Quick Eats: Sweet Potato Waffle Fries

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Happy Early Thanksgiving, fellow American friends and followers! Now, whatever your thoughts or opinions are on the origins of this holiday- I think it’s safe to assume we can all agree that eating a ton of great food is the best, right? Of course it is!

And naturally, there’s almost always leftovers (especially when my mom hosts Thanksgiving- since she tends to make way too much food every. single. time. without fail,) and while the initial meal is undoubtedly fantastic- by day three or four of eating reheated turkey and vegetables- dinner can seem a bit stale and boring.

Thankfully, this year I came prepared- having scoured the web for interesting, innovative and tasty ways to liven up leftovers a little bit- and I thought I’d share one of my favorite finds: a quick and simple way to revive those extra sweet potatoes you may have laying around post-Turkey Day. My favorite thing about this recipe- apart from how delicious these fries were when they’d finished cooking- was that they can be served any time of day. They work well as hash browns with breakfast, or as a crunchy and salty side to the main course at dinner.



* 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled

* 1 medium russet potato, peeled

* 3 tablespoons butter, melted

* A pinch or two of salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Plug in and preheat your waffle iron. Spray the interior with nonstick spray.


2. Use a grater to grate the potatoes. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes to combine. Add the butter and combine that as well. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.

3. Divide the mixture into even portions. Mound a portion onto the heated waffle iron and then spread it out toward the edge of the iron to form a thin and even layer. Close the waffle iron and cook on high heat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden and crisp.


4. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture portions. Serve immediately.

5. Shovel shamelessly into your mouth and enjoy!


I love sweet potatoes to begin with, so I’m glad to have another way to prepare them to add to the list. These really are so good.

I’m wishing you all a safe and happy holiday filled with family, friends, and never-ending baskets of warm crescent rolls. I have a lot to be thankful for this year- and I look forward to expressing my gratitude to my loved ones who are gathering at my mother’s house tomorrow afternoon.

‘Til next time,


Adventures in Sunless Tanning!

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Having entered my teens in the early 2000’s- I’ve experienced my fair share of mortifying makeup and fashion choices as I grew up and matured. Tube tops? G-string straps sticking up over my ultra low-rise flared jeans? Frosted pink lipstick? Bleached blonde hair with untamed roots? Oh yeah- guilty as charged. I did it ALL– but perhaps one of the most cringe-worthy things I used to do in my early teens (and even in my early twenties when I was feeling optimistic and a little daring) were my foray with self-tanners.

Look, I’m pale. I’ve come to terms with my paleness. I’ve embraced it- and the last tan I pulled off, courtesy of falling asleep on the beach while unknowingly wearing expired sunscreen- came at the expense of severe sun poisoning and a week’s worth of agonizing pain as my burnt skin split and eventually healed.

Prior to that, I’d tried multiple self-tanners from numerous companies- almost all of which turned me into an orange, streaky mess. High end brands, drug store brands- it didn’t matter. It was always a disaster and I’d since resigned myself to the fact that I would be a pasty redhead for the coming years.

When a representative from the Ireland-based self-tanning brand, Cocoa Brown (by Marissa Carter), contacted me to see if I wanted to give sunless tanning one more try- I eventually relented and agreed. The company was kind enough to send me two full-sized bottles of their ‘1 Hour Tanning Mousse’ and ‘Gentle Bronze Gradual Tan Body Lotion’ to experiment with- as well as one of their soft double-sided tanning mitts (which also act as a skin buffer to ensure an even application all over.)


After doing the necessary pre-application-all-over-exfoliation routine in the shower using my grittiest sugar scrub- I got to work- starting with the 1-hour tanning mousse.


What I liked best about the tanning mousse, and what differentiated it from other self-tanners I’ve tried in the past was that it was tinted- which made the application process a little easier since I could keep track of where it was going and what areas needed a little more attention to avoid uneven tan lines. When applied with the tanning mitt, this mousse spread easily enough and didn’t make my skin feel greasy. It also didn’t transfer onto my clothes when I eventually threw on some baggy sweatpants and a t-shirt and waited for the product to work it’s magic.

The directions on the bottle of mousse state that it can be left on for hours, with a minimum of one hour- depending on how dark you want your tan to be- before you rinse it off. I opted to keep the mousse on for approximately ninety minutes before hopping in the shower- and was pleasantly surprised that my skin seemed to have an even, subtle and natural (not orange!) looking glow to it by the time I was done.


To those who are blessed with the ability to tan and tan well, it may not look like much- but to me- I was a bronzed goddess.

The “Gentle Bronze” body lotion, also tinted for an even application- is to be used between tanning mousse sessions to maintain and continually build color while hydrating the skin (think Jergens’ “Natural Glow” moisturizer.) I wisely chose to use this product for the first time just on my legs as to avoid messing up the subtle tan on my arms in case things went awry (my legs are easier to cover up in the winter in case of such a mishap.)

Unfortunately, the body lotion is where things got a little… orange. Sure, the lotion was pretty effortless to apply and it washed off of my hands without staining them- but my legs went from looking naturally sunkissed to looking a bit more spray-tan- and not in a good way.

As for longevity? Both the tanning mousse and the tanning lotion lasted approximately 2-4 days before the color gradually faded and my practically see-through skin re-emerged in all it’s pasty glory. If you’re looking for something that lasts a little longer- this may not be the self-tanning line for you- but I kind of liked that I had more control over my faux-tan. It was comforting in a way to be able to build it and/or let it fade as I saw fit.

