Monday, November 25, 2013

Normal Day

Photo by the extremely talented Carissa Gallo

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.  Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart.  Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.  Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.

      - Mary Jean Iron

Friday, November 22, 2013

Lovely Links

A happier day in their history

Lady in red, eyewitness account of the assassination of JFK

One brave kid who dressed up as Harry Potter and went to Penn Station

A 30 second stretch for people who sit all day (similar to the yoga pose wild heart)

I'm kind of over getting told to throw my hands up in the air... so there

Complimentary recipe from Giada's new cookbook, Feel Good Food

The secret behind the Victoria Secret fashion show wings 

This post by Miss Natalie Jean about a recent New York documentary

How cute is this stone cold fox necklace by Fossil ?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Honest Tea 6 word memoirs
University of Pennsylvania Nanotechnology building
I met this character outside of the Academy of Natural Sciences
Fashion designs at Moore College of Art & Design (my mom's alma mater)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dance, when you're broken open.
Dance, if you've torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance when you're perfectly free. 
- Rumi

Dancing, writing and yoga are my favorite means of expression without which I imagine I would implode from all of the emotional activity that courses through my veins each day. I have found that Zumba and Latin dance are the most joyful versions of dance for me, while hip-hop is the most powerful. A lot of times when I tell people that I dance or do yoga or write, their first reaction is "I can't do that." "I'm so uncoordinated." "My grammar is terrible." "I'm so inflexible!" or my favorite (and what literally every guy tells me) "I can't even touch my toes."  I always find their comments interesting. Why are we so quick to tell people what we cannot do? Especially when the thing itself is something that the other person seems to enjoy or is passionate about? I wish their responses were, "that's so cool! Do you know what I love to do? Math equations. In the bathtub." 

I think it is important to make time for your art, whatever that may be. It can be anything at all that gives you joy, peace, bliss - that feeling of time beginning to melt like in Dali's famous painting. I try to make time for dance, writing and yoga at least once a week. As a 25 year old woman who currently does not have children or is planning to have them soon, I have a vast amount of untapped biological creative energy stirring within me. I am sure that other women (and men too) within my age group have this same energy that they have yet to harness. Often we forget our God-given right to pursue our bliss. But as my friend Mastin Kipp, from the Daily Love reminded me on Friday, the Buddhist word ananda literally means "You are Bliss. Bliss is you." To return to whatever it is that gives you bliss, is to return to yourself. Spending time doing activities that make you happy is not frivolous or silly; in fact, these activities are life giving and life affirming. They are the fuel, if you will, that give us the energy to go about our every day lives, to work day in and day out and to arrive at our relationships as our best selves - renewed and refreshed. You would not forget to eat or drink before running a 10k marathon, would you? So why would you not feed yourself with bliss before having to do all of the work that is required of us these days to be a responsible human being? 

What I love most about my bliss activities is that they require really nothing at all  besides myself. Even though dancing sometimes requires music and a partner, and writing sometimes requires a pen and paper or electronic device, and yoga (ideally) requires some kind of comfortable floor and a supportive community to practice with, these activities are not reliant upon any external sources; they do not require another person, a pill, a drink, a piece of food or any other physical form of consumption at all. These activities remind me that I can be full of something else, myself and perhaps everything else at the same time. Because, it is not "myself" in the egoic sense that seems to be awakened during these activities, but rather, something deeper and something more beautiful. I become more than my limitations, more than my physical or mental or emotional body. I begin to access the spiritual and energetic aspects of myself that are often forced to lie dormant or subdued.  The purpose for all of these activities, if there is a purpose at all, is just to enjoy the process and each moment. Or, as Wayne Dyer put it "when you dance, your purpose is not to get to a place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way."  

Furthermore, we should not wait to make art, to feel our bliss, to dance. We should not wait until the bills are paid, until the house is clean, until the kids have gotten their baths. We should not wait until life is how we expected it to be. We must do it now. While we are jobless, or in that job that we don't like. While we are waiting for that "special someone" to enter our lives. While we "currently don't have access to liquid capital" (thanks again, Mastin.) While we are hurting. While we are lonely. While we are, as Rumi says, broken, bleeding, fighting, and tearing off the bandage. We must make our art not because we want to, but because we must. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Lovely Links

The 'Stubborn Gladness' of Elizabeth Gilbert's Favorite Poet

Oh Elizabeth Gilbert, you delight me every time

Why "closets" are just difficult conversations

Tonight I am going to see Mastin Kipp from the Daily Love!

Yummy recipes I'd like to try (especially the ginger-lime shrimp quinoa!) 

I have been loving this song right now

How's your color acuity? (I got a 14!)

Make-a-Wish and the city of San Francisco made one child's dream to be batman come true! Check out the President's message to him... 

Beautifully creepy... a 13th century church in the English countryside filled with weeds and wildflowers

Monday, November 11, 2013

'The Man In the Arena' by Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt

Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic" delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910 

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.*
*Fun fact: Miley Cyrus has the last sentence tattooed on her forearm. 
No one would ever accuse her of being timid...

