Wednesday, November 30, 2011

inspirational quote

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle
-Plato

I think the addendum to the quote should be: for we're also sleep deprived. Anyway, it's one of my favorite quotes and one I should practice regularly.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

two inspiring things i watched over the weekend

The Woody Allen Documentary on PBS.



Part of the American Masters series, this is such an interesting profile on one of the greatest and elusive comedy minds around. My favorite part was on Woody Allen's famous work ethic and productivity. Back when he was a stand up, he'd write 40 jokes a day. That's insane! I can barely punch out 140 characters on Twitter!

This doc also renewed my interest in watching all of his movies. My favorites are Hannah and Her Sisters, Bullets Over Broadway and, of course, Annie Hall. When I was first interested in comedy writing, I used to re-read and study the Annie Hall screenplay, hoping to emulate Woody Allen's precise joke writing and musical dialogue, only to realize that my scenes were heavy in neuroses and complaining but bereft of wit. La. Di. Daaaa. 

You can watch Part One Here.

The Muppets Movie



Like most people, I grew up watching and loving The Muppets. So it was such a magical treat to watch this on the big screen. I laughed. I cried. I BAWLED. There's one part when Jason Segel's character says to another, "You always believe in other people but you never believe in yourself."

And I was like OMIGOD I NEED TO BELIEVE IN MYSELF. THANK YOU, MUPPETS!

I think all children of immigrant parents who were not very generous in their praises should watch it :)

Also, Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords wrote some of the songs in the movie. Here's a cute video of him singing with Kermit the frog.

Monday, November 28, 2011

garden of lights

Over the weekend, we went to a Garden of Lights display at the Brookside Gardens in Maryland that made me think of Alice in Wonderland( if Wonderland were emblazoned in multicolor lights). It was really whimsical and fun and made me feel like a little kid.

This is us posing in front of the giant caterpillar.




I feel like we'd make good background actors in a sci-fi adventure about giant illuminated caterpillars that come to life and terrorize the country.

happy monday!

Hola mariposas! Hope you had an awesome/ tolerable Thanksgiving Day weekend. New post is coming up about the weekend, Muppets movie, and The Walking Dead mid season finale--it was so amazing, I cried! I was the only one in the group who cried so that's that.

LYLAS!

Friday, November 25, 2011

the artist's way

I'm reading Julia Cameron's Artist's Way right now and loving it. I'll go more into detail about the book next week but so far it has been like therapy for me. She has you do assignments like morning pages where you wake up in the morning and immediately write 3 pages of whatever's on your mind. It's like cleaning out all the clutter in your brain and you feel lighter, more refreshed, and clearheaded after. And she talks about going on an artist's date where you take yourself out to a museum or park and allow yourself to be inspired and feed the muse.

Have you guys read it?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

ted talk on vulnerability





This TED talk made me cry so hard that my eyes nearly fell out of their sockets. You should definitely watch it.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

the art of travel

If our lives are dominated by a search for happiness, then perhaps few activities reveal as much about the dynamics of this quest - in all its ardour and paradoxes - than our travels. They express, however inarticulately, an understanding of what life might be about, outside the constraints of work and the struggle for survival.

Via 

I hope I can appreciate this sentiment later this afternoon when I'm stuck in gridlocked traffic on the busiest travel day of the year.

Any tips on how to stay comfortable and entertained on the bus? The last time Boo and I took a bus down to Maryland we forgot to bring a bottle of water and I was so dehydrated that I was seeing animated birds flying around my head. This time I am bringing my own Brita filter! Ha. No. But what if I did???

I think I'm gonna wear my velour leggings cus they're so comfy and also I always wear them anyway so why stop now? And download some tv shows on my ipod. And since Thanksgiving is an American holiday I'll bring my US Weekly. What's more American than reading about Kelly Ripa's 12 pack and then feeling fat afterwards.

Safe travels mariposas!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

giving thanks


Source: google.com via jiji on Pinterest


Just a short list of things I am grateful for.

My  job

My amazing, hilarious, beautiful friends who support me in all my endeavors and excessive posting of adorable baby photos.

My awesome family who still drive me crazy but at least their craziness is diminishing with time. I hope.

The awesome comedy and storytelling community

The M15 select bus service. Seriously, it has shaved ten minutes off my commute!

Pumpkin beer. Oh god, I know you will be discontinued soon and it's just a sobering reminder to appreciate you now and reflect on the transience of life.

The Walking Dead

Daryl in Walking Dead

Glenn in Walking Dead

Rick in Walking Dead when he's not giving monologues

Basically anyone in Walking Dead who is not Sophia. Or Andrea. 

And this guy. 

I'm off to DC tomorrow for the holiday but I'll be posting throughout the week. Hope you have an awesome week mariposas! Besos! 

