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3/16/2019

Beauty Products I Can't Live Without

I'm often told that I look younger than I am (45 and a half -- barf).

Honestly, I think everyone looks about a decade younger than our parents did when they were our age.

But I will share my #1 beauty secret...

It's Snapchat filters!

Okaaaay. I kid! Mostly. I mean, they ARE magical and they do wonders for your self-esteem, amiright?

But seriously, my beauty routine is simple. And I've used many of the same products and brands since college.

And I've kept it pretty real with the whole aging thing. Nothing against anyone who turns back the hands of time with potions and procedures.

You do you!

But for me, what you see is what you get. My lips, lashes, hair, nails and all the rest are all natural. I even accept the lines on my forehead and the tiny wrinkles outside my eyes.

I DO draw the line at gray hairs, though. Those effers got to GO.

So, I pluck them.

Of course, I don't look (or feel) great every day -- but when I do, it's probably due to some combination of the stuff below. And maybe also happiness. And maybe genetics. And maybe the fact that I haven't been in the sun in, like, a decade.

Anyhoo, my go-to beauty products range from the corner drugstore to the fancy department stores. Read on for my faves and why I love them sooo much...

FACE

I don't wear a ton of makeup -- a little color on my cheeks, lips, lashes and I'm good to go.  That doesn't mean that I don't have blotchy skin sometimes, or breakout with hormonal acne on my chin once a month.  I do.  I just don't cover it up because I think it goes away faster if I leave it alone. If you looked inside my makeup bag right now, here's what you'd find:


HAIR

I've tried SO many hair products. But, truth be told, I only do my hair, like, once a week. That's when the blowdryer and the paddle brush get a workout. Most days I leave with a wet head and my hair dries in the car on the way to work. Nevertheless, I swear by these products and I stockpile them like a hoarder...


NAILS


Unpopular opinion: I absolutely hate professional manicures & pedicures, and do not find them relaxing in the slightest. But I love doing my own nails. And I'm SO happy that navy nail polish was invented. What a time to be alive! Here are my top 7 shades...


SKIN


You might be sensing a trend here, but I don't have a whole skin regimen either. In fact, I just use soap, most nights I take my makeup off and occasionally I moisturize. That's about it. I don't mess with serums, night creams, exfoliators, masks, oils or toners. It's not that I don't need them.  I probably do.  It's that I am LAZY. Here's all that I have the energy to use...
  • Child perfume: At least once a week someone tells me I smell good. It's all thanks to this baby. I'm SO picky about fragrance, but this one is a keeper.  It's expensive, so I get the rollerball instead of the spray, that way I don't waste a single drop. 
  • Irish Spring soap: My college boyfriend used this soap and I grew to like it too. It's the only soap I use -- even on my face -- and I go back and forth between original and moisturizing.
  • Vaseline Intensive Care moisturizer in Aloe: I find moisturizing annoying but this one smells good and I think it works fine.
  • Neutrogena makeup wipes: Hands-down my favorite makeup remover.


SMILE


There's nothing better than a genuine smile to make anyone beautiful. I wore braces for 4.5 years as a teenager, and most recently, I had a run-in with a root canal, but still, my smile is my favorite feature. I always just use the toothbrush and floss that my dentist gives me, but there are 2 products my teeth can't live without...


Well, for someone who claims to have a low-maintenance beauty routine, I somehow found 32 products I can't live without.  Typical.

Did I hit on any of your favorites? Any I missed?  Spill YOUR beauty secrets below...

2/14/2019

To My Future Boyfriend

Everyone in my company got a red rose today, which was SUCH a sweet gesture.

As I was chopping my longstem rose down to put it in water (aka my makeshift Coke cup vase), something occurred to me: It's been a while since I've gotten flowers on V-Day.

Like, a long while.

I'm sure that has NOTHING to do with my superficial dating criteria that you be over 6ft tall and have dark eyes and hair (on your head).

