The 5 Best Sex and the City Episodes Saturday, May 31 2008 

It seems like everyone is picking their top Sex and the City episodes.  My friend the Missus recently wrote about her top five, and her are the top 10 from Yahoo! Canada and MSNBC’s top 5.  A few of them fall in line, but I’m surprised that so many of my favorites aren’t on the list.

Quick background:

  • I don’t have a favorite character (I love them all!) but I’m most like Carrie and Samantha.
  • I ADORE Harry.  Charlotte and Harry are my favorite couple on the show.
  • I hate Berger.  Mostly because I’ve dated two guys who had similar insecurity issues.
  • I love the later episodes best because you’re so invested in the characters by then.

First, let me say something about the finale: An American Girl in Paris, Part Deux.  I love it, and I think it ends the series well.  In particular, Miranda’s subplot of taking care of her dementia-afflicted mother-in-law is moving.

However, I’m not putting it in the top 10 because I feel like there are so many out-of-character moments.  Take Big’s reaction to Petrovsky slapping Carrie — it doesn’t look like him at all, and his lines are so forced, they’re painful.  Also, it didn’t seem natural that Charlotte was at peace and calm that she and Harry would be getting a baby, while Harry was freaking out, despite being duped by their potential baby’s birth parents.

And that slap from Petrovsky.  We didn’t need it.  He was enough of an asshole without the slap.

I do have to say, the finale has one of my favorite moments — Carrie running down the street and Big in the car next to her, unaware that she’s there — and I always tear up when Charlotte and Harry find out they’re getting their baby.

Anyway, I like the episode, but it’s not good enough for the top 10.

The 5 Best Episodes of Sex and the City:

I Love a Charade (Season 5) — The girls get invited to the Hamptons wedding of Bobby and Bitsy — the obviously gay piano bar legend (played by Nathan Lane) and his businesswoman.  Miranda sleeps with Steve, to her dismay.  Charlotte has Harry wax his back, starts dating him publicly, then finds herself falling in love with him — only to learn that he can only marry a Jew.  Samantha throws a party at Richard’s Hamptons house.  Carrie finds out Berger is now single and tries to hook him.

I love, love, love this episode, and it seems like nobody else does!  It’s entertaining, it has a great location in the Hamptons, all characters are in top form, there are so many fun lines and it introduces HARRY to the rest of the girls!

Details I love: Harry trying to coax Charlotte to dance with him and her friends encouraging her.  Miranda and Samantha dancing while Miranda holds Brady.  Harry joining in the witty one-liners during the vows.  Bobby mime-grating cheese across Marcus’s abs.

Best quotes:

Carrie: “He doesn’t need the money.  He was one of the original investors in A Chorus Line.”
Miranda: “Just when you think you’ll never hear a gayer sentence than Mr. Broadway has to go tinkle.”

Miranda: “I find the love part the most insulting part of all.  I don’t care what you do, just be straight with me.”
Carrie: “I think that’s how Bitsy proposed to Bobby.”

Miranda: “Not having sex was the only thing holding our relationship together.”
Carrie: “Well, you’re fleeing to the right wedding.”

Hop, Skip and a Week (Season Six, Part One) — After their tearful reunion at Jewish singles night, Harry proposes to Charlotte.  Samantha transforms Smith into the Absolut Hunk.  Miranda feels guilty about not spending enough time with Brady.  Carrie and Berger decide to take a break, then decide to work things out; hours later, he breaks up with her ON A POST-IT.

Really, this episode is about two things: the proposal and the Post-It.  The proposal is one of the most romantic TV proposals ever.  Charlotte’s tears while asking him if they can start dating again, and then gasping as he gets down on one knee…wow.  It’s perfect.

The Post-It breakup became a cultural phenomenon.  EVERY girl remembers this episode.  And this episode branded Berger as the ultimate asshole of Sex and the City.

Beyond that abomination, I think that the episode is great with depicting what it’s like when a relationship is disintegrating and everything about the other person is starting to bother you.  To be honest, this is one of the episodes that I found to be truest to life.  I hate when you’re in that time of a relationship when you’re constantly at odds with another person.

Splat! (Season Six, Part Two) — Carrie and Petrovsky throw a dinner party for Carrie’s friends.  Petrovsky invites Carrie to live with him in Paris.  Carrie and Miranda have a huge fight.  One of Carrie’s old party friends dies in a freak accident.

I love seeing all five couples (including Stanford and Marcus) together.  It’s kind of odd, actually.  And that whole party scene, especially with the death of Lexi, oh, God.  She actually says, “I’m so bored, I could die,” before tripping and falling out the window.

Most of all, I think it’s easy to relate to this episode when you think about how you act when you’re with your boyfriend and when you’re with your friends, and how when the groups don’t seem to mesh at first, it feels like trouble.  It makes you question to whom you give your loyalty.  And in this episode, Carrie chooses her guy, who hasn’t even said that he loves her.

