Friday, February 27, 2009

**Fine Art Friday**

I just met with this kid, yes KID, on Tuesday who is 19 years old, never finished high school, and is currently shopping around a book he himself made with images from his 2 month stint in tribal Africa.

In other words, he's a prodigy. A full fledged, real life art prodigy who looks like a teenager. (Oh wait, he IS a teenager!)

His work is beautiful--some dark and gritty, but not overly retouched and manipulated. His lighting is gorgeous and he has a terrific sense of placement and composition.

He's already worked on nationally recognizable campaigns, such as the Twilight posters (we all know I'm a fan of those!), and numerous editorial images of musicians.

I hate him because he makes me think of all the things I have NOT accomplished, but I love him because he's an amazing photographer.

Check out Joey L's work here and here and see for yourself. Don't start crying, just appreciate that some people in this world with born with talent. And some of us just blog about it ;-)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

So I was thinking that I should start reviewing good places to hang out, be social, meet up with friends, have b-day parties, etc., and of course, warn you of the bad places.

So here is the first installment. My bias, if you've been paying attention, is towards Brooklyn. So most if not all of the reviews here on in are going to be based in BK, so deal with it.

Below are a few places I've been to during those hours past the Happy Hour hours...

Clover Club (Thumbs Down)
210 Smith St, Cobble Hill
I find the staff humorless and unhelpful and the atmosphere stuffy. Who wants to pay $18 to get treated rudely? That sounds like some kind of masochistic crap to me.

Franklin Park (Thumbs Up)
618 St. John's Place, Crown Hts
Great music, Great bartender, Great beers. The only complaints are that they don't take credit cards and they don't have food. BUT they do have a vast array of local menus, just ask the bartender. Can't wait till it's warm and they open up the patio! (P.S. They have trivia on Monday nights).

Radegast Hall & Biergarten (Thumbs Up)
113 N 3rd St, Williamsburg
I love this place and it almost erases my horrible experience at the Astoria Beer Garden last summer (the words, military state come to mind). You get a great deal on the food if you order in the back at the grill. I personally LOVE the bratwurst and the choice of mustards, ranging from spicy to not so spicy. And of course there's lots of beer. Only downside? Can get really crowded really fast, so try to go on a weeknight on the early side.

Bell House (Thumbs Up)
149 7th St, Gowanus
This place is a good mix of older people and hot, hot hipsters. It's like the new Williamsburg. They have shows in the backroom for extra admission, but the bar area has a lot of seating and really cheap deals on Sixpoint beer. Only downside? The location is in the middle of Rapetown.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Chez Oscars!

I'm back!

This post is dedicated to my 6th Annual Oscar Soiree, and if I must say so myself, it was one of the best!

It was held at my friend Jed's house this year since my teeny tiny apartment would not accommodate all of my wonderful friends.

What made this year so special? Well, aside from the general enthusiasm for the party, there was a new twist--themed snacks and drinks.

We had, in no particular order, libations and munchies based on the Oscar nominees. Such as:
  • Vicky Cristina Sangria
  • Mickey Roquefort Cheese
  • Marisa Tomei-toes (and mozzarella cheese)
  • Happy Go Lucky Charms Treats
  • Tropic Thunder Punch
  • Milk chocolate chip cookies & M&M's
  • Slum Dogs with Curry Dippin' Sauce
  • Benjamin Button Baby Carrots and Baby Corn
  • Vegan Cristina Barcelona Dip
  • Kung Fu Panda Edamame Salad
  • Etc. Etc.
In addition to the themed spread, I also artfully (LOL) decorated the paper cups with Oscar nominees so that people could drink out of their favorite star or who they came as.

And finally, last but not least, the big winner of all my Oscar parties, the Oscar poll!! This year's winner, same as last year's winner, was Jed. Which I guess makes up for the fact that I spilled punch on his floor ;-)

Enjoy the pictures and see if you can guess who people came as!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

On hiatus!!

Hey Y'all, sorry I haven't posted in awhile, but things have gotten busy at work and I'm diligently preparing for the Oscars!!

Stay tuned for an awesome post next week about my annual Oscar party!


Friday, February 13, 2009

**Fine Art Friday**

This is something a little different. I was in a Czech cafe a few weeks ago and this cartoon came on. My Polish cousin got so excited because apparently the Poles grew up on this cartoon too.

It's called Krtek, which translates to mole, and is about the adventures of a mole and his friends.

The animation is so freakin' cool that I needed to post about it on Fine Art Friday. The actual cartoon can be seen below on You Tube and I've accompanied some stills.

The character was first originated and drawn by Zdenek Miler in 1954. It was super popular among little kids in communist countries in Eastern Europe, and gained popularity in India, China and even the US since the characters' expressed themselves in short sounds that could be easily recognizable in any language.

People love this lil guy...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day?

