I think the one 100% true thing I’ve confirmed about myself at (my third) BlogHer is that I’m not much of a “vagina joiner”.
That sounds like some kind of an infomercial product, but it’s the most succinct way can describe how events like this make me feel. Look, I love women. Believe me, I love women. Poetically, philosophically, physically, some other “p” word… broads are good stuff.
But I’m just not one of those “touchy-feely, kumbaya, sign my yearbook, let’s braid each other’s hair, soft focus sisters of the woodlands” types. I never have been. The very idea of sitting in a room and discussing how to “be authentic” makes me want to drink. So you’ll probably find me in the hotel bar.
I think women are amazing people. But when you put a lot of them together in a hotel lobby, it’s not unlike what I’d imagine dolphins on a casino floor sound like — shrill shrieks of superlative excitement over a slot machine-like din of chatter and air kisses.
I respect women. I appreciate that this is the jam of thousands of women here at BlogHer. That’s why so many people are here — to “network”, to meet people, to socialize, be inspired, empowered and potentially sync up the cycle of every woman on the internet. And I totally, totally get that.
It’s just not for me.
Does that mean I don’t want to talk to you, meet you, hang out with you? Do I not want to be inspired, empowered? AM I NOT ENTERTAINED?
No, it mostly just means I don’t want to drop my business card in a fishbowl and listen to your schpiel on heavy flows and wide-set vaginas. Different strokes.
If you follow my Twitter stream, you probably saw that I went to see Ben Folds live on Friday night at The Cosmopolitan on the Strip. I got a little overzealous with my fangirl tweeting, but I couldn’t help it. I love me some Ben Folds. A snippet for your viewing pleasure (there’s more here on my YouTube channel). I apologize for the rough start… and my background singing.
The Boulevard Pool is amazing by day, but at night it becomes this incredible concert venue. I can’t wait to attend a show there again. It was intimate and yet incredibly open. It wasn’t totally packed and we sat with our feet in the pool overlooking the lights of the Bellagio, Paris, Planet Hollywood and more on the Strip below. We weren’t more than 60 feet from the stage, if that, and could have easily walked right up to it, but we’re old folks who were perfectly happy with our feet in the pool. It also helped that the massive LED screen that overlooks the Strip was also visible to us. So the action on stage was projected up there, too. The overall experience was fabulous. read more >
Last night, I met up with danielphillip and richardallen for our standing Monday night happy hour at Mo’s. (I’ll have to do another whole post on what happened last night.) We usually roll in around 6:30 and we always sit in a center, tall table in the middle of the patio, closest to the bar. We like to be in the middle of things, to meet new people, to mingle — because we’re fabulous like that — but still be able to sit down and get table service from Marisol, the best server on planet Earth.
Anyway, last week someone was at our table. We don’t officially reserve it, it’s just kinda of understood that’s “our” table. You can’t sit there unless you’re ordering food, so the usual happy hour crowd usually mills around it. And Marisol and the host always kind of keep an eye out, knowing we would be in. But there was a new hostess and Marisol was busy, so someone was seated there. Whatever. It was a bummer, but we rolled with it and sat in another area, where we could observe the patio action, if not actually in it.
There were three women at “our” table, all dressed in that special way that says, “This is my first time in the States.” One, who I’ll call Helga, was wearing a Body Glove wetsuit-style t-shirt circa 1990 with a mini skirt and Teva sandals. The other, who I’ll call Gunda, wore a black hoodie covered in hot pink metallic lip prints. (The third I couldn’t see because she was in my usual seat, behind a pillar/bush.)
This was amusing in itself, but then it got more interesting. A fourth woman joined them, this one wearing a neck to floor prairie-style dress (in 80 degree weather) with a frumpy shawl. It didn’t look like religious wear, it just looked… frau-ish. They were drinking big pitchers of Stella Artois (as told to me by Marisol) and complained about the price — saying they’re only 3 euros in Germany and why are they so expensive here? Ladies, 3 euros in American dollars is like $4. That’s just not happening here — not for steins the size of your thigh — come on!
Then they pulled out a few paperbacks and proceeded to have a book club meeting — in the middle of a loud, hoppin’, gay patio happy hour. That’s fine, I guess — unorthodox, but then so is that hoodie.
