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Every year it is my goal to visit one place I’ve never been. This year it was Mexico City. I’ll start by saying that Mexico is a very poor country. It has beautiful areas for sure, and amazing art, food, and history, but the life of a tourist in Mexico and the life of an actual Mexican is markedly different I believe. The good life is relatively cheap for a visitor, but not necessarily for the people who call Mexico home. This was my impression. Whenever I went somewhere upscale, it was mostly English that I heard. Moi does not go on vacation to rough it, so I want to say that I don’t think I had a proper Mexican experience by any means… but I did have a good one.

Lots of things in Mexico City are very inexpensive compared to the states. For one, Uber is SUUUUUUPER cheap. From the airport to my hotel it cost about $5! The same was true of almost every other ride I took. I didn’t have to worry about public transportation, because at those prices, getting around Mexico City was very hassle free and inexpensive.

Also cheap: Churros. I think out of the 5 days I was in Mexico City, I went to Chuerria El Moro three times. As far as sweet things go, that was my favorite thing I ate. I ordered mine “con canelle“ (with cinnamon). The portion is muy grande. What can I tell you dears? I need the super size portion to match my increasingly fat ass. It’s all about balance. I went to the one closest to my hotel, which is the original, dating back to 1935. Supposedly they are open 24 hours. I tested this, as any intrepid traveller would. Moi tried to get her fix around 6 one morning before hunting for street art, but the doors were locked. Piggy snout pressed against the cold glass, I was forced to return a couple hours later … but return I did. Kind of like a crack addict. Did you know studies show that sugar is more addictive than cocaine? I shit you not.

My hotel was completely fabulous. I stayed in the Historic District at a place called Downtown. It’s a lovely boutique hotel with several restaurants and fancy gift shops centered around a gorgeous open courtyard. My room was minimal with double height ceilings and old world features that went back to the 17th century from when it was originally known as the Palace of the Miravalle. I can’t recommend Downtown enough. The location was great, the rooms and the hotel are stunning, and the free breakfast … like I said, I’m looking very meaty at the moment.

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Frida Kahlo Museum: This was the main reason I wanted to come to Mexico (aside from churros). I wanted to see where my favorite human lived, painted, loved, and died. It was the highlight of my adventure. I loved walking through the same gardens that Frida was photographed in time and time again, but it’s more than that. There is something so intimate about walking through her home, seeing the studio she painted in, the bed that she lay in (it had a mirror affixed to the top so that she could paint self portraits), and her final resting place: an urn in her bedroom. The Casa Azul is a beautiful, colorful, yet elegant home in a lovely region of the city known as Coyocan. Being in her home, imagining her moving through it, entertaining in her dining room, and playing with her animals in her garden… it was just so special to me. I can see why she loved Mexico so much. If I lived at Casa Azul I’d be hard pressed to leave it too. It’s clear why she found New York so dreary coming from a place like this (although she obviously had not had the clafoutis at Le Coucou). There were some beautiful art works of hers on display too, some of which I have not seen before. The experience of being where Frida walked, of touching the structures that she may have touched, it was kind of magical for me.

Later I would go to the Mexican Museum of Modern art just to see what I consider one of her most poignant works: The Two Fridas. Standing right in front of it, I felt so much emotion, I almost cried. That work says so much to me. It’s the Frida who is her true soul’s self (holding a locket of her husband Diego) trying to comfort her second self, the wife, as her heart hemorrhages. Every woman who has ever loved a man, I think, even if she couldn’t put the words to paper, would look at that painting and totally get it. It’s amazing how I’ve seen so many photos of it, yet standing in front of the real thing was such a different experience. It had the power to move me like no photograph could.

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Ballet Folklorico: In the beautiful Palacio de Bellas Artes, every Wednesday and Saturday there is a wonderful performance by the Ballet Folklorico. It typifies what you imagine when you think of Mexico: lots of color, fun, and tons of good energy.  Watching the traditional singing and dancing will definitely make you smile. If you are visiting Mexico City, especially if this is your first time, you must go. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did, but it was pretty freaking spectacular!

But you guys know the main reason I travel. It’s really all about the food for me. I didn’t ONLY eat churros. No, one only needs to see the way my jeans are bursting at the seams to figure that one out. There was much eating going on. MUCH.

Of all my foodie excursions, I was most excited about dining at Pujol after seeing it on NetFlix’s Chef’s Table. I just HAD to go. Even a month in advance, however, I could not get a table. There were no reservations available online, but after writing them an email, they kindly made room for little piggy Caroline. This was my first experience with a tasting menu. It was wonderful to enjoy so many little bits of deliciousness, and so many layers upon layers of coordinating flavors. It was quite a production, almost theatrical, and surprisingly lengthy, but I enjoyed every bit. This was undoubtedly the biggest extravagance of my trip. I think it cost about $160 USD, but as Pujol is considered one of the highest ranking restaurants in the world,  I feel I got a bargain — well, that’s how I justify it anyway. Let’s just face it, I don’t do dollar menus. Life is too short. Next thing you know I’ll be eating Chef Boyardee out of can — quelle horreur!!

