empire state of mind. as usual.

29 06 2011

on a tshirt i saw in urban outfitters

new york city, you fabulous place. it was lovely to spend a long weekend with you again. i do so hate leaving your beautiful face to come back home to silly atlanta.

me and madre and nadia had such a fabulous time in NYC. we arrived on thursday morning and spent five lovely days exploring, revisiting, eating, and photographing. we found some new places, ventured out beyond our comfort zones (some of us, that is – my comfort zone stretches far and wide), ate a lot of really good food. I FINALLY GOT TO SEE JERSEY BOYS!!!

finally!

that’s been a long time comin… and it was everything i wanted and more. dude did a great job as frankie valli. i got to sing all of my favorite four seasons songs. loved it loved it loved it!! we also saw Billy Elliot, which i knew was gonna be good, but i didn’t think i was gonna love it as much as i did. 🙂 fabulous show times!! i need to start making a list of other shows i need to see, since i’ve pretty much done my broadway bucket list up to this point. no complaints here 🙂

we frequented the chelsea market this year- hadn’t been before, but it was only a few blocks from our fabulous hotel. (we stayed at the new hilton in the fashion district- i picked this place in part because of their rooftop bar, but unfortunately we never quite made it up there. the irony.) the market has a ton of bakeries, restaurants, and shops that were housed in a cute warehouse-type building… we had some fabulous lobster rolls there, i had an excellent soy latte, and we found some really cute cupcakes as well. i will definitely be back there on future trips to the city.

da best.

another great place we discovered was a place i actually went in december to grab a chocolate croissant- the food hall by todd english at the plaza hotel. i don’t know why i didn’t notice the place for what it was back then, but it’s a fabulous open space full of barstools, long tables, and visible food stations… reminded me so much of the market in madrid that i was constantly drawn to during my stay there. we were, likewise, drawn to this restaurant of sorts. what started out as a stop for a drink turned into wine, chicken and ginger dumplings, cod fritters, and a marvelous cheese plate of cheddar, camembert, and drunken goat plus olives, tapenade, quince paste, and fig jam all the while watching miniature lamb gyros, sliders, and burgers being crafted before our very eyes.

deeeeliciousness.

we were entranced and enthralled. i tell you what, nadia and i both agreed that it’s super hot when a guy can cook… 😉 the place and the experience was so fabulous we went back the very next day for madre’s birthday lunch (she was quite taken with the place). that day i had perhaps the best wine of the trip- a cotes du rhone (of course)- and more fabulous cheeses, as well as some chorizo from the grill. madre got some fantastic fried oysters, and nadia got the mini gyros. everything was delicious… but nothing moreso than madre’s birthday dessert- chocolate ganache cake that was to die for, chocolate gelato (i was in heaven), and watermelon sorbet. i will definitely be visiting your food hall again, todd english. remember this girl’s face. and stomach. 😉

the plaza food hall by todd english

we went to brooklyn on our last day to visit my dad’s high school… my mom and sister wanted to see his name on the plaque of outstanding students (a guy and girl are chosen each year from the senior class), and of course see the neighborhood where he went to school. while the neighborhood wasn’t super-enticing, it was great to see the school and a little piece of history. it was also nice to get away from the city and see where “real” people live, ya know? it’s so easy to think of the city and the lifestyle there, and easy to forget that most new yorkers live outside of manhattan. i would pick manhattan, though, if i had the choice… and the money.

grover cleveland h.s.

the other notable part of the weekend was the fact that pridefest was going on… coincidental to the occasion, governor cuomo signed the same-sex marriage law into effect on friday, causing a ton of celebration in the city, especially in the village. we got a chance to witness part of the parade on sunday and see all of the characters in the village and walk through the street fest (and get lots of fun free stuff! always a plus in my book). it was so uplifting to be in the city this weekend with all of this stuff going on- it was really nice to see how open most people are to alternative lifestyles and how it’s not such a hush-hush topic as it can be sometimes here at home. it was also really cool to see the empire state building lit up in rainbow colors 😉

empire state building

rainbow cookies at a bakery

as always, our time in the city was too short, but it keeps the desire to come back that way as well. i’ll be back at the end of august for the Dave Matthews Band Caravan (yesssssss!) on Governor’s Island, but i’ll be hangin in the city during the day for sure. can’t wait. speaking of my favorite person… 😉 nadia found me a book about Dave and his 20 years on the road so far and that’s what i read on the plane since i accidentally packed my kindle in my suitcase. whoops. but it’s really nice to read about the history of my favorite. i’m getting really excited.

