(photo courtesy of: http://www.fcpsteach.org)

Daily SAT word for all you smarties out there.

W.O.D.: Castigate: to punish severely; also, to chastise verbally; to rebuke; to criticize severely.
Example: One will be castigated for not supporting this wonderful blog.

Q.O.D.: "'So a horrible thing happened two days ago and I completely lost my voice! People told me they were going to cancel my Boston show, and I told them, 'F--- off.'" -- Lady GaGa at the House of Blues last night -- (see review below - and to answer some of your outstanding questions. Yes, she sang live. Yes, she has a great voice. No, I don't have pictures - the House of Blues workers are crazies about the no-camera policy).


The Fame Ball Comes To Boston!

(photo courtesy of: http://neonlimelight.com)

Lady GaGa says time and time again in interviews that no, she is not just a pop musician, she is an artist. She's not Britney Spears, or Miley Cyrus - manufactured simply for pop music and tabloids pleasure. She is an educated (albeit NYU dropout, but we'll overlook that), talented, artist that wants to be the future of pop music and culture. In all of these interviews, I admit, I scoff. I love GaGa's music, The Fame ranks in as one of my top 10 favorite albums of all time (no joke). But a serious artist? I thought she was just another 23 year old girl that wanted to sing and dance for a living, and maybe score some free designer duds while she's at it. Haven't we seen this before?

I was wrong. Savor those words because you won't hear them often. I had the honor of being front row at tonight's The Fame Ball tour at the House of Blues in Boston. While I still feel iffy about the House of Blues as a venue, I feel confident in the artistry that is Lady GaGa. GaGa is what we at Pop Culture Paradox love and value. Her tour is infused with Andy Warhol and pop art. Her hour long set is broken down by video clips telling the story of "fame" taking over one's being -- heart, head and face -- one's full identity. While her album speaks of only needing, 'runway models, Cadillacs and liquor bottles,' GaGa (or at least her tour managers)' depth of studying fame and pop culture goes much deeper.

I became addicted to pop art, as we know from previous posts, at a young age. I loved pop art from my 5th grade art classes where we had to design the back of a men's button-down shirt in the style of our favorite artist. I chose Andy Warhol and his silkscreen, commercial style. I love the consumerism that pop art shows, and the idea that common items and people can be art. For a pop art addict, Lady GaGa's show is basically the equivalent of an acid trip. My eyes locked onto everything. Her fashion - including a bubble dress (and who really cares if it was ripped off from a designer?). Her constant use of pop art style glasses and hats to shield her face. Her lack of pants (for the entire show! Props to her for having the confidence to show her bum for a hour in front of thousands of fans!). Her show even intellectually stimulates the consumerist, future advertising executive within me where I see product placement in her Clockwork Orange style films (Johnson and Johnson Baby Powder - who else noticed it?) and costumes (Hello grafitti collection by Louis Vuitton in that final encore outfit).

I walked out of the House of Blues feeling more fulfilled by GaGa's concert than expected. While a good pop concert is always great, one that revs the intellectual stimulation comes few and far between. GaGa said that to her, Lady GaGa is a lie -- like a lie you tell your lover in hopes that the lie can become truth. By doing so, GaGa sets herself so far apart from all the other pop princesses of Hollywood. I expect no mental breakdown from this one - or at least we can hope. The only downside to GaGa's wonder - she's younger than I am! Talk about putting this blogger to shame.

Also worth mentioning. The setlist can be found at this review of GaGa's recent Chicago stop. Personal favorite song of the night? Eh, Eh, Nothing Else I Can Say - although it may be because it strikes a personal chord with me. Opening for GaGa was Cinema Bizarre, a German punk band with a four-song set. Chester French and The White Tie Affair also opened, who I have to give kudos for. Chester French's cover of Hella Good by the so-good-it-hurts-to-listen-to-them No Doubt made my night complete. The White Tie Affair is amazing live - they pulled off my favorite songs from their album (Candle [Sick & Tired] & Allow Me To Introduce Myself...) along with an AH-MAZ-ING Lil' Wayne cover. Yes, you heard me right, just click on the link. You'll love it too.



(photo courtesy of: http://www.fcpsteach.org)

Just your daily dose of brilliance.

W.O.D.: erroneous - containing or characterized by error
Example: It is erroneous of you not to read this blog on a daliy basis.

Q.O.D.: "It's not that I don't like pants, I just choose not to wear them some days," - Lady GaGa (who will be at the House of Blues in Boston tonight. Everyone who's anyone will be there).


California, here we come!

A little SAT style question for you.

The City is to The Hills as Gossip Girl is to _____.

Anyone who came of age in the early 2000s knows this answer. It is, undoubtedly, The O.C. This past weekend, A and I holed ourselves up in her parent's living room on the North Shore of Massachusetts and continued our O.C. marathon session. We've re-watched Season1 and are about 2/3rds through Season 2. After seeing this much of the show (again), I can say with complete confidence, that yes, The O.C. > Gossip Girl. Josh Schwartz claims he's learned his lessons from The O.C. to make Gossip Girl the better show, but I disagree. Cue the shocked reaction, but before you scoff, let me give my reasons why.

