Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The verdict is in...

I've been thinking about it all weekend, and I've come to the reality that I can't give up my blog.

I enjoy it too much.

That being said, you might notice a change.

I'm going to make this blog a little more...self-indulgent.

One of the reasons I started blogging three years ago was so I could have a place where I could vent. A place where I could be myself without fear of people in my life judging me. A place where I could be creative. A place where I could write for myself.

And somewhere in the process of this blog becoming a success, I feel like I lost that aspect. I started blogging for "them." What would "they" like to read? What would interest "them"? I spent a lot of time researching topics that I didn't necessarily care about. And when that post would only receive a few comments, I would feel discouraged and worn out.

I'm not going to give up on the researched posts. You'll still see biographies of doomed, yet forgotten starlets, just not as often. I'll still review movies and books and recipes. I'll probably have more of those kinds of posts that make you go "what the fuck is she on?" (like this one). And I'm going to get more personal on here.

Unfortunately, since I'm a freelance journalist, I can't afford a therapist, so I might turn here when things get rough.

You're going to get to know me.

To get started, let me introduce myself properly.

My name is Jennifer (no shit) and this is me:

I like people to think I'm cute, so I take hundreds of photos of myself until I finally see one that's halfway decent for me to post on Facebook.

I'm in my mid-20s, but crawling towards a number I can't even write without bursting into tears.

The majority of my best friends are gay men. I only have a few close girlfriends here in town that I hang out with on a regular basis. One, I grew up across the street from for ten years. The other, I met through our blogs. And the last one, I met in a mental institution (we were visiting the same person).

I share joint custody of a fish. His father is an artist currently living in Berlin.

My boyfriend is in graduate school, riding on a pretty impressive fellowship.

I'm obsessed with lipstick.

I used to really like olives, but now I'm on the fence.

Anyway, that's just a little bit about me.

Nice to meet you. (And thanks for the love).

Friday, September 28, 2012

Hello? Is anybody out there?


Do you hear that? It's the sound of crickets.

Perhaps I'm being paranoid, but the blogosphere seems like a ghost town to me. It's something I've noticed in the past few months.

There used to be a time when this blog would get up to 200 comments. Then 100. Then 50. Now I'm lucky to hit 20.

My stat numbers are the same, but it's mostly a direct result of google searches. This blog has become an encyclopedia of pop culture for strangers around the world.

But I don't want to be a reference.

And I don't like the way the blogosphere works. I'm tired of it.

When you start a blog, a lot of people offer advice on how to get more "readers." Because that leads to "advertising."

They don't tell you the reality. If you want comments, you need to comment on other people's blogs. So, if you want 200 comments on a post, you better be prepared to give up your entire life, because you're going to have to comment on 200 blogs. Every fucking time. (Unless you're Jane from Sea of Shoes. And nobody becomes Sea of Shoes overnight. Sorry, kids.)

If you want followers, you have to follow others back.

I understand the blogosphere is a community. And without this two-way street, I seriously would not have met some of the most important friends in my life. It's as simple as that.

But having a successful blog is exhausting. I don't have time to comment on other blogs, just to receive comments. I'm uninterested in following somebody merely for their follow back. Why bother.

I had a goal to reach 1,000 followers this year, and I'm so burnt out, I don't even want that many anymore. Because it's not real. It will just be a bunch of random fashion bloggers who follow me, hoping I'll follow back, and then after a few months, think I'm not paying attention, and un-follow me so they can start following others.

It's juvenile and I'm too old for this shit.

And after almost four years of blogging, I keep feeling like I shouldn't have to adhere to these rules anymore. If my blog is good, it should stand on its own.

If not, maybe I need to consider spending my time elsewhere.

If you're a blogger, than you probably realize how much time I put into these posts. Yeah, these are random topics straight off the top of my head, but for the most part, they're thoroughly researched. I'm a journalist. I was trained to be a fact-checker.

