03 December 2012

Boys Don't Cry

Someone sang this song to me in a voicemail once. This version. I realize it's song by the Cure originally, but it was this version. The whole thing could have played out a bit like a movie scene, but it didn't.

27 November 2012

Carry-On Luggage Only? YES!

Are you the kind of traveler who has to pack everything you “think” you might need and then some? I used to be that way, but on my last few trips - beginning with my trip to Costa Rica - I learned how travel with carry-on luggage only. I know! I was super overwhelmed at first at the thought of doing it, but now I strive to make it happen. Most recently, I went to Paris for seven days carry-on only! Here are some tips that may help figure out how to travel with carry-on luggage only.

  • Make a list of what you want to bring. Start by thinking of all the outfits you feel your best in and feel most comfortable wearing. Put everything on the list that has to come with you including things like your camera, laptop, phone charger, etc.

  • Come up with an outfit for each day you’re going to be away. Just one outfit for travel to and from your destination. I suggest wearing your bulkiest items in one outfit, provided they all work together, so you don’t have to take up space with that pair of boots, jeans and a chunky sweater. 
  • If you collect pieces that are within the same color family, you’ll be able to mix and match your pieces to create different outfits using fewer items of clothing. For my trip to Paris I was gone for seven days and I packed one pair of skinny jeans and one pair of black skinny jeans. I wore black leggings for my flights. Then packed more tops that I could layer/change from day to day and coordinate with the bottoms.
  • When I have my list complete, I have pull those items from my closet and dresser and lay them out on my bed. Here’s where you take a close, hard look at everything before actually putting them in your suitcase. See if you can remove any items. 
  • Pack clothing that travels well and roll it up to save yourself a touch up with the iron when you arrive at your destination. This obviously doesn’t work so well when you have a formal occasion to attend or business attire to bring with you, but do what you can.
  • Gotta tell you, my biggest ordeal when trying to get myself on a carry-on only travel diet was paring down my lotions and potions. This girl has an extensive collection of skin and hair products. The first thing I did was ask “is this absolutely necessary or can I live with out it?” On a recent trip to New Orleans, I left my travel hairspray because I knew it would be humid and it wouldn’t be any use - I’d just style my hair in a way that didn’t require hairspray - braids, buns and top knots. Other life-savers when it comes to complying with the TSA’s 3-1-1 requirement - small refillable travel size containers so you can bring your favorites with you and sample sizes from your favorite beauty lines. I’ve used a sample size eye creme from Aveda for my last few trips. 
Have you ever traveled carry-on luggage only? Any tips to share? If you haven’t tried it yet, but are thinking you want to, just go for it. If you’re anything like me, you’ll never go back to overpacking any paying to check that giant suitcase full of things you may not even wear. Good luck and happy traveling!

25 November 2012

Oh, Eiffel Tower...

...you had me at sparkle! Here's a little video I shot while in Paris. One of my favorite moments of the whole trip. The only bummer of the video is that we weren't closer. This was on the Bateaux Mouches on the Seine.

14 November 2012

Late July

Small Houses - "Late July" from Spencer Wells on Vimeo

I caved today and responded to something I probably should have let go. It was this song. I couldn't not say something. Music brings people together, right? I guess that was my (not-so-secret) hope. Now I'm sharing this with you so I can move through that hope, so as to not get discouraged or disappointed. Because at the end of the day, it's just friend's sharing music with each other and that's a lovely thing.

My love for music is so strong and this song is another that's been playing on repeat lately. I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Small Houses play a show over the weekend. They played this beautiful song called "Late July." It was already a favorite of mine and I almost cried. Hearing the explanation of the song at the beginning of this clip makes me love it even more. Hope you do too!

12 November 2012

Not in Love

I'm sort of obsessed with this song by Crystal Castles right now. Being that it features the voice of Robert Smith from the Cure makes it all the more angst-y. Completely fitting, I'd say. This fan video is pretty great too!

18 October 2012

Maybe She's Just Different

Raymond Dufayel: After all these years, the only character I can't quite figure out...
...is the girl with the glass of water. She's in the middle, and yet...outside.

Amelie: Maybe she's just different.

19 September 2012

ArtPrize 2012 Opening Night

ArtPrize 2012 is upon us, folks! Are you ready? It's officially opening night tonight, even though there were several preview parties last night at some of the major venues. I volunteered at Site:Lab for a spell. That was super fun and the space itself with 18 different exhibits came together so well. No pictures yet, but I'll go back and properly document the space.

Tonight I did a quick spin through UICA. They have a great mix of artists this year. Let's get to the pics!

