cHeCk oUt ThE tUnE-YaRdS!

Posted in Entertainment by Sarah on May 12, 2011

There’s been a different sound pumping from the speakers in our apartment lately… the sound of the tUnE-YaRdS.  Yes, those unconventional caps are intentional.  They certainly capture your attention, in the same way their music will.  The tUnE-YaRdS have been around for some time, although we stumbled upon them just a few months ago.

"w h o k i l l" album cover

The tUnE-YaRdS have a unique and infectious sound, utilizing unexpected beats, vocals, instruments, and song structures.  The sound is driven by the creative genius of Merrill Garbus, who originally hails from Connecticut but has found a home in the Bay Area (woo!).  Merill plays the ukelele (sometimes by pounding on it) along with various other instruments, and orchestrates the synthesis of these sounds into each tUnE-YaRdS song.  But it’s really her compelling, powerful voice that is the hallmark of the tUnE-YaRdS songs; it adds a depth and texture that is not often found in music today.  Her bandmate, Nate Brenner provides the perfect complement to her style with smooth and full basslines.

Their creative sound ranges from pop and alt-rock beats, to hip-hop, to bluesy-jazz, to experimental.   The music sometimes requires a few listens to fully internalize and appreciate, but you inevitably get there (and find yourself humming all day long).   When you get to this point, the lyrics open up.  Many of the songs are narrative-style, and the stories they tell might surprise a casual listener – the TuNe-YaRdS unflinchingly confront some serious and topical issues like body image, race, and violence.  When layered on top of complex and intriguing music, there’s much to explore!

Pitchfork gives their latest album, “w h o k i l l” a solid 8.8.  Respect!  My personal favorite has been “Bizness,” although nearly all the songs on the album are notable; Killa is a groovy empowered-woman kind of song, the unexpected “Doorstep” tells a heartbreaking story over a peppy doowop-inspired melody, and Es so captures the funky, offbeat, tongue-in-cheek style that characterizes Merrill’s music.

Here’s a link to their album on Amazon.  Below is a video of the song Bizness, featuring some adorable kids and amazing dancers from the Bay Area.  Check it out!


Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Posted in Entertainment by Elizabeth on April 12, 2011

Balzac and the Little Chinese SeamstressBalzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This books is a quick read that is certainly an indulgence for literature lovers. It offers a brief glimpse into the world of reeducation in revolutionary China but is much more about the coming of age of two boys through literature.

View all my reviews

Last Minute Holiday Help

Posted in Beauty, Entertainment, Fashionistas, House and Home, Life by Elizabeth on December 15, 2010

Well we’re approaching one week until Christmas and New Years is not far behind.  Some of you may have already finished all of your holiday shopping – if so, congratulations, now all you have to do is wrap your gifts and wait to give them away!  If you’ve already finished wrapping your gifts, that’s a little intense and maybe you should take a break.

There are, however, others who are not finished.  Perhaps you have that last straggler person who is just so hard to find gifts for, or you are half way through your list or you haven’t started at all – eek!  For the last minute shopping, here are some websites that compile great gift ideas for those hard to shop for, ok maybe easy to shop for but I have a week and need to expedite shipping, people.


Image courtesy of

Proclaiming itself as “The Buyer’s Guide for Men,” this site provides creative, classic, edgy, and humorous gift ideas of all price ranges.

Cole Haan Shoe Care (courtesy of

From style recommendations for holiday travel, to leather shoe care kits, to gifts for bacon enthusiasts (I’d like to get the peanut butter bacon cups for myself),  Uncrate delivers.  I search on here for people like Adam, friends, and for our Michael.  The website opens the world of male shopping behavior and culture.

But it of course isn’t limited to males.  Though the fashion is gendered, anyone can be a bacon enthusiast!  It offers movie and phone recommendations, and highlights some awesome accessories like trigger point foam rollers for sore muscles and a snazzy looking sake bomb set.  These ideas are certainly not gender biased.  But when it comes to your brothers, boyfriends, husbands, male whatever – get to uncrate for some creative, sometimes unexpected gift ideas.


