I got back from Scottsdale last night. Two weeks worth of training. It was a wonderful experience, but oh, I am so glad to be home. Flying over Ft Lauderdale Airport, looking down and seeing the place I now recognize as my home … yep, it feels so good to be back in familiar territory.

My trip to Arizona had loads of firsts. Among them was my first time seeing a real live cactus, the first time traveling for work, and also the first time traveling with a group who were not my family. One thing I leaned about traveling in a group is that there are times when you have to go with the flow and be accommodating towards others (meh, so overrated). If you don’t want to come across as a total A-hole, you have to take an interest in what others want to do and be open and willing to take part. For this reason, I didn’t always have the time or the ability to do everything that I had hoped … but I didn’t do too bad either. Below is a rundown of my Scottsdale adventures:

I went to Sprinkles cupcakes where I encountered the coolest invention ever: the cupcake ATM, and I ate the most delicious cupcake of my life so far. It was their famous strawberry flavor. Superb! These cupcakes aren’t just cute, they are certifiably awesome.

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I walked around Fashion Square, a high end shopping mall. It was very pleasant, but the stores aren’t anything unique. Pretty much every store can be found in my own neck of the woods.  That’s not to say you can’t buy a ton of lovely stuff though. I also enjoyed browsing around Kierland Commons.  I did happen to drop a hefty portion of my per diem allotment on the most beautiful black dress from Anthropologie while I was there. That money is supposed to be for food … but things happen (and as you will see, I did not starve). If you need a little retail therapy, these places are great, but they are nothing you probably wouldn’t find in your own area.

I had some incredibly delicious chicken tacos at a place I didn’t expect to like at all: Restaurant Mexico. It was kind of a dated looking hole-in-the-wall sort of place, but I went along with my coworkers out of a sense of duty. I’m glad I did. The tacos weren’t much to look at, but they were so good and so fresh. I never had homemade taco shells before. They were still hot from the fryer. Tacos will never be the same.

I went on an art walk. Apparently Scottsdale is where the art walk was invented. What is an art walk? It’s when a collective of art galleries stay open late, open their doors, and sometimes dish out free nibbles. If you are intimidated by the arty farty factor, this is a great time to get your feet wet. In Scottsdale this can be experienced every Thursday evening from 7 to 9. So how was it? In all honesty, I didn’t see that much original artwork, but there were a few nice pieces. It’s in a lovely historical part of Old Scottsdale, and it’s worth going to if you are in the area, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for this one.

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I had my first ever visit to In-N-Out, and I went all out with the double double animal style burger (an off-the-menu item that includes a few covetable extras). It was good, but my mind wasn’t blown. I have wanted to try this burger for years, so I’m so glad I finally got this morsel into my belly, but now I can say “been there, done that.” The burger was was fun, the service was good, but I recommend skipping the fries. I also tried a burger at Rehab Burger Therapy, which is more of a gourmet burger than a fast food one. It was good, but I will forever be spoiled by beloved Emperor Burger at Charm City Burger Company. It’s going to be pretty freaking hard to top that — maybe even impossible.

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My favorite Scottsdale find was a 1950’s luncheonette/ice cream parlor called The Sugar Bowl. It’s a pink and pretty girly paradise. I could totally imagine Dita VonTeese here, having a cheeky treat. All the 50s fixtures are still intact, and the sundaes are fabulous. I decided to go with the build your own banana split. THIS was why I came to Scottsdale … I fell in love a little. This is the sort of stuff that makes me forget why I ever wanted a man. I can not recommend this place highly enough. In fact, I loved it so much that I needed to make one last visit before I left.

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By the way, in case you are wondering if I ever do anything besides eat and spend money, let me inform you that I am indeed multi-talented. Behold: a picture of the moon over Scottsdale.

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You see, I can appreciate natural beauty, but honestly… can you eat a sunset? Now this, on the other hand…

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Okay, so my fat ass needed a bit more padding for the 8 hour journey home. Don’t hate.

I also had the opportunity to do a little exploration outside of Scottsdale. I will save that for my next post. For now I’m just happy to be home. Unfortunately, I must now begin operation detox. I can barely put my jeans on. Whatevaaaa… so worth it!

Last weekend I braved the bus to the Ft Lauderdale NSU Museum of Art again. Taking the bus is no fun, but as I still don’t have a car, sometimes it is my only choice. Living in England I had access to wonderful museums and cultural events. I hate to say it, but South Florida is kind of a cultural wasteland. So when there is something to see, I will go out of my way to see it. So yes, back to Ft Lauderdale I went, where the smell of pee and homelessness seems to pervade the air. I went to see an exhibit called The Indestructible Lee Miller. Should you like to see it, it will be running until February 14, 2016.