ALSO: I know fragrance is important to a lot of people with products like these, since they tend to stay on your skin for a few days at a time and you don’t want to smell weird. I know for a fact that I’ve remarked in the past that 90% of self-tanners I’ve tried in my life have made my skin smell like cinnamon toast (don’t ask me why or how- it just does) which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but is still pretty unusual, regardless.

Well, Cocoa Brown’s tanning mousse and tanning lotion applies with an almost floral scent. It’s pretty nice, really- BUT– once it dries and your skin begins to tan- that same cinnamon toast fragrance slowly but surely reappears and it doesn’t go away until the product itself starts to fade. If you’re not into that- I recommend spritzing on a little more perfume to mask it.


So enjoying one out of two products isn’t a bad result (or two out of three products if you count the tanning mitt- which I actually really liked!) 

When faced with eventually re-purchasing Cocoa Brown, I would definitely grab another bottle of the tanning mousse- but I’d have to skip over the body lotion. The mousse gave me complete control and a buildable, natural-looking glow without any hassle, whereas the lotion turned my legs a little too orange and “fake” looking for my liking. It might work well for those with naturally darker skin tones- but it just didn’t look right with mine.

If you’re pasty like me and looking for a little color without having to go crazy with your bronzer or subjecting yourself to the sun’s harmful rays- Cocoa Brown is worth checking out. I truly enjoyed my trial (and error) and I’m grateful the company reached out to me to give it a go!


POPSUGAR Must Have Box: November 2015.

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The second subscription box review for the month of November comes courtesy of POPSUGAR, who’s ‘Must Have” box is quickly becoming my favorite assortment of items to receive (the third and final box for the month, Loot Crate, is currently en route to me!) I have to admit that this box arrived at a perfect time- since I’ve been trying to prepare for upcoming job interviews as well as Thanksgiving- and I have admittedly been getting a little frazzled in the process of staying organized and on top of things. To receive a box filled with fun things briefly took the edge off for a bit- which is always appreciated.


November’s box, in keeping up with the impending holiday- was inspired by the nicer aspects of Thanksgiving (as opposed to say, “FOOD COMAS” or “BLACK FRIDAY FIGHTS AT TARGET”, for example.) I had already received a couple of spoilers/hints via e-mail leading up to the collection shipping out- so I was eager to check everything out.

So, what did I receive?


For Thanksgiving this year, I’ll be heading to my mom’s house to gather with family and stuff my face, and while I normally help out around the kitchen and with serving her guests- this year I’m only obligated to bring myself. HOWEVER, I’ll be bringing along this jar of pecan honey mustard from Terrapin Ridge Farms to serve as a dipping sauce for her appetizers. I got curious and took a look at Terrapin Ridge Farms’ website to see what else they have available- and I think I’ve found quite a few things to order and gift to my foodie friends for Christmas.


I can never have enough candles- especially ones that come in packaging as lovely as this beautifully fresh fragranced one from Capri Blue. With a metallic tin that doubles as a jewelry box when the wax runs out and a lovely carved wooden lid- this candle has already found a spot in my bedroom. I received “Rain”, which is scented in the way you’d probably expect- clean, crisp, and refreshing. I’m a big fan.



I’ve been preparing to go through my annual End-of-the-Year makeup clean-out in the coming days- which is where I do an inventory of cosmetics I own that are either empty of almost expired and go about throwing them out and/or replacing them. I know for a fact that a neutral eye shadow palette I’ve owned and loved since the Spring is almost gone (I’ve been scraping my brush along the edges of the container in a desperate attempt to salvage any remaining color) so this “Beauty & the Box” shadow quad from Tarte– which features two shimmery tones and two matte tones for easy blending- is a life saver.

I’ve been wearing these pigmented and long-lasting colors every day for the better part of a week now- and I’m completely smitten with them!


Late November and the entire month of December is all about sparkling to me. My jewelry, my clothing, and my makeup- I like to look and feel as festive as the scenery around me in beautiful New England this time of year. November’s “Must Have” box included a high valued item ($56!) in the form of this gorgeous crystal headband from Deepa Gurnani. I’m really looking forward to wearing this with my holiday ensembles around the party and celebration circuit this season.


I’ve never been much of a bingo player, but I have to admit I liked the look of this modernized (and very chic) set from West Emory. I have an Aunt- a frequent attendee at local bingo nights- who would absolutely love this set. I’ll be seeing her at Thanksgiving next week- and I think she’ll really appreciate this and get a lot more use out of it than I will!


November has, to date- been pretty stressful at times for me- which can really be said about 2015 in general (but I’ll get to that in my year-end wrap-up post next month.) Even still, I have a lot to be thankful for- and I’ve already been writing down my gratitude to family and friends on these really beautiful postcards from Gramr Gratitude Co. Each one features a gorgeous print with a word of thanks on the front. I love receiving mail- especially handwritten letters and postcards- so I’ve been enjoying repaying the favor to some of those I hold nearest and dearest to me.


Finally, the add-on bonuses in November’s “Must Have” box- all of which will be coming in handy this holiday season. I received a coupon for $15 off of a Gramr subscription (monthly deliveries of postcards!) and 20% off of a future purchase at Capri Blue. Considering how much I am loving the “Rain” candle- I think I’ll be picking up a couple more for myself and friends this Christmas.

The last add-on bonus was a $20 gift card to inkdot.com– which I’m going to be using for a canvas print I’ve been planning on creating for a family member in the coming weeks. I’m really excited to have it done and done well- but still be able to save some money on it!