1.) Seth Cohen > Dan Humphrey. Yes, executive producer Josh Schwartz made each character be the self-centered character of the series. Somehow, though, Seth Cohen got the better witty banter, and still remains loveable. He's clueless and self-centered. Dan is just annoying. Plus, wouldn't you rather have the California guy that's into innocent comic books than the New Yorker that reads Aristotle in his spare time? That's what I thought.

2.) The adult storyline blends and works so much better. Sure, we have some Lily & Rufus fans, but for the most part, sadly, their storyline has been overdone and it's only season 2. In fact, it's been downright gagworthy for the past few weeks. No one wants to see them write a forced list of who they've slept with in the past. That's the best the Gossip Girl writers can come up with? The O.C's parents had juicy drama that went beyond, 'Oh no, our kids are dating and we're in love too.' In fact, that storyline was originally coined by The O.C. Paging Jimmy Cooper and Kirsten Cohen much? Anyway, for real drama how about Sandy Cohen's fugutive law school love showing up? Julie Cooper marrying Caleb Nichol? Kirsten Cohen's alcoholism? I don't care about Bart Bass's former membership at some sketchy Emperor's Club style gentlemens group. And I don't care about the Archibald's drama, since I never see the parents on the show anyway.

3.) And speaking of parents. Sandy Cohen as the laidback, surfer-lawyer father is so much more believeable than the 'I was a rock star in the 1990s' Rufus Humphrey. I can even forgive Sandy Cohen's huge eyebrows because of this.

4.) Marissa and Summer are true friends, and don't have a psudo-best friend breakup every 6th episode or so. Aren't you sick of seeing Serena and Blair fighting?

5.) The Harbor School campus = Phillips Andover Academy. Constance Billiard's campus might as well be a public school's setup (no offense to you public school kids, I'm just saying)...

6.) I miss the fashion of the early 2000s and this show reminds me why. The introduction of Seven for all Mankind jeans. Short, cropped t-shirts. Lacoste polos. Those were the days.

7.) The music in The O.C far surpasses that of Gossip Girl. Having Modest Mouse and The Killers perform live on the show? Thumbs up. That being said, props to Gossip Girl for getting No Doubt to perform on the upcoming prom episode.

8.) Even the minor characters in The O.C. have major plotlines and roles. Gossip Girl is really the Serena, Dan, Blair, Chuck show and everyone else is just their puppets. In The O.C. the attention was spread around to Luke, the various other significent others that flow in and out of the cast, and the parents.

9.) I am not constantly comparing The O.C. to a book series like Gossip Girl. The tv show stands on its' own, with no predecesor.

10.) Two words. Benjamin McKenzie. Yum.

Don't agree with me? Whip out your four-season dvd collection of The O.C. for yourself and then tell me so. You know you missed Ryan Atwood just as much as I have.


Have boyfriend. Will steal clothes.

(Images courtsey style.com, mkashley.com and my paint application!)

Perhaps its a sign of the times. The majority of Spring/Summer fashion this year is giving me a severe case of deja vu. Gladiator sandals. Check. Flirty florals. Check. Frills and ruffles. Check. Military inspired jackets. Check Ginormo harem pants. Check. (Damnit, MC Hammer, come kill this trend already) . Who knows, maybe a recessionista means less disposable fashion and smarter investments in timeless pieces like little black dresses (a girl can never have enough), crisp white shirts, a classic tote, a string of pearls, a pair of smart pumps and blue jeans. The one trend I'm quite pleased to see continue is the boyfriend-anything. Whether you have a boy or not, boyfriend-cut jeans, blazers and shirts are good buys. They are guranteed to keep you looking effortlessly chic. And anyway, I can't think of anything else sexier to wear for a post-coital Sunday brunch!


(image courtesy of: www.yawkeywaystore.com)

I said it in December, and I'm saying it now. M. Fenway Park. April 6th. Opening Day 2009. Thank you to all you fraudulant ticket buyers whose tickets got revoked, and thereby creating another online ticket lottery on redsox.com. Thank you because I now have a pair of Opening Day tickets - AND a pair of Sox/Yankees tickets. Spring smells so sweet.



(photo courtesy of: http://www.fcpsteach.org)

In my middle school years, my favorite teacher of all time would write a D.O.D (for today's date), W.O.D (word of the day), and Q.O.D (quote of the day). In this spirit, my roommate and I decided to implement this, for at least today. (W.O.D. is of thanks to him. Sentence and Q.O.D. is all M.)

I mean, why not impose a spirit of learning into Pop Culture Paradox? We love learning, even if we aren't in school anymore. Plus we all love the scene in Clueless where Cher tries to teach Tai a new word a day. And if those California girls can do it, so can we. Try using it in a sentence of your own today! So, without further adieu...

W.O.D.: Paragon -- a model of excellence or perfection.
Example: Pop Culture Paradox is a paragon within the blogs on the interwebs.

Q.O.D.: "Your blog inspires me to be more digitially active." - A (my bestie of all besties)
Why? Because isn't that the main point of this blog anyway? Mission accomplished.


iTunes, Why Must You Betray Me (and my bank account)?

