I know it’s been awhile, so forgive me. Work was crazy and I had a small bad patch there emotionally and just wasn’t able to muster up the energy to blog, even though I thought of things I wanted to talk about. I imagine after such a long absence, this wasn’t exactly what you were expecting me to talk about, (also, I’m sure you’re all, way to be behind the times fifi), but in the fifi house, much talk this time of year revolves around NCAA football because we love it so and in sad anticipation of it going away for the next few months, we gorge ourselves on bowl games to prepare for the empty months ahead.* Of course, we are beyond happy and excited about Ohio State and the Rose Bowl tomorrow, but that doesn’t not mean there aren’t other games that pique our interest (Penn State-LSU, I’m looking at you.) I come by this obsession naturally, of course: my dad has been known to make reference to what happened in the D-3 championship and look shocked that no one else caught the game. So how am I going to ring out 2009 in the blogging world? Not with top ten posts or what I’ve done this year or recaps, but by talking about college football. Obviously.

But anyway, I was going to let this go, but what with all the Urban Meyer fuss as of late (and, if you follow me on twitter, you know my thoughts on THAT**), the Cincy-Florida game has been a topic of conversation as well (I’m sure you know who I’m pulling for in that one but I’ll give you a hint anyway-it’s not Florida. I’m so not still bitter about that or anything). I find it interesting that both teams in this match up are going through some turmoil thanks to their head coaches.***

Now, I don’t think Brian Kelly is a sportsmanship antichrist in anywhere the same way that Rich “‘It’s all about the reasons for staying‘ – that $1.75 million per year he extracted in exchange for a promise to stay until 2014 – ‘this is my school’ – until something better comes along” Rodriguez is. And, to be fair, I get that Kelly overcame A LOT at Cincy to get the program where it is (having to buy your support staff cellphones is completely ridiculous for a D-1 school). I can see how working for Notre Dame would be tempting, what with its money and its boosters and its PRIVATE JET. Notre Dame is the big time and coaching there with all that support would be a lot easier than staying.

So I’m not even saying that Kelly shouldn’t have left Cincy. It’s all about the TIMING. As great as Kelly is, he didn’t get Cincy to where it is by himself. He’s there because of his players. His players who he told he wouldn’t leave, but abandoned before their really-quite-a-big-deal bowl game. And that is SO not cool.

I understand about that this is all about recruiting, but, seriously? Notre Dame wanted Kelly. He could have pushed back and set a precedent for coaches in this position. It’s already very likely that he is going to take some potential recruits from Cincy to ND with him. What kind of difference is an extra couple of weeks going to make really? There are factors other than just the coaching staff that make people pick schools. For one thing, Kelly is going to have to work with what talent ND already has-him recruiting doesn’t change the quality of the recruiting classes already at the school.

And Notre Dame is Notre Dame. Even though they suck right now, recruits go there because it is Notre Dame. Maybe some recruits need a phone call or personal handholding, but does it really have to be from Kelly? If you could release the information that Kelly were going to ND after the bowl, why do you need the man himself? ND hired him because of his reputation and his record- that’s why recruits are coming as well. Wouldn’t it be better for all parties involved-including the NCAA-for Kelly to look like a man of integrity who has concern for his players (students! Remember them, NCAA? That whole big difference between this level of athletics and the pros? The people whose best interest you’re supposed to be looking out for?) instead of one who bailed on his kids when a big new shiny supposedly better deal came along?

As an aside, isn’t there something to be said for loyalty? I understand making the move to a D-1 school from a lesser school, but once you’re at the D-1 school, shouldn’t that be enough? I always thought the goal was to have a career at a school, not to bounce around in pursuit of the best deal and the most toys.

All that said, perhaps Kelly might have looked to RichRod’s example before bailing on his players. (Not, actually, that I mind this. For obviously reasons, I hate Michigan and ND and ND fans are incredibly annoying,**** so if both teams continue to suck they way have in recent years, I will be a happy fifi.*****) because karma, it is a bitch. And I think that what we’ve all learned from the RichRod incident, the higher powers of college football don’t like this kind of abandoning-your-players behavior and will rain down the hellfire of losses and embarrassment on those who violate the unspoken gospel of good sportsmanship and sticking by the players who got you to where you are. As discussed above, Kelly really hasn’t quite reached RichRod-levels of skeevitude, so I’m predicting another Ty Willingham. Enjoy ND. Enjoy.