Some more inspiration? Katniss. In the arena. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Book Thief

After reading this article in Elle about young actress Sophie NĂ©lisse, I became aware of the upcoming film adaptation of "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak. The trailer for the film intrigued me enough to research the book, which of course I want to read now. Isn't that funny? An article led me to a trailer for a film which led me to a book; from words to images and back to (my first love) words. The main character, the young Liesel played by Sophie, reminds me of myself a bit because I have always been a lover of words and books. Sitting at the breakfast table, reading every word on the milk and orange juice cartons, letting my scrambled eggs to cold, I was intrigued by these tiny symbols called "letters." I loved the way these letters, arranged just so, for example, on a grey and flimsy page could captivate my dad's attention for so long while he read the Philadelphia Inquirer, folding the pages with masterful accuracy as though he were a seamstress, flipping and folding garments under a needle. 

According to Wikipedia (the source of all knowledge, ha) the book which was published in 2005, is narrated by Death and is set in Nazi Germany, a place and time when the narrator notes that he was very busy. The story is about a young girl and her relationship with her foster parents, neighbors and a Jewish fist-fighter who hides in her home during World War II. 

Check out the trailer below and let me know, does it make you want to read The Book Thief

 “Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like rain.

― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Lovely Links

Vintage Audrey Hepburn photo, realistically colorized

Black and white photos realistically colorized make the past seem more real.

Kids reacting to gay marriage. Almost as good as, "I ate all of your Halloween candy..."

My new favorite beer, Washington's Porter by Williamsburg AleWerks.

Anthropologie's intimates section is killin' it. Especially with this little number.

Catching Fire trailer. 11.22. Get here now!

Get financial advice... from your pastor?

I was lucky enough to see  Birdie Busch perform live last night at L'Etage. Amazing!

I would love to see this documentary on water. P.S. remember this post?

Monday, November 4, 2013

I Love the 80s Weekend Recap: The Legwarmers

My take on Debbie Harry, aka Blondie, aka singer of  the first "Call Me" hit (sorry Carly Rae...)
The Legwarmers (I had a crush on the guitarist on the left. He and I were wearing the same  red wayfarers, so of course it was love at first... shaded sight)

This past weekend for a friend's birthday, I went with a big group of people to see The Legwarmers, an 80's cover band, at the Trocadero Theatre in South Philly. I had no idea what to expect since I had never heard of the band or been to the Troc venue before, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Almost all of the live performances I have been to in the past have either been large concerts for well-known artists and bands or small-ish gathering for trendy indie rock bands. The Legwarmers concert was nothing like either of those at all. In fact it was not comparable to anything I have experienced yet. Picture, if you will, a medium-sized vintage concert hall filled with people ranging from age 21 to 60 decked out in sparkly blazers, neon spandex, multi-colored crinoline tutus, legwarmers (of course),wayfarers, rocking faux mullet wigs and side ponytails all singing and banging their heads to hits like "Tainted Love," "Don't Stop Believin'," and "Like a Virgin."

Funny video by The Legwarmers

The night was exactly what my 13-year-old-80's-obsessed-anachronistic self would have loved. I was (and still am) one those people who assume that any other time period than the one I am currently living in was better in almost every possible way. My entire 8th grade year consisted of watching movies like St. Elmo's Fire, Teen Witch, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, Weekend at Bernies (basically anything starring my onscreen boyfriend, Andrew McCarthy), listening to Queen, Van Halen, Journey, ZZ Top, John Mellencamp, Styx, The Clash, Guns 'n Roses, Cyndi Lauper, Whitesnake, Talking Heads, Madonna, U2, George Michael etc., etc., etc. and lamenting the fact that I was not born 15 years earlier. 

Take on Me music video by a-ha

I was convinced that the political climate of the 80's was the most fascinating and critical of American history and that almost everything about the "ME, ME, ME" generation revolution that occurred during those ten years set the stage for the current teenage American consumer culture. To me, the 80's made the strange and greedy technicolor world I was living in make more sense. It was a love/hate relationship that I still wrangle with today, and this past weekend reminded me of that torrid old flame I still have for useless plastic neon bracelets, sparkly excess, guys in pastel polo shirts with popped colors and music that could be coined as "heavy metal lite" otherwise known as heavy metal doused in sugar. If you have a chance, definitely try to see The Legwarmers at some point in your life. It was a fun, musical experience that was well worth the $15 ticket charge. (Rumor has it they are coming back to the Troc in February!) 

Below is the music video to one of my favorite 80's songs of all time, "We Didn't Start the Fire" (which taught me everything I ever needed to know about world history and which I can still remember listening to in my dad's car as young as about 5 years old) by Billy Joel. Surprisingly, the first time I saw this video was earlier this year when I had an unusually strong desire to hear the song at work and looked it up on you-tube. I was struck by its powerful visual message and how it cycles through important historical changes through the lens of the ever-evolving institution of marriage.  P.S., please note that the teenage girl in the video is the pink ranger from Power Rangers... 

"We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel