Team Klimt!

Hello Beautiful Thinkers,

vampireklimtI’ve already detoured from my mission of watching The Tudors and instead have been filling my spare time with one of my favorite shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  This detour has a silver lining though, well two silver linings.  One, it brought me to today’s post and two, I was watching Buffy!  So in the first episode of season four, Buffy has a showdown with a vamp gang that’s been picking off the freshmen population at UC Sunnydale.  There’s a scene where the vamps are going through the stolen belongings of a recent kill.  In these belongings is a poster of The Kiss by Gustav Klimt, the subject of today’s post! (Quick round of applause to Buffy the Vampire Slayer for its involvement in the post!)

gustav_klimtSo The Kiss, or Der Kuss in German, was created by Austrian painter Gustav Klimt back in 1908 with oil paint on a square canvas measuring 180 x 180 cm.  The use of layers of gold leaf in the painting helped to make it strikingly modern at the time and helped establish its place today as a masterpiece of the early modern period.  Widely considered Klimt’s most popular work, The Kiss is different from most of his other paintings because it shows the woman in a tender light rather than as a distant object of desire in the painting.

the-kiss-1908(1)Many of the paintings Klimt did before this one were viewed as pornography at the time.  The same can’t be said about The Kiss though.  Both figures painted wear golden-yellow outfits that almost flow into each other, certainly implying the sexual desire between the couple but allowing the mind to explore that further on its own.  With a quick glance it’s almost hard to tell where the man’s robe and woman’s dress meet, but as you look closer the division can be spotted in the patterns on each one’s wardrobe.  The aspects of nature surrounding the couple and in their hair is a beautiful way to work in other colors and place the couple in another world as the industrial revolution build up cities over nature.

According to the Klimt website, this painting is now in the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere museum in Vienna.  If you want to help “team Klimt” and be like the college freshmen in the Buffy episode, you can find Klimt posters all over the internet for as low as $0.68 plus shipping.  Or you could just be like me and check it out on for free on the internet.  Maybe one day I’ll get a chance to see it in person.

photo-2

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(Slumber Party with my editor!)

Will.i.am Is Collaborating Like Crazy!

Hello Beautiful Thinkers,

will.i.am-willpower-Deluxe-Version-2013-1500x1500Exactly a week ago will.i.am’s new album #willpower hit iTunes.  Looking at the track list for this one it almost seems like will.i.am is trying to break some kind of record for most collaborations on one album.  Whether you get the regular or deluxe version, you’re in for twelve different tracks that feature collaborations.  Granted this isn’t really record-setting with artist like Calvin Harris and David Guetta racking up the collabs too, but it’s still a respectable number.

william and britBritney Spears isn’t the only big name you’ll see on this new album; will.i.am didn’t hold back for this one.  Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, and Chris Brown are some of the more popular names stacked up on #willpower.  The song featuring Justin Bieber, “#thatPOWER,” is the most recent of the album’s songs to get a video.  It’s actually the third video to be made off this album, following “This Is Love (feat. Eva Simons)” and the chart-topping “Scream & Shout (feat. Britney Spears)” videos.

All of the songs are available to listen to on will.i.am’s VEVO channel with the exception of “Fall Down (feat. Miley Cyrus).”  If I had to guess why, I’d put money on that song as the next up to get a video from this album.  There have been hints and rumors that it’s scheduled for release as the fourth album single to earn a video, but the only source I found to confirm this was Wikipedia, so I’m sure you all know to take that with a grain of salt.

The-Great-Gatsby-Soundtrack-Album-Cover-DeluxePutting aside the impressive list of collaborating artists, I’ve personally never been a big fan of will.i.am lyrically.  But I won’t dispute his ability to bring out great beats that make you want to dance your ass off.  While there are plenty of new dance beats on here, one of the more interesting tracks, titled “Bang Bang,” is available on the deluxe version of the album.  The track will also be appearing on the soundtrack Music From Baz Luhrmann’s Film the Great Gatsby, and it’s clear why as soon as the track begins.  It’s obviously written for the soundtrack: it feels like a mix of classic 20/30’s music mashed up with a modern dance beat.  About three minutes into the song will.i.am goes into a bit of skatting.  For some reason this part sends me back to my childhood reminding me of “I Wanna Be Like You” from The Jungle Book despite knowing other songs that feature skatting.  Maybe because of this odd association I actually really enjoy the song and it’s got me interested to see what else the new Gatsby soundtrack has in store for us.  That one won’t be available until May 7th though, so till then I’ll be dancing around to some of the beats from #willpower.