By the way, I want to mention that I was not the only woman eating alone here. I spied at least two other female solo diners. I thought this was so cool. Nod to my sistahs who aren’t afraid to get their chow on all by themselves (I absolutely hate how women eating alone in fine restaurants is so stigmatized! Dismember the patriarchy dollies, one taco at a time!!!).

The highlights of my meal included the “street corn”  –presented in a smoke filled pumpkin– which actually had crushed ants on it (!), and the 1,874 day old Madre mole sauce. If you want to know more about the extravaganza, because it’s honestly quite fascinating and complex, check out Season 2 Episode 4 of Chef’s Table. Otherwise, here are some pictures:

Contramar was another fabulous restaurant I visited. This trendy and upscale seafood restaurant is the place to go for a  fishy feast. I had their house special, Pescado Contramar, which is basically grilled snapper with red and green sauces. It was so spectacularly fresh! This was followed a fabulous fig tart. But the thing I loved most were the tuna tostadas. They may have been my favorite thing I ate while in Mexico.

Another thing I’d totally recommend is the street food tour given by Club Tengo Hombre. Street food is very popular in Mexico City, but as a tourist only familiar with our American verision of Mexican food, I’d walk past the stalls and have no idea what I was looking at. It was actually quite intimidating. It was wonderful going with someone who took us to the best of the best, guiding us through the labyrinth. We made lots of stops which included two markets. My favorite morsel was our last stop at Taqueria Los Cocuyos where I tried a tongue taco. Simply awesome!

Well, I now have my first Latin American stamp in my passport, and I’m looking forward to more. Mexico was a wonderful adventure. I want to end this by mentioning that before going I had people warn me I’d get sick from the food/ water (no such thing happened).  I was also warned that Mexico City is dangerous (I experienced nothing of the sort). If you have any of those fears, put them aside. The only thing I can remember is some guy telling me that our president was an asshole. “Yeah, I’m sorry, I know,” I replied. He asked me for money. I gave him some change. We are lucky they don’t build a wall to keep US out.

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Fin DAC & Kevin Ledo collaboration in Wynwood, Miami

Hello my lovelies, I’ve not written in a while. Kind of been laying low. How was the start to your New Year? It’s not a favorite holiday of mine (because I always wish I had someone special to celebrate it with), but it was okay actually. I rang it in with one of my favorite treats: a Godiva chocolate covered macaroon. So yeah, not earth shatteringly awesome, but not bad. The good news is, I didn’t spend it feeling sorry for myself. That’s progress.

Since I last wrote, my friend T lost her battle with cancer. That was pretty major. But the thing is, it was inevitable. I knew it was going to happen. I just didn’t know when, and I was dreading finding out. When it did happen, I was deeply sad, but not surprised. She practically lived in the hospital. Always in and out, always breaking bones, and she had constant trouble with her breathing. At the end of her life, she was carrying an oxygen tank with her wherever she went. T was definitely a fighter though, and always hopeful.  Always making plans, assuming that there would be a tomorrow. I feel so blessed that my life path ran parallel to such an amazing and loving human being. She was my sister, just not by blood, and I will always love her dearly.

I’ve gone on a few dates, though nobody is worth actual mention. I continue to put myself out there believing that one day, it’s going to happen for me. It’s encouraging that at my age I still get attention from very eligible and attractive men. Last week a rather handsome guy took me to Wynwood to check out some street art and chow down on the uber fabulous fried chicken at KYU. I honestly can’t remember having better (this was my second time going). That sauce it comes with … well, that must be what people mean when they say “awesome sauce.” Chicken was followed by some deliciously sweet and fluffy coconut cake. I’m not sure what it says about me that I talk about the food with so much more excitement than the man. He was nice … meh … nice. I’m not looking for NICE, I want to FEEL something… you know? Like with the fried chicken LOL. Passion. I seem to be no closer to finding love since I last wrote, but I keep trudging on.

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As for work, its been crazy as usual, but I actually had a very good month. I must have been a very good little show pony, as I was recognized as the best on my team for December. Plus, two of my customers left me great feedback on good service I provided. I must admit, it felt great to be recognized. I really did work hard. I hoping 2019 might have a promotion in store.

And that, my dears, is really it. What’s been going on with you? I wish you everything good and sweet in 2019 and always.

Tons of love,

Caroline

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I make really poor food choices when I go on holiday. It starts from the beginning, at the airport. I am not to blame. It’s Lakeshia. She is someone I shared a Diet Coke with in Salt Lake City. We started off with a gigantic peanut butter cup… and the games began. From the beginning of the trip, to its culmination… all poor nutritional nutritional decision making were solely hers. Got that? She is naughty. She makes me do bad things.