(photo courtesy of: http://www.uwosh.edu)

It is no secret how much I heart iTunes. Love iTunes. It's user-friendly interface. How it magically syncs all of my music to my iPhone. It's a great program. What I don't like, however, is this article. While some songs will be lower in price at .69 cents (woohoo), most will be higher at ($1.29). iTunes can hardly make me pay a buck for their songs right now, so I'm not sure how this will heighten their sales from anyone - especially me - when there's so many other options on the internet to find free music. Afterall, in this economy, free is the magic word for all of us that we just can't say no to.


Topshop, Britney Spears and Lauren Bush -- All Making Waves In Fashion Today!

(photo courtesy of www.vanityfair.com)

The lovely people over at The Cut made Lauren Bush's clothing line, Lauren Pierce known to myself and my eyes and while, I'm sure politically we may differ, we can agree on style. Check out the designs in the image above and drool over the dress on the far-left with me. Mmmhmm. Perfect for summer barbecues and beach bonfire nights, count me in for needing a trip to Barneys to pick some of these pieces up.


Even more exciting than the dip-dye dress of my dreams is this promotion that Topshop did in NYC in light of the opening of the first US Topshop store on April 2nd. That's right, you read that correctly. Free giftcards handed out valued up to $500. Have you any clue what I'd do if some lady on the street handed me a $500 giftcard to one of my favorite stores (aside from think it was a scam)? Ingenius. I'm not sure if it'll make Topshop profits though, as I think $500 could buy quite enough of Kate Moss's designs.


P brought this interview to my attention last night (when it was an ungodly 4am hour in her time zone - get some sleep!) which elicited some ooh's and aah's from my laptop. Dsquared has always done Ms. Spears well. Who can ever forget this hot green costume Brit-Brit sported at the VMAs during her I'm A Slave For You days? I always did want to pull off such a costume around Halloween, but alas, my abs of steel will never match Britney's.


Oh Lady GaGa... wait. That's not Lady GaGa. Apparently Nicole Richie can pull off a fierce, bluntly cut bang too when she wants to.


Recanting what every blogger (including myself) reported a few days ago, Lauren Conrad sets the record straight. Have no fear, her and her clothing line will be back. Well then, thank goodness, I can sleep at night knowing that I can forever have pricey cotton dresses available at my disposal again.


In complete sad designer news. Tiffany & Co is suffering in this economy as well. According to this article, the company won't lower prices (maybe rightfully so?) but in this economy, can they afford not to? Do I need to run out and buy myself a lifetime's worth of champagne flutes before doors close? Maybe I'm getting too far ahead of myself, but nonetheless, life without a little blue box just feels so empty.


500 Is The Magic Number!

(photo courtesy of: http://blog.statcounter.com/)

A quick thank you and shout out to all of our beloved readers. In a matter of 15 days, our dear blog counter has hit 500 hits -- which in the world of blog counters -- means 500 unique IP addresses. Whether you all are logging on from 5 different computers a day or what, I don't know, but P and I are shocked, surprised and excited by this! We really weren't sure who read our babblings (except for maybe our mothers, former bosses from UMass and close friends [Hi K and A!]). We don't know who all of you are, but we love you nonetheless. And if we did know you, we'd give you a hug, for sure.

So, keep reading, start commenting, love us and love the blog. The fun's just starting.


My Top 5...

(photo courtesy of my personal Facebook - and in advance, no you cannot have my full name and no I will not friend you)

While I lament at many of Facebook's current changes (Why does it look like Twitter? Why does it seemingly want me to comment on every single status, photo and update? Why do wall posts and status look the same? Why does this new layout suck so much?), the one thing that the new Facebook ushered in was the beauty that is the LivingSocial application. After seeing just about every single one of my five hundred and some odd "friends" add it, I decided I'd give it a try - and I'm hooked. It's like crystal meth for list makers.

My top 5 TV shows (Gossip Girl, The OC, Sex & The City, Dawson's Creek and Friends - respectively.

My top 5 restaurants (The Clam Box, East Coast Grill, OSushi, PF Changs, Boston Beer Works).

My top 5 beers (Sam Adams Summer Ale, Blue Moon, Corona Light, Harpoon Raspberry UFO, Sam Adams Light).

My top 5 movies (Fever Pitch, Clueless, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Reality Bites, Roman Holiday).

I can't stop. My Facebook wall is filled with my top 5 of everything. I apologize for my Facebook friends that have to look at this on their newsfeed, but I can't stop. I wonder what my top 5 colors are....


Red Fingertips Are To Die

(photo courtesy of: http://caffeinecourt.blogspot.com)

I have long been a follower of the black nail polish trend. Consider myself a slave to what I see on The Hills all you want, but nothing used to make me happier than a nice coat of black OPI nail polish that goes with almost any outfit. Don't think so? Run to your closest Saks Fifth Avenue and look at this season's line from Theory (my personal favorite work-appropriate clothing line). Navy blue and black together? Didn't my mom always tell me that was a no-no? Guess no more.

As much as I love the black nail polish, my mood has changed for the brighter. Call it the only good influence from the worst show ever, but Miss Whitney Port pulls off the red nail polish quite well. This has inspired me to run to Sephora and slick on a few coats of Curve-aceous from their Sephora by OPI line. I must admit. I love the results. I feel empowered simply by the bold color. Consider red nails the new red lip. Paired with a good pair of heels, I can take over the world -- or at least the city of Boston.


