What I Really Want Most in Life Right Now…

Is for…Halle Berry to finally get a new haircut.

C'mon Hal, how long have you been rocking this look for now?

You know the old saying, ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it?’ Well, if I had to guess, I’d say Halle is probably living by that mantra.  I kind of agree with it too, but not in this case.  Halle has a beautiful face and could clearly rock a variety of styles, so why not mix it up every now and then, Hal?  You’ve been wearing the same haircut since Clinton was in office.  I think it’s time to try a little somethin’ somethin’ new.  What do you say?

Is for…The women on The Bachelor to stop crying over Ben or any other “bachelor” for that matter.

Poor, poor Kacie B...whatchu gonna do? Cry over Ben? C'mon girl, get it together!

I’m not even sure I should get started on this subject, because you won’t be able to shut me up.  I’ll try to keep it simple:  Why do these women season after season weep over these lame-o Bachelors?  If you put it into perspective, the whole filming process of The Bachelor is about eight weeks long.  These women barely even know the guys that they’re bawling their eyes out over!  Yet season after season, they carry on as if this bachelor is the last man on earth.  Go figure.

While I’m on The Bachelor subject…

What I also really want most in life right now is for Courtney from The Bachelor to get some payback.  Like, big time payback.

Ugh.

Be careful, Ben, this one is a handful.  She has been nothing but mean-spirited, manipulative, and sinister during this entire season of The Bachelor.  Holy cow, she is probably the meanest woman to ever step foot on The Bachelor, and that is saying a lot, because there have been some doozies!  I think the worst part of all, is that there have been rumors swirling around that she is the one to snag Ben in the end, and GASP, gets proposed to.  Ugh, the nerve of this wench.  If that’s true, which I hope it’s not, one can only hope karma is a real thing, and that it eventually comes back to bite her in her skinny dipping a.

Is to…Finally accept that I basically had a Toddlers in Tiaras childhood.

Yes, this is me.

As some of you already know I have a special place in my heart for Mackenzie from Toddlers in Tiaras, and now you all know why.  Now in my defense, I may be wearing a massive crown and a fur coat, but I hope you notice that there is not a stitch of make-up on my face.  I’d also like to add that I strictly competed in the talent part of the contest, which usually consisted of me singing a song and doing a little tap dance.  I never did that weird thing that the kids do nowadays where they make sexy faces and “eye contact” with the judges.  It was different in the 80’s…Do you all notice a trend here, though?  What I really want most in life right now is to accept my toddlers in tiaras childhood, but as you can see, I’m not quite there yet!

Is to…Start wearing heels again before I am old enough to break a hip from doing so.

I will wear heels again...I will wear heels again...I will wear heels again...

Living in Grenada for two years in flip-flops really did a number on my feet, but if I’m honest, I hadn’t worn heels for a good year or two before that anyhow.  Being such a short little lady (only 5’2″), I should really be rocking some cute heels every now and then, but I don’t.  Ever.  You would think I would be forced to get my feet into some heels now that I’m back in New York, but instead I have graduated to Ugg boots this winter, which are basically the equivalent to flip-flops.  Ugg boots are a great way to cheat wearing real shoes, because they are practically like wearing slippers.  I have got to start wearing heels before I really am old enough to break a hip.  Plus, I have no excuse.  My Grandma Barkoff literally wore four-inch wedges until the day she died, which was at 88!  Would you believe me if I told that I never once saw my grandma stand up without her heels on?  Well, believe it, because my grandma never let anyone see her without her heels!  She even put them on with her robe and pajamas in the morning!  Yeah, I know, that’s awesome, right?

Is to…Be just like Liza Minnelli when I grow up, minus all the drug and alcohol problems.

Icon.

This could actually fall under “What I really want most in life always,” because there is seriously no one else on earth that I would want to switch singing and dancing abilities with.  Who is better than Liza?  I can answer that.  No one.  She is the greatest there is, ever was, and ever will be.

~The End.

Photos by stylebistro.com, wetpaint.com, okhereisthesituation.com, pinterest, collegelifestyles.org, cyanyde.tumblr.com

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It’s My Party And I’ll Cry If I Want to.

That is, happy tears of course!

So listen to this…

Matt and I flew back to New York on my 29th birthday this past Saturday.  We had a rough night the night before we left, complete with Matt accidentally punching himself in the eye…No, I’m not kidding.  It was crazy, Matt was weighing one of our extremely heavy pieces of luggage, when the luggage scale snapped, causing his right hand to shoot up, hitting himself in the eye!  He had to go down to the university clinic on campus to get bandaged up, and he still has a black eye! 

