Thursday, May 31, 2012

Embracing Summer

With June commencing tomorrow, it's officially summer. I realize that summer doesn't officially start until June 22, but here in Los Angeles, June marks summer for all of us (even though summer is actually year round here, they don't lie). I'm looking forward to a summer filled with weekenders, weddings, and getting great use out of my wet bar.

This is also the first time in six years that I don't have to move in June to a new residence! I think that calls for the best summer ever...

These photos from photographer Paul Costello capture the true essence of the season and encourage you to embrace summer in a Palm Springs in the 1960s meets Abercrombie & Fitch sort of way. What a great way to say goodbye to May and hello to June?

And if that doesn't do it for you, here's 20 ways to open a beer bottle.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Obsessed with... Antique Glassware

{Antique Snifter Glasses - via}

Some people collect stamps. Some people collect Beanie Babies. I strive to collect antique glassware. I'm not sure where this obsession came from, but for Christmas I asked for these green glass beauties and ever since I've been utterly obsessed. One day I hope to have a bar complete with vintage glasses of all shapes and colors.

Strange maybe? I like to think of it as a classy obsession. Here are some of the vintage glasses on my up-and-coming wishlist.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up: Memorial Day Edition

{Hermosa Beach Fair}

While many Los Angelinos were in Las Vegas or Palm Springs, my friends and I decided to stay local and enjoy the many things the city of angels has to offer.
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Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Favorites: Trinket Round-up

{Robot 'Armed with Technology' Tea Infuser - $14.99 here}

Who is excited for this long weekend? Chances are if your full-time job is an office job (like me!), you're eagerly raising your hand, jumping up and down, and frantically trying to uncork a bottle of champagne or find that bloody bottle opener. This weekend I'm spending it in Los Angeles -shocker, I usually go to Vegas with the girls- having dinner parties and barbecues, taking advantage of the Los Angeles social scene, and hopefully spending at least one day on a South Bay boardwalk. What are your plans?

To celebrate the holiday weekend, here's a collection of trinkets from all around the internets that gave me a chuckle, and hopefully send you on your weekend ways with a laugh.
{It may be lazy, but it sure as hell is efficient}

{A tailgater's dream grill - $220 here}

{You got your banana in my wine bottle - $8.00 here}
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Hugh Laurie Makes Us Feel Classy on a Thursday

{Hugh Laurie, the Dr. Gregory House, in the house}

A wonderful television series ended this week. Yes, I'm talking about House M.D. Kevin was feeling rather sad about it, so on a whim we decided to try and see Hugh Laurie in concert. 

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

How to Facebook Stalk 101

{Facebook stalking at its finest}

Everyone is on Facebook, even my 77 year old Grandma. While she doesn’t necessarily know how to use it, people like my mother use it to stalk and comment on my every move, using photos as evidence to try to prove that I’ve been hiding the truth (or something like that).
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Art with Heart: Satirical Illustrations by Pawel Kuczynski

The best kind of art is art that makes you think. This series of satirical illustrations by Pawel Kuczynski does just that - it makes you think. Since 2004 Kuczynski has been working primarily with satirical illustrations and has won countless awards for his depictions of society. Common themes seen throughout his artwork include greed, poverty, wealth, and other controversial social issues. He takes serious subject matters and portrays them with his cartoonish charm that adds a sense of whimsy to otherwise heavy subjects.

More photos after the break. Do these photos get you thinking as much as they get me thinking? These illustrations are brilliant.

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Scarves, Scarves, Scarves...

{How to wear a scarf}

Recently the other half got back from a trip from Germany bringing me two luxurious gifted silk scarves: one geometric pattern square-shaped scarf, and the other is a rectangular Barcelona cityscape scarf. I die because I lack the general ingenue to wear them effortlessly without the proper tutorial. Alas, I found it: a general style guide for wearing scarves (c/o). Now I won't look bald whenever I wear one on my head...
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Monday, May 21, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up: Ring of Fire Solar Eclipse Road Trip

{Welder's goggles covered in Pop-Tart wrappers to shield the eyes}

This weekend Kevin and I decided to take a Sunday cruise up the Pacific Coast Highway in order to get a beach side, firsthand look at the Ring of Fire solar eclipse.