There are a lot of good quotes in this episode.  The best:

Steve: “That’s a nice piano.  Do you play?”
Petrovsky: “Yes, I play.”
Steve: “Do you know any Billy Joel?…No?  Uptown Girl?  She’s Always a Woman?”
Marcus: “Piano Man?”
(Petrovsky shrugs.)

Hours later:
Charlotte: “What are they doing down there?”
Miranda: “Not having a Billy Joel singalong, that’s for sure.”

And my favorite:

Carrie (after introducing Enid’s “date”): “He’s really sweet.  And smart.”
Enid: “He’s a hobbit!”

 

What Goes Around Comes Around (Season 3) — Carrie is robbed at gunpoint and thinks she has bad karma for her affair with Big.  Miranda starts dating a gorgeous detective, thinks she’s not good enough for him, and overcompensates by drinking heavily.  Samantha meets (and sleeps with) Sam Jones, a college student whose calls she keeps getting.  Charlotte and Trey decide to separate.  Carrie tracks down Natasha to apologize for the affair with Big, which ruined their marriage.

The Samantha plot has some of the funniest scenes in the series (“I LOVE YOU, SAM JONES!!!!”), and the rest of the episode is great, but what REALLY makes this episode stellar is the interaction between Carrie and Natasha.

When Carrie cheated on Aidan with the married Big, it was the ugliest her character had ever been.  She made tons of mistakes in her dating , but this one was by far the worst.  Still, her attempts to apologize seemed to almost redeem her…until we heard this painstaking conversation:

Carrie: “I heard about — your marriage.  And it’s — just so terrible.  I never, never meant for any of this to happen, and if there was something I could do to take it all away, I would.  So I came here today because I needed to say how sorry I am.  I am deeply sorry for what I did to you.  It was wrong.  And I’m sorry.”

Natasha: “Are you through?”

Carrie: “Yes.  Thank you for listening.”

Natasha: “Wait.  I’m sorry, too.”

Carrie: “You are?”

Natasha: “Yes.  I’m sorry about it all.  I’m sorry he moved to Paris and fell in love with me.  I’m sorry that we ever got married.  I’m sorry he cheated on me with you and I’m sorry that I pretended to ignore it for as long as I did.  I’m sorry I found you in my apartment, fell down the stairs and broke my tooth.  I’m very sorry that after much painful dental surgery, this tooth is still a different color than this truth.  Finally, I’m sorry that you felt the need to come down here.  Now not only have you ruined my marriage, you’ve ruined my lunch.”

That’s some of the best writing the series has ever had.  And that moment drives it home.  For a while, there, we thought the show was going to redeem Carrie — but it wasn’t even close.  That moment drove home that what Carrie did was much worse than even she thought it to be.

Perfect scene.

One (Season Six, Part One) — Charlotte and Harry finally conceive, but she miscarries less than a month into her pregnancy.  Samantha discovers a gray hair “down there.”  Carrie meets the intriguing Aleksandr Petrovsky.  Robert surprises Miranda with an “I Love You” cookie, which she promptly devours; she can’t say the words back to Robert…but she can to Steve.

It’s all about the moment: the moment when Miranda is putting candles on Brady’s cake, Steve brings out the giant 1 candle, and she looks at the candle, then him, and says, “I love you, Steve.”  Even though they’re both involved with other people — people who are in the next room! — Steve grins and tells Miranda that she’s the one.

Over time, I think a lot of us have rooted for Miranda more than any other character, and I think that all of us fans always had Steve in the back of our minds.  It was this moment that shows us that we were right all along — we knew Robert was perfect, but he wasn’t Steve.  Steve was who Miranda always needed, and she finally got her happy ending.

Details that I love: Harry comes to Brady’s birthday party alone.  I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE the music when Carrie first meets Petrovsky and when Charlotte loses the baby.  I love Charlotte’s pink dress at the end, and I love that she tells Brady to make a wish while wishing for a baby herself.

Sex and the City — one day early! Thursday, May 29 2008 

Counting down the hours until Sex and the City premieres tomorrow?  Planning to hit the midnight show tonight?

How about the 7:30 PM show tonight?

I don’t know how they’re able to do it, but Loews Boston Common is showing Sex and the City a day early.  This is the only performance ahead of time — the next two are at precisely 12:01 AM.

The Missus was first to discover this early show on Tuesday, and I immediately snapped up two tickets.  Several of us in the office are going.

I checked Fandango just now, and the show is now sold out.  Word travels fast.

I can’t wait!!!

Wanderlust. Generous Vacation Time. Excitement. Monday, May 26 2008 

I just found out that I have 13 vacation days to use before the end of the year.  Thirteen!  My new job is very generous with the vacation days (in part because the company originated in Europe), and the vacation days may not be carried over to the next year (in part because they think that people work better when they get to take vacations).

I’ll be using three vacation days on my trip to Las Vegas in a few weeks, so I’ll have 10 days to spread out over the next six months.

And that got me thinking.

