Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Light & Airy

This is how I've been feeling the past few days (well, when I'm not feeling tired and sloth-like) and I think the sunny weather has a lot to do with it. (Mmm, Vitamin D! Nature's cure for depression.) I just hope it's this nice for my sister's graduation picnic in Central Park this weekend!

Trouble is light and airy doesn't make for juicy personal blog fodder. I've even lost most of my interest in late-night clubbing (11 PM hits and I'm DONE) so no stories on that front. I've settled in and am quite comfortable just participating in low impact outings (ex: picnics). Call it aging or the "relationship effect," either way it feels nice :)

I came across They Draw and Cook last week and fell in love with the recipe illustrations. This picnic punch sounds yum! And I'm not a watermelon fan, but for those who love it (and are semi-alkie) here's a cool trick to try.

You know I haven't changed up the decor in my apartment since I moved in two years ago? Blah. I think it's time for some newness up in here and preferably with lots of colors to brighten up my drab blue-and-white living room. This butterfly shadowbox looks fairly simple to make.

Now I just wish I could bottle up this deep-breath-in feeling I'm currently enjoying and keep it right by my computer for those moments when I need a whiff of calmness.

P.S. I'm even tempted to read The Happiness Project and jumping on the happy bandwagon. Have any of you read it yet?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Wedding in California

When A. invited me to his cousin's wedding back in February, July 31st seemed like a lifetime away. I was thrilled ("Really?! You're inviting me to California for a family gathering?! Eeee!!"); a bit nervous ("Dear Lord that's a long ways away...don't mess this up...don't mess this up..."); but mostly I was - and still am - extremely flattered that he still saw us together six months from then. It's always a nice sign when the guy makes long-term plans for you two, right? And taking a plane anywhere together is serious!

Now here we are two months away, tickets bought and hotel room options discussed. I cannot wait to finally meet his family (he's from L.A.) and he's looking forward to renting a car and driving us from San Jose to Monterey. That and fulfill his wish to wrap me up in something pretty to present me in. We've yet to find the dress though and my friends would murder me if I used last year's ensemble a third time.

I can already feel the jitters as I watch the plane take off from my window seat; the nerves settle in as I meet his mom and dad...and his sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles; the giddiness of traveling with him for the first time, driving along the coast with the windows down and stepping on his feet as he teaches me how to slow dance at the wedding. I never have been very good at being led.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy Friday!

It's gorgeous in NYC! I met A. for an outdoor lunch today and tomorrow we're going dress shopping for an upcoming wedding (more details on that to come, but a flight out to California to meet his family is involved). Hope you all have a beautiful weekend. Here are some things that made me smile this week...

This Up-inspired engagement photo shoot makes my heart so happy. (via The Wedding Chicks)
(And relax, I'm not getting any ideas...)
I loved making flip books when I was little and this "blow-a-kiss" one makes me want to try again.
Can someone please spray these all over the city? I'll help.
Airport security fact.
Careless kerning at its most perverted/entertaining. I want. (via Design Milk)
Would you live in a church? I would if it looked like this!
How cute are these milk & cookies-themed DIY favors? I'm sure kids (or the young at heart) would love this.


Need to Want Less

Anybody else think Recovering Lazyholic (Erin Hanson) speaks the truth? (Love this one!) Check out her Need to Want Less set on Flickr and then buy the prints from her Etsy shop. (via [BB-Blog])


Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Frisky 30-Day Breakup Guide

I'll start out by saying that I don't know if this would've had any effect on me when I needed it. When Mr. First and I broke up two years ago, I was inconsolable; I didn't want to eat let alone have a girls' night out and go shopping! And those are just two of the 30 prescriptions listed in The Frisky 30-Day Breakup Guide (out June 1), a quick read intended to help you through that first month of misery.

The book is full of lists, quotes and advice (both expert and celeb) that all lead to the same conclusion: it's not just about forgetting He Who Sucks at Life, it's about shifting your focus back on yourself. Although the book is a bit too fluffy for my tastes, I can appreciate their mission and tried to keep my eye-rolling to a minimum. I also liked that the author went the short-and-sweet route with each section (so you can easily read a good chunk of it in between your cryfests) instead of mascarading as some profound piece of literature. Just know that this book does not contain any earth-shattering revelations about the healing process. We all cope in different ways and not everyone will benefit from this 30-step program.

So if I were you, I'd just download the free PDF version of the calendar (read the daily instructions online) and hang it up on my wall. If anything, it'll serve to remind you that life really does go on and there are better things you could be doing with it.

How do you handle breakups?


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Who You Gonna Call?

The Ghostbusters (sponsored by Improv Everywhere) recently made a surprise appearance at the New York Public Library on 42nd Street to zap some ghost booty! Man, nothing cool EVER happens at the lame library down the street. Anywho, check out the awesome behind-the-scenes footage and fun video below:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Struggling to Unplug

Question: What happens when you take this NYC chick and plop her right in the middle of paradise?

Answer: She runs around the beach with her cell phone searching for a hint of WiFi and stressing over her laptop's battery life.

