Life Hacks

Life Hack Food: How to Eat Oysters

It took Richard Gere less than 30 seconds to teach Julia Roberts how to properly use silverware in Pretty Woman (work your way in).  But that lesson lasts us a lifetime, doesn’t it?  Please allow me to be your Richard Gere….when it comes to oysters.

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 9.49.10 PM

How to eat an oyster:

There is no right way to eat an oyster.  Says who?  Vanity Fair, that’s who.  Although this was back in 2009, to suddenly come up with an oyster eating protocol would totally be against the spirit of old money and tradition associated with these delicious aphrodisiacs, wouldn’t it?  Trick question.  As with many nouveau “delicacies” i.e. Chirashi (sashimi pieces over vinegar rice), oysters were inexpensive and eaten mainly by the working class.

My how-to suggestion?  Like with the silverware, do what makes sense.

  1. Use the little fork to make sure the oyster is detached from the shell.
  2. Use a condiment if you like i.e. lemon, cocktail sauce, or mignonette.  I like it tart so I always use mignonette (clear, vinegar based).  Pronounced minion-ette.  Click here to hear how Webster’s Dictionary says it.Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 11.39.31 PM
  3. I tilt the shell like I’m going to drink from it, and use the little fork to push the oyster into my mouth.  People slurp it.  But Vanity Fair says I can do whatever the hell I want.
  4. Chew and swallow it.  Are there really people who are just swallowing it?  Yeah, don’t do that.

What oyster to choose:

If you’ve never had oysters, they are all probably going to taste like the sea.  But, it is an acquired taste that is SO worth it.  Oysters are usually named after places, because how they taste depends on geography–i.e. how salty the water is, and what types of minerals are in the area.

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 9.46.05 PM

When Restauranteur and James Beard nominated Chef, Jeremy Sewall (Island Creek and Row 34 of Boston, MA), isn’t familiar with an oyster, here’s what is in his head (aka interviewed by the Wall Street Journal):

By Coast (very generally):

  • East Coast: brinier (essentially saltier)
  • West Coast: sweeter

Think of it like you would the people who live there.  Just kidding.

By size, he favors:

  • Smaller–tend to be slightly metallic
    • Olympias (about the size of a quarter)
    • West Coast Kumamoto (brinier)
  • Slightly larger–all below are “really briny”
    • Massachusetts Pemaquids
    • Massachusetts Sunken Meadows
    • Rhode Island East Beach Blondes
  • Meatier oysters–“newer” named ones
    • Shigoku, like the Kumamoto, deep, meaty, round, briny, sweet
    • Massachusetts Moon Shoal, briny
    • Massachusetts Rocky Nook, sweet, mineral

Oysters larger than 4.5″-5″, according to Sewall, are too big.  HOWEVER, please DO NOT try to impress your date by asking if the oysters are under 4.5″-5″ because that is how you like them.  It doesn’t show how much you know, just what a douche you are.

Are oysters aphrodisiacs?

I don’t know of any oyster/oyster product to win a nobel prize.  Do you?  But, I’ll still share with you what’s up at the rumor mill:

  1. They may contain some rare amino acids that trigger increased sex hormone levels.
  2. The texture resembles our lady parts.
  3. I’m guessing gold diggers everywhere associate them with $$$$.

Order online and shuck at home:

Vanity Fair suggests Fresh Direct for Bluepoint oysters/other varieties delivered to your door ($12 for a dozen).  You can learn how to shuck these little suckers from Sewall’s WSJ interview (or a little something called the internet).

Eat it like you mean it,

BTB

Life Hack #WTF: Uh, What is a Hashtag?

Hashtags.  #wtf are they?  Why is searching for #puppies different than searching for puppies?  And why is my blog asking for search terms in addition to tags?  I’m not stupid, but every article explaining hashtags is like a million pages long and P.S. people–using the word “metadata” to explain them is like, thank you for nothingAdmittedly, I’ve been lazy wrapping my mind around it, but only because I don’t have a lot of free time and want to spend it doing things I enjoy.  Although I really did not want to think about hashtags on a Friday (#thisisunfortunate), to eat, one must learn how to chew (#questionableanalogies).

This morning, I asked my good friend/hashtag guru to explain it to me for the 10th time.  And then, the revelation.  In general,

—>hastags flag a topic.<—

Essentially, searching for puppies will bring up anything that contains the word/variations of the word puppies#puppies will return anything flagged as relevant to the topic of puppies.  This is kind of life changing as I have been throwing #s around like candy from a detonating pinata, and skimping on search terms like they’re haunted.

Some interesting trends have been reported (June 2013):

  1. Twitter–
    1. tweets with hashtags get 2xs more engagement than tweets without;
    2. tweets with 1 or more hashtags are 55 percent more likely to be retweeted;
    3. when you use more than 2 hashtags, your engagement actually drops by about 17%.
  2. Instagram–
    1. posts with 11+ hashtags get the most interaction.
  3. Facebook–
    1.  Less is more.  Too many hashtags = less interactions.
  4.  Google+–
    1. I will try to understand this on another day.

