Sunday, January 31, 2010

Love Darts

In honor of my very favorite month, February, I give you the loveliest couple in all the land-- Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos. NOTE: If you press play and think I've gone crazy, or believe my credibility to be completely shot--wait for it (or skip to 3:45 into the clip if you must)... wait for young Joaquin Consuelos and his partner Julie explain snail mating patterns. You will not be disappointed.

Happy early Valentines Day, New York. :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Alice's Tea Cup

My dear friend Kelly's birthday presented the perfect opportunity to get out of Brooklyn on a cold and rainy Sunday and return to one of Manhattan's favorite girlie brunch locals this weekend-- Alice's Tea Cup.

We arrived in wind and rain, and happily settled into pink velvet banquettes to sip the famous 'birthday tea' with fluffy scones, tea-egg sandwiches, and pumpkin pancakes. We squealed like school girls at the butterfly tea stopper, the antique saucers, and the hand painted rabbit holes.

Amidst faerie wings and teacakes and swirls of glittered roses, our conversation inevitably turned from work and wedding plans to lighter topics like Betsy and Tacy, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and of course our own Eloise. We quoted Lewis Carroll as I snapped away at my gorgeous friends who dressed the part.

The charm of Alice's Tea Cup, however, isn't in the theme or the food or even that famous tea. The charm lies in the complete lack of polish. This isn't a glossy, fancy, perfect Upper East Side Sunday Brunch hot spot, as one might expect. It's shabby and low-budget, and very handmade. Like Magnolia Bakery was before it hit Midtown. It's as if the proverbial roses have been painted red by paintbrush-toting cards. It's thrown together and wonky, and--well-- curiouser and curiouser...

And doesn't our birthday girl Kelly make just the most darling Alice? Happy un-birthday, m'dear :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

SWINTON at Sundance

So, Katie and I are sitting on my big brown Ikea couch (which Katie claims is gray and Annie claims is purple, but is CLEARLY chocolate brown) eating Raisin Bran for dinner and John calls to tell me that he is--right now-- at Sundance at a screening staring Tilda Swinton WITH Tilda SWINTON.

My life suddenly seems somewhat ordinary and incredibly lame and worthless. Just thought you might want to know.

(Updates to come, assuming that John does his job as a good friend and at least says hello, or curtseys, or whatever you do to SWINTON-Her-Highness in a moment of true humbling honor.)

To be continued...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Match Point

Have you all seen Match Point? It came out a few years ago and I distinctly remember wanting to see it and missing my chance. If you live somewhere like Indianapolis, where I was living at the time, the 'good' films have short runs in theaters and if you miss the first weekend, you're out of luck. (If you live in New York, they last forever. In fact, I tried to see Up In The Air tonight and it was sold out. WEEKS after its opening. Another odd reason that I love this city-- people still go to the movies.)

We all know that I love a good, long, slow story with talking heads and upseting endings, and this seemed to fit on my proverbial bookshelf nicely. A caricature of every movie I've ever fallen in love with that most of the world hated-- Two Lovers. Little Children. Closer. Broken English. FUNNY PEOPLE. (Why did no one appreciate Funny People?! I thought it was somewhat brilliant and I've never even liked Adam Sandler.)

Well, Match Point was different. It was similar to the previously mentioned depressing affair-driven nightmares but our friend Woody Allen went one step further with his shocking punch of an ending. Perhaps the rest of you were aware of the film's conclusion prior to viewing, but I literally spilled hot peppermint tea on my lap the moment he --- well, you know. (I don't want to ruin this for those of you who haven't seen it.) But now I've given it such a big buildup that you will be waiting for a surprise ending, and that's not really the point, now is it? I just can't win.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A New Love

Hello again. A new camera entered my life this week. I'm probably blowing my excitement out of proportion, but if you know me at all, you aren't the least bit surprised. I get excited easily. Plus, its a LOVELY camera. A happy little camera. MY camera. Around this time last year I announced that I wanted a DSLR. I wanted a GOOD camera, one like Ryan's, like Molly's, like Luisa's, and Brian's. I started looking soon there after and came to the same conclusion for months on end-- I couldn't make up my mind on a model, or the brand, or the reason. I couldn't justify such an elaborate purchase without being certain. So yes, it took a year.