As usual, POPSUGAR didn’t disappoint this month. I love that I can get so much use out of the things they send me- and the stuff I give to others make such wonderful and beautiful gifts.

I’m really looking forward to December’s box- which will be my first holiday one since subscribing with the service earlier this Summer. I have a feeling it’s going to be really impressive!


GLOSSYBOX: November 2015 Review.

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So even though my employment situation has changed fairly recently, it’s still business as usual here at ‘Legally Redhead’, which includes my round up of my monthly subscription box reviews. First up was November’s GlossyBox- a follow-up to October’s impressive Parisian-inspired collection and the prelude to the service’s holiday/end of the year box.

Comprised of mostly full-sized or deluxe sample-sized skin care and makeup items (no hair care or nail products this time around)– trying everything was a breeze and only took a matter of days.


Marsk Cosmetics Mineral Eye Shadow in “You’re Toast” (*Full Size!*)

Florapy “Sweet Dreams” Yarrow Lavender Mask

Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Ultra-Moisturising Hand Therapy

Beauty For Real D-Fine Perfect Lip Pencil (*Full Size!*)

Estée Lauder Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging Creme



Product # 1: Marsk Cosmetics Mineral Eye Shadow in “You’re Toast” ($22.50)

Near the end of the year, around the holidays and well into Winter- my every day wardrobe and evolves from light and flowing floral prints and pastels to darker hues of grays, blacks and browns with pops of royal blue, rich violet- and gold. SO much gold. From my makeup to my jewelry- I like to be dripping in it. When I first saw this copper-hued loose powder shadow from Marsk, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It didn’t look like much in it’s little round tub- but I opted to wear it by itself over my usual primer for a couple of days to see how the color held up against other sparkling tones I’ve worn in the past.

First of all, this shadow is REALLY pigmented- which I liked very much. The photo above is after a couple of dustings all over my lid and into my crease- and you can see how rich it is. While it has shimmer to it, “You’re Toast” (love the name, by the way) didn’t look TOO sparkly on me and actually made my blue eyes really stand out in a flattering way. Best of all? This shadow didn’t budge. Not at all. Not even a little bit. It stayed in place all day without creasing, crumbling, or flaking off. To say I’m in love is an understatement- and I’ve been wearing this non-stop since I received it.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I love the rich color of this shadow, it’s staying power, and how I can wear it by itself with just a swipe of mascara and my eyes still look luminous and festive. A little goes a long way with this shadow, so I don’t anticipate on running out anytime soon- but when I do- I’m picking another one of these up.


Product # 2: Florapy “Sweet Dreams” Yarrow Lavender Mask ($8)

I’m a big fan of sheet masks- even if they make me look like Leatherface from ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ whenever I wear them. They’re just quick and convenient whenever my skin needs a little pick-me-up after a long day or week. I especially like to pack a couple when I travel, since in-flight cabin pressure and a change of climate can all but suck the life out of my face.

I tried this “Sweet Dreams” mask before bed, getting used to the slick feel of it after I’d removed the packaging and left it on my face for about twenty minutes. I have to say that I wasn’t particularly fond of it’s fragrance- which was kind of overpowering and not very relaxing- but I did like the way my skin looked and felt after I’d peeled the mask off. It was soft and felt replenished and hydrated.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. I don’t think I’d opt for the “Sweet Dreams” mask again, because like I said- the fragrance was a little too strong for me- but I wouldn’t be opposed to trying some of the other masks Florapy has available. For $8 a package, I could see myself stocking up to get me through the winter.


Product # 3: Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Ultra-Moisturising Hand Therapy ($9 – $32)

Although my skin is typically combination/oily at all times- my hands get SO dry this time of year. It’s unbearable- and I have to have at least two tubes of moisturizer in my bag at all times for frequent reapplications throughout the day (or else I go nuts.) I was pretty happy to receive a hand cream in November’s GlossyBox for that very reason- and I wasted no time in slathering on this skin therapy from Crabtree & Evelyn almost as soon as I took it out of the box.

I would like to remark on the fragrance, first and foremost- because as soon as I got a whiff of this cream-  I was instantly reminded of my grandmother. I know that sounds weird, and probably off-putting to some- but to me, it was strangely comforting. My grandmother used to put those small, potent-smelling decorative soaps in her bathroom whenever she had company over. I never knew where she got them from- or why she insisted on having them- but they were always there and the scent of them has always reminded me of holidays at her home since. This lotion smells like that. It’s not bad, really.

But most importantly, of course- are the results. This cream instantly soothed my dry hands after I liberally applied it- and it kept my skin soft and smooth for hours. I didn’t have to feverishly reapply over and over- which was a nice change of pace to what I’m used to every November/December.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I loved this cream- and I would absolutely re-purchase this again in the future. I also like that Crabtree & Evelyn have different gift sets available this time of year- some of which include this product. I think I’ve found a couple of good presents for friends and family who are also in the same “dry skin” boat as me this year.



Product # 4: Beauty For Real D-Fine Perfect Lip Pencil ($14)

I’ve said in the past that I’ve never really been keen on lip pencils. The drying, the crumbling, the fading of the color- finding one that works well and wins me over is far and few between- so I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy when I saw this twist-up lip liner from Beauty For Real. A review is a review, however- and I gave “D-Fine” a shot for a couple of days to test the color and longevity.

First, the color. The photo above is of just the liner- which I used to outline my lips and fill them in before sealing in the product with a clear gloss. I liked the nude tone, and how easy it was to blend and correct any mistakes (unlike red or plum liners I’ve received in the past that were a nightmare) and how soft the pencil felt. It wasn’t painful or drying on my lips. It just looked nice and natural.