I’ve been planning to visit my friend Jen in Chicago for a three-day weekend, most likely in mid-to-late September.  I’ve never been to Chicago before, and of course, I’d love to see her and her awesome friends.

I only get the basic six U.S. holidays off (and I honestly prefer it that way — I’d rather not have MLK Day off and have tons more vacation time to use whenever I’d like), so I’ll use one vacation day for Christmas Eve, and likely one for the day after Christmas, too, because it’s a Friday.

That leaves me with 7 vacation days left.  I should keep a few in reserve, so I could probably take a week off — or, better yet, I could take Thanksgiving week off, so I’ll only have to use four of my vacation days!!

It would be perfect timing — especially if I went somewhere outside the U.S., which I would definitely do.

Now, the best part: where to go?

My dad got me the Where to Go When book for Christmas last year.  It’s a fantastic coffee table book filled with gorgeous photographs from around the world.  While the itineraries are geared toward an older, more affluent clientele, the book provides you with great destination ideas.

The book has about a dozen destinations for each month of the year, either because of weather (the Florida Keys are perfect in February), local festivals or holidays (Oaxaca for Day of the Dead in October), or because this is the time when the tourist crowds start to calm down (Santorini in September).

I’ve been to the following places at the perfect time of year, according to the book:

  • In April: Paris; Florida
  • In May: Boston (obviously)
  • In July: Washington, D.C.
  • In October: Budapest; Tuscany
  • In November: Venice

If I were to take a trip during Thanksgiving week, it would be somewhere in either Europe or Latin America.  This would also be my first entire trip on my own, so I’d like to go somewhere with a well-worn backpacker trail.  Also, it would be somewhere I could get a lot out of a week.

Here are the destinations that they recommend for November:

  • Nariz del Diablo, Ecuador
  • Burgundy, France
  • Sicily
  • Yucutan Cenotes, Mexico
  • Margarita Island, Venezuela
  • Tysfjord, Norway
  • Barbados
  • Mar del Plata, Argentina
  • Monart, Ireland
  • Venice, Italy (I’ve already been there in November!  I highly recommend it.  It was cool, foggy and ethereal, the way Venice should be seen, as opposed to when I saw it in June: hot, sticky and crawling with tourists.)
  • Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
  • Le Crotoy, France
  • Bahamas
  • Costa Rica

And, just for good measure, October:

  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Budapest, Hunary (Already been there in October!)
  • Eden Project, England
  • Piedmont, Italy
  • La Rioja, Spain
  • Loire Valley, France
  • Tuscany, Italy (Already been there in October!)
  • Soomaa National Park, Estonia
  • Oaxaca, Mexico
  • Rhodes, Greece
  • Eureka! Halifax, England

And, just in case, December:

  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Vienna
  • Lille, France
  • The Amazon
  • Glacier Express, Switzerland
  • San Blas Islands, Panama
  • Falkland Islands
  • Tortola, British Virgin Islands
  • Country homes in England
  • Dominica
  • Torres Del Paine, Chile
  • Geilo, Norway
  • Lapland, Finland
  • Cayman Islands
  • Vieques, Puerto Rico

I’ve bolded the destinations that interest me.

How about Costa Rica?  That’s the most visited country in Central America, it’s very safe, and it has so much to offer.  I’ve only read about package deals there, but if I look at some shoestring guides, I bet I could find the hostels and the day trips.

I would absolutely love to visit Buenos Aires…but I’m looking at flights and the cheapest I can find is $1500 and three flights each way — plus an overnight in New York, switching from LaGuardia to JFK.  No thanks.  Too bad; that would be a great weeklong destination.

Spain…Mexico…SICILY!  I’d be visiting a country where I’ve already been, but I’ve been wanting to go to Sicily and especially visit Castanea delle Furie, where my family comes from.  That would be so wonderful.  I’m a bit wary of being a single female in Sicily, though, especially off the backpacker trail.  I know I can handle it; I’m just not sure if I want to spend my entire vacation shoving men off me.  (Now, Friday night, that’s something else altogether!)  Seriously, though, it can be very frustrating trying to get around in Italy while men want nothing but to hit on you.

There is so much to research…I’m excited!

Okay, now I think I have to take this vacation…

The Effect of American Idol on iTunes Saturday, May 24 2008 

Yikes.  Forgive the scientific title.  It gives me chills and flashbacks to ninth grade honors bio, Science Fair and a purple sweatshirt with green paisley diamonds on it that was worn at least once a week (NOT by me).

Anyway…

It’s no secret that American Idol’s huge popularity has an effect that carries over to iTunes.  When a song is sung, even if obscure, it often jumps onto the iTunes charts.

This was especially evident when Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” jumped from relative obscurity into #1, thanks to Jason Castro’s incredible performance of the song on the show.

This is the first year that American Idol and iTunes have had a partnership.  I’m a big fan of it — the contestants all record one of the songs that they cover each week into a polished track, available immediately on iTunes the day after the results show.  (Of course, during the run of the show itself, they don’t publish songs in the top 100, to keep the voting fair.)

