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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

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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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.*

Although I spent most of my time in Scottsdale, I did venture out a little. There were a few things I had pinned on Pinterest that I definitely wanted to check out in Phoenix. Foodwise I had my heart set on eating the famed Pizza Rosa at Pizzeria Bianco. Not only is the chef a James Beard Award winner, but many claim that he has created the best pizza in America. My favorite pizza will always be the NY style white pizza at at Lombardi’s in New York—not only is it ridiculously decadent, but I also associate that pizza with some wonderful memories, and memories are an ingredient that no master pizzaiolo has in his spice rack. Nevertheless, the pizza bases at Pizzeria Bianco are truly phenomenal and technically excellent; I can totally see what all the fuss is about. The Pizza Rosa is a white pizza topped with Parmiagiano-Reggiano, red onion, rosemary, and Arizona pistachios. I wouldn’t describe this pizza as decadent, but it is definitely flavorful. I really loved how you could discern every single flavor that was present. Nothing was overpowered, every ingredient got it’s chance to shine. And like I said, the crust is truly awesome. The pizza was pretty damned faultless – but what can I say, Lombardi’s will always have my heart.  Plus Lombardi’s do Italian sodas… so…

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With pizza in my belly, it was now time to see the sites. Did I mention that Arizona is hot as fuck?!?! “Dry heat,” my ass!  I felt like I was going to get heat stroke on my way to Phoenix’s art district, Roosevelt Row. It was 105 degrees, but honestly it felt I was walking on the surface of the sun (I only exaggerate a teeny).

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El Mac (aka Miles MacGregor ) is one of my favorite street artists. It was such a pleasure to see this beautiful lady all the way in burning hot Phoenix. It made my trek worth it. Roosevelt Row has lots of great street art, along with plenty of art galleries and little specialty shops. Here are a few other pictures I took:

After a bit of walking, this ice cream at Melt was definitely a necessity. I had the lavender-honey, totally fab. I think most places would shy away from the boldness of the herby/floral nature of the lavender, but I think its great that they didn’t dumb it down by making it overly sweet. Totally worth a pit stop.

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By now, I had had enough of the heat. It got too intense for me, so I made my way to the Phoenix Museum of Art. It surpassed my expectations. There were a few things there that kind of blew me away. There was this piece by  Yayoi Kusama called You Who are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies. I’m not sure how to describe it. It was a room with a lot of mirrors. It made sort of an “infinity room.” The room was dark except for some LED lights that hung from different lengths, mimicking multi-colored fireflies. Watch this video, because photos don’t exactly capture it. The feelings evoked from me were feelings of romance, whimsy, wonder, and beauty. I couldn’t help but wish I was standing there in that room holding hands with someone I loved as the fireflies “danced” around me.  It was nothing short of magical. I could feel something stir deep in my heart.

I also loved this surrealist botanical painting by Joseph Stella called “Flowers” with it’s psychedelic colors and incredible symmetry. Total eye-catcher.

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But best of all, and most unexpected, was that I encountered a Frida Kahlo. In case I haven’t mentioned it, Frida is my soul sister. This particular work is considered to be one of her most shocking and controversial paintings. The Suicide of Dorothy Hale, tells the story of a Ziegfeld showgirl as she jumped from her luxury apartment in her favorite black dress. I felt honored to look at it, behind its glass, just as I remember looking at it as a little girl, as a photograph in a book.

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The museum was about to close, and I decided to treat myself to my one semi-fancy restaurant of my trip at Little Cleo’s Seafood Legend. Most of my life is spent on a perpetual diet. When I am on vacation, however,  there are no rules. It’s like Fight Club but with burgers. Despite being on my own, I’ve learned not to be coy about ordering a four course dinner all for moi-self (I have superpowers that you know nothing about). And that, my dears, is exactly what I did.  I had an appetizer, “bacon” and eggs on toast, a yummy bouillabaisse, and sticky toffee pudding. It was all great, but I think the star of the show was that toast.  The “bacon” was actually cured sturgeon.