The longevity, however- left a lot to be desired. While this product made it through morning coffee and typical early a.m. wear and tear- by noon it was all but gone from my lips and had to be reapplied a couple more times throughout the day to keep the color as even and lovely as it looked when I first applied it. No thanks.

Would I Purchase?: No. While the color was very pretty and the product itself was easy enough to apply- this liner simply didn’t last long enough on my lips to keep me interested in re-purchasing it in the future. I think if it had better staying power, I’d consider using it again- since I really did like the nude tone.


Product # 5: Estée Lauder Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging Creme ($50 – $90)

Oh, Estée Lauder- what a weird relationship you and I have. Some of your products have been gems, and others have caused me nothing but grief- and don’t even get me started on your price points- which were still too high for me even when I was working full-time. Even still, I’m never opposed to trying one of your laughably small samples whenever I receive one to see if they blow me away or leave me shaking my head in confusion.

I tried to stretch out the dollop of this cream I received for as long as possible to write an accurate and thorough review- and I thankfully made it a few days- which was long enough to not see any significant difference on my skin with the exception of a few blemishes that sprang up shortly after I first applied this lightly-scented cream. Tsk, tsk.

Sure, my skin felt soft- but I didn’t notice any brightening or firming effects- and still hadn’t by the time I ran out of the sample.

Would I Purchase?: No. I think I’ll stick to the brightening nighttime sereums Estée Lauder has made that have worked wonders for me in the past- but I’ll be skipping over this cream entirely. It didn’t do anything for me except give me a couple of pimples on my forehead.

November’s GlossyBox was a mixed bag for me. I liked two of the products I received very much, didn’t like two of them at all- and one I’m still on the fence about. It wasn’t the worst assortment by any means- but I’m really hoping the service goes all in with their December/holiday box. I’ve already seen a sneak peek of the packaging and it looks very cute!

Here’s hoping!



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Sunrise over Boston: 11/14/15

Sunrise over Boston: 11/14/15

Back when I first started writing “Legally Redhead”, a blog I’d been planning and preparing to launch a couple of months before my very first post was published in January of 2013- I was a recent college graduate with a degree in Paralegal Studies, and was also just over two years into my job as a legal secretary-turned-paralegal at a personal injury and criminal law firm in the city. It was a time of personal growth, and- in many ways- a transition for me. I was twenty-five years old and was no longer the carefree wild child I had been in my late teens and into my early twenties. I was no longer hopping from job to job- from retail to waitressing- and staying out all night with my friends. I had responsibilities and financial obligations. I was behaving and conducting myself like a professional and, dare I say it- an adult- saving most fun and adventures for my nights and weekends while I was off the clock.

Since launching “Legally Redhead”, I’ve  underwent other transitions, too. Small ones, of course- but still transitions nonetheless. My relationships have changed, as have some of my interests and a few of my goals- but my career remained the same- a constant (and almost reassuring in a way) in my life as I continued to grow and change into the woman I am today.

And now, at twenty-nine years old, I am once again experiencing  a transition. One I was not prepared for and one I’m not particularly thrilled about- but it’s happening and I’m attempting to make the best of it and remain as optimistic as possible.

But this post is starting to sound like the prelude to awful news, isn’t it? Let me assure you all- I am healthy and I’m not dying or taking a break from blogging or anything. There has not been some earth-shattering loss of a friend or family member, thank God.

After over five years of working as a paralegal at a criminal and personal injury law firm- a job I started in my early twenties and have enjoyed immensely each and every day I reported to my office and/or the courtroom- major and much-needed budgeting and financial cuts within the practice have resulted in my being laid off last week.

Yes, it sucks. Yes, I’m upset (and maybe a little angry- if only because the holidays are right around the corner and that’s stressful enough)– but the decision ultimately came down to me: a 29-year old with no children relying on my income, manageable bills, and roughly six years of experience- and my co-worker: a 35 year old single mother of four with approximately 15 years of experience.

I was the obvious choice to get cut, and I realize that. I’m not happy about it- and even my boss was visibly shaken as he broke the news to me- but I understand why it had to happen. I am young enough and eager enough to bounce back and start anew somewhere else. I don’t have certain responsibilities to limit what I can/cannot do at this point of my life. My co-worker does not have that luxury. She needed her job more than I needed mine and my boss could not afford to keep both of us on the payroll.

I take pride in the fact that this decision was not a result of my own incompetence, or poor work ethic, or lack of skills or value. The harsh reality is that this decision was the result of the mismanagement of others. Unfortunately, I am the casualty of that mismanagement- but when one door closes, another opens. My mother and many of my friends say that all the time and I truly believe it to be true.

Late-night resume review with friends (and cannoli!) 11/14/15

Late-night resume review with friends (and cannoli!) 11/14/15

I’ve already been approached by a couple of different firms and attorneys with the mentions of potential employment opportunities- although I have not made a concrete decision as of yet. I have been actively working on my resume (which was in need of a tune-up anyway,) and taking some personal time to relax and reflect on this incredible journey I’ve been on.

Sometimes it helps to just stop and take a breath for a little while- although I consider myself to be a workaholic so I don’t want to stay stopped for too long.

I am grateful. I am grateful to my boss for taking a chance on me all those years ago and hiring me while I was still in college to see if I had what it took. I’m grateful for everything he taught me. I’m grateful he had the decency to compensate me financially (as much as he legally could) so that I don’t have to stress about money just now.