Ps I really like that New Yorker illustration by Wayne Thiebaud. (Not gonna front, Boo helped me pick that illustration after I told him I wanted the perfect picture that evoked thanksgiving and gratitude in a not cheesy way. Whew.)

poupak sepehri: balancing work, life, and creative pursuits



I first met Poupak at Ari Voukydis' Sketch 101 Class at UCB and instantly liked her when she introduced herself as: "Poupak. It's like Tupac but with a P." Hey girl heeeeeeey.

Poupak is one of the most hardworking, talented, generous, and supportive people I know. The girl has a  corporate job during the day, tons of shows going on at night, but never fails to ask how you are doing, how your show went, or give you an encouraging pep talk after a bad day.

I asked Pou how she juggles it all and her answers, of course, were so positive and inspiring.  


1. What's your work schedule?

My work schedule is supposed to be a 9-6, but I usually start around 7-8 am because part of my team is in India, and then end around 7-8-9... pm because well, things need to get done and then sent to India so that they can pick it up during their daytime.  I also sometimes work on weekends. The only good thing is that I work from home most of the time, but I travel to Boston on a regular basis because my office is based there. I usually work 50-65 hour weeks.


2.  When do you like to write? Are you a late night/early morning person? Where's your favorite place to write?


I love writing either super early in the morning or really late at night. I switch back and forth. The only sure thing is that I am NOT an afternoon person. I guess it goes back to my Iranian background...? We love our afternoon siesta. My version of it is to take it a little slower in the afternoon when I'm at work. I love to write in my apartment, I have a leather chair and Ottoman that I spent my life savings on (not really) a few years ago for this sole purpose. Also to watch Indian movies that last, like, 4 hours.


3. How do you juggle work and comedy pursuits while finding time for your family and friends?

Hum, interesting question. I think people usually talk about "finding the time" which doesn't make sense to me. There's only 24 hours a day - so you can't "find" the time. This would be the passive approach. I consciously "make" the time, if it makes sense. If it means sleeping less, juggling schedules, or using all the means we have right now to make it happen, I "make" the time. I use social media to my advantage. I try to really stay connected to my friends through Facebook, talk to my mom every day with Skype, email my cousins and my sister, text with local and comedy friends... I have a little technology thing for each group.  And then there are times during the day that are for comedy, times that are for friends, and times that are for work.  Sometimes, it all gets mixed up, but in general, it works for me. I am also obsessively organized. Otherwise, I wouldn't survive. Finally, I don't sleep much in general, so I guess it helps. 

4. What keeps you motivated in doing comedy?

It's my outlet! I couldn't find my balance without it!! I know it gets frustrating at times, but at those times, I take a step back and think about why I am doing this. I am doing comedy because I love it, I love the people I work with and it's my therapy. It helps me keep my life in check. I have always been involved in one way or another in the entertainment business - I was a TV producer for a long time, I studied theater at the university, I directed and produced plays and musicals. Comedy is not only an extension of that, but it's also an outlet to let all the day's frustrations out.  I also meet wonderful people every day through comedy.

5. How do you keep yourself from getting exhausted/burnt out?

I don't. I am exhausted all the time. I limit partying / drinking a lot more than I did at the beginning though. Still, I have to admit that I am constantly tired. The one thing that helps me is the long walks I like to take every day. It helps me empty my head and get my body moving.

6.  What advice would you give to people with 9 to 5 jobs who are interested in pursuing their dreams on the side?

I would say just do it. Don't wait for someone to give you permission to do what you love to do, or for people to validate you. You want to direct? just do it. You want to write, produce, perform? There are many, many outlets out there. So just do it. Tell people what you want to do, and constantly, CONSTANTLY keep yourself in check. I think having a job takes a lot of pressure away from you - it liberates you. You don't NEED to make money from comedy right away - you already have a job. So go out and experiment stuff.  Go out and meet people. Go out and put yourself out there. Nobody needs to validate you. Everybody has a voice - you need to build on your experience to find yours. Make sure you are organized though and know what the trade off is. Share your passion with your friends from outside of comedy - if they love you, they'll understand.  But make sure you stay connected by any means you have and you continue to experience life. Without it, you can't do good comedy.

Thank you Poupak!

You can check out her blog here.

Read my other interview with David Hill here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

walking dead poster


This is awesome. Also, frightening!

PS Have you guys been watching The Talking Dead shows at midnight? Last night they had director Kevin Smith and comedian Paul F. Thompson and they were kinda more entertaining than the actual show.

Friday, November 18, 2011

glamour mag says this lipstick looks great on everyone, fails to include everyone

In a post on Glamour Magazine's beauty blog, the writer Suze Yalof Schwartz claims she has found a red-orange lip color that looks good on everyone. She goes on to say: "You have to trust me. It really does look good on everyone. Don't believe me? See for yourself."

