South America: One more thing…

In the words of the great Joan Rivers…. BITCH STOLE MY LOOK!

STOLE

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South America

My dream for ringing in 2013 was to go someplace warm and tropical in the face of our foggy San Franciscan winter and countdown to a new year bathed in heat. For months the dream of a tropical getaway during a global celebration was so enticing that by December it had become almost all-consuming. It’s almost impossible to believe that our trip truly happened but here it is nearly 4 weeks since we got back. To say it was a whirlwind adventure is a true understatement in every sense of the world. My friend Rachael and I ventured to South America with the goal of beaches, caipirinhas, and Rio de Janeiro in mind. After leaving early on Christmas morning we had nearly 6 days to travel around and explore the NYT’s #1 place to visit in 2013 (both of us saw this article for the first time the day after we got back home – HA!). It really is a very strange experience to flip-flop between two extreme weather conditions. Going between the dead of winter to the heart of summer makes packing feel unnatural. Packing a suitcase full of summer dresses and bathing suits while you’re currently wearing 3 layers of sweaters is…odd.

Some of the highlights from our time in Rio (Christ the Redeemer, swimming in Ilha Grande and New Years on Copacabana)

Some of the highlights from our time in Rio (Christ the Redeemer, swimming in Ilha Grande and New Years on Copacabana)

Of course the Brazilian landscape is…intoxicating. I’ve never seen such lush greenery and mountains that look so otherworldly. The way that the hills roll and peak feel like they were plucked right out of a fairy tale. I will say honestly though that Rio was not quite the tourist destination that we had initially anticipated and I think that this is only fair to point this out to any other travelers thinking of spending a tropical retreat in Brazil. I will say (and admit that it was quite foolish) that we had read about the crime and dangers of Rio but felt that it was a big tourist destination and thought that we’d be travelling to the version of Rio consisting of beaches, samba, girls from Ipanema, clubs of Copacabana, and of course, Christ the Redeemer protecting over all. Weeeeell… the city is very dense and very populated and of course this means that there is a lot of crime so take that into consideration, and when you are in Rio during one of their biggest holiday’s, you should expect that there will be some shifty characters about. And the city is so large that there really isn’t one particular nucleus for tourist areas, the places you want to see and experience are all over the city and very much spread out. So take this also into consideration when dodging the “children of the night”. Cabs are essential – this is not a city to walk around in at night. But there are still beautiful points. The city architecture is an eclectic mix of South American and European influences that harken back to the countries Portuguese heritage. Often times you can walk along European style monuments in a Parisian-type square right next to the beach line. Incredible.

Buenos Aires: Recoleta Cemetery, Tango Show, Cafe Tortoni, Pretty Rachael

Buenos Aires: Recoleta Cemetery, Tango Show, Cafe Tortoni, Pretty Rachael

After ringing in the New Year amidst a 16 minute long firework show directly on the beach surrounded by other carioca’s decked out in white (symbolizing good luck for the coming year) Rachael and I headed to Buenos Aires for 4 days. Arriving in Argentina was like a breath of fresh air. I truly wish that we had planned more time in this amazing city. True to the rumors, it really does have a very European feel and layout. In BA not only did we see a fantastic live Tango show, but we bought custom leather jackets, consumed mountains of Argentine beef and Malbec, saw firsthand the city’s ongoing admiration for Eva Peron and walked amidst the crypts of the countries elite. The Argentinian people were by far the friendliest people and most welcoming that we had met and I strongly suggest to anyone who goes to South America not to miss this wonderful country.

Imperial Palace at Petropolis, Sunbathing on the beaches and ports of Buzios

Imperial Palace at Petropolis, Sunbathing on the beaches and ports of Buzios

After 4 days in Buenos Aires, Rachael and I went back to Brazil to visit some of the smaller towns. We stopped by the Imperial city of Petropolis and saw the Summer home of the Royal Family and then afterward went to Buzios, the beach town retreat of Brigitte Bardot in the 1960’s. Buzios is an incredible getaway about 3 hours away from Rio by Bus and a MUST-SEE! Buzios was truly the tropical retreat we had been waiting for and full of other Brazilian’s escaping the bustling city as well. Overall in the 2 and a ½ weeks that we were in South America we got sunburned many times, drank a lifetimes worth of caipirinhas, saw incredible sites and met some wonderful people. My favorite moment of the entire trip was our day in Ilha Grande. Rachael and I took a bus about 3.5 hours south to a beautiful island dotted line of the Brazilian coast and took an all-day boat tour. We drank cheap beer, swam in the ocean and in between listened to Samba music played by a little 4-piece band on the boat.  Check out the video below to see for yourself! Sitting next to us was a group of VERY fun, VERY flamboyant gay boys and the biggest impression I will take away from my time in Brazil is just how true the spirit of the Carioca is. Play any music remotely near them and everyone knows the words, sings along loudly, and dances until their heart’s content! Because any opportunity to stop and enjoy the pleasures of life needs to be taken with both hands. Brasil.