Thankfully, though, the next morning when we left, everything went very smoothly, and we had a really great flight.  We got off the plane, got all five pieces of our seventy pound luggage, and made our way to ground transportation, where Matt’s parents were picking us up.  When we walked out, I saw Matt’s mom and dad waving to us.  They made their way toward us, and we said our hello’s.

Matt and his Pop.

Then, suddenly something or someone caught my eye…

I looked…

Then, I took a double take…

It was my parents!

My dad is not in the picture, because he was the one taking the pictures!

They came to New York all the way from Michigan and surprised me for our U.S.A homecoming, and for my birthday.

The craziest part is…I had NO idea.

When I saw my mom in her red coat, I didn’t believe it.  For a second, I thought I was just seeing someone who looked like her, but then I saw my dad smiling as big as his mouth could smile, holding his brand-spankin’ new movie recorder, and that’s when I knew it was real.

I was beyond surprised.

Matt's mom, my mom, and me.

Let me say this, it really is hard to dupe me.  Naturally, I am a very inquisitive person, I ask lots of questions, and I easily pick up on discrepancies.  My parents told me a host of lies to pull this thing off, complete with forwarding their house phone calls to their cell phone, so that I wouldn’t catch on.  Last Friday my parents went into the city for a viewing of Regis and Kelly, when I called, and they told me they were out Christmas shopping.  Somehow I fell for everything, and to be honest, I am a little shocked that I did!  P.S.  I am convinced I didn’t catch onto the scheme, because I had been so busy packing and getting ready to move, but everyone else says that they just fooled me really, really well.  Maybe they’re right!

The best part was, Matt’s mom had orchestrated the whole event months ago!  She invited my parents to stay at their house, and my parents took her up on it, and had been visiting for days, before Matt and I even got home.  How cute is that?

I’ve literally never ever been more surprised in my entire life…not even when I got engaged!!

It was my best birthday ever.

Here are some other shots from that day.

Homecoming and birthday dinner.

That's a big bowl of pasta, eh? That's how we Italians do it up.

Did you notice that the name on the bottle says Palma? That's because Matt's dad makes wine. Cool, right?

Birthday cake! My absolute favorite, Baskin Robins Oreo cookie ice cream cake.

Opening birthday presents! That's my dad sitting next to me, and my mom sitting on the floor.

My parents went back to the Mitten State on Monday, but Matt and I have enjoyed some long overdue time with his family, including his twin nephews James and Joseph.  I even had the honor of doing their very first haircut!

Joe-Joe Bear

Sweet Baby James (like the James Taylor song.)

All I can say is, it’s good to be back in good ol’ New York, New York, and on American soil.  Just yesterday, Matt and I walked into a grocery store, and I’m not even kidding, I felt like I was entering the gates of heaven when I saw the enormous variety of food.

I have to admit, it is quite cold here, and I already miss that Caribbean sun, but not enough to give all this up.

Nope.  Not even close.

~The End.

There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch…

Did this just make you go, "Wait, what?!" Well, that's the point.

Over and over again in my life I have heard people say, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”  Each time I’ve heard it, I never really thought much of it.  There’s no such thing as a free lunch?  What the big deal?  I always thought that it sounded a bit cynical each time I heard someone say this, because of course something can be free sometimes..I mean, can’t it???

To answer my own question…

No, it can’t.  <–I have crossed over to the other side of the cynics, if you hadn’t already made that connection.

The experience I had with this recently doesn’t have so much to do with something being literally free, as it has to do with thinking that you’re getting a good deal on something with no strings attached.

So, the story went something like this.  Matt and I have started to prepare for life after Grenada, which is rapidly approaching in less than two months.  We will be back in New York in December so Matt can take his big exam, the Step 1, in March.  This is a huge huge huge test, as it determines where he’ll be placed for his clinical rotations, and it is also detrimental to his medical school career entirely.  This test is basically a cumulative test of everything he has learned thus far.  Yikes?  Yeah, yikes.  That is why Matt, along with all of his peers, go to great lengths to prepare for this test.

One friend of Matt’s is going to stay in a Monk ward to have proper solitude to study for this exam.

I can't imagine any place quieter than a Monk ward...I think he's onto something.

While others opt to go away to a retreat for six to seven weeks, where you basically eat, sleep, and breathe preparation for this test.