And this is the photo she claims represents EVERYONE:



Jigga...

WHAT?

So by everyone you mean blonde and brunette white people?

I could go on a whole tirade about this being another tired example of how mainstream media and the women's magazine industry fail to include people of all backgrounds and ethnicities in their conversation, even if it's a frivolous one like red-orange lipstick and no, it does not really look good on everyone because I tried it once and it seemed to bring out the yellowness in my teeth. Ick.

But it's Friday and I'm tired and I really want an old fashioned. I just thought I'd bring it up and see what other people think.  Because for a second I thought maybe I was overreacting and that maybe this wasn't a big deal. But I guess when you're so conditioned to think that this image is the norm, you question your own issues with it.

I'd love to hear what you guys think. Ooh and tell me your favorite bourbon while you're at it.

You can read the post here.

je suis exhausted

Mariposas! I am so tired! Please excuse me if my head accidentally falls on the keyboard.

Last night I performed a sketch that I wrote at The PIT. (Special thanks to my friend Poupak for letting me be in her show!) It was so much fun and a much needed creative outlet for this rainy, cold week. Any day that I get to perform and wear a stupid wig is a great day indeed.

And tonight I get to dress up again and do more silly stuff. Hopefully I won't pass out in the middle of it.

Looking forward to doing nothing this weekend besides sleeping and reading The Walking Dead comics. Wheeee.

Have a good one, maris!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

diy projects

I'm making a list of DIY projects to do this weekend and enlisting my boyfriend in this endeavor. Isn't he the luckiest man in the world?

I think I wanna add a floating vase on my bedrooom wall.



What do you guys think?

And this is what my current bedroom looks like. I have to warn you that my room is so bare it is scary. Kinda like when Kathie Lee and Hoda do their "no make up" episodes on the Today show.



Oh and can we puh-lease talk about the weird light in this photo? I have not altered this photo at all yet there seems to be an eerie, pinkish light emanating from the bed. I really hope there aren't any paranormals hanging out here. My bed is small enough!

Does Apartment Therapy have any design advice on this? "How to decorate your bedroom when it's crowded with ghouls"???

puppy pilates

Source: houzz.com via Ms Pink on Pinterest


I'm dying.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

happenstance



Happenstance is a French ensemble romantic comedy (Audrey Tatou is probs the most well known actor in it) and one of those films I can watch over and over again. With its intersecting story lines and characters that meet serendipitously, Happenstance explores how fate and choice play a role in love. And since I love love, this is probs one of my favorite romantic comedies. 

This is a great movie to watch if you're in the mood for something light and/or hungover.

calvin and hobbes




This is especially true after watching a Walking Dead marathon.

Monday, November 14, 2011

david hill: balancing work, life, and creative pursuits



David Hill is a writer/performer in the hilarious sketch group The Charlies and writes a column for McSweeney's.  I met Dave (I'm switching to the casual now, this is journalism!) in an Advanced Study Sketch Writing class at UCB. Not only does Dave write and perform while holding a full time job, but he and his wife also take care of Gus, an adorable 18 month old. I asked Dave how he balances work, life, comedy, and a toddler. 

1. What's your work schedule?

My job has a weird schedule. I travel a lot for work so I can be away on the road for days at a time. When I'm not on the road my time is more flexible. But I also have an 18-month-old at home, so when I'm in town I have this second job that requires a lot of time and attention and kind of negates the flexibility I get from my work situation. 

2. When do you like to write? Are you a late night/early morning person? Where's your favorite place to write

I write late at night, often sitting in a comfortable chair. Sometimes I write in hotel rooms, but even then it is usually late at night. Lately Gus has been waking up late at night while I'm writing and I'm convinced he can hear the sound of the keys clacking. 

3. How do you juggle work and comedy pursuits while finding time for your family and friends?

For one thing, I'm probably pretty bad at my job. But nobody has said anything to me yet so I'm probably in the clear for now. With family, it really helps to have a supportive and understanding partner. She understands that writing and comedy is something important to me, she understands why and isn't judgemental about it, and she allows me to make time for it. 

Honestly the more time I spend around the whole comedy scene in New York the more I realize how much farther along I'd probably be if I had more time to dedicate to it. There are so many classes, so many shows, so many talented people to work with, and so many opportunities to get work up on stage or showcased online. If you can dedicate yourself to it, you can rack up a ton of valuable experience in a relatively short period of time. But I have no time so I haven't learned shit yet. 

I live in Park Slope so I've tried to write in the local coffeeshops where so many of the neighborhood writer-types hang out. That works sometimes, but most of the time I get antsy and anxious. Drinking coffee and sitting on my butt for long stretches doesn't work for me. Writing is something that requires me to be able to be very still and comfortable. 