Top 5 Tingles: December 2012

Its been a while since I’ve done a Top 5 Tingles, but I figure that since it IS gift giving season – perhaps some of these top picks might find their way into my stocking this year! (*wink, wink*)

Charge on the go

Charge on the go

1. Everpurse
If you’re like me, I use my phone for absolutely everything! All day long, I’m looking up my bank statement, streaming music, checking emails, texting, instagraming…EVERYTHING. However, with the type of phone I use, the battery lasts for about half as long as I would ideally need it to and it’s not all that often that I carry my phone charger with me. Enter Everpurse! This ingenious little clutch powers your phone while you’re on the go so you never face a dead battery again. But the reason why I’m in love with this charging purse in particular (other models exist out there) is because Everpurse has classic and beautiful designs using quality materials. A definite must-buy.

YACHT

YACHT

2. Yacht
I’m a big fan of kick-ass, strong, women-led bands (I’m looking at you Karen O, Stevie Nicks, Joan Jett, Janis Joplin) Well there’s a new girl on the block. I’ve written about Yacht before – but it bears repeating. They are pretty fantastic and I had the extreme privilege to see them play live at Outside Lands in August. Having seen them live, I can personally attest to the awesomeness that is, Claire L. Evans. She commands the stage and really brings raw spirit and energy to her shows. A lot of her qualities remind me of Karen O., but in a bleach white blond page-boy hair cut and white vinyl suit kind of a way. To put it bluntly, she’s “other-worldly” and I’m in love.

Need it, want it, have to have it!

Need it, want it, have to have it!

3. Cloche Hats
I don’t know if you’re like me, but I have been very aware and excited about the huge resurgence of art deco and roaring 20’s references popping up lately. Between Ralph Lauren’s 2012 Spring Line, Louis Vuitton‘s over-sized over-exaggerated clochettes, the continued success of Boardwalk Empire into their third season and finally Baz Lurhmann’s rendition of ‘The Great Gatsby‘ about to hit theaters in December May 2013- it feels like fashion and media have been taken over by the essence of the jazz age. One of the best references I’ve seen come out of this and to hit main street are cloche hats. Lately, I’ve been seeing my bus route populated with newborn cloche hybrids and I’m loving it. I’m a huge fan of the shape, the different styles it can take on as well as the statement it says. I’m dying for one of my own from Goorin Bros! One day…

I love the juxtaposition of mediums and textures in her art!

I love the juxtaposition of mediums and textures in her art!

4. Stacey Page
Last year I decided I would teach myself embroidery. Unbelievable I know, but I found it be a very calming activity that has a great outcome at the end. It’s so great to do when sitting with friends and watching TV together, but I’m still a relative novice and not too advanced. I’m still learning some crewel stitches. But there is an artist, Stacey Page who has taken simple embroidery and blended it with photography to make one of a kind pieces. I’m in love with her work and would love to one day have one of her pieces adorning my own walls!

The domestic diva's newest gadget

The domestic diva’s newest gadget

5. Click and Grow
A few months ago, my mom and I painstakingly planted cute herbs and spices into small ceramic pots so that my apartment could have a living herb garden. Well cut to a month later and those herbs are dead and gone. I feel like I can’t keep any plant alive for more than a month. Every orchid or lily I get seems to die within record time (my co-workers tell me it’s because I’m over-watering my plants) Well, now I never have to worry about that! I just found this ingenious device called Click and Grow. Simply plant your seeds in the device, add batteries and add water to the tank and walk away! The device has built-in technology to know how much water your plant needs at all time so you never have to worry about over-watering or under-watering again. I’m ordering 5.

“Like”

Visiting Facebook Headquarters. I’m gonna go ahead and give this a “Like”

I’ve made a decision. I’ve decided that one day I will work at Facebook. Working in media it seems a natural progression that one day you leave the agency and move over to the publisher/sales side in order to have a holistic and well-rounded knowledge of advertising. Looking over the fence from the Agency side, we’ve all been watching and noting all the innovative changes that FB has been making to their advertising opportunities and especially changing how they’ve been interacting with large advertisers/agencies (which is a groundbreaking change in and of itself). I truly think that there is only more room for growth moving forward and I’ve made a decision that before my career is over I will have Facebook on my resume and be a part of that change. Done.