So who is Lee Miller? She is best known for being the muse, student, and lover of the famous photographer Man Ray. She was what you’d call a “Hitchcock blonde,” what with her icy cool beauty. Her dad used to photograph her when she was a little girl, later she was a model for Vogue magazine, and after that, she was the subject of one of the famous photographers of all time… but actually, Lee Miller was more than just pretty face. She was an artist in her own right, and something of a feminist icon.  As a photographer, her travels lead her from fashionable Paris to war-torn Germany where she photographed the atrocities of the concentration camps and the suicides of German officials… there were some gruesome photographs in that exhibit, some that I really found hard to look at. It was much worse for her though. Miler’s time in Germany left her understandably troubled. So much so, that after the war, she locked many of her photos in an attic and tried to forget them.

No, Lee Miller, was certainly not a dumb blonde. She was a courageous artist with a deeply rich life. Below are a selection of my favorite photos from the exhibit.

Lee Miller, 1930 Man Ray
Lee Miller, 1930 Man Ray, Solarized Portrait
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Lee Miller’s very famous but somewhat blurry neck, photographed by Man Ray

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In Hitler's bathtub shortly after his death, washing away the
In Hitler’s Munich bathtub shortly after his death, washing away the “grime.”
An editorial fashion photo of models wearing fire masks in London.
An editorial fashion photo of models wearing fire masks in London, 1941.
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Opera singer singing a song from “Madame Butterfly” amidst the ruins, 1945.

In all honesty, I was not unhappy to leave the museum that day. Some of the photos left me unsettled. They are photos I choose not to post, because although they are very real, they disturb me, and I don’t want to put that kind of thing on my blog. Let me just say, that I will take the smelly homeless of Ft Lauderdale over pictures of emaciated and dead prisoners of war any day. It was almost a relief to walk out of there and feel the sun on my face, and the beautiful rainbow graffiti art that drapes over the walls of the museum.

I love this cheerful piece outside of the museum. It is by an artist called Jen Stark, entitled Acid Free.
I love this cheerful piece outside of the museum. It is by an artist called Jen Stark, entitled Acid Free.

I needed a burger.

Last time I went to Rok Brgr, a few steps away from the museum, I thought my Sweet Caroline burger was delicious indeed. The fries? Not so much. Channeling the adventurous spirit of Lee Miller (yeah, all of the sudden I’m a daredevil adventurer, huh? You see how I did that?), I decided to try the truffle burger with tater tots. As you can see, I like to live on the edge. Well, as you are on the edge of your seat with wonder, I shall tell you: the tater tots were definitely better than the fries (nice and crispy, though they could be a bit more fluffy in the middle). But the burger? Juicy deliciousness. There were some excellent flavors going on: it had the beefy goodness factor, the contrast of sweet caramelized onions, and garlicky aioli… and it was drippy and messy, just like the best burgers are. Pure satisfaction. Really I don’t miss sex all that much LOL! Burgers have an edge over men, you never have to wonder why they didn’t text you back. OMG, I am so shallow, I kill me.

I think this could be hanging in a museum too.
I think this could be hanging in a museum too.

I kind of doubt that Lee Miller liked to indulge in fat ass burgers like I do. Perhaps she would disdainfully look away as my thighs slowly enlarge. What do you think? What can I say, I like my art with burgers on the side.

So I went back to Wynwood. I can’t stay away. This time it was for Wynwood Walk, which happens the second Saturday of every month. On that day, there are lots of food trucks, the art galleries stay open extra late… and dare I say, some have free treats! Yes, fooooooooood! Oh my god you guys, it’s like trick or treating for adults. It is freaking awesome!

Here are some more pictures I took during my last trip:

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My first introduction to street art came in the form of Invader. He is quite popular in Paris. Here in Miami, his works have mostly been removed and/or defaced. They are incredibly rare to find in Florida.
My first introduction to street art came in the form of Invader. He is quite popular in Paris. Here in Miami, his works have mostly been removed and/or defaced. They are incredibly rare to find in Florida.

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Works by Atomik are absolutely prolific. You see them all around Miami. He is such a cool guy. If you Instagram is work, he gives you a shout out :D!
Works by Atomik are absolutely prolific. You see them all around Miami. He is such a cool guy. If you Instagram is work, he gives you a shout out! All his works are characterized by his signature smiling orange.
In the world of street art, everyone knows Shepard Fairey. He is one of the rock stars. He has a very signature style.
In the world of street art, everyone knows Shepard Fairey. He is one of the rock stars. He has a very signature style.

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A modern interpretation of a triptych?
A modern interpretation of a triptych?

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The iconic boom box by Chor Boogie and Trek6, visible from I-95, painted on and abandoned two story building.
The iconic boom box by Chor Boogie and Trek6, visible from I-95, painted on the facade of an abandoned two story building.
This one was my favorite. It was stunning, so detailed. Check out the hands! It was an absolutely gigantic mural, a real show stopper.
This one was my favorite. It was stunning, so detailed. Check out the hands! It was an absolutely gigantic mural, a real show stopper. This is only a small segment of the entire piece by German artist, Herakut.
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Pretty good. I’d say its an 8.5/10.