Most of all, I’m grateful to my friends and family members (hi mom!) who have been so damned supportive and lighthearted over the past couple of days while I process everything.

So where does that leave the “Legal” in “Legally Redhead”? Well, I don’t intend on changing this blog’s name anytime soon (besides, I just paid to renew it, anyway!) because as far as I’m concerned- law will always be a passion of mine, as will being a redhead- and I hope to remain in the field when I do eventually return to a new place of employment in the coming weeks.

The sun rises, and the sun sets over the Mystic River. 11/15/15.

The sun rises, and the sun sets over the Mystic River. 11/15/15.

I’m nervous, but excited for what happens next. It’s a whole new chapter in my life (just in time for me to go into my “Dirty Thirties”) and hopefully I can close out 2015 on a high note.


Q&A with Brian Karscig!

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NervousWreckordsEPPartIFor my circle of friends and acquaintances, Brian Karscig needs no introduction. The immensely talented and very charming San Diego-based rocker has been an omnipresent tour de force in my life since I met him in my late teens after a stop he’d made in Boston with his former band- Louis XIV- and throughout sporadic run-ins and encounters at various gigs in California or Las Vegas (usually when the planets would align just right) that span over the course of a little over a decade.

I could probably write a novel about how sweet Brian is, or how his sense of humor is refreshingly razor sharp- but his undeniable talent and his drive as a musician and songwriter need to be addressed properly- especially with the recent release of the first half of a two-part EP, “The Nervous Wreckord: Part I” (available on iTunes now!)

Brian was kind enough (as always!) to recently answer a few of my questions about the album, his songwriting process, and the challenges that come with being one of the hardest working musicians in SoCal.

LR: Every time I’ve seen you or spoken to you, you’ve always been immersed in a project- and sometimes more than one at a time. How do you multi-task all that creativity without burning yourself out? (I’m a multi-tasker, but you’ve got me feeling like an amateur over here.)

BK: Well, honestly, its hit or miss.  I would love to say everything i do turns out AMAZING or “the way i want it too”, but that wouldn’t be entirely true.  There have been cases where i bite off more than i can chew, or miss the mark.  I love recording and writing music.  Everything i do for TNW or any of my music, i tend to search for a connection or a ‘sound’ during the process and put out what really works for me musically.  I have done records for other people where the expectation from the artist is high because they may have heard something that i did that caught a moment of greatness.  Doesn’t always mean that it will happen with other peoples music or sound. Its always hard to want to do things a certain way, but also keeping the opinions of the artist your working with considered. No matter what tho, there is always something to be learned when recording and writing. Whether it be my music or someone else’s.

LR: When it comes to songwriting, and particularly for this EP- what was/is the process like for you? Are you the type of person that keeps a notebook within reach whenever inspiration hits you? Do you immediately retreat into the studio when you’ve got a sound you want to create and stay until it’s finished? Have the songs on this EP been on your mind for a while? How do you get from point A to point B? (that was like, twenty questions in one. Sorry!)

BK: There is no formula really for writing for me personally.  I wish there was, but sometimes its a guitar riff.  A lot of times its a beat in my head.  I can sometimes think of a line or a phrase that speaks to me, and make that a chorus, then write a song around it.  For The Nervous Wreckord (Part I), it all happened really fast.  I just moved to a new house and was setting up Studio Bee for like 2 months.  Just tweaking and trying to get sounds.  I literally would hit record and mess around with pianos, bass lines, delays, until i stumbled upon something unique.  Or something that at least captured my interest, and led me to believe i was on to something new.  All 5 songs were written while they were recorded, then i laid vocals at the very end.  I do have notepads and pieces of napkin with ideas, eq settings, and lyrics on them, but most things happen spontaneously, and thats what i really tried to capture in this record.  When it feels fresh and real, i convince myself that the listener can hear it the way i heard it when coming up with it.  I know that sounds like a stoned response…..it probably is.

LR: This EP is split up into two parts, and you had mentioned the second part would be released early next year. I’m sure with new music you want to put your best foot forward, so was it tricky having to sort of pick which songs people hear now as opposed to later on?

BK: Yes it is.  Songs are like your children.  Its really hard to decide which ones you ‘like’ more than others, because you love all of them in different ways equally.  Part I and II were broken up based on their sound.  Part I songs all seem to go to the same party so to speak. Part II will feel like a party as well….but maybe the after party.

LR: Here’s the cliche “so what types of music are you listening to right now?” question- but I’m genuinely curious and I need some recommendations! What’s been on your playlists lately?

BK: I really love my friends old band called The Deathray Davies. The return of the Drunken Ventriloquist is my favorite record by them at the moment.  i listen to them a lot, but i also listen to the Strokes “Comedown Machine” album lately.  i like listening to classical music for string ideas, but my musical taste is all over the place from pop music, rock music and classical.

LR: On the first half of this EP, what song do you feel was possibly the most challenging to create?

BK: They were all challenging in the beginning since i had no idea where they were going to go.  “This won’t be the same” was the toughest.  I had a 4 piece string section over to the house one day, and they were different players than i usually use on my records.  We spent like 3 hours coming up with string ideas, and in the end, i just wasn’t happy with any of it.  So i took the string arrangement they laid, and flipped it backwards.  It created this weird moody, dark weird movement that i was obsessed with for weeks.  My girlfriend would always ask me, “How are you ever going to make this a song”?  That was the challenge i needed.  So i put a beat to it, a cool bass line and guitar riff and its one of my favorites on the EP.

LR: And finally- are we gonna’ get a tour in 2016? (you know you want to!)

