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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.*

Things are going well, very well indeed. As I sit and drink my Mariage Freres Earl Grey Imperial from Paris and plan world domination, I pause to reflect on my many blessings. Life has been pretty swell. Below are five things that are causing me great amusement at the moment. Plus I have a little secret… but I’m keeping that to myself for now.
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1. As this post is published, I will be making my way to NYC. I have some super fun things planned. I’m going on two art tours which I’m totally excited about. One is a street art tour in Brooklyn. The second is going to be a cheeky fun tour at the MET called Nasty Women of the Metropolitan Museum. I’ve also got my yearly haircut booked at a fancy AF salon. I do love a little pampering. Of course there is going to be some exquisite eats for my belly, and hopefully a few little souvenirs to take home. I feel strongly that the best thing to bring home are simply my memories though. I’m a strong believer in collecting moments, not things. Things get lost, taken, or can get destroyed, but your experiences? Those are gold my lovelies.
 2. I finally got to eat a burger at Le Tub.
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I remember first hearing about this place on the Oprah show. It’s been called one of the best burgers in America. OMG you guys that burger is a Martha Falking monster. It’s 13oz of sirloin. That’s almost a pound!! It was mighty and delicious. The place itself is tres charmant! It’s an outdoor shack with a sort of tiki hipster vibe, decorated with old bathtubs and toilets. This old 1975 gas station turned burger joint is trailer park chic at at its finest. It overlooks the water, and as you eat little birds fly in to try and partake of the meaty shenanigans. I can’t blame them, who can resist the heady perfume of flame grilled beef, am I right?
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My dear friend Curly and I scarfed down our burgers and the ultra hot and delicious steak cut fries, but best burger ever? No. We give it a very solid and satisfying 8.5/10. Its surely one of Florida’s finest, but for me, the Emperor Burger at Charm City still rules the roost. It’s somewhere I’d absolutely go back to… in a heart beat. And yeah, I totally ate the whole thing. Caroline is the boss dollies. I can chow down with the big boys (I’m not sure if that’s a good thing, but it sure is fun).

 

3. I have some pretty exciting news. When I come back from NYC I will be interviewing for an internal post at my company. It would mean a raise, a promotion, and more desirable work hours. I am thrilled to be considered. While there are other people applying, some more senior than myself, I’m going to think good thoughts and trust that the Universe has my back. I want this, I really do! I am going to fill myself with happy thoughts and just go with the flow. I open myself to the wondrous possibilities. Send me your good vibes dollies!

4. I started some IPL (intense pulsed light) treatments to deal with some sun spots I started to get on my face — much to my dismay. This seems to be hereditary for the women on my mom’s side of the family. We are all fair skinned. I had the first treatment last week, and I’m extremely pleased with my results. I got a great deal on Groupon for three treatments. I may dedicate a post solely to the experience once it’s all done. I am looking forward to the final result. Treatment two will be one week from now. I’m looking forward to it.

5. My head is in a good place. That is big. I continually try to uplift myself. I’m so serious about raising my energy, it’s almost like a side job because it requires some serious energy. Learning to be happy, however,  pays much greater dividends than any career. I read good books (recently I read  “Spirit Junkie” by Gabrielle Bernstein) and I listen to motivational stuff and fun music when I take my walks. What else? Well, pretty much whatever the fuck makes me happy. It’s just that simple, but don’t be fooled, it is not without effort. One thing I learned on my life’s journey is that happiness isn’t something that just happens. We generate it. Unfortunately we aren’t taught how to flex this happiness muscle as children in school. We are taught to get good grades, to be well behaved, and to be productive. All of that is useless without joy. I am learning every day how to generate joy. Some days are more successful than others. My personal happiness is something selfish and self indulgent, but it is quite necessary. It’s the best thing I ever gave myself. It is fun, it is beautiful, and quite frankly, it is Devine.

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I don’t remember if I mentioned it on my blog, but I keep a gratitude journal. It’s not a journal per se, it’s an app. Every day I try to write at least three things I’m thankful for. On a good day, I can have loads of entries. On a bad day, it can be hard to think of even one. Why do I keep a gratitude journal? Well, I once read that if you do something for 28 days it becomes a habit. I wanted to make it a habit to see the good in life. We are so trained to detail all the negative aspects of our day while taking the good things for granted. I don’t want to do that. I wanted to train my brain to do the opposite. I’ve been doing this more than 28 days, I think it’s closer to a year now, and I know that this practice has helped me greatly. I’d recommend this to anyone and everyone.