I’m not sure why the next thing happened and I don’t entirely understand HOW I missed the opportunity to take a photo of it, but Gunda reached into her bag and pulled out a huge 32 oz tub of yogurt and set it on the table. Then she rummaged around again and brought out a mammoth, chef-style, Julia Child, no-fucking-around block of butter. Big. Huge. Enormous butter. She set it on top of her yogurt and they continued talking.
What book were these women reading? Who brings their own dairy to a bar? Vegans, maybe, but this wasn’t even vegan dairy. This was dairy dairy. Lactose dairy. Full-fat dairy. This dairy was probably milked by Helga in her Tevas. How did I not get a picture of the B.Y.O. Yogurt?!
But I did get a picture of this guy, who the week prior chased me down in the adjacent alley asking me for mints (I tossed some Tic Tacs at him and clutched my purse like an old lady). This time he spotted me in the open door of Mo’s and proceeded to do a little dance for me to the super diva house music that’s always coming from there. I was blessed with not only the Cabbage Patch and the Running Man, but his own “humpty dance” rendition, some air smooches and a little tongue wagging. My heart be still.
This is what a night out with me is like, people. Any takers?
(Please forgive my crappy German. You can thank Babelfish for that.)
My funny friend, Allison, asked her friend, who actually speaks German, and this is what he said:
ihren eigenen?! thats grammatically incorrect
If you said ” Bring deinen eigenen Jogurt mit” that would mean you’re asking people to bring yogurt that they’ve physically made themselves.
It doesnt make sense. It also sounds weird and rude. The people would be like “what?!? I have to make my own yogurt??!?”
“Bring Jogurt mit” works the best in this context.
And now, kind readers, you know how to rudely and non-rudely tell people to B.Y.O.Y.
I was invited to a lovely Easter brunch this year withsomefriends and decided to take the opportunity to do some cooking. I’ve not really had much time to cook lately, but I love a brunch and wanted to bring something tasty as a thank-you for the invite. A little birdie told me that something with potatoes were missing from the menu so I decided to whip up a hashbrown casserole I found online. I modified a few things, though and dubbed it the Heart Attack Hashbrown Casserole.
I also made some absolutely delicious savory muffins… both got rave reviews, so I thought I’d share the recipes I found/modified. I realized after the fact that both of these recipes were chock full o’ onions of one variety or another… I should have included post-muffin mints.
Heart Attack Hashbrown Casserole
1 – 32 oz. bag of diced hashbrown potatoes (not shredded, Ore-Ida will do)
2 cups of grated fiesta-blend cheese
1 cup of diced white onions
1 – 16 oz. tub of sour cream
1 can of condensed cream of mushroom soup (no water)
1 stick of butter (salted or unsalted, whatever you’ve got), melted and cooled
6-8 slices of crispy center-cut bacon, crumbled or chopped into small pieces
1 bunch of fresh chives, chopped finely
fresh cracked pepper to taste
This is the big one, Elizabeth!
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Get a big bowl — like big, bigger than you think you need big. Big like you’re going to feed popcorn to a room full of ravenous ‘tweens — that big. Throw in all the ingredients, get a big wooden spoon and fold it all together. Takes only a few minutes.
Spread it all into a 9×13 ungreased Pyrex dish or rectangular casserole pan. Bake for an hour until the top is all bubbly crunchy crusty on the edges.
Let it sit for a few minutes before serving unless you want your guests to consume the potato equivalent of the sun’s surface.
I also made some muffins that were a HUGE hit… in fact, I might need to make them again today because they were easy, as well as delicious:
Herbed Scallion Goat Cheese Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Coarsely ground black pepper, to taste (I like kind of a lot, but that’s me)
2 large eggs, room temp
1 cup buttermilk, room temp
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
5.5 oz goat cheese, crumbled (I chose to use the herbed variety)
Sea salt, for garnish
Nom nom nom.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and bust out your 12-cup muffin man… or pan, whatever. The typo amused me to much to change it.
You can either grease the cups or use the little paper liners, but in my experience, if you use the paper liners, give each one a quick schpritz with some non-stick cooking spray in the very bottom anyway. Otherwise, the cheese sticks a bit to the paper and you have guests scraping their teeth along the paper liners.
If you have a sifter, sift the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper into mixer bowl. If you don’t have a sifter, you can use one of those little net-strainers or you can just make sure you mix up the dry ingredients really well. I don’t have a sifter and mine came out just fine.
