Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Coming Soon: IDENTITIES Fashion Show

Harvard Square has been a special place to me all my life. My mother is a Harvard graduate, so as kids she would take us around the neighborhood to all her favorite spots. In high school, I thought I was super cool eating at the Border Cafe with my friends and in college, when my roommates would come to visit from far away cities, Harvard Square always seemed to make it on my tour. When I graduated, I moved to Inman Square, a short 10 minute walk from Harvard. Now, living in Watertown, I commute through the Square every single day. 

Needless to say, I've taken a sincere interest in activities happening in Harvard Square. This weekend, a group of Harvard students will be hosting the IDENTITIES Fashion Show

This is the ninth year of the show and the 2015 event is being organized by a group of 22 undergraduate students. The show is completely student-run, including all of the models. Over 75 Harvard undergrads will strike a pose on the catwalk. 

IDENTITIES' mission is "to highlight fashion as an artistic and intellectual pursuit, and to celebrate cultural achievement in the industry." Past designers featured in the show have included Vera Wang and Anna Sui.

This year, the event will showcase 18 designers including Kaufman Franco (U.S.), Zimmermann (Australia) and Lie Sangbong (Korea). 

Tickets are $15 dollars per person. You can order yours here.

The doors open at 8:00pm this Saturday, April 4th, and the show begins at 9:00pm. It's rare for these types of events to be open to the public, so snag a ticket while you can! 

*Image courtesy of IDENTITIES.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Meet The Marathoner: Chris Mario

Today, in the third installment of the "Meet the Marathoner" series, I am thrilled to introduce you to Chris Mario.

When it comes to love for the city of Boston, I pretty much feel that I reign supreme. That was until I met Chris. Chris' pride, joy and enthusiasm for Beantown is unparalleled.

His devotion to Boston is only outweighed by his reason for running - to honor his friend Sam. Sam passed away from Lymphoma in January 2014. Chris is running in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for the third year in a row. This year, as in years past, he'll run with Sam's name across his shirt.

As you read the below interview with Chris, you'll want to fist bump him, but you may also need to reach for the tissues.

Thank you, Chris, for reminding us what it's all about.

PBS: When did you run your first marathon? 

CM: I ran my first marathon in Boston in 2013. (Pictured below, Chris in the 2013 race)

It was the most perfect day I could have asked for, until suddenly it wasn't. I was about two blocks past the finish line when the bombs went off. I choose to focus on the beauty and strength that came out of Boston that year. We are a community, and the Boston Marathon is a powerful expression of our resiliency and determination.

PBS: Rumor has it, this isn't your first marathon. 

CM: I ran Boston in 2013 and 2014. This year will be my third year running, all part of Team in Training with Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). Go team!

PBS: Tell us more about how you got involved with the LLS team.

CM: I first got involved with the team in December 2012 when my uncle was diagnosed with Leukemia. My uncle is thankfully healthy and doing well today.

In the spring of 2013, while I was training for Boston with LLS, one of my best friends was diagnosed with Lymphoma. Sam and I grew up in Westford together, attended and worked at the same summer camp in New Hampshire and lived together on Cape Cod for a summer in college. (Pictured below, Chris and Sam)

After many forms of treatment, Sam passed away on January 15, 2014. Sam inspired me and everyone lucky enough to know him. I miss him every day.

PBS: This is your third year running with the LLS team. What keeps you coming back?

CM: The people who support LLS are amazing. Our coaches, coordinators, water stop volunteers - they all invest so much time and energy to make the team a success.

I run to honor Sam and to support the team's mission of finding a cure for blood cancers.

PBS: Now let's talk about training. How has it been during the official worst winter in Boston's history? 

CM: In a word - amazing! We live here, we signed up for this. We run for those who can't. When you see the course packed with charity runners on a frigid Saturday morning - that is what this city is about. The Boston Marathon is a badge of pride, and training through Boston cold and snow makes that badge what it is.

Nobody said training this winter would be easy, just that it would be worth it. (Pictured below, Chris with his family after the 2014 race)

PBS: What was motivating you to run in the sub-zero temperatures or through the mountainous snow banks? 

CM: Those lucky enough to know Sam know that he was an amazingly gifted runner, but more importantly, he woke up every morning and worked hard. Sam believed that if you were given a gift, it was your job to work as hard as you can at it. We as charity runners have been given the gift to fundraise and participate in the Boston Marathon. It is our job to work at this. Every day is a gift and opportunity to do so. The cold and snowy mornings are nothing but a reminder that this is the BOSTON Marathon!

PBS: What is your favorite stretch of the course?

CM: Without a doubt - running through Boston College! A roar of students cheering meets you as you cross the final crest of Heartbreak Hill. Those pesky Newton hills have just leveled you for a few miles and you are wiped. Then you reach the heights, a downhill stretch that will lead you home to Beacon.