BK: I do want to!  I need to assemble a band (with people who aren’t in 5 other bands) and start to seriously consider that option.  I miss touring so much.


I really want to thank Brian for letting me pick at his brilliant brain and taking the time to give me some insight on what it was like creating the EP. It goes without saying that I’m looking forward to the second part of “The Nervous Wreckord” and crossing paths with him again (hopefully!) sooner than later.

Be sure to check out Part I of the EP on iTunes, and to follow Brian and his work as ‘The Nervous Wreckord’, click and like THIS PAGE RIGHT HERE.


My Top 3 Ideal Hospitality Items.

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The view from my hotel room- San Diego, CA.

It goes without saying that I love to travel and try to do it as much as I can. When I’m not jet-setting to the West Coast for a sun-soaked getaway beside the Pacific, catching a train to NYC for a weekend in the city that never sleeps, or trekking up North for some peace and tranquility in rural New Hampshire or Vermont- I’m aimlessly driving to new locations around New England where I spend hours exploring new places and snapping plenty of photos.

I’m the type of person who is planning my next trip while on a return flight/train home from my last one. I just want to see anywhere and everywhere I can!

But of course, with extensive traveling comes the often daunting task of selecting a safe and comfortable place for lodging. Fairmont Hotels, who have luxurious locations all over the globe (including right here in Boston), recently asked me to describe my packing necessities when I’m going away for an overnight trip- and the top 3 hospitality items I wish hotels would provide their guests to make their stays more enjoyable and convenient.

Challenge accepted!

When it comes to packing, all the life-saving essentials are kept close and within reach inside my purse: my wallet, my fully charged phone, lip balm (it’s a necessity. Trust me)– hand cream and a bottle of ibuprofen for those unexpected jet lag-induced headaches or muscle pains. Everything else- the more easy-to-replace stuff (should the airline lose my luggage at any point) like clothing, shampoo, makeup and shoes- are stored away neatly in my suitcase to make my trip through airport security a little faster and much lighter on my shoulders. I’m a habitual gate-crasher, meaning that I’m the person you see in the airport frantically trying to put their shoes back on post-TSA pat-down while simultaneously darting towards their gate five minutes before the flight is scheduled to take off- so the less weight I have to carry during that desperate run- the better.

Of course, once the initial departure adrenaline fades and after I’ve finally reached my destination and retrieved my bags- I’m ready to check into my room and crash- hard- before I eventually freshen up and head out to paint whatever town/city I’m staying in bright red.

Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in consistently nicer and clean hotels with friendly and accommodating staff (I’ve stayed in some super sketchy dives, too- trust me- but we don’t need to talk about those right now. Or ever. At all.) Some places have exceeded my expectations by adding little and unexpected things/perks to their rooms that have made such a huge difference in my stay- and after careful consideration- I’d like to see more of the following three things in hotel rooms I check into in the future:

UNIVERSAL CHARGING PORTS/PADS: I carry a lot of electronics when I travel. My phone, my digital camera for more professional-looking shots, my tablet to check e-mails and work on posts for any deadlines while I’m away, and my iPod (I’m one of maybe 12 people left in the country who still have a fully-functioning original iPod Nano.) As such, I have to keep track of multiple cords and chargers in my bag- which is a hassle for me when packing and is probably concerning to many a TSA agent who have had to screen my luggage prior to departure. Even more of a hassle? Charging everything at once in my hotel room- where electrical outlets are typically scarce to begin with. I’d love for more hotels to include universal charging ports/pads for multiple electronics in each room- which means I could leave most of the tangled cords at home but not have to worry about running out of juice halfway through my trip.


The M Resort, Las Vegas.

BETTER TOILETRIES: I’ve never- not once- expected to check into my room, go to take a shower, and be greeted by a full-line of LUSH bath products neatly stacked on the counter top next to the sink (a girl can dream)– but I’m always more inclined to stay at hotels that include decent soaps and shower gels by trusted brands instead of drying and overly-perfumed generic brands with the hotel logo crudely imprinted on them. I’m even MORE inclined to stay at hotels that give me a little something extra to help me relax (looking at you, fancy hotel in NYC that left me a bottle of bubble bath to go with their huge tub, a tube of eye cream, and a really cute eye mask to wear while I slept- and I got to take it home with me!)

AN IN-ROOM DINING MENU THAT DOESN’T BREAK THE BANK OR LEAVE ME STARVING: When I travel, I like to go out and explore- which includes but isn’t limited to checking out local bars and restaurants- but sometimes, JUST SOMETIMES- I want to lay in my hotel room and eat a grilled cheese sandwich at 2 a.m. while watching HBO. This typically happens in California when I’m prone to staying out really and ridiculously late at night. However, I also don’t want to spend $18 for that aforementioned grilled cheese sandwich (which is always half of the size of a regular sandwich for some reason.) It’s like being penalized financially for most dining establishments outside my hotel closing at a reasonable time. Not cool, right? Right. I know room service is expensive- but come on- I just want an ice cream sundae without having to be late with my car insurance payment, you know? Give me something filling and affordable for those late night cravings.

Those, for me- are the “Big 3” in hospitality must-haves, apart from the mandatory cleanliness and spaciousness (and a decent view- if I’m feeling unusually picky.)

Do you have any “Big 3” hotel must-haves for when you travel? Does the room temperature have to be just right? Do you need those special blinds on the windows that block out any and all light from the outside world? Is a mint on the pillow a deal-maker? I’d love to hear ’em!