When I nearly lost it in St. Lucia struggling to upload a vlog instead of heading to the beach, I knew it was time to let the electronics go. It's crazy how easily these things can take a hold of you. And it quickly spirals into an addiction; this constant need to be "connected," to have something on hand to occupy the mind at all times, a fear of boredom. I have a hard time disconnecting and just walking away. Lately, my priorities have become so skewed that choosing between a sunset over the Caribbean or checking my Gmail is now a no-brainer. Like Pavlov's bell, Gchat's *ding* causes an instant pleasant feeling.

My struggle to Let Go and Experience doesn't end there. When I'm away, it takes me days to renounce my NYC "Go, go, go!" mentality and accept relaxation as an alternate state of being. Unfortunately, as soon as I land back home, the cell phone's out, the hyperventilation begins and I'm speed-walking back into the life I'd temporarily left behind. You can take the girl out of the city, but the city never truly leaves her. Perhaps someday I'll learn that the rat race is only leading me straight into an early grave.

Do you have a hard time unplugging and relaxing during your vacays?

Quirky Table Vase/ Convo Starter

Now I want to go drill holes in everything!

Monday, May 17, 2010

This Jet-Setter's Back

After boarding nine planes, visiting two countries and making a bunch of new friends* in a three-week span, I'm a little ready to settle back into my regular life. There were moments where I completely forgot what city I'd been in the day before or what day it was (last week, for example, had three Fridays). This traveling stint has been incredible, but right now I'm looking forward to sleeping in my bed, hanging out with my loved ones again and feeling productive.

So this is to say that I'm back, ready to bust out articles and posts, motivated and excited for what's to come. Life's unbelievably good right now. I hope yours is too :)

* Just wanted to add that as wonderful as my international trips were, this last one to Miami included the best and most diverse group of journalists I've had the pleasure to meet. Imagine spending five days eating, laughing, learning and talking with people from Munich, Montreal, Sao Paulo, London and Mexico City. We clicked instantly over language/cultural explanations, alligators and wine all the while realizing how similar we actually were. And when one of us suffered a family tragedy during the trip, we pulled together to console him as if we'd known him forever. I was definitely sad when our little group had to part ways and fly back to our corners of the world.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

First Taste of St. Lucia

I prefer jotting things down in my notebook, but I decided to type in these musings on my cell phone on our hour-long drive from the airport to the hotel.

- No one clapped when we landed. If you don't know what I'm talking about, take a trip to D.R.

- You know what's weird? Coconut trees with their tops chopped off. These tall, wobbly sticks look like they belong in a Dr. Seuss book instead of here.

- My heart stops each time I see a car up ahead speeding towards us on the right side of the road...until I remember that we're driving on the left.

- Colorful little rooftops on the hillside. Everywhere.

- The foliage reminds me of D.R. That and driving recklessly through these tiny, windy roads. I'm just happy I outgrew my childhood motion sickness.

- I just spotted a group of little boys walking a herd of kids on the side of the road. Didn't know goats could be so cute.

The island has been beautiful thus far and I must take advantage of my last two days! Maybe I'll go comb the beach for sea glass as the sun sets. Hope you're all enjoying the weekend!

Another Plane Pick-Up Attempt

Not more than five minutes after I board the plane, a soft-spoken St. Lucian man sitting next to me notices me smirking at a lively Dominican (from Dominica) lady and her friends. He turns to me with a smile...

Him: Are you also Dominican?
Me: No, I'm Dominican (from the Dominican Republic).
Him: Oh and how long are you staying in St. Lucia?
[I don't want to end up talking to this guy the entire flight so I decide to keep my answers short.]
Me: Five days.
[Too bad he wants to continue chatting it up.]
Him: And where do you live?
Me: I'm sorry what? I can't hear you [over the important emergency exit instructions I'm trying to ignore you for. But still, I lean in.] What was that??
Him: Where do you live here?
Me: Oh, I'm in the Bronx.
Him: Ok, I live in New Jersey.
Me: [Good for you!] Good.
Him: [Pulling out a cell phone...] Let's exchange numbers.
Me: [What?! Cue nervous chuckle] Err...
[I face forward in the hopes that he gets the hint. He doesn't.]
Him: So...what's your number?
Me: No, why? I'm not going to call you!
Him: .....
I smile to soften the blow and turn back on my seat. Screw courtesy.

Moral: Don't risk rejection by someone you've just met and will be stuck next to for four hours. Save it for the landing.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Poolside Thoughts

Just some thoughts I jotted down as I ate lunch last Saturday and took in the beautiful scenery...

- The wind has died down a bit, but the breeze is still carrying in the salty smell of the ocean. The pool area is peppered with the most vibrant shade of blue. And just beyond, I can see streaks of foamy white bobbing along the rough Pacific.
- A million thanks to my parents for raising me in Spanish. It's incredible to be able to break down that barrier and seamlessly chat it up with the locals. Must practice my French and Italian.

- Waiters will still flirt with a girl dining alone. As I'm writing, they come up to me and ask, "Are you writing to your boyfriend?" They think they're slick. I wonder if it's mostly Latinos who are this bold. I must test this out in other parts of the world.*
- Funny how this restaurant is playing American lite FM. Because, you know, nothing says Mexico like acoustic Lisa Loeb and Elton John. Hellooo, where's my Luis Miguel and Pepe Aquilar?
- You know those moments when you look around you, wonder, "How on Earth did I get here?" and realize that life is funny, crazy and amazing? I just had one of those.

*I'm off to St. Lucia in the morning...