Archive for 2011

Shopping in pajamas

Who doesn’t love to shop online with a cup of coffee (or wine) in their pajamas? It is one of my most favorite activities. In fact, I did all of my Christmas shopping in this exact fashion.

I especially love some of the items that we have on our Urban Waxx shopping website. We have had so many clients that have moved out of state and contacted us later to ask about some of the products that we sell. We do sell quite a bit of local goods, like PinUp Brenda artwork, jewelry by Amber McLellan, and hats by Nicole Flood. We also have more well known brands like Pacifica, Beau Bain, Bluewick and Makana Candles, and KleanSpa. Most of these are online currently, and we are adding more of our products every day!

Is their a product that you absolutely love that would be a good fit at Urban Waxx? Let us know!

Have you perused the shopping site lately? Well check it out! We offer free shipping for the holiday season and we will be happy to send it anywhere in the US!

Happy shopping!

Giving thanks…and eating pie

I am going to prematurely post a blog about Thanksgiving, purely because I will be attaching the best pie recipe ever to this post, and you will need to make it! Btw: the pic was chosen by Stella. When she spotted the picture she said: “Oh Mom! Can I go to dinner with them?”

We have a lot to be thankful for at Urban Waxx this year. So many fabulous things have happened. We added a bunch of really fantastic new team members and we added some new husbands (Beth and Mindy both got married! :)) I feel like we are in such a happy, positive place, and it really shows. We celebrated our 4 year anniversary in October, and I just can’t believe what a great ride it has been. It keeps getting better and better every year.

Thanksgiving is my number one favorite holiday. I love all holidays, but Thanksgiving is such a nice time to relax, drink some wine and see friends and family, and EAT! Since marrying my chef husband, the amount of cooking that I do has decreased dramatically. However, I own the Thanksgiving cooking in our house. Cody makes the turkeys and I do the rest. Very traditional: mashed potatoes, sausage dressing, sweet taters (with marshmallows), green bean casserole (with those little French-fried onions), rolls, etc. And pies! I love to bake pies. Last year I made 2 new recipes from The Pioneer Woman blog (love, love her). Her recipes never fail. Her Dreamy Apple Pie and her Pumpkin Cream Pie are absolutely in my Thanksgiving pie repertoire this year. But one thing I will never, ever change is the fantastic chocolate pecan pie that I make every year. It was a recipe that my Dad gave me years ago, and every time I make it I think of him. I think it’s the best pie on the planet. I have blogged about my Dad and this pie in the past, and I’m adding the recipe again.

Do yourself and your loved ones a favor: Make. This. Pie.

Happy Early Thanksgiving, love bugs! xo

Pecan Pie

1 cup pecan halves
1 pound light brown sugar (most recipe’s call for Karo syrup no good far too sweet, makes your teeth scream)
1/4 cup unsifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
Optional: bittersweet chocolate. To me, this step is a necessity, but my Dad preferred sans chocolate

Preheat oven to 325 degrees 9″ pie, do not bake
Arrange pecans in concentric rings over bottom of pastry
Blend sugar, flour salt, then mix in milk and vanilla
Beat in eggs 1 at a time, wire wisk or rotary beater (I’ve used both rotary beater gives a bit more air in batter)
Mix in butter a bit at a time. If you are adding chocolate, you can either melt it or just dump in unmelted chips at this point. I add about 3/4-1 cup.
Slowly pour filling over pecans they tend to rise in any event but it’s nice if as many as possible stay suspended in the filling, then you can decorate the top as you see fit.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or untill filling is puffy and crust golden, you’ll know.
Best at room temperature.

Needless to say this is not for calorie counters, but hey! what are holidays for.

Best movies…ever.

It’s the fall. It’s the perfect time to hunker down in front of a fire and watch an amazing movie on the telly. There are certain movies that, when they come on, no matter how many times I have seen them, I must watch. Usually I say: “Oh, I’ll just watch a few minutes…” and then next thing you know I’ve watched the entire thing for the 98th time.

