August 31, 2009

Spotted: Gossip Girl Photo Shoot

Hello Upper East Siders. Gossip Girl here with the latest from Missa Victoria's bachelorette party weekend in prim and proper Washington, DC. Did the bride and her maids stay buttoned up during a weekend in our Nation's capital? Or did they let loose and bring Manhattan style and decadence to the 'Hollywood for the Ugly'? And who are those boys up above with our bride-to-be? That's a secret I'll never tell. XOXO, Gossip Girl.

...cue intro music...yes, I realize how lame this is...that's why this part is in italics...

I fully indulged my Gossip Girl fantasy during my bachelorette weekend earlier this month. I played the bossy Blair in advance, demanding that my ladies bring a fabulous and fun outfit with them for Saturday night to help me live out my heiress fantasy. While they were shopping, little did they know, I went on a shopping spree as well...for headbands for each of the girls and a photographer.

What could be more perfect than getting some of your closest friends together to play dress-up then get the Mario Testino treatment, a photo shoot inspiring confidence and sexiness? (As if we really needed any additional inspiration.)

I found photographer Julie Massie (Jewels) on Craigslist after reviewing over 50 responses to my job listing, and her photos turned out amazing! She worked like crazy for three hours with us to capture our individuality, fabulosity, friendship and unique beauty. Neither the homeless drug dealer, nor our touchy-feely friend from Kazakhstan broke her concentration, and some of her best shooting came from a vantage point sitting inside a Donovan House bathtub! She even embraced the Gossip Girl theme and wore a black outfit accessorized with a fabric flower brooch. So cute.

Jewels did great work and so did we! It was WORK. We exhausted ourselves, and it was so worth it. But enough talking, the images speak for themselves. See below for images that will forever remind me of how fabulous my friends and I were in our 20's.

First we took over the lobby lounge at the Donovan House Hotel:

The cast of characters from L-R: Carrie, Stephanie, Me, Melinda, Melissa

There was no music playing...

I'm being groped and chided for my stubbly legs ;)

We left the lounge for some place more comfortable; my suite. Wow, I had a suite. How Chuck Bass of me:

In my fantasy world, this would be our DVD cover art. We were making "Tyra eyes".

I wanted each of my friends to have their own model moment and they were ready for their close-ups. Get a load of us:

Carrie. Or Little J?

Melinda. Or Vanessa?

Melissa. Or Chuck?

Stephanie. Or Penelope?

Me. Or Blair?

I had some alone time with each lady and got some great shots!

It wouldn't be a fab photo shoot with a bunch of girls in a hotel without a pillow fight scene.

And the night wouldn't be complete without a shot on the steps of a church at midnight with a spray of confetti. Gotta end my life as a bachelorette with a bang!

Thanks for indulging my narcissism, ladies! Is it contagious?


(p.s. All photo credits go to the lovely Julie Massie, a DC/VA-based lifestyle photographer.)

August 27, 2009

Seven Deadly Sins Game: Bachelorette Party Fun

My Bachelorette Party weekend was so amazing that I can probably fill several posts with stories and now feel qualified to write a “how-to” guide on throwing a classy Bachelorette weekend because mine included so many clever games and activities and zero lameness!

I’ll start by explaining our overarching theme for the weekend: The Seven Deadly Sins

Ever since the movie Se7en, I’ve loved thinking and talking about The Seven Deadly Sins, and recall in high school that our big theory was that the sins are only deadly if you commit ALL of them, so we were fine because we weren’t guilty of extreme Wrath. After college, my friend (and now bridesmaid) Melissa and I would sit at happy hour and list our sins in order of which we commit the most to the least, exploring the deep recesses of our personality flaws and fabulosity.

In a conversation about possible “themes” for my bachelorette party weekend, while I was gagging thinking about how lame themes are, the idea of the Seven Deadly Sins came to me since there were 7 bridesmaids. We talked about having each Bridesmaid assigned to a sin, but that would stink for whoever got stuck with something derogatory like Gluttony or Wrath.

Eventually, I came up with the idea of a game where you earn points for committing “good” sins and lose points for committing “bad” sins. Each sin would have good and bad qualities. For example, a positive Envy point would be earned if someone “envied” you by giving an unsolicited compliment, but you would lose a point for Envy if you compared yourself to someone else or coveted something you didn’t have.

Melissa brainstormed with me on the list of good and bad sins and styled a fabulous scorecard for us complete with rhymes and witticisms:

Seven Deadly Sins Game & Scorecard: Bachelorette Party -

Using the example sins on the scorecard and my discretionary point rewarding and reprimanding as the bridezilla, it became such a fun way for us all to be friendly and nice to one another (lots of compliments were given, helping us feel fabulous) and gave me a reason to speak out against behavior that annoyed me (complaining, arguing, etc).

To top off the theme, my Maid of Honor, Carrie put together the cutest goodie bags filled with items that depicted the sins. Let's see if I remember these correctly...there's lots of overlap.

Gluttony: Lindt Truffles & Penis Lollipops

Envy: Green M&Ms

Wrath: Water guns

Greed: Fab coin purses

Sloth: A Kazoo (for calling out to someone for assistance)

Lust: Flavored condoms

Vanity: A pocket mirror

This game was a great way to add cohesion to the weekend and amp up some friendly competition. Feel free to steal the idea ;) Just give us credit, haha. And let me know how it goes!