Canada is like a sorority I want to pledge desperately

So I'm just back from a business trip to Canada, and I'm completely jet lagged which is why I'm up at an ungodly hour...figured this would be the best time to gush about how great Canada is. Seriously. In all my time living in New England, I never bothered to venture up...sure I had friends who went over to Montreal the moment they turned 18 (some kind of rite of passage in the Northeast apparently, hehe) but for the most part, I was affected by the general American attitude of MEH to Canada...('The poor man's USA,' as one of my friends put so delicately). A hella lotta snow, hockey and strange accents was all that came to mind to be honest.

Anyway, I finally made it there from halfway across the world...and I am so glad I did! Canada is North America's best kept secret. I'm surprised at why nobody told how great of a place it is...sure there is a crapload of snow, but its gorgeous (especially to this former UMasser who lives in a desert now) and yes the Canadians have an unnatural obsession for hockey (which once again reminded me of UMass...lets go Minutemen) and pepper their convos with ehs, ouuuuts and abouuuuts but there is so much more to the country.

Toronto, my first stop, was among the cleanest, neatest, safest and most organized larger city that I've been too in ages. A fab combo of NY & Boston with its own unique flavor brought by masses of immigrants (the majority of whom I found to be extremely well integrated) made Tdot extremely likable and seemingly livable. Downtown kept me happy with the largest indoor shopping mall Eaton Center and a ton of cutesy boutiques around. Check out The Bottom Line, the classiest sports bar (its not a paradox, promise!) which, surprise, owned by a former NHL player. It is also THE place to go for sports celebrity sightings!

Halifax is a smaller town with stunning views...British style pub Elephant & Castle provided cheap food to kept me happy. Also, Nova Scotia is where a ton of Scottish and Irish immigrants settled - so its got a very similar vibe to Boston.

Edmonton was the best for famous Alberta steaks..LUX, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse (polish off your meal with Chocolate Sin cake, the name says it all!) and The Sawmill Steakhouse are worth checking out.

And Vancouver, consistently rated among the top most livable cities, was absolutely stunning (good news, it is also the warmest place to be in Canada, the only downside being its constantly rainy, like Seattle) With its extremely high Asian population, had sushi and sake at Tsunami Sushi one night and Indian food at Vij's the other...both were excellent.

And the people, oh the people, so great...Canadians are ridiculously friendly, super helpful and a great looking bunch.

Go on over the border if you're in the States now, I highly recommend it...and if you're halfway across the world like I am, start planning summer getaways...I know I am!

Fashion Roundup

(photo courtesy of www.newsday.com)

So what if it's twenty-freaking-five lousy degrees in Boston, MA this week? My mind is on spring fashion -- and no, I'm not talking about resortwear that's meant to be worn on holiday -- I mean full out, real, t-shirt-short skirt-sundress style spring clothes. I'm getting so sick of my black pinstriped pants that I may have a commemorative bonfire on the first day it strikes 70 degrees in the city.

Anyway, a few notes on the fashion world as it stands right now. A big R.I.P. goes out to Lauren Conrad's fashion line. What will she do now? No more Hills episodes after this season. No more clothing line. What will she... oh, right. If I made 60k per episode I made, I'd quit working and spend my days inside Bloomingdales too.

On a far lighter note, apparently Matthew Williamson is creating a line for H&M. The trusty bloggers over at The Cut got their hands on a slideshow of some of the pieces and I must say, I am impressed. Very impressed. I have my eyes on the peacock inspired dress. Hot.

Finally, opinions are wanted in regards to Christian Siriano's new shoe line for Payless. That's right, I said it. Payless. Before you're quick to judge and throw these shoes by the trash, take a look. In this recession, times are tough and a pair of Louboutins are just not in the picture for most of us. So how do we feel about the shoes that Siriano offers? I see only two pairs I'd dare try. How do we feel about the prices of between $25 and $45? Very good. Very very good.



(photo courtesy of: http://xoxogossipgirlblog.files.wordpress.com)

SPOTTED: Penn Badgley and Blake Lively right now at the Waverly in NYC by dearest friend A. I love when there's celebrity sightings by my friends - it reminds me that they are real people, and no, not Serena and Dan. Hope they tuned into tonight's episode (like I did!) to help GG's ratings!


Farewell Schilling

(photo courtesy of deadspin.com)

My Red Sox news update email just informed me that, yes, Curt Schilling is retiring. As much as Boston still probably isn't over the fact that we paid him in 2008 for a season that he didn't end up pitching in, I'm still grateful for his bloody sock and for all the epic events in 2004. I, for one, will be a member of Red Sox Nation that remembers and appreciates what he did while in Boston.


How Facebook (and nice people!) Saved My Wallet

I have found that Facebook has many uses -- not just good for stalking ex-boyfriends and former frienemies.

Case in point...
While driving back from Florida this weekend, I slept for hours in the backseat of my boyfriend's little Honda Civic. The only time I woke up was when it was my turn to fill up the gas tank, found myself in some middle-of-nowhere gas station in Virginia. I filled up the tank, half-asleep, and rolled back into the car.

