys. That does not help my appetite.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Music Video Review: Taylor Swift's "Style"

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First off, I am obsessed with this song. I cannot get it out of my head! I swear it's playing on repeat 24/7 in my mind. I love anything classic: Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, cardigans and black tights. So a song about a love that never goes out of style, like my favorite pair of high heeled pumps? Totally my new pop anthem.

However, I watched the music video, and it definitely fell short of my expectations, especially after the video for "Blank Space" which is beautiful and pure genius. The scenes are all choppy and go back-and-forth in no purposeful manner; it's hard to follow. And while I can see the parallel with nature never going out of style (i.e. lightening has always happened), the forest/beach clips seem out-of-place. Also, I was really confused by the mish-mash of images of her face on his face/curtains/shards of glass/etc. and vice versa. I'm not sure what that has to do with never going out of style. That part just seemed artsy for art's sake; I guess that's okay because both music and video ARE art, but with a layperson audience, being literal doesn't have to be a bad thing (see below).

Here is what I would have liked to see: If something never goes out of style, that means it's timeless, right? So this song is about a timeless romance. So why not show a couple (i.e. Swift and some hottie) that gets together and then breaks up every couple of decades? You could have the 1920's Gatsby era, the 1950's Grease time, the 1960's flower-power/hippie phase, the 1980's (which needs no description), and then modern times? And the running themes throughout would be the words in the song: the red lipstick, the white T-shirt, etc. (which the current video does but not in the way I'm imagining).

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One music video that does the time-traveling love theme seamlessly is Sarah McLachlan's "Stupid." AMAZING.

I get that it's hard to top the video for "Blank Space." But I think they could've tried a little harder. But Swift looks to die for (as usual) in this new video, so at least there's that. #GirlCrush

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Movie Review: Jupiter Ascending [SPOILERS]

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This past weekend I saw Jupiter Ascending with a friend. I will admit that Sci-Fi is not my genre of choice (except for Star Trek and Star Wars), but both of the main actors are hot and I wanted to see them get it on.

And seeing as that didn't happen, this movie was pretty much a complete wash. For one, there wasn't enough back-story. The past was alluded to, but flashbacks here and there would have been helpful, even perhaps starting the movie far into the past and then racing back into the future. There were too many things that were mentioned but not explained fully, leaving the audience confused and wanting more answers. Also, there is a lack of characterization, especially for the two main actors. You can tell that Channing Tatum's character has some anger issues and a lot of baggage, and Mila Kunis' character is just some pretty girl with zero personality. The fact that they both fall for each other so quickly is 1. immature and stupid and 2. ridiculous because there's nothing there besides good looks! It just was hard for me (and I'm sure for others) to connect to these characters whom we know so little about and really feel no empathy for.

Then there were other things that were just weird. Eddie Redmayne sounds just like he did as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. One character has an Oedipus complex and wants to marry the woman who is the reincarnation of his mother. And I wanted to shave off Tatum's goatee the whole time.

I think the only parts I liked were Kunis' wedding dress in the movie, and the planet where the character Kalique Abrasax lives, since it too is covered in flowers and is so beautiful.

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If you like action and a lot of explosions, then you may enjoy this movie. But otherwise, don't bother. Two out of five stars.

PS: I realize I mainly write movie reviews about silly movies. I do watch important films! I have seen American Sniper and The Imitation Game, which are both phenomenal, but they are so good I don't know what I'd say in a blog post besides, "Go see this movie!"

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

WMZQ's Stars 'n' Guitars Concert

I went to this concert last year, and it was so good that I had to come again! WMZQ does such a good job on this event; I went last Friday and it was so much fun!

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Gloriana hosted the event. I will admit that I was distracted by the fact that 1. one of their female singers was missing, and 2. the members of this band look like other famous people. Rachel looks like a prettier, more feminine version of Jillian Michaels (and was showing off her outie belly button in a crop top in February!), Tom looks like the baby born from Tyler Hubbard from Florida Georgia Line and Chad Kroeger from Nickelback, and his brother Mike looks like the love child between Gary LeVox from Rascal Flatts and Lance Bass from *Nsync.

