1. Be a Better…New Yorker.

    Mish-mosh post Edition:

    I love New York. We all know this…but this week I’ve gotten a little overwhelmed with a couple things and it’s time for a rant. I haven’t ranted in a little while, because my life is f*cking awesome, but today, I’m feeling especially generous. So here we go. 

    The following list are just some things that are REALLY annoying and they need to be addressed ASAP.

    -Snobbery Shut-down: I am so stinkin’ tired of pretention. There is an entire store opening near me that only sells gourmet mayonaise. This makes me want to move to Pennsylvania and become Amish. What are we doing with our lives that would warrant an entire shop of MAYO? People still have never flown on an airplane before and I am eating condiments flavored with truffle oil and Native American tears. I’ll say it right now, I like nice things, but you know what else is great? Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits, Bagel Bites, diner coffee, re-runs of Jem and the Holograms, and sometimes…Wal-Mart. I like crappy stuff mixed in with awesome stuff, and I hope it never goes away. Not everything needs to be farm-raised, hand-woven, or plucked by woodland fairies. We are all going to be OK, I promise. 

    -West Coast Hate: Look, I admit it. I used to hate California and the West Coast…but now that my other half lives there, I’m starting to appreciate the left side of our fair country and feel like maybe we should all lighten up on them a little. There are a few things that just might be better about California than New York and that’s alright. LA isn’t just Hollywood, NYC isn’t just Broadway. LA has better mexican food, NYC has pizza, bagels, and fusion on lock. We both make decent cocktails, so let’s just cheers, get over the 3000 miles of animosity, and decide to mutually hate on all those other states in the middle. (Just kidding…sorta.)

    -Shit New Yorkers ALWAYS Say: There are a couple of things that we LOVE to talk about. We pretty much could just program three things into our social networking queues and be done. Maybe we could lessen this a little?

    1. How much coffee or caffeinated substances we’ve had today. We really like to talk about this one folks. I do it too. Just yesterday I excitedly instagrammed a photo exclaiming about the large girth of my iced coffee. We love a good photo of a latte with heart shaped foam, the fact that we had Stumptown 46 times in the last week, and that we might have a permanent heart murmur from caffeine intake. This is not interesting for anyone except ourselves.
    2. How late we are at the office. We secretly love saying how late we have to work…it becomes like some badge of honor for a New Yorker. “My life sucks more than your life, and I get paid less!” we shout proudly from our offices. But, understand,people aren’t commiserating, nor do they think we are cooler for being overworked. They are making dinner with their families and playing in their spacious backyards with their labrador retrievers. Get over yourself workaholic, and maybe force yourself out of the office to see land, sky, and water once in awhile. Brag about that!
    3. How we hate hipsters (unknowingly actually being one). This speaks for itself. We all have become some level of hipster, just learn to love it. Go home, make artisanal cocktails, listen to your record player, write songs that will never see the light of day in your Field Notes journal, and be OK with it.

    -Exercise and Healthy Eating is Getting Weird: No longer can you just go to the gym, or run around the park. No, no…this is all too normal. I can’t keep up with all the crazy shit people are doing to maintain an average body shape these days. Unless you are on top of a greased stripper pole, doing army crawls across a bed of nails, or taking a cardio dance ballet cross-training class, you aren’t doing it right apparently. Also an update, food is overrated now. Let’s all just drink weird blended shit and talk about how much juicing is CHANGING OUR LIVES. Disclaimer, there’s nothing wrong with health, or interesting workouts, or juicing…it’s just getting to a ridiculous level of intensity. Everything in moderation lovies. 

    OK, I’m done. That was very ranty and should hold me over for a few days. Thank you and have a nice weekend.

    Chinae

     


  2. Be a Better…Traveller.

    (Warning, this post is fueled with frustration and general MTA related angst)

    Mobile Body Positioning Edition:

    We all have to get to work somehow. I really am thankful that I don’t have to actually think/drive to work…we are lucky to jump on a moving box and just have to exist for 20 minutes and then get pooped out at our location. It’s great…unless you plan on sitting down. 