Lightly beat the eggs, then pour them into the dry ingredients. Add buttermilk, melted butter, scallions, and goat cheese. If you have a hand-mixer, mix on medium for a few minutes until all combined. I was too lazy to dig mine out so I just mixed by hand and it took no time at all.
Scoop the batter into the muffin tins. The consistency is kind of sticky, more like a biscuit that your usual sweet muffin, but it comes out muffin-y. Sprinkle the tops with a little sea salt, but be mindful to not make it too salty.
Bake for 20 minutes until the tops are golden brown and they feel firm n’ bouncy when you press on the tops.
They cool rather quickly, so if you want to serve them warm, leave them in the pan for 5 minutes, then pull them out and serve. Otherwise, let them cool completely on a rack and store in a sealed container or whatever for up to 3 days. But my guess is they won’t be around that long.
Last night I met up with Daniel and Richard for a cocktail at Laurel Restaurant and Bar on, naturally, Laurel Street. The website said they were open nightly at 5pm and they had happy hour on Sundays. The reviews on Yelp were encouraging, too. It looked so adorable and I was really looking forward to checking it out.
So, we get there and it’s closed. But not “hey, we’re closed for a private party” or “due to the economy, we’re now closed on Sundays”. Just… closed. The “dark, silent, not answering the phone” kind of closed. Very odd. We decided to go to another place down the street in Little Italy called The Glass Door, which was at the top of the Porto Villa hotel. Lovely little place, but still pretty new. Great view of the bay and sunset, but the martini glasses were those kind without the stem — just this big clunky chunky glass. It kind of takes away from the martini-drinking experience if you ask me, but the martini itself did that in spades. It was way too ‘dirty’ and mine had large bits of olive floating in it. I declared, “Mine’s got flotsam!” I don’t know if Richard was so lucky to get chunks in his drink. Daniel smartly ordered an appletini which was apparently good.
We decided to go over to Bing Crosby’s where the blue-hairs were hoppin’ last night! It was wall-to-wall Geritol, but they were having so much fun it was more like American Bandstand. There was a guy playing Nat King Cole on the piano and singing when we came in. But then he kicked on a backup track and played along to My Heart Will Go On with a soprano sax. I swear, I thought my ear drums were going to burst from my ears. It was like a Kenny G singalong.
The man was talented, don’t get me wrong, but there was something really cruise-shippy about his whole schtick. After that he busted out an alto sax and played along to At Last. And then it was Robert Plant and the Honeydrippers version of Sea of Love. Lots of Billy Joel and then came the Creedence Clearwater Revival. :| Seriously?
The place is called Bing Crosby’s, for pete’s sake. I don’t deny the man had chutzpah and clearly was a gifted musician, but it felt more like one of those dueling pianos places instead of a fine dining lounge. But the crowd was salivating over him. Some old guy got up and rained dollars on the performer’s head at one point. He was hocking his CD on top of the piano… it was just… surreal.
Of course, that didn’t stop us from joining in on the rousing chorus of “Sweet Caroline”. We’re no fools.
A woman on the prowl sauntered up to our table at one point and asked, “Do you smoke?” We all responded that no, we don’t. She looked incredulous, “NONE of you smoke?” When we shook our heads, she said, “Well, that’s uh… very good.” and walked away. She trolled every table, it seemed like. Then later, another older cougar-y type in a big fur coat stopped by our table to tell us to “have fun, kids”. I’m telling you, the people-watching was ripe last night.
When we ordered our drinks, our server — a very perky, perky, perky woman I’ll call “Sunny” — informed us she was not only out of Grey Goose, but Kettle One, too. Very strange, considering the lounge is known for it’s martinis. But whatever, we got Belvedere and moved on with our lives. Then they ran out of blue cheese olives. Now, I realize this may be one of the most pretentious statement on earth, but you can’t offer blue cheese olives and then run out. Every single time I’ve been in there, I get one drink with blue cheese olives and then they tell me they’ve run out. You’d think if they always ran out, they’d plan accordingly.
I realize people are starving and there are holes in the ozone and gas prices are creeping up and it’s been like, a whole month since Lindsey Lohan did anything gossip-worthy, but if you’re going to offer fancy olives, don’t jerk a girl around.
There have been many incarnations of our website in the last 10 years. We started out with a pair of ladies from stock imagery, for whom we hold a particular nostalgia. We've had hair salon ladies and even prom wallflower ladies when we were more than two. When we had the ever-talented Derek Yaniger draw our girls in 2004, the same airline girls we