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Positively joyous!
The next day I went to see the Grand Canyon. I went as part of a Pink Jeep Tour. It was a four hour drive each way with an itsy bitsy stop in Sedona where I saw the famous Bell Rock. And the canyon? What can I tell you of the canyon that hasn’t been said? It is crazy and surreal. I remember looking out at its vastness, and even though it was right in front of me, it did not look real. It felt like I was on some science fiction movie set. Here’s the thing, I know how to talk about food and art, but I don’t really have the words to describe what this was like. If you’ve not been there yourself, you won’t understand exactly how majestic this place is. All I can say is that I am so glad that I went. I almost didn’t. It’s one of those things that are on people’s bucket lists as something they want to see before they die. I understand why that is now. But, you know, ice cream is good too. Just sayin’

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As you read this, I am in New York City, hopefully having an awesome time hunting Space Invaders in the freezing cold while eating my weights worth of Levain cookies and Murray’s Bagels. A girl needs to insulate herself with a smidge of blubber when she is exploring the frozen tundra after all. There are museums to visit, department stores to browse, and cakes to eat (yep, cakes with an “s”). This requires plenty of fuel dontcha know. Horrific posts of gluttony are soon to follow, I’m sure. For the next few days, I want to ignore the fact that I am unemployed. I will do my upmost not to let it ruin my time here. I prefer to think about that later. I’ve got plenty of time for that.

I do actually have some news, so here goes….

Valentine’s Day is not my favorite day of the year. While I do love limited edition pink and red boxes of shockingly overpriced chocolates, not to mention flowers, I kind of hate this holiday. I don’t need some glaringly obviously reminder that I am alone. But… I’m not so alone this year. I’ve actually met someone, and I am kind of excited about it. Part of me is really freaked about by even writing about him. Part of me thinks that as soon as I put it in black and white, he is going to be gone in a puff of deliciously scented smoke, but I am ready to air my dirty laundry. I wouldn’t go so far as to call him my boyfriend, I think it would be more accurate to say that we are “seeing each other.” While nobody is perfect, he is pretty freaking close.

I shall state my case:

  • He wears Bond No 9’s Sandalwood … it is dead sexy.
  • He is very handsome. He has the most awesome smile, and I love his dark hair and dark eyes.
  • He is smart – I will never fall for a stupid man. What’s the point of beautiful eyes if there is nothing worthwhile in between them? I have to be able to have an intelligent conversation with a person.
  • He is successful in what he does, but unlike a lot of men, he doesn’t define himself by his profession. I love that. Most doctors define themselves by their title, and they tend to have huge egos. He doesn’t.
  • He is very passionate about certain political issues. He has something of a man crush on Bernie Sanders actually LOL. What I think is great is he doesn’t just talk a lot of s*it, he actually is very politically involved and has even taken part in protests where he risked being arrested for speaking out about his beliefs.
  • We share the same birthday, and his first name is the same as my dad’s name. I don’t know why exactly, but that is significant to me… almost as if someone is trying to give me a sign.
  • What I like best about him is that he has never made me feel as anything less than special. Let’s face facts, I am a 4o year old woman who is living with her mother (text book “old maid” material). I don’t have a car. As of Thursday, we can add the fact that I’m unemployed now too.  Though I think I have some wonderful qualities, sadly, I don’t think any man describe me as a catch. Never once, however, did he ever make me feel  shitty or embarrassed about my situation. He has only treated me with kindness and respect … and that my dears, is priceless.

For the sake of this blog, I shall call him Birdy. Why? Because of he reminds me of this poem.

How much does he like me? Honestly I don’t know. He likes me I’m sure, but I have the feeling that I probably have stronger feelings for him than he has for me. I have pre written this post, and I honestly don’t know if he will even be around when this entry gets published. Why? Because I’m afraid I’m a bit of a train wreck. I don’t have the best track record when it comes to men, and I no longer have the confidence in myself to believe that he will stick around (or why he is there in first place). All I can tell you is that since I’ve been living in America, nobody man has come close to this one. He is something rare and wonderful. I kind of know that I am not the only woman who has thought the same of him. What makes me any better than them? Is it possible that some kind of late Christmas miracle is going to happen where he will be able to see the real me that lives behind all this tarnish? What makes me think I have a snowball’s chance in hell? Hope.

Happy Valentine’s day dollies. I love you.

 

As you may have noticed, street art has become a great love of mine, so I guess it must come as no surprise that I planned to hunt some down in Manhattan during my recent trip. Let me start by saying that it’s not like Wynwood. In New York, you really have to hunt these pieces down. They don’t tend to be in areas of heavy tourist traffic, they are mostly off to the side streets in places like Soho and the Meatpacking District. Mostly I’d run into something when I got lost… which was often. GPS did not prove to be my friend. I had a few instances where I tried to position myself on Google Maps and according to my iPhone, I was swimming in the Hudson. I ended up finding a lot of lovely surprises, however when trying to find my way (just like we do in life, huh?). Here is a selection of some of the beauties I captured. I hope you like them.