There happens to be a retreat in New York City and in Texas.  Since we will already be in New York, we thought it made more sense for Matt to do the course in the city.  The only catch was that we would have to stay in the city, because the commute from Long Island (where we live) into the city every day would be much too far for Matt to travel, as it would inevitably waste valuable studying time.

So, we’ll get a place in the city for two months, and Matt can go to his retreat, while I can take live classes at school if I want to, or go back to work for a few days, or maybe do a few auditions…

Not so fast, sister.

First of all, we thought renting out an apartment in the city for two months would be easy as pie.  Nope.  Apartments in the area where we would need to stay, in order for Matt to be close to the exam preparation site, are insanely expensive.  Like, they’re so expensive that I can’t even begin to talk about it.

Then, I found a beacon of light.

It came at the very moment I needed it the most.  I found somewhere for us to stay on Craigslist.  It was a gorgeous apartment within 10 minutes from where Matt would need to be, extremely affordable, and in a really safe area.  I wrote to the woman who had the listing, and she responded immediately.  Yes, the apartment was available for when we needed it.  Yes, that was the right price, and she was even going to give us an even better deal for staying for such a long period of time.  All we had to do was send her a check for a deposit and she would reserve the place for us.

As I read this on my computer, I almost died.  It was totally in our budget, and it was perfect!  I told Matt the good news and he was also excited.  For a minute.

But then he said, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.  This has to be a scam.”

I was like, “No way!  She even ended her email with God bless.  It can’t possibly be a scam…I mean, can it?!”

Matt got on his computer, while I sat on the bed anxiously waiting for the verdict.  Ten minutes went by and he said, “I typed in her name in Google and one thousand hits came up that she is a scam artist.”

Apparently this woman puts up fake pictures of apartments all over Craigslist, and all over the country.  It’s always the same apartment picture on every listing, and she gets innocent unassuming people to send her deposits to reserve the place.  Then, when people show up at the apartment, they quickly realize that someone else lives there.  I even read one story about a girl who sent her a check for $2,000, so her parents could stay at the apartment for a 35th wedding anniversary vacation.  Her parents arrived in New York, went right to the apartment from the airport, and soon realized it was all a scam.  Then, they had to scramble to find somewhere else to stay at the last-minute.  They ended up having to pay for the only hotel that had available rooms, which ended up costing them $5,000.  Some anniversary trip.

I guess the lesson to be learned in this, that there really is no such thing as a free lunch, and if something seems too good to be true, that’s because it usually is.

So…it looks like we’ll be going to Texas for six weeks.

Oh well, at least I’ll escape another New York winter…

~The End

Photos courtesy of seasite.niu.edu and blog.checkadvantage.com

 

 

Shall We Brunch?

There is something so divine about brunching, isn’t there?  When I’m in New York, one of my very favorite things to do on a Sunday afternoon is to go to brunch, and to order my uj of a goat cheese, tomato, and basil omelet, a spicy (non-alchy) bloody mary, a cup of coffee with full fat half and half and two splenda’s, and a homemade muffin to pick at on the side.  That’s what I usually order at my favorite brunch joint, Isabella’s, anyway…

So, lately I’ve felt a little melancholy about my old brunching days, and just a little reflective about NYC in general.  Since I’ve been in Grenada, this time of year has been the hardest for me, because you don’t really know me, if you don’t know about my love for the fall in New York.  I mean, there’s a reason why they’ve made movies called Autumn in New York.  It makes me sad every time I think about another fall season going by that I’m missing.  There is just something about drinking a non-fat extra hot chai latte, while traipsing around  Central Park and looking at the beautiful changing leaves.  In my opinion, it’s just the most gorgeous time of year, and as a friend and I once dubbed it: the most amazingly awesome weather for fashion ever (hence the perfect time to sport a t-shirt and a scarf, a skirt and cute riding boots, a dress with a light fall jacket, etc.)

Can't you see why I love it so?

So, when I was invited over by a friend of mine for brunch at her apartment, it came at the perfect time and when I needed it the most.  I took my invitation to the brunch very seriously and baked a homemade pumpkin bread from scratch.  It was raining while I was baking, and for a minute, the spicy smell of the bread made me feel like it was really fall weather out, and not the 100 degrees that it really was.

I honestly looked forward to my little event with the girls all weekend, and when it came time, it was just so much fun to do something different for a change.  It can get pretty monotonous around here, so it was fun to shake things up a bit.

We had good conversation…

FYI: This conversation was definitely not as serious as it seems to be...

