Happy Nails West Hollywood: The Happiest Place On Earth (at least at 8:05pm)

Side note: This review first appeared on Yelp. I normally don’t repost reviews I write on Yelp, but this place really saved my bitten booty last night, so I figured they deserved the extra love.

If you don’t bite your nails, you won’t understand this. But, there is nothing worse than the feeling of sheer ungroomed-ness that comes from having chipped, bitten, falling apart nails. Especially when that feeling is bolstered by a heaping portion of guilt from having given up on your one millionth resolution to stop biting your damn nails already. And even more so when you go to finally fix the whole sad situation, only to be confronted with manicurists that make it very clear that they are talking – and laughing – about your fingernail fail in a language you can’t understand.

Which is why I was sweating bullets and running like the wind last night, desperately trying to make it to my manicure haven – Happy Nails – before the doors closed at 8. (And side note, why do all nail salons close before I’m barely off work? Don’t those of us who work long hours deserve pretty nails too?)  Anyway, I ran my sweaty, nailbitten butt straight through the Happy Nails doors at exactly 8:05, only to be told they were closed for the day and weren’t taking any more customers.

To which I responded, as any intelligent, dignified adult female does, by begging. Surprisingly, it worked. They agreed to take me on for a very last minute mani/pedi, and did a fabulous job (as they always do) to boot. And even better, they didn’t even flinch at the sorry state of my sad, ripped-to-the-quick nails. They made me feel totally comfortable and calm, even though I’m sure they were dying to get out of there and go home. I can’t think of a place that deserves the ‘Happy Nails’ moniker more.

Things I Love Thursday

Well, first of all, I love the fact that I actually found time to post this on a Thursday as opposed to my belated posts the past few weeks. And now, moving on to the more interesting things I’m loving on this particular jueves. . .

The hilarious  ‘If Facebook Existed Years Ago’ — I definitely would have been friends with Ben Franklin |  Netflix on iPhone – – finally, I can watch my instant queue no matter where I am. Combine that with the amazing video quality of my iPhone 4 screen and you’ve got one happy film geek who has already started saving documentaries to watch at the gym | Daydreaming about potentially moving back in with my best friend…I see a lot of delicious (but diet friendly) baked goods in my future | Being proud of myself for sticking to my diet & exercise regimen so far (and a special TILT shoutout to the LoseIt app for helping me do that) | My little brother’s birthday tomorrow, and looking forward to spending Saturday helping him celebrate the big 1-4 | finding out about all of the amazing things that are going to happen at the GIT LA Fashion’s Night Out event at Saks in September | working my way through old episodes of Supernatural via TNT reruns + Tivo (yeah, I’m a nerd) | Anticipating all the awesome fall TV that’s coming | Looking at the gorgeous pics of Fall 2010 fashion shows and coveting pretty much every cape I see | Generally getting excited for fall…I know it’s sacrilegious to say, but I’m sick of summer already | Getting back into yoga & pilates and loving the way they make me feel strong and stretchy | Looking forward to dinner at Lou this weekend – pig candy #FTW | Making Labor Day plans to roast marshmallows on the beach with my good friends | Getting back in touch with people I should never have lost touch with in the first place  | Making resolutions, even if I don’t always stick with them | Passion Pit radio on Pandora | West Wing reruns on Bravo when I’m getting ready for work in the morning | Getting back into the blogging swing after a week of totally random writer’s block.

Girls in Tech LA Presents: Fashion’s Night Out at Saks Fifth Avenue Beverly Hills

This post originally appeared on the Girls in Tech blog.

We’ve all had those days. The days where you feel like no matter how many clothes are crammed into your closet, you still don’t own anything you actually want to get dressed in. Forget feeling fabulous. On days like that, it’s enough of an effort trying not to feel like a total fashion failure.  Which is, of course, the polar opposite of how fashion is supposed to make you feel.

Fashion is supposed to feel glamorous, exotic, inspiring. It’s supposed to take the everyday act of getting dressed and turn it into something bigger – the opportunity to outfit yourself in armor that expresses your personality and lets you take on the day with that special sort of swagger that only comes from feeling. .  .you guessed it – fabulous.

The fall 2010 fashion collections were about just that, featuring “conservative glamour, chic urban warriors, eccentric color combinations, and more” as Harper’s Bazaar put it.  In short, the prevailing theme for fall 2010 fashion seemed to be the powerful, professional woman, taking on her life – and her closet – one killer, creative look at a time.

It’s a theme that dovetails nicely with the upcoming Fashion’s Night Out event at Saks Fifth Avenue, presented by Girls in Tech LA. Five percent of proceeds from Saks’ sales that evening will go  to Dress For Success, “a non-profit organization that provides interview suits, confidence boosts, and career development to low-income women in over 75 cities worldwide.”  It’s truly an organization that helps women do good by helping them look and feel good. And it’s one we’re happy to help support.