And I can't help but think that perhaps this blog isn't worth the effort anymore.

Especially if nobody reads blogs anymore. I seriously can't be the only blogger noticing the chill in the air. I can't be the only blogger with a declining readership.

Or maybe I just suck.


That's all.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"Hot, hot hot, smart, smart, smart!"

When most girls think of the 1960s, the first style icon which comes to mind is Twiggy.

Ironically, the real face of the flower child decade was really Penelope Tree.

Penelope Tree was an oddly adorable teenage fashion model, who came from a wealthy, aristocratic family.

Growing up, she clung to her closeted-gay father and barely had a relationship with her non-existent mother who jet-setted around the world with her handsome, debonair boyfriends.

In 1966, when she was 17-years-old, Penelope attended a Black and White Ball thrown by Truman Capote and the night changed her life. The media became obsessed with her shockingly risque black attire. Her elf-like features were mystifyingly beautiful. The next day, Vogue called, begging her to grace a cover.

The gimpish model became a household name overnight. She started attending the hottest parties, where she mingled with superstars like John Lennon (who adored her). The teenage It Girl then quickly moved in with her new boyfriend, the famous British photographer David Bailey, who was still married to the French movie star Catherine Deneuve.

Beneath the glittering limelight, however, life wasn't picture-perfect.

Penelope was anorexic and bulimic, desperate to keep her weight in check with the boyish body image of the time. She was also miserably aware that the love of her life, her much-older boyfriend, had a wandering eye.

By the early 1970s, her world came crashing down when Penelope developed severe cystic acne, which covered her face with large, unsightly bumps and later, scarring. By her mid-20s, her modeling career was finished.

Even her own boyfriend couldn't stand to look at her face. David took off with a younger model in 1974, abruptly and cruelly ending their six-year relationship.

Bewildered and shocked, the unhappy ex-model roamed around the world with her savings. She got married. Had a daughter. Explored her religious options.

In the 1980s, she found peace with Buddhism.

These days, she spends most of her time immersed in charity work for two Buddhist organizations, which help impoverished children in Asia. She's very passionate about her work. She also writes books and has a close relationship with her two adult children.

Oh, and the model recently got back in front of the camera again to promote Burberry with a supermodel who has long been compared to herself: Kate Moss.

And even though most of you probably didn't even know her name, Penelope still wins. Because she's happy now.

Monday, September 24, 2012

My top five Pinterest recipes (Part II)

Last spring, I started featuring my favorite Pinterest recipes on this blog.

You can find that post here.

Well, I'm back with five more spectacular favorites.

These are Pinterest recipes I've made over the past few months that really stood out to me.


Crispy Baked Spicy Chicken Bites

This recipe from Savoring the Thyme was meant to copy McDonald's spicy chicken bites. But it doesn't. Because it's way better. You see, these are baked, not fried. Plus, there is actually meat in them. Oh, and these are actually spicy (or, at least, you can make them as spicy as you want).

Instead of using the recommended sriracha sauce, I used Frank's hot sauce. And while the chicken bites still came out delicious, I wish I had hauled ass to the store to use sriracha instead. You see, when I want spicy, I want SPICY.

I think these chicken bites would be perfect for dinner, along with a couple side dishes. Or, perhaps, used as a fun finger food for game night.

Tomato, Basil, and Cheddar Soup

This soup is perfect for fall. It even looks like fall, with its warm autumn tint and dark green basil and creamy melted cheese....drool.

I love tomato soup, so when I came across this recipe from More Fruit Please... I knew it was a must-try. (Plus, it seemed healthier than most creamy tomato soups, because it calls for Greek Yogurt instead of cream.)

It didn't disappoint. It was warm and cozy and flavorful. I accidentally used the spicy Rotel mixture, instead of plain diced tomatoes, and it actually made the soup a little spicy, which, if you read the recipe above, you know I like. So, it was a pleasant accidental surprise.

