Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Overheard:


"Careers and higher education are leading to the masculinization of women, with enormously dangerous consequences to the home, the children, and our country. When our boys come home from war, what kind of girls will they be coming home to?"

 
-Maida Gillespie, A League of Their Own (1993, Columbia Pictures, Parkway Productions), when referring to the newly-established women's baseball league during World War II.

Color Me, Colombia--Part Uno.

To put my past week and a half, my trip, in the simplest of terms:

I spent some of the most wonderful, most fabulous days in Colombia with a group of equally wonderful and fabulous people.
In a few words:
gorgeous, colorful, historic, chock-full of personality, heritage, and a very rich, deep spirit that is palpable.
See for yourself.

    Pictures speak louder than I can with my affinity for mindless rambling, which you know I just can't resist indulging.

International flights made mildly entertaining by my girlfriends.

 
Our lodging, Casa del Virrey, located in Cartagena's "Old City" district, surrounded by the historic city wall.
 
Fourth story, my room, which led outside to the outdoor seating areas and hot tub.
 
Breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared and served to us by the lovely duo, Katia and Ana. 
 
 
I would often wake earlier than everyone else to watch Katia and Ana work and chat with them over coffee. Those early mornings were some of my very favorite moments of the entire trip, I cross my little heart.
And this one morning, poolside, in our backyard directly out of our first floor's terrace, I studied the preparation of arepas that Katia and Ana had planned for our breakfast.
 
While I was busy doing that, others were busy as well.
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Dinner- just the way I prefer it.
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Ceviche prepared beachside by locals and enjoyed beachside by yours truly.
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We hired a local and his 14-year-old son to drive our group, via TINY moderately-motorized fishing boat, to Isla Blanca, a breathtaking but rustic island about an hour away. The boat ride to Isla Blanca? Lengthy but scenic. The boat ride back? Like a two-hour wild water ride at Universal Studios. I was saying my goodbyes, confident that, at the very least, I was going down in a blaze--well, wave--of glory in Colombia.
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     A restaurant there, owned by our boatman's brother, was nestled in a tiny hut, facing the water. The gentleman went out to the ocean, proceeded to catch our lunch, display them to us on a tray before cooking them...and then, he returned with this about an hour and a half later. (Note: the ENTIRE FISH was cooked and plated...no frills)
Almuerzo was served!
Snapper, wild rice, small greens with tomato salad, and delicious tostones.

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As I look out my window to the snowy, sleety mess that is New York City in January, I'm comforted and simultaneously haunted by the two images below.
 
 
Morning coconut water, anyone?  
 
 
 
Cafe del Mar, on top of Cartagena's "Old City" district's historic city wall.

 
Panorama settings on the IPhone blew my mind. I'm easily impressed by the extent of technology these days, apparently.  
 

Nightlife--The view from the deck of a little salsa dancing cantina, where I shook my tailfeathers..er, I mean...my little Torn by Ronny Koby a-line swoosh-skirt.
 
Colombian night at the disco. I'm not entirely sure why they adore their balloons, and balloon hats, for that matter. But hey, people were clearly out with a vengeance on a Saturday night.
 
Tab? Paid. Free love? I'll take two more, por favor. 
 
 Taken on Martin Luther King, Jr. day. Incredibly appropriate. Chao Racismo is right! We're all human. We're all worthy individuals. International love.
 
A Cartagena streetcar named...Chevrolet.
 
 Walking the "Old City" wall, looking completely disheveled, thanks to the winds whipping over the rocky beach. Can a girl get a ride?
 
One of my favorite street shots. The architecture, the streets themselves, in the walled "Old City" district, where we stayed, was charming, rustic, and just the way I'd envisioned. This area was much different, far richer, far better (in my mind) than the condominium-ridden and high-rise tourist district. Each scene, each block told a story about Cartagena's past, its people, and its present. There's spirit lurking in each handle, each door frame, each wall, each poster, and each painting.  