The event itself will feature swag bugs stuffed with goodies, rock star makeovers, consults with stylists, cocktails and more.  Plus, there will also be giveaways from the brilliant fall collections by Elie Tahari and Pink Tartan.  Tahari’s travel-themed collection for fall was full of fur coats, casually elegant cardigans, military-inspired suiting and more. Pink Tartan also pulled together military-like precision and feminine details, creating a collection that was just the right balance of serious and sweet.

At Fashion’s Night Out, you can enter to win pieces from both designers on the fourth floor of the gorgeous Saks Fifth Avenue Beverly Hills, while also swigging cocktails, swapping style tips and supporting Dress For Success. Getting the chance to finally solve the ‘I have nothing to wear’ problem while raising money for a great cause and also enjoying everything Fashion’s Night Out has to offer? I can’t think of a better way to get yourself feeling fabulous for fall.

What: Girls in Tech LA Presents Fashion’s Night Out

Where: Saks Fifth Avenue, Beverly Hills

When: September 10, 6-10pm

Register Here.

Follow, Follow, Follow, Follow, Follow The Yellow Brick. . .Information Superhighway

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve been pretty lax about keeping this thing updated in the past week. And sometimes, that’s just gonna happen. As good as my intentions are when it comes to blogging regularly, sometimes, life just gets in the way. Or in this case, a killer combo of work, a new workout plan, a couple of writing deadlines, a broken garbage disposal and. . .well, you get the idea.

But, just because I didn’t have time for full-fledged blog posts, doesn’t mean I wasn’t posting anything at all. I was just posting in different places -specifically, I did quite a bit of Tumbling and Twittering. Because you know, when you don’t have time to macro-blog, you micro-blog. Or something like that.

Anyway, the point of all this self-indulgent rambling is pretty simple. If you like what you read here, you’ll probably like what I post elsewhere. And I actually tend to post elsewhere pretty often. Sometimes more often than I post here.  So, basically. . .follow me if you want to live. Or if you just want to read more self-indulgent rambling.

My Twitter

My Facebook

My Tumblr

My StumbleUpon

My Reddit

My Yelp

My Foursquare

My LinkedIn

Things I Love Thursday…er, Saturday

Yeah, I know. I missed TILT again this week. Blame the craziness of trying to get the next Girls in Tech event – a fab fashion-themed party at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills – off the ground, combined with the chaos of trying to wrap up the work week so I could leave early for Vegas. And by the way, this is my first vacation in 2 years and I’m currently sitting in a hotel room with two of my best and most favoritest girlfriends in a gorgeous suite on the strip, so that is of course my number one favorite thing I love this week.

A quick recap of a few other things I’m loving at the moment: full-fat cheez-its, having an excuse to bust out all the too-short dresses and too-high-heels that have been shelved since the last time I went all out in Vegas, finding out that vodka soda has zero calories, my new social media addiction – foodspotting, working on a very exciting series of new articles for Mashable, my amazing and accomplished friends who continually inspire me just by doing what they do so well – congrats to Christine Kirk for landing yet another amazing client: Buzz Media, intentionally annoying my anal retentive grammar guru of a best friend by mangling the English language on purpose, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo which I finally started reading and am just now getting into, the long luxurious bath I got to take before everyone else woke up this morning, putting my laptop away for the next 24 hours to really enjoy some R&R in Vegas.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Quarterlife Crisis: My Survival Guide

The quarterlife crisis – it’s that weird time in your mid-twenties when you’re trying to figure out who you are and what you want in life. Trying to define yourself without those comforting collegiate crutches of school and major. Trying to decide what your priorities are now that they’re no longer being set for you by parents or administrators.

It’s an exhilarating, exciting time. Or so everyone keeps telling me. Personally, I’ve just found it terrifying. You see, I like being in control. And I hate not knowing what’s going to happen. I was never good at Choose Your Own Adventure books – I always skipped ahead to see the outcome of each choice before making a decision. Without the clear trajectory of the educational track, I’ll admit I’ve floundered a bit. It’s not that I’m not happy with where I am and what I’m doing. It’s more like I’ve got this general, underlying sense of unease. A sort of mid-twenties malaise that I think a lot of my friends also share.

You could say that this is even more pronounced because of the recession – we were told all our lives that if we did everything right, the world would be our collective, proverbial oyster after college graduation. Instead, we graduated into a failing economy, two seemingly never-ending wars and a country so divided that it can’t even clean up a damn oil spill without bickering and blaming like a bunch of partisan preschoolers. It’s not exactly an easy time to establish an identity. Especially when you can’t even establish a decent credit score thanks to all the college loans you’re still shouldering because you really believed everyone when they told you that degree would be worth a damn.