Um, yuck.

I'm not a fan of Valentine's Day, even when I'm in a relationship, I don't like the "forced" romance of it all.

Here are some fun things to do INSTEAD of being icky and gooey on Saturday night...

1. Throw an "Anti-Valentine's Day" Party
The best ones I've been too involved cut out hearts with dirty words on them (like "STD") that you can tape to your body while getting wasted and making out with other haters.

2. Go see a horror or action movie
You want to see something where happy people are killed for no reason. It's very therapeutic.
I recommend this one that's out now.

3. Treat yourself to some dessert
Go all out and forget about the fact that you are buying dessert for yourself. At least you don't have to fit into some stupid fancy dress. Try this place out .

4. Go see an anti-Valentine's Day show
Apparently there's a comedy show at Upright Citizens Brigade.

5. Go watch other people be sad
Such as in these short films about "love" and heartache.

6. Go graffiti
Ok, so I've never done this myself, mainly because it's illegal, but I bet it's super therapeutic to go out there and deface something with red paint. Paint the town red, y'all!

Ha. But for reals. If you're in love, awesome, be in it 364 days a year and skip this night. It's so cliche. :-)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

*Snapshot Wednesdays*

This is my friend Celeste after she wet her pants...well, actually, she just spilled a drink on herself. But still...


Hey it happens, why not make it into a photographic event :-)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Party Essentials

Everyone should have the following if you plan on entertaining more than one person in your home, and especially if you plan on entertaining the right way.

Wine Glasses
Everyone should own a set of 4. They are not that expensive, so you have no excuse. Granted, it's chic to use small drinking glasses or stemless wine glasses, but I prefer the traditional. Cheap ones can be found at Ikea. When in doubt, go with red wine glasses as they can be used for white as well. (

A Serving Platter
It's better to have one of these than putting your snacks and hors d'ouevres on a regular ole plate. Platters are decorative, larger and shows you are an expert host/hostess. I like the ones available at (

These can be tapered (as seen on traditional dining room tables) or they can be pillar candles if your setting is a coffee table. Either way, they add to ambient lighting and the scented ones add an extra "spice" to the party. Joe Malone has some great ones, although you can definitely find cheaper at Bath & Body Works. (

Wine and Snacks.
I always try to have two spare bottles of wine in my apartment for impromptu dinner parties or spontaneous guests. I also think everyone should have a set of snacks, like nuts or oriental snack mix (

It's important that your guests are comfortable. So have a set of folding chairs (if your apt is small you can easily store these), or a set of throw pillows so people can sit on the floor and not hurt their bum. Try Target (


Monday, February 9, 2009

*Ask Agmac*

Dear Agmac,

I recently stayed at my friend's parent's house for the weekend house party. They were gracious hosts and made sure I was comfortable and well fed. If I gave them a bottle of wine and flowers as a thank you gift, do I still need to send a thank you card when i get back? What is the proper protocol when it comes to thank you cards?

House Party Guest

Dear House Party Guest,

You seem very gracious, so cheers to you for that.

However, you don't want to seem desperate-to-please or overly gracious, so one thank you gift is definitely enough! Thank you cards are generally reserved for when one gets gifts or something thrown in their honor.

Protocol for house guest hospitality is definitely a nice gift of vino or flowers/plant.

The only time you'd want to do an extra thank you after the fact is if the host/hostess went above and beyond the call of duty and gave you a very special time. In which case, you can reference it in your thank you note.



Thursday, February 5, 2009

An Affair to Remember

To my avid readers,

I apologize, I feel that I may have lost sight a little bit about what this blog is about. It's not a format for me to "blag" (brag/blog) about my wonderful parties, but it's a place where I can give people pointers on how to throw parties as excellent as mine and my friends!

So with that, I give you a case study.

A couple of weeks ago we threw our friend Jaime a belated 30th birthday party (long story). We wanted to make it memorable and grand. And we did.

What did we do?

We threw her a concert where all of her friends played a role or performed.

Here are some tips on how to throw an amazing party yourself...

Tip #1
Use your Friends' talents!
  • Get someone to make the invitation who is artistic or a designer as their profession (we got Raven & Crow Studio to do ours!)
  • Get someone to take the photos!
  • Get your friends to sing or play a show!

Tip #2
Incorporte Live Music! Whether that be karaoke, booking an actual band, or having your friends play, it's all good! In the case of Jaime's party, I am lucky enough to have know some amazing musicians, one of whom, Rubyrae, organized the venue through her contacts and "booked" all the acts.

Tip #3
Personalize, personalize, personalize. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, there ain't nothin' better than centering an event and all its accoutrements around the honoree.

