Secret Sharers

This week, we’re recommending things that our every selfish impulse is begging us not to—secret tricks that might not work if they get out, shortcuts we don’t want to get around, and things that are so personal and so close to our hearts that it’s painful to expose them to the harsh light of day—but you guys seem trustworthy. You won’t tell anyone else, right?

Gatsby_1925_jacketThe Long-Term Decentralized Gatsby Approach for Wooing Crushes
Spending most of my life as a person who thinks about/crushes on another person a LOT has led to my inventing innovative ways to get that special someone to put their face on my face. Now I wish to share my secret weapon, a crush-luring strategy I have come to call the Long-Term Decentralized Gatsby Approach (LTDGA). The LTDGA is named after legendary party host Jay Gatsby, the titular character of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby. When the book begins, dude is throwing weekly high-society ragers at his estate. Gatsby’s parties have a live orchestra, entertainers, dancers, expensive booze, a bunch of people making out, etc. Alas, it is revealed that all of this is not in the pure spirit of funsies. Rather, Gatsby is hosting the parties in the hope that Daisy, the woman from his past that HE STILL LOVES and for whom he bought a house so he could live nearby, will show up. When I read the book, I found this approach inspiring but flawed. Neither I nor Rookie can condone romantically motivated real-estate investments. Second, parties are cool, but Daisy apparently had a whole bunch of other shit to do every Friday night. “I think he half expected her to wander into one of his parties, some night,” her friend Jordan explains to the book’s narrator, “but she never did.” Hence, the Long-Term Decentralized Gatsby Approach: turn entire life into a big classy party; wait patiently. Channel that crush energy into moving through your whole life like you are at the soirée of your dreams (Andrew W.K. has many tips in this regard). The first time I took the LTDGA, it had me wearing heart-shaped sunglasses, bringing pies to speakeasies, and doing late-night solo drives to abandoned seaside resorts. I cultivated an idea of myself as a nonstop party to which my crush had a standing invitation. “This is just the cool stuff I do” was the message. And at some point, my crush showed up to join me—which was great. Also great? By that time, I had found that I could celebrate in my luxurious emotional mansion by myself if I had to. Now, going public with the LTDGA probably prevents me from using it with future honeys myself. But! Blowing up my spot will be worth it if you make sure to send me an invite. —Lola

imagesChipotle Extras
Chipotle is my favorite restaurant. I know, I know—“It’s not a restaurant! It’s fast food!” I don’t want to fight about it. I’m not trying to brag, but six of my friends bought me Chipotle gift cards for my birthday last year without even asking me what I wanted. I ate burritos for dinner every Friday for like three months, and during that time, I became a Chipotle expert. Here’s what I learned: (1) If you want extra meat in your burrito but you don’t want to pay for it, it’s all a matter of timing. “I’ll have chicken,” you say, but then as the Burrito Artist is scooping it into your burrito/bowl, add, “Wait, can I make it half braised carnitas?” You will basically get twice the meat because at that point the Burrito Artist will have put most of the chicken in your bowl. This also applies to the beans—if you want extra, just change your mind from black to pinto halfway through. (2) Chipotle does indeed serve quesadillas, those delicious pockets of molten cheese between two tortillas. You just have to ask. (3) THIS WILL CHANGE YOUR BURRITO GAME. Ask them to put your burrito in the tortilla warmer. It’s just a nice little touch. Now, if Chipotle asks, I did not send you there with all of these mild-nuisance-causing requests. And one parting piece of advice: always be super friendly to the employees who make your food dreams come true. —Gabby

tumblr_mabil8S1dF1rvw891o1_500Free Doughnuts
One evening I had an intense craving for one thing: a pink frosted doughnut. It was rather late and I cruised through my neighborhood until I found a Dunkin’ Donuts. I was low on cash with a bunch of coins in my pocket. I was the only person in the store and it was near closing when I asked for my single, mildly stale treat. The cashier took one look at me and gave me a half dozen of whatever was left and said they were on the house, because they throw them out at the end of the night anyway. Victory was mine! My saggy-ass sad girl lifestyle had finally paid off. A week or so later, I went again, and this little miracle turned out not to be a one-time deal. It became something of a game, and I found companionship with my friend and fellow doughnut-lover, Sandy. Wherever we are, when it’s late, we rush to her computer and search for a Dunkin’ that was open. (Should we go to Gross or Slightly Dangerous?) Either way, every single time, I end the night with a tummy full of free treats. —Allyssa