Here is my list, in no particular order. Keep in mind, I don’t fancy myself a movie expert. I just love all things entertaining. What’s your favorite movie? I’d love to know!

Garden State. Ohhhh. Love every single thing about this movie. Written, directed, and starring Zach Braff, and starring Natalie Portman and Peter Sarsgaard. This movie introduced me to The Shins (thank you, Zach Braff), and the soundtrack is amazing from start to finish. And, oh yeah, it’s set in New Jersey.

American Beauty. Heartbreaking. Beautiful. Touching. Hysterical. Some over the top performances by Annette Bening and Kevin Spacey, among the completely perfect cast. The scene where Wes Bentley’s character describes the beauty of a plastic bag caught in the wind is absolutely perfect. Bonus: the writer, Alan Ball, also created, wrote and produced one of the best shows on TV EVER, Six Feet Under, and is working the same magic for True Blood currently. Le sigh.

Sissy. Bud. Enough said. This movie is a down home, chicken fried love story, complete with two-steppin, cheatin hearts, fist fightin, and a double wide trailer as a weddin gift. I am not a country lover but seeing a very young Debra Winger and an equally young John Travolta two-strpping the night away is enough to make me want to buy a pair of cowboy boots.

Best dialogue: FINE forget it! FINE forget it. You wanna get married?

Goodfellas. The best mafia movie ever made. Period. Yes I love the Godfather, but Goodfellas is an unbelievably amazing stand alone mob movie. Stellar cast and performances, fantastic soundtrack, and some of the best lines in any movie.The scene when a young Henry Hill blows up a car and says: ” One day some of the kids from the neighborhood carried my mother’s groceries all the way home. You know why? It was outta respect.” Oooh. Always gives me chills. Ray Liotta is at his scary, sexy, tough-guy best in this movie. No mob movie makes me want to start a life of crime more than this.

Star Wars. Did you know that I was a big nerd? Well, here is the evidence. I LOVE all things Star Wars, (except for that crap-tastic new trilogy with Jar Jar Binks…ugh, no). I am talking the First trilogy, with the original bad boy, Han Solo (helloooo, hottie). Even 30+ years after it was released, the effects stand up. And the EPIC story of good and evil, darkness and light. And oh, oh, I need to blame my incredibly horrific GPA the first semester of college on me watching the Star Wars Trilogy over and over again while eating Domino’s pizza. It’s true. And really, I still say “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” in my best Obi-Wan Kenobi voice when I try to make someone do what I want. It hasn’t worked…yet.

The Breakfast Club. I mean, you knew there had to be a John Hughes film on this list. I am a child of the 80′s and I probably know every word of at least a few of John Hughes’ movies. I mean, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Weird Science? Sixteen Candles? Pretty in Pink? St. Elmo’s Fire??? I could go on and on. But The Breakfast Club is my favorite. This movie appeals so very deeply to the angsty, insecure, misfit in all of us. It exposes so perfectly how incredibly painful high school can be, and how quick it comes and goes.

The Sound of Music. Ok, I am not only a sic-fi nerd, I am a musical theater nerd. Double whammy. When I was a kid The Sound of Music would come on right around Easter every year, and for some reason, my parents would let us stay up late and watch it. I never made it to the end, but I do remember being SO excited to try. I had the record (yes, I said record) of The Sound of Music soundtrack, and I would make my brother act out the music numbers for my parents (you’re welcome, family). You know what makes this movie? I mean, yes the musical numbers are freaking fantastic, and the true story set against the backdrop of Nazi-occupied Austria is terrific. And of course Julie Andrews has never looked more luminous, even with her frumpy garb and frightening bowl cut. What makes this movie is two words: Christopher Plummer. BOOM. He is a swoon worthy Austrian hunk, filled with cold reserve and smoldering passion. Honestly, when he sings “Edelweiss” when they are about to escape and his voice cracks…stop it. Just stop it.