Really, I don’t know how to tell you all the wonderful things that happened on my eight days of vacation, and I loathe to try. I mean ugh. I’d be typing forever! I am not one for writing super long posts, and I am not one for reading super long posts, so I will be leaving out A LOT of stuff. This is just a sampling of highlights.

First let’s start with Oregon. Portland is all about food. It’s my kind of city for sure, so food is where I shall begin:

Pok Pok: OMG those chicken wings. Totally worth the hype. I swear it. They smell a little odd (it’s the fish sauce), but wow. There is this sweet and spicy thing going on that is just perfection. If it was just me and Crazy Kat, I might have licked the plate, but her husband was there, and he don’t know me like that (though I think he has an inkling).

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The lavender honey ice cream at Salt & Straw … swoon worthy. They have a lot of amazing flavors, from the weird (and I mean super crazy and kinda yuck sounding, like bone marrow!), to the wonderful, but the lavender honey is the one that gets my vote. There is something about that flavor that just completely does it for me. I should also mention that the people who work there are fab. It makes a good experience even better.

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I really am a piglet. That’s definitely my porcine digits you see holding that big old cone aloft. I don’t do things by halves.

The biscuits at this most adorable little shop ever, Lauretta Jean’s. Oh gosh, these were sooooo good. Perfect, simple, and decadent. Gobs of butter, and a touch of honey. I was in heaven. Plus I just adored the vintage setting and all of the irresistible homemade pies on display which seemed to speak to me in a way that only my very own piglet ears can hear. Really, the place was unbearably charming.

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After biscuits we went street art hunting, and Portland actually has a great street art scene. I discovered a new artist I love called Fin DAC. Check out how clever this piece is. The geisha’s hair is actually composed of live plants. I believe this piece is called “Gratitude.”

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And really, there are so much more art pieces worth showing you, but it feels strange to me to lump them all together. I feel like it starts to cheapen the specialness of each individual work, so I’m not going do do that. Again, this post is just about showing you SOME of what I found special.

International Rose Test Garden– beautiful roses as far as the eye can see. Portland is actually known as the City of Roses, so there is no better place for this garden to exist. Some roses gave off the most exquisite fragrances, while some smelled of nothing. It’s somewhat odd being surrounded by so much beauty, you almost become numbed to it after a while. Each rose is more beautiful than the next. It was a wonderful experience, a Portland excursion that should not be missed.  I imagine that the rose garden would be an amazing setting to get married in *le sigh* … maybe one day.  Or donuts, those are fine too.

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Blue Star Donuts… okay the huge and slow moving line? So annoying, yet it was worth it. I got to try every donut I wanted. I tried five. Hey… be quiet okay? It is so cool being an adult because you can eat ungodly amounts of donut and nobody will stop you. It’s the law LOL!!! My favorite was the orange olive oil donut. It was so good that I bought some for the return flight home… because I could, and by that point I was already super fat, so whatever. And by the way, I did also try Voodoo Doughnuts, because how could I not? Save your calories. Kitch factor galore and a good Instagram opportunity for sure, but so meh!

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Crazy Kat’s stunning beach house in Arch Cape is  a contemporary masterpiece. Wow, that place is beyond impressive. I love knowing that someone I love so much gets something that gorgeous. A queen deserves a castle… on the beach… with fabulous bath tubs. Sometimes nature is lost on me, but through a giant glass wall in a luxury setting, the sunset looks especially beautiful. I can see why her Instagram is always peppered with so many sunsets! While in Arch Cape, we went to Cannon Beach where I got to see Haystack Rock. It was a rock formation that was pivotal in finding the pirate treasure in the 80s film, The Goonies. I found treasure in Oregon too. Problem is, I ate it.

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And Seattle? Well, I believe the first thing we did after grabbing some chocolates at Fran’s was to head to the famed Pike Place Market: a rabbit warren of fruits, vegetables, “flying” fish and all manner of touristy knickknacks that you will never find a use for.

Fran’s Chocolate: I was desperate to try the famed Coconut Gold Bar that was featured on the Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate.” Chocolate and coconut is always a winner for me, but best thing I ever ate? Nope. I mean, it was good, but it wasn’t even in that vicinity. I did however find something in Seattle that did fit that bill though. It was a cake that will haunt my dreams forever. The Gateau Basque at a place called Sitka & Spruce. I die. Truly. I wrote to them to ask for the recipe. I do hope they respond.

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Of course I got to see the famous Space Needle. I like to think of it as the Eiffel Tower of the American west. It was right next to the Chihuly Garden and Glass where CK and I saw some stunning glass sculptures. Amongst all the gorgeousness, this one, by far, was my favorite:

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And of course I have to share some Seattle Street Art. D*Face was recently in Seattle doing an exhibit at Treason Gallery, and did two awesome murals, which I was only able to find thanks to CK. She is becoming quite adept at hunting street art. The first, “Careless Whisper” is not my photo, I just couldn’t get a good shot with all the cars that were parked in front of it. The second is of Kurt Cobain, who I consider synonymous with Seattle.