Anyway, that’s my rant. The point is, it’s a weird time to be anyone in the world. And an even weirder time to be a twenty-something. And I don’t know anyone our age who doesn’t feel a little worse for the wear because of it. Personally, a lot of those feelings have been bubbling under for a while now and – for a lot of reasons best left un-blogged – they came to a head for me this summer. Suffice it to say, it’s been a rough couple of months.

And, I’m sick of it. I’m ready to shake this damn recession-depression, kill all the quarterlife-crisis craziness and just go back to being happy, dammit. Or at least back to feeling content and in control of my life. And, in typical control freak fashion, I’ve decided that the best path to doing this is to establish a few rules. Because for me, the best way to feel like I’m going somewhere good is to know that I’ve got a set of steps I can take to get there. So, without further ado, here are my new rules of the road – a road that hopefully leads to happiness. Or, at least, to a happier quarterlife.

(1) Get More Sleep.

(2) Admit When I’ve Hit A Wall & I Need Help.

(3) Give Myself Credit When Credit Is Due & Don’t Dwell On The Mistakes Too Much.

(4) Be More Patient – With Myself & Everyone Else.

(5) Talk To My Friends More, Especially The Ones I Don’t See That Often. Make Time To Skype.

(6) Don’t Let The Bad Moods Of Other People Bring Me Down Too. If Someone’s Rude, Try To Just Let It Go.

(7) Get To Work Earlier. Leave Earlier. Stake Out Some Time In My Day That Just Belongs To Me.

(8) Turn My Phone Off For More Than Five Minutes At A Time. Even If It’s Just For An Hour.

(9) Write More. Watch More Movies. Get To MOCA More Often. Do More Of The Things That Make Me Feel Happy & Recharged.

(10) Eat Better & Work Out More. Get Serious About It & Stop Making Excuses To Fall Off The Wagon.

(11) On That Note, Get Back To The Darn Farmer’s Market Already. But Don’t Beat Myself Up If I Give In To The Occasional Potato Chip Craving. At Least Not Too Hard.

(12) Go Out To Lunch More Often. Don’t Spend All Day Sitting At My Desk. At Least Not Every Day.

(13) Once And For All, Stop Biting My Nails.

(14) Give People The Benefit Of The Doubt. But That Doesn’t Mean You’ve Got To Be Everyone’s Doormat.

(15) Try To Walk In Other People’s Shoes. Remember To Always Carry Flats For When Mine Start To Hurt Too Badly.

(16) Budget & Save. That New Car Ain’t Gonna Buy Itself.

(17) You’re Allowed To Sweat The Small Stuff. But Only If The Small Stuff Is Worth Breaking A Sweat Over. Prioritize.

(18) (an oldie but a goodie) Wear Sunscreen. And Don’t Forget To Reapply.

(19) Don’t Be Afraid To Go Into New Or Uncomfortable Situations. Or At Least, Don’t Be So Afraid You Don’t Do It.

(20) Remember, Life Is Short And You’re Doing The Best You Can. You’ll Fall Down, But You’ll Always Get Back Up. Don’t Let The Falls Stop You From Climbing Higher. (cheesy, but true).

(21) Give Myself License To Be A Little Cheesy. Not Everything Has To Be All Cool & Angsty Any More. After All, My So-Called Life Was Sooo Last Decade.

(22) Never Leave The House In An Outfit That Doesn’t Make You Feel Fabulous.

(23) Date More.

(24) Never Stop Looking For New Opportunities. Don’t Get Complacent About Anything. Or At Least, Not The Important Stuff.

(25) Trust Your Instincts. They’ve Gotten You This Far, Haven’t They?

Food Network Chefs – The Game Shows They Should Be Making

I originally published this post on Food Network Humor.

Thanks to the success of frosty-haired Food Network host Guy Fieri’s gameshow masterpiece Minute To Win It, TV execs everywhere are bound to be looking for new ways to use our favorite Food Network hosts on all sorts of prime time game shows. Here are a few of the best ideas so far:

Bros Icing Bros, hosted By Sandra Lee
America’s favorite alcoholic semi-homemaker hosts the TV version of this popular internet meme, and helps contestants design snazzy, dollar-store tablescapes in which to hide bottles of Smirnoff Ice from their friends, who are then forced to actually drink the stuff when they unwittingly stumble on it during dinner. Of course, the hardest part of the game is keeping Sandra from drinking all the booze before it even starts.

Are You Smarter Than Alton Brown?
Lovable food geek Alton Brown hosts this quiz show, where participants try to prove they can beat him at food trivia. When they inevitably lose, he forces them to put on a chicken suit and appear in one of those skits on Good Eats.