And thanks for letting me share my list, Fairmont Hotels! Now, about that full-line of LUSH bath products in the rooms….


Q&A with Elisabeth Ness!

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Image via the Redheads Anonymous website.

Image via the Redheads Anonymous website.

I have some alarming news that I need to share with you all. News that may shake you to your core. News that might cause you to question the world around you and everyone in it. If you are reading this while standing up- I highly recommend you sit down as to not become lightheaded from the sudden shock to your system.

Are you ready? Okay, here it goes:

I’m not a natural redhead.

Once you recover, and realize that news probably isn’t that shocking at all (one look at my eyebrows or a glimpse of my roots in-between scheduled visits to my stylist is a dead giveaway that I am, in fact, a born brunette)– let me also tell you that I have been a faux-redhead for roughly six or several years now. As such, I identify as a redhead. The crimson color of my curls has- in it’s own weird way- helped define one of the facets of who I am.  Paired with my fair skin- red hair has felt more natural to me than my actual (real) hair color ever did.

But red hair doesn’t just help me to feel more comfortable in my own skin- it also makes me an official card carrying member of the “Ginger Club” (AKA- other redheads) where I’ve met and networked with a lot of other fun, fiery-haired folks over the years- usually at night, because you know- the sun is our enemy and everything.

One of those aforementioned fun folks is Elisabeth Ness, creator and star of the web comedy series, ‘Redheads Anonymous’.

Redheads Anonymous chronicles the misadventures of Molly and her posse of Ginger friends (Jessica, Amy, and Sam) as she attempts to win a Redhead Scholarship to help fund her way through college- all while discovering what it means, and takes- to be a true redhead to the core (and one of those things it takes is a LOT of sunscreen.)

Each of the five episodes of the first season last only a few minutes- but the series thus far is sharp and genuinely funny- and left me hoping for more in the future.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Elisabeth about the creation of ‘Redheads Anonymous’ and get her take on the magic and the mystery that comes with being a redhead in general.

LR: Where did the concept for ‘Redheads Anonymous’ come from, and can you walk me through the process of coming up with the outline for the episodes, writing them, and filming them? How long does it typically take to shoot and edit one episode?

Elisabeth Ness, courtesy of her official website.

Elisabeth Ness, courtesy of her official website.

EN: There is a growing movement of actresses who write their own web series, and I felt inspired to take charge and join their ranks, rather than sit and wait for the lead role of a comedic, tenacious female character to come along. I also wanted to create a show in which I got to work with other redheaded actors, so I researched potential topics that could ostensibly involve a gaggle of gingers. The Redhead Scholarship (a real thing!), plus the anecdotes of real-life redhead experiences, seemed like the perfect fodder for a comedy.

From 2012-2014, I wrote the outlines and first drafts of episodes in classes with terrific teachers, but knew that I needed a writing team in order to take it to the next level. Harnessing the writing prowess of Juliet Brett, Kevin Sebastian, and Justin Liebergen, we managed to write all five episodes in 2014.

Bringing on director Daniel Seth, director of photography Ed Nescot, and an amazing production team with Winston Hoy and Natalie Neckyfarow at the helm, we filmed the entire season over the course of approximately 14 days, spread out over various weekends. We crossboarded the show, which means we’d shoot out one location’s scenes before moving on to another. We had to remain diligent about continuity since we were shooting out-of-order!

LR: What was the casting process like? Were there any challenges in filling the roles?

EN: The casting process was surprisingly emotional; the biggest challenge was that I wanted to cast all the fantastic actors who walked through the door! Kim Graham (Homeland) and her assistant Alexis Atkinson scoured New York City for every redheaded actor who matched the character descriptions, and we were very fortunate to be introduced to Kathleen Littlefield (Jessica) and Ethan Slater (Sam). We also cast their younger selves, the Bully, Doug, and other fun cameos from those sessions.

LR: I love how sharp the comedy is! Is any of the dialogue improvised at all?

EN: Thank you! There are a handful of places where someone threw in an improvised line that we ended up keeping, but most of what you see is scripted. One of my favorite ad-libs is something the Bully (Daniel Bielinski) says as he walks away in Episode 3; Doug (Jimmy Callahan), the improv comic in Episode 4, also added some delicious zingers.

LR: The episodes run a few minutes at a time- do you have any plans to extend them to 30 minutes or longer?

EN: For our first outing on YouTube, we felt it was important to keep the story as succinct and bite-sized as possible, so that people could binge-watch the entire season easily. If a distributor becomes interested in the show, then I could certainly expect the format to change accordingly! But you have to write for your medium.

LR: Is there going to be a second season? If so, what kinds of ideas are you planning (you don’t have to give me full spoilers!)

EN: I’ve got some Season 2 ideas I’m quite excited about, if the funding for it materializes. To make the show bigger and better, we’re looking to partner with a haircare/sunscreen brand or a distributor. Fingers crossed!

LR: What has been the overall response from redheads who have seen the series?

EN: I spent much of August and September going around to redhead conventions in Europe, and I was really moved by the reception! The most common response I hear is the acknowledgement “that’s my life!” or “it’s so funny, because it’s true!”. People like seeing their experiences reflected onscreen, and it creates an instant camaraderie and understanding. And for those who’ve had a love/hate relationship with a physical attribute, I’m especially grateful whenever I hear that the show has empowered them to embrace their unique traits.

LR: What is your favorite thing about being a redhead?

EN: I personally love the stereotype of redheads as being bold, brazen, and empowered. Stereotypes of any kind can always be a mixed bag, but I find comfort in the idea that people already expect me to speak my mind even before I open my mouth. And if someone gets offended… my hair made me do it.