Keep that spirit up, BC. Keep bringing the noise! (Pictured below, Chris running the 2014 race)

PBS: Will you be wearing anything special on race day? 

CM: I run with Sam's name on my LLS jersey. For Sam's family and friends, we remember him as love. This day is about Sam.

PBS: Is there anything else you'd like the readers to know?

CM: I want to thank the city of Boston and supporters for turning out on race day every year. It truly is the crowd that makes this event what it is. As a city, this our day. Let's do this!

PBS: I don't know about you guys, but Chris is my hero. I hope you all feel as inspired as I do by his positive attitude, his unwavering commitment and his pride for our beautiful, brave city.

You can donate to Chris and his team his right here.

If you'd like to get to know the other runners in the "Meet the Marathoner" series, you can do so below.

*All images courtesy of Chis Mario.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Grey's Anatomy: Truth Time

For all my fellow "Grey's Anatomy" fans, I regret to inform you that I wasn't able to watch last night's episode because I was mid-air on my way to Miami. 

The suspense is killing me! I need to know if Derek cheated!

I plan to watch the episode and deliver you a double recap next week. 

In the meantime, please enjoy this adorbs picture of Meredith and Derek from the "Grey's" Instagram account. 

Happy weekend! 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Read: Blue Plate Special

Hello, my beautiful readers. I was hoping to be able to share a drool-worthy restaurant review with you today, but my camera has been experiencing some serious issues. In fact, this is the third time in the past month that technical difficulties have foiled my plans to share something insanely delicious with you. The camera struggle is real.

So today, instead of sharing a food review, I'm reviewing a book about food.

When I was in Miami over the holidays in December I visited my favorite book store, Books & Books in Coral Gables. I had done almost a full lap around the space when I spotted a book cover decorated with a fluffy, buttery stack of pancakes. Naturally I had to pick it up.

The book was an autographed copy of Kate Christensen's memoir called "Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography Of My Appetites." I read the first few pages there in the store and decided it would make a great commute book.

Over the course of these 353 pages, Kate shares the details of her transient life. As a child (and later as an adult) she was constantly moving, often across states lines. Her mother was married and divorced multiples times, as were some of her siblings. Her own dating life was tumultuous and only calmed once she reached her 40s. The amount of uprooting and upheaval in her life gave a control freak like me severe heart palpitations.

No matter what was happening with work, her mother, her sisters or her boyfriend, Kate always found comfort and distraction in great food. And let me tell you, boy can she write about it. In one passage, she describes the Italian sub she used to order from her neighborhood deli in New York:

"On a foot-long Italian loaf, soft and white and spongy, he slathered about half a jar each of mustard and mayo and then piled a mound of shredded iceberg, greasy rounds of salami and ham, hot green pepperoncini, and rectangular slabs of provolone. At the end, he squirted oil and vinegar from plastic bottles, sprinkled it with black pepper and salt, folded it closed, rolled it in white paper and taped it shut and cut it in half, then slid it into a paper sack between the beer and the chips. I took my dinner straight home. In the warm months, I sat outside on my bare tar roof deck, staring at the sky. I always ate and drank every drop and scrap."

She can even make a cardboard cup of chicken noodle soup sound five star:

"I spent my lunch hours inside at my desk, writing my novel on a borrowed word processor I brought every day from home, and eating chicken noodle soup with packets of saltines from the deli on Lexington Avenue. It was the only thing I ever ate for lunch on workdays - the broth, salty and rich and golden, the noodles, slippery and filling and warm, the tender chunks of chicken and carrot that gave pleasantly between my teeth, and the saltines, the perfect accompaniment, crunchy and as as salty as the broth. I enjoyed this lunch as much as a medieval lord might have enjoyed a plate of perfectly roasted pheasant or duck. And indeed I felt lordly, eating my cardboard vat of hot, savory soup, letting the noodles slide luxuriantly down my gullet, slurping the broth, opening a fifth packet of crackers."

It was her delectable descriptions of her favorite dishes that reeled me in every time. Sometimes I could feel my mouth started to water as I would read sentence after sentence about her favorite Italian restaurant or the meal she, her husband and their guests shared at her wedding reception.

While the food writing in each chapter is top notch, the personal narrative is tough. Kate endures a lot of hardship and makes herself completely raw and vulnerable with the reader.

After finishing this book, I needed something a bit lighter. A friend loaned me her copy of "I Was Told There'd Be Cake" by Sloane Crosley, which I'm about a third of the way through. I expect to finish it on my flight tonight (I'm headed to Miami for the weekend) so I'm also packing Andy Cohen's latest book "The Andy Cohen Diaries."

What are you reading?

*Image source.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Mindy Project: Getting Married

Guys, let's all take a moment to mourn the end of this season of "The Mindy Project."

I am in complete denial that the season is over and that we'll no longer be able to look forward to sharing our Tuesday nights with Mindy. Well, at least until the fall.