As another aside in all this, I will also miss the Charlie Weiss kitteh on FOTP. A Brian Kelly kitteh will just not be as entertaining.

*At this point, you may be asking, “but, fifi, does g.town even have a football team? (Yes and they are about as good and play as interesting teams as you might imagine). Isn’t g.town a basketball school? (Again, yes.) Even if you do heart college football with all the fibers of your being, should g.town bball at least tide you over? (No, and it’s not for lack of trying. I mean, I love March Madness and the Big East tourney as much as the next Hoya Blue blooded girl, but in general, even with King James is playing, I just don’t find bball as interesting to watch as football. This is in part because there are just so many games and therefore the individual games don’t matter like football games do and therefore, I don’t feel compelled to watch every game. Also, for this very same reason, there just aren’t as many “big” games in college bball as there are in college football. Find a way to justify me watching every single game on a Saturday and then maybe I’ll be more on board.

But I digress.

**I am sure this was an incredibly difficult decision for Meyer and his family to make and the reasons behind it are personal and should remain so. Meyer owes nothing to anyone in the public in terms of an explanation and he certainly doesn’t owe it to the public to keep coaching at the expense of his health. It’s not like he’s leaving his players to go coach another team(ahem RichRodBrianKelly).

But that said, when you make the choice to publicly announce something like this (which I would HOPE was well-thought out and factored in the possibility of some regret) and then immediately back pedal the next day after you’ve been praised to the high heavens by the media and called a genius for 24 hours, I’m not going to say it was a publicity stunt or something to explain away your big SEC loss, but if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

Also, if I were his wife and daughters, obvs. I would be supportive, but I also might be just a wee bit annoyed right now.

***Again, I am not judging Meyer for his decision to stop coaching – if that is, in fact, what he decides to do. I think sometimes, hard as it is, you do have to put your health before everything else, if not just for yourself, but for your family. And I know of what I speak when I say that heart issues are scary, scary stuff.

HOWEVER, I absolutely blame Meyer for creating this media firestorm right now. There really was no reason to announce this before the bowl game – even if there were leak threats, I still think it could have waited. Make the game about the players who worked so hard to get there – all those kids, esp. the seniors, were already going to be overshadowed in the media tonguebath that will be Tebow’s last game and now it’s going to be all about that AND Urban Meyer’s maybe-kinda-sorta-possibly last game. Not cool. And also, of course, see above.

****Example in two words: Brady Quinn. Thirteen words: Brady Quinn’s sister and her stupid split jersey at the 2006 fiesta bowl. And, on behalf of Browns fans everywhere who have to look at you: cut your hair Brady. It looks stupid particularly in those after game interviews when they catch you right out of the shower.

*****And really, if I’m being honest, I would rather see Michigan good than ND, so as to give some teeth to the rivalry, make the Big 10 stronger, and shut up all those SEC-is-the-only-real-football annoying people (you come play in the snow, then we talk, m’kay?).

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Now I am not saying what you should get your family, I’m just telling you what I got mine.

Dad: Season 2 of Deadwood because he finally finished Season 1 2 years after I got it for him and has been hinting strongly that Season 2 would not go unappreciated.

The Madre: She has these in other patterns and says they are the most comfortable shoes she’s ever worn. I love the pattern and the fact that they have brown and black so they can be worn with lots of different outfits. And they are HOT. (Also an excellent deal with the $10 off and free shipping deals on DSW).

The Bro: The Bro has decided he wants to start wearing a watch. He really likes the military style with canvas bands. This was a little bit of a splurge, (but still on sale!) but I thought about it a lot and realized I’d rather spend a little bit more and get him a watch that he could have for a long time, than just get him a cheap timex and be done with it. I also got him a 2 of these in different colors so he can play around with styling the watch.

