Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve 2011

I hope everyone is safe tonight (as fireworks keep banging off and whistling outside our house in Dove Springs, whut whut) and carries whatever the best nuggets of happiness you have from this past year into the next.

New Year's resolutions are great but they often fade so I think it's better to just keep the positive things with you from each year instead of carrying the same pressures in the guise of healthy resolutions into the next. If you got it, you got it; if you don't, you don't.

Survival of the fittest.

So I hope whatever positivity and goodness it is you've dug up and kept with you multiplies and glows through 2012. Happy New Year, friends! xo

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Visions in NYC

New York always blows me away. Here's a list of why: brief interactions on the street with strangers, overheard conversations, amazing food, boutiques, classical architecture, graffiti, modern architecture, and finally, the difference between the east coast and south that reminds me how much I love home - Tejas.

That being said, I love visiting NYC and running around to cool boutiques, popping into cafés, discovering new restaurants.

I had dinner at CraftBar, Tom Colicchio's, of Top Chef, restaurant. The menu changes daily but I had a bone-in veal rib to die for after having marrow for the first time as our appetizer. Fatty Crab is also a fave - it's that perfect mix of sweet, spicy, salty, and spicey. Endless eats.

As far as boutiques, I looove Love Adorned, a lifestyle concept store specializing in one-of-a-kind jewelry as well as home, body, and travel. I also went to 143 Ludlow (a collaboration by Sophomore & Lindsey Thornburg) but it happened to be closed. :(

This trip, I visited my dear friend Leah in Tom's River New Jersey. I've known and loved her since working together at Popular Photography/American PHOTO. I heard her infectious laugh from cubes away and had to go meet her! Leah gave me a tour of the infamous Jersey shore; yes, THAT one. At about 11 p.m. we walked along the boardwalk, which was like a trip back in time. Reminiscent of old black and white photos of Coney Island in it's prime, there were vendor stalls atop the wooden planks, shut down for the winter season, however. I could imagine the colorful scene during the high season and envisioned Snookie face planting in the sand, just like we saw advertised over & over while flipping through channels on TV.

From there, we walked down to the beach. Slightly chilly but very moderate for this time of year, there was no wind. The water was "warm." there were hundreds of seagulls floating atop the waves, bobbing up and down like little toy boats each time the tide rolled in. As the water built up, we could see an misty indigo mass roll into large waves that would then break and scatter to the shore, chasing our feet. Every now and again a seagull would swoop in close to the shore, maybe grab something to eat, then disappear into the mystical space where the water meets the sky. Then they'd all bob again in unison.

I didn't have my camera with me but I was actually relieved because sometimes it's just good to be fully in the moment without any technology or gadgets.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sonoran Desert, Arizona

The desert is a serene place. And it's serenity, magic, and beauty are tricky. The desert fools you into thinking it can do no harm but, like the ocean, it has power.

I am always amazed at the landscape of the Sonoran desert of Arizona. With each visit, upon our first hike across orange-red dirt and rocks, my eyes rise slightly to focus on the fierce plants: spiny leaves, sharp stems, protected barrels. They are all in defense mode, rough and scaly, to survive the arid land and heat. They are stiff and sharp and have a 360• shield of defense from the hostile climate.

Fierce but completely beautiful. And there are glimmers of more traditional beauty in the desert - yellow, bright pink, and orange cactus flowers.

Jumping cholla, saguaro, prickly pear, beavertail, desert sunflower, coyote, owl, javelina, mountain lion.

There are tons of small holes, snake holes. There are so many that it seems normal to cohabitate and that's what makes it hard to imagine snakes really could have the advantage. My sense of adventure sort of renders me ignorant in that I still consider myself untouchable in certain instances where I am enthralled.

I require at least double the water in Arizona but there is still an endless energy that puts me in the most perfect yet crystal clear daze. It's pure. The desert is a mystical place and the natural intensity of that makes it pure.

Friday, November 18, 2011

FFF Sunday

After a lovely weekend of exploring Austin's food trailers, boutiques, and vintage shops I got a wild hair on Sunday morning when Mike started chanting Slayer's "Reign in Blood" at the foot of the bed. I imagined it live and got really excited! I knew that being the last day of FFF, I could have an easier shot at getting a discounted ticket ... I figured people get burned out by the end of the festivals and give up. There are also those that could care less about Slayer or don't even know who they are. I've never been a HUGE fan especially compared to most of my friends, who definitely have been since before they even became teenagers but I had known for years that I needed to see Slayer once in my life. So I went.