we took so many great pictures this weekend, y’all.. i’ll have the rest of them on facebook, of course, once i get’em organized. til then, peeps.

peace,
-j.

Advertisements




sometimes, ya just have to say it like it is

22 06 2011

i miss europe. plain and simple, there is it. i thought me & that other continent would just take a little break from each other last year and that i’d plan a big trip for 2011 that would bring us back together. alas, i feel that it’s not to be this year. i mean, have you seen plane ticket prices to europe lately? what the eff happened, people?! it’s over a thousand to fly anywhere in october (the only time i could go this year) and i just don’t have that kind of money to throw around at the moment. buying a house and all kinda put a damper on that. 😉 perhaps next spring will be better. we shall see…

the past few years have been spent well, travel-wise. i’ve done a lot of trips with friends, trips i didn’t really ever consider to be the type of things i’d take vacation time for. it’s been a tad bit cheaper to stay on this continent, but not completely. i’ve still spent quite a bit. i’ve done NYC countless time (headed back there tomorrow!), seen several awesome music festivals (which has become a priority), tried out colder weather fun (snowboarding was… interesting), been to las vegas more times in one year than i ever thought i’d go total (3…!), and will finally get to see san francisco (and wine country!) in about a month. i suppose i should just start planning way ahead and be able to go back to my beloved paris, et al when i get the chance.

i miss walking the streets and hearing the french language. i miss seeing passing friends kiss on the cheek instead of shake hands. i miss being able to eat dinner at midnight- in a restaurant. i miss the effing euro. i miss fresh french baguettes bought on a whim and eaten while walking down the street. i miss buying a bottle of cheap red wine- that tastes great– at a corner store and then walking across the street to a park and drinking it sitting in the grass. i miss real-deal chocolate eclairs, yo. i miss taking the metro, but i miss walking across paris more. i miss being able to get on a train and be in another country in an hour. i miss the mediterranean way of life. i miss markets, seeing all kinds of animal parts on display, being able to buy the juice of any fruit you can imagine- anyone ever had kiwi juice? it’s awesome. i miss using the parts of my brain that know specks of french, german, spanish. i miss real german pretzels. i miss seeing buildings that are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years old. i miss real european romance- not just between people, mind you, but between people and their country. people and their history. i miss the feeling of escape that europe gives… the feeling that you are not a part of your “real” life while you’re there, just a floating piece of humanity with nowhere to be and everything to enjoy. i miss the sense of freedom europe gives me to use my camera, the feeling that every picture i take is a piece of the moment i get to keep forever, even if it’s not very good. 😉 i miss foreign labels on food and drinks in grocery stores, and i miss buying things i’m not familiar with just to try them out. i miss seeing babies in europe and thinking how amazing it is that kids are born in a particular place at a particular time and their brains just adjust to where they sprout. one kid becomes american, one kid german, one french, one spanish. what if i’d been born in france instead of here in georgia? oh, if only! i wonder if i’d be as fascinated with america as i am now with europe. or if i’d have a certain disdain for this place that europeans seem to be born with. 🙂 either way, i do miss that place dearly. i’ve got to go back at some point. it pulls on my heart strings. i’ll be with you again soon, my love.

-j.





.::live from austin, day 2!::.