LR: And finally, a more “beauty blog” geared question- what are your favorite redhead-friendly hair care products?

EN: I don’t have any personal favorite products yet, but I’m completely open to learning more about what’s out there! Guess I’ll have to learn from your blog. :)


I want to thank Elisabeth for taking the time to answer my questions- and I wish her continued success with her work! You can view more of her impressive resume and portfolio at her official website, which is linked above.

I highly recommend checking out ‘Redheads Anonymous’, even if you’re not a redhead yourself. It’s a funny and pretty accurate glimpse into the life- and the struggles- that come with having what I consider to be the most fun and unpredictable hair color of them all. I’m really looking forward to seeing more of the show and it’s incredible cast (and crew!)


Quick Eats: Feta and Caramelized Onion Puffs

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So if you’re like me, you’re probably looking for a way out of the sugar high/sugar crash downward spiral otherwise known as the days following Halloween- where any and all extra candy that wasn’t deposited into the Trick-Or-Treat bags of costumed little kids (and some not costumed and just plain sneaky adults) is being devoured by you and anyone you live with during random intervals throughout the day. Who knew Kit Kat bars were such a delicious addition to breakfast? (I knew, but that’s besides the point.)

Once you’re ready to put down the miniature Milky Ways and Snickers and begin eating real food again- I have a quick, simple and tasty transition to help you ease your way back from chocolate-induced coma to a much more satisfying and slightly saltier appetizer.




* 1 package of miniature fillo shells (you can find pre-packaged shells or the dough to make your own in the frozen baked goods aisle at your local grocery store!)

* Feta cheese

* 1 thinly-sliced Vidalia onion

* 1 teaspoon of caramelized onion sauce

* 1 tablespoon of salted butter


1, Preheat your oven to 350°

2. Using a baking pan or muffin pan, line up the fillo shells. Be sure to keep a little bit of space between the shells so that they aren’t touching and can bake evenly.


3. Using a saute pan or frying pan, melt the tablespoon of butter and saute the onions until they are a golden brown.

4. Using a regular bowl, mix the sauteed onion slices with the teaspoon of caramelized onion sauce. Make sure the slices are evenly covered and coated.


5. Fill the fillo shells with the feta cheese, and top with the coated sauteed onion slices.

6. Bake the shells and toppings in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until the outer edges of the shells appear to be slightly darker and crisp.

7. Let the baked puffs cool for 1-2 minutes, and then try to stop yourself from cramming all of them in your mouth at once.


It was seriously love at first bite with these things, and I can’t get over how easy and quick it was to prepare them. They’re salty, crunchy, and satisfying- and the recipe will definitely come in handy the next time you’re in a pinch for time and need to make something mouthwatering to serve guests (or to just serve yourself!)

I think I’ll be breaking out this recipe again for Thanksgiving!

October 2015: In a Nutshell.

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I just love this costume so much.

Good Afternoon, but most importantly- Happy Halloween!

I’ve been getting a lot of wear out of my slightly modified Daryl Dixon costume in recent days- having teamed up with my friend Stef (who dressed as Carol) for a costume party in Reading last night. I’ll once again be wielding my crossbow for tonight’s festivities before I pack it away until the next comic-convention or ‘Walking Dead’-themed event I attend.

I can’t believe that it’s the last day of my favorite month of the year (and also my favorite Holiday!) and that tomorrow begins the treacherous descent into turkey dinners, premature Christmas music, and sub-zero New England winter temperatures. Please, October- can’t you stay with me just a little bit longer?

But before I prepare myself for the impending holiday madness and end-of-the-year-chaos that usually unfolds at the firm- I have to take a look back at the month that was, and this past October sure was something, alright!

October is typically one of the busiest months for me, and not just because I spend a lot of time watching and reviewing bad horror movies on Netflix and visiting haunted houses, pumpkin patches, cemeteries and overall creepy abandoned buildings, etc., but also because things typically (and inexplicably) pick up at work this time of year and I frequently pull in some overtime in my office to stay a couple steps ahead. By the time November rolls around- I’m ready to hibernate for the winter, myself.

Thankfully- this past October gave me the rare opportunity to take a mini-vacation to the West Coast for a few days where I had the absolute BEST TIME catching up with longtime friends in Las Vegas and San Diego. Attending my dear friend Kelsey’s wedding was such a wonderful and beautiful occasion, and being able to experience my best friend Sean’s first time in Vegas with him was so unbelievably fun. I’d love to go back with him again someday. There’s still so much we didn’t get to see!

Las Vegas, October 2015.

Las Vegas, October 2015.

And of course, the trip once again reignited the fire- and desire- within me to eventually make my way out to Southern California to live there once and for all, especially with winter swiftly approaching- but all in due time. I have to patient and finish planning and preparing, first.

So what’s in store for November? Well, apart from the aforementioned pre-holiday craziness- I do have a few fun Fall things planned before my beloved season kicks the bucket for another year- including a couple of stops in NYC and Vermont, dishing out plenty of recipes (just in time for Thanksgiving!) that I’ve been hoarding in recent weeks and haven’t got around to posting just yet, finally sharing some photo sessions I began working on at the very beginning of Fall and have nearly finished editing and organizing- for all your Urban Explorers out there- and just trying to stay motivated and focused for when December shows itself.

But I still have a few more hours of precious Halloween time- so I’m going to go get my costume back on, enjoy the last horror movie marathons of the season- and get ready for the Trick-Or-Treaters!