4. What keeps you motivated in doing comedy?

The joy I get from spending so much time laughing and trying to make other people laugh helps balance out the crushing existential sadness of everyday life in a Godless, infinite universe.  

5. How do you keep yourself from getting exhausted/burnt out?

I have lots of ridiculous hobbies and interests. I take breaks from writing comedy by catching up on television, playing European boardgames, and trying to finish Infinite Jest. I also spend time hanging out with my family and occupying Wall Street.

It helps that I have other creative outlets. I write for a basketball blog and I have a bi-weekly column at McSweeney's about gambling. 

6. What advice would you give to people with 9 to 5 jobs who are interested in pursuing their dreams on the side?

Someone told me once that there were around 100 full-time WGA comedy-writing jobs in New York. If you're fortunate enough to get hired to write comedy and paid well for it, then good on ya'. If you don't, then it doesn't mean you shouldn't write comedy. It bums me out to hear about people who are myopically driven by the hope of getting a writing gig and then get discouraged and give up when they can't find one. 

Like most people I think it'd be great to be able to write comedy for a living. But barring that, I also think writing comedy for its own sake is pretty great, too. My advice is to write because it is fun and brings you and others joy and not because it is a means to some other end. The day will come when writing truly is your job. Until then why treat it like work? Write when you're inspired. Your writing will probably be better because of it and people will notice. This is my plan, anyway. So far it hasn't landed me a job at SNL so your mileage may vary. 

I think it may be good advice at any rate because it seems important to experience life in order to write about it. People who lived their entire lives in the entertainment industry write sketches about auditions and make TV shows about what it's like to work on a TV show. Who can blame them? And it isn't always bad. It's just that people write what they know, and if the life you know is unique and interesting, your voice as a writer will be, too. So don't think of your obligations as things that take you away from your writing. Think of them as fountains of inspiration, just waiting to be eviscerated and lampooned by your clever wit. 

Thanks so much, Dave!

You can check out Dave's McSweeney's column here.

And watch The Charlies' video Racist Zombies.

balancing work, life, and creative pursuits



The next couple of months are going to be busy in terms of comedy stuff. Deadlines for writing submissions. Shows. Rehearsals. Classes. I was getting stressed just thinking about how I was going to do all that while still giving 100 percent at my new job and remembering to do stuff like, brush my teeth (which I already have a hard time remembering to do, whoops).

And I wondered how other people in similar situations juggled work and comedy.

So I decided to interview my comedy friends w/full time jobs and ask how they find time to write and perform while also maintaining their jobs, social life, and sanity. I thought it would be pretty useful for anyone who's pursuing something creative, whether it's full time or on the side.

The first post features my friend David Hill from the sketch group The Charlies and McSweeneys.  So get excited, party people! 

Hope you can share your questions, experience, and advice in this series. I'm particularly looking for tips like how to show up to work and not look totally exhausted from a 2 AM tech rehearsal and how to look like you haven't been crying for a week after yet another rejection.

PS I love that American Express ad with Tina Fey. I can't wait for the day when I get paid for being stressed out! 

Friday, November 11, 2011

have a great weekend!



Currently:

Drinking a pumpkin beer

Waiting for Walking Dead to download

Digesting a massive burrito

Hoping my ovaries don't implode over this adorable photo of a baby dressed as Mr. Fredricksen from UP.

Have an awesome one, mariposas!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

fall foliage

On Sunday, Boo and I went up to Inwood Hill Park to admire the fall foliage.

Prior to this visit, I didn't know much about Inwood Hill except for the Craigslist ads boasting cheap rentals in the neighborhood. Oh, and it's like on 207th street. I didn't even know that was technically still Manhattan! But if you take the A train it's a pretty quick ride. I brought along the Zombie Survival Guide book and after reading about the importance of cardio in a zombie attackl, I was already in the 200s.

This park is one of the nicest parks in the city. It's on an actual hill. You have the loveliest view of Spuyten Duyvil creek. And you're surrounded by magnificent trees providing yellow, red, leafy canopies.  Which means you can pee outside and have some privacy!

My mom asked me to take photos of fall foliage so here they are:





Side note: I totally have to get my bangs trimmed. Is it still considered a trim if the bangs have now grown to the length of your regular hair?

Tangential note: I decided that my fall uniform will be all about the the JT look. Aka Justin Timberlake in his "Like I love you" video. Black leather jacket. Gray hoodie. Jeans. Sneaks. It's comfortable and also very appropriate if I ever feel like dancing in a convenience store parking lot. 

Final note: I really want to make more of an effort to be outside, especially in the winter months when the dark, cold days don't inspire much except feeling despondent. I think a little fresh air and moving around will leave you recharged and clear headed. 