    This morning, my outer thighs were confronted with a harsh reality of NY city life…so much leg osmosis with my stranger/neighbor on the train. ugh. Now, usually…this would not bother me too much, but I raged after realizing, post commute that I had picked up the scent of Axe Body spray off my travelling cohort. I mean, if I wanted to smell like desperation and junior high, I’d go buy a bottle of CK1.

    So that got me thinking…how can we be better at riding the subway and stop annoying the sh*t out of everyone? I’ve attacked the subject before, but I think I missed a couple things.

    DO NOT BE THESE PEOPLE:

    -Gatekeeper: You know the guy…posted up right next to the door. Usually majorly creeping the sh*t out of me. His L.A. Gear Sneaks are planted to the floor like he’s working the gate at Buckingham Palace. HEY DUDE, you aren’t guarding the queen, you are just blocking the mariachi band from getting through the door in their giant glittery sombreros, and I’m pissed about it. I’d like to hear Feliz Navidad right about now and you are preventing that from occurring. Here’s a tip, grasp the idea that the doors open and close, people are going to come in and out, and you are going to have to get the f*ck out of the way for that to happen. And stop giving me that weird eyeball and pull your pants up, they are under your ass-cheeks and there is no possible way that is comfortable.

    -Thunder Thighs: Alright, the inspiration for this post came right out of this little corner pocket…there is a distinct amount of room for each person in a designated seat. Right?! Whatever you have to do to fit in that area, you do. I’ve seen people contort their bodies into  miniature trapezoids to fit in that little orange designated region…but here’s where I get sexist to the max…ready? Menfolk of New York City, you think just because you aren’t comfortable with your thighs touching (we women are fairly used to this) you are allowed to be all slutty business man with your legs spread apart. I get that, anatomically speaking, it’s not as comfortable for you to be thigh-to-thigh, BUT we don’t need you to be doing AC Slater-stance minus the backwards chair. Also, you aren’t just sitting normally with legs slightly spread….you actually look uncomfortable, your sh*t’s so far apart. Are you having a contest with yourself or something? I don’t get it……

    OK. I think I’m done for today. I’m sure there will be a part three to this lovely series as my blood pressure continues to rise due to subway related incidents. I can keep telling myself, at least this wasn’t my morning commute. 

    Xo Chinae

    *images via subway douchery

     


  3. Be A Better…Gift Giver.

    Another F*cking Gift Guide Edition:

    Yeah, I know. 

    Another gift guide…sigh. Listen, let’s change this from a gift guide to a “stuff I think is decent and wouldn’t mind getting from someone that feels obligated to buy me something” guide. 

    I already have these but kinda want another pair. You give me shorts that I can wear in the winter, and I’m on board. These HeatTech thermal pantaloons from Uniqlo are somewhere between snowbunny and sexy grandma, and that seems like a good place to be if you ask me. Heat Tech Knit Shorts from Uniqlo, $12. 

    The holidays mean family. Family means being driven to drink. Let’s make those drinks extra fancy this holiday season with these sickly packaged bitters. With flavors like mole, habenero, and celery shrub you’re going to expand your cocktailing repertoire and melt that family-related holiday stress away! Bittermans Bitters, $17.95.

    Speaking of drinking, you’re gonna need to open some bottles this coming year, so why not look fancy-as-hell doing it? Here’s your answer to give the girl who drinks beer while wearing copious amounts of fur. Crescent Brass Bottle Opener, $60 at the Future Perfect Brooklyn. 

    Anything that is scary, creepy, or remotely haunting…is right up my alley. These decorative plates (for wall hanging, not eating) are the perfect answer to creeping those holiday guests out just enough for them not to overstay their welcome. Beat Up Creations on Etsy has a variety of these delightful gems that range from scary to funny, to absolutely nerdy (think R2D2). Zombie Love Wedding Plate, $32 from Beat Up Creations. 

    If you are looking to spend in the thousands for my Christmas gift, look no further. This Lindsay Adelman chandelier will do the trick. The Knotty Bubbles piece is one of my faves and anyone that thinks this light sucks, should take a real look at the way they are running their lives. Lindsay Adelman Knotty Bubbles Chandelier, $15k at the Future Perfect. 