But even before American Idol and iTunes teamed up, songs sung on the show would become the most downloaded tracks in the country.

I was just checking out the iTunes top 100 and I was blown away by how many songs on the charts have to do with the show.  Here are all of them:

First, songs by Season 7 contestants:

  • #1: David Cook, “Time of My Life”
  • #2: David Cook, “Dream Big (American Idol Performance)”
  • #4: David Cook, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (American Idol Performance)”
  • #5: David Cook, “The World I Know (American Idol Performance)”
  • #10: David Archuleta, “In This Moment (American Idol Performance)”
  • #12: David Archuleta, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (American Idol Performance)”
  • #21: David Archuleta, “Imagine (American Idol Performance) [Top 2]”

If you go to more extremes, here are the original versions of songs that have been performed by contestants this season:

  • #46: Chris Brown, “With You” (performed by David Archuleta on Top 3 night)
  • #59: Collective Soul, “The World I Know” (performed by David Cook on Top 2 night)
  • #85: Bryan Adams, “Summer of ’69” (performed by the top 12 at the finale)
  • #96: Aerosmith, “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” (performed by David Cook on Top 3 night)
  • #98: Jeff Buckley, “Hallelujah” (performed by Jason Castro on Top 16 night and at the finale)

And, just so we’re covering everything, here are the songs performed by current chart-toppers on the results show:

  • #7: Natasha Bedingfield, “Pocketful of Sunshine”
  • #8: Leona Lewis, “Bleeding Love”
  • #14: Carrie Underwood, “Last Name”
  • #23: Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown, “No Air”
  • #24: OneRepublic, “Apologize” (performed with David Archuleta)
  • #37: Maroon 5, “If I Never See Your Face Again”
  • #40: Miley Cyrus, “See You Again”
  • #47: Mariah Carey, “Bye, Bye”
  • #50: Jordin Sparks, “One Step At a Time”
  • #61: George Michael, “Praying for Time”
  • #73: ZZ Top, “Sharp Dressed Man” (performed with David Cook)
  • #97: Timbaland featuring OneRepublic, “Apologize” (performed with David Archuleta)

And finally, songs by past Idols:

  • (Mentioned previously: #14: Carrie Underwood, “Last Name”)
  • (Mentioned previously: #23: Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown, “No Air”)
  • (Mentioned previously: #50: Jordin Sparks, “One Step At a Time”)
  • #65: Carrie Underwood, “All-American Girl”
  • #79: Daughtry, “Feels Like Tonight”
  • #88: Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown, “No Air” (single version)
  • #93: Carrie Underwood, “Before He Cheats”

If you stick to current contestants and the songs they sang on the show, that’s 12 (or 15, if you count the original artist/Idol collaboration performances).  That is a LOT out of 100.

If you count songs recorded by American Idol contestants, that’s 14.

Count every song on iTunes that has been performed on American Idol at some point during this season, and you have a staggering 28 out of 100.

All from one TV show.

Look, FOX, you have a juggernaut of a show that is making you a TON of money.  There’s no reason to make us sit through thoroughly unfunny promotions for new Mike Myers movies that I won’t name here on principle.

David Cook: Guitar Hero Thursday, May 22 2008 

If watching this over and over (and over) again is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

If you love me, you will buy me these. Wednesday, May 21 2008 

These are the most spectacular, formidable, striking, exquisite, sensational, lovely, delicate, stunning, ugly, gorgeous shoes I have ever seen.  And ingeniously functional!

Check them out here.

Size 8, please.  (They don’t have half sizes.)

They’re on sale.  Only $47.99.

Please?

(Watch.  One of my creepier grammar fans will actually buy them for me.)

Two weeks in the Balkans; two weeks in Greece Tuesday, May 20 2008 

I can feel my wanderlust returning.

Even though it seems like I can’t think past my trip to Vegas, and hopefully a trip to Chicago this fall and maybe a trip to Miami, or back to Montreal, but I know that I have to start thinking about my next BIG trip.

I miss Europe — I haven’t been in nearly two years.

Also, it’s time for me to take my first trip alone.  I want to travel completely by myself and I am READY!

I was at Borders yesterday and thinking wistfully to myself that while I want to want to visit the Balkans, I would have to wait until I have a long time to travel, because there’s so much I want to see there.  And then I picked up the Lonely Planet Western Balkans book and realized that they have a two-week itinerary that is PERFECT for me!

When you travel alone, also, you get to see a lot more because it’s easier to spend less time in places.

Here it is, but tweaked to my preference:

  • Fly to a European hub.  Grab a cheap flight to Trieste, Italy, right on the Slovenian border.
  • Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Lake Bled, Slovenia
  • (Possible additions: Skocjan Caves, Slovenia; Plitvice Lakes, Croatia; Zadar, Croatia)
  • Split, Croatia (maybe)
  • Hvar Island, Croatia
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • (Day trip from Dubrovnik: Mostar, Bosnia)
  • Kotor, Montenegro (with gorgeous Sveti Stefan!)
  • (Possible addition: Sarajevo, Bosnia)
  • Belgrade, Serbia (clubbing MADNESS!)