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I can’t possibly end this post without saying how much I adore Crazy Kat and her wonderful husband Blue Eyes (not to mention her two lovely boys which I finally had the pleasure of meeting). They are so kind and good to me.  I don’t know how I lucked out by meeting CK, but rather than question it, I thank thank the Universe for my good fortune. While I was there, it felt like every day was my birthday. Lots of love and thanks go out to you CK (though dear, you are an enabler, you totally let Lakeshia have her way… and we love you for it).

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Lavender lattes: it’s a full blown obsession now. I have to figure out how to make them.

Sorry I haven’t written much lately. Sometimes life just isn’t all that exciting and so there is no point boring anyone with the minutiae. All is well. Next month I should have a fabulous post to write. I am super looking forward to seeing Crazy Kat in Portland (I’ve never been that far west before), and hopefully there will be  a little excursion into Seattle as well. I adore CK, and I always have the best time in her company. If you read my blog regularly, you know how much I love to travel. I try to see a new place every year, it’s one of my goals. Food, art, and travel; these are my passions in life. When I travel, I usually get to satisfy all three, so there is really nothing I anticipate more than a holiday away from my little cubicle at work. And anticipation? In my book, that’s half the fun.

Things are going well at work. I have a new boss. She started several weeks ago, and so far she seems absolutely lovely.  It’s a pleasure working with her. My new team that I got moved to is awesome too. It’s all good in the hood. I actually just celebrated my two year anniversary with the company. That’s a record for me since being back in Florida. Truth be told, however, I’m feeling kind of burnt out. Work has been trying, and a break is long overdue.

So what else? Well I went on a few dates. Nobody worth pursuing romantically, but I did meet a guy who I developed a friendship with. He is very sweet, I just didn’t feel any sparks. I want sparks.  I’m not going to settle. I’d rather be alone than with the wrong man, and being alone is no longer feeling as burdensome as it used to. So this guy, I’m not terribly attracted to him, and his life situation is not conducive to a relationship, but he makes for an awesome friend. We text often and go out to eat every once in a while. It’s nice to having company and to  have someone I can be a bit silly with, but that’s all it is. We don’t do anything more than hug. This time around I’m a lot more selective. Do you know what else? These days I just tell a guy if I’m not feeling anything. Before I used to be so afraid of not hurting anyone’s feelings. Now I just tell them in the kindest way I know how, that I don’t want to pursue anything. And do you know what? I learned that most men appreciate this. Honesty really is the best way to go. From personal experience, I learned that there are few things worse than having your emotions toyed with, so this is why I force myself to be direct. Life is too short to do otherwise. I guess this means I’m learning to value myself better.

I guess you can say that these days I’m dating myself. I try to follow what makes ME happy, and frankly, I’m pretty freaking good at it. I might just be my best boyfriend evvvvvaaaaa. In fact, just yesterday I took myself out for the most delicious lavender latte at a charming little local tea shop called The Modern Rose. And today we (and I use the word “we” in the sense of the royal we) are going to the movies. I am going to watch Crazy Rich Asians – as we are in the mood for something silly and light hearted. There might be some chocolate covered Godiva macaroons involved (my favorite Scooby snack). Hey … come on… might???? You know they totally are involved LOL.

So anyway, just saying hi. Haven’t forgotten you. Didn’t slip into a black hole in the blogosphere… just laying low a bit. What have you been up to?

Tons of love,

Caroline

Things have been very even and quiet. Nothing monumentally exciting since my birthday post. These days, I’m happy to say, that although there are a few bored days, sad days have declined dramatically, which is completely awesome. Is it because I’m not stressing over any guys anymore? I wonder. As usual, I always try to find happiness where it’s available. I try to relish those those things and immerse myself in them as best I can . Here are some things making me happy at the moment…

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My MacBook Pro. This is my first post written from my very own computer. Although I have yet to get comfortable with all the features, I am loving my new laptop. I was told by a coworker (who used to work at Apple), that what I bought was way too sophisticated for my needs. Whatever dear, whatever. I like knowing that I have the best. It’s a big purchase, so I prefer knowing that by spending extra, I have future proofed my new toy. This little lovely ain’t goin’ nowhere. One of the coolest features is the little strip above the keyboard, the touch bar. Looks the freakin’ business even if I don’t know how to use it too well.

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Retail therapy: yeah, so on that note I do love spending a bit of money. When I’m down, my two go to’s are eating and retail therapy. I get that from my mom. Well hey, at least I’m not smoking crack with Satan, eh? I’m just ringing up charges at Anthropologie. They have some super cute stuff fright now. I got these adoreable chinos for work (which I’ve already worn), plus I bought a dress I liked. I’m waiting for it to arrive in the mail. I hope it fits right. Don’t ask me where I’m going to wear it, that’s irrelevant LOL. Originally it was $228 and I got it on sale for about $80. I adore the cute fish print.

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Rubios fish tacos: speaking of fish, I positively adore the fried fish tacos at Rubio’s. I’d say I’m becoming a regular. Yeah, it’s a chain, but what can I say, when it’s right, it’s right. The Fish Taco Especial? Sooooooooo right. I love the hot and crispy deep fried shell that surrounds the flaky pollock, I love the coolness of the avocado and the sauces they use. I love it how they make everything on the spot and everything is super fresh. Sure, grilled is healthier, and they do that too, but life is short. This is one of my go to’s when I am in need of a delicious treat meal. AND it’s cheap. These are $2 each on Taco Tuesday (though I usually save this for the weekend). These tacos are so much better than what I’ve had in much pricier restaurants. Get these tacos in your belly if this chain exists in your neck of the woods. These really are amazing!!!

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Nail Envy by OPI: I’ve never been one to really care about my nails. I’ve only gotten a manicure once in my life, and probably wouldn’t bother again. I keep my nails kind of short. I wear contact lenses, so it’s not really conducive for putting them in and taking them out. On occasions when I have tried to grow my nails, I haven’t been successful. They aren’t that strong and usually tear when I’m in the shower. Lately, however, I’ve been trying to focus a bit more on self care, and doing my fingernails and toenails is part of that. And you know what? This stuff actually works! It’s not terribly cheap ($18), but this product is definitely worth it. It gives a bit of shine, and my nails have never been stronger or healthier. I don’t intend to grow them long or paint them any colors (I’m not a fan of that look), but they do look very well groomed and kind of elegant. That makes me happy.

Yesterday I went to see Won’t You Be My Neighbor, a beautiful documentary about Fred Rodgers (aka Mr. Rogers), a man whose footsteps of love will echo into time. What an incredibly beautiful soul.  There is a saying I like, “The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of all kinds.” Mr. Rogers was all of those things. His message touched me deeply. I actually cried several times. Despite that,  watching this movie made my heart feel lighter. I was inspired, and I was encouraged by the simple goodness that we all have inside of us. I know we all want to appear all worldly and cool, but if you think of it, isn’t simplicity and love the highest form of sophistication? Isn’t it the paired down, minimalistic truth of what we supposed to be as humans? I think so. I leave you today with my favorite Mr. Rogers quotes. Reading them makes my heart feel giant, happy, and hopeful.

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All is good in the hood. Yeah, I would love a boyfriend and a few million in the bank. Still, things are pretty okay. Sometimes I am suuuuuper bored, and I still suffer with horrible feelings of loneliness (I try to just sit with it, but easier said than done). Overall, however, I’d have to say that life is really alright. Here are some things I’m grateful about at the moment.

Getting my Botox done. It was long overdue. I desperately needed it in order to keep myself looking as serene and peaceful as people who don’t know me too well think I am. People often tell me I exude this aura of peace … little do they know what a total spaz I actually am. It’s my quiet voice and my gentle nature. I think you guys know, however, that under my skin I’m just the slightest bit bat shit.

As I don’t have a love interest in my life, I have been somewhat slack when it comes to maintenance (I love not having to shave!) but gosh, it feels good to get have my face back in order. I been spending just a teensy bit too much lately, so for financial reasons, I held off. Sadly, Botox ain’t cheap- if it was I’d probably tox myself up till I was a waxwork — I really do love the stuff. I realize not all of you will find being poked with a needle and injected with a form of botulism as a form of self care, but for me, it absolutely is.

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Right next to where I get my Botox done is a little restaurant that has been on my radar for several months: The Hummus House in Ft Lauderdale. Good hummus makes me terribly happy. Good hummus with nice pita and two fat triangles of baklava … heaven, and so that’s exactly what I had. I loved this little place. Service was fast and friendly, the place was super cute, but most importantly, the flavors and textures were just completely on point. I will definitely be going back.

So … let’s see… what else is good?

Screen Shot 2018-05-27 at 4.33.50 PM.pngRetail therapy… that’s been making me happy. I bought a lovely Tory Burch tunic. It looks so classy and sophisticated. I love the mandarin style collar and the deep slit down the front that makes this top ever so slightly sexy. It was pricy, but it was on sale, so whatevaaaa. I also bought a very over priced maxi dress *shrugs shoulders.* Have I ever mentioned how I love maxi dresses?! They are a woman’s best friend because they allow you to eat tons of food but still look very feminine and pretty. If you see a dazzling woman at the buffet with the flowy dress pushing you aside, that would be me dear *smooches.* Don’t hate.

The movie: I Feel Pretty. I saw it with my mom. It’s certainly not going to win any awards, but it was silly and fun, and it made me laugh. Sometimes that’s all you need, a good laugh, some entertainment, and wonderful company.

Triscuits: they seem to be an acquired taste, I’m not sure why. I fucking love those those things. Triscuits, a few squares of cheese, and I am a happy camper.