Sidenote: When my family first moved to California in the 70’s, they lived on Willow Road in Menlo Park, and now look who’s moved into the neighborhood! Facebook Headquarters – and they’re only going bigger and better with the help of Frank Gehry. The Bay Area really is the center of the digital world.

Deep in the Stacks

Autumn has fallen upon our fair city and I couldn’t be happier! September is an incredibly magical time full of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, neatly organized school supplies, boots and chunky sweaters. I must admit that seeing all the schools back in session and watching all the kids hopping on buses early in the morning does make me long for simpler times when all you had to worry about was who you would be assigned to sit next to for the year! Oh 6th grade…the emotional and sociological fallout that occurred when you had to sit next to the wrong person during math class could be dissected for years!

 
Every September makes me realize how much I miss school. And more specifically with Football season kicking off, I really REALLY miss college days. Moving into the dorms, rushing, staying up all night finishing that paper that is due tomorrow morning, cheering on our football team from the bleachers (while sipping on beer that we snuck in somehow!) I cherish these memories. I treasure all the times I spent in all the different campus libraries and poured through “original sources”. So as an homage to BACK-TO-SCHOOL – I’ve decided to make a bucket list of the world’s most beautiful libraries that I must visit before I shed this mortal coil. I could definitely get lost in these stacks for weeks at a time!

Suzzalo Library, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

Iowa State Capital Law Library

The University Club Library, New York USA

Canadian Library of Parliament, Ottawa Canada

Jose Vasconcelos Library, Mexico City, Mexico

National Library of Moldova

Strahov Theological Hall, Prague, Czech Republic

 

The Artist

I am so excited to share this posting with everyone. My college friend/roommate/homegirl Nicole Lampl is officially an exhibiting artist. After meeting Nikki in our shared “Dutch Golden Age” art history class at Berkeley in 2007, we’ve been fast friends ever since. Nikki is an extremely talented artist and has the brave sense of abandon to paint not only large-scale canvases but also works that are incredibly personal and raw. We’ve been very lucky to have our own in-house artist to decorate our apartment walls over the years and over different apartments. Well now, our Nikks is moving on up in the art-world.

The Artist with her work

August 3rd – September 1st the Olivia Art Hyde Gallery in Fremont, CA is hosting the exhibit “In Full View” consisting of local Bay Area artists. Our very own Nikki is lucky talented enough to be one of the exhibiting artists selected. Her works on display explore the cellular geography of breast tissue and the cancer that lies within. A subject that she was compelled to explore while watching her own mother go through the terrible journey of battling breast cancer. These works are deceptively colorful and abstract at a first glance, but in fact they are representations of different cancerous cells found in breast carcinoma. Being in the Art History club with Nikki – we were all very impressed not only with her execution but also how effectively she tackled such a complex and difficult subject matter.

Art History Club re-unites

The ladies and I have never been prouder of one of our own. We made a mini-road trip down to Fremont after work to make it in time for the gallery reception and opening. I’m so glad we went and were able to have these memories of the girls all rallying together around one of our own. If you’d like to find out more about Nicole’s work and her inspiration – please visit her portfolio here : http://nicolelampl.com

Outside Lands 2012

Franz Ferdinand

Outside Lands earned a much deserved spot as a Tin5le in my last post. However, after actually going to the Festival this past weekend – I feel it deserves a dedicated post all to itself. Talk about a whirlwind. I’ve been to a few other festivals – however, I have to say that this one is very much unique to San Francisco. Set in Golden Gate Park amidst the Eucalyptus trees and thick blankets of fog, OSL has an undeniable ethereal and magical quality to it. But I also had the deja-vu feeling like I was back at summer camp. Each stage is fairly spread out and so to hop from act to act, you quite literally need your hiking boots and walking stick as you stomp through hill and dale and walk into forested canopies.