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Kreepy Tiki Tattoos!

Hello Beautiful Thinkers,

IMG_2406My siblings and I recently got new tattoos together, one of our more interesting bonding experiences.  This only makes the second tattoo for me, but my brother and sister are both a few tattoos ahead in the count.  She’s up to four now and he has a grand total of fifteen.  None of us are ready to stop; in fact, my sister has already picked out her next design.  Our most recent additions, as well as a few of their previous tattoos, have come from a shop called Kreepy Tiki Tattoo Lounge & Boutique down in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

IMG_2398Having only two of my own I can’t say I’ve been to a lot of different tattoo parlours, but I view that as a good thing.  It can be hard to find a place where you feel comfortable when needles are involved.  I mean, you wouldn’t go into any random place for a check up just because it says doctor on the building, would you?  Walking into Kreepy Tiki I felt comfortable almost immediately.  The store has an artsy-punk atmosphere in the entryway, and there’s also a lounge/bar area to the right.

IMG_2407A lot of the tattoo artists that work for Kreepy Tiki are also artists in other mediums.  The backroom where they’ve set up their tattoo stations also acts as a gallery for their paintings.  I found several cool pieces adorning the walls.  Even though there are a few different artists’ work hanging in this backroom it all feels like a well thought out gallery show.  There’s an overall feeling of iconic imagery meeting a wonderful mix horror and glamour to the work on display.  I feel like looking at their work gives me some insight into their personal style.  The fact that I liked the works made me even more comfortable with the idea of them putting something permanent on me.

Though we all got our tattoos done by the same artist, Adam Forero, the rest of the artists there were just as amiable as he was.  It was easy to make conversation and feel like you could be friends with the artists here rather than it being a cold transaction of ink for cash.  They definitely know how to make a personal relationship with their customers and really that’s the way to do it to attract repeat business.  And when we all have our next design ideas ready, this is where my siblings and I will be taking them.

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Henry VII: A Model of Modern Celebrity Marriage.

Hello Beautiful Thinkers,

The-tudors HenryI’m considering trying to watch The Tudors again.  The last time I tried to make it through the series I ended up stopping about halfway through the second season.  I don’t know why, but something about watching that show makes me physically exhausted.  But now it’s a personal challenge to make it through the whole thing.  To gear myself up and get into the true Tudor mindset, I did a little background about Henry’s many wives in the hopes that it might keep me more involved in the show.  Henry had six of them total, and not many of them got happily-ever-afters with him, as I’m sure you all know.

First up was Catherine of Aragon.  This girl had it rough on her way to becoming queen.  First she married Arthur, the son of Henry VII and brother of Henry VIII.  But before she could rise to queen status through this marriage, poor Arthur died.  But she wasn’t through with English royalty yet, and a little over a year after becoming a widow she was betrothed to Henry VIII.  It wasn’t until 1509, several years later, that they were actually married.  After bearing through several miscarriages and short-lived children, Catherine gained further heartache when Henry divorced her for Anne Boleyn.

Henry-VIII-and-his-wives.Boleyn was Henry’s great hope for a son.  Before he was even officially divorced from Catherine he married Anne in secret.  She gave birth to one child but it wasn’t the son Henry hoped for.  With a daughter from each wife he was still left without a male heir.  Within three years of marrying Anne, Henry grew infatuated with another woman.  Poor Anne was charged with adultery and plotting to murder the king, and she was taken to the Tower of London to be executed. Had Catherine been alive a few more months, she might have been able to laugh at the death of the woman who stole her husband.