I’m making more female friends. You have no idea how much I value that. Us women, we get each other. I love being in the company of kind, smart women. Sometimes I forget, in the midst of all the guy drama I’ve encountered, that having fab women around me is just as important as having a man in my life.

Having Memorial Day off. What is more blissful than waking up on a Monday knowing you don’t have to endure the daily grind? Fucking priceless dollies!

Hope all is well with you, and that despite the daily shit blossoms that irreverently rear their ugly heads, that you are also managing to find the good in the mundane and the fabulous.

Tons of love,
Caroline

Okay, so yeah, I have written about visiting NYC maaaaaany many times. Maybe you even got your barf bag ready, cause here Caroline goes again. But whateva, cause the place is just so beyond fabulous, dollies. I will never get sick of it, I will never stop going, and I’ll never stop writing about it. It is a constantly evolving city, and there are always new and wonderful things to eat, see, explore, and do. Still, I’m going to be easy on you and just share the highlights.

Pancakes. As per usual, I gorged myself on all manner of goodies, from my Levain cookies, to Grom gelato,  to the deservedly infamous lobster roll at Pearl Oyster Bar, and I finally managed to try the incredible pineapple linzer cookies at Te Company. But what completely blew my mind (or belly) into the cosmos was two delicious types of pancakes I discovered for the first time.

  • Exhibit A: The blubbery calfoutis at Le Coucou. Le Coucou is a very fancy French restaurant in the downtown area. I’d love to have dinner there but I’d feel a little self conscious going on my own for a larger meal — I’ll get over that, but CrazyKat, we have a date, okay? That, and Lobster Rumble,  girlie. The restaurant itself is stunning and sumptuous. It requires you to get a bit dressed up (but I imagine breakfast is more casual than dinner, and also you don’t have to make a reservation then). I sat my fat ass down on a velvet tuffet as the most beautiful pancake ever was set before my beady little eyes.  Oh, and do you know dollies, it was just as delicious as it looked. I loved the added touches of the cream quenelle dusted in lime zest.

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  • Exhibit B: The pancakes at Chez Ma Tante were completely the opposite. The didn’t win the pancake beauty contest like the one at Le Coucou, as they were much more rustic looking, but ooooooooh. And oooooooooooh. Okay so these had the most incredible texture for a pancake that I have yet to encounter (and yes, I did try the ones at Cinton Street Baking Company… good, but meh in comparison). These were crunchy on the outsides, fluffy on the inside, with the faintest hint of lemon, covered in maple syrup and a healthy pat of buttah (it’s good for the skin dont’cha know). And it happened to be just DEVINE. Yep, totally freaking swoon-worthy. Okay, so I should mention that technically these are in Williamsburg, not NYC, but go. Gooooooooooooo!

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Seeing an artist at work. As you know I love street art. I happened to be in Williamsburg while the Moniker Art Fair was in progress (which I went to). In conjunction with the fair, a very famous street artist known as D*Face was finishing up a piece, and I happened to see him action, which was very special for me.

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Speaking of art, another highlight of my trip was taking part in an exhibit by Candy Chang. I am a huge fan of hers, I have been ever since I saw her Ted Talk. I always wanted to write on one of her “Before I Die” walls, but I have never encountered one in my travels thus far. This, however, was just as cool, if not cooler. The exhibit was at a lesser known NYC museum, The Rubin Museum of Art. The exhibit was called “A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful.” There were two walls. On one wall people were invited to write  one of their hopes and include it with the other contributors. On the other wall, visitors wrote their anxieties. What people wrote ran the gamut from funny to very deep and real. It struck a very personal cord with me. I loved being able to share my own and be a tiny part of this beautiful collective.

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I love knowing that somewhere in this picture, is one of my own.

Treating myself. Well, the truth is, all of my vacations are about indulgence in some way. Food, art, and sometimes (but not always) there are goodies involved. I’m not really one to collect souvenirs, but I did see something quite special at Bergdorf Goodman that I could not resist. It was a bit of an extravagance, but you only live once. I am a great believer in treating oneself to the finer things, when and if it is possible, because we are the only one we can truly count on at the end of the day.  My mom always says, “I buy myself flowers, because if I have to wait for a man to do it, I might grow a beard.” Yeah well, I bought myself the moon, and strung it along my neck. I have always wanted a pretty moon necklace. I’m a Cancer, so it’s my sign. The moon is also supposed to be a representation of feminine energy/power. Who would have guessed? Me, Caroline, that’s who.

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Turns out, the world’s best avocado toast was right on my doorstep. This was f’ing exquisite.