I think my gratitude journal really sums up my experience in Paris, so I thought I would share my entries with you.

Day 1

  • The Universe most definitely has my back. I am so blessed to have such an amazing friend to share this adventure with.
  • Our apartment is completely lovely. Crazy Kat and I are staying in such a perfect location in Saint-Germain-des-Prés , my favorite part of Paris. We each have our own bathroom, and a tiny little kitchen that has everything we need. I love the details: the little cubby holes, the little Hobbit door on the ground floor near the entryway, the wood beamed ceilings, and the little pillow on the couch with the gentleman wolf smoking a cigarette (note: we later found the pillow at a store, and each took one home a souvenir).

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  • We had a delicious dinner at a place that has always been on my radar, but I had completely forgotten about: Le Relais de l’Entrecôte. They only serve one dinner item, steak frites, and they do it so right. I love the secret sauce!
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Le Relais de l’Entrecôte, steak frites. Photo is from the website. In my pictures, the special sauce was terribly unphotogenic, but this picture does it justice, so voilà.

Day 2

  • Waking up in Paris on my birthday. How lucky am I?
  • Pierre Herme‘s Ispahan croissants. This is what I want to be the last thing I eat before I die. They are that amazing, truly unsurpassed.

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Breakfast is served. Are you feeling the love???
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The money shot.

  • My mother called to wish me a happy birthday.
  • I found a few space invaders.
  • I had my birthday dinner at my favorite restaurant in the world: Benoit. This was truly special for me. There was a time when I thought I’d never get to go again, well here I am, and it was truly as fabulous as I remembered.
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As you look at this pictures, imagine angels singing. That is how glorious this meal was.
  • Walking through the Maris after dinner and stumbling into a gay pride celebration. There was so much good energy. You could feel it.

Day 3

  • Starting my day off with another Ispahan Croissant … okay, two croissants. I’m on vacation so whatevaaaa.
  • Browsing Le Bon Marche and its adjacent foodie super store, La Grande Epicerie
  • The Palais Garnier, the stunning opera house in the center of Paris. It has always been a dream of mine to see a performance there. Today I saw La Cenerentola, an Italian version of Cinderella. It was certainly the most fun and cheeky opera I’ve been to thus far. The music was great, thoroughly entertaining.

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  • Grom gelato and their otherworldly whipped cream.

Day 4

  • Today I was the first customer to walk inside the sliding glass doors of Pierre Herme for my croissants. It’s true love.
  • Buly – an amazing little shop selling beautiful bath and body products and little treats for the home. The store itself is so beautiful, it’s like going back in time — an absolute gem with loads of special treats.

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  • Eating the same chocolates Marie Antoinette ate at Debauve & Gallais, the oldest chocolate shop in Paris.

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  • Tonight Crazy Kat and I had another wonderful meal. This time it was at Cafe Constant. I had the beef stew, which was so tender you could cut the meat with a spoon … and then there were the profiteroles …

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Day 5

  • Breakfast at Angelina and their infamous hot chocolate. There is nothing else like it. It is so thick and rich, but surprisingly not overly sweet. It is like drinking melted chocolate bars.
  • Tracking down more space invaders and catching Invader’s “Hello My Name Is” exhibit at the Musee en Herbe.

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  • Dinner at Laduree on the Champs Elyesee. Nobody does omelettes like the French. It was pure perfection, and the restaurant itself is like sitting in an old fashioned jewelry box.

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  • Seeing the Eiffel Tower glitter. Magic. Pure magic.

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Day 6

  • Scarfing down Ispahan croissants like a boss!
  • Finding some very cool space invader pieces. This one is my favorite of the trip:

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  • Sitting at a cafe at the Place de Vosges waiting for the rain to subside.
  • The famous falafel at L’As du Fallafel.

Day 7

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Le Parc by Gustav Klimt
  • The anticipation of seeing Birdy again when he offered to pick me up from MIA.
  • Having an awesome friend to share this special time with.

Thank you so much Crazy Kat, for everything. You are the best! I had the most wonderful time in Paris. I will never forget it.

Yeah, so you see, the Universe does have my back. For more pictures of this trip, please visit my Instagram page, and do follow me if you are so inclined.