Monday, February 28, 2011

Cell Phone Radiation

I made the switch from BlackBerry to iPhone on Verizon this weekend. There were many motivating factors behind this change including a free upgrade, lower monthly bill, the convenience of syncing it to other Apple products in my life, finally giving in to the persuasion attempts of my dad & brothers, and it looked - well - fun!

The deciding moment? When I uploaded Little Lady, Big Apple on the store's sample phone and could actually read it! Despite still learning how to properly type (You'd think it be easy since my hands stopped growing after the age of 7. Seriously. I win the tiniest hands award. Hands down. Ha!), I am, indeed, having fun. I've discovered apps that help me navigate NYC's subway system, that allow me to log my health & exercise, take Polaroid-esque photos that develop once I blow on the screen (!), and I can even scan products' barcodes to compare prices and determine where they are sold locally and online. I'm sure this is all old news to iPhone owners, but this little lady is still very excited.

Cell phones are, in fact, our generation's toy. I feel as if the question of whether the device can actually make a phone call is an afterthought when wanting to know a phone's capabilities. We want messaging, internet, cameras, games, music, calendars, weather updates, endless supply of applications.

And to ya know, call somebody.

I, like many people, use my cell phone as my alarm clock. I hate to admit it, but I feel naked if I don't have my phone with me. Between my phone and my planner, I feel somewhat together. Without? Completely and utterly lost. I read an article recently in Time, however, that has convinced me to rethink my bond with my cell phone.

"For the past several years, a small band of doctors and activists have been raising concerns about the possible connection between cell phone use and brain cancer. The cell phone industry — along with nearly all major national and international medical associations — have always responded with the same answer: there's no evidence that cell phone radiation can even affect the brain, let alone cause cancer. Well, given the results of a new study published in the Feb. 23 Journal of the American Medical Association, at least one of those arguments may be put to rest. Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, found that a cell phone's electromagnetic field can indeed cause changes in brain activity, with the regions closest to the antenna showing higher rates of energy consumption. Important note: this does not demonstrate that cell phone use can lead to cancer. Volkow showed only that changes in brain activity occurred because of cell phone radiation — not whether the changes were good, bad or neutral. But this is the first study to show conclusively that cell phone radiation, even in short durations, does something to the brain. That's enough to worry many people, especially parents of young children — kids have thinner skulls, and their brains can absorb higher levels of radiation. The good news is that there are simple ways to reduce your exposure to cell phone radiation without going back to the paper cup-and-string method of telecommunication. Here are five easy steps you can take.

1. Use a Wire Headset
This is the simplest and most effective way to keep the radiation away from your head. A wired headset keeps the antenna far away from your skull, allowing you to use your phone without worrying that you might be cooking your brain. A Bluetooth wireless headset will also reduce your exposure somewhat, but you'll still be absorbing some radiation. Most decent earbuds that you'd use to listen to your iPhone or other music-playing handset will also include a microphone for speaking.

2. Text 
The kids already know this: actually using a cell phone to talk is so 20th century. A Pew Research report from 2010 found that kids aged 12 to 17 sent and received an average of 50 texts a day, while fielding just five calls. Two-thirds said they were more likely to text their friends than call. (In fact, just about the only people teens are actually talking to on the phone are their parents.) Texting keeps the handset away from the brain, reducing the risk from any radiation.

3. Don't Use Your Cell Phone as an Alarm Clock
This one is a no-brainer — or at least it should be. If you use your phone as your wake-up call, you'll likely need to keep it close to your head, perhaps on a night table next to your bed. There's still radiation emitting from the phone even when it's not taking calls, so that could mean many extra hours of your brain being bathed in electromagnetic waves at night. Just get a real alarm clock.

4. Don't Carry Your Cell Phone in Your Pocket
 It's not just brain cancer that worries some doctors. There's also some preliminary research to indicate that men who carry a phone in their pocket all day or clip it to a belt pocket could be putting their fertility at risk. By the same token, women who carry their phones in their bra could be increasing their risk of breast cancer. If possible, keep the phone on your desk or a table when you're not using it, just to be safe. And carry it around in a bag or in your coat rather than in a pants or shirt pocket.