I paired this soup with cheesy garlic bread. It turned out to be a good dunking soup as well.

I suggest trying out this soup this fall, because it will warm you up as the weather gets chilly.

Spinach Salad with Chicken, Avocado and Feta Cheese

This mind-blowing salad from Recipe Girl basically includes everything I love. Avocados. Cherry tomatoes. Feta cheese. Chicken. Spinach.

I had this salad with my parents, and they were also totally blown away. In fact, my mom loved the recipe so much, she used it at the neighborhood potluck this weekend. Yeah, it was gone in two seconds.

This salad was so delicious that I totally forgot that it's healthy. Super healthy. It's basically a power meal. This salad was so filling, that I didn't even need a side dish.

My only complaint about this recipe is that it calls for pine nuts. I have nothing against pine nuts, except for the fact that they cost $23 per pound at Whole Foods. Seriously. That's the exact price. I splurged this time, because I wanted to follow the recipe verbatim. But next time, I'm going to substitute sunflower seeds or almonds instead.

I highly suggest you try this salad.

Asparagus, goat cheese, and lemon pasta

Rian and I made this recipe, taken from Smitten Kitchen, for a date night a little while ago.

It's light, fresh, and very lemony, which I liked. I thought it was the perfect summer dish, but let's be real, this pasta would be perfect any time of the year.

I'm a huge fan of goat cheese. Like, a "I still remember where I was when I had my first bite" kind of fan. But, I know there are a lot of people who hate goat cheese. It's one of those you love it or hate it kinds of foods. So, if you aren't the biggest fan of goat cheese, you probably shouldn't make this recipe. Because the goat cheese has a very strong flavor in it.

While I really enjoyed the pasta dish, I think next time I am going to add something else to it, like tomatoes. I would prefer to have less pasta and more veggies.

You should give this recipe a whirl.

Applesauce cookies with caramel frosting

Sweet mother of Jesus.

Trust me when I say I've saved the best for last.

These cookies from Chef in Training are so sinfully good that I practically ate the entire tray of them. Normally, when I do something like that, I look back and want to burst into tears. But after eating these cookies, I look back and would do it all over again.

These cookies are soft. They are moist. They are creamy. They just...melt in your mouth with orgasmic deliciousness.

If you want a boyfriend, make a batch and give them to potential suitors as a gift. It's that simple.

Anyway, I hope you try out some (or all) of these recipes.

You can find them all here on my Recipes I Have Tried Pinterest board.

Don't forget to follow me on Pinterest here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tale of Glass Beach

Sometimes one generation's trash is another generation's treasure.


This sentiment perfectly describes one of nature's most fascinating corrections of man's mistakes.

Glass Beach, over in Fort Bragg, California, is one of the most unique places in the world.

Instead of cascading ripples of powdery sand, the crystal blue waves crash over small glistening trinkets of rainbow-colored glass.

You see, in the early 20th century, Fort Bragg residents threw their household garbage over the cliffs, onto the beach. It was basically used as the city dump. They discarded glass, appliances, and even cars onto the beautiful shores.

Of course, something like that would be absolutely unheard of today, but back then nobody thought twice about it. Save the ocean? Pffffft. That hippie concept didn't come about until decades later.

Well, in 1967, the city finally realized dumping trash onto a perfectly good beach was a mistake. The North Coast Water Quality Board got involved and closed the beach. Clean-up began.

Over the next several decades, Mother Nature reclaimed the beach. The pounding waves cleansed the beach, wearing down the discarded glass into the small smooth colored trinkets that sparkle on the sunny shores today.

In 2003, the California State Park system purchased the property, after more massive clean-up.

The beach is now a treasure trove for tourists, who flock to the beach to admire its glistening, colorful beauty and (even though it's illegal) steal a glass trinket from underneath their feet as a souvenir.