If not, there's always bourbon.

stephen king, on writing part 2

Talent renders the whole idea of rehearsal meaningless; when you find something at which you are talented, you do it (whatever it is) until your fingers bleed or your eyes are ready to fall out of your head. Even when no one is listening (or reading, or watching), every outing is a bravura performance, because you as the creator are happy. Perhaps even ecstatic. That goes for reading and writing as well as for playing a musical instrument, hitting a baseball, or running the four-forty. The sort of strenuous reading and writing program I advocate — four to six hours a day, every day — will not seem strenuous if you really enjoy doing these things and have an aptitude for them; in fact, you may be following such a program already. If you feel you need permission to do all the reading and writing your little heart desires, however, consider it hereby granted by yours truly.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

an open letter to the walking dead

Dear Walking Dead,

I write this letter after watching all of season one and the first three episodes of Season Two of you and as someone who looooves your show (all those o's emphasize how many nights I spent being terrified by you) I have a few questions and concerns:

1. Why do the women on your show have such long hair? This is the zombie apocalpyse--where flesh eating undead are going around grabbing at every part of your body, including your HAIR, and Lori and Andrea are walking around like they're in a Pantene commercial. Maybe they should emulate Sofia's mom and cut their hair real short. But that is as far as they should go in emulating her because Sofia's mom is intolerable, which is just a different way of saying, she's wack. PS please don't let the missing Sofia plotline become the new Walt. Waaaaalt! Waaaaalt! 

2. In the season one finale, why did Dale insist on talking Andrea out of committing suicide but not the black lady? SO not cool! Also, when Andrea decides to live and leave with Dale, she rolls her eyes and acts like she just got talked into going to Senor Frogs for their 2 for 1 sangria special.

3. Speaking of Dale and Andrea, what's their goal on the show? Is it to find their family? Make it to the military base? Just stay alive and not be part of a zombie buffet? Maybe one of the reasons that has viewers kinda frustrated at these characters is that we don't really get a sense of what they want. And I know that fighting off zombies and surviving in HOTlanta are already two big goals, but after a season and a half, those goals might not be sustainable. We need to see more to these characters. Maybe through a quick flash back or some quick two lines. Otherwise, they'll be as multidimensional as characters in a videogame.

4. Why does Shane shoot Otis? This was such an interesting move and turned Shane into one of the most complex characters on the show. But I don't understand why Shane would turn to this when they seemed a good 50 yards* from those zombies and could've outrun them. Also, a few minutes before that, Shane is ready to stop running and give in to the impending zombie crowd and it's not until Otis says that he's not leaving him there that he goes on. How does he go from wanting to die to wanting to murder?

Hmmm maybe that was just a clever move on your part, Walking Dead, and you wanted viewers to be asking those questions. Touché!

Some questions I do NOT have:

What happened to Merle?

What happened to Sofia?

Thank you very much for being such a kickass show. Oh, and if you're looking for a female writer, I would work for you as fast as Rick would say "We have to go save (insert name here) ."

Love ya!

*I'm horrible with distance. 

indoor swing



This indoor swing is so cute! However, it may not be suitable for:

1. People who are drunk and likely to fall off

2. People with big tooshies

3. People who are not hobbits

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

arrested development



I recently discovered that I like Arrested Development. I've been avoiding this show for a while because it's the kind of show that EVERYONE loves and then berates you for not watching it (kinda like what I do with LOST and Walking Dead hee hee love ya!) and then I purposefully avoid those shows. But when I started watching horror stuff because I needed a break from comedy, I then needed more comedy because I had been overloading on horror and started watching Arrested Development on Netflix Instant.

Fun fact: did you know that writer/creator Mitch Hurwitz used to write for the Golden Girls? And you can see how he takes those sitcom conventions and puts on a modern twist.  Like this (slightly paraphrased) exchange between Jason Bateman's character Michael and his brother Gob, played by Will Arnett:

Michael: There's nothing more important than family
Will: Mom's coming.
Michael: Hide.

That's a classic sitcom move. But I guess what makes Arrested Development so good is that they're so quick and nimble about it. They don't cue the laugh track and hover around the joke for a couple of beats. They move forward.  You can see how shows like 30 Rock and Modern Family's take their cues from Arrested Development.

Anyway, not only am I the annoying person who discovers something a decade late, I also start analyzing it as though no one else ever has. So if you're a big comedy nerd, you can find better analysis on Splitsider or AV Club.

But for now, have you seen Arrested Development? No? What's wrong with you???

Monday, November 7, 2011

chapter two: the comedy intern

This is the second installment of Unruly, short horror stories for those who can stomach a little bit of blood and fright.


The Comedy Intern 


Several hours later and a couple of avenues over, Enjoli spends another Friday night cleaning up piss and toilet paper left over by comedy nerds and girls visiting from Long Island hoping to catch a glimpse of that cute guy from SNL. 

Bathroom duty was her most loathed responsibility as an intern at Renegade Denizens, an alternative comedy theater that mostly featured middle class white male performers. It was Enjoli's dream to one day make an improv team and perform on their stage but that afternoon she got rejected from yet another audition, sealing her role as the piss cleaning intern. She liked to blame it on the fact that she was a black female. They don't get my sense of humor! They want me to snap my fingers and circle my head!  

But in the back of her mind, she worried she wasn't getting very far because, well, maybe she wasn't that funny.

a conversation i had with my boo before going to inwood hills park

Me: What should I wear? I don't know how to dress for nature!

Boo: JiJi, we're going to a city park.

ZING!!! 

stephen king, on writing



I'm re-reading Stephen King's On Writing, his hybrid autobiography and writing manual.  I was really struck by his anecdote about how he almost gave up on writing Carrie. Saying it was too hard to get into the head of female high school characters and chucked it into the waste basket.  If it weren't for his wife finding it in the waste basket the next day and telling King that the story was compelling, he probably would've never finished it.

What Stephen King learned from writing Carrie:

"The most important is that the writer's original perception of a character or characters may be as erroneous as the reader's. Running a close second was the realization that stopping a piece of work just because it's hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don't feel like it, and sometimes you're doing good work when it feels like all you're managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position. "

Okay, gotta go back to shoveling manure.

Friday, November 4, 2011

autumn grays




You know how some people have the winter blues? Well, I've been having the autumn grays, a seasonal affliction consisting of impromptu sobbing and fleeting moments of existential helplessness brought on by the preponderance of pumpkin paraphrenelia.

I am so much fun to be around these days!!!! 

But after a quick phone call with a good friend who put things into perspective, I realized that a) I'm probably just swelling with pre menstrual emotions b) I have a lot of good things going on in my life and should be grateful, not overwhelmed and c) I'm craaaaaaazy.

So that made me feel better.

And last night, I watched some of the first season of Arrested Development on Netflix and laughed my ass off. Laughter is the best medicine and it's free!!!-- which is great for my non insurance having ass.

I also made a point to go to the meditation room in my office today. Oh my goodness, an office meditation room is just the best idea ever. It was so nice to retreat into this quiet, dimly lit space and sit in stillness. I know I must sound like someone who wears sage oil and eats agave yogurt but I swear it was truly an awesome experience. Now I think I want to create a quiet space in my apt cus I don't think my toilet is appropriate.

Now I'm even more excited for the weekend.
*Tonight Boo and I are meeting up with some mutual friends we haven't seen in ages and going to Mono + Mono, a Korean fried chicken and jazz place. This will either be great or my worst nightmare.

*Tomorrow I have brunch plans with a dear friend at Home.

*And Sunday Boo and I have plans to go to Inwood Hill Park and be around nature. Sage oil and agave yogurt not included.

Hope you have a great weekend, mariposas!!! And, remember, if you're going through the autumn grays, try to find a quiet spot, list all the things that make you happy, and RELAX. Everything will be okay.

Ooh and don't forget daylight savings on Sunday. We have an extra hour of sleep! I feel better already!!!!

balcony



Sigh, I can't wait to be a big balla so I can hang on the balcony with my dog and dawgs.

Can you guess where this balcony is located? If you said Williamsburg, Brooklyn then you must be the owner and I am so jealous. View more design envy here.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

david smith, sculptor and epicure



David Smith is known as the father of American sculpture but I had no idea who he was until I read about him in Saveur magazine (i read food magazines for the articles!)

Written by his wife Jean Freas, this profile of Smith captures a warm and romantic side to him that contrasts with his sculptures which seem kinda cold and distant. However, I'm not an art critic so maybe I'm totally off. Sorry!

My favorite parts of the essay:

David was as much an artist in the kitchen as in life. For dinner that night he made me chicken breast speckled with tender morsels of apricot. For dessert, eaten at five in the morning, we shared a pomegranate, a marvelous treat for lovers because it takes so long to eat. We peeled away the waxy yellow walls to expose the succulent crimson seeds and relished every mouthful


And I love this anecdote about Smith carrying  a head of garlic in his pocket:


The urge to cook could seize David anywhere. Once, after he gave a two-day lecture at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, in Maine, we took a detour to the seashore. Having been raised in landlocked Ohio, David could not pass up the novelty of cooking fresh seafood. He dug a pit in the sand and gathered driftwood for a fire; then we both plucked mussels from the water for steaming. Whenever he was on the road, David carried a head of garlic in his breast pocket – as some would a book of matches – so even our impromptu feasts were full of flavor.




You can read the essay here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

penne with swiss chard and other updates

-Boo came over and I made penne with swiss chard in tomato sauce. I always get confused when buying canned tomatoes. Do I get crushed? Peeled? Unpeeled? Whole? Why are there so many tomato choices??? It takes more work to pick a can than to make a sauce. Hmmmph.

-On a random note, swiss chard kinda reminds me of kimchee. What?

-Watched last weekend's episode of The Walking Dead. It was the most depressing/dark/effed up episode yet in a series that has been nothing but depressing/dark/effed up. There have been a lot of comparisons of of this show to LOST but not even the smoke monster on LOST was this immoral. Regardless, I can't wait for next week's episode weeheee!

-My coworker noticed the eczema on my neck. Ugh. Will I have to suffer with this rhino skin for the rest of my life? I bet Gwyneth Paltrow never has to worry about stuff like rough patches of skin. Then again, the woman does yoga and juice detoxes for a living and I drink like a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills.

-Another co-worker noticed that I was reading WWZ and recommended a slew of zombie books and podcasts.  All this zombie stuff can not be good for my mental well being. Not that my mental well being was that great to begin with. Surprisingly, I have not had any zombie related dreams. Although the other night I did dream that I was being attacked by chipmunks. It would've been frightening if they weren't so adorbz.

-Also, I think that writing these horror short stories has really helped relieve all the scary stuff I've been watching. When I write about the things that scare me (which is everything apparently), I can control the fear.

-I kinda miss Ottawa. Crazy, right? I miss being able to walk along a river everyday and just breathe in fresh air. Maybe I'll drag boo on a nature walk with me this weekend.

A teut! 

unbearably cute



How cute are these log pillows? The baby bear is out of stock unfortunately.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

the babysitter



So as you regular readers may know, I'm a pretty big fan of the zombie genre and its close relative the infected peoples genre.

I've been dabbling in some horror short story writing and thought I'd take a stab (haha get it? stab? like what they do in horror movies?) at writing a zombie short story. This is a pretty big departure of my usual blog posts about pretty dresses and cupcakes or even sketch comedy, but I've been feeling pretty uninspired with comedy lately so I thought I'd try something new.

Let me emphasize again that this is my first attempt at the zombie genre so I hope I don't infuriate any hardcore fans. So don't read this if you don't like new stuff!

Also, don't read this if you don't like gory, graphic stuff.

Okay, hope you enjoy it. And don't say I didn't warn you...

The Babysitter, a shorty story

Anna first noticed something was wrong when Walt, the doorman, wasn't at his station. As the main sentinel of this soaring, Chelsea apartment building--the kind that was rapidly built in only a few months and the floor to ceiling windows now shake at the mere hint of wind as a result--Walt was usually behind the desk watching Jeopardy or surreptitiously sipping a bottle of whiskey, cradled in his crinkly, weathered hand. His was the only warm, albeit slightly alcoholic, presence in that stark building.

Walt had greeted Anna every Friday night for the past six months before she made her way up to the 20th floor to babysit for Denise and Adam Chadwick and their four year old son, Brendan. Maybe old Walt was walking the chihuahuas for Marcus Fitch, the artist famous for his sculpture of Jackie O defecating on a donut.

Anna headed inside the elevator and pressed 20. "Another night, another dolla," she said deflatedly. 

The Chadwicks were 35. Only 5 years older than Anna but in a completely different socio-economic stratosphere with their 1.5 million dollar apartment and weekend home in the Berkshires. Anna was a receptionist at a law firm in Midtown but told everyone she moonlighted as an Etsy crafter so as to seem bohemian.

Babysitting for the Chadwicks was easy money but hard on her ego. She always told herself this weekend would be the last weekend but she always ended up coming back. That $150 a night gig funded a whole weekend of drinking. How could she say no to that?

The elevator opened up to the Chadwick's expansive apartment. Anna immediately shielded her nose with her hand. A rotten stench enveloped the empty, modern space. Atypical for a clean freak family like the Chadwicks. 

"Hello?" Anna called out. 

No answer.

Their bedroom door was closed but she could see a light underneath. Ugh. It wasn't unusual for Anna to walk into the apartment without anyone to greet her. When she used to babysit for them during the day, the Chadwicks were fond of engaging in what Manhattan married couples liked to call a "nooner". She prayed to god they weren't getting it on now. She was running out of different ways to pretend she didn't hear anything.

What was odd was that Brendan wasn't sitting at his usual spot on the couch watching TV.

She looked down the hall to her left and could see Brendan's door was closed. Maybe he was sleeping already. It was 8:00 and Brendan had been feeling sick all week. She was kinda relieved that she didn't have to deal with the rigorous task of forcing a 4 year old to go to bed. 

Anna was about to plop herself on the couch and text her boyfriend when she heard growling sounds coming from the Chadwicks' bedroom. She froze. She could hear fingernails scratching behind it. Either this was some seriously effed up sexual shit or some thing or some one was seriously hurt.