 
...TO BE CONTINUED.
 I don't want those little eyes of yours to grow weary now.
Don't fret- This girl will return soon enough.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

What I Wore: Las Calles de Cartagena.

 
 
Estilo de las calles de Cartagena, Colombia
 



Uno. 
Denim western-style button up, tied--Vintage find.
 
Dos.
Pale pink pleated calf-length skirt--Hunter Dixon New York.
 
Tres.  
Leopard print and fuschia color-blocked smoking flats--Dolce Vita.
 
Cuatro.
Black pebbled leather bag--Alexander Wang.
 
Cinco.
Black cat eye sunglasses--Proenza Schouler.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Overheard:

"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I'll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract."
 
-Mrs Whatsit
(The period was intentionally left off)
 
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle,
which remains not only one of my childhood favorite authors and works, but one of my favorites of ALL time. Get into it, and I'm demanding it if you somehow sadly and pitifully missed out on this extraordinarily mind-boggling read from your years in elementary school. Shame on your school system, for heaven's sake for depriving you of such an exceptional, fantasy/sci-fi read that most likely would have immersed you entirely into its pages and away from everything else, particularly schoolwork. Shame on them!
 
 
 
Oh, and excuse my absence, dears, but I've been detained in Colombia.
...Take a pause.
 
 


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

This Week in Five.

This week...

   Yes--you guessed it, oh perceptive ones--I'm loving so many things. We all go through moments, days, weeks and even months without truly being struck and/or inspired deeply by much. It's as if we go through the mundane habits and routines with earmuffs and eye patches on...especially after the holidays and New Year's passes, "normal"-ish life is reinstated, and we all return to work and home life as usual. Necessary, I suppose, but hello! A bit on the boring side, eh?

  It's during this period that we function much like those pitiful horses with blinders on. Take them off, honey. I just tossed mine to the ground a few days ago.

Count 'em out.

One:

Monica & David
the documentary

Monica and David documentary, documentary about special needs, special needs people, mentally handicapped people, handicapped people who fall in love, marriage of people who have down syndrome, down syndrome love and people
 
   I'm entirely obsessed with my Roku, which allows me to access Netflix on Demand. I fully admit my problem. It's a miracle that I ever actually emerge from my apartment. I've been revisiting old loves, cough, Dawson's Creek marathon, cough...but, I've been completely glued to several new television series and films as well. Monica & David is one of the latest.
    Director Alexandra Codino documented a year in the life of her Down Syndrome cousin Monica and her fiance-turned-husband, David, who also has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome, as they deal with the challenges of not just planning a wedding and then living as a married couple but the nitty gritty of maintaining a relationship with extraordinary circumstances. A normal (but really, what is normal these days anymore?) romantic relationship as adults. Whoa. It's truly touching, and this couple's organic love for one another, despite the fact that others may argue that Monica and David (and others similar to them) will never develop into individuals capable of functioning independently in the world and establishing life-long romantic relationships. This documentary is Monica and David's story. It's about people. It's about interacting with others. It's about cheesy, but extraordinary love, which appears in all forms, shapes, sizes, ethnicities, classes, and mental capacities. It's doesn't take a minimum IQ to recognize that feeling in your chest.
 

 
Two:
 
