Monday, May 16, 2016

Nostalgia Keeps Me Awake at Night

New York State of Mind: 2015 in a Nutshell

So I've been very bad. I'm sorry. I let the city consume me, swallow me up alive. This magical place has stimulated, inspired, depressed, abused, and elated me all at the same time. Over and over and over again. You see, the problem with all of this overstimulation is that it has resulted in my inability to sit down and write. Because the city that never sleeps doesn't really allow time for such things. Pshh, hell no. It's impossible to stop moving long enough to formulate thoughts, let alone write them down. But I must. Because, alas, that is what I came here to do, afterall. So I promise to make a valiant effort to keep writing, keep cataloging my adventures (there have been so many!) and keep doing what I do in an effort to keep the inspiration alive and thriving. Because, well, I don't really know what else to do. So without further ado I present, the cliffs notes version, of what the hell I've been up to the past year. Go ahead, have a seat, get comfy, because this might take a while.

In the past year I have...

  • Moved 3 times. First landing in my brother's teeeeeny Sunnyside apartment he shared with his girfriend (he has since moved back to Cali to attend UCLA), then to Lefferts Gardens (to which I experienced more violence than I was admittedly prepared for) and finally to South Williamsburg where I decided to stay put. Score! I found a home.
  • Gotten lost in Prospect Park, admired some neat sculptures, and met a magical man (of a rare native New Yorker breed) who took us through the secret passageways of the park to perform a standing bass solo.
  • Celebrated my first NYC NYE at the Down Town Association, a private club in Financial District, for a Celestial Ball. This was some Eyes Wide Shut kind of shit -- minus the orgies. 

  • Faced my first blizzard. Got snowed in. Ate a bunch of cookies and drank whiskey with my roommates.
  • Had not one, but 2 private karaoke parties. Wassup, American Idol?

  • Ate a duck feast at Momofuku.
  • Danced until 4am, got asked to apply lube to a man dressed as a "lizard lady" in a patent leather catsuit.

  • Ate lobster rolls aboard a lobster boat.
  • Biked the West Side Highway.

  • Attended a Holi festival.
  • Saw a few outdoor concerts at Prospect Park.

  • Went to Coney Island.
  • Visited the MOMA after operating hours for a special showing of the Picasso sculptures. 
  • Went to gallery opening nights in Chelsea just for the free wine and street style stalking.

  • Watched men in tight tights perform ballet.
  • Attended an art show by someone I was actually friends with. And was blown away by her talent.

  • Went to Woodstock.
  • And one trip to Philly.
  • And a bunch of trips back home.
  • Cried a bunch about leaving the California sun behind.
  • Admired the many, many sightings of street art across the city. (One of my favorite things about the city.)
  • And the subway station musicians. (Second favorite thing.)
  • Saw the cherry blossoms and tulips bloom across the city.
AND FINALLY! Spring has sprung and a fresh new season begins.

I promise to be better this time around.

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Lobster Boat Exists (and it is EVERYTHING)

Stop. Everything. I have discovered a lobster boat.

Along the West Side Highway at Pier 81 one can gain entrance to the North River Lobster Company, Part seafood shack, part party boat -- this is seriously the stuff dreams are made of, I kid not. Enter on 41st Street. The boat departs at various scheduled times, check the website for deets, and cruises up and down the Hudson for 45 minute increments.

Now for the best parts. The lobster boat is totally FREE to enter -- no resos required, no minimum order -- there's a DJ on-board spinning tunes (mostly Top 40), drinks are relatively cheap (we got a bottle of wine for around $30, heyooo!), they have LOBSTER ROLLS, and the views you'll take in are nothing short of breathtaking.

The only setback of the boat is perhaps the clientele it attracts aboard. Prepare to see dudes in pink polo shirts and lobster printed belts screaming about God knows what over pitchers of beer. The trick is to pick up a bottle, find a quiet corner, and get to drinking. This is one of my favorite finds in NYC, so get there ASAP before the word gets out.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Welcome to New York

I'll be honest, I've always wanted to live in NYC. Ever since I was a little girl and my parents would take us on family vacations there every year (both of them we born and/or raised there) and there was something about the energy of the city that spoke to me. Even as as wee one I felt it. That electric energy that envelopes the city. One really just needs to experience it to understand. So...when I was given the AMAZING offer to work at ELLE magazine in the NYC HQ offices I HAD TO. The starry-eyed child inside would never forgive me if I passed it up. The energy had pulled me like a magnetic forcefield from 3,000 miles away for the vast majority of my life. And now it was calling for me. And I had to answer.

So after two weeks of packing, a ton of tears, and two suitcases filled with my most coveted pieces, I hopped on a plane and didn't look back.

Welcome to the New York chapter.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Super Secret St. Paddy's Day Show with Flight Facilities

I'm not usually one to embark on the St. Patrick's Day shit show that blows up the bar scene and spews onto the streets of LA. I'd like to think of it as amateur hour, where all the generally calm and collected take the excuse of a holiday to go out and get wild, too wild, for me. So when my friend Andrew hit me up about going to a show on Sunset Blvd. I was naturally inclined to say no. It wasn't until he divulged the deets that Flight Facilities (a DJ duo I was still hitting myself over the head for missing at last year's festival circuit) was playing a secret show at Mondrian's Sky Bar that I started to get intrigued. So I said, what the hell, let's go!

We arrived 30 minutes before the show was set to start, hoping to avoid the treacherous lines that follow free shows, but shockingly the venue was bare. We grabbed a window booth and watched the cotton candy-colored sunset, while sipping on whiskey and waiting. I scanned the slim crowd every now and then, secretly crossing my fingers that the green-garbed shitheads were too busy downing shots to stop by. 20 minutes after the show was set to start, two cute yet goofy Aussie boys started spinning. Lit only by candles and decorative white string lights, the duo led the slowly growing crowd into a low-key groove. 

A little bit disco, a little bit 90s hip hop, the mood was set and I was above the clouds. Remixing original faves like "Crave You" with a bit of funky soul, I had found my slice of heaven. The dudes downed beers between head bobs and chatted with a few nameless models, but the vibe was overall perfection. Just a few music-lovin' kids hanging at an outdoor pool, dancing with effortlessly gorgeous strangers, NBD. Drew and I scooted out after a few hours, being a school night and all, but the party raged on behind us. As we shimmied back onto Sunset and into our car, I thanked my lucky stars for the most perfect St. Paddy's Day ever.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Shocking Beauty That Hides in Placerita Canyon

Nestled deep inside the Santa Clarita Valley lies a magical place I'm embarrassed to admit I've just discovered. A pioneer trail, where cowboys once rode. A place called Placerita Canyon. After a recent family tragedy, I found myself stranded in (what Angelenos may call the boones) Valencia with nowhere to go and nothing to do so I dragged my parents off their comfy couch to wander the mountains with me.

What I found there was breathtaking. Lush greenery, rolling streams and trees that nearly kissed the sky. Who knew such a snooze of a town could hold such untouched beauty. We hiked the 3.5 miles to the waterfall, which was unfortunately a bit of a bust, but the hours spent admiring our surroundings in their purest form with the parentals was nothing short of a majestic day.

For those of you looking to dust off those cowboy boots and explore a new (or rather old) frontier, try this hike:

Placerita Canyon Waterfall Hike

To get to the trailhead: Drive up the 5 Freeway to Newhall Pass and take exit 162 for Route 14. Drive 2.6 miles north on Route 14 and take exit 3 for Placerita Canyon Road. Turn right at the bottom of the ramp and drive 1.5 miles to the entrance of Placerita Canyon Natural Area, which will be on your right. Pull into the park and make your way to the trailhead next to the nature center.

Trailhead address: 19152 Placerita Canyon Road, Newhall, CA 91321 Trailhead coordinates: 34.377866, -118.467618 (34° 22′ 40.31″N 118° 28′ 03.42″W)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Why Kindness Is The Coolest New Musician On the Block

It was a gloomy Wednesday night when a very hip crowd filled the quaint El Rey Theatre in Mid-City Los Angeles. Slowly the hoards of vintage threads, ankle boots, and costume jewelry began to take over the room with a hushed anticipation. British cutie Adam Bainbridge (aka Kindness) was about to take the stage and the foreshadowed excitement was buzzing in the air. Countless hours spent listening to Kindness' soundcloud couldn't have prepared us for the dance party that was about to occur. And boy, does the dude know how to groove.

Adorned in a blazer, cropped black pants, and shiny patent leather oxfords, Kindness demanded attention the second he stepped on the stage. And his moves kept the entrancement going. Filling the space with smooth vocals and a funky sound, unlike anything I heard in a long ass time. Think motown meets Aaliyah (he even covered her “If Your Girl Only Knew”).

The entire theatre became a total dance party, as unannounced guests Kelela and Angel Deradoorian stepped onto the stage. Each performer under the spotlight that night seemed of otherworldly level. Two goddesses guised as back-up singers shook their groove thangs while belting out hearty sounds. The magic in the moon was full force that night.

From his smooth tunes to his fancy footwork, Kindness evoked something deep inside me that had been sheltered away. With lanky limbs and a unassuming amount of awkwardness, the man took the command of the stage with an air that epitomized dancing like no one was watching and a confidence that belted, "Fuck y'all haters, this is me."