The itinerary in the book ends in Zagreb, Croatia, but I don’t have much desire to visit there.

But two weeks!  You can do so much!!

Then I started thinking.

This will be my first solo trip abroad (though I’m aiming for summer 2009 with this).  Many destinations on this itinerary, while they interest me greatly, aren’t as popular with the backpacker trail and aren’t quite as social, especially for a solo traveler.

Though I eventually do want to get off the beaten path, I think my first solo trip should be more social.  And I do love the whole party of traveling (typo, it’s supposed to be part, but I’m keeping it) when you’re always meeting new people.

Then I had a thought…GREECE!

I’ve wanted to go to Greece for quite some time, and I could do a FABULOUS itinerary there in two weeks!  Granted, I wouldn’t add five new country stamps to my passport, but I would be experiencing an entirely new country.

An itinerary of my preference:

  • Athens
  • Brief stop at Corinth
  • Olympia
  • Corfu — staying at the Pink Palace, famous for clothing-optional cliff diving!
  • Thessaloniki, which everyone agrees is one of THE up-and-coming cities of the moment
  • Overnight it back to Athens
  • CYCLADES!  Mykonos, Ios, SANTORINI!
  • Hopefully have time to sail to Crete before heading back to Athens

Those places are SO on the backpacker trail, and I would love that.

I’ve got plenty of time to decide…

Oh my God, I actually crashed a bachelor party! Sunday, May 18 2008 

Red lipstick has always served me extraordinarily well.  It’s weird, but a lot of great things have happened because of my wearing red lipstick.

Last night was no exception — and it led to one of the craziest adventures I have EVER had!

My friend Holly’s birthday celebration was last night.  We met up at Kingston Station, had some drinks and proceeded over to the Hong Kong (where, honestly, I hadn’t been in quite a long time).

We had some scorpion bowls; we danced to 90s hip-hop; we checked out the mostly unremarkable crowd.

(Great quote from earlier in the night:
Me: “I hope we meet some hot guys tonight.”
Esther: “At the Hong Kong?”
Me: “…Yeah, you’re right.”)

And then the bachelor party arrived.

There were about 20 of them and they were dressed in red and blue baseball jerseys, either the “Jerk Sox” or “New Turk,” and they each had their nickname on the back.  The bachelor himself was decked out in a sombrero.

I went over to them and started chatting.  It’s wedding season, and whenever I spot a bachelor party, I always go talk them up.  It turns out that the groom was getting married in a little over a month and they had a full weekend of festivities planned.  (They had strippers at the house earlier.)  They also had a party bus outside.

The guys were awesome.  All of my friends talked to them a bit, but I was spending the most time with them.  (One of the guys told me that he had a girlfriend but that whatever I wanted, however my tastes fell, I could have my pick of the entire group!)

After about an hour or so, Holly’s group had mostly dispersed, and the guys were ready to move on to the next watering hole.  Then they started telling me that I should totally join them.

None of the other girls wanted to join me, and even though it went against any safety training I was EVER taught, I decided to join them.

Just me and a busful of guys.

Well, I got on the bus, grabbed a beer from the overstocked cooler, and joined in the fun, telling stories, throwing back drinks and dancing.  The guys were hanging from the bars like monkeys.

Check it out:

Lapdance!  Wouldn’t be a bachelor party without one!

There are a few girls in the back of this picture.  They picked up another group of girls to come with them as well — but I think it goes without saying that they weren’t nearly as fun as me.

 

There’s the groom in the sombrero.

Yeah, no comment.

But the guys at the Hong Kong did get pissed at him for wearing sunglasses inside.

 

I couldn’t resist.  I had to take a picture.

This guy was really cool.  We talked for a while, and it turns out that he is in the same industry as my new job!  He’s now working as a consultant, pulling in crazy money and working abroad.  It was FANTASTIC to hear about someone doing that.

This guy was just fun.

And now for the red lipstick.  I’ve found that guys always LOVE it.  There are certain biological reasons for this (I won’t go into details here, but Google it and you’ll find out some surprising information).  At any rate, it’s always a hit.

They told me to give the groom a kiss on the cheek, just to leave a mark on him before his wedding, so I did.  And pretty soon there we had escalated into all-out red lipstick war, and everyone was covered in it.

Yeah.  The guys wore it.

They put it on and they loved it.

It was a sea of red.

We dropped by a bar in Beacon Hill, but the line was too long, so we decided to just ride in the bus for a bit (while still doing acrobatics on the poles), then head back to Allston, where one of the revelers lived.  The group of girls joined us there, though they didn’t stay at the house for long.

One of the guys was really into wine, and I attempt to be somewhat into wine, so he ended up pouring a really nice Zinfandel, my favorite varietal.  (NOT White Zinfandel.  We had this argument with all the guys.)

I had to get a shot with the groom.  He was a really good sport, despite what they put him through all night.