BUT other than their appearances, I did enjoy the music!
-Good Night
-Wild at Heart
-And something else...I can't remember!

Here are the songs from the other groups:
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 Maddie & Tae: I am so excited for this young duo! I love their music and I hope they go far! Plus, they are super-cute to watch!
-Girl in a Country Song
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Montgomery Gentry: This was probably the best-known group of the night. They have created so many great songs over the years, so it was too bad they could only sing a couple of songs! There were definitely some favorites that just didn't make the cut.
-Where I Come From
-If You Ever Stop Loving Me

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Austin Webb: I didn't even know who he was when I bought the tickets. I went to his website and listened to his four songs there, but then on the night of the concert, he only sang one of those four songs! So it was too bad that he played music that probably no one had heard before, so we couldn't sing along.
-All Country on You
-Getting Even
-Don't Give Me No Lip
-And then some song about an old guy (he's got more than one of these); blanking on the name!

The concert wrapped up with all of the bands singing "Luckenbach Texas" by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. I guess I'm too young to know this song, but I think there were plenty of people in the audience who weren't familiar with it. I thought it was unfair to choose this song, mainly because 1. Gloriana admitted that they perform this song a lot already, so they had an unfair advantage and 2. Maddie and Tae didn't know the words! Why didn't they choose a famous country song that everybody knows, performers and concert-goers alike?

But all in all I thought it was a great event, and I look forward to seeing next year's line-up!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Recipe: Broccoli Cheese Soup

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Every year my dad hosts a Super Bowl party, and every year we have WAY too much food, no matter how many people we invite. This year, one of my friends brought this delicious soup. I'm not much a soup-maker, but I definitely want to try to make this on my own!

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • ½ medium chopped onion
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ lb fresh broccoli (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup carrot, julienned
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Saute the onion in 1 tablespoon melted butter and set aside. In a large pot whisk together the melted butter and flour over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Slowly whisk in the half and half and chicken stock. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the broccoli, carrots, and onions. Let them simmer on medium low for about 25 minutes until the broccoli and carrots are tender.
  4. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper and sharp cheddar cheese. Let the cheese melt and then serve. For a smoother soup puree it in a blender... but I love the chunks.
My friend noted that she and her husband changed up the recipe a bit.They threw in a bit of paprika, seasoned salt, and dry ground mustard; when the cheese made the soup a little too thick, they added in some skim milk. It seems like you can really play around with the ingredients depending on your own tastes! 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Recipe: Pistachio Pudding Cookies

I often scroll through the Cosmopolitan Twitter feed, and I came across a link that posted several recipes you could make with boxed cake mixes. I translated that to mean, "Really easy, really yummy desserts," so I thought I'd try one.

I chose to make the Pistachio Pudding Cookies, since I love pistachio pudding. Here's the recipe:


  • 1 white cake mix
  • 1 small box instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1.5 cups white chocolate chips
  • (optional nuts)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine cake mix, pudding mix, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and 3/4 teaspoon almond extract. Mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add in 1.5 cups white chocolate chips and stir.
  4. Measure out 1 tablespoon dough rounds and place on cookie sheet leaving space between each one. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned on edges.
Yield: about 30 cookies
Prep Time: 5 mins. Cook time: 12 mins.
Total time: 17 mins.

Recipe inspired by Cake Mix Cookies IV

I will say that the cookies are good (soft texture), but they didn't actually taste too much like pistachio, which is the flavor I really wanted. But I do like the variety of cookies you could make with this basic recipe. You could use lemon cake/pudding/extract, or vanilla pudding and orange extract for a creamsicle-like taste. And note: I made them by rolling the dough into little balls with my hands, and they took closer to 16 minutes to bake, not 12.