At this even, we personalized the sh*t out of it in the following ways:
  • The cake. We put Jaime's face in place of "Bella" from the Twilight series, one of J's favorite book series. I used Cakes n Shapes but there are a few places in any given area that will do "picture cakes"
  • The lyrics in the songs (You Tube video of Billy Motion and his guest rapper to come soon!)
  • Trivia about the person with prizes that relate to the party
  • The invitation (see above)
Tip #4
Use a ruse. People love surprises and people who love to throw surprise parties love to see people cry. Tears of joy of course.

Our ruse? Well we did tell Jaime something was happening on Sunday but we didn't tell her what. So a small group took her out for drinks beforehand and then said they had to pick some people up at a bar, and that bar was where we were!

(All photos courtesy of Dennis McKinley)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

*Snapshot Wednesdays*

Continuing in the tradition of me sticking my head into things, here's a virtual one!

For all you ANTM fans out there, this is me channeling Yoanna House...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

From Day to Night: Party Essentials by Jaime

We wear many hats in a given day, figuratively and sometimes quite literally as we try to properly costume ourselves for social and professional obligations. Many times these experience overlap resulting in a wardrobe dilemma. How do you go from day to night, from the office to the party?

Being sensitive to current recessionary measures, it is important to be creative, using things already in your closet to create updated looks. Here are a few tips on how to transform an outfit to meet all your needs for the day and night (without having to maintain two wardrobes.)

I work in a midtown office that mandates corporate “business” casual attire. Often this means button down shirts, cardigans, sensible pumps. Often, by simply adding different shoes, accessories, applying more dramatic makeup, and/or replacing one article you can transform a boring day look into an exciting “ready for anything” ensemble.

1. Accessories
By simply adding colored tights, bold necklace or energetic earrings, belting a dress or a sweater, changing into boots/booties/high heels you can create an exciting new look. For example you can convert a simple black dress into a “downtown party dress” by adding a plaid scarf and brown belt (see below.)

Below are some examples of the effect of colored tights/ Shoes/ Scarf/ Belt modifications.

2. Make up
I think that this is the most powerful statement when going from day to night; it should read all over your face. Darker or smoky makeup can give an entire outfit a dramatic new feel. It’s dark out, so go crazy. A day look should be more natural, subdued. A night look can be anything (with in the confines of personal taste.) Feel free to darken the eyes and/or lips and use daring colors. Below is a before and after picture taken from my secret hidden work camera i.e. my cell phone in the ladies washroom. I was headed to a party in Brooklyn. I went from natural soft browns to charcoal/black Smokey eyes.

3. Shorten it up
At my office, I have in my desk drawer allocated to Emergency party essentials. In said drawer is an “emergency skirt.” It’s denim, short, looks good with black tights and instantly dresses down an office look. Of course, it does not have to be a denim skirt (baring the late 80’s and 90’s) it is not for everyone. The same affect can be accomplished by swapping out a pair of dress pants or a moderate length skirt with something considerably shorter. Please see below.

I removed the cardigan, kept the button down shirt, shortened the skirt, and added fun suspenders and booties. I didn’t have to change my tights since my skirt was long enough to make them passable for the work place.

4. Convertible outfits: The best solution is to wear something that could pass in either situation. For example a fun cotton dress can be corporate with the right shoes and a conservative cardigan. Remove the cardigan, add colorful tights, boots/ or booties, night time make up and you’ve got a look that can take you out for the night.

Possible pit falls: The outfit is slightly inappropriate in both situations. You may need to make minor changes to improve on the same concept. For example, removing the cloth belt (if there is one), that is the same material as the dress, and adding one or one that is more thrilling. See Exhibit A in the “Emergency Party Drawer.”

Emergency Party Drawer contents:
A black, elastic belt with silver buckle, short skirt, tights, earrings, dark lip gloss, Black Eyeliner, kicky shoes, crazy necklace. Sometimes I need to empty the drawer to accomplish my look other times I can pick and choose my best weapon.

My best advice is to be creative and have fun. The rest will sort itself out.

Monday, February 2, 2009

*Ask Agmac*

Dear Agmac:

My friend's apartment is too small to throw a party in, so I've offered to let her use mine. What is the normal division of labor in terms of party preparation for these kind of arrangements? I pretty sure it would be rude not to offer to help out, but I also don't want her to feel like I'm trying to horn in on her party.

-Ghost Host

Dear Ghost Host,

Do you happen to be a New Yorker? Because that's a great question for anyone living in a great city with tiny living spaces.

That said, since this person is the one hosting the party, all responsibility goes to him/her for the refreshments, beverages and clean-up. They are also financially responsible for said arrangements.

The only thing you are responsible for is making sure there is toliet paper in the bathroom and maybe cleaning up a bit beforehand.

However, if you want to help in decorating or thinking of fun additions to the party, I'm sure your suggestions and help would be much appreciated.

Hopefully he/she will reward you with a thank you gift. That'd be the right thing to do.