And sadly but honestly I have to say, I didn't really care. I was too far away and that's why I don't go to festivals. Distance creates a disconnect and it doesn't sound as good either. But I had a great time. I mostly enjoyed the blue stage, which I couldn't stop referring to as "the party tent". "I'm goin' to the party tent" or "Dude, I'm at the party tent!" It was dantzy music and I figured I should experience bands I would not go see outside of scoring a PIP pass for FFF. I love neon lights & signs but for a second there I thought, "Who am I? Hahaha, where am I?!" Really, it wasn't like that. But I think it was for the guys next to me who were pointing at the lights on the ground from someone else's magic wand topped with a swirling light sphere when one of them jumped in the circle of disco lights and started furiously moving his feet and dancing. It was awesome.

At one point I was at one of the PIP areas closest to the blue stage. PIP areas were raised platforms with seating away from the crowd, where you could watch the show. I was trying to get a good panorama of the city when a couple stood up in front of me. I sort of waited for some moment, not knowing what that moment was, but:
Amazing! And this is the one and only shot I am excited about during FFF.

I did get a video of Cannibal Corpse that I like because you can see dust swirls from the pit in front of me and it looks like ghosts dancing right in front of my eyes:
Other than that, I discovered Trash Talk. They ruled.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

FFF Weekend on the Sidelines Finale

If you've seen recent posts, you know that I sat out FFF. And made silly little videos of myself grooving out to great songs in the car after my drop-offs or before my pick-ups (I had a nice routine going - after drop-off & before pick-up: random and whimsical wandering adventures and relaxation around Austin ... OK, one more pick-up). 

I dropped Mike off at FFF in the early afternoon on Saturday and ended up downtown. After cruising around for a bit then taking a rest stop at City Hall, I crossed the street to go down by the water, on the other side of the Colorado River from FFF. The music (mainly bass!) floated through the air along with cheers from the crowd. The sound was pretty thrilling. Austin is awesome.

I walked along the water's edge, checking out the plants and trees until I crept up on this tattered building. Whenever I discover this kind of abandoned building, I approach it slowly, with fear - and adrenaline - I suppose. I imagine rabid, drug-addicted squatters inside and slowly push the door open anyway:  
Light Switches and Gems
Creepy Flyer
Yeah, why not?!
Awesome weekend. Awesome city. I love Austin! I mentioned in my first FFF Weekend on the Sidelines post that I ended up getting a wild hair and going on the last day so check back soon! I'm really excited about one shot and one shot only.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

FFF Weekend on the Sidelines, Part II

B. Hollyman Gallery

You may have seen my recent posts here or on tumblr, documenting my little weekend adventures while I sat FFF out last weekend. I love rediscovering my city, the city of Austin (Tupac, anyone?). It's been a while since I visited a gallery and, more specifically, a gallery that exhibits fine art silver gelatin prints. I'm talking about hand-printed photographs developed in a darkroom on archival paper.

It sounds ridiculous but I honestly got teary-eyed.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

FFF Sidelines

I sat out FFF. Never been before; I'm not against it or music festivals in general but I just prefer a more intimate setting for live music. And I'd rather pay a more manageable price for a band/s I really want to see than more for a handful of bands I settle on.

Anyway, I loved enjoying Austin peacefully this past weekend and I had such a great time that I felt like a tourist - not like an outsider (I've lived here on & off, mostly on, since '94) but with renewed wonder & exploration. I'd drop Mike off early in the day then stop at a food trailer (La Boîte) for breakfast & espresso, then cruise around South 1st & Lamar, appreciating the diverse architecture & landscape of awesome neighborhoods...also visiting boutiques & vintage shops. Then, I'd grab a drink and dinner before picking Mike up after dark.

I loved getting updates from Mike, seeing his great photos, interviews, & hearing his excitement & what a good time he was having @ shows & collecting shots & interviews for his radio show (The Danger Show) on We'd meet back up at the end of the day after he rocked out & I peaced out.

Stay tuned because I actually got a wild hair on the final day of FFF & hunted down a special ticket. Images to come later this week. And I'll have a special guest blogger who will share his front row (& back stage) experiences.