Thursday, September 27, 2012

The 10th Annual New York Burlesque Festival

Burlesque fans listen up: today is the beginning of the 10th Annual New York Burlesque Festival. For four days you'll be able to experience the sexy art form through performances, classes, special workshops with star dancers, after parties, and the Golden Pastie Awards. There will even be "a massive tassel-twirl flashmob" organized by the New York School of Burlesque to promote the festival and breast cancer awareness.

For more info and a schedule of events, visit

I've already spoken on the awesomeness that is burlesque - confident women working the crowd with their strip teasing - so if you haven't caught a show yet, I imagine this would be a wonderful time to jump on it. I still find myself wanting to work up the guts to sign up for a few classes and take to the stage. Seeing how much fun these women have and how they exude sensuality so effortlessly is very alluring.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Whoosh! And Fall

I love how ideas can sometimes just pour in out of nowhere. That's how it's been the last few days and I'm so excited about these projects that I almost want time to fly by like whoosh! so I can present the final results already. I'm so impatient especially since they're going to take a bit of time to piece together and quite some work before I have anything to show. Work, work, work. Funny how it all feels like play when it's something you're absolutely thrilled about.

So how was your first fall weekend? Mine was spent indoors doing some mental tinkering and planning. I can't wait until the leaves have crisped over and would love to finally go apple picking in the coming month or spend a weekend at a New England bed and breakfast. And for some reason now that the chilly evenings have returned, I've been wanting to make some homemade caramel sauce to heat up and drip over vanilla ice cream or dip apple slices into. What is it about autumn that makes me want to be all cozy and domestic?


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Drowning While Intoxicated

During a recent trip with A. I had an unforgettable moment where I realized just how madly, truly, deeply I've fallen. Nearly three years together and it still amazes me that right when I think I've stretched my heart to the limit, the curtains fall back to reveal a whole new expanse. If this is the case, I can't even fathom what a parent feels for her child because that night I realized the immense capacity a heart can hold, give, and feel when you strip love to its purest form.

Once I let myself sink into it, I saw how useless it had been to ever hold back or be so insecure. His voice seemed to swirl all around me like a silk ribbon carrying these perfect little notes, a pied piper leading me through the night to a place that was soothing and safe, a reachable shelf where I could finally let my guard down and accept that I could be loved simply as I am. And that I could become so in tune with another person on such a level that we know how to respond to each other's beats without saying a word. It was intoxicating.

It moved me so much that I haven't been able to let that experience go. I've been thinking about it, learning from it, craving it, smiling at how wonderful that moment felt, still riding on the tail winds of that beautiful night as it continues to permeate through me. So in the hopes of continuing to kindle that punch drunk love, I decided to finally watch Bright Star and stir up those emotions again through the love story of one of history's greatest English Romantic poets.
I sometimes have a hard time understanding poetry and doubt that I'd ever read a John Keats piece before, but wow if the man didn't completely captivate me with his words. Yes, I'd get lost in the profundity of his character's lines, but when he had me, I was floating in midair, so still and breathless as if time had surely stopped. The one below left such an impression on me, I've since scratched out the word "poem" and substituted "love" for it instead.

Fanny Brawne: I still don't know how to work out a poem.

John Keats: A poem needs understanding through the senses. The point of diving into a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore but to be in the lake, to luxuriate in the sensation of water. You do not work the lake out, it is a experience beyond thought. Poetry soothes and emboldens the soul to accept the mystery.

Fanny Brawne: I love mystery.

Too often I try to find explanations for things that don't necessarily need explaining because doing so weakens it; it should just exist. Like explaining the punchline to a joke, trying to find a reason as to why love is the way it is cheapens it as it's very existence should be reason enough to run towards it, allow it to flow into you, to bathe yourself in it. In letting myself fall unabashedly into the lake, floating, drowning, wanting it to wash over me, around me, through me, I understood that there's just no other way to feel it so completely. So it's best to jump in, suddenly, with clothes and all, instead of waiting by the shore afraid of sharks that might never come.