The tools: a pair of welders goggles covered in Pop-Tart wrappers (the internets said it was wise), a few roast beef and avocado wraps, hummus and peppers, watermelon, a six pack of Sam Adam's Summer Ale, and some sort of makeshift mechanism to protect the camera phone from the rays fashioned out of the top of a cigarette box and some more Pop-Tart wrappers.

The plan: to head north of Santa Barbara to some state beach, picnic and watch the Ring of Fire solar eclipse.

What really happened: As we reached Santa Barbara, the fog was rolling in thickly. We decided to turn around and head back to just north of Malibu to the southern tip of the Naval Base. We sat on a log and watched the eclipse that took about an hour.

Check this one off of the bucket list! Aside from being able to enjoy the lovely weather, I had my own lovely mash-up of Total Eclipse of the Heart/ Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash edition) stuck in my head all day. I had forgotten just how gorgeous the PCH was on a sunny day, and Malibu for some reason never ceases to amaze me.

{Pacific Coast Highway in the sunshine}

{Point Mugu Beach}

{A silk scarf from Hamburg to hide my Pale Ale (and keep me from getting in trouble with the law)}

{Curious Kevin the engineer}

{Shielding my eyes from the sun's harmful rays - even with the goggles you couldn't look for too long without feeling the consequences}

{We created a pinhole camera (on Kevin's adorable grandpa hands) in order to watch the eclipse (and to photograph it!)}

{Kevin and the Ring of Fire - at this point the sun was almost completely shielded by the moon; the camera wasn't able to process the strength of the rays}
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Friday, May 18, 2012

Facebook, I own you (well, part of you)

After much debate, I actually convinced my dad to use some of my IRA money to buy into some $FB. I am now a proud owner of 6 shares (the original goal was 5 shares).

Here's a funny little widget I found: Mark Zuckerberg's Wealth-o-Meter. Track his wealth as his company goes public. Poor little rich boy was only worth $19.14 billion at IPO price $38. It's now huddling around $40 (I managed to get in before it broke $40).

What a great way to start the weekend, right? Investing in my industry.
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Obsessed with... Corgis

{Baby corgis to brighten your day and kick off the weekend}

Happy Friday! It's about time that this week was over - between work projects and personal projects I have given a whole new meaning to "burning the candle at both ends." I'm so excited to be able to blow off some steam this weekend with some drinks out with the girls, watching the solar eclipse after a drive up the coast, and finally getting my hair done.

So, because I am so happy that it is the weekend, I bestow upon you the gift of corgis, perhaps the cutest little breed of dog ever. I am 99% getting a corgi as a pet... when the time comes. They are super smart, super adorable (even if they get fat their little bellies may even brush along the floor), and incredibly loving. Walking around Brentwood, I get to encounter many - and I'm in love.

Follow the link to get more pictures of adorable little corgis. Feel yourself becoming obsessed. Let it overcome you.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Is it Better to Settle?

Define "better." While reading my new favorite daily read (Eric Barker's "Barking up the wrong tree"), I came across this article that poses the question: is it better to settle?

I know, I know. I've been extremely philosophical today in regards to life - but bear with me. This article definitely rang some bells.

As a 90% maximizer/ 10% satisficer, I am constantly trying to find the best - which may be the reason why anxiety levels are semi-high.
Specifically, I argue maximizers bear more instances of positive and negative outcomes than satisficers, and that in spite of their positive outcomes—yet because of their negative outcomes—maximizers are less happy than satisficers.
But does the good outweigh the bad? was found that maximizing was simultaneously related to experiencing more positive and more negative outcomes, and that negative outcomes predicted happiness to a greater degree than positive outcomes. These findings suggest an irony of maximizing: It produces both positive and negative outcomes, contributing to literature explaining why maximizers are less happy than satisficers, and ultimately whether happiness is a matter of choice. 
I do not think that it's better to settle, but that is my personal choice. I'd rather have the extreme highs and lows than a consistent middle ground. You can't get big rewards if you don't take big risks.