DailyCandy is geared more towards the female gender.  The website has a special Gift tab that, at this time of year, is chock full of helpful lists like:

The writers for this website go above and beyond the average list.  There are gift guides for your girlfriends, moms, and sisters by city!  You could also refine your search for lists by item (jewelry, fashion, decor).  There are lists for bakers, fitness gurus, gadget lovers, and relentless party planners.

Of course just as Uncrate is not gender locked, DailyCandy does well in coming up with lists for men.


Refinery29 is also city specific and everywhere like DailyCandy.  Rely on this site to stay up with the latest trends, male and female, if you’re itching to get your fashion forward friends some new wardrobe items.  Not to be left out of the gift guide monopoly, Refinery offers the What Men Really Want for the Holidays list and the 10 Best Holiday Beauty Sets.  And you have to love them for their Sexiest Lingerie list for keeping things hot even in the winter and Donald Trump’s Holiday 2010 Gift Guide for the uber excessive, you can’t take it with you, what the hell gifts.


Coupon deal sites like Living Social and Groupon are keeping up with the holidays by offering more deals and even gift cards (don’t forget to plug in your city!).

For discounts on hot designers check out Bluefly, Piperlime, Solestruck, and Yoox.  If you’re a GiltGroupe member, there are lots of great gift list pages this time of year.   Sort by person or by price range.  The deals are hot and the ideas are nearly endless.

So now that you are strapped with ideas galore, its time to get that fire lit under your butt and get shopping!

Four Lions

Posted in Entertainment by Elizabeth on November 8, 2010

One of the funniest movies I’ve watched in a long time, Four Lions is a must see.  The film is a successful comedy that follows five mostly inept terrorists on their jihad.  I’m actually not sure I remember a time that I laughed this hard in the theater.  The characters are bumbling, ignorant, bullheaded, but also honest.    Their brotherhood just so happens to be one in arms.    If you can, think of it this way, the film’s would be heroes are the accidental royal clowns, the only ones who can mock the king and get away with it.  Are they aware that they are mocking the king? Or, in this case, the two enemy kings of the Western world and Al Qaeda?  No.  This fact allows lines to be crossed, both religious and political.

Though they are mostly inept, they are not flat characters.  Each demonstrates personality through their own misunderstandings of the world within which they are living.  Either way, it is hard not to laugh at terrorists who are enraged over mini Babybells and people playing stringed instruments.  With the grave reality of terrorism in this day and age, Four Lions is a much needed breath of fresh air.

King Arthur in 3 inches of water

Posted in Entertainment, Life by Elizabeth on October 25, 2010

This weekend Mom graced DC with her presence.  We had a great time making some truffles, shopping around the MidCity area, and eating some yummy buttermilk pancakes.

Saturday evening Mom, Adam, Michael, and I had an early dinner at Filomena before heading into Crystal City, Virginia home to Synetic Theater.  This unique theater company does what it calls “physical theater”.  It is essentially a mix of modern dance, stage combat, and pantomime.  That’s right, there are no words.  Well, some performances have some dialog, but the majority of productions are about physical the physical interpretation and telling of stories.  Previous productions include Hamlet, to Faust, to Dante.

This production of King Arthur was fantastic.  Guinevere was a fierce warrior woman, Lancelot a big lug, and Arthur epitomized masculinity, at least when he was in possession of the sword. Either Merlin or Morgan le Fay or both were on stage at almost all times manipulating, observing, meddling.  The performance is stunning.  Oh – and the stage is covered in three inches of water.  Each battle, each dance, basically each time someone moved, water was splashing.  Those in the front rows wore ponchos.  Needless to say I will be heading back to Synetic as soon as possible for its next production.

Kalb Report

Posted in Entertainment, Life by Elizabeth on September 22, 2010

Last night Adam and I went to the Kalb Report.  The show airs live on public television and radio. The topic of Tuesday’s program was “The Great Debates: The History and Future of U.S. Presidential Debates,” a commemoration of the 50 years that have passed since the first televised presidential debate.  The guests were Bob Schieffer, Sander Vanocur (who was there for the first televised presidential debate – and when I say there, I mean he is one of the journalists who queried Kennedy and Nixon), Mike McMurry, and Janet Brown.