The first time I held an SLR, I was in love. In LOVE. (I'm also in love with the sewing machine up there, but we can talk about that later.) It was Ryan's camera and the click, click gave me a little thrill. The images I captured astounded me, especially the portraits. The feeling of clicking a good quality camera was like watching a flawless card trick (ah ha!) That click, click-- that perfect click, click-- gave me a high that I knew I had to chase.
Alas, an entire year later, I am finally holding my own SLR in my long, spindly fingers. I chose a Nikon D5000-- a refurbished model from the good men of B&H Photo who patiently helped me through the process. They all gave me a confused look when I told them over and over my reason for wanting a nice camera-- I just want my photos to look good. 'You're not a photographer?' No, not really. 'But you want to become a photographer?' No, I just want my pictures to look nice. Doesn't everyone? They kept asking me questions I didn't know how to answer because at this point I really don't know the difference between ISO, AF, and Lv. I do want to learn, though...
So here I am, camera in hand, click, clicking my way through New York City. I did some fantastic damage clicking all of Palm Beach this weekend on my little work trip, and will show you those photos soon. And--like a good blogger would-- I will be creating a Flickr site to share with you all, but I'm still figuring out the odds and ends of exactly how to do so.
Stay tuned, people. So much more to come...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

With a Little Help From My Friends

Let me share with you a little story called 'My Wednesday.'

It actually started about three months ago when my colleague Vivien announced that she had just won tickets to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Looking back, I'm a bit confused as to why I decided to then immediately try to win some myself-- as I haven't ever actually SEEN The Daily Show-- but win them I did.

I coaxed John and Katie to come as my guests to see the taping this afternoon. We arrived at Jon Stewart's studio around 3pm (all the way out on 11th avenue and 52nd street which feels like the ends of the earth) dressed in many layers with hot Starbucks cupped in our mittened fingers. John and Katie soon admitted that they too had never seen the show (if you are a huge Daily Show fan, my sincere apologies for taking these tickets from real fans. Basically we all just thought Jon Stewart is sexy and had very few other opinions on the matter) but stand there we did. In line. For almost THREE HOURS.

Now, the first hour was fun. John, Katie, and I act like fifteen year olds when we get together. We people watch, make fun of each other, talk about boa constrictors, old professors, and laugh, and laugh, and laugh. I love them, and there are very few people who can keep me as entertained in a line all the way out on 11th avenue in the freezing January wind for an hour as Katie and John can. But bit by bit your girl Sarah eventually here got a little fussy.

And by hour two she got REAL fussy. Might I remind you that I had reserved tickets for all of us? And here we were, standing in the freezing cold waiting to be told what the hell we were doing out there for over TWO HOURS.

By hour three I had about hit my limit. I was cold. I was hungry. I was tired of standing, and I was annoyed at the world. (At this point I probably should have just gone home, but my story continues...)

We were finally let indoors to a quite shabby studio (like, LOW BUDGET studio, people. Could have been the Gage County Fairgrounds for all I know) with fingers, toes, and noses that had gone completely numb. I shot daggers with my eyes at 'Phil' who told us about a kajillion times to take off our belts before going through the metal detectors (to which John, without fail, just audibly asked 'do we have to take off our belts?' each time Phil asked if we had questions) and grumpily fell into my seat at the very edge of row three.

Katie and John did their best to stay positive, but things like 'at least we get to see John Stewart!' become less than appealing to someone who doesn't even watch the program. We joked some more, we watched two slightly nerdy teenage boys from Jersey flirt with an intern, and I complained. 'I don't even care about famous people!' I ranted. 'Famous people no longer excite me at all, this is the worst idea ever, its only for tourists, WHY are we still waiting!?'

But then.

Oh, but then.

I was humbled.

Humbled by-- ironically-- a very, very famous person.

A person that once made America swoon in unison.