And I have more pictures too, but I think that’s probably enough for now. I will stop on a high note with that last one. It was breathtaking in person. I think it’s time to eat something, no? This time I tried Kush, a very trendy but tiny burger place that is so popular in Wynwood. I tried the LoKal burger (not to be mistaken with low cal LOL). It was a really good quality burger with excellent locally sourced ingredients, but I have to say nothing comes close to the mouth watering Emperor at Charm City!  If you are looking for a burger fix, I totally recommend it though. Fries were really good too (at Charm City they are kind of meh, so I go for the tater tots).

Art, sunshine, and calorific burgers: does it get any better?

I wrote this ahead of time, so as you are reading, Moi has just gotten into NYC. I plan to be posting a lot of photos on my Instagram account. I hope you will check them out.

Love and kisses from the Big Apple!

It's Moi birthday, I hope you didn't come over empty handed daaahling!
It’s Moi birthday, I hope you didn’t come over empty handed daaahling!
Today is my birthday. That, along with the Liebster Award granted to me by the incredibly lovely Kat from Try Not to Cry on My Rainbow, means that today is the perfect opportunity to talk about my favorite subject: ME! Below are the questions I am supposed to answer, so here goes:

What is the last best meal you ate?

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The Emperor Burger at Charm City Burger Company was the last best thing I ate… sublime. It was deliciousness personified. It verged on the pornographic. It could almost make me forget that I ever wanted a man.

Where is your favorite place to relax, and what is your favorite relaxation activity?

Ah, this is an easy one. My favorite place to relax is on my mother’s porch. It is what I do every day after work. I take my iPad, sit in my special chair, and I get lost in reading, listening to music, looking at art, and browsing my favorite sites. It is the quietest place in my universe.

What is your favorite all time love story (can be a novel, a movie, a real life story, whatever) and why?

I hope, at the end of my life, that I can say that my favorite love story of all time was my own. I have to say, I have had a couple of wild romances, I just haven’t had one that stood the test of time. My story is not over though.

The only David Bowie song I ever really loved is called Let’s Dance. I have always found it very romantic and sweet. I remember seeing the video for the first time on MTV when I was a little girl. It showed this young couple who were very poor and hard-working, but their love made them rich. It made a deep impression upon me. Fast forward to 2002. I was watching a Mira Nair film called Monsoon Wedding. The movie had a subplot about awkward looking wedding planner and a house maid. Their story reminded me so much of that music video I saw when I was a child, and I have to say, it touched me as the most romantic thing I had ever seen. There was just something so tender and enchanting about it. The way he looked her. I don’t know how to put it into words really. I will never forget the scene when the wedding planner marries his love on a fairy tale bridge that looked like something out of a Monet painting, amid a monsoon under an umbrella made of marigolds. It just touched me so powerfully. I don’t know if that kind of magic happens in real life, I only hope it does, and I hope that one day I get to remember what it feels like to be in love. That is my birthday wish for myself (and also cake…. Lots of cake).

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List all the places in the world you have lived and which you enjoyed the most, and why.

I lived in Connecticut when I was growing up. At the age of 12 my family moved to Florida. After university, I moved to the UK to be with my husband. We moved around from London, to Wales, to Staffordshire where we bought our home, and then I moved back to London on my own after our split. A year later I returned  to Florida. Without question, I loved London the most. What an exciting city! How I miss it. Samuel Johnson (a famous diarist and writer) was so right when he said, “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”

What are your three greatest joys?

Food: Food is my passion.

A great story. Something I can get myself totally immersed in. It doesn’t matter if it’s a book, TV, a movie, poetry, or art (sometimes pictures tell a story, and I can imagine myself into them—I have a crazy imagination).

I never feel as happy as when I feel loved by someone who I respect and admire. And that beginning part of a relationship, that romance/courting part? When you are deep into it, I am sure there is no drug on earth that potent. That crazy love feeling? I don’t know if there’s a name for it, but I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. I’ve never felt more joy than in those moments of my life.

What is the most interesting place you have ever visited?

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I have been blessed to visit some amazing cities around the world, some of them quite glamorous. But glamorous does not exactly equate to “interesting” in my book. The most “interesting” place I think I ever visited is about an hour’s drive from where I live. It’s a place I have been writing quite a bit about recently: Wynwood (more posts to follow plus additional pictures on my Instagram). I read that there is no place in the world that has a higher concentration of street art, and after visiting there on several occasions now, I can well believe it. Street art is an absolute fascination of mine. It is so vibrant and culturally rich. It is also temporary, and for some reason, to me, that makes it all the more beautiful. It is there, and then one day it’s not. It is, at the end of the day, vandalism. So for that reason, it usually ends up being defaced or covered up. That makes me so frustrated when I see that, but it’s the nature of the beast. It reminds me of how you feel when you are watching National Geographic and you see a cute little animal being eaten by another. It’s the law of the jungle. In this case, it’s the law of the concrete jungle. It fascinates me, horrifies me, and inspires me all at the same time.

