Friday, July 29, 2011

Yeah Buddy

I found this cheery little political quiz on Facebook.  

It's harmless, and somewhat insightful.  The results don't surprise me one bit; in fact, I'm pleased!
My Political Views
I am a left moderate social libertarian
Left: 6.75, Libertarian: 1.93

My Foreign Policy Views
On the left side are pacifists and anti-war activists. On the right side are those who want a strong military that intervenes around the world.  
You scored: -5.45

My Culture War Stance
Where are you in the culture war? On the liberal side, or the conservative side? This scale may apply more to the US than other countries.  
You scored: -5.56
Political Spectrum Quiz

Go ahead and take the quiz, then post it if you dare :).

In other, ravishing, ground-breaking news in the world of Nicole, I went thrift shopping with my boys Tucker and Nick the other day. 
We ambushed our friend Caitlan at Wegmans, where she was making pizza during lunch rush hour.
We had Philly cheesesteaks (chicken cheese, for me) on the sidewalk, watching people about their business.
And we strolled a bit more, because I'm in search for a beautiful woven tapestry to hang on my wall at school next spring. The shop unfortunately wasn't open, but we found some intriguing street art. Who's the Banksy wannabe, I wonder?
At the Salvation Army, I bought an unrelentingly bright, cotton romper, a sheer floral button-down, the perfect yellow rain jacket with a hood (kind of a big deal for me-- I don't own any jackets with hoods), and a new pair of leather shoes!  Found'em in the men's section but they're broken in and fit quite nicely. 
And the grand total : $11.34 :D

Yeahhh buddayyy!  That was one of those 'so-annoying-can't-help-but-say-it' taglines at work tonight.  Cheers to the weekend, everyone!

Listening: the Yeasayer album, Odd Blood

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bonafide Berries

And I wonder why I'm so exhausted everyday..?
So you know all those berries that I picked a few weeks back and posted about?  Well, they certainly went to a good cause: my stomach.  And the select others who were lucky enough to have some ;).

Strawberry and oatmeal smoothie (!); I mean, I adore oatmeal as you know, though perhaps we'll just limit it to it's solid form.
Strawberry Muffins! Modified with applesauce and a generous amount of cinnamon. Let me know if you'd like the recipe.
I invited to dinner at my friend Jenny's house, so I used the remainder of our blueberries and strawberries into another haphazard baking attempt.
A layered cake, with a berry crumble filling inside! Flipping those things out of their pan might have been easier if I had remembered to flour them first...
Jenny was displaying her master grill skills, and I supplied dessert.
And while it wasn't the neatest presentation, it sure tasted good.

I'm lamenting the end of berry season.
I love plucking these black raspberries off the prickly brambles around our yard.
What's your favorite way to eat summer berries?  In a sense, I'm a purist because I don't feel that fruit this good needs to be covered and disguised in various dishes, but if you handed me a can of whipped cream I would go at them like no tomorrow.

Listening: "All Day" by Girl Talk

Sunday, July 24, 2011

All This City and Not Ever Enough Time

I went to New York City in June to apply for my French student visa, then returned last weekend to pick it up.  
Other than being at JFK International Airport, that was my first true visit to the Big Apple!  I have to say, it didn't let me down.  Since I've lived in the country for so long, I thrive on the bursting energy and diversity and opportunity!  I also left with a new camera after the first visit.  Here's a look at some of the things I did:

A mother and her daughter cooling off near the World Trade Center.
Rockefeller Center in the brilliant sun.
An amazing tree house in Central Park!
It was called "A Tree House for Dreaming", and was created for the Young Arts program ( in 2007.
Argos Tea is my equivalent of a small child in a candy shop.
South Street Seaport on the pier; it's as if the ships could float into the city.
The New Amsterdam Market off of Fulton Street, right near the pier.  It's open every Sunday from 11 to 4 and it's absolutely wonderful, I couldn't get over all the hand-crafted foods.
Delicious tomato strecci from Sullivan Street Bakery!
Shaved ice (with elderberry and rhubarb syrup) from People's Pops of NYC.
The Fulton Street subway station. I had a lot of experience taking the underground/metro/subway/train while in France, so it didn't bother me at all. I actually find it quite efficient to use in the city.
We watched the last 15 minutes of the Women's World Cup Soccer Game in Times Square with thousands of others-- including that agonizing shoot-out!
And there's the French Consulate on the East Side of Central Park.  That modest apartment, where all the magic happens :P.