The boyfriend: The boyfriend has been wanting cufflinks for awhile now. Since this was so personal, we looked at a bunch together, but he ended up liking these from Red Envelope best (this is likely in part because the boyfriend’s sister has him convinced that Red Envelope is SO COOL right now). I do think they are attractive and a bit more modern than a traditional monogram.

Since these were so reasonable, I wanted to get the boyfriend a little something else to go with them. Lately when we’ve had bad weather he’s been trying to steal my ginourmous G.town golf umbrella because, really, when you walk to work every day, there’s bound to be some nasty weather and the little fold up umbrellas do NOT keep you dry (I speak from experience). I may have mentioned this on here before, but the boyfriend LOVES his undergrad school because he had such a great experience there (like loves to the point where, if he had $10, he would give Princeton at least $1). So I thought this would be perfect.

I don’t have a huge family, so those were the big presents. For my cousin and his wife and my aunt and uncle, I got steaks from Omaha Steakmmmm…bacon

and the Bro and I are splitting something from the OSU bookstore for baby T. I suggested something like this:

but it’s ultimately his call. My two best girlfriends in the entire world both got this:

which I love for my skin. Baby and Godson Z got this and this respectively:

while the Divine Miss E got this:I think she will make an awesome doctor. The boyfriend’s niece got this:

(She’s not sure how she feels about me. She recognizes I am responsible for sending awesome gifts, but she also ADORES the boyfriend right now and thinks I’m treading on her territory). Her new baby brother got two outfits:

because who could resist those feet? Not me. Even the boyfriend was a little charmed.

The boyfriend’s sister got this to go with her books because apparently she’s OD-ing on ruffley, frilly stuff right now (nothing wrong with ruffley, frilly stuff – in moderation. But that is ALL the boyfriend’s sister wears. It’s like frilly shirt with ruffley cardigan with headband with a big bow on it. Maybe someday I will show you what she wore to her rehearsal dinner and you will see). BONUS though – I got 25% off because the boyfriend did his shopping for his sister at the same time and so we qualified for the discount (I think this sale only ran through Sunday though).

The boyfriend’s mom is getting a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card because she loves their coffee

and the boyfriend’s dad is getting some fancy dark chocolate and some marzipan from here because he loves his chocolate. And his marzipan (he’s Sicilian).

Finally, I leave you with my go-to gift. I know it’s kind of cliche and if someone told me a few years ago that I’d be sending out Harry and David for the holidays, I’d probably ask: “what am I, some corporate drone sending out impersonal presents to clients?” HOWEVER, these are quite possibly the most delicious pears known to man and everyone I know who has gotten them adores them. If you need a good present for, say, a boyfriend or girlfriend’s parents, you really cannot go wrong with these:

Unless, of course, they were allergic to pears, in which case you might have a giant FAIL on your hands. Just check with your significant other before clicking send, is all I’m saying.

Apparently, people are finding me because they are searching for things like: “christmas card for the boyfriend’s sister” and “gifts for the boyfriend’s sister 2009.”

So, to help, I got the boyfriend’s sister this:

and this:

and this:

The Steingarten is one of my favorite books and a large part of why I had this in the first place. And the third? I love this series and would love my own copy of this one as well should Santa leave it under the tree. Given the boyfriend’s sister’s interest in food and cooking, I think she will enjoy these. As an added bonus, the second and third are collections of short pieces so she could read one or two before bed or when she has a break.

No card for the boyfriend’s sister, but I don’t really do cards these days anyway. Perhaps next year when I am feeling a little bit more financially stable.

Now, if I were the boyfriend’s sister, (and I am in fact a boyfriend’s sister, so if the Bro’s girlfriend would like some ideas…) I would like any of the following very fun and very-reasonable-price-wise-for-the-relationship presents:

Essie Winter Collection 2009

Body Shop Peppermint Foot Lotion

Godiva Chocolate Truffles

Old Navy Scoop-Neck Top

Laura Mercier Eye Shadow in Pewter or Coffee Ground

SM Capps Quilted Ballet Flats at DSW

(this last one is more of a splurge, but I couldn’t resist – SO cute!)


