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Download This: ViCKi LEEKX

January 5th, 2011 No Comments

In the last few hours of 2010, I was nowhere near my computer.  I was visiting with family, primping for a night out, meeting up with my honey and dancing the cares of the year away.  I hope you were all doing some combination of any or all of the above, too.  But we should all be grateful that at least a few people were working right up until the last day of the year, if only because their labors have brought us the subject of this week’s post.

I’m talking, of course, about ViCKi LEEKX.  If you haven’t had the chance to step out and download M.I.A.’s latest mix tape release, you’ll want to pop on over to the website and get yourself a copy, stat.  Access is free and requires only an e-mail address, which they’ll use to send the link for download.  I picked up my copy of the mix tape yesterday, and haven’t received any spam yet – but I did use my “mailing list only” e-mail address for retrieving the link, just in case.  The tape, which was released on New Year’s Eve, runs about 36 minutes and consists of 19 separate tracks, although it shows up as just one continuous track in my iTunes folder (which is fine, because it really should be treated as such).  The mix is self-produced and also features production by Diplo, Blaqstarr, and Rusko, among others.  It’s a pretty badass effort and, while I’m not overly familiar with the work of the other artists independently of their relationship with M.I.A., it’s clear that everyone’s had the chance to put their own stamp on the collaboration.

A number of the tracks in this mix stand on their own merits as truly club-ready – you can practically see people bumping along to “Go At It” and “Overdrive”, “Gen -N-E-Y” is a serious driving tune, and “Bad Girls” is practically begging to sweep like wildfire through the nation’s bachelorette parties.  But the mix as a whole is well worth the hour and change it takes to listen straight through twice.  The running juxtaposition of tribal beats against synthetic blips straight out of old video games is not only jarring and interesting, it’s an effective (if unsubtle) nod to the overarching themes of the whole project.

True to form, M.I.A. uses this mix to be provocative, and the themes and messages herein certainly raise eyebrows.  Her lyrics address a dizzying collection of relevant pop-culture references, from Facebook to Nicki Minaj to (obviously) WikiLeaks.  She dances across issues like privacy, feminine roles, and the internet generation, without ever really committing to saying something significant about those issues.  But this has always been one of the intriguing things about M.I.A.’s work: she often seems content to be the one saying something in a room full of people who don’t seem to be saying anything.  It often strikes me that perhaps in the same vein, it’s enough that we, as a collective audience, take M.I.A. seriously enough seek out anything thematically relevant beyond the sex/love/PMS pigeonhole we shove so many female artists into.   But that’s another discussion altogether – and, in fact, it’s one I’d like to have down the line.

As far as this mix goes, I’m content to just give it a whirl (preferably on repeat), and not think terribly hard about what it all means.  It’s catchy and fun, and just the sort of all-purpose jam music that we should all have on hand, should we spontaneously need to rock out.  Make sure you go out and grab it while it’s free.

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I love to see talented women moving up in the digital space. Congrats on the Mashable gig Stacy!

November 29th, 2010

Link: I love to see talented women moving up in the digital space. Congrats on the Mashable gig Stacy!

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Mackage Sample Sale!

November 23rd, 2010

Link: Mackage Sample Sale!

I LOVE their jackets!

Women’s and Men’s Collections, 30-50% off

November 23
12:00 – 7:00 PM

November 24
12:00 – 6:00 PM

275 W 39th Street, 7th Floor, NYC

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Delicious Dish: A Make-Ahead Stew Recipe with Fall Flavors from Nutritionista

November 18th, 2010

— By Nutritionista

MR Note: So glad to have Nutritionista will be back on the new MTM!

Check out her latest fall recipe to keep you warm and well-fed during the chilly weeks of winter.


If you’re not making soup/stew/chili in advance and eating it throughout the week, well… you don’t know what you’re missing. I recommend taking two or three hours on a weekend day to prepare a couple different hearty soups that you can eat later in the week or freeze.

This Lentil Stew with Pumpkin or Sweet Potato recipe is a great make-ahead option. It can easily be made vegetarian (just use veggie broth instead of chicken), has lots of good protein in the form of lentils, and utilizes the root vegetables that fall is so famous for.

Make a pot today and be happy you did!

(via Nutritionista’s Tumblr)

You’ll need (makes six servings):

  • 1/2 pound (1 heaped cup) lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 6 cups water, vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 20 sprigs cilantro, tied into a bunch
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 medium or 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/2 pound winter squash (such as pumpkin or butternut squash) or sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Make it:

1. Combine the lentils, water or stock, onion, garlic cloves and bay leaf in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Rub the saffron between your fingers and add to the pot, along with the turmeric and the cilantro. Reduce the heat, add salt to taste, cover and simmer 30 minutes.

2. Remove the onion and garlic cloves from the pot, and add the remaining ingredients except the parsley. Bring back to a simmer, cover and simmer 30 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are tender. Discard the cilantro bundle, taste and adjust seasonings. Just before serving, stir in the parsley.

Something Beautiful

November 18th, 2010

Link: Something Beautiful

It’s the name of a NeedToBreathe song I heard on Sirius tonight on my drive home.

I fell in love with Bear Rinehart’s voice while crying through P.S. I Love You (remember the sweet Hilary Swank movie where her husband dies and leaves her all of those letters to help her carry on?).

Anyway, “More Time” was the first song I loved because it’s catchy, the lead’s voice is unique, and the words pulled at my heart.  (I’m such a sap.)  This tune marches to same the drum.  I always say, why fix it if it ain’t broke?

If you click the links, you can hear the songs.  Go buy them on iTunes.

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Acknowleding the good things in you life is important.

November 15th, 2010

Link: Acknowleding the good things in you life is important.

A blog I read called walkwhilereading posted this reflection he titled “Drink Coffee.”  I’ve reblogged it because I relate to several of his sentiments, the most notable being about writing about pain instead of happiness. 

It’s a short introspection and definitely worth the click through to maybe help you internalize on the good things in your life.  A solid way to start out this week in my opinion.

“Drink Coffee”

I’m one of those people who find it harder to write about happiness rather than darkness. When ever I reach for my Moleskine in my nightstand, it’s when I’m feeling blue. The words just pour out, not even thinking, they come from everywhere.

Privately and publicly I write when feeling down,…Read on

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One week free at FIT gym in Houston.

November 15th, 2010

Link: One week free at FIT gym in Houston.

Email Pete for a pass.  Tell him I sent you :)

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“If you are what you eat, as they say, then it certainly stands to reason that food can influence mood and brain power.”

November 11th, 2010

Link: “If you are what you eat, as they say, then it certainly stands to reason that food can influence mood and brain power.”

This is a great article in the LA Times that addresses not only our brain’s response to food, but also common myths like “sugar makes children hyperactive.”

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