This weekend was about me exercising some much needed self care. I mean, I think I always treat myself pretty well. In fact, I probably verge on self indulgent (but whatever). This weekend was different in that I kind of cocooned myself. It was all about spending some quality alone time with Moi-self. Except for some texts, I didn’t socialise whatsoever. Saturday I don’t remember going out at all. I just watched some gangster series on Netflix cause I thought the lead actor was super hot LOL… way to be discerning Caroline!! I did want to go to the beach, but it was too cold. Sunday afternoon the weather warmed. I spent an ungodly amount of time on Pinterest and leafed through magazines on the porch. I took a bubble bath and listened to guided meditations on YouTube. I had some Godiva chocolate and some organic pasta, but at no point did I binge (yay me). I was good. I stayed in my calorie range.

Another thing I did on Saturday was write out a list of goals for the upcoming year. This has become a new custom of mine. I’m not a fan of New Years resolutions per say, but every year I like to make some goals. If I achieve them, great. If I don’t, no biggie. I just like to have a bit of an outline.

Last year was pretty successful. Although I didn’t make my reading goal (not by a long shot) or my savings goal, I managed to do some pretty cool stuff. I stopped drinking Diet Coke. I achieved my weight goal and my travel goals. The best thing I did this year was buy a car (which is why I didn’t achieve what I had hoped in terms of savings — but I didn’t do too bad either). As far as my car is concerned, I did something that totally freaked me the fuck out. I am so proud of myself for doing it. I’m still mentally high fiving myself for that one. I’ve been driving for about 3 months now, and I’m getting increasingly confident. There are few things I love more than proving to myself that I am capable, and that I can do scary things. Maybe one day in the upcoming year I can do a road trip to the Keys! If I can do that, I feel like I will have conquered something major. I got plenty of space for anyone (brave enough) to join me!

The next year I have quite a few goals, nothing terribly ambitious, just little things that I feel will enhance my life a bit. Some of the goals are just for fun, and some are for improvement. What are your thoughts? Do you make goals? Do you write them down like I do? Do you make resolutions? I’m curious.

Monday was the last day of my three day weekend. I did venture out. I had some errands to take care of. I also had my final IPL treatment. So far, I’d say there is a 75% improvement when it comes to sun spots. I was able to accomplish this for the same price it would cost have me to buy an expensive jar of skin cream that I know would not have produced the same results. While it may not sound particularly pleasant to have lasers zap you in the face, for me, taking care of my skin and making myself beautiful is an act of self care. What else did I do?

I discovered the most amazing coffee shop called R1 Coffee Company, a real gem in my neck of the woods where everything is cookie cutter suburbia. There I had the most sublime avocado toast with all the extras (smoked salmon and poached egg) plus properly brewed tea — nobody in Florida does properly brewed tea! It was expensive, “but I’m worth it,” she said as she brushed her fingers through her hair. I really think I’m ruined from Panera now. I officially declare this as my new breakfast spot/ tea time hang out. A fine lady such as myself has to treat herself, that’s what self care is all about!

So tomorrow I’m back in to work… I’m gritting my teeth already, but I think I can handle it. I’ll close my eyes and think of avocado toast.

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I thought this beauty by New Orleans artist Becky Fos was particularly gorgeous.

The first time I saw Birdy in three months, he picked me up at my house. We went to Starbucks and we talked. It felt so good to see him again. I had butterflies. Huge butterflies. I was excited, but also nervous as fuck. We talked about a lot of things, one of which was the cross country motorcycle ride he planned to take. The trip was to last about a month, and this would be the last I’d see of him before he returned. I was excited for him. He’d talked about doing this for some time, and it was finally happening. Although, I was quite cognizant that we wouldn’t have much of an opportunity to rekindle our relationship, I was totally fine with that. I was just so happy that we were talking again. Let everything just “be” and happen in its own time. Maybe it would give him time to miss me, I thought. You can imagine my surprise when he invited me to meet him the following week in New Orleans. Surprise was an understatement. Was he serious? Turns out he was. Hell yeah, I wasn’t going to miss visiting one of my favorite cities with the man I knew I’d never be able to get out of my head. I was on top of the world when we parted that night.

Fast forward to about a week later, and there I was in New Orleans. Saturday I had most of the day to myself as Birdy would not be arriving till the evening. I spent the day walking around Magazine Street visiting some of my favorite shops, browsing through Century Girl, some great art galleries, and enjoying the most divinely delicious lunch at Shaya.

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Hummus with lamb ragu and a hot pillowy pita that would ruin me for all pitas past and future. Damn, that meal was sublime!

I tired myself out. I did tons of walking that day. I clocked over 37,000 steps on my FitBit (that’s almost 16 miles – my record). I went to my room to change and not long after, Birdy arrived. Shenanigans ensued *cough.*

The following day we spent a lot of time walking around the city. I will admit, there were a few tense moments early in the day. I wasn’t getting the best vibe from Birdy. There were times where he gave off something that made me feel tense and on the defensive. I don’t think it was me, I think he had gotten upset by a text conversation he was having with his sister. As the day wore on though, things improved. He relaxed, and as a result, so did I. We ended up having the most wonderful evening. We had such a lovely dinner at the historic Hotel Monteleone in a beautiful restaurant called Criollo. Dinner was delicious. We laughed, we smiled at each other, at one point we even held hands across the table. It felt so good. I was smiling so much I felt like I could light up the room.