What are your thoughts on Glass Beach? Have you ever been there? Do you want to go?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Restaurant Reviews

This might come as a shock to you, but I'm quite the jet-setter. One day I'm in New York City, the next I'm in Los Angeles. Sometimes all in one day.

During my recent travels, I stopped by a few restaurants that I really enjoyed. I decided to share my reviews of them, in case you ever find yourself in the area and decide to go.


The Max, Los Angeles

If you love flashy neon colors, retro designs, and all-American food, you seriously need to stop by The Max, which is over in the Pacific Palisades.

The prices are reasonable. The food is simple, but it's good. Burgers. Fries. Milkshakes.

The back story of the place is pretty quirky as well. It was opened by a magician, and sometimes he'll come to each table and perform a silly little trick and crack stupid jokes. But it's all in good fun.

The only downside is if you hit the place up after 2 p.m. it tends to get overcrowded with obnoxious teenagers from the nearby Bayside High School.

The afternoon I was there, a few of them came out of nowhere and randomly held a dance-off, which delayed my food from being served by 23 minutes. I was SO annoyed.

Here is a crappy cell phone pic I took of the scene:

Peach Pit, Beverly Hills

I have a soft spot for old-school diners, so when I stumbled upon the Peach Pit, I couldn't have been more delighted.

Again, you're looking at all-American food, but it's absolutely delicious and hot off the grill. The interior is very retro and there's even a jukebox.

My server, Brandon, was super cute and even flirted with me a little, which made me kind of uneasy later on, because I found out he was in high school (he looked 26).

Here's a crappy cell phone pic of my server and the owner:

Central Perk, New York City

Sometimes, it's just nice to get away from Starbucks. So, when I found myself in Greenwich Village one day, I decided to try out a popular local coffee shop, Central Perk.

Before I even ordered my coffee, I was already impressed. It had such a cozy, yet vibrant atmosphere. The couches were comfy. The coffee mugs were huge. The place was filled with attractive people around my own age.

I was a little taken aback by the sour-faced barista, Gunther, who took my order with undisguised sarcasm.

I was in such a good mood after leaving the place, I even tipped a pretty blonde hippie who was singing about smelly cats in front of the main entrance.

Stay tuned for my next restaurant review post, where I'll detail my visits to Shooters, Krusty Burger, and Bluth's Banana Stand.

Will you visit these places?

What are your favorite restaurants?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Welcome to the Dollhouse

"You think you're hot shit, but really you're just cold diarrhea."

Sometimes I wish more than anything that I could teach a class on pop culture. I feel this desperate need to educate young adults on the books they should read, television shows they should watch, movies they should see, and celebrities they should know about.

Especially when I encounter gob smacking moments, such as discovering that the guy working in the CD department at Best Buy has never heard of Elton John or the teenage follower who confessed on my blog she prefers not to watch movies that were made before 2000.

Today, I'm going to educate you on a film that I truly believe every person should have on their "to watch" list: Welcome to the Dollhouse.

Director Todd Solondz basically shoved his hands into the grimy bloody intestines of the 1990s adolescence experience and made you smell it.

It's the most frustrating as fuck movie to watch, and yet it will tug at your heartstrings for the rest of your life.

The 1995 movie revolves around Dawn Wiener, an ugly duckling suffocating through seventh grade. She is bullied mercilessly by her classmates. Her parents favor her pretty little sister. The guy she's in love with barely knows she exists.

Not only will the plot rip apart your heart, but the film is littered with profanity-laced verbal gems that will have your head reeling.

Even if you aren't an unattractive white middle-class 12-year-old from New Jersey, you know one thing for sure when you're watching this film: You are Dawn Wiener.

It is a film that not only defines a generation, but projects the reality of adolescence.

In other words, you don't have to be a 90's kid to feel like bawling your eyes out when Dawn is denied a slice of chocolate cake at the dinner table.