We had a delish spread of treats…

Yes, the watermelon is yellow here...Weird, huh?

Delish egg fritata, watermelon, blueberry bran muffin, pumpkin bread, and a mimosa to top it off right...

A cute little puppy for company, too…

Chewy was so ready for his close up...

Wouldn’t be complete without a little girl talk…

A little gossiping never hurt anyone...okay, so that's not true, but let's face it, sometimes it's needed.

It was a fun morning, and definitely did the trick in making me miss New York a wee bit less.  However, when I walked outside after my lovely get together, and I felt the heat beating down on my shoulders, I realized there was unfortunately nothing that could make me miss my favorite season in New York less…except for maybe New York itself.

~The End

Central Park photo by stephaniefrost.net

Detroit…WE NEEDED THIS!!!

So, tonight Detroit beat the Yanks!  In doing so the Tigers eliminated New York in the division series for the second time in six seasons.

I definitely shrieked like a wild banshee when they won…

Holy sh*tballs we won!!

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes!!

Yeah, that happened. Woo-hoo!

I have to admit, last week when my New York family wanted to make a bet with me on who was going to win, I was weary.  I believed in the Tigers, but let’s face it, the Yankees are kind of the bomb lately…and not lately too.

As I have mentioned before, I am a native Detroiter and was born and raised in the mitten state.  That’s why I couldn’t even think about rooting for the Yanks (even though I’ve lived in New York for over 10 years now.)

I couldn’t root for the Yanks, you see, because Detroit is my hometown.  Period.

As I mentioned before, Detroit needed this.  Detroit has been through a hell of a lot lately, and tonight was finally our time to shine, and we did.  It’s no secret that I get a little sensitive when people bad mouth my home state.  It’s sad that there is such a stigma behind where I’m from, and it’s hard not to get down when it constantly gets such a bad rap.  I may be petite, but I will take anyone on that has anything to say about the D and fight the bitter battle.  Why, might you ask?  Well, because it’s simple…

I believe.

People just assume Detroit is going under, and that it’s a place that is filled with nothing but violence.  By the way, these things are mostly assumed by people who have never even stepped foot in Detroit, let alone walked a mile in our shoes.  No matter what, there is one fact that always remains…

Detroit is for fighters…plain and simple…We’re scrappy…but most of all…

We have heart.

The Tigers displayed that immense heart tonight.

And nobody can take that away from us.

Go Tigers!

How we learn the alphabet in Detroit.

Would You Rather…

Be stranded on a desert island with your 4 worst enemies?

B*tches might make your life miserable, but then again, maybe you'd start to like each other after awhile...

Or be completely alone?

And lose your marbles like this fool...

Would you rather be alone and rich?

Leona Helmsley was so rich, but died so alone that she left her fortune to her dog. No, I'm not kidding.

Or be loved and poor?

Are you really poor if you're rich in love?

Would you rather live a long life but never find true love?

Can you ever truly be fulfilled if never loved in return?

Or live a short life but experience passionate true love for 6 months?

Can anything really match the feeling of being loved? Even if it's in exchange for a shorter life?

Would you rather be able to fly?

Just think, you could go anywhere in the world you've ever wanted to go...

Or be able to read minds…

And you could know what everyone is really thinking...but maybe your feelings might get hurt if you could...

So…

Tell me…

What would you rather?

Part 3: Stories from the Good Ship Lollipop…The End…

Continued from Part 2…

Part 3:

I went back to see That Old Wench one last time, and I hoped we would be besties.  False.  I just hoped she wasn’t going to make me cry, but being as though I already had my “cry face” on (aka; The cry-face is the face you get when you are trying not to cry, but everyone else can totally tell you’re going to bust), I had a bad feeling this was not going to end well, and it didn’t.  The last thing That Old Wench told me right before I left to go to the biggest audition of my life was…get ready for it, get ready…ready?

She said, “You’re not going to get this part.”  She just plainly looked at me like I was a piece of dust on her coffee table, and the words seemed to effortlessly spill from her mouth. That is literally all she said.  I sat there on that same dusty couch I had sat on for the last two days, and I was stunned.  Never one to be at a loss for words, I was completely dumbfounded, but I wasn’t sunk yet. I wasn’t about to cry (even though I had my cry face on), because That Old Wench was not going to get one tear out of me.  That Old Wench can go blow.