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 8.22.55 PMKilled By Death Records
This is probably my favorite MP3 blog. Focusing on punk and power-pop music from the late ’70s and the ’80s, the site features songs ripped from rare vinyl records, and I’ve found some real gems here, including the Delinquents’ surf-rocky “Alien Beach Party” and this weirdo punk song by the Chronics called “Test Tube Baby.” And the best part is that all this music is free! If I’m hesitant to share, it’s only because I don’t want anyone to know that I didn’t discover these artists by actually sifting through rare vinyl in a record store. —Hazel

6stopThe Last Stop on the 6 Train
I went to college at Pace University in New York City, and to get there I would take the 6 train to its very last stop, Brooklyn Bridge. Except it wasn’t the very last stop. I’m an avid lover of abandoned subway stations and other mostly forgotten urban structures, and in my second year of school, I read online that if you stayed on the train as it circled back around to the uptown platform across from where you were originally supposed to get off, you would pass through the City Hall stop. It was built in 1904, but it hasn’t been used since 1945, and the architecture is way more beautiful than that of any other train platform I’ve ever seen. So every day before class I would stay put after the “last stop” and thrill as the train’s lights went off. Together, it and I passed through darkness until we reached the secret station, where I craned my neck to try and notice as many parts of it as I could each time. Although I knew I was safe and would be right back where I started in under two minutes, every extended commute felt transgressive and exhilarating. It was my private daily ritual (I always did it alone), which made me feel like an adventurer, and which increased my great love for New York’s history and mystery. Everyone should have their secret place. This is mine, but I don’t mind if you decide it’s yours, too. At the very least, I encourage you to see it and let its history course through you. —Amy Rose

P1040487The Greenboro District Library of Ottawa, Ontario
One summer afternoon when I was 16, I got into an argument with my parents—about what, I can’t even remember. I stormed out of the house to go for a walk, and after aimlessly wandering around for 20 minutes, I came across my neighborhood community center. It had been under renovation but was reopening with a brand-spankin’-new library. I now divide my life into BL and AL (before and after library); it was a two-story building with cushy chairs, tall windows that overlooked a park, and a great selection of books, movies, and periodicals. There I discovered artsy foreign films and a world of cinema that was not Mean Girls (still a great movie, but my DVD was worn out). And when I decided that I was going to be a writer, I would spend hours with stacks of New Yorker issues, pretending I wasn’t just reading the cartoons. And when I would experience quick bursts of wanting to teach myself Russian or learn everything there is to know about 1970s punk, I could always find the appropriate title. It didn’t take long before I had my library card number memorized. (To put this in perspective, it took me about two years to learn my new phone number.) I don’t understand why people aren’t mowing down the doors to get in every morning when it opens, though I’m happy for that. I almost always went alone. Sometimes my friends would wonder how I would know about so many obscure movies/comic anthologies/comedian memoirs, and I would just play the role of cultural savant. I was wise, I was worldly, I was sophisticated (and I was thumbing through the librarians’ Staff Picks shelf). —Anna

alliwannadoAll I Wanna Do (1998)
Without Google, I probably wouldn’t know 80% of what I know. That said, sometimes I really resent the internet for sucking the romance and mystery out of basically everything. For instance, this movie. I first encountered All I Wanna Do on cable when I was six or seven. It’s about a group of teenage girls in the ’60s who find out that their boarding school is about to go coed, and all of the crazy shenanigans that result when they try to stop this from happening. It contains EVERY POSSIBLE THING I COULD EVER WANT IN A FILM, including: period jokes, sisterly friendships, a club devoted to eating ravioli, spiked punch, an entire chorus of teenage boys throwing up after drinking spiked punch, vintage prom dresses, Rachael Leigh Cook, bra stuffing, and SO MUCH MORE. After I watched it once, I voraciously checked a hard copy of TV Guide to see when it would air again, and until I Googled it recently, I honestly thought I was the only person who had ever seen this movie. I never even bring it up when talking about my favorite films, because part of me is too possessive to share its perfectness with the world, and another part thinks no one will know what I’m talking about. It was originally titled The Hairy Bird (a controversial code word for man parts), then Strike!, before finally being released as All I Wanna Do. So basically it was doomed to anonymity from the start. But when I mentioned to my fellow Rooks that I would finally open up and share this movie with the world, Maggie threatened to sabotage me. It turns out she, too, is one of the lucky few who caught it on cable, and she’s equally possessive about it. But go and watch All I Wanna Do with our blessing. We just ask that you resist posting screencaps of it on Tumblr, because we don’t want it to get THAT popular. —Gabby