 

Me and the BFF watching Jack White

I would have to say that one of the most amazing acts was (no surprise) Justice. Their music was heart-thumping, body-rocking and an incredible experience! Thanks to our friends at BrightRoll we had an all day VIP pass and that allowed us to bypass the main crowd and watch the set from the special VIP lawn (accompanied by VIP dranks!) Being able to see such an amazing artist live and so up close was incredible. Some other notable acts were Franz Ferdinand who opened their set with my FAVORITE song, “Matinee” and continued to rock our socks off with a roundup of their best songs. Then of course Jack White was legendary. What a treat to see one of the greatest songwriters, guitar players, music historians of my generation. The Foo Fighters were also surprisingly powerful performers. Dave Grohl sings just as well if not better than he does on his records. They were flawless. And the added bonus of being able to watch them from the BrightRoll VIP cabana was unreal. I find myself so appreciative of all the people around me who made last weekend beyond memorable! Thanks so much to Brightroll for all the hook-ups and to Demand Media for the amazing memories 🙂

Watching Foo Fighters from the BrightRoll VIP Cabana

Top 5 Tingles: August

It has been quite a while since I have made a Top 5 Tingles post however, August is positively bumping with activity so of course I needed to share!

1. Samuel L. Jackson: Olympic Commentator
Every 4 years the world comes together in awe and brotherhood to watch athletes at their top physical form compete in events that many of them have devoted their entire lives to. Their sacrifice, training and dedication is palpable through the screen and you can’t help but fall in love watching your fellow country men and women represent their nation with pride. This is traditional Olympics watching, but the Olympics in 2012 is anything but traditional! With Twitter and social media you can watch live streams of the games online and keep score in real-time. But who would want to do that when you can just follow Samuel L. Jackson’s live Twitter feed of the games?! Imagine the “Snakes on a Plane” actor reading his Ezekiel 25:17 speech from “Pulp Fiction” – but instead he’s commentating on women’s gymnastics. This is quite possibly my favorite element of the Olympic Games so far. Well, and maybe this guy.

UH-OH: Pummel Horse indeed!

I don’t who I’m more excited for…Jack White or Skrillex!…or Santigold…or Yacht…

2. Outside Lands
This weekend marks one of the biggest music festivals in San Francisco. I’ve always wanted to attend this 3-day concert consisting of a finely curated indie, rock, electro and folk lineup –  alas I never had the opportunity to go (funding is an ongoing issue). But in this world it’s all about who you know – and in this case “who” you need to know is Bright Roll and eHow.com (#jobperks). I’m so excited to not only see some of my favorite artists but I’m looking forward to learning about some new ones as well. I can’t believe that I’ll be able to see Jack White in person. He is undoubtedly the greatest guitarist of my generation. Not only is he a true “artist” in every musical sense, but I’ve always dreamed of seeing him play live in person – well dreams do come true! And also getting VIP passes doesn’t hurt this dream either . HEY-OOOO!!

New Years on Copacabana Beach

3. New Years in Rio

I’m not going to speak too much about this one – because I’m more than positive that as 2012 comes to a close I’ll be talking about this non-stop…but for now, let me just say that daydreaming about Copacabana, Ipanemaand Bahia are definitely giving me the tingles!

4. Without You – Rainbow Arabia

This Song. MAJOR TINGLES!

5. Prada Menswear Fall/Winter 2012 Collection

Prada is KILLIN it with their Fall/Winter 2012 Collection. I am in love with all these rich burgundy/maroon tones and structured lines. It also doesn’t hurt that one of my all-time favorite actors, Gary Oldman is modeling these oh-so-fine frocks. This line reminds me of imperialist Russia, mixed with Hyde Park, and some Toulouse Lautrec/Moulin Rouge undertones thrown in for fun. In the words of Sh*t Fashion Girls Say, “Hash-Tag: TOTES-AMAZE”

Dafoe, Hedlund, Oldman, Bell…YUM-MY!

In Absentia

Makin that Money!

I feel like its been ages since I’ve updated this site. My absence will have to be excused as I have been keeping VERY, VERY busy after work! I really don’t want to sound like I’m bragging about this job. Because of course as with every other job out there, there are perks and there are the more  nitty gritty aspects (to try and put it delicately). However, I feel like there have been so many cool things going on for the past month it makes it hard to cry over spilled milk analytic reports.

To start, I have never been to so many happy hours before in my life. I don’t think I’ve drank more in my life in such a condensed period of time. And never with so much peer pressure fueling it! I was never this peer pressured when I was in college. But all the boo-hooing aside, these events are dead cool! Last month I went out with my team to an event that had a money machine. Yes, you read correctly. A MONEY MACHINE! I was actually the first lucky participant chosen to have 20 seconds inside. And my lovelies, 20 seconds inside a money machine roughly translates to $63 cold. hard. cash.