 Pulp Fiction. When this movie was released I saw it four times in the theater. I had never seen anything like it. It is violent, shocking, sexy, and completely brilliant. Boom Done. See it. And then see it again.

Swingers. This movie wanted me to start dressing like a pin-up girl and swing dancing. For reals. Jon Favreau wrote, directed and starred in this indie gem, and his so awkwardly pained he is almost hard to watch. And Vince Vaughn with all of his gangly, baby faced glory is a complete scene stealer. He has the BEST lines. “You’re so money you don’t even know it.” You take yourself out of the game, you start talking about puppy dogs and ice cream and of course it’s going to end up on the friendship tip.” He is SUCH an a-hole in this movie, and it’s blissful to watch.

Truthfully, this is just the tip of the old iceberg. There are so many fabulous movies out there that move me, inspire me, and change the way I see the world. What about you? What’s your favorite lazy-day go to flick. Let me know!

xo

It takes a village

I occasionally forget, during the day to day running of Urban Waxx, that I have a fantastic, loving, gifted, and loyal team of women standing with me. The team at Urban Waxx is, without a doubt, the most fantastic team of ladies that I have ever had the pleasure of spending time with. Seriously. They are all there to work hard, they genuinely like each other, they love and respect our guests, and they “get” me and my vision for Urban Waxx.

It’s easy for me to get caught up in the minutiae of running the day to day. I can overwhelmed, and kooky, and sometimes I want to run home and throw the blankets over my head and take a month long nap. But, would I ever give up one second of what goes on at Urban Waxx? NO WAY. It’s my dream. It’s fantastic. It’s exciting and new and humbling every single day. It’s the best.

Why am I blogging about this, you ask? Because the people that work at Urban Waxx are freaking awesome, that’s why. They work hard for me and Cody and Urban Waxx every day, and I just need to shout it from the rooftops. I love these girls, and I want to thank them, each and every one of them, for their handwork, integrity, work ethic, and amazing senses of humor. Let’s just say it: YOU GUYS RULE! the end.

xo

Farewell, Steve Jobs

I am completely heartbroken that Steve Jobs is no longer on this planet. He was a visionary, a genius, an awe-inspiring creative legend who changed the face of business and technology, forever. Without him, I wouldn’t be blogging on this Mac Book right now.

Here are some pretty fantastic Steve Jobs quotes:

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”

“We’ve gone through the operating system and looked at everything and asked how can we simplify this and make it more powerful at the same time.”

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

“I want to put a ding in the universe.”

“I was worth over $1,000,000 when I was 23, and over $10,000,000 when I was 24, and over $100,000,000 when I was 25, and it wasn’t that important because I never did it for the money.”

“Bill Gates‘d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.”

“My job is to not be easy on people. My job is to make them better.”

 

Come on, people. Lets have a moment of silence for Steve Jobs. His genius makes me shudder. And lets all do something amazing today, in memory of him.

Farewell, Steve Jobs. And thank you.

The Urban Waxx library

I love to read. Maybe it was all of the Reading is Fundamental commercials that I was inundated with as a child (remember those, R.I.F), but I can’t get to sleep at night without a good book. If it’s an especially good book, then I really won’t be able to get to sleep. Books connect people, or polarize people, and most of all, educate people. Happily, many of the gals that work at Urban Waxx love to read, too, and we have often talked about compiling an Urban Waxx library. Here, we can all bring in books that we LOVE and lend them out and pass them around.

In the interest of sharing, here are some of the books that I will be adding to our little library. They are books that have changed me in some way, and I think that you might like, too!

The Secret. Ok, ok. Yes, we all know that Oprah lost her mind over this book several years ago. But, I read it, it made sense, and it changed my way of thinking in a pretty profound way. In a nutshell, it discusses the energy that we put out and what we attract. So, for example, you focus on all of the good things, and that’s what comes to you. You focus on crap, and that’s what comes to you. A simple read that is an eye-opener.