I love this picture so much.  And doesn’t the guy on the right look like Joel McHale from The Soup?

I stayed there for a few hours, telling stories, dancing, singing songs, trading travel stories, trading drinking stories.  And it wasn’t weird at all being the only girl there.  In fact, it was exhilarating.  I was the center of attention (and you know how much I love that!).  They weren’t weird about it, either — though they kept trying to outdo each other whenever they were in front of me.

I have to say, they were such fun guys.  I had a blast hanging out with them.  They told me that I was the coolest girl ever for being spontaneous and actually coming on my own, without a buffer group.  Again, they were awesome.

I returned the favor by not overstaying my welcome and catching a cab back as the sun was rising.  The guys were due to play paintball today.  What a great bachelor weekend!

Looking back, I’m still kind of surprised I did it.  I mean, that’s exactly the kind of thing they tell you NOT to do.  Well, I trusted these guys, and I know that’s not a valid reason, but it was the truth.  And they turned out to be AWESOME. 

I’m off to find a new tube of bright red lipstick, because mine has worn down to a nub.

I HAD A FANTASTIC TIME!!!!!

Free, awesome beer for no reason at all! Monday, May 12 2008 

On Cinco de Mayo, I wandered into the liquor store in Davis Square, briefly considering whether I should buy a bottle of tequila for the occasion, ignoring the fact that tequila and I do not get along whatsoever.

Once I got there, I realized that I still have a pantry full of Jameson and Bailey’s from St. Paddy’s Day two months ago, so getting tequila wouldn’t be a good idea.  But I did need some beer.  My roommates and I always have plenty of hard alcohol, but we don’t have much for mixers or beer.  It would be nice to have something to offer guests.

I walked around the store.  An older man said hi to me and I smiled without making eye contact.  I then picked up a six-pack of Blue Moon.  I liked that stuff.

“Excuse me,” the man said.  “How would you like me to buy you a six-pack?”

I laughed.  “Well, who’s going to say no to that?”

Turns out he’s the VP of Sales & Marketing for Leinenkugel’s.  He started talking to me about the brand, a beer with which I wasn’t familiar.

It turns out that Leinenkugel’s has a beer similar to Blue Moon called Sunset Wheat.  It has more orange and more coriander in it.  I love my Blue Moon with orange, so that sounded fantastic.

“Wait,” he said.  “Forget one — I’m going to buy you two.”

He started telling me about the Summer Shandy, a lemony beer perfect for the beach or relaxing on a summer evening.

He bought the two six-packs for me and even carried them out to my car for me.  He then gave me his business card and told me to email him and tell him how I liked them.

Well, Dick, here we go:

Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat: AMAZING.  It’s like Blue Moon on crack.  It’s just like he said — very similar to Blue Moon, but with much bolder flavor, much more orange and deliciously spicy.  Fantastic.  Just fantastic.

Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy: Delicious, and I would definitely recommend it, but not as much as the Sunset Wheat.  It kind of walked the line for me — it wasn’t enough of a beer; it kind of tasted like a fruity girly drink.

Overall, I enjoyed them both immensely.  (I also brought a few to a party, where they went over well!)

I’ve felt for a while that I need to find *my* beer, a beer that is kind of obscure but delicious and one that I introduce to everyone.  I think that Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat could very well be it.

Thanks for the beer, Dick!

The Final Funny Days of Work; plus, I’m Gullible Saturday, May 10 2008 

I have a few tidbits from my final days at work that I need to share.  They’re hilarious.  But first, a nice picture of me and my friends:

Jackie, Nadine, Esther, me and Michelle

Jackie, Nadine, Esther, me and Michelle in front of our building

I love these girls.

At my *old!* job, I would get work assigned to me from a team of assignors — Workflow.  They’re mostly in our Canadian office, but we email each other so often that I’ve gotten to be friends with several of them.

I sent them out an goodbye email, and I enjoyed the following email chain that ensued, everyone replying to all:

Me: Yo workflow, I’m leaving [the company] today — and I just called a guy with results who now wants me to do a crapload of requests for him, so if you could stop sending me work FOREVER, that would be sweet!  Kate

Joe: LOL……I bet that was fun to say!!!!

John: FOREVER!!!!

Sabrina: lol…awwww, Katelyn!!!!!  best of luck with everything!!!  We will miss you! 🙂

Kevin: Rubbing it in a little, ain’tcha?  Sheesh.

Michelle: :-)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kevin: I hit reply-to-all on this one when I shouldn’t have. Katelyn and I have a very good rapport, in case anyone was worried about her taking that the wrong way.

Me: I am rubbing it in and throwing some salt on it for good measure. 😉

Kevin: *gasp*
*jaw hits floor*
*wide eyed shock*
Well, I never! Then again, I don’t get around much.

Hahaha.  Love those guys.

But the best message of all came from my friend Mike, who started at the company on the same day as me, who has almost always sat next to me and is one of my favorite work people.