5. Use a Radiation Blocking Case
The good people at Pong Research offer a case for iPhones and BlackBerrys that they say can reduce cell phone radiation by two-thirds. Sounds a little fishy, but in an independent test witnessed by Wired magazine in 2009, the claims checked out."

 (To read the article, click here.)

Well, I don't have to break any habits of carrying my phone in my bra (???), but I have picked a new resting spot for my phone while I sleep. And as I discovered this morning, sitting up and reaching far away to turn off an alarm might be just what I need to stop snoozing so much. Yes, I confess. I have tiny hands and I am a chronic snoozer.

I have a really cool phone, though. We're just creating a little distance in our relationship.

until next time,


Thursday, February 24, 2011

BHLDN: For Brides-to-Be

If you're a bride-to-be (or if you know of one), check out Anthropologie's new bridal line, BHLDN! (pronounced "Beholden")

all images from website

So flirty & different! Click here to explore the website.

until next time,


Recipe: Red Snapper

Here's another recipe I learned at Rustico Cooking. Enjoy!

Red Snapper in Parchment Paper with Olives and Capers

Serves 6
For the topping:
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, minced
grated zest of lemon
1 tablespoon minced rosemary
1 tablespoon minced thyme
1 tablespoon minced oregano
1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley
1/4 cup capers in brine, drained and minced
1/4 cup pitted black olives, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon chili flakes

For the red snapper:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing the parchment paper
6 boneless red snapper fillets (4 ounces each), skin on
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1 lemon

1. Make the topping: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.
2. Make the red snapper: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (preferably set on convection bake).
3. Cut parchment paper into six 11-inch x 17-inch rectangles. Brush half of each parchment rectangle lightly with olive oil. Place one red snapper fillet just off-center on the oiled side of each piece of parchment paper, and season with the salt and pepper. Spoon on one-sixth of the topping mixture (don't forget the delicious liquid or the fish will be dry once baked). Spread the topping mixture evenly to the edges of the red snapper fillets so they will bake evenly (any exposed parts without topping will cook faster).
4. Fold the free side of the parchment paper over to enclose the red snapper fillets. Beginning at one corner , start folding the parchment paper over, following the shape of the fish, until you form a closed semi circle. Tuck the end of the package under so the cooking juices cannot run out. Brush the top of each parchment paper  package with a little olive oil (this will result in a gorgeous color once the packages are baked). Place the parchemnet paper packages in a single layer on an 11-inch x 17-inch baking sheet. (This can be done up to 1 hour ahead and heald at room temperature.)
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Place each hot package on a dinner plate and let guests drizzle the lemon juice and olive oil over their own individual serving at the table.

until next time,


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Little Room

I dedicate this post to my Nana.
So she can see my little room.
Little room = biggest room in my home.
(Toldja it's tiny!)

until next time,


Etsy Find: Five and Two

Check out some of Briana Rose's fun accessories in her Etsy store, Five and Two.

LANI pyramid studded bracelets

LUCY friendship bracelets

Crystal Rings

all images from here

until next time,


Thursday, February 17, 2011

BluePrintCleanse - My Experience

Feeling sluggish as you crawl out of winter? So was I.

The past three days I've been doing the BluePrintCleanse.  I was intrigued by the idea of a cleanse and conveniently, my friend had a discount for us to use.  I figured I'd give it a go.  The beverages contain a blend of raw vegetable and fruit juices, enzymes, and spices -- all 100% natural. The drinks were delivered to her office on Monday and we started first thing Tuesday morning.  I stored drinks #1-5 in a fridge at work.  (In hindsight, I'm thankful I did the cleanse during the work-week.  Easier to stay busy and distracted.)  BPC sends you ice packets should you need to transport your drinks.  My impetus for doing this was not to lose some crazy amount of weight, just to simply press the reset button. I'm someone that eats whatever I feel like eating. I limit portions, but I definitely don't restrict myself from foods. So yes, in 25 years there has been a lot of processed junk. I don't plan on going vegan after this or anything, but I think it's definitely going to make me more mindful of what I'm eating.

