We’re Smitten With…Spotify

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I will admit I have been a die hard Pandora user since it’s inception. So, when my instructor Nicola Yvette asked me if I used Spotify, I was clueless. At first glance I couldn’t be bothered learning a new interface and letting go of my current playlists on ol’ Pandora- but the buzz about this newcomer was getting louder. I realized I had to try it out and dipped my toe in with the free version. Much like my old friend, you can listen to millions of songs on your computer sprinkled with irritating commercials- big deal. On further exploration though,  you can see where Spotify really shines. They took social media and infused it with music sharing. Make a playlist, search for your buds on the FaceBook and subscribe to theirs. Don’t fret, you’ll still have the ability to listen to a radio station based on that new Carly Rae Jepsen song. Pay $5 a mo to get rid of those pesky Rite Aid spots, or twice that to have the luxury of listening to all your playlists and tunes on your iphone while underground, no WiFi required. Just upload an actual application for your computer which works without internets, and the annoying “are you still listening?” stoppage from ahem…the other guys. Upload your iTunes to Spotify for a one stop music shop if you desire, but the biggest draw for Spotifiers is the social media interaction. Even if the thought of sharing your music choices on Twitter gives you hives, this is worth trying. Get the premium for gratis for 30 days. See if you even miss…what’s their name again?

5 Things I’m Smitten With 56

Aww…you missed me! The word on the street is that everyone’s missing their weekly fix of 5 things. Well, we weren’t trying to deprive you on purpose, but in order to redo my blog and create my lifestyle brand, some things had to give. Now 5 Things I’m Smitten With (the killer email that’s been landing in your inbox every Friday) will now only arrive every two weeks. Don’t fret though- ’cause now there’s another way to get smitten with your life! Simply visit my new blog: lindsaylopez.com and subscribe to get updates every time I post. I’ll be blogging about those same things I’ve been smitten with all along, as well as other juicy tidbits on fitness, fashion, food, and any other fabulous thing that strikes my fancy. All I ask in return for your dose of this goodness is share the word!!! Forward this email to someone you’re smitten with, post on your Facebook wall, or tweet away to all your followers- because these 5 Things are too good to keep to yourself!
x~Lindsay

 

Sunday Night Dinner
My friends know me as a kind of maven. If you want to know about the newest restaurant in the neighborhood, the place to buy some cool digs, or what music to put in your ears or novel to pour over- I’m your gal. So it’s no surprise that I knew all about The Sunday Night Dinner in Astoria. Back in 2003 two fellow foodies, Tamara and Zora, met while working in (what else), a restaurant. They bonded straightaway by their love of all things delicious and their home borough of Queens with it’s eclectic eats. What started out as a casual, ‘come as you are, just bring some wine!’ dinner for friends and family, has developed into a regular gig. This underground supper club is the hottest ticket in Astoria. So, when I serendipitously was invited to a get-together for fellow Astoria bloggers, imagine my delight when I realized I was going for an infamous Sunday Night Dinner! A table full of strangers, glasses of wine in hand, my world came full circle. For this special dinner Tamara Renyolds produced course after course of goodness. Candied bacon lollipops, heirloom carrot salad with lemon, cardamom, and ginger, and of course for dessert- roasted plums with burnt honey ice cream. If you’re not lucky enough to get an invite, check out the duos awesome collection of recipes in their book, Forking Fantastic. Such a lovely tradition I was privy to. I encourage you to make your own rituals, they are even more fun on the down-low.

 

Vitamin String Quartet
I get emails from time to time with suggestions about things I just might be smitten with. Last week my old friend (old as in time we’ve known each other, not in biological age. Although we’re both getting up there!) Chris Jerger gave me a fantastic tip, the Vitamin String Quartet. Not a huge classical music fan, I was skeptical that these musicians could imbue a rock n’ roll approach to what usually puts me to sleep. After backing up some of the heaviest rock groups, filling out their harsh music with the groups melodious arrangements of sound, these LA based instrumentalists have expanded with covers of some of the industries most popular artists. They have countless albums to pick from, but so far what I’ve downloaded (their versions of Lady Gaga and Adele) I just can’t shut it off. If you listen carefully you just might hear their sweet-sounding instrumentals playing ‘Paparazzi’ in my studio…

 

Hunger Games
I’ve been devouring books lately. Most of my choices were recommendations from my client Dara. Like me, Dara is a voracious reader and favors a good suspense or who-done-it titles. In preparation for our recent hurricane scare (yes, apparently we can have hurricanes in NYC!) she gave me a couple good reads to pass the time. One of those were The Hunger Games. Author Suzanne Collins intended this series for pre-teens, but it’s caught on like wildfire to all most every adult I know. The Hunger Games is the first of a series of three novels featuring the young heroine Katniss Everdeen as she struggles for survival in the destruction of what once was North America and against it’s malicious governing body. Part thrill, part romance tale, I was hard-pressed to put this down and finally gave in when my clock read 3am! A quick read, but easily habit-forming, you’ll find yourself jones-ing for the next installment the moment you close the book. Stay tuned for a movie version on it’s way to a theater near you.

 

Trader Joes WIne Shop
I recently sung the praises of my California transplant Trader Joes. While in the Cali stores, liquor laws permit wine to be sold right along side the trail mix and frozen pizza. Here in NYC you can’t find the hooch (with the exception of beer) inside the grocery store. Luckily Trader Joes has a resolution- their very own wine shop! The Trader Joes Wine Shop is the only one of it’s kind here in the city, and lucky for me- it’s right down the street from my studio. While the lines in the grocery store usually keep me long enough to discourage me from repeating the wait on the wine side, I recently braved the crowds, and was so happy I did. For an art reception we were throwing at the studio, I needed libations, and at a fair price. I was amazed at the size and selection inside. Frankly, it put the two tiny aisles of bottles I was accustomed to back home to shame. I made it out with 22 bottles of medium grade vino and clocked in at only $150! You can do the math, but that comes out to only $6.80 a bottle. I tried lots of new labels and got a few of my old favs. Here are my choices for your trip to shangri-liquor:

Schloss Biebrech Sekt
An old fav from my friends in Cali. We’ve drunk our fill of this $3.99 sparkling gem to give it a big thumbs up. Clean, crisp, a tad fruity it’s great to drink on it’s own or mix with juice, mimosa style.

2009 Green Fin California White Table Wine
I just had this for the first time on my recent scavenger hunt. Apparently a Trader Joes’ exclusive, this organic wine is from the same producers as 2 Buck Chuck. At $3.99 a bottle this was a surprise cheap hit at the party. It’s almost oaky in color, but in taste is beautifully fruity with notes of tropical locals on your palate.

2007 Picket Fence Pinot Noir
This spicy Russian River Valley favorite usually retails for $30 a bottle. Not so at good ‘ol TJ’s. Here it’s an affordable $8.99 a bottle. One of the most expensive bottles I purchased, I will be going back to get more any day now. Light bodied, with an essence of fruit (strawberries and cherries, oh my!). Low acidity with a delightful vanilla finish. Not to be missed.

 

LinkedIn iphone app
I don’t update my iphone nearly often enough, and I usually barely notice the updates on the apps as they come in. Not the case with LinkedIn’s iphone app. I admit I’m usually much more of a frequent Twitter and Facebook user. So, imagine my surprise when I opened my LinkedIn app and could barely even recognize it! The main page opens up to a dashboard that has all you need- updates, status, profile, connections, inbox, etc. The newest techie feature that I’m planning on using at my next networking trip is the “in person” bluetooth linking ability to share info wirelessly. Now if that’s not Star-Trekky I don’t know what is. Facebook- take a lesson from your friends at LinkedIn. Your app is pretty crappy in comparison…..just saying.