Or, the fact that I almost never go on dates anymore.

But I am thinking about it. For reals.

And when I do meet the right guy (aka YOU), here are ten things you should know...

  1. I'm very independent.  Some say too independent.  So the fact is, I'll rarely need your help and I probably won't ever ask for it. Unless I need to open a jar.  Then, I promise I'll come knocking.  I mean, the salsa doesn't serve itself!
  2. I may not like to get help, but I LOVE to give it.  I am a fixer, so I'll want to do nice things for you and help you solve your problems. Just let me do it and pretend to take my advice.  It comes from a good place.  
  3. I won't ask you to buy me expensive things.  I buy those myself.  In fact, I think we should share most expenses.  Except our first date.  That's on you.
  4. I'm an affectionate person, but I probably won't kiss you on our first date. When we do, I wholeheartedly believe in the 90/10 rule.
  5. I don't like an overly manscaped man.  I mean, we should both handle our own yardwork, but I'M supposed to be the one without any chest hair, not you.
  6. I appreciate the little things -- so open my doors, say "bless you" when I sneeze, and ask me to call or text when I get home.  It's not really about the manners (though I'm glad if you know the bread is on the left and the drink is on the right).  It's about the sentiment behind it that says you care. About me. Not Emily Post. Eff her.
  7. I'll do anything for my family and close friends, and generally put their needs above my own. So I'll understand if there are people in your life that you need to prioritize above us.  Same goes for work. After all, we need to pay for the amazing adventures we're about to have.
  8. I'm on friendly terms with all my exes but one, and I'm a super loyal open book. I won't give you any reason to question me. That should be mutual.  
  9. I don't believe in soulmates. They were invented by Hallmark and the government.  I DO believe that compatible people are put in our path and it's up to us to recognize them and grow together.
  10. My endgame isn't marriage. That doesn't mean I won't want to marry you.  I might.  But I might not.  Either way, YOU will definitely want to marry ME.  I'm a serious catch.

Did I mention you also need to think I'm funny?

Until we meet...

love,
jen

PS: While we're at it, I hope you aren't a baby talker, bad speller, sidewalk spitter or terrible tipper.

PPS: Also, I don't like grocery store assorted flower bunches. If you buy them, I will still love them because they came from you. But I will love them more if they are plain yellow roses without baby's breath, ferns or other gross fillers mucking it up. Grocery stores sell those too.  Just sayin.

PPPS: If we ever do meet and you read this, I will be mortified.  Unless you think it's cute, which will secretly make me love you even more.

1/31/2019

City of Angels

My first post of 2019 is all about work, which, let's be honest, is basically my life.

Cue the violins...

I mean, it's rough kicking off the year in sunny Los Angeles at an empowering event for female social media influencers.

Right?  No?

Ha, ok, anyway, we haven't been in LA for a couple of years, so it was cool to be back on the west coast. And what better place to talk about health & wellness than a city founded on yoga, green juice, and eternal youth?

Check it out:

Not mad about leaving this wintry Newark day behind!
Pretty sure those are the Rockies, but I couldn't really hear the captain.
Hello, LA!
The first thing I saw when I arrived for setup were these buckets of
beautiful roses. In my next life, I'm def going to be a florist.
600 tote bags were stuffed with goodies and stacked.
And upstairs on the roof, I saw somebody brought their
tiny dog to an active construction site.  Smart.
Outside in the alley, a guy was painting our mural.
Eventually our guests started to arrive to take
a private exercise class with the Tone It Up girls.
I'm pretty sure the recommended post-workout drink is rosé.
Here are our Voices of the Year winners, including Olympic Gymnast,
 Aly Raisman (top left), and our very own Jenni (bottom right), who was
diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma last year and is now cancer-free!
Street art spotted from the window of my Uber after Day One.
Day Two ready to begin....
(or at least what it would have looked like
if they weren't still hanging our logo when our guests arrived).
Samantha! Alyssa Milano was gracious and personable, talking about how a
friendship with Ryan White led her to become an activist at age 15.
Jameela Jamil, from The Good Place, flipped off advertisers
& influencers who make women feel bad about their bodies.
Model Jaime King spoke openly about her infertility issues.
That's celeb trainer & CoverGirl spokeswoman, Massy Arias.
And this lady in the glasses is Dr Minkin, a hilarious OBGYN from Yale,
who told us the morning after pill was invented in her dept.
Our lunch came from a lovely local place called Lemonade.
We also had a barista making pretty coffee drinks.
That's my friend, Deb's, latte.
The freight elevator was turned into the De-Stress Express
with loads of new Vaseline products & a cool sequin wall.
Remember that rooftop with the dog?
It was transformed into this outdoor oasis for Bolthouse Farms.
When it was all over, my team snapped a quick pic.
Thanks to this filter, we don't look nearly as tired as we were!
Then we washed down a health event with a whole lot of meat.
Some of my friends got the Tomahawk Steak, which was served
on a gigantic bone, but I went with the Big Ass Burger,
which was honestly one of the best I ever had.
This is the view from my window seat.
Not pictured here is me, dreaming of my bed. 
Zzzzzz.




12/28/2018

A Star Is Reborn

Unlike 98% of Twitter and Instagram, I did not spend the holidays watching Bird Box.

Ordinarily, my FOMO would be raging, if it didn't seem so dumb.

(Naming your kids Boy and Girl?  I can't.)

Instead, I watched a Star Is Born marathon with my mom and it was heavenly.

There have been 4 versions of this story in total -- the first was in 1934.  But we're going to skip that one because it's in black & white and features a bunch of actors I've never heard of.



The 3 we DID see have a few common elements:
  • He's a drunk and his best days are in the rear view. 
  • He helps create her rise to fame, then resents her for it.
  • He humiliates her at an award show, and she forgives him.
  • She hates her nose, but he thinks she's beautiful.
  • He says, "I just want to take another look at you." And we all melt.

They also all end the same way -- different paths but the same result.

If you know, you know.  No spoilers here...


A Star Is Born (1954)
Starring; Judy Garland as Esther Blodgett/Vicki Lester, a chorus girl, & James Mason as Earnest Gubbins/Norman Maine, a motion picture star

Box Office: Cost $5M to make, earned $15M

Best Song: Born in a Trunk, I guess, but it was long and trippy

We watched this one on TCM.  While my mom loved it, it really wasn't my favorite. I think they ran out of money when making this movie because there were weird segments with photos and voiceovers to fill in the action.  And it had one of those olden timey intermissions because it is 3hrs loooooong.  I also didn't connect with the mains, she was too pretty (but kept saying she wasn't, which was annoying), and he wasn't pretty or charismatic enough. Glad this one was remade.

Fun Fact: Shortly before the premiere, the film was cut because it was too long (duh).  It was restored in 1983, though most of the original footage was lost, which explains why there are production stills and voiceovers used to cover the action.


A Star Is Born (1976)
Starring: Barbra Streisand as Esther Hoffman, a lounge singer, & Kris Kristofferson as John Norman Howard, a rock star

Box Office: Cost $6M to make, earned $89M

Best Song: Most people prob think Evergreen, but I like Watch Closely Now

I first remember this one when I was little and we lived in the Bronx.  My mom used to play the record when she cleaned our apartment.  I've seen this version a few times, over Christmas we watched it on Amazon Prime.  This one is WAY more my speed with its rock vibe, but it's SO old, Gary Busey actually plays the voice of reason.  Let that marinate for a sec...  Ok.  I love this one for her fast-talking New York ways, and its seventies spirit.  Definitely worth the watch.

Fun Fact: The Speedway concert scenes were filmed at ASU.  Inbetween shooting, Babs, Peter Frampton & Santana performed.  And a ticket to the show cost $3.50.  Good deal.