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London artist Phlegm
London artist Phlegm
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Goldloxe: She has a lot of these stencils pasted up all over NYC in different colors. I find this whimsical creature very charming. She reminds me of Shirley Temple, and I can’t help but smile when I come across one. There are a couple of more examples of hers on my Instagram page.
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A recreation of a very famous image by Kobra

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A piece by Shepard Fairey which I found while lost somewhere around Chinatown.
A piece by Shepard Fairey which I found while lost somewhere around Chinatown.

More information on Shepard Fairey can found here on Artsy.

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My first ever Banksy, I was super excited! It was right off the High Line.
My first ever Banksy, I was super excited! It was right off the High Line.

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The bleeding hearts love wall by James Goldcrown. He and Goldloxe very friendly on IG, I love it when artists are cool like that :)!

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And so my lovelies, today I complete my first week of work at my new job. Everyone seems really nice. I’m making friends, and I’m hoping I’ll fit in okay. Basically, my job will be that of a junior underwriter. I can’t tell you much about my work as of yet, because I haven’t actually started it yet. What I can tell you is I am thrilled to be rid of my bitchy old boss, the crap hours, and the disrespect. I think this job will be an amazing opportunity for me, and the salary increase certainly doesn’t hurt. What’s also cool is I work right next to a library. I spend my lunch browsing through books and magazines. I can’t possibly imagine a better “break room.”

This new job is most definitely a step up, another stepping stone, until one day I feel confident enough that I will be able to do things on my own. I sometimes wonder if that will ever happen. I have come a really long way since I came back to the US, but I still have moments when I feel absolutely crippled. It was just the other day that I was in a pool of tears because I felt like everyone ended up with their “happily ever after” while I was left behind. There are times when I look in the mirror and see someone who is alone and getting older and less desirable by the day. Let’s be real, a good heart will only get a woman so far. Then I stop myself, “It will be okay” I say to the person looking back at me, “I didn’t come this far to turn back now. Somewhere I will find love and happiness again… or if that fails, perhaps some cookies.”

I love art, from fine art to street art, so I couldn’t help taking a few pictures on my recent visit to Ft Lauderdale. Here are a few snapshots I took after visiting with my friend Frida.

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Outside of the NSU Museum

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I’ll never forget the last time I saw Frida. It was in Paris, at the Musée de l’Orangerie. It was a rainy day, and I ducked into a Laduree to eat a truffle omelette. It was pure luxury. I remember this song from Pulp Fiction playing in the background, and I remember feeling that all was right with the world. I was newly separated and scared, but in that brief moment, I was feeling pretty damned okay.

Well, Ft Lauderdale ain’t Paris, but I’ll be okay here too. What choice is there? There are burgers here. I’ll be fine. I went to a place called ROK:BRGR, and wouldn’t you know it, there was a burger with my name on it “Sweet Caroline.” It must be a sign, no? I must be headed in the right direction.

This time, in the background it was 80’s “hair” metal. There was Ozzy Osbourne, The Scorpions, Van Halen… old friends. I was sitting outside, the sun was shining. It’s moments like these where I remember that I may be down, but I’m far from out. “Nope, I’m definitely not out,” I thought to myself, as some skinny bitch turned to stare at my behemoth of a burger with longing LOL. “Don’t hate chicky, cause yeah, I’m going to eat the whole thing, and you can freaking bite me.” Plus, thanks to the grief diet, I can look good while doing it! Hmmm… yes, karma does have it’s rewards.

Mmmm... juicy, sweet, messy and bloody. I can see why it  was a champion at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Aged cheddar, BBQ short rib, creamy coleslaw, fried onions,  on a brioche bun. It was pretty fab. I'd give it a 9. The fries were a bit crap though.
Mmmm… juicy, sweet, messy and bloody. I can see why it was a champion at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Aged cheddar, sweet and tender BBQ short rib, cool and creamy coleslaw, fried onions, on a brioche bun. It was pretty fab. I’d give it a 9. The fries were a bit crap though.

You know, I’m learning something as time goes on. My life is totally different than the one I used to live, but although my  environment has changed, nobody can take away what makes me special. I don’t live in a city where I have access to great art or fancy food. I don’t have tons of spending money, but I can make do. A queen without a king is a still a queen, even if she is dressed in rags (but carries a Bottega Veneta). It makes me feel kind of proud.