Wynwood to me is an example of how beauty can be found and created in the midst of ugliness. It is kind of a metaphor for life. It is most definitely “interesting.”

What are your three greatest fears?

Living the rest of my life without love

Forgetting what it feels like to be truly happy

Not being able to make it on my own

Name something about yourself that most people don’t know.

I am the strangest person I know. It used to make me feel isolated, but now I realize that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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What last made you laugh out loud?

I’m sure there are lots of things, but this is what comes to my head.

What is the one thing you would purchase right now if money was no object?

If money was no object, I’d like a tiny but beautifully appointed flat in Knightsbridge or Green Park in London.

Thanks again to Kat for nominating me. I know I’m supposed to pick some other bloggers and ask them the some questions, but I wouldn’t know where to begin. I don’t have many readers. Those I do read and follow, I follow because I genuinely enjoy visiting your blog. I don’t do it out of any feelings of obligation. Though I haven’t met any of you, I feel like you are my friends, and so I would have such a hard time choosing only a couple to nominate. Instead I give you all big birthday kisses and lots of love. If you remembered to bring me a present, I might also give you some cake… maybe.

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful!
Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful!

Let me start by saying that I don’t care what anybody says about Botox. It’s awesome. I’ve had people tell me, I don’t need it because I’m already pretty and it will make me look unnatural. Little do they know that I’ve already got it in my system LOL. It doesn’t change the way you look at all, it just softens certain expressions and makes you looked more happy and relaxed. It also prevents wrinkles, because if you are not making that nasty frown that causes those “number 11” lines  between your eyebrows, those wrinkles are not going to form.  Oh, and it doesn’t hurt either. It’s just a teeny little pinch when the needle goes in. Thanks to Groupon I get mine done really cheap. The last time I went I got a $250 treatment for $80 because I waited for a 20% off promotion.  Personally, I feel there is no point wasting tons of money to have a counter full of makeup. Why cover up something with cosmetics when you can get rid of it? And really, no makeup covers up wrinkles… not that I have any ;).

Botox and good skin care (link) is the way to go. Don’t listen to the haters. You will not look any different, except that fine expression lines will either disappear or diminish, and you will not be able to make as many ugly faces.  If you have deep wrinkles, it isn’t really going to do much for you except prevent them from becoming worse. For fine lines though, it’s great. I don’t know why so many people are so against it. We live in a culture where women are not considered valuable and lovable when they get older, then we penalize and back bite them when they attempt to look youthful. It is cruel. I get Botox because I like what it does for me. I make no apologies. The best beauty secret of all, my lovelies, is happiness. If you read me regularly, however, you know my divorce, my breakup with Napoleon, and my move to the US have affected me deeply. I am trying to relearn how to be happy. Often though, I feel lonely and scared, and if a little Botox helps me look and feel a little more confident. I think it’s totally worth it. I need to do what I have to do to get my sparkle back.

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You know what else helps me sparkle? What gives me the glow that supermodels long for? Burgers LOL. Is it the happiness that a good burger brings me, or is it just too much grease and oil in my system? I don’t know, but I freaking love it. A good burger can make you forget why you ever wanted a man in the first place. I have been wanting to go to Charm City Burger Company in Deerfield Beach ever since I read about it. I went there knowing exactly what I wanted: The Emperor. It’s a patty melt on brioche made with American Kobe beef, sautéed mushrooms, cave aged gruyere, and truffle aioli… and hot damn it was good! Freaking juicy! I have rarely had a man please me the way that burger did. This is my first 10/10 burger in the US. This decadent patty melt had this amazing savory umami thing going on with a bit of sweet from the buttered brioche. Ooooh, I think I may swoon. I also had the sweet potato fries which were kind of meh (next time I’ll try the tater tots), and my dining companion had the special burger of the day, the Hawaii 5-0 which was good but not nearly as good as mine. Too bad, so sad, I wasn’t about to trade!

So burgers and Botox… it’s fair to say that except from some somewhat terrifying emails from my lawyer, I had a decent week. In addition, I’m just about to embark on a nice long Memorial Day weekend. I have some very interesting plans too ;), but I’ll save that for another post.

Have a great weekend dollies.

p.s. I just started up an Instagram account. I don’t really have any followers or interesting posts just yet, but hopefully that will change soon. If you are on, I hope you will follow me and we can catch up on each other’s adventures!

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.

Outside of the NSU Museum
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.