Images: and

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Makeshift Society: A Clubhouse for Creatives

Oh as if I needed another reason to love San Francisco without ever having step foot in that city! Makeshift Society has just opened its doors for members wishing to create and collaborate in a beautiful coworking space/clubhouse. It'll be perfect for freelancers, small business owners, and other curious types who are tired of being holed up at home. Imagine the ideas you'll bounce off each other and the connections you'll make while you're there.
The Makeshift Society Clubhouse is located at 235 Gough Street in Hayes Valley. Though small, it features different seating and tables, a pop-up retail kiosk, a conference room, kitchenette and lockers, a library of art and lifestyle titles, a couple of bikes for the borrowing, even a pillow-filled loft for a quick nap session. I love how bright and cheerful the place is and seriously? I kind of want to just move right in…
Not only will you be able to work on your own projects, but with scheduled classes, workshops, and lectures you'll also be able to pick up a new skill or two. To learn more about how to join, visit makeshift


Monday, September 17, 2012

{Monday Inspiration} Keep Your Face Towards the Sunshine

Why are we so compelled to share negativity? Think about it. When someone cuts you off in traffic, a stranger pushes past you, or a friend does you dirty, how many times do you go, "Ugh! Can you believe what this idiot just did to me? Wait until I tell so-and-so about what just happened." Even the reviews section of most sites show that many times it's the ones with something to gripe about that'll take the time to share their experience with others (which is why I've yet to settle on a salon for a needed haircut. I'm terrified!).

During a recent bus ride home, a woman spent most of the journey on the phone telling a friend about an earlier confrontation with a stranger. Annoyance over her sweeping generalizations about Dominicans aside, I wondered why she was spending so much energy not only dwelling on an argument with someone she'll never see again, but also sharing it with someone who wasn't even there. Was she looking to rile them up and receive validation for how she handled herself? Who knows, but I was getting exhausted just having to hear about it all the way home.

And yet I'm the same way. I let negative parts of the day, experience, or people take up much too much mind space and then in a subconscious mission to rope people into the misery, I share those bits with others. It's not that some events don't warrant attention especially if you really need help sorting those feelings out, but the insignificant ones should really be brushed off your shoulder and not given more thought than necessary. Surely there are bigger things that merit your time and energy and happier moments that could stand to be savored - like the cute baby that actually responded to your silly faces with a smile, arriving at your transfer point just as your second train is pulling in, or taking a sip from your cup to discover that the barrista finally got your order right. Why can't we share those snippets instead?

So tell me, what little things made your day a wee bit happier today?


Friday, September 14, 2012

33 Fancy Cupcakes

If Pinterest is good for three things it's 1) making you covet a whole bunch of stuff you don't need, 2) playing to your Martha Stewart craft queen delusions, and 3) stumbling upon some delicious food ideas that'll have you planning entire dinner parties around [insert goodie]. Mind you, you might see this and turn up with this instead, but usually the images are awesome enough to make you believe you can pull the whole stunt off. Case in point: Ming's 33 recipes for some lovely and creative cupcakes. They seem simple enough, but then again I've been duped before and really, can you blame me? That coconut rum cupcake on the bottom row is just begging to be made and with fall on the way, apple cupcakes with caramel frosting will fit in nicely with pumpkin flavor all the things.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

As Summer Slowly Gives Way to the Chill

Can you believe there's just a little over a week left in the summer season? Last weekend, I invited friends over to Central Park for one more picnic before the weather turned chilly and despite the rain (and a tornado!) that passed through the city in the days preceding it, Sunday could not have been more perfect for the event.

Even though I'm not thrilled by the impending cold, I'm happy about all that I packed into the last few months. I traveled to new places with friends, saw parts of the country that made my heart dance it was so beautiful, got acquainted with my Kindle, danced through summer concerts, stumbled and fell over and over only to crawl my way back to forgiving arms, and now I actually find myself eager to discover what will happen next. There are a few things swirling through the air and I'm trying oh so hard to be patient and waiting to see what adventurous stories the upcoming chapters will tell.

What did you squeeze into your summer? Are you looking forward to the cozy, chilly wrap-me-up-in-a-sweater days?

A Countryside Photo Shoot: Part 2

For this look, we thought we'd go for sexy. "This will be the August shot for A.'s calendar!" my buddy directed. I wasn't planning on doing any such thing, but after seeing the boyfriend's reaction to the shoot, maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea after all...
Also not a bad idea: getting into larger, dangly earrings. The Bantu Girl let me choose from her colorful accessories collection, which were more fun to wear than my timid little placeholders and not as clumsy as I thought they'd be. What kind of earrings do you usually prefer?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Living Versus Existing

This morning, I was sitting here on my couch thinking, "Man, I wish I had a drill sergeant or a trainer who could really whip me into shape. Someone who could coach me and put the fear of God in me if I didn't set out and do all the things I want to accomplish." But a life coach sounds so...ridiculous. (Though I can't lie, Starting Over was my show back in the day.) I mean why do people need someone else to teach them how to live? Isn't that like being taught how to inhale and digest? I'd ask why living is even an issue for some of us, but I know that humans have attached "living" with a purpose above merely "existing."