Full_Circle_2Full Circle (aka The Haunting of Julia) (1977)
I have only informed several people of the existence of this film (obviously, it exists anyway). The mysterious Canadian production was shot in England in 1977 and released in the States in 1981, but is often listed with two different titles. Anyway, Full Circle stars a grief-stricken Mia Farrow (still with her Rosemary’s Baby Vidal Sassoon hair) as a wealthy housewife dealing with the traumatic death of her daughter. One rainy Saturday afternoon in 1985, a 14-year-old me was folded up in a soft chair in front of the TV when I caught the most harrowing opening sequence my tender self had ever seen—and I grew up with repeated viewings of The Shining. A few details: an apple, a botched tracheotomy, a delicate silk blouse spattered in blood, and a perfect soundtrack by Colin Towns that will make you fall apart. So there I was, completely rapt, and my dad appears in the doorway and announces, “We’re going on a hike.” I protested for a solid 15-plus minutes, but it was no use. My viewing session was ruined, and I have never forgiven him. On the hike, I was forced to keep up with the group by running an incline so steep my legs spun out of control and finally gave out from underneath me. I was in a crumpled pile by the side of the road till my dad looked back and saw me there. We ended up in the emergency room. The damage wasn’t too major, but I got stitches for the first time, and they were bad enough to drag that day around with me for the rest of my life. Moral of this story: do not force anyone to do anything they don’t want to do EVER. But back to MY MOVIE! I tracked it down years later, and it was everything I knew it was going to be. It was waiting for me. There is a séance, an elegant haunted house, pouring rain, an eerie wind-up clown toy, fog, lots of school children, really good fashion (including Mia in a turtleneck and corduroy overalls), dewy autumnal scenery, snappy dialogue, antiques, and weeping. You can see the whole thing here, just don’t love it as much as I do! —Sonya

BlackMirrorTitleCardBlack Mirror
2011-present, Channel 4

Depending on where you live, this British TV series isn’t going to be such a big secret; I’m in the States, so I had to “borrow” it from the internet, which makes me feel like I am the only one I know who has seen it (though this is not the case). So far, there are only six (completely unrelated) one-hour episodes, each concerning the effed-up implications of modern technology; the title refers to the shiny face of the gadgetry—phones, computers, TVs—that is never out of our reach. While it’s intended to make audiences uneasy, the most disturbing part about Black Mirror is how, much like The Twilight Zone, the truly horrifying details aren’t all that far-fetched. Shortly after I watched “Be Right Back,” about a woman who resurrects her deceased boyfriend using information from his online presence, I read this piece in the New York Times that mentions LivesOn, a (possibly prankster) service that will tweet on your behalf after your die. Another episode explores what might be the nightmarish consequences of advancements like Google Glass. “White Bear” is my absolute favorite, and to even begin to say why would spoil it for the uninitiated, but we had all better hope that it proves to be the most unrealistic of all. —Phoebe

PRAVANA_ChromaSilk_Vivids_CHARITY_-SwatchesPravana ChromaSilk Vivids
I’ve been dyeing my hair since sophomore year of high school. I’ve had every natural shade out there—blonde, red, brunette, black—but I’ve always been attracted to super-bright, unnatural hair colors: blue, pink, violet, teal, apple red. It started when I had a blond streak in my hair and a friend of mine colored it with markers while we were bored. She turned my streak into an awesome rainbow, but of course it washed out when I showered. Next, I tried dyeing my hair with Kool-Aid, because I’d heard that that was how Kurt Cobain got his hair to the brilliant reddish purple shade he donned on the cover of Sassy. I used Blue Raspberry. It was pretty bright, but it faded fast and my hair smelled like Kool-Aid, which got kind of sickening after a while. Eventually, like many colorful-mop aficionados, I moved on to Manic Panic. It comes in many different shades with cool names like Pillarbox Red, and it will last a couple of weeks or so depending on how often you wash your hair. The color does leech out every time you wash it, though, so I stopped using Manic Panic about five years and now I get the pinks and purples put into my hair professionally. Usually when people ask me what magical brand I use that comes in such vibrant shades, I play dumb and give all the credit to my stylist. I’m not sure why I refuse to share this dye that lasts three times as long as Manic Panic and only bleeds during the first two washes (once at the salon and once at home). I guess I just wanted it to be my little beauty secret. But here goes, just for you, my Rooks. If you want silver, yellow, orange, green, or “wild orchid” hair, try Pravana ChromaSilk Vivids. You do have to lighten your hair first, and if you aren’t sure how to do so, you may wish to go the professional route (because, bonus secret, your stylist can blend the Pravana colors and make new shades). My stylist carries Pravana anyway, but you can order them online here and bring to any salon willing to help you achieve the shade of your dreams. —Stephanie

41neJCfWS7L._SY355_Couture Colour Pequi Oil
This is the best thing I have ever, ever used on my hair, and as a naturally curly-headed person who now bleaches and straightens her poor, beleaguered strands regularly, I’ve used a LOT of stuff throughout the years. Miracle products aren’t supposed to exist, and for the most part, they don’t. This shit is the exception. No matter how dry or tangled or otherwise disgustomax my mane is, Pequi Oil smooths it down and makes it shiny for hours. You can use it before you heat or style, or on dry hair—whatever way you decide to slather it on your zone will make it look way more perfect than it did five minutes before. So to those with unkempt, dry, or damaged hair, I just solved all your problems in like 250 words or something. —Amy Rose

hero-creamy-home-style-butter-cream-frostingButtercream Frosting
I do a lot of creative things with my life, but nothing gets me quite as competitive as baking. I strive to be THE BEST, and for this reason I have NO intention of pursuing my craft professionally, because it brings out my dark side, and if I took it too seriously, I would probably go down in flames, likely from an oven that exploded during my mad pursuit of sweet-toothed greatness. (I have profited from my skills, though: in high school a teacher paid me a coupla hundos to make 200 cupcakes for her wedding, CHA CHING!) And it was some time around then that I “developed”—I mean, I don’t want to take too much credit, because as you’ll see, it’s kind of common sense—my signature buttercream frosting. It’s the best and most INSANELY simple recipe that yields enough frosting for a two-layer cake or 12 cupcakes with some left over to eat at 2 AM, and I struggled with the decision to reveal the recipe. I have shared it with just ONE FRIEND, and only because I moved away from home and she was strung out from cupcake withdrawal. But whatever, I’m over it. You’ll need:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 4-6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • TINY DASH of salt (like, approximately 56 granules) (JK, no idea, just a TEENY pinch!)

Cream the butter with an electric mixer until it’s kind of whipped-looking and all the chunks are smoothed out. Give it, say, two minutes on medium speed. Add about 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix it on SLOW so a cloud doesn’t dust up in your face. Add 2 tablespoons of milk or cream. Keep adding powdered sugar while mixing, one cup at a time. This is where you improvise: If you want a sweeter frosting that will kind of harden into a sugary crunch, KEEP ADDING THE SUGAR WHEEEE! If you prefer a more pronounced butter flavor, stop after the first 3 or 4 cups. Keep tasting (do I really have to tell you that?) until you get to your desired consistency and level of sweetness. Now add in your vanilla extract, followed by the almond extract. This gives it a faint JE NE SAIS QUOI. People literally say, “What is this flavor? I do not know what it is, it is quite good,” and I do not tell them…UNTIL NOW. Finally, add the pinch of salt, and don’t overdo it or you’ll be sorry! Whip until all is combined and quite delicious. —Dylan ♦