The Butteriest Loser, With Paula Deen
Paula Deen mentors fifty underweight contestants from across the country, as they embark on a journey to gain weight. Eating nothing but butter, bacon and foods dipped directly in Crisco, the contestants discover what it really means to win big, as they lose their waistlines and gain the kind of self confidence that can only come from seeings busts of themselves rendered entirely in butter.

The Marriage Ref, Hosted By Rachael Ray & John Cusimano
What? You thought this was a game show? Nope, it’s just couples counseling. Because the only way John could get Rachael to see a therapist was to allow her to turn it into another TV show.

The Bachelor: Brian Boitano Edition
Brian Boitano cooks up a love match when twenty women try to woo the figure skating foodie over the course of six weeks. Challenges include seeing who can create the most dishes using the words ‘nuts’ and ‘balls’, testing who can bust out the best 1992-themed dance moves and seeing who can come up with the best costume for the San Francisco pride parade.

Ranker CEO Clark Benson Dishes Out Business Advice (and a side of admiration for magical female multitasking powers too)

Ranker founder Clark Benson just put up a guest post on Maren Kate’s growing entrepreneur-focused blog ‘Escaping the 9 to 5‘. In the post, Clark discussed the difficulties of running multiple businesses at once, and talked about his strategy for staying focused on the main object of his entrepreneurial passion – Ranker.

But, my favorite quote from the whole thing was definitely “And you can certainly have several irons in the fire – either Cash Generators or Growth Businesses – while you are in the exploratory stage, trying to figure out which ones to go for. In this case, Maren, you may be better off since you are female – many experts believe Women Are Better at Multitasking Than Men.”  One of the few gender stereotypes I actually stand behind.

Of course, while I’m standing behind that, I’m also tweeting about something else, Tumbling a cool pic I found, processing some QA results from last night & sharing a totally unrelated list of the best first date restaurants in LA on Facebook.  Because that’s just how we women roll. . .

LGBT Rights: Proposition 8 Overturned In Favor Of Actually Upholding The Constitution (crazy notion, I know)

Congratulations to everyone who worked on the Prop 8 case, including my very own cousin Lizzie (who I just coincidentally rediscovered on Twitter after years of not being in touch). Today’s ruling against Prop 8 was a victory for the Constitution, the American legal system and the countless sane, rational Californians who were disgusted with the way our state voted on that awful, discriminatory proposition in the first place.

Equal protection and due process are more than just phrases you hear bandied about on Law & Order. They’re very real, very important amendments to the United States Constitution and they guarantee that no one person or group should be treated better than another by the law.

According to Judge Walker’s ruling today, ““Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in  singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional…

Plaintiffs have demonstrated by overwhelming evidence that Proposition 8 violates their due process and equal protection rights and that they will continue to suffer these constitutional violations until state officials cease enforcement of Proposition 8. California is able to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as it has already issued 18,000 marriage licenses to same sex couples and has not suffered any demonstrated harm as a result …

Because Proposition 8 is unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, the court orders entry of judgment permanently … prohibiting the official defendants [state of California] from applying or enforcing Proposition 8…”

Which is basically a long, legalese-laden way to say that Prop 8 was unconstitutional and unfair to begin with, and it’s about damn time it got struck down. Here’s hoping the ruling stands and someday soon we can all look back on that antiquated age when the rights of gay people looking to get married were ever called into question at all.

Tech Toys: Geeky Toys For Growing Minds

Back when I was a kid, the baby alive was the height of toy technology. It cried, it ate, it even peed. Because for some reason, changing my little brothers’ actual diapers apparently wasn’t enough excrement-filled playtime for me.

I was like the Angelina Jolie of baby alive, by the way. I had my own little multiracial clan that I carted everywhere with me, along with a giant diaper bag to hold all the accessories and accoutrements a small family of lifelike babies could possibly need.

Of course, times have changed. And kids now have all sorts of cool new toy options that I couldn’t have dreamed of when I was still diapering and feeding my baby alive, or listening to my Cricket doll read aloud from the tape (yes, tape) machine in her back.

Today’s growing geeks have options that they can plug in, stream data from, download music on to and surf the internet with. When it comes to toys, it’s a brave new world. And one that makes me totally jealous that I had to go and grow up before all this cool stuff came on the market.

Good thing I can live vicariously through today’s mashable slideshow of awesome tech toys for kids. Or just look back fondly on the good times of my own geeky childhood with the new Oregon Trail Movie Trailer. Because kids today may have some awesome toys to choose from, but do they know when to ford the river and when to pay someone to guide you across? Maybe my childhood playtime was good for something after all. ..