I arrived at the audition nervous, but more excited than anything else.  I put the words of That Old Wench in the back of my mind, and I was feeling good.  As I walked through the doors I was not ready for what I was about to see.  I saw at least ten little heads all ‘a chop complete with bangs and bobs and in the Mary Lennox hairdo.  Oh my God, I think I just hallucinated…Was this really happening?? Why, yes, yes it was.  It was my worst nightmare realized, and coming to me in the form of bangs and bobs.  Why me?  Why meeeeeee??? (<–FYI; To this day, I still can’t stand to see this haircut.  When Katie Holmes got the bangs and bob, I had to look away for at least six months.) I don’t know if it was That Old Wench’s words coming back with full force, or if it was that I was psyched out by all the little bangs and bobs invading my personal space, but I began to feel really discomBOBulated <–No pun intended.

I waited outside the audition room for my turn, and I suddenly loathed my dumb beret(<–FYI; To this day I can’t listen to Raspberry Beret by Prince.) Just when the bangs and bobs were about to undoubtedly drive me straight over the edge…

My name was called by a girl with a clipboard, “Sarah Barkoff?”

“Yes, here,” I said and got up and went into the audition room.

I was nervous walking into the room, that had at least eight people sitting at a long table staring at me wondering if I was their Mary Lennox, but escaping the bangs and bob room from hell, seemed to do wonders for my nerve.  I was asked to do my first song, and then go straight into the dialogue, which I did, and I felt like everything was falling into place. It wasn’t until the beginning of my second song, that the audition began to take a turn for the worse.

The woman in the first seat all the way to the left said, “Okay Sarah, now can you do the same line, but do it a little more perturbed?”  She said this as she talked to me like a baby.  Awkward.

Okay lady, WHAT THE EF does ‘perturbed’ mean??!! I’m 11, you crazy broad(<–inner thoughts and feelings…)  I started to panic, and think about That Old Wench’s last words to me.  And for some odd reason, I don’t know why, but all I could think of was the little blond girl from the picture in That Old Wench’s apartment, with her cool jean jacket on.  I thought to myself, “Laura Bell Bundy wouldn’t blow this audition…Laura would never show up in a dumb beret, she would have gotten the bangs and bob…Laura. Would. Get. The. Part.”  Except little did I know, Laura wouldn’t have gotten the part, because the part wasn’t for a blondie, it was for a brunette-ie.  Oh, little did my 11-year-old self know…

“Okay, sure,” I said as I proceeded to do the same line the exact same way, because I had no clue what the ef ‘perturbed’ meant.

“Okay Sarah, thank you very much.  We will let your agent know when we have made a decision,” said the woman in the first seat all the way to the left.

For those of you who don’t know, those exact words, nothing more, nothing less, is basically the kiss of death in showbiz.  I knew it was over the second I heard the dreadful, “Okay Sarah, thank you very much.”  Usually if there is a chance of sealing the deal, there will be more dialogue between the auditionee and auditioner, and inquiring about the logistics of accepting the role, but really at 11-years-old, I figured as much because they never asked to speak with my mom or dad afterward.  So, I knew.

And I was right.  I didn’t get the part.  The casting people told my agent that they actually really did like me, but that I looked too mature for the role, and they wanted a little girl who had a younger look, so all in all, I just wasn’t right for the part. (P.S. Thank God I didn’t cut my hair!  Thanks Ma!)  When all was said and done, I went home to Michigan, and did not go back to New York City for any auditions for the next 8 years.  However, my dream of playing  Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden did come true about a year later.  I played the part in a professional production of the show in Ann Arbor, MI, and the best part was, I still got to be a normal kid and stay put in Michigan with my family.  I still think leaving New York when I did was the best decision I ever made, and I am happy that I was able to have all the normal experiences a kid should have, and that I had a chance to just blend in with my peers for while.

The End…Just kidding!  Are you crazy?  I’m not about to not give you a follow-up on everyone involved in this story!

First things first…

That Old Wench:  Well, apparently That Old Wench is alive and kicking (I googled her), and likely still making other little girls cry.  I would tell you her name, and show you a picture of her, but then I would have to kill you.  Just kidding, but I don’t want to get sued for slander!  Hint:  I will tell you that she recently wrote a way famous screenplay, with a way famous lead actress in the lead role, based on a popular book and blog. 

Next we have…Laura Bell Bundy…

Remember this classy little broad?

Laura Bell Bundy is now a way famous country singer, so apparently I had an eye for talent. P.S. Love me some big hair, too, Laura.

And then there's me. I'm not famous or anything, but I'm happy. Hooray.

Photos courtesy of candistar.com and laurabellbundyfans.com