Re-vamping, re-working, reviving old clothing and accessories
 
    I purchased some intense fabric paint from an absolutely amazing arts and crafts store down the street here in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The store literally called me to buy everything, hole up in my apartment and create, paint, write, and build a million and one things. Practicing self-control, I only left with some olive metallic green fabric paint, three wooden canvases, and jewelry wire.  I have owned a lovely powder blue/grey-ish toned Jill Stuart handbag for about four years now, and I haven't carried it in about two. It's a lovely bag, but the color...my jeans, pants, anything that the bag came in contact with, rubbed off onto the fabric. It began to take on a muddy color, and it simply became just downright dirty. After several $40 leather cleaning bills, I'd written it off, and it was sent to designer handbag purgatory...where nice bags are laid to rest...in the bottom of one of my purse buckets in the back of my closet. Alas, though! Jill Stuart's spawn has been resurrected! I slapped on a few coats of this funky metallic olive paint on the 'ole girl, and holy shnikes! She looks fabuuuuuuloooouuuus, darling. I most definitely could have chosen a much safer shade--black, tan, yawn. But, since my new fondness for bold and daring color combinations has taken over (I must be a pod person now), I took a risk with this. In fact, the metallic green combined with the previous texture of the bag exudes somewhat of a crocodile effect. Pat on the back for me, thank you, and for DIY wardrobe maintenance.
 
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Three:
 
Playing with big girl toys
 
Cuisinart hand blender, Kitchen Aid chopper and mixer, blender, and juicer--Help! What age did I turn again? Surely, not 26! When did I transform into June Cleaver? Perhaps when the pod people planted the color-loving chip in my brain, they also revved up my affinity for all things domestic as well...or just sped up the aging process. The juicer, though...it's a pain but one I enjoy. I, like many girls here, would drop an embarrassing amount of money at natural juice stores, such as The Juice Press or Juice Generation, going on juice cleanses, etc. Now, I have my very own. It's a pain, yes. Entirely. Clean up? Ew, and it takes up a moderate amount of time. But, hey, these concoctions have been quite tasty, and...I feel pretty darn good about myself. Thankfully, I already enjoy good, clean, and earth-grown foods a great deal. But, this is upping those delicious salads by a few notches. It requires much more work and much more time than simply racing into the nearest salad bar or even liquiteria, but it cuts my costs, and it feels rewarding to do something good for my body. It's worth the effort.
 
 
Cuisinart blender juicer, liquiteria, juicing, making your own juice Hamilton Beach juicer blender
 
Four:
 
New planner for a new year,
 
2013 Personalized emerald green crocodile day planner
 
I'm obsessed with planners. I love, I want, I need. I need that visualization. That mental photograph of words, tasks, to-dos, and important dates. I also forget everything daily, so I need my cell phone, Google calendar, Ipad/Iphone reminders, and my bulletin board to perform the remembering for me...and to inspire me here and there. I need a little motivational speaking from an inanimate object, I guess. We all understand and accept that I prefer animal prints, textures, and delightful color tones, and preferably, all of the above! Crocodile is both texture and print! And in emerald? Delish, honey.
 
Introducing, my newest day planner, complete with my very own golden personalized initials,
doo doo doo doo--dooo doooooo!

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I ordered mine online from Saks Fifth Avenue, and you can Click here to view the details or to buy one like mine. They also offer the same crocodile style in pink, blue, and black. All are lovely and delightfully practical. Personalize yours also, if you wish.
 
Five:
 
My Christmas tree
 
I know, I know. "Take it down already, Olivia."
No.
No thank you.
I'm not ready yet. I love the holidays, and in my mind, they haven't quite ended. The tree, my tree, is a source of security and warmth for me. I like the freaking tree, ok? So, I will take my real Frasier Fir tree down whenever it pleases me. And, it pleases me immensely to still see its golden glow down the hallway from where I sit atop my bed while it's still brrrrrr-inducing outside. And there you have it!
 
 
 
 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Voices from the Village.


   Ahem,

   So, you should all allow me to admit that The Village Voice, although criticized by other elitist publications (see: old No Fun Nancies hardened by their snobbery and Midtown pollution), produces some cheeky, young and clever lists, ditties, blurbs, and articles. At least they're worth a glance and a smirk, and that's more than I can say about all of what people write these days.