Fast-forward a dozen some hours to New York. Back in the Northeast of the US and I dig through my Juicy Couture Daydreamer tote to fork out my id case for some cash. It's nowhere. I make my boyfriend pull over the car, empty out the backseat, all bags and purse. Nowhere. I lament over the loss of my cash, my credit cards, my license and my favorite Coach ID holder, and call it a day. The only casuality of my vacation was my wallet, and I guess in the grand scheme of things, it could be worse.

I'm getting over my loss, until last night when I log onto Facebook, when a good samaritan tracks me down and sends me a message saying that he, too, was from New England, travelling back from Florida on vacation, and found my wallet at a random Virginia gas station. My wallet, as in fully intact. Cash. Cards. Cute Coach holder. He's sending it back to me today, and I told him to keep some of the cash as a thank you. Just when I've lost hope in humankind - a good person who deserves all the great karma possible crosses my path. Consider this girl's hope restored.



(photo courtesy of: http://daveferguson.typepad.com)

Just a reminder everyone that yours truly will be on vacation starting tonight and through next week so blog posts will be minimal (sorry!). I'll be busy sipping raspberry margaritas, listening to my Spring Break 2009 playlists, tanning and beaching to blog all day long. Woe is you, I know. But have no fear, I'll be back with fervor the week of the 23rd.

Be good while I'm gone - and if you're going away too - be safe and don't forget the SPF15.


Reality TV: My New BFF.

(photo courtesy of: http://www.courttv360.com)

A minor (okay, major) announcement. Myself, and my two prep school best friends - A and K (I'm sure you recognize their acronyms) have been casted for an in-production reality show that we auditioned for. While I'm not at liberty to give out details (no, I haven't signed anything, but don't feel like spilling everything so soon!), I dedicate this post to my love for reality television -- and a few rules... commandments, so to say -- that I (and A and K!) vow to live by with cameras in our faces in the not-so-distant future.

#1: Thou shall keep all clothing on. The first thing my father told me upon receiving the good news yesterday via phone. He said he was proud of me and the girls, excited for us, but then made me promise to 'not get naked.' I promise Daddy. I'm not 18 anymore - I'm 23. I do not get drunk and naked - I'm a smart cookie, I know I still need a job upon returning home.

#2: Thou shall not aim for stardom. There's nothing more annoying on television than that girl (or guy) who is just so obviously pining for the next star on the Hollywood walk of fame. Although it is so difficult to not envision the beautiful faces of my best friends on the cover of US Weekly with me. Would we wear our hair up or down? Should I wear Seven for all Mankinds or Rock and Republics? Black nail polish or apple red? Oh dear - see how easy it is to get caught up in these thoughts? My thoughts break this commandment at least 100 times a day.

#3: Thou shall stick together with my besties at all times. A and I talked about this on the phone last night. We need to stick together through this show, no matter what. If we all go out for a night to a bar - we stay together. We do not stray. We do not let sketchy men hit on us on camera (which is inevitable). We say, 'Oh. Sorry! This is kind of a girls only night out.' Last resort, A becomes my lesbian girlfriend and we drive guys away -- or to us. Maybe that plan won't work...

#4: Thou shall not give into random people suddenly wanting to talk to us. We're waiting for it, and it's already started. Exes calling us upon hearing the news through the grapevine. People we really don't like suddenly inviting us out for drinks and dinner. Yeah, right, we see right through your act. Don't even try - although we might not be able to pass up a free martini or two.

#5: Thou shall not glorify those in our past that we despise. Will we share past experiences regarding people that we don't necessarily like? Yes. Will we glorify them in a way that somehow would make them happy about the attention? No. It's a fine line girls that will not be crossed.

And, of course, all typical rules go into effect. No cheating on boyfriends. No excessive drinking (I don't even know what would appear on television if they fed me one too many sangrias). No smoking. No talking about past 'experiences' -- and those who know me know what I mean. With all of this in mind, yes, we're excited - and ready to hold on really tight for maybe the most crazy thing we've ever done in our lives.


If You Seek Amy

(photo courtesy of: www.thatfirenice.com)

Check it out. Brit-Brit's new video, If You Seek Amy. Love it, because I do. Talk about living a double life in this video... think Brit's trying to send us all a message?


And In Other News, The Sky Is Blue

(image courtesy of: www.examiner.com)

In unsurprising, unshocking, inevitable, bound-to-happen news, Bristol Palin and her "fiancee" (aka teenaged baby's daddy) have officially broken up. I'm sure it was made official via a Facebook relationship status update, as -- well, we all know -- it's the only way we really know when people are together or not anymore.


GaGa Fever

(image courtesy of: http://www.movin925.com)

I just downloaded Lady GaGa's leaked "Red & Blue" EP and here is a SOS to all of your GaGa (and even non-GaGa) lovers - find a link and download it. I refrain from giving you a source for legality's sake, but I am blown away by her voice.

Recorded before she took on Lady GaGa as her alter-ego, Stefani Germanotta (there's a mouthful of a name for you) channels not her inner pop princess, but her inner Gwen Stefani (think No Doubt days)/Michelle Branch/Letters to Cleo piano rock girl throughout the five song EP. Don't download looking for more club hits, but rather power girl music that fulfills any early 2000's girl rock fan (which I know you all secretly are).