A Star Is Born (2018)
Starring: Lady Gaga as Ally Campano, a cater waiter and cabaret singer, & Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine, a country music star

Box Office: Cost $36M, earned $200M (and counting)

Best Song: Shallow, and you are dead inside if you don't love it too

I've seen this one in the movies -- twice -- and it is hands-down my fave.  Lady Gaga's voice is unreal.  My mom didn't think she was a great actress, but my bar is lower, so I liked her and thought she had amazing chemistry with beautiful Bradley Cooper, who was also the director.  Plus, he sings!  And plays guitar!  And speaks fluent French! Seriously, what CAN'T this man do?  I also appreciated the appearance by Andrew Dice Clay.  I hope this movie wins every Golden Globe, Oscar and Grammy it can.  If you haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for??

Fun Fact: This is the only version of the movie where the male lead isn't named Norman, and the female lead isn't named Esther.  But there is a cute nod to Judy Garland (Esther #2), as Gaga sings a few lines from Somewhere Over the Rainbow in the intro.


After watching 7.5 hours of this story, we decided there's a Star Is Born for every generation.

Which one do YOU think hits all the right notes?

10/27/2018

The Loveseat Potato Rides Again

If you know me at ALL, you know I love TV. It goes on the minute I walk in the door and stays on all night long.

(That's healthy, right?)

Bravo is my channel of choice.  I even started a website all about it.

In fact, I wish I had MORE time to watch. Then, maybe I would get into deep. well-written, plot-driven dramas.  But frankly, I don't have the appetite for more than a couple of those each season.  Mostly it's reality & comedies for me because I like my TV like I like my taters.

Light and fluffy.

I started these reviews in 2009 and followed up in 2010 with a fascinating (ahem) account of my DVR schedule juggling act. Mrs. Potato Head made a guest appearance in 2011.  The Loveseat Potato was born (picked? harvested?) in 2012.  In 2013, she found a spuddy buddy to watch alongside and in 2014 she was surrounded by a scary herd of cats. 2015 brought the fry guys in a hot tub (my homage to the Bachelorette), 2016 was the year of chips and dips, and 2017 was totally refried to reflect all the recycled shows that returned to the airwaves.

The fall 2018 TV season hasn't been mind-blowing, but there have been a few tasty nuggets.  So the Loveseat Potato hunkered down in bed for a weekend and binged on 30 new shows, with a minimum of 2 episodes per.

Here's how they all stacked up...

BEST NEW COMEDY:
SPUD: The Kids Are Alright (ABC)

WHY IT'S A SMASH: This show is a lot like The Wonder Years, but set in the 70s. It centers on an Irish-Catholic family raising 8 kids, which is funny, but my fave part is all the toys and clothes and foods I remember from my childhood.  Plus, Mary McCormack is awesome, and in the best role since she played Howard Stern's wife in Private Parts.  Watch this!

Honorable mention goes to: I Feel Bad (NBC), Camping (HBO), Single Parents (ABC)

REFRIED POTATOES: Murphy Brown (CBS), Last Man Standing (FOX), The Conners (ABC)

DUDS: Happy Together (CBS), The Neighborhood (CBS), The Cool Kids (FOX)



BEST NEW DRAMA:
SPUD: You (Lifetime)

WHY IT'S A SMASH: This is a dark and creepy one, told from the perspective of a stalker (played by Gossip Girl himself, Penn Badgley).  It's based on a book, which I haven't read.  But once I heard John Stamos was in it too, it was #1 with a bullet.

Honorable mention goes to: The Romanoffs (Amazon), All American (CW), Maniac (Netflix)

REFRIED POTATOES: Charmed (CW), Magnum PI (CBS)

DUDS: A Million Little Things (ABC), The Rookie (ABC), New Amsterdam (ABC), God Friended Me (CBS)






BEST NEW REALITY:
SPUD: Get a Room with Carson & Thom (Bravo)

WHY IT'S A SMASH: Man, I missed these two!  Arguably the best two OGs from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy -- Carson Kressley & Thom Felicia -- are together again decorating spaces in and around NYC, and I could watch them for hours. The best part is they have PERSONALITY, which is severely lacking from all the other shiplap-laiden home deco shows.  Looove!