5 Things I’m Smitten With 53

 

Fitist
Before I had my studio, I taught Pilates all over the city. One of my more pleasurable experiences was at Flywheel Sports. I learned to spin, and got to be a part of something on the ground floor, and I met so many fantastic people- including Caroline Levy Limpert. Caroline did press among many other things for Flywheel, and we hit it off right away. Now, about a year later we both have launched our own ventures. Mine, a boutique Pilates studio in Union Square, her’s Fitist, a one-stop website for fitness devotees and those who aspire to be one. Caroline, along with her partner and equally delightful lady, Neda Talebian Funk, are on to something here. These “fitists” have assembled some of the hottest experts like celebrity trainer David Kirsch and well known Pilates mogul, Alycea Ungaro- and invited them to design workout plans for everyone from the tri-athlete to the “rookie”. Partnering with some of NYC’s leading classes and studios, their site is a one-stop-shop to manage, book, and plan your fitness regime. Enjoy perks other than just looking and feeling great- like last minute deals on personal training, massage, and even private Pilates sessions (some with yours truly). If trying to be fit gives you a headache, these ladies will ease your pain.

 

 

Madewell
Ever since my all-time favorite clothing store, Martin and Osa shuttered, I’ve been a fashion ship without an rudder. After months of mourning, I’ve found a new brand for my life, Madewell. Owned by JCrew, Madewell is like their younger, hipper, edgier sister. While they’re still classic and timeless designs (they offer solid basics that will go with everything you already have in you wardrobe), they mix it up with polka dot pants, mis-matched patterns, and bohemian touches like fur collars, bo-ho beads, and combat boots. The designs are the same high quality that you’re used to from J-Crew, at a similar price point. Make sure to sign up for their mailing list to get discounts and be in the know about sales and new styles. Check out their fall lookbook, just be sure to keep a handkerchief handy to wipe up the drool that’s sure to occur.

 

 

Humblebrag
There’s nothing better than false modesty, except maybe the real thing. Addicted to Twitter, I love that I’m capable of perusing the tweet-o-sphere for hilarious little gems. My newest favorite, that’s all the titter of twitter is Humblebrag. The humblebrag is the ultimate ironic statement. You’re so famous that you have to tell everyone you hob-nob with David Beckham, only to add it he is less than stellar. You want everyone to know that you’re a successful novelist, but also that you were pained when you saw someone leaf through your novel only to put it promptly back on the shelf. You’re gorgeous and glamourous enough to be mistaken for Jackie O, but feel the need to make the rest of us ogres feel better by saying they probably thought you were the elderly Jackie O. In other words, the privileged and favored’s laughable views on their lives. Follow them for a daily dose of hilarity and if you hear of any humble brags yourself send them their way!

 

 

Cherries
Summertime means bounty at our local NYC Farmer’s markets. One of my summer favorites are cherries! I eat them straight out of the bowl most times, but lately I’ve been craving some Cherries Jubilee. Here’s the recipe I use. This year I’m getting a cherry pitter to make my life a little easier and make the jubilee materialize faster. Here’s to life being just like a bowl of cherries!

 

Kickstarter
I first heard of Kickstarter when my good friends Lee and Scarlett Cherry, two amazingly talented artists, were using the site to gain funding for their music project- Labor of Love. Scarlett is an incredible singer and together with her husband Lee, they decided to document the birth of their first child musically. It’s a new dawn where artists, musicians, designers, chefs, directors, and writers can bank their dream projects by reaching benefactors where they couldn’t before. This benevolent service resurfaced when my good friend and old neighbor, Christine Haynes who is an budding designer, contacted me about a line of patterns she’s hoping to fashion after her designs using Kickstarter. It’s nice to know that my donation can help artists who need really need it (plus if you give a certain amount you get a gift, GIFTS I said!) So I’m giving what I can to help Christine and you should too. Whether your pockets are deep (or shallow like mine), each dollar makes it way to where it’s needed. So give, just give.