The Four Agreements.  A super easy, super obvious book. And I mean super obvious in the most amazing way. This little book outlines four little guides that we should all carry with us every day:

Be Impeccable With Your Words
Don’t Take Anything Personally
Don’t Make Assumptions
Always Do Your Best

That’s it. It’s an awesome book. The end.

Delivering Happiness. This book was written by Tony Hsieh, the founder and CEO of Zappos. He is incredibly driven, gifted, and empathetic. Read this if you need a kick in the butt. Or if you are thinking that the odds are stacked against you. The odds were stacked against him, and he created an unbelievable company. His company is based on impeccable customer service, and it works so, so well.

Service Included. I love food. I love fine dining. I love NYC. This book tells of the opening of Per Se, Thomas Keller’s Michelin starred restaurant in NYC, from a server’s perspective. Thomas Keller is a genius on many levels, and his relentless pursuit for perfection and unwavering over the top customer service is awe-inspiring.

That’s only 4. Really, just a drop in the bucket. I always have a stack of books on my nightstand that I feel like I am constantly adding to. I will burn through fluffy books like The Hunger Games and the Twilight series (don’t judge me), and lots and lots of business, self-help and customer service books, and of course cookbooks. Yes, I read cookbooks in bed. It is the most relaxing thing in the world. We pass around a lot of books at Urban Waxx. Most recently, The Help and Fingersmith. Both delightful.

What books move you? I would love to hear! Maybe we can add some to our library!

Who loves to shop?

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I LOVE products. If it’s a scrub, lotion, soap, candle, face product, then I must have it. If it is in a super adorable package, then it must be mine. At Urban Waxx we have some really cute lines that I have loved, but sometimes, a gal needs a change. I am always on the lookout for some great new retail products to bring in to the mix. Here a few of the new lines that will be debuting this month at Urban Waxx…just in time for the holiday shopping season!

Hurraw! Balm is the most amazing lip balm that I have come across. It is the perfect blend of creamy, not too sticky, and the right amount of stay-put. We have amazing flavors in stock like coconut, mint, almond (my favorite), vanilla and black-cherry. I love the black cherry because it has a little tint, too. Hurraw! is vegan, all-natural, raw and made from premium, fair-trade ingredients. At $4 these little lip balms are something that everyone will want in their pockets.

Farmhouse Fresh products are flat out darling. I have seen this line at the Esthetics Convention for the past 3 years running, and always thought they would be a good fit. The line is chock-full of bath and body products, and they are all-natural and they all smell and feel divine. I can’t wait to get my hands on the Bourbon Bubbler scrub, and I am also very excited about the creamy, dreamy face masks. The line is full of whimsy, and I think it would make the absolute perfect hostess gift!

Me Bath is a line that I have worked with at spas in the past, and I have always remembered their great scents and cute packaging. They are delightful little bath bombs that smell and feel fantastic. We will be getting these adorable mini-me bath gift sets, and I can attest, they are a great gift!

Dolce Mia is another terrific line of body lotions (in scents like Almond, Vanilla, and Leather), and waterless hand cleanser! I am particularly excited about the waterless hand cleansers, because, as a Mom, of course I carry Purel around in my bag. These cleansers are cute, small, and smell great. And of course, I LOVE the packaging!

I know it’s only the end of September, but you know that the holidays creep up on you! At Urban Waxx we try to give you some seriously cute options to gift. And: starting November 1 we offer holiday gift wrap!

Shop On!

Look to the cookie!

The black and white cookie. What New Yorker has not grown up with the giant, ubiquitous cookie waiting for them at every deli checkout. They are famous, and amazing. Seinfeld did a show about the Black and White, and their “racial harmony.” (view a clip here) Black and white cookies are one of those rare treats that you can only really obtain in certain parts of the country. For those of you who aren’t from the NY/NJ area, let me fill you in.