When I sat down to watch last night's episode, my RCN cable box decided to do this fun thing where it just shuts off without any warning. So, the first six minutes of the episode did not record. I was able to begin watching at the moment when Peter (with grotesquely long hair) is sitting in Mindy's office.

After that scene (and whatever came before it that I missed), Mindy visits a doctor Peter recommended who is played by Laura Dern. I still love her after her touching performance in "Wild." She plays a Ukrainian doctor and while speaking to Mindy she calls her fat and old. Then she tries to back peddle and says, "For this baby, this mansion you give!" (referring to her size) then she follows that up by jabbing, "You are pregnant, yes?"

Later on, Mindy and Danny head out to Staten Island and when they open the front door to Annette's house, it's a surprise baby shower. Also a surprise, Annette and Dot's matching sunflower vests.

Morgan crashes the baby shower and brings with him four blasts from Mindy's past - Lee (Schmitt from "New Girl"), Casey, Jamie (BJ Novak!) and Josh (I had forgotten about him). Morgan announces, "I've assembled the four of your ex-boyfriends I find the sexiest." I think my brain suffered a severe case of pop culture/celebrity overload at the moment those four men arrived on screen.

Mindy sends all the men away and confesses to Danny that she hasn't told her parents that they are a couple. That truth leads to Danny revealing one of his own, which is that he doesn't know if he wants to get married again. For the record, saying to a woman over 30 that you don't want to get married is like shooting yourself in the face.

Danny and Mindy wind up having a pretty sad and somber conversation about their relationship. The one moment of levity is when Mindy says (in all seriousness), "Danny, I want you to love me in a way that I can show on Instagram."

In the final scene of the episode, Danny steps off a plane in India to meet Mindy's parents. He skips Peter's wedding in Austin and flies around the world to show his devotion. He even shaved.

Now, do you think Danny knocked on the correct door? Will the next season begin with a comedy of errors? Or will we see the shocked faces of Mindy's mom and dad? More importantly, how are we going to survive Tuesdays from now until September?

*Images courtesy of The Mindy Project Facebook page.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Cozy Up: American Blanket Company (Part II)

Thank you to everyone who entered the American Blanket Company giveaway. As I said on Thursday, I've had this blanket for two years and I sit under it every single night. It's practically part of my wardrobe.

I am so excited to have partnered with American Blanket Company to welcome the new season with this surf green Supple Touch throw. Though the temperatures outside may still be below freezing, this bright green color will have you thinking spring.

As you snuggle under the coziest blanket on earth, you can also free great knowing it was made in America. They don't call it the American Blanket Company for nothing!

Now, for what you really want to know. Who won the blanket?

Without further ado, as selected by Random.org, the winner is . . . Brittany Jill! 

Congratulations! Please send your full name and preferred mailing address to popbopshopblog(at)gmail(dot)com.

Thank you again to all who entered, and an extra special thank you to American Blanket Company!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Grey's Anatomy: Team MerDer

As you may recall, last week's episode of "Grey's Anatomy" ended with Meredith calling Derek and a woman answering his phone.

This week, the hour began with all kinds of on call room (and supply room) shenanigans, first with Kepner pushing Avery into a wall and then Owen and Amelia going at it. Ahhhh, just like old times.

Callie also seemed to be getting some, ending her first date with a tall blond with a very steamy make out session. By the end of the episode we learned that Arizona used to date this woman and that she wanted them to get matching tattoos on their fourth date.

The primary patient story last night was about a man named Martin (played by the dad from "The Wonder Years"). His wife Sally, who had been caring for him, thought he had Alzheimer's. Turns out, he had fluid in his brain causing his memory loss and confusion. Post-surgery, Martin remembered everything. It was as if the last five years didn't happen.

Unfortunately, Martin's good news was quickly soured. While in a manic state, Martin drove his car into a house and injured a young pregnant woman and her husband. At first, the husband seemed to be in worse shape, but the wife quickly declined when she suffer a brain bleed. Tragically, she died on the gurney and the doctors decided to deliver her baby. I was holding my breath the entire time.

Once Martin learned that the young woman has died, he didn't want the surgery that would prevent his brain from swelling again. He wanted to forget that he's a murderer (his words, not mine). That whole scene was heartbreaking.

At the close of the episode, the Chief told Dr. Pierce that Ellis had Alzheimer's. I was waiting for her to have a total breakdown, but apparently she had genetic testing in her teen years and she already knew she was predisposed.

In the last few seconds of the episode, Derek showed up on the doorstep of his and Meredith's house. He looked guilty! All he said was, "You called and a woman answered my phone."

That's it, Shonda? That's all you give us? We are supposed to wait an entire week to find out if he cheated?

In the previews for the upcoming episode, it does look there's a female doctor interested in Derek. It better be all flirtation and no transgressions!

Tell me, do you think Derek cheated?

*Image courtesy of The Grey's Anatomy Facebook page.
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