Henry’s next wife, Jane Seymour, could arguably have been his favorite wife.  Jane Seymour was the first of his wives to give him a son, and Prince Edward was born in 1537.  This must have been proof enough for Henry that she was his true wife, and though she died shortly after childbirth, she was the only one of his wives to be buried in his tomb at St. George’s Chapel.  Jane practically died to give him the thing he always wanted; how could Henry ask for a better wife?

HenryWivesRegardless of whether Jane was perfect or not, she was still dead, which meant that before long Henry would be sniffing around for a new bride.  To his credit he didn’t marry again for two years, so maybe he did mourn for her a little.  His next marriage wasn’t out of love like the two before, but was an attempt at foreign alliance.  It also backfired horribly as Anne of Cleves only lasted from January to July of 1540 before they were divorced.  Still, that’s better than execution, which was the fate of another of Henry’s wives, Kathryn Howard.  They were only married two years before she was executed.

Katherine Parr was Henry’s last wife.  Ironically she was named for his first wife because her mother was a lady-in-waiting for Queen Catherine.  Katherine Parr was widowed twice before Henry met her.  Around the same time that he requested her hand in marriage she was also being courted by Jane Seymour’s brother.  She married Henry despite her feelings for Thomas Seymour and lived to become a widow for the third time when Henry died in 1547.  She married one last time to Thomas and gave birth to his child before she died a little over a year after Henry VIII.  I wonder, if she had lived longer, would she have gained as many husbands as Henry had wives?  She came pretty close and may have been the luckiest of his wives simply by outliving him.

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(I prefer the sexy Showtime version.)

Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Colorful Comics!

Hello Beautiful Thinkers,

scott_pilgrim__black_and_white_colored_comparison_by_yoshisaredragons-d5992hiExciting news from the world of Scott Pilgrim! If you’ve ever wanted to see what color Ramona Flowers’ hair is while reading the comics, you’re in luck my dears!  The Scott Pilgrim graphic novels are now being reprinted in color and hardback!  If you are thinking, “what’s this guy talking about?  Scott Pilgrim VS. The World was a movie!” then you’ve probably only just started exploring the Bryan Lee O’Malley world.  A graphic novel series, a video game, and then a movie, Scott Pilgrim has been through a lot and now he’s going to do it all over again in Technicolor hardback.

scott_pilgrim_vs_the_world_dvd_cover.jpgIf you saw the movie and loved it, there’s a good chance you wanted it to continue after the video game countdown rolled into the credits.  The graphic novels aren’t a continued storyline, but they do give you a lot more of Scott’s adventures.  The movie could only include so much of the action, so some things had to be cut or changed for the sake of time and continuity.  While watching the movie it can be very hard to tell how quickly time is moving; scenes can jump into each other with little warning.  This may make it seem like Scott and Ramona’s romance only took a couple weeks to reach the final battle for Ramona’s heart, while the novels stretch it out to a more normal pace.  The graphic novels show the passage of time and a few other blurry details more clearly.

Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means saying that Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is a bad movie; it’s actually one of my favorites.  That should give you an idea of how much I enjoyed the graphic novels.  Other than the six-book series, O’Malley also wrote a graphic novel called Lost At Sea.  And while it held some of the same humor we’ve come to expect from the author, it fell short of the brilliance of the Scott Pilgrim series.  Right now O’Malley is working on a new project called Seconds.  Not much has been released about the new story, but his website features several sketches of the characters featured in this new graphic novel.

secondsSeconds isn’t the only new thing on O’Malley’s plate right now.  Besides changing the books over to hardback and adding color, the Scott Pilgrim books are being revisited by their creator so that he can change things he regrets from the first printing.  If you aren’t really sure that the addition of color is enough to make you buy the newer printings, then new content might push your decision towards an “OMG! Yes! Yay new stuff!” In an interview last year O’Malley admitted that it’s more than just correcting a few lines.  “On the second book I started going to town a bit and really cleaned up and redrew some stuff.”

The first two books, Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life and Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, are already out.  Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness, the third of six, is available for pre-order through Amazon and set to release May 22, 2013.  There’s still no word as to when Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together, Scott Pilgrim Vs. the Universe, or Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour will be ready, or whether there will be a box set for the series once they’ve all been released, like there was with Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Boxset.  I don’t know about you, but can’t wait to find out.

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Hemlock Grove Isn’t the Hit Horror We Hoped.

Hello Beautiful Thinkers,

72871_378467162267989_396630425_nAs much as I like the idea of television expanding to the internet, I will admit that it doesn’t always work for the best.  I’m not thrilled with Netflix exclusive series Hemlock Grove. (Take this as a blanket spoiler alert for the post: if you’re going to watch the show, get it over with before reading on.) Excitement started building when I watched the preview leading up to the show’s release on April 19, 2013.  All the right pieces were there: actors that have had real movie roles, special effects, gore, sex, and secrets, but they never really come together for me in this series.  Though I can say I appreciated one of the goriest werewolf transformations I’ve seen, and Famke Janssen’s role as the queen bitch who always wears white, not much else in the series impressed me.

2222952Unlike network television shows that are released one episode at a time to get you hooked and have you coming back every week, Netflix released the full season all in one go.  I’m not sure this was the best idea.  While yes, Netflix fans love the ability to hunker down and blow through a whole season of a show in one weekend, I feel this wasn’t the best way to keep the show in people’s minds.  But whether or not this strategy helps, hurts, or even affects the show, there are other problems to be considered.

For starters, the show feels completely uneven, never really finding a focused balance between the murders that happen throughout the season and building the characters through subplots.  Worse still, it feels like there’s too much happening in the last two episodes, like they were trying to wrap up all the subplots just in case they don’t come back for another season.  Between finding the murderer, giving birth to an “angel baby,” learning what Roman and Olivia Godfrey actually are, and the death of about half the cast, I easily found myself thinking, “What the hell just happened?”

tumblr_mlkee1mv6t1snsdmlo1_500Only two reasons come to mind when I think of why anyone would be able to finish all 13 episodes.  Either they are a completest like me who has to finish something once they’ve started, or out of fan-love of one of the actors.  The actors aren’t the only ones to blame for my lack of interest with this world; it’s clear that there were problems with the writing.  For one thing, in the final showdown our two “heroes” turn out to be completely useless, leaving it to sweet but unfortunately deformed sister Shelley Godfrey to come barreling in to save the day (don’t ask me how she knew where they were to save them), only to be mistaken for the killer and shot twice by the local sheriff who also came out of nowhere.  There must have been a sign in town that said “the killer will be fighting two bumbling-would-be heroes at this address, someone please intervene for the sake of the pregnant girl who’s going to die in child birth anyway.”  Hopefully Netflix steps it up with whatever they’ve got planned next.

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Love Lace in Spring 2013

Hello Beautiful Thinkers,

Good news for all you lace fanatics: it looks like this favorite lightweight fabric is going to make its way back to the top of fashion this spring.  Alongside stripes, leather, floral, and checkerboard patterns seen on the 2013 Spring runways, lace was a major head turner.  With several big name designers like Jason Wu, Dolce & Gabbana, Oscar de la Renta, Lela Rose, and many others incorporating the fabric into many of their looks, it’s only a matter of time before we see it trickling down through the fashion world so that all of us can afford a bit of lace of our own, hopefully while it’s in season.

Looking through the different designs that incorporate lace it’s clear that it functions as an all-purpose fabric this season.  It covers everything from tops to bottoms, dresses to accessories.  Whether it’s the main fabric in the item or just an accent to a full ensemble, there’s no doubt what the trendy fashionistas will be hunting for soon.  Here are just a few of the lace looks I loved on the runways:

elle-31-nanette-lepore-lace-jacket-xln-lgnNanette Lepore Spectacle Cropped Lace Jacket

elle-1-valentino-pink-lace-loafers-xln-lgnValentino Pink Lace Overlay Loafers

elle-5-nicholas-kirkwood-red-lace-heels-xln-lgnNicholas Kirkwood Lace Heels

elle-13-dolce-and-gabbana-lace-bag-xln-lgnDolce & Gabbana Medium Lace Satchel

elle-18-venessa-arizaga-beatrice-necklace-xln-lgnVenessa Arizaga Beatrice Necklace

12-elle-oscar-de-la-renta-spring-2013-rtw-09-de-lgnOscar de la Renta white lace top and shirt set

20-elle-roberto-cavalli-spring-2013-rtw-011-de-lgnRoberto Cavalli Yellow Lace Dress

elle-lela-rose-spring-2013-rtw-021-de-ySeKnm-lgnLela Rose White Dress with Black Lace Trim

83208546_02_D1Mango Guipure Skull T-Shirt

If you’re like me and can’t afford any of those except maybe the Mango Guipure Skull T-shirt, you should keep these looks in mind while hitting up thrift stores and eBay.  One of my favorite vests is an H&M leather and lace piece that I found on eBay for only $15.  There’s no reason that you can’t stay on trend without breaking the bank.  And if you’re handy with a needle and thread, it wouldn’t take much to sew a bit of lace into some of your old looks that are in need of a revival.  Hunting the sales racks at fabric stores could become a new pastime.

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Jasper Johns: Great American Artist!

Hello Beautiful Thinkers,

johns_portrait_380x311I’ve been thinking back on an art history class that I took a couple years ago, finally following up on those promises I made to myself to learn more about the artists that we only covered for about five seconds before moving on for “test material.”  Jasper Johns’ name popped into my head this week, and I didn’t remember much about him except that he was famous for painting pictures of the American flag.  That of course was enough of a spark to get me Googling good old Jasper.  My memory didn’t fail me, Johns was in fact the artist that created a series of artwork making use of the 48-star American flag.  “One night I dreamed that I painted a large American flag and the next morning I got up and I went out and bought the materials to begin it,” Johns said about Flag, and that dream spread to become more than just one painting.

JasperJohnsCicada53The flag paintings weren’t the only accomplished subject of Johns’ artwork: he was a major influence on pop art in his early work.  Johns took everyday images and made them into icons.  His flags, targets, maps, numbers, and other simple images brought him fame in the late 1950s.  During his solo debut at the Castelli Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, bought three of Johns’ pieces, effectively putting him on the map as a must-see artist.  As he continued his career, he added crosshatching and presses of body parts to his repertoire, not allowing his work to become stagnant as the years passed.

538491-3_flagsStill alive today, Johns can boast some pretty impressive accomplishments from his years of creating.  Johns is ranked the 30th most valuable artist by Skate Press and has 7 of his works in Skate’s Top 1000 Most Valuable Works of Art Sold at Auction.  In the 1980s Jasper Johns’ Three Flags was sold for one million dollars to the Whitney Museum of American Art, setting a record for the highest price ever paid for a work of art by a living artist.  Then in 2006 John’s False Start was sold to private collectors Anne and Kenneth Griffin for eighty million dollars, making it the most expensive painting by a living artist.  Now eighty-two years old, Johns has works in museums all over the world and can rest assured that his legacy will be one to remember for many years to come.

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(Another new pair of shades!)

Olly Murs Headed for International Superstardom!

Hello Beautiful Thinkers,

packshot-rprt-deluxe-400Last week iTunes released the US version of Olly Murs’ album Right Place Right Time.  Up till now anyone that isn’t actively seeking Olly has probably only heard his song “Troublemaker (feat. Flo Rida).”  It can honestly be mistaken for a Maroon 5 song if you’re not listening carefully.  When it was just the “Troublemaker” single on the market here in the states I was almost ready to write Olly off as an Adam Levine wannabe without all the sexy tattoos.  But now that I’ve had a chance to get a better look at Murs’s work, it’s clear that while Maroon 5 might be one of his many influences, Olly Murs isn’t just a knock off.

316994_10150849689835080_297643705079_21218348_2014066281_nThe US version of Right Place Tight Time is a little different from the UK version.  While this is his debut album here in the states, it is his third across the pond.  The album contains 14 fun pop songs ready to meet a brand new audience.  But when I was looking into Olly’s past career, I found that four of the songs are actually fan favorites from his previous album In Case You Didn’t Know.  This 2011 album has gone double platinum back in the UK, and the repeated songs on the US version all reached high on the charts when they originally premiered.

olly-murs-instagram-234The other ten songs on the new album are shared on both versions.  And while “Troublemaker” is the first to take a place in the top 20s, I have a feeling it won’t be the only one making a climb up the charts.  Anyone that’s been following Olly since first seeing him on The X Factor (UK) in 2009 had a head start.  He made his debut there with his self-titled album Olly Murs.  Unfortunately for anyone here in the USA that gets struck with Olly fever, his previous work isn’t available on iTunes.  Though if you’re a diehard fan you can always get the CDs via Amazon import.  If this is your plan it might be best to grab the UK version of Right Place Right Time instead of getting it here as there are two songs featured on that version that aren’t available stateside otherwise.