August 2, 2009

Ode to Cab Drivers

Hanging out with my friend at her place in Washington Heights is always great fun but getting back home to the Upper East Side on public transportation is a hassle at night since it involves a train and a bus + lots of waiting, so I usually call my trusted car service to pick me up. I don’t want this post traced back to me via strategic Google searches, so I won’t let you know which service I use, but let’s just say I dial 6’s, not 7’s.

Over the past year, I’ve probably had at least 12-15 drivers take me on the journey from 171st Street to Harlem River Drive to the FDR down to York Ave. The ride is often uneventful, but sometimes I sit in silent fear (like the time when the driver wrote in his notebook the entire time he careened down the highway at 70mph, barely making eye contact with the road, while talking on his Bluetooth in Russian), sometimes I make friends with the driver (like the time when the cabbie told me about all the crazy sexual escapades he used to witness in the back of his yellow cab before he switched to airport-friendly routes—apparently cab sex was rampant in Chelsea in the 80s—not shocking), sometimes I relate to the driver (like the time a young guy from Queens drove me home and we talked about how much fun it is to be a cab driver, how the logistics work in terms of renting the cab from the cab company, how much of the fare goes to the driver, how much people tip, etc, and I shared with him my little secret that being a cabbie is one of my dream jobs), and one time, last night, instead of talking to the driver because they talk to me or sitting in silent fear, I took it upon myself to keep my driver talking as much as possible juuuuuust in case my safety depended on it…

I don’t want to sound dramatic, but this is a blog and the fact that I’m even writing down this story makes it seem a little larger than life, but really I knew the situation was probably no big deal—I just had that little voice in my head that was wondering if I was safer getting on the Harlem River Drive with this guy, or asking him to let me out at the corner of 178th and Amsterdam. Here’s how our conversation went for the 20 minutes I spent with this guy—I remember every word:

Him: (Stopped at a light heading north on St. Nicolas) I hate driving in this neighborhood—there’s always traffic. As soon as you get up here there’s traffic. You’re going to the east side? (He opens up his atlas and starts flipping the pages.)

Me: You can turn right on 178th to pick up the drive.

Him: I know, I used to live in this neighborhood. I hate coming back here. How was your night, are you happy today?

Me: Uhh, yeah I’m happy…

(silence—At this point I’m a little creeped out by this guy. He’s about 30 years old and seems a little off, like maybe he had a minor brain injury at some point resulting in abstract social skills…)

Me: How about you? Did you have a good weekend?

Him: No, I’m not happy at all. I’m never happy. I don’t know how anyone in this city can be happy.

Me: I’m sorry you feel that way. Please drive safely anyway, ha ha ;)

Him: Oh don’t worry, I’m not going to crash the car and commit suicide, hahaha, don’t worry, you’ll be fine.

(oh jeez, please don’t crash into the divider or merge without looking…)

Me: Oh! Well, that’s reassuring. I don’t want you to be miserable while you’re driving. Is there anything we could talk about that would make you happier?

Him: ….Maybe if I could travel I would be happier.

(Please don’t kidnap me)

Me: Yeah, traveling is great, but I always feel so lucky to live in New York because you can always find some place new to go—it’s like you’re traveling in your own city.

Him: I don’t like it here. I’ve lived here for 13 years. Everybody is so fake. They’re all liars. (he goes on and on) The only good thing is that you can make a lot of money.

(I hope he doesn’t think I’m rich…I decide to steer the conversation back to him)

Me: Yeah, that’s true. I had a driver from your company once tell me all about how he used to drive a yellow cab but he switched to ______ because the money and the hours were better.

Him: Yeah I used to drive a yellow cab also. I like this better. I only do this on weekends—its my second job. You’re my last ride of the night.

Me: That’s good! You’re outta here soon. What’s your other job?

Him: I do ______ for the City at the Department of ______.

Me: Oh, that’s really cool! I always thought working for the city must be awesome.

Him: Yeah, it’s okay. There’s a lot of idiots working there.

Me: Right, I guess they can’t fire anyone. I knew someone that worked for the courts and said none of the administrative people knew what they were doing.

Him: There’s this one woman I work with, hahahaha, she’s got these huge breasts and she wears really tight clothes. Her name is ____ Luiz. She works in a school and it’s so terrible because there are all these kids there and her boobs are always popping out of her shirt. And she doesn’t do any work! (he continued to talk about her for about 5 minutes)

Me: That’s not good! It must be distracting to work with her.

Him: Not distracting to me; to the kids! It’s terrible.

(must change the topic)

Me: Here’s a question for you since you might have an insider perspective: What do you think of Mayor Bloomberg? Are you going to vote for him?

Him: Haha, actually, I don’t know. I actually never voted in a city election.

Me: Really, they don’t make you?

Him: No, I don’t really keep track of that stuff. How old are you?

Me: I’m turning 28.

Him: Really, haha, I’m 29. I’m only like a year older than you.

Me: Yeah, we’re both pretty young still.

Him: Yeah, I guess so.

Me: Oh, here’s my block. Turn right here and I’m halfway down.

Him: What’s your name.

Me: Missa (shoot, probably shouldn’t have given him my real name.)

Him: Well it was nice talking to you.

Me: Thanks for the ride!

I’m alive and this dude is probably a teensy bit happier, and think I should now be certified in conflict resolution. Thank god I paid cash this time around so he didn't have a printed record of my full name and account number. Wheeeeeee!

Anyone else have any good cab stories???

[Photo taken from this blog]

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