The black and white cookie is a large, cake-like cookie. The best ones, in my opinion, taste like a butter cake with just a hint of lemon. The top is frosted with half chocolate glaze and half a vanilla glaze, hence the name.

Why do I write about this cookie, you ask? Well, firstly, I am trying to lose some of the vacation weight that I gained while on the East Coast for 2 weeks, so naturally, I am fixating on all things verboten. But secondly, while I was on said trip to the East Coast, I ate lots and LOTS of black and white cookies. They are so delicious! Nothing goes better with a cup of coffee and a walk around the Upper East Side. People who are from NY/NJ go nuts over them. People from the rest of the country, not so much. Cody kept looking at me with confusion and saying “I don’t see what the big deal is,” as I shoved a black and white down my pie-hole. Well, I suppose it would be a cookie-hole, in this scenario.

Do you have any foods from your childhood, or wherever you are from, that you absolutely cannot get now? What are they? I love knowing things like this! And just for any of you that feel like my post has inspired you to try and recreate these little babies at home, here is a very good recipe from Smitten Kitchen. The cookies will be sure to make every New Yorker in your life swoon. And remember: Look to the Cookie!

xo

10 years…

It’s heartbreaking that so many people will never see this unblemished skyline. This was the skyline that I grew up with, and seeing it makes me feel so, so sad. I cannot believe that it has already been 10 years since the attacks on the Twin Towers. 10 years.

For every generation, I think there is a monumental event that binds us together in sadness. For my parents, it was the assassination of JFK. For me, it was 9/11. I remember exactly what I was doing when I heard what was happening. I was in Charleston, SC, and I was still moving into an apartment, so I had no TV. My friend called me and told me that “something was happening in New York” and that I needed to come see it. My mom was working in NY, just a block away from the Twin Towers, and my first reaction was to call her. When the message said “all circuits are busy,” I began to feel panicked. The relief that I felt when I found out that she was safe hours later is a feeling I will never forget.

When I first saw the shots of the skyline, I turned to my friend and said: “Where is the other tower?” and he looked at me, with a terrible sadness in his eyes, and said: “It’s gone.” We sat in shock and horror and watched the second tower fall. It was an unbelievably awful day, I think the world will agree.

I worked, when I was fresh out of college, in a restaurant in the Financial District. I would walk through the World Trade Center every day. I shopped there, and had coffees there, and commuted with thousands of other people. That was what I think of when I remember those buildings: all of the people, the life, the energy that moved through those buildings every day!

The world changed that day. I felt it then, and I feel it now when I visit NYC. Looking at the skyline and pointing to the place where those buildings once proudly anchored the city, I remember.

Where were you that day? Do you remember it exactly? What will you remember today? What can we, as a society, take from that experience and use to move us forward? To move forward but never forget what has happened, that is something that I will be thinking about today.

 

Farewell, Summer.

Can you believe that it is September already? I really just blinked and the summer is over. Do you remember when you were a kid and the summer was an endless procession of lazy days? Now: poof. Here we are again. Kids in school, the air is becoming a wee bit crisp, and I am already shopping for boots!
How was your summer? At Urban Waxx, it was pretty amazing. The summer is, as you might have deduced, our busiest time. We have some seasonal waxers who we only see for a few months every year. Then they, like so many Portlanders, go into hibernation until next May. We will miss you, summer waxers!
On a personal note, we had a very nice summer. Stella is 3 1/2 and really turning into a little person with a big, huge personality. Dino is 10 months old, today actually, and the happiest child I have ever met. He loves to smile and flash his little teeth nubbins, and laugh, and follow Stella around. We had a really great vacation on the East Coast, although nature seemed out to get us. We were there for the earthquake AND the hurricane! Another reason I love Portland: not so many natural disasters!

Vacations always have the same effect on me: they relax me and give me great one on one with the family, but I also miss Urban Waxx terribly! I miss being involved every day and seeing everyone. I miss the rhythm that we have worked so hard to get into.

I hope you all had a great summer!