Other animals aren't driven by such a desire to travel the world, engage with new cultures, create charitable foundations, amass money and retirement funds, fulfill goals, and overcome personal flaws. They just do their thing until they die: eat, breathe, poop, reproduce, survive. I imagine if a monkey sat around screeching on about needing direction in his life, the rest of the tribe would point him towards the closest pack of hyenas.

But humans have no predators on their backs (other than their own neighbors) and survival is almost guaranteed so we have the capacity and time for idle chat about what we should be doing with our long lives. For us, simply existing to procreate and advance the species isn't enough. Besides, there are plenty others who can handle the job in our place. Perhaps if we were in constant danger, waking up to another day would be cause for celebration and focus. Instead, we have ambition, dreams, hopes, and, ultimately, frustrations when plans fail to come to fruition.

If someone decides that they just want to watch television, go to work, and live out the routines they've set for themselves without ever exploding their bubble or setting their sights on higher, would they be judged for a life wasted? I wonder if it's not city living that intoxicates its residents with an ambition-induced search for more, more, more or the notion that we should jam pack as many experiences into 80-something years so that when we die, what? The rest can say, "She lived a good life?" How would they know? Better yet, would it ever feel like it was enough for you?


Friday, September 7, 2012

A Countryside Photo Shoot: Part 1

During my visit to The Bantu Girl's house last week, we staged several photo shoots around her Connecticut town. Like I mentioned before, it was a fun ego boost and I got to feel gorgeous day after day. So worth it despite the wretched heat and blazing sunshine. I also noted that I really need to diversify my wardrobe's portfolio. Practically everything was from H&M! Stay tuned for more looks and scenes.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fashion's Night Out

Once again New York Fashion Week is here and again I'm just as clueless as ever about all the hoopla. What did get my attention this week was the news that Magnolia Bakery will be selling two special treats in honor of Fashion Week: their annual Fashion's Night Out chocolate and red velvet cupcake as well as a new Swarovski cupcake complete with an edible jewel. The latter will be available exclusively at Bloomingdale's on 59th Street from Monday, Sept. 10th to 16th. (Macaron lovers will be treated to a bubble gum flavor later this month when Lanvin and Ladurée team up during Paris Fashion Week!)

I've had better cupcakes than Magnolia's offerings, but the FNO Cupcake, which will be available today, benefits the New York City AIDS Fund in New York and ones sold in their L.A. and Chicago locations benefit Dress for Success so maybe something deep can come out of fashion after all. (Kidding.)

So are you guys partaking in Fashion's Night Out fun today? There's so much going on in the city's shops - free cocktails, makeup tutorials, fortune telling, even a slumber party - that it all sounds a bit overwhelming. But I'm sure it'd be fun to run around town all dressed up and possibly rubbing elbows with a runway pretty face. Though I've heard it's fun to just let the adventures happen serendipitously, here's a listing of all the night's happenings (and a mini hit list) in case you'd rather be a bit more organized than that.

Up next: my own attempt at modeling for a makeshift photo shoot!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What Do You Do When You're Not Interested?

What is it with guys who can't catch a hint when you're not interested? Last Friday, my friend and I were dancing at a bar when I had to nicely reject a guy several times throughout the night. He just couldn't understand why I didn't feel like hanging out with him. It later had me thinking of all the ways we try to gracefully turn down a man's advances when we go out. I once ran into a guy who asked why I still hadn't called or responded to his messages so I lied and said I'd lost my phone...and then I actually lost it a few days after that. Lesson learned.

Other moves we've pulled include:

- sudden mobile dancing that puts mad distance between you and him
- pretending to be a non-English speaking foreigner ("¿Que? No comprendo.")
- becoming a lesbian for the night
- giving out the digits for the rejection hotline (unfortunately guys now call you on the spot)
- using a decoy engagement ring
- convincing a friend to play the boyfriend role
- running into the bathroom to change your appearance
- temporary deafness due to loud music
- using group of friends as an impenetrable force field

Poor guys. If only a simple "no" would suffice instead of turning the situation into a challenge. What other crazy tricks have you tried when you're just not interested?