   This post (below), though, rang true for me. Life here isn't easy. In fact, it's daunting, discouraging, isolating, expensive as hell, inconvenient, exhausting, soul-stealing, dirty, and on and on and on. On a sidenote, I also had my IPhone, IPod, and what little cash I have (correction: had) stolen two nights ago. I'm the poster child for when New York City life deals you a blow to the head, knocking you out cold until you come to and begin wondering why the heck you put yourself through all of this day after day. So, believe me when I reiterate that it's truer than you think: Life is freaking hard here. Running errands is difficult! Running errands! Errands? I don't just hop in my car, pull up to a parking spot, park, purchase my items, walk them back out and put them in my trunk and carry on! I'm bumping people with bags and boxes, waddling to the subway, while being pushed and shoved but still trying to keep my space from the schizophrenic homeless man in the corner of the subway car who continues to eye me while reciting what is likely to be a passage from the satanic verses. Yes! Ouch!


   But, even in these times, I continue to remind myself how lucky I am. I chose this. This was my choice, and I knew that life would not entirely champagne toasts and smooth cab rides (although that would be splendid all of the time!).  I have to make an effort to remember how, at times, I am extremely proud of what I have accomplished here and how many more things lie just over that horizon for me..., and ultimately--despite all-- yes, just how much I desperately love New York. It's a love and hate relationship. It's despicable and enchanting. It's yin and yang. It's war and a safe zone. It's a famine and feast. It's barren and fertile. OK, but, at the end of the night, morning, year, decade, New York is more love than hate, but hey, most of us here understand this. For better or for worse. It binds us. We all are apart of this relationship.

We're lovesick, but I don't know if we'd trade in this moody, bipolar lover for anyone else.



For your viewing pleasure:
 Really Do Heart NY

Dear New York City Haters...Here's What You Don't Know About Us

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Stick it in a jar.

Good morning and good day, 2013.

You're looking dapper, if I dare say so.

   I'm not trying to be overly chipper or annoyingly life-coach-ish (I totally made that up), but, like most, on most years during this bone-chilling month we refer to as January, I will use this new start, this new year, to reflect and to attempt to grow from both the positive and the negative that occurred in 2012.

   I like to do my very best in being frank with myself--I'm not delusional or one of those that continuously sets unrealistic goals all in the name of "New Year's resolutions." But, I like the general idea of choosing to be pro-active and grow- personally, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically (although, not a fan of growing outward, physically, mind you).

So, I'm just choosing to be proactive.
To seek.
To delve.
To stop wasting so much time.
To stop wasting energy, feelings, thoughts.
I am choosing to be a bit pickier how I spend my time and spend it well and joyously.

Cue my--albeit corny--JOY JAR.


   I filled a mason jar with specific memories as well as general people, places, and things that fill me with laughter, peace, and anything wholly positive. Elizabeth Gilbert, Read more on why she's that kind of girl here, author best known (although she's written countless incredibly well-written others)for her massive best-seller and the film adaptation that followed, "Eat, Pray, Love," shared a similar idea on her website. I think that she's pretty phenomenal. I can relate, I suppose, and who couldn't after her heart-wrenching memoir about finding one's self?

   So, I thought, despite its girl-ish sentimentality, her small jar of happiness was a lovely idea. And one that I'd try out. See: Inexpensive, Motivational, and Proactive, people. Sure. Why not?


A jar holds things.
It holds things up.
Mine, holds many of my own joys and triumphs. 


   Believe me, I don't just begin feeling blue, and then suddenly! Gasp! Remember this perfect JOY JAR! But, some times, it's reassuring--albeit, yes, corny--to saunter over to my windowsill and pick out one of the two hundred little slips of paper that contains some tiny handwritten semblance of something, anything that forces just a sliver of a smile to appear.

   You can choose to get creative with yours, if you so choose. Whatever it is that comforts or excites you- drop it in. This is one of the many habits--small, of course--that I am trying to instill in myself when self-doubt, numbness, or melancholy strikes, even if for simply a brief moment.

That's a resolution, folks.
To try and to succeed.

That step to the windowsill is my resolution.
To take a step. That's it.



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