"Flora Metamorphicae" Ceramic Collaborative from Bergen, Hordaland Norway 

"Flora Metamorphicae" Ceramic Collaborative from Bergen, Hordaland Norway 

(detail) "Emergent Worlds" by Carol Van Swol Prusa

(detail) "A Message for Survivors" by Bryan Leister

If you're in Grand Rapids, did you get a chance to get out there tonight? Let's talk! Tell me what you saw, what's good so I know where to go next!

16 August 2012

500 Days of Dreams

Good morning! How can you watch this and not smile?!

26 February 2012

2012 Academy Awards: Fashion

Did you watch the big show? I'm actually watching the Academy Awards right now and watched the red carpet coverage that preceded the show. One thing I noticed while pulling photos for my round up of favorite Oscar dresses is that so many of the gowns photograph differently than they show during the actual broadcast. And they probably look even that much different in person. That would be a dream come true, to actually be there on the red carpet to see all the gowns and stars in person!

I'm excited to see who takes home the big awards tonight, right now they're having a Cirque du Soleil moment. The award for best supporting actor should be coming up soon though. Let's get to the gowns, shall we?

(Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
Michelle Williams wearing Louis Vuitton 
The color is being referred to as "coral" which makes me happy, because of the whole, "no red on the red carpet" rule. The details on this gown looked gorgeous during the telecast. The tiny jeweled bow at the waist was a brilliant touch. Michelle always gets it so right! 

(Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
Rooney Mara wearing Givenchy
Overall, she looks lovely. Make up and hair are flawless. The neckline and trimming across the bust are not my favorite and I would have chosen a color, but that's not been her red carpet style that I can remember, so she is staying true to her style. There's something to be said for that.

(Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Image)
Gwyneth Paltrow - Tom Ford
Staying with a style, Gwyneth has that down. I like the addition of the cape for the red carpet. She removed if for her stint as a presenter with Robert Downey Jr. and the dress itself was pretty. Her make up looked radiant on the broadcast. I love the cuff bracelet too!

(Photo: Lester Cohen/WireImage)
Emma Stone - Giambattista Valli
She just presented and her perky newcomer schictk was making me a little nervous, but she pulled it off. Sigh. She broke the no red on the red carpet rule, but she did so with style. The shade is just right. And it looks much more stunning when you can actually see the movement and the drape of the gown. Well done!

(Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
Tina Fey - Carolina Herrera
 Tina Fey doesn't usually do glitz and glitter. This simple and elegant gown is perfect for her at the Oscars. It reminds me of old Hollywood with the peplum waist. Simple, not over-done hair was the solid choice too! 

(Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
Octavia Spencer - Tadashi Shoji
Beautiful everything! She looks lovely! I really love the cut of this dress on her, it's perfectly flattering. The sparkles are also a winning look and yes, she did take home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her work in "The Help."

So, what were your favorites? I always ask and so rarely do you answer! 

24 February 2012

What's for Dinner?

So I've had some asparagus in my fridge since doing groceries last weekend. I was feeling all inspired about making dinners this week. Friday rolls around and the asparagus is all, "hey, remember us?" Yeah, I do remember you and tonight's the night.

Here's what I did. I roasted about half bunch in the oven.  Rinse and pat dry. Snap the bottoms off. Sprinkle with a little olive oil. Salt and pepper liberally and pop it in the oven at 450-500 for 10 minutes. Fry up your egg and place it on your roasted asparagus, et voila a delicious simple dinner. Aactually it's an all around tasty, quick meal for any time you need one!

I usually fry up my eggs so they're over hard, but some folks dig the yolk with asparagus. It's like a thing, I guess. So I decided to go sunny side up and was glad I did. It was super tasty. Count me as one of those people who digs the yolk with asparagus now.

What did you have for dinner?

20 February 2012


Happy Birthday little Starr Fish!

Today is my actual birthday. It's an even number this year and for some reason it's not sitting that comfortably with me. It'll take some time to get used to, I guess. That or I'm going to start counting backward each year from  now on until I get to a number I like and want to keep. Ha!

For fun, here are some things I'm wishing for the coming year,  but I'll never tell what I actually wish for when I blow out the candles tonight.

To travel again really soon. Somewhere new and exciting. My wanderlust is acting up.

To best all my running times - my 25K in May, my half marathon in August and my full marathon in October.

To live well and to find happiness in all things.

To share my baked goods with more people.

To be in a situation (right dog, right time, right place) where I can finally have a dog.

Essentially it always comes down to being my best self. If I feel like that's happened at this time next year, then it will have been a good year!

15 February 2012

Places to Visit: Austin

Oh, hello...back again? 

So for a long, long time I thought I'd make it through life never visiting Texas. What's Texas got that I need to see? They say "Don't mess with Texas," and I pretty much agreed, until I had the chance to go to Austin and Dallas for work recently.