The video for “Troublemaker” has been on Fuse’s Top 20 for a couple weeks now, but a look at the official Vevo for the artist reveals several other videos as well.  My favorite is for his song “Dance With Me Tonight.”  The video really captures the playful personality that UK fans have come to know him for, and he sets up a cute Say Anything-esque routine outside the window of a sexy blonde woman.  If Olly Murs’ US career is anything like his rise to fame in the UK, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more lighthearted videos and hearing more lively music from this guy soon.

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PS Check out my awesome new shades!

Hamburger Mary’s Serving You Hot Off The Grill Realness

Hello Beautiful Thinkers,

MaryStatueIn downtown Orlando we have one of twelve fabulous US locations of a restaurant called Hamburger Mary’s Bar & Grille.  Their slogan is “Eat Drink, and be… Mary!”  And with how delicious their food is it’s almost like a guarantee.  Other than its three locations in Florida and three in California, Mary’s can be found in a few other major US cities and also one location in Berlin, Germany.  Since they started in San Francisco in 1972, Mary’s has been serving delicious burgers in a fun and eclectic atmosphere.

As the restaurant grew into a franchise several of Mary’s fabulous burger joints have come and gone.  Unfortunately, the original Hamburger Mary’s in San Francisco is one of those locations that is no longer with us.  But Mary’s got nothing to worry about here in Orlando as far as I can tell; it’s packed every time I’m there.  The delicious menu is complimented by consistently friendly service and weekly events that draw in the regular crowd and newcomers alike.  Here in Orlando we have a HamBingo Tuesdays, Trivia Wednesdays, a Cabaret show Saturday, and Broadway Brunch Sundays.  Other locations are known for events like MaryOke and live DJs.

photo-9The one thing every Mary’s has in common is the delicious food.  Their burgers are always fresh and made-to-order on a bakery-fresh bun.  Don’t worry if you’re not a Angus-beef fan, at most locations you can substitute a turkey burger, homemade black been patty, or chicken breast on your burger.  While the menu might change from location to location, my favorite, “Buffy the Burger Slayer,” and a few other popular items are standards that you can expect at every Hamburger Mary’s.  Even though hamburger is right in the name you can find plenty more when you eat at Mary’s.  There is a full lunch and dinner menu with delicious “AppeTeazers,” soups & salads, sandwiches & wraps, and desserts.

On my most recent trips to Hamburger Mary’s I’ve tried a few different things on the menu and I’ve still never been disappointed.  Mary’s Ta-Ta’s (tater tots), which can be loaded with beacon and cheese, are a must when I go with my sisters.  The other appetizer that’s great, especially if your party all wants something different, is Mary’s Handbag, a sampler of four of the appetizers in one.  While my favorite burger is the Buffy burger, recently they had a specialty burger called the Pizza burger that was amazing as well.  A couple other items that make great entrees if you’re not feeling like a burger are the Bird of Paradise (a delicious turkey sandwich with bacon and melted cheddar cheese.  Need I say more?) and the chicken tender wrap (again featuring bacon, yum!).

photo-11If you still have room after you’ve no doubt torn through the appetizer and entrée, the classic fried Twinkies are always a fun novelty to indulge in.  But the Mary Tyler S’mores are the way to go as long as you don’t have any accident-prone friends dining with you.  If you do, maybe you just shouldn’t let them get to close to the fire.  That’s right, you get to make your s’mores with an open flame at your table!  If that doesn’t sounds like a fun and delicious way to end the night then maybe having your check brought in a tiny red high-heel will put a smile on your face as you wrap up your entertaining and delicious evening.

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