Honorable mention goes to: Welcome to Waverly (Bravo), Unanchored (Bravo)

REFRIED POTATOES: Dancing with the Stars Juniors (ABC), Married at First Sight Honeymoon Island (Lifetime), Jersey Shore Family Vacation (MTV)

DUDS: Bravo's Play by Play with Jerry O'Connell (Bravo), How Far Is Tattoo Far? (MTV), Busy Tonight (E!)


BEST SHOW I HAVEN'T SEEN YET:
SPUD: Dirty John (Bravo)

WHY IT WILL BE A SMASH: For starters, I'll watch anything with Connie Britton in it.  This show, based on a true story and adapted from a podcast, is about a rich and lonely woman who falls for a sociopath.  Ah, a tale old as time.  Can't wait.













Disagree? See anything I missed?  Put the DVR on pause and comment below...

9/14/2018

Ten

I started writing this blog in 2008, when I moved from my sleepy hometown of Pine Brook, NJ to the city that never sleeps.  

I lived in the Bronx for the first 6 years of my life and I've always worked in NYC, but living here was a very different story. After a bizarre work event at The Box (a LES burlesque club), I definitely had that swirly "Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore" vibe.

And a blog was born.

Now, with a click of my sparkly red shoes, it's 10! 

Some other cool things born in 2008 include:
-- 23 & Me DNA tests
-- The Tesla Roadster
-- Hulu

We're basically twins.

Ok, okaaaay.  On the surface, it seems like this silly blog doesn't have ANYTHING in common with these gamechangers.  But I disagree.

The thing I've always loved most about blogging, social media, and the internet in general is the sheer possibility of it all.  

Anyone can create anything.  Anyone can know anything.  Anyone can find anything.

Pretty mindblowing, right?

Thank God Al Gore invented it.

Anyway, as we've done in 20092010201120122013201420152016  and 2017, let's take a look back at the last year...

Total Posts I've Written (including this one):
310

Average Number of Posts I Write Per Month:
0.5 (down from 0.7 last year -- UGH... Must. Do. Better.)

Average Number of Unique Visitors Per Month:
478 (down from 619 last year -- double UGH)

Average Pageviews Per Month:
2,967 (down from 3,140 last year -- triple UGHHHH)

Most Traffic Comes From:
Tie between Google and Pinterest

Most-Read Blog Posts This Year:
Here's to Your Health
Refried Potatoes

Summer at the Seaport

Most-Read Blog Posts Ever (in order of popularity):
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Pinterest (December 2012)
Which Christmas Cookie Are You? (December 2015)
Farewell, Crawleys (March 2016)
A Gluten-Free Holiday Feast (December 2014)
Dear Stores that Close on Thanksgiving (November 2015)
Grease Is the Word (January 2016)
Election Eve (November 2016)
Freedom (July 2016)
New View (September 2014)
20 Apps I Adore (January 2012)

Post Nobody Gave a Crap About:
Say Cheese

Most Comments (tie):
Nine
Refried Potatoes

Most Popular Poll:
I didn't do any this year.  Poo.
Up in the Air (all-time)

Most Frequently-Used Tag for the Posts I Write:
Pop Culture

Most Popular Search by Visitors:
Dating

Lastly, My Favorite Post I Wrote This Year (tie):
The Essentials -- it was interesting to think about the things I can't live without
7 Lazy (Not Lame) Halloween Costumes -- I had fun putting the ideas together

Next on deck will be the Loveseat Potato's annual review of new Fall TV shows and I think I need glasses... 

Thanks (as always) for reading!