The night was spent half reminiscing about previous debates, discussing the dynamic of two candidates and one moderator, and the future of journalism and how it will affect, if at all, future presidential debates.  The highlight of the discussion probably came when Sander Vanocur recalled Henry Wallace’s remark of Roosevelt who “was able to keep everyone’s balls in the air but his own”. The panelists all had great ideas about how the debates impact the election process and how the debates have changed within the last fifty years.

Checkout the webcast of the discussion. What do you think? One moderator or a panel of journalists? Are Youtube and Twitter reworking the edges of the format of these debates? When will the news be on our wristwatches?

Emmy’s Best Dressed

Posted in Entertainment, Fashionistas by Sarah on August 30, 2010

Last night I was practically glued to the television for the 62nd annual Emmy’s!  Though I don’t watch a lot of TV, I do love watching award shows and especially love the pre-show red carpet bonanza.

There were so many beautiful people and I was right there with the commentators analyzing and fawning over all the dresses.  I have to say that my absolute favorite for the night was Claire Danes.

She glimmered and sparkled like a chandelier on the red carpet in this gorgeous Georgio Armani Privé gown.  The gown was encrusted with Swarovski crystals and all-over sequin beading.  I may have exclaimed from my couch, “I want to wear that right now!”   She looked just lovely and walked away with an Emmy for her performance in the HBO miniseries Temple Grandin.

If you watched… which dresses caught your eye??

Living Social

Posted in Entertainment, Life, Technology by Sarah on August 16, 2010

Feeling social?  Check out and sign up for their daily deals.

You don’t have to be an official socialite to join, you just have to like saving money and enjoying things around your city.  Sound like fun?  Yes it does.

Living Social provides you with a daily deal, offered through their site by a local business establishment.  Living Social deals are offered in just about every city we live in (Chicago, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Washington DC… San Jose coming soon!).  Usually the deal has to do with something social, but the specific deal or event in your city varies from day to day.

The deals cover the whole gamut, ranging from restaurants, salons and spas, to pottery-making, photography, golf lessons, and even horseback riding!  It’s a great resource to find a good deal and to learn about what’s going on in your own city!

I used it to get 55% off of pilates lessons at Mighty Pilates in San Francisco.  I had never taken a machine-based pilates class before, and had never heard of this pilates studio that recently opened.  But thanks to Living Social I am on my way to becoming an “intermediate” on the tower and the Allegro machine.  Sweet!

It’s also a great tool to learn about what’s going on in other people’s cities… and wonderful for gift ideas!

For example, Living Social told me about a cute little wine bar in Washington DC called Vinoteca.  I checked it out online and saw that they offered wine tasting classes.  When I realized that it was just a few blocks from Elizabeth & Adam’s place, voila!  Birthday present for Elizabeth!

So, sign up for the daily deal and get social!

The Men Who Stare At Goats

Posted in Entertainment by Meredith on July 22, 2010

poster for the movie

Last weekend Andy and I watched this movie on a lazy Sunday morning after dropping mom off at the airport.  The Men Who Stare At Goats is hysterical, witty, and ridiculous.  The men in it are also quite good looking.  In fact I wouldn’t mind being The Woman Who Stares At The Men Who Stare At Goats.  Okay that was a bad one, but seriously, George Clooney and Ewan McGregor – you can understand.

Ewan McGregor plays a heart-broken reporter, Bob Wilton, from Ann Arbor, Michigan trying to prove his worth to his wife, the world, and himself.  He stumbles upon Lynn Cassidy, a “former” soldier and member of the New Earth Army.  Cassidy takes Wilton under his wing and introduces him to a world of secret psychic militarism and paranormal peace-making.  Jeff Bridges plays the legendary Bill Django, founder of the New Earth Army and flower child.  Kevin Spacey is the good guy/bad guy, Larry Hooper, who will stop at nothing to make a name for himself.

Hilarity ensues on their misadventures, and if you’re not left with stitches in your stomach and philosophical thoughts about life and war, you weren’t watching the right movie. 

Rent it.  Netflix it.  Watch it.  Love it.

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