And then...I stuck around Austin for a few days exploring the city with a former Grand Rapidian who has lived in Austin for the past couple years. Austin is the capital of Texas and one of the fastest growing cities in the United States and I now know why!

You like music? Yes, they're the live music capital of the world. You like food? I don't know if they have any official food claims to fame, but I'm willing to bestow the Fresh Starr Fish seal of approval. Modern architecture your thing? They've got that in spades. Have you been? Do you love it too? If you haven't been, here are a few things I loved about it that maybe you will too when you go:

Lambert's Downtown BBQ, 401 W. 2nd Street, Austin TX. We went on a Thursday night to see some bands upstairs, so no BBQ, but my meat eater friends say it's good!  The bands were all were pretty darn good. The friendly opening band called Young Girls gave us their CD after the show when we told them we liked them best of the three that played. Oh and Lambert's has the best Coconut Cream Pie. Seriously! And if you dig some hard core cocktails, they'll hook you up. Try the Dubliner, I thought it tasted like cough medicine, but you know drinks aren't my thing at all! 

Jo’s Downtown Coffee, 242 W. 2nd St. We went for breakfast, but they had just switched to lunch. No worries though. Their lunch menu was full of goodies too. I had a the best veg bbq sandwich I've ever had in 18 or so years being a vegetarian. My friend had a burger and we were both happy! The decor is eclectic, fun and comfortable. Good music too! 

Inside Jo's Downtown Coffee

We did a lot of bike riding when I was there. The city is super bike friendly. You can easily "take the lane" and everyone driving cars just goes with the flow. There are also trails that are great for riding. Go ahead and rent bikes at MellowJohnny's, which is Lance Armstrong's store right downtown Austin.  Fast Folks on the east side of Austin is a super cool shop we actually went to. The dudes there were friendly and happy to talk bikes. Plus, they have the most awesome logo! 

24 Diner. Great vibe. Their site says they "blended mid-century modern design with Austin eclectic." and I'd agree. I loved the decor and they had super good food and lots of beers. I had "M's Grilled Cheese" with fries and wasn't disappointed. I also was eyeing the waffle breakfast with their homemade veggie sausage, which I hear (from a non-vegetarian) is delish.

There's a great independent record store one door down from 24 Diner called  Waterloo Records.  For anyone into actually purchasing music the old fashioned way like I do, this place is great! They had a ton of listening stations stocked with all the latest releases. They've also got vinyl and used music. Go!

Bar Chi 206 Colorado Street, Austin TX 78701. They do a great happy hour during regular happy hours and also have a late happy hour (featuring a DJ with dance/electronic music) both with specials on sushi. We sat at the front bar for drinks and a couple rolls. Our bartender was super attentive and they had Mike & Ike's on the bar like a regular bar might have peanuts or another bar snack. Basically they had me at the candy and the fact that we were in there in our biking clothes post ride and nobody gave us the side eye.

Although I did not stay at Hotel San Jose, on South Congress Avenue - where all the cool kids hang out - I really want to go back to Austin so I can! This place is adorable! Here are a few pics so you can see for yourself, then go check out their site. Everything about the place is cool!

Quick photo op at the Hotel San Jose.

South Congress has a ton of shops - clothing,  antiques, etc. I had fun exploring UnCommon Objects for treasures and bet you will too. You'll also find plenty of bars and restaurants for a good time. We tried Snack Bar a couple times and were not disappointed either time. We also hung out at the Continental Club and heard Hey Bale. They have a standing Sunday night gig at the Continental Club, so if you happen to be in town on a Sunday night, go for the music, especially if you like to dance.

What would a story about Texas be without a picture of a cow skull? This is just s small sample of the kinds of stuff you'll find inside UnCommon Objects!

One last thing to do. Several people told me about the Congress Bridge bats! Unfortunately they were not in Austin when I visited. Apparently they return around mid-March. Maybe I'll catch them another time!

14 February 2012

Happy Heart's Day

Found sidewalk art on South Congress, Austin, Texas.

10 February 2012


I first heard the new Die Antwoord song: "I Fink U Freeky" a couple weeks ago now and am still enthralled by the sound. The video is bizarre in the standard Die Antwoord way. I wouldn't expect anything less. They are playing the Metro in Chicago and of course the show is sold out. I would have loved to go and dance myself silly to the Antwoord beats! In the mean time, until I can purchase Ten$ion, I've been watching this video. I just found out they're streaming the whole release over here, so I'm getting a preview. Click the link to get yours!

20 January 2012

Travel As Equals

Beautiful. I never cease to be amazed by the work of Joseph Arthur.

Shoes Day

These beauties are from J.Crew, photographed on display at their Fifth Avenue (at 17th Street) store in NYC.