Recommended sites to find hashtags:

Free at last,

BTB

Life Hack: Be a Poser II (Get the Picture Perfect Smile)

Penelope Cruz is a woman of many smiles.  She beams, she grins, smiles softly, pouts so sweetly.

Man or woman, you too, can be a person of many smiles.  You too, can nail it in front of the paparazzi.  Practice, practice, practice.  In front of a mirror.  Until muscle memory kicks in.  Ok, maybe just until you can remember what each smile feels like.

Meet the basic smile (The MMMmmm face)

   Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 9.48.03 PM   ktrk_101812_Kutcher

  1. Put your lips together.
  2. Lift up the corners of your mouth.
  3. Say “MMM” without opening your mouth, to create a smile

Grin like it’s your thing (Me, Me, Me, Meeeee)

Penelope-Cruz-May-Expecting-Second-Child-Video    mattdamon_final

  1. Put your lips together.
  2. Lift up the corners of your mouth.
  3. Say “ME” opening your mouth and showing your teeth but keeping it soft.

Beam brighter than the sun (haaaaaayyyy)

penelope-cruz_1895985c   Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 10.55.33 PM

  1. Say “HEY” and hold it.  Notice your tongue is forward and lips are apart.
  2. Say “HEY” again with a smiling expression.
  3. If you can, push your tongue up against the roof of your mouth.  This helps pull up the double chin.

Look poor (the gaunt look)

Penelope-Cruz      NEP8M516S5V4SR_1_1

  1. Say “POOR“.
  2. Keep the lips soft and sultry, hold for a few seconds.

Smiling saves lives.  Fact.

Be a Poser I: Slim down in photos here.

Yours always and forever,

BTB

Life Hack: Be a Poser (How to Look Slimmer in Photographs)

Fact: Even Gisele Bundchen gets fat-arm in photographs.  Translation: posing can make a difference.  Here’s a shorty short short summary of quick fixes to sizzle in those summer sexographs.  I mean, summer photographs.

Generally:

  • body parts closer to the camera will appear larger than those farther away
  • highlighted areas will appear larger/more prominent than shadowed areas

THE FACE

What to do: chin up (not too high), turn to the side (slightly)

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 11.01.39 PM

Why chin up?  Chin down can mess with your face proportions in an unattractive way.  The forehead is already naturally wider than the chin.  With your chin down, the forehead is closer to the camera, and the chin is in the shadows and farther from the camera.  Also, when your chin is up, the area is stretched so you minimize double chin.

Full face frontal can be fatal.  The short of it, you risk big face/moon face/pie face.  Angling your head to the side adds light and shadows to your face creating depth and definition.  If you have the time and the will, you can quickly contour/sculpt your face with makeup.  Highlight areas of your face where the sun would naturally kiss–forehead, bridge of nose, bow of lip, chin, cheekbones.  Bronze/darken areas you want to minimize, and around areas you want to define–down sides around bridge of nose, outer edge of face, hollows of cheeks.

Highlight:      

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 11.39.49 PM

Bronze/darken:

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 11.44.03 PM

THE BODY

What to do: turn to the side (one foot in front of the other, leaning into back foot), arms slightly away from body (one arm in back triangle formation, if possible)

Why turn to the side?  I’ll let the photos below do the talking.

Front view:  

 Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 12.16.56 AM

Side view:

  Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 12.18.08 AM 

Keep at least a sliver of space between your body and arms.  If you don’t, your arm fat will spread and flatten out against your body.  The sound of that sentence alone should deter you from ever forgetting this.

Flattened:                                  

     Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 12.43.45 AM

Sliver of space:

      Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 2.01.53 AM

Back arm triangle formation in action.  Gisele knows what’s up.  Put your hand on your hip, angling the elbow back.  That triangulated arm now has something to do, and is farther from the camera.  Don’t forget the sliver of space between the other arm and your body.

Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 12.59.37 AM

That’s all I have for now.  Why?  Because the first time I finished this blog entry, I refreshed the window and lost everything.  Seriously, I got this really adorable message from WordPress:

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 12.48.52 PM

and then, all my work was gone.

Pose like a rock star,

BTB

Life Hack Men: Footwear Quickie

Men.  Take note.  Your footwear matters.  I know.  You hate this.  Life is unfair and you are so over how superficial women/society are.  Well, reputable research studies show that you need to suck it up.  Sure, the Halo Effect is debatable.  So are global warming and the existence of God.  But do you really want to chance it?  Use it to your advantage.  It’s painless, no science or faith necessary.  And, everyone wins. They really do.

20140525-235423-86063484.jpg

James Marsden GQ

See what’s happening here?  The footwear elevates him.  That being said, I get it. Bros don’t judge bros by their footwear, and you’re too real to care about James Marsden or a woman’s shoes.  First, bros are the target audience here.  Second, please.  How many nicely dressed woman do you see with raggedy shoes that are falling apart/stuff peeling off the side/kind of stinky/begging to be killed? Judging by your reaction to leg stubble, it is doubtful this would go unnoticed.

Luckily, style and fashion are not being forced upon you.  This is about etiquette. Whatever shoe you wear, wear it like you respect it.