Read the original article...
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Twitter Klout: Accurate or Arbitrary?

{Klout has gotten out of control}

Klout, klout, klout. How much drama must you cause on the internets? My Klout has stayed steady between 40 and 55 within the last year or two - but it fluctuates no matter what I do, no matter who retweets me, no matter how much work I put into it, it fluctuates (like a yo-yo diet).

Society is becoming too reliant on Klout as a measurement for success: airports are making special lounges for people with 40+ Klout and top executives are not being hired because of a low Klout score. And you know you're a thing when people make a parody tool after you ( to be exact).

So here's where I come in: while I tend to be overly skeptical (I find this to be a strong suit, by the way) about most social media measurement tools, I decided to give you the breakdown of this one. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Enjoy, klouchebags.

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Bigger Things

Ever feel like you're a big fish in a small pond? A small fish in a big pond, perhaps?

(It's okay to feel both.)

Life is extremely interesting because you never know where it's going to take you.

More than ever I feel like I'm at a crossroads, and am ready for where life will take me next. I'm anxious for the next step.

Do you embrace these changes, or do they terrify you? Sometimes people embrace change, and sometimes people resist it. Which category do you fall under?
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Auto Trading: Let's Talk Cars

When do you decide that it's time to buy a new car? In my opinion there are two trains of thought: (1) get a new car every few years or (2) get a reliable car that you can drive until it dies. I tend to lean towards the latter.

I have this strange attachment to inanimate objects: my car is my baby. When I turned 16, my dad graced me with a gently used steel blue BMW 325i that I have treated like my own child ever since I got it. Recently, we had a scare and my coolant tank exploded - but I sucked it up and paid the bill, resisting to trade her in for a newer model.

Now here's the dilemma: the BMW is the ultimate driving machine (they don't lie when they say that). With my salary, there is no way that I'll be able to afford another BMW, so I'm thinking maybe a cute little Prius C (with a sunroof) or a Civic Hybrid since gas mileage will have to be the kicker that pushes me to make this decision. However, despite the mileage, these cars do not have the love and affection and years of maintenance that my first car has... but I am getting older and it may be time to bite the bullet... but do I have to?

So here's where I'm stuck: since my car is 10 years old and running on over 100,000 miles, do I stick with it until it dies? Or do I trade it in while it still is worth enough for a car payment on a new car? I'm leaning towards keeping it around for another year (or two) because I love it, and I love the way it drives. But the allure of a new (gas-efficient) car is tempting. What would you do?

{Her name is Betty - oddly I named her before Betty Draper came into our lives}

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Flashback: Celebrating Mother's Day Two Decades Ago

{At the petting zoo, 1990}

This weekend we celebrated Mother's Day. While I was unsure if I could visit the family down in San Diego for this holiday, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to go down for brunch with my mom and my grandma. We enjoyed quiche and Bloody Marys mixed with great conversation and the occasional quip or dirty joke made by my grandma.

Here are some old photos of my mom and I (and of my younger sister). It's always fun to reminisce on the past and look at how much we've all changed throughout the years.

{The day my younger sister was born, 10-Sept 1991}

{Belle and the tooth fairy (?) for Halloween, 1992}

{Easter egg hunting, bonnet and matching outfits included, 1993}

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Whiskey Business

{Whiskey business}

Let's face it: the college years are behind me and it's time to focus on grown up drinks (not Tang concentrate mixed with well liquor or shots of tequila from a sketchy plastic bottle chased with lemons stolen from the dining hall). I've recently shared my love for the classic martini (gin only, amateurs), but overall I really have grown an appreciation and a taste for whiskey - Irish whiskey, Canadian whiskey, Kentucky bourbon, Tennessee bourbon, Scotch... you name it.

So here's the rub - whiskey isn't necessarily the most "lady-like" drink. Yeah it will raise a few eyebrows, turn a few heads, and give you a few "guy points" when you order it at the bar instead of the standard Grey Goose and tonic, but how can you make this scrumptious liquor more suited for the our gender?

Robin from How I Met Your Mother drinks scotch (which makes her incredibly bad-ass) and Don Draper drinks whiskey (Old-Fashioneds to be exact). Since two of the coolest television characters ever drink whiskey, we, as the social feminine breed we are, need to find drinks that are acceptable - whiskeptable.

From my experience the standard Jameson and soda with a wedge of lemon is pretty awesome (more awesome if you order some obscure whiskey on the rocks or straight). I also have experienced the eye-roll from the bartender when ordering a whiskey tonic (so what if it kills the flavor of the whiskey? I feel like it tastes like cranberry juice!). Bourbon and diet coke is also a good one... mix it up. Whiskey goes well in sweet, sour, etc. And if you cough up a little extra cash to avoid the well whiskeys, it won't even have a bite - trust me... Unless you want it to?

{Real men (and women) drink whiskey}

{I even heard it cures cancer - conspiracy.}

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Slutty Brownies

{Slutty brownies and Essie "As gold as it gets"}

I know. I know... The title of this post sounds like a horrible frat party... but bare with me.

Two things: (1) I am starting to be able to drink martinis like water - delicious olive water. This may or may not be good. (2) I forgot how much I love Oreos (sometimes with peanut butter, like LiLo in The Parent Trap)... but I digress.

This weekend in lieu of a cake for my Dad's 55th birthday, my sister (our little baker) decided to make "Slutty Brownies." This is how it works in our family in terms of preparing holiday meals: I am a competent baker and she is a more-than-competent cook, but she is definitely the baker extraordinaire in terms of creativity while I like to "wing it" with savory dishes. Together, we'd make a perfect team on Top Chef... or Chopped... or The Next Food Network Star... but I digress, again.

Funny side note: my dad used to get my sister and I to drink our milk by feeding us cookies. So cool but it's amazing neither of us is obese.

Here's why these brownies are slutty (according to my soon-to-be-21-year-old sister): they're super easy to make, and you can shove a lot of stuff in them. Appropriate for our father's birthday? Absolutely. Here's how you make them:

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Give a Hand to Wild Life (a favorite from the archives)

{Give a Hand to Wild Life}

Have you ever seen this ad? This morning I was browsing twitter and saw this link that listed ideas that changed graphic design. I scrolled through the article and was reminded of one of my favorite PSAs of all time - the World Wildlife Fund's "Give a Hand to Wile Life" campaign (2008) by Saatchi & Saatchi Simko agency in Geneva.

Body painter Guido Daniele transformed hands into recognizable animals playing into the literal and figurative meaning of the slogan. This ad campaign hits extremely close to home not only because I am obsessed with tigers, but also because it hits the perfect balance between artistry and sentiment. There are so many animals from our lifetime that will not exist to see another generation (I mean, we already lost the black rhino).

What are your favorite ad campaigns of all time? The best ones are the campaigns that don't even make you realize that it's an ad campaign (like this one).
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Let's Talk Oral Hygiene...

{What's your nightly oral hygiene routine?}

I go to the dentist about every 5 months for a cleaning (which in my opinion is definitely more than others who narrow it down to every 9 months or even every few years!). I don't usually get cavities, but I am constantly being yelled at for not flossing!

I hate flossing. I bought a Sonicare toothbrush because I read that it if you brush with a Sonicare you don't need to floss (not just for the bright white smile that comes with it).

However - did you know that bacteria starts to build up after only 24 hours? If you floss daily, you don't need to worry about the bacteria that makes gums sensitive and leads to gum disease and even tooth loss. Time to pick up the flossing... daily.

How often do you floss? What's your daily tooth-brushing routine? I definitely would love to know. Visiting my dentist today really doesn't help my OOCD (oral obsessive compulsive disorder).
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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up: Happy Birthday Dad!

{Roasted bone marrow with croutons and a parsley salad}

Today is my lovely father's 55th birthday. Not only does the man not look a day over 40, but also he is one of the most caring, loving fathers out of anyone I know. Okay, I'm a little biased - but he really is one of the most awesome dads in the world. Ask my friends. He also is one of the most humble people I know - he insists that instead of taking him out to a fancy restaurant, that my sister and I cook a "low maintenance, home made meal." Of course since he is so special to us, we find ways to spruce up the annual birthday dinner. This year with roasted bone marrow, pork with a white wine cream sauce, white wine risotto, and garlic haricots verts.

 It may be one of the best meals that we ever threw together (and I may or may not have thrown in some cute pictures of my dad from childhood until now)...

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Lovers in Japan (Coldplay at the Hollywood Bowl)

{Coldplay at the Hollywood Bowl}

Well, well,  here we are again at yet another spectacular spectacular Coldplay concert. This past Tuesday I was lucky enough to visit the Hollywood Bowl with three of my friends and boyfriend in tow. A magical night of miracles where we barely made the Hollywood and Highland shuttle, and where we were able to picnic on not one, not two, but three bottles of wine (okay it was more like 3 mondo-bottles...), endless Brie and baguettes, cured meats, hummus, and my famous broccoli pasta salad.

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

10 Reasons Not to Hate Twitter (And Why You Should Embrace It)

It's time to get on the Twitter train.

For the life of me I still cannot get some of my friends to get a Twitter account. No matter how I coax them, or show them how I stay ahead of the curve with my news and gossip, they still think it's creepy that I have so many "random people" following me. So to all of you Twitter haters out there here are my 10 reasons not to hate Twitter.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Get Baked (Goods, that is)

{Best Cookbooks for Baked Goods}

Since trying to minimize my intake of complex carbohydrates, the cravings have started, and Pinterest is not helping the temptation. Today I came across this article on Bakerella which counts down the top cookbooks that you need to read if you love sweets. Oddly enough, I don't usually crave sweets (until I cut them out of my life completely).

I have to admit the ones that I'm looking forward to reading the most are Les Petits Macarons and Tartine Bread - but there I go again, showing off with my obsession with France. So go on - get baked (goods).
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Perfect Martini (Shaken not Stirred)

{The perfect martini is very dirty}

Firstly, here are my three requisites for the perfect martini: (1) it has to be extremely olivey and briney, (2) it has to be shaken, not stirred, (3) it has to be gin. Any other type of martini is just a slap in the face to any martini ever.

Secondly, if you follow me on instagram (@amyturman), you will think I'm a 100% alcoholic because I post a lot of photos of what I may or may not be drinking. Can you really have a social night without having a cocktail?

Thirdly, Grandma would be proud, yes she would. If I could describe her in one sentence: Grandma is a woman who has a gin on the rocks (with extra olives for me to eat) every night and a fantastic sense of humor. She's not just a gin fan; she's a Beefeater gin fan. Now Beefeater may be the Smirnoff of all gins, but I don't care. I still believe that Beefeater dirty martinis with 6 olives makes the perfect pick me up (or dinner).

Here's my recipe for the perfect dirty gin martini:
3 oz gin (Beefeater gin is just splendid, but Hendrick's makes for a fancier martini)
1/2 oz extra dry vermouth
1/2 oz olive juice
6 Spanish olives

Step one, eat one of the olives (you'll be eyeing them and fishing for them with your fingers out of your martini if you don't give in and eat one now). Step two, add the vermouth, gin, and olive juice into a shaker with a bunch of ice. Step three, shake your ingredients together like there's no tomorrow. The ice will melt due to friction and will semi-dilute your martini and make it less strong. Strain it into your martini glass and plop in the olives.

If your martini isn't cloudy, it isn't dirty enough. The dirtier the better. It should be salty, briney and fully satisfying.

{The culprits: gin, vermouth and olives - clearly running out of gin}

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