The Turks and Caicos
!

And it was wonderful. The water was the clearest and prettiest that I’ve ever seen and, since it was the off-season, the beach was nice and quiet* so I was able to completely relax. Which, of course, was much needed post-Bar.

Beach View2

It turns out that this is going to be my 100th post so I think it’s only fitting to celebrate such a milestone with lots of pictures of a beautiful locale.

Beach View4

Our hotel from the beach.

Hotel-Sunset4

Our hotel.

Pool View

Our pool.

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the elusive fifi-bird, spotted on the beach in a rare state of total contentment.

Beach

the boyfriend puts in an appearance.

Conch

The boyfriend finds a conch.

Room-Sunset

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Beach, book, and beer. What more do you need?

Sailing2

Sailing!

Sandy Feet3

Water Feet

fifi toes with (hopefully) lucky purple-is-for-the-law polish.

Swimming

The boyfriend was a wee bit cranky about this one. He alleges that I am the “worst suntan lotion apply-er ever,” but I think it was more that he never wanted to get out of the water to put on more sunscreen. (For reals people, sometimes it is like dealing with a child. But I love him.)

Grocery Store

And, because I am a geek like that, I leave you with a picture of the grocery store, mainly because it was SO much nicer than any grocery store in NYC!

*Except perhaps for the girl who struck up a conversation with us on the beach after we all participated in a snorkeling excursion and who punctuated her sentences with “FUCK YOU” said in a strong Philly accent. She used it kind of like how some people use “Shut Up!” i.e. “You’re from New York City? FUCK YOU. We’re from Philly” or “You’re a lawyer? FUCK YOU. No, seriously, FUCK YOU. So’s my husband! Crazy!” Indeed.

Okay – here’s my post. Sorry it’s kind of late in the day!
Hope all is well,
f
________
Hi all! I’m fifi from fifiandtherealworld.wordpress.com and Stacey has kindly let me hijack her blog today in honor of the 5th 20sb Blog Swap. Lately, my life has been pretty consumed with studying for the NY Bar (T-1 week….AHHHHH!!!!), but I’ve still found some time to take breaks from studying and enjoy the things below. Some of them aren’t necessarily new things, (see: the last movie I saw in theaters), but they are new to me and things that I highly recommend you check out. So without further ado, I present you with the top 10 things I am loving right now, Summer 2009 version:
1) yogadownloads
2) amazing grass
3) burt’s bees all natural shampoo
4) The Proposal
5) Time-Traveler’s Wife
6) Oregon Trail
7) The preview for Julie & Julia
8) Drop Dead Diva
9) Top Chef Masters
10) music!
Another Heart Calls – All-American Rejects
Break Me Out – the Rescues
The Chain – Ingrid Michaelson
Fix It – Ryan Adams and the Cardinals
Good Arms vs. Bad Arms – Frightened Rabbit
Kids – MGMT
The Curse of Curves – Cute Is What We AIm For
Hook – Blues Traveller
Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson
Dinner Last Night-O.A.R.
Such Great Heights – Iron & Wine
Boys With Girlfriends – Meiko
Walcott – Vampire Weekend
Meet Me Halfway – Black-Eyed Peas
Stay Beautiful – Taylor Swift

So for the blog swap, Stacey and I thought it would be fun to write about some things we are into right now since we both enjoy hearing about new things and getting recommendations for things to try out. Some of the things on my list aren’t necessarily new things, (see: the last movie I saw in theaters), but they are new to me and things that I highly recommend you check out. So without further ado, I present you with the top 10 things I am loving right now, Summer 2009 version:

1) yogadownload.com

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I feel very strongly that practicing yoga has helped me not only to become physically stronger over the last 2 years, but has helped me to just feel better and healthier generally. Obviously cardio and lifting are two keys elements of any exercise program, but all too often, we overlook the importance of stretching and core exercises. People think yoga is easy and “cheater” exercise, but once they try it, they realize what a good workout it is. And of course, there’s nothing like a good class to help you feel relaxed and ready to take on anything (the yoga glow). I primarily practice a form of yoga called Ashtanga, but it can be fun to mix it up with other types of yoga in order to get different benefits or to really focus on one part of the body.