I Love College

(photo courtesy of: http://www.myvegasscene.com)

I have a song obsession, and it's a bit of a dirty secret. Asher Roth's, I Love College, is on constant rotation on my iPhone and iTunes. It brings be back to my days as a fraternity boy's girlfriend and sneaking into bars on Thirsty Thursday nights. With lyrics like, "That party last night was awfully crazy, I wish we taped it. I danced my ass off and had this one girl completely naked. Drink my beer and smoke my weed, my good friends is all i need. Pass out a 3 wake up at 10, go out to eat then do it again," it's difficult not to remember my days drinking cheap beer (ew) and hungover brunches with friends the following morning. (For the record, I was not the girl that smoked her weed, I leave that to boys like Michael Phelps.) The song brings on the nostalgia that was the undergraduate years of college - and the recklessness that comes with it.

Although hilarious, with lyrics like that, it's difficult to possibly take Asher Roth seriously as a musician. Yes, his song (and music video) make me giggle. He might have the Spring Break 2009 anthem under his belt but his Wikipedia page seems to peg him as... an actual rapper? An album out in April? Really? I thought this song was to be considered a joke! Homeboy grew up in Morrisville, PA - and lists his first cd as Dave Matthews' Crash. Not exactly the making of the next Eminem, right?

I guess Roth's musical future is to be seen - but my thoughts are screaming one hit wonder - and we all see where Chumbawumba is now.


Wedding Bells!

(photo courtesy of theinsider.com & justjared.com)

Apparently Mandy Moore got 'secretly married' to songwriter Ryan Adams yesterday. Congrats to the newlyweds! (I won't use this as an opportunity to say that I think it's a downgrade from DJ AM - oh wait, I just said it. Oops. Sorry!)



(photo courtesy of: http://www.projo.com)
What a difference almost five months make. Boston's favorite MVP stepped back onto the batting plate yesterday looking refreshed going 1 for 3 for the day, and not thinking about his hip. Hallejuah - I swear I just heard Red Sox Nation breathing a huge sigh of relief.


Bug Eyes?

(photo courtesy of: http://icon03.files.wordpress.com)

If you happen to be among the lucky and can view my Facebook profile, you may have seen this message from my friend D last night on my wall:


since u have some form of influence over pop culture now, start the transition of girls NOT wearing sunglasses that cover half their face!!! please! its pretty terrible. any and all efforts toward this are appreciated. thank you.


guys everywhere

Unfortunately D, I can't help you with your anti-bug eye mission. Everyone knows that I love myself a pair of oversized sunglasses just as much as the next Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton, Audrey Hepburn or Jackie O wannabe. Round or square, I don't care what shape sunglasses may be, but they have to be big.

I remember the first pair of oversized sunglasses I bought were the Coach 'Samantha' style glasses back in 2005. While working my first full time summer job, I saved up enough in one week to splurge on the $200 sunglasses and, yes, still own them to this day. Since then I've rotated through various other designers, shapes and sizes -- most recently falling in love with some Marc Jacobs aviators -- but already return to the trusty Coach glasses. Maybe it's the fact my mom told me the afternoon post-purchase in 2005, "Ooo! Your glasses! You look very Jackie O!" Which, of course, was the intended reaction. And every fashion savvy girl (or guy!) knows that it always feels good to have your fashion mission accomplished.


It's A Celebration Bitches!

(photo courtesy of: http://www.thegreendaisy.com)


Here's to 200 (and more!) to come!

In honor of this occasion, we have (finally) put a counter on our dear little blog. We're so technologically advanced.

-M & P

Spring Break Fashion 2009

(photo courtesy of: http://fashiontribes.typepad.com)
In the spirit of all things great and Spring Break related, I give to you, the best part of Spring Break 2009. The clothing. I don't know about you, but I have never been happier to shed my work-appropriate pencil skirts, ballet flats, and long sleeved sweaters. The thought of seeing another 'Dry Clean Only' tag makes me break out in hives. I long for the days of comfy, non-confining, cotton clothing.

That being said, I have long declared Spring Break to be the time of Juicy Couture. With their unbeatably comfortable tracksuits, it's the best for comfortwear. This spring, I've eyed in Saks, a new anchor design which is completely Spring Break appropriate. While I'm not the hugest fan of the white terry shorts that Neiman Marcus pairs with it, with a pair of simple white terry pants like these, you're good to go on the boat, or to the beach during your Spring Break excursions.

Comfortable jeans are, undoubtedly, spring break necessities as well. Although in this (bluntly-put) crapalicious time in the US and global economy, few can enjoy the pleasures of luxury denim, it's high on the priority list for myself. If you can, indulge in a pair of 7 For All Mankinds for Spring Break. With the classic A pocket print and medium denim wash, they're perfect to pull over your bikini bottoms for a little post-beach shopping trip or happy hour drink. Also a suitable choice? Abercrombie's destroyed light wash denim (I favor the Madison cut), as always. Not a jeans fan while in the warmth of wherever your destination is? Then a denim skirt is a definite must. Abercrombie's are always a trustworthy standby.

Obviously always a necessity is the swimsuit. I'm partial and biased to bikinis - and only bikinis - even if my body isn't in 100% bikini shape. My personal favorite on my wish list for this resortwear season is this sailor themed one from Victoria's Secret. It screams adorable and sea-loving at the same time. Pair the top with the white Juicy set, and a pair of Havaiana flip flops (like these in cute prints at Nordstrom!) and it's good to go.