    If you are a total cheapskate and mostly just want to say…”You are only worth .99 cents”, I can’t think of a better way to say it with panache. These Polaroids of expensive sh*t at Partners and Spade are pretty brills. (WARNING, DO NOT ACTUALLY GET ME THIS OR I WILL FIGHT YOU) It’s The Thought That Counts Polaroids, .99 cents at Partners and Spade.

    OK, now we are talking. This is the perfect gift to get from that special someone…Very cool, not cheesy looking, and wearable daily. Giles and Brother include free engraving on their Pied-de-Biche Cuffs…sentimental BUT not vomit-inducing. WONDERFUL. Pied-de-Biche Cuff, $125 at Giles and Brother.

    A good graphic print is always a good prezzie. I am longing for these two from J Hill Design. Texas and New York…two places that I love so much, that can create a wonderful little design diptych. New York and Texas prints, $30-50 each from J Hill Design. 

    Counting down the days until the next time you see your long-distance lover? This wall calendar from Sam Flax is a simple, classic design that doubles as time-keeper and art piece. And so cheap! Wall Calendar, $29.95 from Sam Flax. 

    And last but not least…for the geeky gal (me), pick up some rad new headphones to beat that commute into submission. Micro Gem Headphones, $35 from the Future Perfect. 

    Happy shopping bitches. Also, if you want to buy and or all of these things for me, I will gladly provide my mailing address. 

    xo Chinae

     


  4. Be Better…at The Day After Halloween.

    It’s the day after Halloween. If you went out, you’re probably exhausted, hung-over, and wondering what the hell you are going to do with that “Naughty Paula Deen” costume (complete with buttery Slip n’ Slide). If you stayed home, you probably had one trick-or-treater like I did (who was handsomely rewarded with an Atkins Chocolate Chip granola bar)… then ate all the entire bucket of candy yourself and watched Jamie Lee Curtis not die in the original Halloween movie.

    And here we are…stuck with a headache/stomach ache, owning a shitty costume and living with a stoop full of more decorative gourds than you can shake a stick at. What the hell do we do now?

    HANGOVER CURE: HERE ARE MY 3 TOP PICKS OF WHERE TO GET YOUR POST-BINGE NOSH ON IN THE HOOD.

    • MOIM (206 Garfield pl. at 7th ave): Nothing kicks a hangover like a hot, steaming bowl of spicy, soupy goodness. Go to Moim and order the Kimchi-Jjigae and a side of Kimchi Man-du and you’ll see that hangover melt away.
    • BONNIE’S GRILL (278 5th ave between 1st and Garfield): Get the wings, pulled pork, or a burger and fries, add copious amounts of water….and you’re going to be just fine.
    • DRAM SHOP (339 9th St. between 5th and 6th ave.): One word…BURGER. Add a decent IPA as your “hair of the dog” and wait it out.

    ***Halloween Hangover Pro-Tip: Next year, plan to wear a homemade coconut bra as part of your costume, and save the coconut water for the next day’s hangover! 

    After consuming that 32nd Fun-Size Kit Kat (Fun-Size means you can eat until you stop having fun, right?), and hiding all the wrappers at the bottom of the trash can so your significant other/room mate doesn’t judge you…you feel like butthole. Now what?

    STOMACH ACHE CURE: TRY MY HOMEMADE GINGER BREW

    Cut up pieces of fresh ginger into thin slices, about ¼ inch thick, until you have about ¾ of a cup of sliced ginger root. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil and add the ginger to the pot along with 5 cinnamon sticks. Let it simmer for 20-30 minutes and then let it cool.  Strain out the ginger pieces and cinnamon sticks before drinking. This is great served hot in the winter and then put into popsicle form in the summer to keep on hand for instant stomach ache relief.

    NOW THAT YOUR BODY IS STARTING TO FEEL HUMAN AGAIN, YOU’LL NEED TO FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO WITH THOSE LEFT OVER PUMPKINS…

    • USE YOUR PUMPKIN FOR GOOD: Do your part in supporting local farmers and take your janky-ass jack-o-lantern to a composting drop-off site: Park Slope’s location is at the Grand Army Plaza Green Market at the Grow NYC booth on Saturdays from 8am-4pm at the NW corner of Prospect Park. More informationHERE
    • USE YOUR PUMPKIN FOR YUMS: The obvious answer for post-Halloween pumpkin usage is for fall-centric treats. The pumpkin “meat” can be used for all kinds of baked goods and sh*t (don’t use the carved ones)…and the seeds are the easiest thing to take to work and brag about: “Of course I roast my own pumpkin seeds in my spare time”.

    Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:

    2 cups of washed pumpkin seeds (dried for one day)

    2 Tablespoons of butter, melted

    1 ½ Teaspoons of Salt

    Mix butter, seeds, and salt together. Bake on a cookie sheet for 40 minutes in a 250-degree oven.

    • USE YOUR PUMPKIN TO GET HOTTER:

    Pumpkin Face Mask:

    2 Teaspoons cooked or canned pumpkin, pureed

    ½ Teaspoon Honey

    ¼ Teaspoon Milk/Soymilk

    ½ Teaspoon of Brown Sugar

    Combine all the ingredients together and apply to your face for 10-15 minutes. Relax. After the time is up, wash your face as normal and moisturize. This works bitches.

    (Me in my mermaid costume with Andy Warhol)

    AND LASTLY — WHAT TO DO WITH THAT LEFTOVER COSTUME:

    • DONATE THAT SHIT: Drop off your costume at the same Grand Army Green Market location as the composting site. More information HERE.
    • SELL THAT SHIT:  Take it on over to BEACON’S CLOSET and see if they’ll throw you a couple bucks for your costume. Though you’ll probably have better luck at the Beacon’s in Williamsburg (see: my new favorite time-waster website, HALLOWEEN OR WILLIAMSBURG
    • REUSE THAT SHIT: Sounds like you need to get on with planning a mid-winter costume party!

    xoxo Chinae

    p.s. this post is also over on the Brooklyn blog I write for: www.fuckedinparkslope.com

     


  5. Be a Better…Coffee Drinker.

    Complex Cafe Edition:

    I’m a fancy girl.

    I like my shoes to hurt, I like lots of animal skin and fur in the winter, and I like cocktails that have 5 ingredients or more. It’s just who I am. 

    But when it comes to coffee, I suddenly go all Little House on the Prairie and just order super simply…iced or hot PLAIN coffee. The truth is… when people order complex coffee drinks, two things pass through my mind. 1) You sound like an asshole. 2) What in the world did you just order and I feel dumb because I have no clue what that is. So this Fall/Winter…I’m going to dip my toe in the world of fancy coffee drinks. But you still aren’t ever going to find me drinking a f*cking frappacino. Vom.

    Here’s an attempt at some coffee terminology…

    Coffee Dictionary:

    Americano: This one’s easy and one I can handle. Shot of espresso with hot water to make a drip coffee-like situation. 

    Cafe Au Lait: Strong/Bold coffee (occasionally espresso) mixed with equal parts steamed milk. 

    Cafe Latte: Espresso + Steamed Milk…with a little foam on top. 2 parts milk to 1 part espresso.

    Macchiato: An Espresso with a dash of foamed milk…It’s like a baby cappuccino but is much stronger and more aromatic.

    Doppio: A Double shot of Espresso

    Cafe Breve: 1 Part Espresso and 1 Part Steamed Half & Half

    Redeye: 1 Additional shot of Espresso added to regular coffee

    Blackeye: 2 Additional shots of Espresso added to regular coffee

    Greeneye: 3 shots of Espresso added to regular coffee (if you drink this, you need to maybe see someone about a better work/life balance)

    So there we are people. Now we can all sound a little more obnoxious when ordering our morning brew. 

    My favorite New York Coffee Shops:


    Gorilla Coffee-Park Slope : My favorite cup of joe on the go in the hood. Super casual, and consistently good. People swear by the Maple Latte.

    Stumptown Roasters-NYC : Love the Ace hotel where Stumptown resides, great vibe, good coffee…though a bit overpriced.

    Ninth Street Espresso-NYC: Great espresso, meh location in Chelsea Market.

    Blue Bottle Coffee-Williamsburg : Super cute and delicious coffee. An obvious go-to spot in Williamsburg

    Cafe Regular Du Nord-Park Slope: Best ambiance of any coffee shop in Brooklyn. Residential street, refined French-inspired interior, you’ll have to remind yourself you are still in NYC.

    xo Chinae