For those of you that have visited New York, what are some of your favorite places and things to do?! Trust me, I've filled my journal and Urbanspoon with a wishlist of pending adventures. I can't wait to go back one day on my own terms and crawl the entire city, not just Manhattan!  Anyone with me?
But jeez I can't believe it is almost August-- where has this month gone?! I just keep working like a horse in this heat... though since I don't go in until tomorrow night, I'll be spending this one with my friends :).  Take care, and have a fantastic week!

Listening: "Something Good Can Work" by Two Door Cinema Club

Saturday, July 16, 2011

We are Warped

Just to review the last few summers of Warped Tour...
Summer 2008 : First time, we had no idea what we were getting into.  A lot of giddyness and typical teen-groupie 'tude, but we met some of our musical heroes (Tom DeLonge of Angels and Airwaves/blink-182, Travie McCoy of Gym Class Heroes, We the Kings, All Time Low and, at the time for me, Jonathan Cook of Forever the Sickest Kids)!
Summer 2009 : Same crew, and with a summer under our belts we knew exactly what to look for and how to handle it all!  This photo is with a poster from a Canadian band who was relatively unknown to us at the time called Down With Webster.  When all the bands and tents were packing up, we stole all the DWW posters possible!  I crowd surfed for the first time during the 3OH!3 set and we saw The Maine do sick nasty things with Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me".
Summer 2010 : We added a few more people to the crew but they drove separately so they weren't in the picture.  I saw We The Kings again, and was practically spat on by Tyson Ritter's singing during the All-American Rejects.  There were more that I watched but those moments stand out most at the moment.

Summer 2011 (on Tuesday) : Our group ever-evolving, but Cassie, Bianca and I are still veterans :). 
I wasn't really going for any band in particular this year (although seeing 3OH!3 for the fourth time was great), but we still had a blast.  Oh, except for the fact that I forgot my ticket and was sizzling out in the parking lot for the first three hours o_O.  I'm quite absentminded at times; I was annoyed but not too surprised that it happened.  However, the fun of the rest of the day made up for it.
Yup, we stumbled upon some new bands, snuck into Darien Lake Amusement Park at the end of the concerts, indulged our sun-stoned, starving selves around midnight at Denny's and took a group picture-- with me still in the same position (intentionally).
My friend Jen had her first Warped experience, and she was able to meet one of her musician crushes, Stephen Jerzak. I just love this photo because it looks so natural, like that he's still genuinely happy to meet every one of his fans. That's one of the pleasures of this tour and interacting with groups who haven't hit it too big yet.
These pictures (via Buffalo News and Buzznet) were of Bad Rabbits (the group on the left) and Foxy Shazam (right), who both played on the Skullcandy Stage.  I wandered over to Bad Rabbits because they were bouncing all over stage, the singer had a magnificent falsetto and the crowd was dancing-- and they're totally my kind of group!  Their music was like modern soul and funk with some punk and R&B influences.  I was stoked when they told me afterwards that being from Boston, they've actually played at my school concert venue before!!  I'm trying to rally them back next spring for another performance :).  And Foxy Shazam, I can't deny, they are pretty odd but I was intrigued by the name and held down to their set too!  I can't describe their sound as well, but there are big choruses and a trumpet player and lots of energy.  They are certainly worth checking out.

It wasn't awful this year, but it wasn't anything mind-blowing.  We'll see if I end up going next summer if the line-up is really dynamic, though for now it was simply another beautiful sunset across the park as Warped Tour packed up and moved onto the next location.

Whoo, and I'm going back to NYC tomorrow to pick up my French student visa, cheers for two-day road trips!  I hope you're all surviving this summer heat with grace.
Listening:  Arcade Fire's Grammy-winning album, The Suburbs

Monday, July 11, 2011

Open Up Your Eyes

When I went to New York (which I have still failed to write about), I was brilliantly schemed into purchasing a new Olympus camera. I do regret that it cost more than normal retail, but so far the exposure of the photos has been more than satisfying.
Here's a glance into my life-- sometimes through the filters of the camera as well!

No harm done in a little photo editing and experimentation.  Tomorrow I'm heading off to Vans Warped Tour, take four.  I can't wait to fill you in on the ear-bursting adventures under the blistering sun :).
Listening:"Surprise, Surprise" by Brett Dennen