He left me the following voicemail message yesterday:

“Hi Kate, this is [a really prominent manager] from [the company].  I just wanted to call you and let you know that [an HR person] told us about, uh, your exit interview, and we have some questions, just about your performance and that sort of thing.

So if you could give us a call back whenever, see if we could schedule another appointment for another exit meeting and interview you, the number is [617-555-1234].

You know we don’t want to get the police involved, or the FBI, or anything like that, we just want to handle this internally.

So if you could just call me back, again, this is [a really prominent manager], the [manager] of the Boston site, so give me a call.”

Okay.  The ludicrous part:

I totally believed it up until the word FBI.  Not police, FBI.

It didn’t matter that the voice didn’t sound a thing like the manager, or that this call came from MIKE’S CELL PHONE, of all places, but I honestly believed it.

I’m insanely gullible, but this is a new low for me.

I made my roommate listen to it and everything.

Seriously, though, it wouldn’t TOTALLY surprise me if a manager called someone after quitting to talk about his or her exit interview with HR.  I’ve seen stranger things happen.

I quit my job today. Friday, May 9 2008 

I tendered my resignation today.  It feels surreal.  I’ve worked at my job for nearly two years, and it was my first job out of college.  My work friends are some of my closest friends, and I have no idea where I would be today without this job.

That being said, I had been planning to leave for a long time.  I am now able to leave because I have a great new job lined up.

To make a long story short, I was offered a job by The Missus, my favorite blogger who isn’t Michael K.  We’ve been reading each other’s writing for several months, and when a job opened up at her company, she thought of me.  A few weeks and interviews later, I secured the job.  Yep, she’s my new boss!

I don’t really want to go into too much detail right now, but I’m very excited about it!  This job is fantastic in so many ways!  It’s a great opportunity for me, and I have high hopes.  I might write about it more as time goes on.

Plus, it has the best parts of my former job — awesome people and casual dress code.

Speaking of the people at my former job, I knew that the hardest part of leaving my job would be saying goodbye to the WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL people.  These people have been more than just people with whom I work — they’re many of my best friends.

It breaks my heart that I won’t be able to see them every day, and that I won’t see many of them ever again.

Well, at least I’ve got a work party tomorrow night, a work celebration next weekend and a work gathering the week after that!  I also have Desperate Housewives with Esther and Nadine on Sundays, plus cocktail nights with the work girls on Saturdays!  AND the New Kids on the Block concert with Jackie this fall with awesome floor seats…

Leaving felt surreal today.  It didn’t seem like it was really happening.  I cleaned out my locker, did my exit interview, said goodbye to dozens of my friends.  Still nothing.

It didn’t hit me until I hugged one colleague and great friend in particular — and it took everything I had not to burst into tears.

It will get better.  I had a fantastic goodbye party tonight, during which I hung out with tons of my friends at Lucky’s Lounge, just down the street from my office in the Fort Point area.

You guys…I love you.  You have been amazing.  I will miss you so much.

The Pickup Artist Sunday, May 4 2008 

Oh my God, let me begin by saying that I just got back from a nightmarish commute home from the bar.  I left Hynes at about 12:15 AM and immediately got a Red Line train to Alewife at Park Street.

Between Harvard and Porter, the train just stopped for 15 minutes.  Just stopped.  As I listened to song after song on my iPod, I watched everyone get aggravated, especially since the sound system wasn’t great and we couldn’t decipher any of the announcements.

After that, the train spent several minutes lurching a few inches, then stopping, then lurching a few inches, then stopping.  It felt like we were trying to get over bumps.

They let us off at Porter, telling us that all trains were out of service.  This was one stop away from where I needed to be!

I knew getting a cab would be nearly impossible during this time of night, even on Mass. Ave., so I waited for a bus.  (This is major for me, considering that I have NEVER taken a bus in Boston that wasn’t a temporary shuttle.)  A bus never came.

I hopped into a cab with two other people trying to get to Alewife and I just had the driver drop me off on the corner of my street and Mass. Ave., walking the rest of the way back.  The other passengers were amused when I pointed out where I had seen Owen Wilson earlier today.

But I digress.

I met the WORST PICKUP ARTIST OF MY LIFE tonight.

I went to Match in the Back Bay with Esther, Lauren and Laura.  The place has a nice atmosphere, though the martinis aren’t strong at all (I had two and I didn’t even feel a buzz) and the prices are a bit high.  They could also stand to spend extra money on the bathrooms.

The bar was really crowded, so I went to get a drink on my own first.  I squeezed in next to a guy who looked like a young Sean Penn with black hair and a goatee.

Guy: “You are so beautiful.”

Me: “Thanks.”

Guy: “I love your eyes.”

Me: “Thank you.”

Guy: “I’m Michael.  What’s your name?”

Me: “Lisa.” [Sorry, Lisa!!  It was the first name I could think of!]

Guy: “I live right here.  Where do you live?”

Me: “You live in this bar?  Funny, I grew up here, but I now live at a watering hole down the street.”