"Denise? Is everything okay?"

The moaning heightened. Anna has never heard anything like this before. It didn't sound human or even like an animal. A voice tells her to race out of the apartment and get the hell out of there. But what if the Chadwicks are hurt? What about little Brendan? 

Okay, I'll go downstairs and find Walt. He'll know what to do. Someone will know what to do.

And just then, the door opens. 

Mr. Chadwick's suit is torn, revealing a bloody wound in his stomach. His head is cocked to the side, his usually slicked back hair was now mottled as if someone tore tufts out of it.  And as he begins to lift his head, his moans become louder, more furious. Anna can feel her scream locked in her throat. 

His face, or at least half what remains of it, is gray, caked with dried, purple blood, and his eyes are vacant yet fixated on Anna. He lunges at her and Anna runs down the hall into the kitchen. She tries to close and lock the door behind her but this ostensibly simple task, this mundane act she has done countless times every single day for almost her whole life, is impossible. Her sweaty hands slipping. around the knob. 

C'mon! Damnit! 

She wipes her hands down her side and locks the door.

Anna's eyes dart around the kitchen, looking for something to either barricade the door or something sharp to defend her. 

"Somebody help me!!! Somebody please fucking help me!!!!" 

She hears him pounding on the door. It now sounds like two people are pounding and growling. Maybe three. 

Anna eyes the counter tops. No knives. No pans. Mrs. Chadwick never cooked. She hardly ever ate. She liked to spray PAM on a cherry tomato and call it dinner. Anna resented her empty kitchen whenever she searched for food and tonight was no exception. 

Think, Anna. THINK. 

She looked at the kitchen counter. She looked at the fridge. If she were stronger and had more time she could move the steel behemoth in front of the door. But Mr. Chadwick's hand already pounded through and she probably only had a minute. Maybe less. Why was she wasting time calculating time right now?

She jumped on top of the island counter when they broke the door down. She barely recognized Mrs. Chadwick. She was wearing her uniform of a tight black dress and sky high stilletoes. She would wear those stillettos everywhere, even in the middle of the blizzard. Leave it to Mrs. Chadwick to still be wearing her stilletos while transformed into a rabid, raging beast.

They circled her. Grabbing at her ankles with their hands. When Mr. Chadwick's mouth headed for Anna's ankle, Anna kicked him in the head with her steel toe boots, causing him to fall back. Anna turned and kicked Mrs. Chadwick in the head. 

Mrs. Chadwick always made fun of these boots. Saying they were for lesbians.

Anna jumped off the counter but had nowhere to go. There were floor to ceiling windows along the perimeter of the kitchen. There was nowhere she could escape. She could try to run past the Chadwicks but they were already up and moving towards her. 

As soon as Mr. Chadwick lunged for her, Anna rolled underneath a table, and Mr. Chadwick crashed through the window, falling 20 stories to the ground. 

Anna was never more relieved to see faulty Manhattan building codes at play. 

But she still had Mrs. Chadwick to deal with.

The defiant beast hissed and moaned and headed for Anna only to trip over the sheet of shattered glass. Shouldn't have worn those stillettos. But the resilient thing picked herself back up, snarling, and chomping her teeth. Anna had never seen Mrs. Chadwick so hungry before. 

When Mrs. Chadwick raced towards her, Anna picked up a metal chair and slammed the back across Mrs. Chadwick's face. For an anorexic woman she was still very ferocious. Anna must have tried this slamming move twenty more times before Mrs. Chadwick finally fell down. 

Anna sobbed.

Her clothes drenched in sweat, marred with blood. Every muscle ached. She looked over Mrs. Chadwick's body. What just happened? What was going on? As if someone was going to answer these questions. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. Anna kept repeating. But when she felt a bony hand grab her ankle, Anna picked up the chair and used the metal leg to pound through Mrs. Chadwick's skull. 

She had to get out of there. Were the other apartments like this? Was it safe to ride the elevator? She walked past Brendan's bedroom and convinced herself she was only imagining the growling sounds emanating behind his door. 

She pressed the down button on the elevator. Before this day she was never that religious, but she made a small prayer as she braced heself for what she would see next when the doors opened.

julia von boehm



I'm digging this beauty interview with Julia von Boehm, former editor at French Vogue, in Into the Gloss.  Now that I'm *cough* a little older, I wanna make more of an effort in beauty and skin maintenance.

Some products I'd like to try out:

Dr. Hauschka moisturizer (this brand keeps popping up in beauty posts)

Caudalie beauty elixir

Amilab, lip balm

ps how cute is her baby, Josephine? I love that name :)

pps I'm digging the gold cross with white silk blouse look. She always manages to look stylish without being too overdone.

You can read the rest of the interview here.
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