Ladies and Gentleman, Ringo Starr appeared. Not only appeared, but started to sing. And your girl Sarah-- the one who was so crabby that the warm-up guy 'Paul' called me out in front of the ENTIRE audience for not clapping or repeating his idiotic questions ('Are you ready to see John Stewart?!' ' I SAID, are you ready to see John Stewart!?' 'You can do better than that, ARE YOU READY TO SEE JOHN STEWART?!' and so on.)--- started to cry. I burst into happy tears, right there in the middle of my hissy fit.

If there is one Beatles song that will always, without fail, bring me pause and a smile to my face it is 'With a Little Help My Friends.' It reminds me of my childhood-- of my mother's old psychedelic box of 45's that my sisters and I used to play on our playschool record player in the basement. It reminds me of my first ever crush-- Kevin Arnold from The Wonder Years. It reminds me of high school-- of swaying back and forth at prom with my best girlfriends to cheesy songs about friendship, and it reminds me of my old Chevy Lumina and the road trip I took to Colorado with Meghan upon graduation. And you have to admit-- even without emotional attachments-- It's just a good song.

And I, out of nowhere, got to see Ringo Starr perform it live (with Ben Harper, of all people) three rows from the makeshift studio stage. So there I stood, in complete awe and sincere thanksgiving to Jon Stewart and Ringo Starr for humbling my jaded spirit. It's been a rough month for me. It has. I've had ups and downs that you wouldn't believe. But in that moment I was able to look over at Katie and John, who for the entire evening had put up with my sour attitude then loved me anyway when I continued to pout. I was humbled to know that yes, I will get by. I'll get by with a little help from my friends.

***Note: No, I did not know that Jon Stewart would have guests on the show, and until he was announced, I did not realize that the guest would be Ringo Starr. I assumed it would be someone political. Also, John Stewart was AWESOME. He is a gracious human being who joked with the audience, was kind to his staff, and complimentary towards Starr and Harper. He seemed like a first rate human being, and if you were wondering, is just as sexy in real life as he is on TV.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Most of you will probably disagree with this post. Nine isn't the most popular movie, and the critics all hated it. It was long, formulaic, and slightly boring. In fact, the first half hour of the film made me so uncomfortable that I developed a headache. But I kind of loved it.

I loved it for the few moments that (excuse the cliche) took my breath away-- in the way that Italian cinema will take your breath away (before I say more, PLEASE see Io No Ho Paura. Its an amazing Italian film and no one ever takes my rec to watch it. You know who you are.) My movie dates would agree with me-- Kate Hudson, Fergie, and especially Marion Cotillard hit notes that we could feel in our bones, that pulsed through our blood.

Nine tells the story of Maestro Guido Contini and the women who have shaped his life. Contini is Italy's most successful film director when Italian cinema was at its height in the early sixties. We enter Guido's life upon a press conference revealing his new film, 'Italia.'

We meet the seven women (why weren't there nine women? Or why wasn't this film called 'Seven'. Well, Sarah, there already was a Seven, with Brad Pitt from the early ninties, but wasn't there already a Nine as well? Like last month?) who are apparently going to inspire this film that he hasn't yet written-- there are his muse, his confident, his wife, his mistress, his whore, his crush, and his mother. Clever, no?

But what started out as a little cabaret of sexist female stereotypes drew me to tears by the closing number. Penelope Cruz, in her role of 'mistress' grabbed Guido's hand in her final scene, saying words that absolutely broke my heart in their raw state-- "Guido, don't forget me. I am still here-- you go out into the world and make your movies and home to your wife, but I am still here." Her desperation killed me because I understood it.

And then Marion Cotillard--Oh, Marion Cotillard!-- stung us with final number, 'Take it All', uncovering the point of the film. It wasn't about making a movie afterall. It wasn't about finding inspirtation either. It was about women. About what happens when you use them up. See this film for Marion Cotillard's number, if nothing else. Stunning.

I could have done without Sophia Loren, Judi Dench, and Nicole Kidman's ballads-- another reason why most of you will disagree with me. I was supposed to love Sophia's return and Dench's lingering sass, but they just didn't translate as well as the other four. I blame the writing (and Loren's plastic surgeon. Ew.) And I would have liked to see Nicole in a stronger song. But hey-- I'm no Maestro.