With the rest of the Party-Rockers

As if getting free money weren’t cool enough, a few weeks later Myspace invited our team to go to the LMFAO concert in a private party bus. And for the record, whenever anyone invites you anywhere on a private party bus – NEVER SAY NO! The bus was as much if not more fun that the actual concert! I like LMFAO, and I’ve been known to “Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle” with the best of them. But after that experience I can hands down say that I LOVE party buses. I think I want to have my wedding on a party bus.

The next week was particularly crazy. It included dining at Alexander’s Steakhouse with some reps from FB (shhh! don’t tell them about My_) and feasting on the most delicious wagu steak. Also included that week was a private Sephora shopping spree event, Mani’s and Pedi’s and (my personal fave) massages at Nob Hill Spa.

Booze Cruisin’ round the city by the bay

But all play and no work makes Jack a lazy boy. So of course we’ve been earning our keep by staying late into the night when not at media events. Specifically the past two weeks. Gah! Reporting! When I go blind at the age of 30 you can blame excel and pivot tables. But not all is lost. Last night some girls from the other media team and I went out on a sunset booze cruise around the bay. It really is incredible to be showered in freebies and perks just for doing your job! How does this happen? What was I doing before?

In Paris (aka in HEAVEN)

Baryshnikov and Sinyakina in “In Paris”

It’s difficult to put into words the incredible experience of seeing a childhood hero/idol/visionary performing less than 20 yards from you. It’s part surreal, part dream come true but mostly unbelievable. Last Wednesday I had the immense pleasure to see my lifelong hero Mikhail Baryshnikov in the production “In Paris” at the Roda Theater in Berkeley. I’d always known that Baryshnikov has a  special, personal relationship with the city of Berkeley (I’d always secretly hoped that I’d run into him at Chez Pannise when I was in school). So when I heard that he was helping to bring the Dmitry Krymov directed and adapted production to Berkeley – it took me all of eight minutes to already have tickets in hand.

So many dreams are coming true right about now!

Before I start, I really do want to reiterate what a huge fan I am of Baryshnikov. Whenever you mention his name, most people go, “WHO?!” and then when you say that he was Carrie’s Russian Boyfriend on the last season of SATC, then all of a sudden everyone has an opinion . Such a shame. When I was 2-4 years old I CONSTANTLY watched his ballet’s on VHS. I have no doubt that watching him and Gelsey Kirkland in the Balanchine’s Nutcracker is what inspired me to study dance for 12 years. One of my favorite memories from my childhood is being 4-years-old and with my mom in the pediatrician’s office. All the other kids were busy on the floor playing with Lego’s or Lincoln Logs or reading books about some dog named Spot running all over the place. I, on the other hand, was sitting quietly with my mom. She later told me that I was starting to worry her because I wasn’t interacting with any of the other kids or building anything, but not wanting to be an overbearing mother who hovers, so she continued to silently read her PEOPLE magazine beside me. Then out of nowhere, I point my finger and cry out “Look Mom! Its Mikhail Baryshnikov!” after spotting his picture in Star Tracks. All the other mothers in the room turned in stunned silence and gaped at me unwilling to believe that a 4-year-old not only knew who Baryshnikov was but could also pronounce his Russian name! Then when I was 16, my interest in him and his impressive career had a large resurgence with his White Oak Dance Project. So, the idea of finally being in the same room with such a huge artistic inspiration in my life was…actually pretty intimidating. Just ask my friend Ali who went with me to the show. I was hardcore blushing for the first 10 minutes and had a face-splitting grin plastered to my face for the rest of it.

His final scene and also the moment I was able to see Baryshnikov dance in person…

But after all the build-up I am so happy to say that B did not disappoint! He was at once graceful, broken, strong and haunted. “In Paris” follows the brief but cathartic romance between two Russian expats in 1930’s Paris looking for some sort of solace from their country, from their past and from their lonely future. The production spoken entirely in French and Russian was very artfully executed. My favorite scene included a sequence where Baryshnikov’s character Nikolai Platonovitch dances through a Spanish Bullfighting scene. In reality the scene shows his character dodging and fighting his imminent death. B’s co-star in the production, Anna Sinyakina was also incredibly breathtaking – at the curtain call I found myself completely in awe of her after she was suspended, upside down in the air for about 5 whole minutes without moving even an inch. THAT’S TALENT!

I highly suggest that you see this breathtaking play and its legendary cast before the whole production moves to New York.
Baryshnikov FOREVER!