That’s where yogadownload.com comes in. They offer audio downloadable classes with pdfs with pictures of all the poses so you can follow along visually if you’re not familiar with a pose and they have all kinds of different classes at different levels and lasting different amounts of time. If you can only squeeze in 20 minutes of yoga, they have a class for you. My favorites are the hip-opening flow series.

Not only can you do these classes anywhere, but they are also super-affordable, ranging anywhere from $2 – $6. Not only is this a great price considering the cost of most studio classes is twice that, BUT you also get to keep the class forever once you download it, making it a great investment. If you’re not sure the audio classes are for you, they also offer a handful of free trial classes, so there’s really no reason not to check out the site!

Of course, doing yoga at home is never going to be a perfect substitute for doing it in a studio with a certified teacher, but if you’re looking to squeeze some yoga into an already busy schedule or if you just want to supplement your regular practice, yogadownload.com is a great option.

2) Amazing Grass

08082008_03I’m always looking for a way to get some extra vitamins and good stuff into my diet, so when this stuff starting popping up around the blog world, I had to check it out.  It’s packed full of antioxidants, probiotics, beneficial herbs, and, of course, GREENS specially designed to help you feel better and give you more energy. It’s a little intimidating at first – do NOT under any circumstances just mix it with water and try to drink (I speak from experience when I say that that is not a good plan), but mix it with some milk and maybe a banana and some berries and you have a great, super-healthy, and filling way to start your day.

3) burt’s bees all natural shampoo

200I try to exercise every day, which means that I tend to wash my hair every day. Which, as you know, especially when coupled with blow-drying and straightening, is not great for your hair and I’ve definitely always noticed that in that, I tend to shed A LOT (I have a lot of hair, but I also have very fine hair). I get phone calls from the boyfriend the point of which is pretty much: “Do you know where I found your hair NOW?” But anyway, to try and combat that, I started doing some research which led me to talk of parabens and “No-Poo” movements. I’m not ready to jump on the no shampoo bandwagon, but the paraben-free thing seemed like something to check out. So after doing some more research about brands and cost, I settled on the Burt’s Bees above and, I have to say, I LOVE it. My hair looks healthier and shinier and it’s not nearly as dry. I also love the scent. So this gets a big “WIN” in my book.

4) The Proposal

proposalWell, this just shows you how much I’ve gotten out this summer. However, if you haven’t seen this yet and you’re looking for a romantic comedy, I would HIGHLY recommend seeing The Proposal. Sandra Bullock is great as always – I love her facial expressions/reactions – and there’s really just one word for Ryan Reynolds and that is NOM. Enough said.

Oh, and the supporting cast is pretty great too. This is a movie I would absolutely spend $8 or whatever ridiculous price movie tickets are these days to see.

5) The Time Traveler’s Wife

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I know, I know – I’m definitely late to the party on this one too. I’ve seen this book floating around for what feels like years now, but never really felt compelled to pick it up. That changed when I saw the preview for the movie. Now, I do adore Rachel McAdams (Who doesn’t love The Notebook? Anyone? I thought not.) and that’s probably part of it, but I’m also a sucker for a good love story. I’ve not finished this yet – what with the whole studying thing, I only can grab a few extra minutes for pleasure reading here and there, but what I’ve read so far, I love. Unless something changes drastically between now and the end of the book, this is definitely a book that will find a place on the permanent fifi bookshelf and will probably be reread many times over the years.

6) Oregon Trail

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I am not really one for games on my iPod Touch. I have your sudoko and your block breaker, but overall, I’ve yet to find one that I feel compelled to play unless I am somewhere where there is absolutely nothing.else.to.do. But this? This is clearly why my iPod Touch was invented because it is quite possibly the Greatest Thing Ever. Start playing and then just try to stop. It is that addictive. First off, who didn’t love playing Oregon Trail on Apple IIs in grade school computer class? Second, the graphics and the game play are awesome (I could fish all day, it is that fun).