What to wear over your cutest bikini at the beach though? I always reach for the standby Juicy Couture smocked terry coverup, but for you terry cloth haters out there (A - I'm pointing at you), there are alternatives. Shopbop has an array of cover-ups, including this perfectly beachy one by Ella Moss. While I despise ombre print, I do love the tie-dye effect that this gives.

The one dilemma that Spring Break always gives? What to wear out to dinner. Say if your boyfriend wants to be so nice to treat you to a nice dinner out at a place that doesn't scream jello shots and bar munchies (nudge nudge - if anyone wants to pass this message onto my boyfriend, thanks). Dresses for Spring Break are optional, but in my experience, if one isn't packed, then it'll be needed. So pack one, but it needs to not be wrinkled easily, and not too dressy. You want to scream 'beach chic' with it, and not 'prom dress reject.' I found a few that appear doable, both on sale at Neiman Marcus. One by T-Bags that's the ever-favorite colorblock style, and another by Alice + Olivia that's a bit dressier and Blair Waldorf-esque.

But what to put all of this in? Beach totes are some of the best inventions ever. They appear small, but can somehow fit all of the above, a beach towel and your iPhone in it. Tory Birch makes a great selection - with fantastic prints like this one. If you're more of a canvas fan, the trusty Juicy Couture makes some great ones with cute sayings.

Don't forget to tuck away your oversized Ralph Lauren beach towel, bring enough chick lit for the plane or car ride, and don't forget plenty of snacks during your week-long getaway. If anyone deserves it, then we all do, Pop Culture Paradox readers.


Spring Break Shuffle 2009 - Pop Culture Paradox Style

(photo courtesy of ilounge.com)

So, point your finger all you want. I know I graduated from college in 2008. But a year ago, as my final Spring Break came and went with my boyfriend in Florida, I made a pact to forever celebrate Spring Break - the happiest time of year. The idea occurred to me while waiting at an outdoor bar while an older couple stood next to us. They proclaimed that they too, were on Spring Break. What an ingenius thought. Leaving the city during the summer is so overrated anyway! It's nice in the city when it's warm. There are rooftop pools, events (and fried dough vendors!) in the Common, sailing on the Charles River, beautiful days to walk down Newbury Street. No, it's definitely true. This - the cold, still snowy, bitterly windy city days - that is the best time to get the hell out of downtown Boston and to a sunnier climate. That being said, I will be heading down south for all of next week to tan, beach, boat - and enjoy a Patron margarita or two (or twenty -- c'mon, I'm a college graduate but I'm not ancient and boring yet).

So iTunes basically read my mind last night, while I bummed around watching Dancing With The Stars (sidenote: Team Melissa! She did great!). Planning to create my own playlist of the iTunes Top 25, I see in the iTunes Music Store a gift from above - the Spring Break Shuffle 2009 playlist. While I could write their list here, I won't. You all can go on ahead and read it yourself. But enjoy the official Pop Culture Paradox Spring Break Shuffle 2009 (in no particular order).

Asher Roth - I Love College
Lady GaGa - Just Dance
Britney Spears - If You Seek Amy
T.I. - Dead & Gone
Flo-Rida - Right Round
Eminem - Crack A Bottle
Soulja Boy - Kiss Me Thru The Phone
Beyonce - Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)
3OH!3 - Don't Trust Me
Kevin Rudolf - Let It Rock
The Lonely Island - I'm On A Boat
Jason Mraz - I'm Yours
Kat DeLuna - Unstoppable

As always, download legally (please!). Love iTunes and love your music.


Andrew Firestone Brings The Grade A Insults

(photo courtesy of eonline.com)
By now, we all know the deal about this past season of The Bachelor. Opinions are all over the map of speculation. Is the show fake? Why did Molly take Jason back? And is Jason (this season's bachelor) a bastard? For the record, myself and A refused to partake in the season finale viewing, as a protest towards Jason's (pardon-my-French) d-bag ways. We read the leaked info in our trusty US Weekly and we did not want to give our ratings to a show with such a phony.

Well, guess who else is on our side of our not-so-warm sentiments towards phony-jackass-everything we don't like in men Jason. Andrew Firestone. Way funnier than the whole story of The Bachelor itself, Firestone's analysis of Jason's antics are not only honest - but are as blunt as a five year olds. Such gems given to US Weekly include, "There’s no reason that you have to do anything, especially if you’re so torn that you’re crying like a little girl on that balcony." Ouch.

Enjoy reading (and bashing) about Jason Mesnick, join a Facebook hate group or two (there are countless ones on Facebook, my favorite being here), and catch Melissa (Team Rycroft!) on Dancing With The Stars tonight. Anyone can see that this whole Bachelor drama was played out to get more ratings for Dancing With The Stars, but so what? They have my Nelsen rating points tonight.


Xpress Spa at Schiphol

M & I are busy working girls, her having just flown back from California, and me, in Canada at the moment for work...all this jet-setting definitely cuts into the funner things in life like time set aside for a spa day including manis/pedis, facials and massages...