According to their website, this cleanse will gently rid your body of impurities, regain an alkaline balance and normalize digestion and metabolism.

Here are the potential benefits of BPC:

* Boosts immune system
* Alleviates allergies
* Improves thyroid function
* Provides rest for the digestive organs
* Encourages physical rejuvenation
* Promotes normalized weight
* Promotes normalized blood pressure
* Reverses signs of aging
* Elevates mood and sex drive
* Alleviates symptoms of PMS
* Promotes clear skin
* Increases energy
* Increases fertility
* Combats viruses
* Suppresses Fibromyalgia symptoms

I am doing the one called "Renovation Cleanse" with the following drinks in this order:

1. Green Juice - Romaine, Celery, Cucumber, Green Apple, Spinach, Kale, Parsley, Lemon.
2. P.A.M. - Pineapple, Green Apple, Mint
3. Green Juice, again
4. Spicy Lemonade - Filtered Water, Lemon, Agave Nectar, Cayenne
5. Beet Juice - Carrot, Apple, Lemon, Ginger, Beet Juice
6. Cashew Milk - Cashew Nut Milk, Vanilla Bean, Agave Nectar, Cinnamon, Raw Cashews

image from website

My drink schedule was 9:30AM / 11:30AM / 1:30PM / 3:30PM / 5:30PM / 8:45PM, but one can adjust it to his/her specific daily routine.

It feels like you're drinking all day long and while you're craving food, you're not hungry. I felt "empty" and very in tune with what was happening inside my body, but I was never hunched over in painful hunger. I found my brain forgetting I was on the cleanse, acknowledging I wanted food and trying to figure out what I wanted to eat. Then it would hit me. No food for me. Wah Waaahhhh.

Honestly, I was gagging from the first sip. I am used to cereal and hot coffee in the mornings, not cold lawn mower residue.  I was the pickiest eater as a child and only ate things that were round. I kid you not. Spaghetti Oh's, corn, chicken nuggets, Cheerios, M&Ms, sliced hotdogs, etc. Throughout the first two days, I was really cold, had a headache, and my bladder was seeing far more action than normal. Despite optimistic thinking, the Green Juice does NOT taste like the Green Machine Naked drink. It's pretty nasty. The second drink is very sweet with a strong mint taste. The Spicy Lemonade is simply put, weird. Cayenne pepper in my drink? Um ok. The Beet Juice, sorry to say, is actually worse than the Green Juice. I'm not a beet fan to begin with, but that drink is a wee hard to get down. The Cashew Drink? So delicious. One looks forward to that at the end of a cleanse day! But you're up for anything tasty. I even found my toothpaste appetizing...

BPC includes a cheat sheet with every order. Somehow I stayed strong, but here's what they suggest you eat if you really need to during the cleanse:

A few celery stalks
A couple slices of cucumber
A quarter of an avocado
A half cup of black coffee
Dilute any drink with water
Add a pinch of celtic sea salt to any drink for energy
Warm vegetable broth (low sodium)
Drink 1/2 of the cashew nut milk in the AM

I crashed pretty early every night, but the Cashew Drink somehow keeps you full until morning. Things I noticed? I had a heightened sense of smell. I seriously smelled someone's peanut butter sandwich from across the room. I was overly aware of my teeth. It was like they were angry at me or something for abandoning them.  I woke up each morning in a cold sweat as if my body was still releasing toxins throughout the night.  Gross, I realize. I've lost at least a pound each day, but am more interested in the fact that I've infused my body with good nutrients and enzymes -- and have hopefully given it a fresh start.