In honor of Welcome to the Dollhouse, I let the middle school part of me create a little collage:

Welcome to the Dollhouse

What do you think?

Have you seen Welcome to the Dollhouse?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tweets from a 14-year-old Me

There are a lot of annoying teenagers on twitter. Have you noticed? It makes me grateful that I never had social media when I was that young. I can't even imagine all the embarrassing crap I would say. Cuz that shit stays on the internetz forever.

Sometimes, I often wonder what it would have been like if Twitter had existed when I was a kid.

So, I decided to share with you my tweets from 1998.


Jennifer Fabulous @jenniferb02
Just walked into homeroom and discovered @mikesoccer101 is in it! He has gotten SO much cuter since eighth grade. :)
#happiestdayofmylife #highschoolisgonnarock

Jennifer Fabulous @jenniferb02
I wish my parents would let me have my own phone line. It sucks talking to my bff @smrosecat and having my dad say "hello? hello?" into the receiver during a very serious discussion about Dawson's Creek.

Touchstone Pictures @touchestone
Want to meet rising star Heath Ledger? Enter for your chance to win VIP tickets to the NYC premiere of 10 Things I Hate About You!
-Retweeted by Jennifer Fabulous

Jennifer Fabulous @jenniferb02
Mr. Hendricks gave us a THREE PAGE essay to write and he wants it due in two weeks. Who does he think we are, seniors? Grrrr. #highschoolsucksballs

Jennifer Fabulous @jenniferb02
For those of you who didn't show up to my birthday party, I just wanna say there are no hard feelings, but please don't speak to me ever again. Kthanx.

Jennifer Fabulous @jenniferb02
There's some whiny white girl singing in a Catholic school uniform on @MTV right now. Huh.
#whoisBrittanySpears #stayawayfromTaylorHanson

Jennifer Fabulous @jenniferb02
Got called out in world history for staring at @mikesoccer101 instead of paying attention to the stupid Nixon documentary. I hate Mrs. Charles!!!

Jennifer Fabulous @jenniferb02
So went to the Homecoming dance and saw @mikesoccer101 making out with that dumb ass cheerleader from my biology class. #shootmenow

Jennifer Fabulous @jenniferb02
While walking to lunch I bumped into @mikesoccer101 at his locker and dropped my books. He said "Sorry, Jessica." OMG!! He knows my name starts with a "J"!!!!

Teen People @teenpeoplemag
Cover girl Jennifer Love Hewitt spills her beauty secrets! Check out the new issue on stands now!
-Retweeted by Jennifer Fabulous

Jennifer Fabulous @jenniferb02
Ummm some girl in my P.E. class just found out she's pregnant. How weird is that? I didn't even know 15-year-olds could get pregnant! LOL!!

Jennifer Fabulous @jenniferb02
@smrosecat Did you record Buffy last night?

Jennifer Fabulous @jenniferb02
Holy hell. Just watched @abc11 news and learned some kid shot up his school in Colorado! That is so scary! :(

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Summer of '96

When I was 12 years old, I begged my parents to let me be a junior counselor at a summer camp a couple hours away from town.

Shockingly, they said yes.

The sprawling ranch was in south Florida, near an Indian reservation. There were horses, goats, pigs, rabbits, and other farm animals.

The camp's mascot was a gigantic pot belly pig, Big C, who was gentle as a lamb. He would roam around the ranch, to the delight of the younger children. It was tradition for anyone who saw Big C to shout out "Big C comin'!"

When I was introduced to my bunkmate, Brittany, I was in complete awe. With sun-soaked blonde hair, a gorgeous face, and a bored expression, she was like a 13-year-old Heather Locklear. When she lit up a cigarette inside our cabin, blowing the smoke through a cracked open window, I knew she was the coolest girl I'd ever met in my life.

Even Brittany's background was glamorous, at least for a generic upper-middle class girl like me. Her father was in prison. Her mom was a bartender. Brittany said words like "fucking-A" and "bitchballs" which I had never heard anyone my own age utter aloud before.