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I also learned the joy that is chargrilled oysters … dreamy!

Following dinner we took a walk to Frenchmen Street. There was something about that walk that was particularly romantic. The normally bustling streets of New Orleans were practically empty. The air was filled with the scent of flowers (Nola is so awesome like that, full of big trees, rich in blooms and scents). It was my first time visiting Frenchmen Street, and I was so happy to be experiencing it with Birdy by my side. There was all this great live music, and everyone seemed to be having such a good time. I was in heaven.

In the morning, after breakfast, it was time for Birdy to continue his adventure. We kissed goodbye. Birdy went on his way, and I went on mine. I hung around and enjoyed New Orleans on my own for a few hours. Our little weekend had come to a close. All was well.

So what’s going on with Birdy and I? Well in all honesty, I don’t know. I realized very recently that it’s best that I don’t analyze it (much). I just need to let whatever this is transpire and enjoy it’s unfolding. I have this terrible habit when it comes to Birdy. It comes from a place of fear, not of love. I recognize this. Because I want “us” so much, I have tried to steer things in certain directions, only to have my efforts backfire in the most catastrophic way. I absolutely must let go of trying to control the outcome. There is no other way. I want to learn to focus on the pleasure of our special times together. I loved visiting New Orleans with him, but I also love our simpler moments, like lying in bed watching “Unsolved Mysteries” together. The big things are great, but in the end it’s always the little ones that matter most. It’s always the simple memories that trigger the tenderest of my feelings. The one I’ll remember most from this trip is looking over at him, while he was sleeping. There was something I saw that was so warm and innocent, like a little boy. For the briefest moment, the armor had slipped, and I was reminded why it was that I have never been able to give up on him.

To be continued…

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Slightly ominous, no?

Rather than discussing all about what I got up to in NYC and recount everything I stuffed into my belly (I’ve done that before), I thought I’d write about a very cool excursion I made into Bushwick (Brooklyn). It ain’t Manhattan, that’s for sure. But what it is, is a street art hotspot. I booked a tour, and I was super excited to see what artists I would find there. It was so worth the trek! I also learned quite a bit in the process. And yeah, there was a little somethin’ for da belly too … you know how I roll.

Here’s an interesting fact I learned: did you know that street art all started because a guy was trying to get a girl’s attention? He went by Cornbread (though his real name was Darryl McCray). Sometime in the 60’s he started “tagging” the words “Cornbread loves Cynthia” all over Philadelphia. This started a trend that would spread far and wide. Others followed his example, and by the 70s, graffiti became a big deal in New York. By the 80s, it was a global phenomenon (not to mention a public nuisance). And yeah, Cornbread did win the heart of his beloved Cynthia. Graffiti was born.
In my eyes, street art is just as high an art as anything you would find at the Louvre. To prove it, I give you Exhibit A.
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It’s so fantastic, I almost die looking at it.
I went a couple hours early to scope the place out. I’m so glad I did, because otherwise I would not have seen what is undoubtedly the most beautiful piece of street art that I have ever personally encountered. It is a mash up of Rafael’s Madonna dell Granduca and Kieth Haring’s Radiant Baby. While Rafael did his work on a canvas with oils and paint brushes, Owen Dippie created a work on a much grander scale using spray cans. In my opinion, “stunning” doesn’t even come close to describing the results. So I ask you, who has the greater skill? The renaissance master painter, or the street artist? Food for thought my lovelies.
Nothing I saw wowed me in this same way, but I did get so see plenty of other cool pieces, including a couple by my beloved Invader…
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Isn’t this the coolest? I love this Joey Ramone invader!
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… but there was plenty of other stuff too. Eye candy galore! Mostly the tour concentrated on what is called the “Bushwick Collective.” This is basically sanctioned street art, where the neighborhood business owners allow the artists to beautify the space, simply for art’s sake. There is no money exchanging hands. In return, Bushwick gets to look freaking awesome. I love that. Some really famous street artists from far and wide have come to help decorate the space.

Here are a few of my favorites:

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D*Face, from the UK

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The notorious Vandal Gummy Bear by Whisbie.

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A mural of my best girl, my beloved Frida.
I took loads of pictures, but I think you are ready to eat. Non, mon amours? I think if there is one special place to eat in Bushwick, it’s the legendary Roberta’s. In fact, Bushwick and Roberta’s are quite synonymous. This uber hipster hangout is not just a place for guys with pretty beards and well manicured mustachios! Oh no! This place makes some fine and  fatty pizzas. Moi had the “white guy pizza” (though I have to say, I think I am partial to Cubans *wink*).

No my dears, I’m not going to waste my time convincing you. A picture will tell you all you need to know.

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Yeah, that hunting in the Bush(wick) is no easy task, but someone’s got to do it *burp.*