Today is my final day and I truthfully feel great. I've been so energized and focused and happy! Am I excited for tomorrow and solid food? Ha. YES. Would I recommend this cleanse? Yes. But I would advise that it's not very pleasant. Some people told me the first day was the only hard day. I had two hard days. I blame the round food childhood diet.

Or, ya know, college.

If I had to sum up my overall sentiment about each day, this is what it would be:

Day 1: "What the eff are you doing?" - my body
Day 2 : "Um, remember us?" - my teeth
Day 3 : "I feel fantastic! But boy am I excited for tomorrow."

One thing I'm definitely going to continue after this is starting every morning by drinking hot lemon water right when I wake up. BPC recommends it and it's been a nice little ritual to get my body "going".

So if you're up for a challenge, do it! It's not easy, but is anything really worthwhile easy?

And finally, I'd like to apologize to anyone that has come in contact with me the past couple of days as I fear I have been a Cranky McGee.  I'm better now, I promise.

Almost time to enjoy my final drink! :)

until next time,


Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy H♥rt Day!

A little message for all of you!

Also, please check out this V-day gag gift I found for a friend. ;)
 It totally has glitter inside.

It's a do-something-sappy-and-lovey-dovey-for-your-boyfriend/girlfriend/fiance(e)/husband/wife/friend/family member/pet-kind-of-day.

Or, if you're feeling a little anti-Valentine's this year, treat yourself.

I won't tell.

L♥ve to all!

until next time,


Friday, February 11, 2011

Light-As-Air Limoncello & Berry Mousse

Here is the dessert recipe I learned at Rustico Cooking.  It's a perfect treat to make for your Valentine! Just simplify the recipe to make as much as you need.

image from here

Light-As-Air Limoncello & Berry Mousse

serves 12

For the limoncello mousse:
1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 and 1/4 pounds Mascarpone (preferably imported Italian)
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Limoncello
Grated zest of 1 lemon

To layer:
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup Limoncello
24 ladyfingers
4 cups mixed berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries; hull and halve the strawberries)
12 mint sprigs

Make the Limoncello mousse:
In an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream to soft peaks. In a large bowl, beat the Mascarpone with the sugar, the Limoncello, and the lemon zest until perfectly smooth. Fold in the whipped cream, being careful not to deflate it.

To layer: Combine the water and sugar in a small pan over a medium flame; bring to a gentle boil and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Cool, then stir in the Limoncello and pour into a rimmed dish. Dip the ladyfingers into the Limoncello mixture, allowing them to soak up the syrup for about 10 seconds each; drip off excess soaking liquid. It is important that the ladyfingers become soft and wet from proper soaking, or the dessert will be dry and insipid.

Layer the Limoncello mousse, berries, and ladyfingers in each of 12 wine glasses, making at least 2 layers of each and finishing with a layer of berries. Refridgerate, covered, for 2 to 24 hours. When you are ready to serve, garnish the top with the mint.


until next time,


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Your Final Text Message

I saw this being passed around the internet and had to share.

I honestly can't remember the last time I drove a car, but I have so many loved ones that do. Please watch and pass along.

until next time,


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

3 Things: Gifts, Gifts, and Mickey

1. Gift ideas for the fellas:

a. Check out this great list of items at J.Crew.
b. Beer of the Month Club. Yes.
c. Plan a fun activity or getaway for the two of you. Make him a coupon that gives all of the details. If you're feeling extra creative, set up a scavenger hunt with hints that lead him to a final clue of what it is.

2. Don't forget your furry friends this Valentine's Day! Check out these gift ideas at Trixie + Peanut!

3. Remember when I told you about how I was so excited to take Greeting Card Design at SVA? Lo and behold, the school cancelled the class at the last minute due to low enrollment.  It was such a sad bit of news. There's nothing like getting your hopes up for something that doesn't work out. As disappointed as I was, those moments are necessary in life. They're a humbling reminder that we must surrender control and know that it will all work out.