She decided we were going to be best friends and I went along with it. Unfortunately, being bffs with Brittany meant I had to alienate myself from all the other junior camp counselors at the ranch. They all despised her. She never gave them the time of day and when she was forced to talk to one of the other girls, she usually spoke with condescending coolness.

"These other girls here are so fucking-A!" she would groan at night, flicking her cigarette out the window while simultaneously reading Seventeen. "Thank god I have you, Jen."

After a couple weeks of being at camp, Brittany convinced me to sneak out of the ranch almost every night. We would climb the bulky wooden fence and run out in the fields towards a cluster of large trees. Even though I was terrified of heights, I would allow Brittany to coax me up a tree and sit in the branches, gazing out at the stars or the faded lights of the Indian reservation in the distance. I would never climb up as far as Brittany. I would stare up at her, with envy, wishing I could be sitting on the top branch, with my blonde locks flowing in the wind.

One night, we huddled together on a lower branch, and watched in awe as a group of American Indian men, wearing nothing but jeans and cowboy boots, herded a pack of horses in the field right beneath our feet.

Everything about Brittany seemed so grown up. She might have been 13, but she acted 16, at least.

"God, just looking at that tree makes me horny," she once said, pointing to a weeping willow across the lake. "Doesn't it make you horny?"

I nodded enthusiastically, not having the slightest idea what she was talking about.

Another evening, she made me pierce her upper left ear. She already had her ears pierced, but wanted a third hole. Our laughter turned to shrieks of horror as I stabbed her ear with a pin. She had to wear her hair down for several days, to hide the grotesque swelling. Every time I apologized, she laughed.

With a week left into camp, Brittany's school friends showed up one night, with some older boys, in a rusty blue Mustang. Brittany left with them and didn't come back until around 3 a.m.

The next morning, I went to breakfast and immediately noticed something was wrong. Kids were crying. The older camp counselors, college students, were whispering to each other. Some of the camp leaders, the adults, were pacing back and forth, looking stunned.

When I found out the news, I was speechless. Apparently Big C had been slaughtered at the ranch that night. Someone, or some people, had attacked him and cut him open, spilling his guts out. His blood had been splattered and smeared all over the campground.

I felt dizzy with nausea that someone could be so cruel to such a beloved pet. Big C was such a gentle creature. He never would have hurt anyone. He loved everyone. He was so trusting. I went into my cabin and threw myself on my bed and cried. Who could have hurt Big C?

The police were called in. Camp was cancelled. With only a week to go, the ranch owner was so devastated, she couldn't even finish the summer. All events were cancelled.

Brittany had become so attached to me that summer, that she ended up persuading her mom to pay out-of-district tuition to send her to my middle school, about 45 minutes away from where she lived.

I wasn't terribly thrilled by the news. I had cooled our relationship since camp ended. For some reason I felt weird around her now. I didn't find her that entertaining anymore. I certainly no longer wanted to be like her.

Her transfer to my school eventually worked out for her, regardless of me. She instantly became close friends with the popular kids in my school. I rarely saw her in the months before I ended up moving to Nebraska.

In the back of my mind, I always knew what had bothered me about the night Brittany had come home. I always knew why I had severed our friendship without offering her a solid explanation.

The night Brittany had come back from hanging out with her wild friends, she'd reeked of an extremely strong, musky odor. I couldn't pinpoint what it had been at the time. But now, I'm almost certain: it had been blood.

But it hurt too much to put the pieces together. So, instead, I let them fall.

Once in a while, when I think of the summer of 1996, I don't really dwell on Brittany, or the friendship we once shared.

I simply remember lounging on a cold tree branch, feeling a soft breeze run through my hair, watching the horses gallop below in the star-freckled moonlight. Basking in a taste of stolen freedom. Wondering if that's what heaven felt like.