Guy: “I love the shape of your face.” (Starts leaning over and brushes his goatee against my shoulder.  He repeats this twice over the course of our conversation.)

Me: (Nothing.)

Guy: “I love your lips.  Can I talk to you?”

Me: “Well, this is a bar, lots of people, lots to discuss, yay!”

Guy: “Can I see you again, Miss Ulley?” (He had leaned over, reading my partially obscured ID.)

Me: “Listen, as awesome as this conversation is, I’m going back to my friends.”

Guy: “When will I see you again?”

Ugh.

Right after me, Esther went up.

Guy: “You look like my cousin.  My cousin is hot.”

After that, Laura got hers.

Guy: “I love you.”

When Lauren went up, she made sure to stand far, far away.

Ugh.  He could have at least bought us a drink.

I’m really in the mood to go dancing again.  I haven’t been in months.  Maybe next weekend.

I LOVE my new haircut! Saturday, May 3 2008 

I just got my hair cut for the first time in 18 months, due to being traumatized by my haircutting experience.

I was so afraid of another disaster.

Well, there was no disaster — AND I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE RESULTS!!

I went to Escape Spa in the South End and had it cut by Wendy, after reading so many glowing reviews of her on Yelp.  Well, she definitely lives up to the hype.  Wendy is AWESOME!

I explained to her how my last haircut was traumatizing and told her concerns.  Above all else, I NEED LENGTH.  I love my long, wavy hair and I need to keep it at least a few inches below shoulder-length.  Additionally, I’d like more volume and I’d like a low-maintenance style.

I was also considering experimenting with side-swept bangs, NOT thick or heavy bangs of any kind (because I had those throughout my childhood and hated them).  I’m not a fan of my fivehead and wanted a way to camouflage it better.  I wasn’t sure how to go about it with wavy hair.

Wendy is amazing .  In addition to being HILARIOUS, interesting and so much fun to talk to, she did a wonderful job with my hair.  She didn’t try to make it anything it wasn’t (unlike many stylists).  She just worked with the odd wavy-to-curliness with the occasional straight patches throughout my hair.

She also remarked that she never sees hair in as good condition as mine, in spite of the fact that I hadn’t cut it in so long.  (That’s because I don’t dye it and I don’t blow-dry or heat-style it.)

Wendy cut the bangs long so that I can tuck them behind my ear, and she added layers throughout the front of my hair to give it depth and dimension.  I was a bit ambivalent right away, but as soon as it settled, I saw it: it’s perfect.  I don’t know how she did it.

And here are the pics!  Here we go:

Before:

After (down):

After (up):

I LOVE this up look!  I had no idea I’d be getting anything that good!  And if it’s a special occasion and I need to do a fancier French twist, I can wear the bangs straight and pulled to the side.

I highly recommend seeing Wendy at Escape!  They have no Web site, but you can check them out on Yelp.  Be sure to book ahead — she’s hugely popular and she’s going to be away all summer.  I might see her again for a touch-up before Vegas.

Oh — also, I was just driving up Mass. Ave., just north of Porter, near the Elizabeth Grady, and I SAW OWEN WILSON COMING OUT OF A BLUE TRUCK!!!!  I didn’t think it was him, but I saw the nose!!  He was with a women wearing a scarf over her hair — probably Kate Hudson!  She’s still filming in Boston!

But why North Cambridge?  Weird.

Thoughts on the hair?  🙂

Overdue Eyeshadow Thursday, May 1 2008 

Let’s start with a confession.  I’ve been using the same exact eyeshadow — not just the same color, but THE SAME EYESHADOW FROM THE SAME CONTAINER — since high school!

It’s bad.  I know.

I tend to wear the same makeup every day, occasionally changing it up for nights out.  Each day I wear foundation (mixed with a bit of moisturizer), concealer (if I’m breaking out badly), powder, taupe eyeshadow, gray eyeliner, black mascara on both my lashes and brows (more on that later), and either reddish-brown or reddish-purple lip gloss.

The eyeshadow is Maybelline Shadow Trio in Tassled Taupes.  Taupe is a perfect color for me — it’s a great contrast to my blue eyes while picking up the yellow flecks in my irises, and it works well with my olive skin tone (especially during the summer).

I never ran out, despite wearing it almost every day, so I saw no reason to buy a new one (even though you’re supposed to replace powders every 18 months or so).  I didn’t even replace it after the light-colored powder had fallen out and the compact had broken apart.

And then they discontinued the color.

It wasn’t until recently that I told myself that I had to grow up already and buy a new one.

I combed through the huge Sephora at the Pru but couldn’t find anything that matched.  If I couldn’t find anything there, I was doomed, I figured.

Until today.

I was at CVS buying concealer when I found the most perfect eyeshadow: Revlon’s Make a Sheen in 865, Olive it Up.

Check it out:

I tried it on and I LOVE IT!!  It’s even better!  There’s so much depth!

Now, if only I can get myself to throw my old compact away.

No.  I’ve had it since the year 2000 or so.  I can’t bring myself to do it just yet