8/15/2018

Summer at the Seaport

Soooo... it's been a while, huh?  I think even my mom has given up on reading my blog at this point, since I've been the WORST at posting.

But, here YOU are. Even if you stumbled here by accident, thanks for stopping by!

The summer was a blur, work was crazy busy, I got a $500 Keratin treatment and HATED it, this here blog officially turned 10 years old (!!!).

And somewhere in there, I turned 45.

Forty effing five. Wtaf.

I just might be having a midlife crisis.  So I'm thisclose to buying a sportscar and dating a 26 year old.  I've even started working out.  Kind of.

Who am I?

Anyhoo... I'm still not sure where my life is going, but my work is going pretty well. We had a big event back in August for female social media influencers, so let's both pretend that I posted this back then...


In my whole career, I've only worked on my bday 3 times.
I had no choice this year because our big event was just days away,
but these lovely ladies made it much better.

And tastier! My friends got me a special delivery from my fave Otto,
and cupcakes from Buttercup Bake Shop, near my old NYC apt.

In another room, our magical interns stuffed 2,000 tote bags. 

Our event was at the beautiful and brand-new Pier 17,
in the Seaport District, which was right on the East River.

Inside was a different story... so I needed to find tons of vendors to help me 
transform this raw space. It didn't even have light or electrical outlets.  
It did have AC, luckily.  After all, it was August -- they aren't monsters!

This was the day I learned about construction,
as we widened the entryway for our thousands of attendees.  

We had a crew of about 100 guys for move in,
and they transformed the whole floor for us, all 40,000 sqft of it.
It took us about 25 hours to move in, and about 12 hours to move out.

Day one, and our view of the Brooklyn Bridge couldn't be prettier.

Follow the pink and purple balloons...

Our florist used over 2500 real roses and carnations on this photo wall.

This is my friend, Justine, making Kelly Kapowski
(aka Valerie Malone, aka Tiffani Thiessen) laugh.
I wonder if she knows that when Lifetime makes the story of my life,
she will be playing me?

Gabrielle Union! As beautiful in person as you imagine she would be.

That little green lady on stage is Amy Schumer.
She wasn't going to come. Then she was. Then she wasn't.
Then she did. As you can see, nobody noticed... 

Pret a Manger sponsored all our food,
and whenever you see one of the stores, you should go in and eat there.  
ALL their food is made fresh, on site, each day. 
That meant they baked 1500 croissants each morning, 
assembled 1500 salads & wraps, and baked 1500 cookies every afternoon. 
Just for us. Mind-blowing. And delicious.

These are the amazing designers on my team. They are v creative.

This is the view from the ladies' room. Now, they're just showing off!

Fast forward to day two, the gracious and stunning Christy Turlington Burns 
interviewed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on women's health. 
Before she came in, I met with her Secret Service guy,
former NYPD, who was massive and extremely polite.

I've known these girls since they were 8, as part of a program we run for Gen Z.
They're now 13 and interviewing Angie Thomas, author of The Hate You Give.
So so proud of the women they are becoming!

Best Buy was a sponsor and brought a cool sequin wall that you could write on,
a box that dry cleans your clothes, and a fridge you can see inside without opening the door.
The future is now, my friends.

Honest Beauty brought their new makeup line,
and there was a line wrapped around the place with women wanting to try it. 

Baked by Melissa wrote our name in yummy mini cupcakes.
I may or may not have eaten the whole G.

Ever wonder what 1500 Barbies look like?
It's nothing compared to the stampede of grown women wanting to get one!

Who is that girl in the middle taking a picture with me and my friends?
Oh hi, Jessica Alba!

And just like that, it was over.  Bye bye, Brooklyn Bridge.

Say cheese if you are exhausted!

So, that's that. I wish you could have been there!

I'll find the time to post again soon, I promise.  I need to pretend it's still September, so I can write about my 10 year Blogiversary, and I hope it is still October when I post about all the new fall TV shows I like.

Until then...