I have been playing this at the gym while on the elliptical. I’ve been using the boyfriend’s family as characters because they are the only five person family I can think of. You will all be proud to know, however, that I have yet to give into temptation and allow the boyfriend’s sister to be carried off by an eagle/left behind by the wagon train/succumb to cholera. The boyfriend did get eaten by a snake once (great graphic, by the way), but that couldn’t be avoided.

7) Summer Music

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So right now “Meet Me Halfway” by the Black Eyed Peas and “Break Me Out” by the Rescues are pretty much tied for Best Song of Summer ’09 in my head. Both have the happy upbeat vibe you associate with a summer hit and both are so insanely catchy that once you listen to them once you will go around hearing them in your head for the rest of the day (although that might not be a good thing… 🙂 )

8) Drop Dead Diva

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Okay people. Seriously. How cute is this show? Although clearly you have to take the premise with a grain of salt (I love the people on the internets nitpicking that the main character has all Jane’s brains with all Deb’s memories/personality – it is a fantasy!) and the first episode felt a little too much like a Legally Blond rip-off, both episodes so far have been well-written, funny, and overall entertaining, which is really all you can ask for from a show in general, much less a summer fluff show. This show has been upgraded to DVR status in the fifi household.

Of course, I am also insanely jealous of the main character whenever she has a flash of legal knowledge/brilliance because a) she clearly knows more about the law than me and b) I would kill to have those come next week, but then I remind myself that it is a show and it is fake (see above) and I calm down (as much as anyone can calm down when the Bar is right around the corner). I will be so happy when it is next week and I can be normal again. If you are reading this and thinking I’m nuts, well, I don’t blame you, but also don’t go to law school.

9) Top Chef Masters

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I am a pretty avid follower of the regular season of Top Chef (the boyfriend knows that I will absolutely not pick up the phone when it’s on) and I was definitely excited for this show to see what these famous and extremely accomplished chefs would do with the challenges and the twists that make the regular season so fun to watch. The thing that makes this show even better than the regular version is that all the famous cheftestants all seem really happy to be on the show and seem to be having a lot of fun with the cooking and hanging out with the other chefs, whereas sometimes the regular contestants can get a little too bogged down in interpersonal drama (He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named-Who-Won-Last-Season, I’m looking at you). I know some people aren’t a fan of Kelly, but I think she could actually contribute more if they let her, and I’m actually enjoying her more than I enjoyed Padma (“I.SPIT.OUT.YOUR.FOOD”) last season. And since Padma is apparently leaving for greener pastures, I wouldn’t mind seeing Kelly as a judge on the real thing.

Although I think the critics’ panel could have been handled better (considering that the NY Times is kind of the holy grail of restaurant reviews and there are lots of former NY Times critics floating around – Ruth Reichl and Mimi Sheraton for example, I’m surprised the Times wasn’t represented on the panel) and it’s a little boring that generally the chef who wins the QuickFire wins the whole thing each week, overall this has been a tasty treat this summer. Since we’re bearing down on the end of the season, look for some jumbo Bravo marathons leading up to the finale and get all caught up!

10) The Essie Neon Collection

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Okay, how fun and sherbert-y are these colors for summer? The Bar.Bri people tell us to relax on Monday to gear up for Tuesday and Wednesday so I am headed straight to my favorite nail place for a pedicure and when I get there, I am beelining it for the purple. I think it’s going to look fantastic and fresh with the slight summer glow I’ve managed to pick up, despite spending 12 hours a day inside studying.

and just focus on studying today since we have the big practice MBE tomorrow (scary!!!).

Therefore, in lieu of an actual post, I am offering some suggestions:

Watch this

And watch this

And we shall discuss at a later date (like homework! only more fun!). I shall warn you that I love, Love, LOVE both movies, but am open to all thoughts.

And if you, like me, are trying to just listen to instrumentals for the time being so you are not too distracted while studying, I highly recommend the soundtrack to the first above. It is haunting and just lovely. I think it’s on iTunes.