Givenchy, Richard James, Dries Van Noten, Canali

20140526-001452-892882.jpg

Prada, Yohji Yamamoto, Missoni, Louis Vuitton

The state of your shoes isn’t only to attract hot gold diggers smart and successful women, but it reflects your attention to detail, whether you take care of yourself, and your judgment.

1. Clean your goddamn feet.  Is there any other way to say it?  Care about them.  Wash them with soap.  From the very bottom of my heart, I sincerely suggest you try a pedicure.  Let’s say, maybe you schedule a therapeutic foot massage and it just happens.  No one will laugh at you.  They will probably thank you and love you more.

2. Figure out when you should wear socks and when you should take them off.  Spoiler alert: anything that involves sweating (i.e. basketball), wear socks.  When you can, let your feet breath so other people can.  I’ve broken up with a man because of stinky feet.  It was so bad, I had a hard time concentrating around him.  Of course there were other issues, but it was the last straw.

3. Just like you can’t just mow a lawn once, one must maintain and use preventative care with feet.  Sprinkle on Gold Bond like it is your job.  Drugstores don’t have designated foot care sections for fun.  Choose from a cornucopia of options invented specifically with you in mind.  All reasonably priced (start below $5), there are i.e. sprays, foot pads, nice smelling balls to throw into your shoes.

Screen Shot 2014-05-25 at 11.05.59 PM

4.  If you’re over the age of 21, invest in at least one pair of quality shoes.  I’m not talking about sneakers.  You guys LOVE them.  Hats off to i.e. Nike and their Air Force One shoes.  But that 15-year-old who just respected your kicks, isn’t going to hire you for your next job.  I’m talking about these:

20140526-012337-5017894.jpg

Stick to a classic, maybe with a personal twist.  GQ does not have to bless them and they do not have to be designer shoes.  But, such shoes will start over $150.  Consider less cool sounding but solid brands like Clarks. According to my calculator, a $200 pair of shoes that survives for 2 years, cost about $8/month. You’re also investing in your future.

Ok.  These Jimmy Choo croc sneakers are dope. But, if you appreciated them back in 2013, you probably have the nice shoes area covered. Carry on.

20140526-000432-272322.jpg

5.  Take care of your shoes.  Don’t be lazy.  Shine them.  Drugstores carry shoe polish.  Or, get them shined.  Dust them off.  Whatever you need to do (but let’s also be normal about this).  They may still be nice shoes, but if they’re all scuffed up, we’re back to square one.  You want nice looking shoes that can stay that way for a long time.  Taking care of these nice shoes also means taking care of your feet.  Welcome to the circle of life.

20140526-001620-980059.jpg

Listen, we love you.  We appreciate your individuality and that you can be so cute when you’re stubborn.  Just change the state of your footwear, and everything else will follow suit.

Peace,

Brain Trust Babe

Life Hack: Mind Reboot

Turning your mind off will turn you on.

I have a real issue with anger management. I indulge my thoughts and let them get away from me. Example: personal space means nothing to Mr. X on a crowded subway train.  Everyone else is being respectful by keeping to themselves, but not Mr. X.  Mr. X insists on reading a newspaper even though the pages keep hitting me in the head.  I may look all pink hair don’t care

20140521-210421-75861553.jpg
but I’ve already imagined punching Mr. X in the face at least 30 times.

It’s hard to stop worrisome/negative thoughts stuck in your head.  But, just like a computer that needs to be rebooted to function properly, your mind needs to chill the f*&(^ out.

In yoga/meditation, they tell you to “think about nothing” and “be in the present.” I used to be like, yeah, I’m focusing, I’m present…presently I cannot hold downward dog for another second I hate that girl next to me so much, presently it is soooo humid, presently I want to relax so bad.  WTF.  How does one think about nothing?  Does anyone even know what nothing looks like?  Am I supposed to picture a blank space?  Is it the darkness when I close my eyes?  With nothing to think about, my mind becomes a vacuum, essentially sucking up any thought it can.

It finally hit me when I saw this on a T-shirt:

20140521-222417-80657932.jpg

Read this to yourself:
Little voice, I want you to shut up.

Now, try reading it to yourself without that narrative inner voice:
Little voice, I want you to shut up.

It should be that sans “little voice,” one can visually observe that words or objects are present, but one cannot process their meaning.  That little voice is on all the time.  It reads words to you, describes your surroundings, and analyzes your observations.

Try this:

1. find a quiet place if you can.

2. sit comfortably.

3. place an object in front of you (i.e. an iPhone)

4. instruct yourself to observe something about the object (i.e. the edges).

5. When you observe i.e. the edges, suppress any narrative by the “little voice.”  Just look, don’t process.

6.  This “just observing” is giving your thinking mind a break.

If that “little voice” starts up, just acknowledge it happened and start again.  With enough practice, and the willingness to try, resting your mind and chilling the f$%# out gets easier. I even use it when I have trouble falling asleep.  I close my eyes, blank out that voice, and just see what happens.  This doesn’t always work, and that’s ok.  The times it does, is resting time that my mind never had before.

Cheers,
Brain Trust Babe

20140522-130750-47270735.jpg