15 January 2012

2012 Golden Globes: Fashion

Award season is officially upon us with the 2012 Golden Globes taking place tonight at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel. I did not watch the telecast, so will have to catch video highlights tomorrow. I did, however, just look through about 40 pages of arrival photos to pick out some of my favorite red carpet looks to share with you. I was a little underwhelmed, to be honest. I don't feel like there was any one look that owned the red carpet. We saw tons of flesh/neutral colors, which all blend together when so many other ladies are wearing it.  

So here are my top pics from tonight's red carpet. A few of these ladies have been in my top picks from previous years, so I guess I like the work their stylists are doing. I would be curious to know who worked with whom in pulling the looks together. Who wore your favorite looks tonight? 

(Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage)
Kate Beckinsale in Roberto Cavalli
Kate's whole look is old Hollywood glamour. The hair, jewels and the cut of the gown. I love the straight strapless neckline. She looks like she's 100% comfortable in this glammed out look, which is how one should look on the red carpet! 

(Photo: Jason Vespa/WireImage)
Heidi Klum in Calvin Klein Collection
So here's Heidi rocking a nudie colored column dress with a turquoise and diamond necklace. I'm a sucker for turquoise, which is mainly why I chose to feature Heidi's look. That and the back of the dress, which was very low cut. Being that the Golden Globes are little more relaxed than the Oscars, I think this works as a Golden Globes look. It certainly doesn't have enough punch to make it at the Oscars. 

(Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage)
Freida Pinto in Prada
I'm all about this color for Freida. I would have liked to see how this moved on the red carpet, as the skirt photographs a little stiff. She's wearing a Chopard gold and diamond bib necklace that barely shows up in this photo. That's a true pity because with 145 total carats of yellow diamonds and 1,705 micro pave diamonds, it should knock us out. Hopefully it did in person!

(Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage)
Nicole Richie in Julien MacDonald
No changes. This is gorgeous. I love the texture and the back of the dress, is stunning. 

(Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Charlize Theron in Dior Couture 
Charlize pretty much always looks lovely. I would have changed this up a little by removing the pouf so it would be more of a smooth/clean silhouette. Otherwise, I'm a fan.

13 January 2012

Annual January Running Tradition

"Annual tradition: standing in line to register for River Bank Run 25k."

I posted that to my facebook last night. On of my friends posted this reply: "can't you do it online?"

Yes, you can, but what fun would that be? This year will be my fourth year running the 25k and each year I've run they've had a registration/kick off event that includes free training t-shirts, free pizza, a slightly discounted registration fee and a mini running expo. My running buddy A and I have only missed out once due to weather. There's something about going out of your way a little bit to register for River Bank. For me it officially signals the beginning of my running season and gives me something to look forward to in the dark first couple weeks of January!

We ran into a few of our running friends and talked about the upcoming training/running season with them. We talked to Marathon Don about getting ahold of old Grand Rapids Marathon shirts that he sells at a discount. We did not eat the pizza. That was a first. A had had pizza for lunch, and I wasn't that hungry/did not want to wait in the line.

And how's the running going? This week was my first week back on a schedule since the Marathon. I ran outside on Saturday and at the gym on Monday and Wednesday. I'm supposed to go tonight. I'm waffling.  That's the good and bad part about being this early in the season, you know you can skip and/or make up the miles too easily. 

The actual running is pretty slow. I've definitely lost my marathon lungs, which makes me sad. I remember being so psyched about finishing the marathon and thinking that I would only take a week off after the marathon so I could get right back to running. With no race on the horizon, it was too simple to not run. So I ended up taking about two and half months off, which means getting my lungs/base back will take a few weeks, I hope! Weekday runs right now are 2-3 milers. It makes me laugh when I get winded and walk a few because I know there will be a time in the not so distant future when I'm running more miles than that and think it's no problem at all! It totally happened last year. I can't wait to get back there!

06 January 2012

Random Fun at Work

I received an email today from a coworker who is not in the office asking me if I'd help her out with something. I'm thinking, sure, no problem. As I keep reading it turns out to be the most bizarre request ever. She basically asked if I'd shoot a rubber band over my cube wall and another coworker's cube wall into someone else's cube. Both the asker and the rubber band recipient do not work in my department and she offered no apparent reason for the task, but it was just the right bit of silly mischief for me to partake in.

I'm not sure if my first attempt made it into target territory, but I'm pretty certain the second one I just tried did.

Ha! Here's to random fun antics in the office.

04 January 2012

01 January 2012

Happy 2012!

Another new year is upon us! Happy New Year to you!

I've never been huge on "resolutions." I'm much more a believer in setting an intention and living by it. Whatever your practice as you traverse from the old year to discovering the newness that 2012 holds, you may dig this video I came across on yes and yes today. It's got some great intentions for the new year! Best to you in 2012!