Luckily for me, before flying out to Canada via Amsterdam, I did a little bit of googling and found that Xpress Spa had opened up about a year ago in Schiphol's lounge 2. Perfect place to be during a 7 hour lay over I figured.

Upon arrival, completely disheveled and to be honest, perhaps a bit delirious from the long haul flight and lack of sleep combo, I simply collapsed onto the first chairs that I saw...that just happened to be a recliner...gotta love thoughtful airports. (my only gripe about Schiphol...the complete lack of free wifi...LAME) Anyway, I napped for a good 3 hours after which I opened my eyes to the shiny brightness that was Xpress Spa...it was literally right infront of me without my even trying to find it. I got my stuff together and marched right it and asked for a manicure. Their overall menu is quite extensive...they offer massages, reflexology, mani/pedis, facials, and waxing (yes, including Brazilians...which they need to specify on the services list as for women only...i dont even want to know)
Although they had a wait time of 10-15 minutes, the saleswoman set me up (for free) in their super comfy beige leather loungers/automated massager thingys while I sat around.
When my manicurist finally came around, we ended up deciding on a French manicure (guess Lincoln Park After Dark, Russian Navy or Big Apple Red probably were not the best choices for a business trip anyway although I was giddy after spying all that OPI loot around me)
The manicure itself was pretty decent, my manicurist was a lovely Dutch woman who told me all about her life over white tips and coats of pale pink polish...I got to sit around waiting for my polish to dry on those leather chaises for another 30 minutes so it was pretty cool.
The price was a bit steep compared to a regular manicure (I paid approximately 40 US dollars excluding tip) and the service (for the price) was kinda lacking...
Having said that though, just the thought of relaxing and being pampered in an airport terminal during a ridiculously long lay over makes it mostly okay...plus its not a bad way to kill some time either.

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

(photo courtesy of www.slashfoods.com)

I know, I know. December was months ago. What am I talking about this being, "the most wonderful time of the year?" There are no major holidays upon us. It's not even sunny and warm out yet. There is, however, readers, a glimmer of hope for this to be the best time of year yet -- and that my friends, is Mini Egg season. I nearly passed out of happiness at my local CVS tonight when I saw the rack of the sugar-high inducing purple bags. For the record, I also promptly whipped out my iPhone, took a snapshot and sent it over to P via email. That's how giddy this candy makes us.

Cadbury Mini Eggs have a special place in my heart. As a child, Easter meant candy. Not church, but sugar. Easter brought on pink and green baskets filled with Peeps, little duckie shaped Sweettarts, knick-knacks like Seventeen magazines and nail polish. Most importantly though, it meant bags and bags of the best candy ever. Crunchy and sugary on the outside. Smooth and chocolate on the inside. I used to try to bite off all of the sugar coating (I never did care too much about chocolate in general) to savor the crunchy goodness. I've been a multi-decade devoted fan of Mini Eggs, and during that time, their popularity grew. Now Cadbury makes Christmas-style Mini Eggs. Thumbs down from me. The red and green food dye tastes nothing like the pastel colors of spring.

The love for Mini Eggs brought my group of girls (particularly P) together in college. We'd load up on bags when they'd hit the CVS shelves. They'd sit everywhere. In our rooms. On our desks. Inside our freezers. Within our candy bowls on random bureaus. My diet consisted for the majority of the springtime of my sophomore and junior year of Mini Eggs, Corona Light and ice water. (While I don't condone such a diet, I didn't do so badly while on it.) We ate them while watching episodes of The Hills and dvds of Sex and The City. We snuck bags of them into movies at the Amherst area Cinemark. We survived through long Resident Assistant staff meetings with the help of our savior in the purple bag.

Why get so excited over a candy, you might ask? Dear reader, go run (literally, run) to the nearest CVS and find out why for yourself. Why do I say run? Because I'm probably there at this very moment snatching up the supply for myself. Easter might be a time for religious reflection, repentance and selflessness -- but no one gets between me and my Mini Eggs.


M Hearts JetBlue

photo courtesy of upgradetravelbetter.com

While traveling across the US this week for work, I had my first JetBlue flight experience (I know, shocker) and was awesomely surprised. I will admit, I was wary after that little incident in 2007 but really, thirty something channels of DirectTV? Free snacks that included blue potato Terra Chips? All the cans of juice and soda that I want? Say no more. JetBlue is now the preferred airline for this pop culture maven, and you should heart it too. How can you NOT love watching Gossip Girl while flying from Boston to California?



Apparently Smurfmania hit Kuwait too...

Smurf Gummies?

(photo courtesy of www.facebook.com)

While cruising the internet on this fine wintery afternoon, I stumbled across this "fan" page on Facebook. Smurfs are all the rage right now. They're cute. They're blue. And they're awesome. Look at Sephora's exclusive makeup line by Too Faced. Plus, every girl always wants to be a Smurfette (especially when she is always the only smurfette around endless cute blue guys). I'm obsessed though. Where can I get these candies? The whole fan page is in French, and as a Spanish student for 19 years, I cannot comprehend the important 411 on the Facebook page. Where can I find them? Where can I buy them? Are they blue raspberry flavored? And if they're only available in - gasp - France, or some French-speaking country, then can someone PLEASE FedEx me a bag asap? Comments appreciated everyone.


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