After seeing the red flashing CANCELLED across my computer screen, I frantically searched the internet for a similar class and eventually found something in a graphic design department. I impatiently waited for confirmation, but I am now luckily enrolled in Greeting Card Design at Parsons. Did I mention I'm loving it? After only two weeks, I've taken countless notes and have been inspired to think in a completely new way about cards. So yes - it did work out. And I'm so very thankful.

I'm learning what to do - and what not to do.

For example, I used this picture on the front of a greeting card for one of my assignments.

Yes, that is me inside the basket. Let's not talk about the mullet.

It was a Mother's Day card. One that I would apparently be sued for making...

As my teacher said, "Don't f*** with Disney."

Alas, political & other public figures are fair game.

Mickey's forehead is not.

until next time,


Friday, February 4, 2011

Goat Cheese Ravioli Recipe

I went to a cooking party earlier this week at Rustico Cooking and learned how to make 5 amazing dishes. I'll be sharing the recipes with you so you can try! Here's the first one:

Crispy Goat Cheese-Stuffed Ravioli with Caramelized Fennel & Balsamic Vinegar Splash

Serves 12
For the fennel and pears:
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing the baking sheets
2 fennel bulbs, tops trimmed, quartered and very thinly sliced (core left on)
3 ripe Anjou pears cored, cut into 1/8-inch-thick round wedges (at least 6 wedges per pear)
*if ripe red-skinned pears are available, use them instead of the Anjou pears

For the filling:
1/4 pound fresh whole-milk Ricotta
1/4 pound young goat cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus extra as needed
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
12 basil leaves, slivered
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To assemble:
48 wonton skins
1 large egg, beaten to blend
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

To serve:
2 packed cups wild arugula
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey

Make the fennel and pears: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (preferably set on convection bake). In a plate, combine the sugar, salt, and pepper. In two separate bowls, toss the sliced fennel and the pear wedges with the olive oil and the salt-sugar mixture. Arrange on 2 separate oiled aluminum foil-lined baking sheets in a single layer and roast in the preheated oven until caramelized, about 15 minutes for the fennel and 25 minutes for the pears.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Crush all the ingredients in a bowl with a fork until smooth.

Assemble the ravioli: Arrange half of the wonton skins on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Brush with the beaten egg. Spoon a bit of the filling in the middle of each wonton skin. Top with another wonton skin, brushing it first with beaten egg, forming a square (place the wonton skin with the egg side facing down so the dough sticks together). Press your fingers to seal the edges well and to gently compact the filling so it spreads out inside the wonton skin. Continue in the same manner, making 24 ravioli in all. Brush the tops of the assembled ravioli with the olive oil and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until golden and crisp. *Tip: Use very little olive oil to brush the tops of the ravioli, or they might burn in the oven.

To serve: Arrange one of the ravioli flat on a plate. Top with a bit of the sliced fennel, a wedge of pear, and a handful of arugula leaves. Arrange another ravioli on top, slightly off center to reveal the layered ingredients underneath. In a small bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar and honey until smooth; splash the mixture across the ravioli and serve hot.


until next time,


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for the Ladies

Here are some ideas & favorites for a Valentine's Day gift for a special lady.
Read: If you are a lady, here are some items to "accidentally" leave up on your computer screen (hint-hint, fellas) or ideas for treating your girlfriends, family members, or yourself!

Click here to see their V-day picks.

2. By Boe

Pic from website
Sweetheart Ring - $38

Pic from website
Sweetheart Earrings - $40

Pic from website
My heart necklace - $55

Pic from website
Sweetheart Bracelet - $50

Pic from website
How Sweet It Is Expandable Wire Bangle Set - $58

pic from website
Love Is In The Air Expandable Wire Bangle Set - $58

pic from website
You Stole My Heart Expandable Wire Bangle Set - $58

pic from website
I Love Hugs Expandable Wire Bangle Set - $58

pic from website

pic from website
5. Sephora

Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Perfume - $29
(travel duo size)

pic from website 

pic from website 

pic from website 

until next time,


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