10 10 2010

hola peeps! how’s it going?

austin officially hates me. just found out at Walgreen’s (where we’ve been making regular twice-a-day stops) that austin is the allergy capital of the country. i never have allergy problems. NEVER. ok, maybe a little bit, just in the past couple years. let’s just say Clairitin D is my besssst friend. but for real? i don’t have allergy probs. here? i’ve been kinda dying. poor S had to go get a breathing treatment in the ER yesterday… and i’ve been trying to figure out how to stop sneezing and how to keep my face from leaking. stupid face. anyway.

ACL’s been going great… we had lots of fun shows today. slept in because we went to bed late, went by Walgreen’s (of course) and were Sonic virgins for a little snack pre-festival (the sonic guy was weird but nice… and he liked my earrings). we parked in the same spot as yesterday and stood in the same stupid line to get in. as for who we saw:

  • Two Door Cinema Club we caught the tail-end of their show. it was pretty great. looking forward to seeing them on tuesday back in the A.
  • Lucero first time i ever caught part of their set! brittany would be proud 🙂
  • Manchester Orchestra these guys are definitely into their music. total screamos, but they’re from the A, so i wanted to finally see their set.
  • Broken Bells supergroup! Danger Mouse and The Shins guy! so glad i got to see them since they were in town during my bday party…
  • Local Natives we left Broken Bells early to see my faves. fun dance party sing-a-long good time! love them love them love them! #iloveitall
  • The XX S & R went to Temper Trap and i went to see my chill BFFs from The XX. they are so great. i love their music. i can’t understand why the others are hating. 😉
  • Monsters of Folk i actually meant to see more of these guys, again, but heard more of LCD Soundsystem (who i’m liking more and more these days) than i meant to. got food during this hour (Salt Lick bbq – you’re welcome, madre) and caught parts of both shows.
  • Deadmau5 favorite!!! love his set. R had never heard him before and he was rockin out! so proud. i wish we got a chance to live-dance-party with JZ more often. what a dork 🙂
  • MIA she was actually there, even though some peeps here said she had cancelled. dumb dumb dumb. she was awesome though- great show.
  • Muse watched the end of their set after MIA. tried to explain vampire/goth rock to R. don’t think he quite got it.

so yeah! day 2 a success. wide awake little night-owl as always. drinkin spaten oktoberfest and watching (500) days of summer for the first time. love this movie!!!! ahhh, i knew i would. very, very me. oh i can’t wait to live my life. anyway- to bed soon enough, then back to festival life. more tomorrow.

xoxo
james





.::live from austin! #acl2k10::.

9 10 2010

sup y’all? not that i’m promising to update you each day or anything, but… here i am in austin and the first day of austin city limits is over and i’m wide awake, sitting here at adrianne’s. first music festival i’m not camping at. so nice to come home to an actual enclosed place with a/c and pillows and a bed and a shower and and and… too many great things to mention.

we got to the great republic of texas yesterday… i actually flew into san antonio around lunch and had to kill some time before ryan and shaniah flew in… got an awesome prius hybid rental (!!!love!!!), drove downtown, saw The Alamo (in San Antonio? who knew?!), did the River Walk thing… ended up sitting and finishing The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (sooo good) and drank coffee (of course) then made my way back to the airport so we could get on the road to austin.

only took us maybe an hour twenty to make it to austin… we went to dinner and then to a bar with A and some of her friends. pretty nice town, this austin! i can totally see the appeal of living here. so many fun places to go and things to do. love it already. so we got up today and ate breakfast at an awesome place called kerbey lane cafe that had (!!!!) pumpkin pancakes (yum yummm yummmmmmmm!) and a bunch of other awesome stuff and then we took off for acl.

  • we thought we’d be awesome and go see The Verve Pipe even though they were playing the kiddie stage… thought for sure they’d play “the freshmen.” nope, we lose.
  • Blues Traveler awesome like they were at bonnaroo… love their cover of radiohead‘s “creep.”
  • Miike Snow i’d only heard a few of his songs before today but i’m totally a fan now. so much fun. and, like S said, a little like Passion Pit! oh, and he had cutie Ezra Koenig come on stage to do a live remix of  “kids don’t stand a chance.” yay!
  • The Black Keys really great but super crowded and  hot out on the lawn. happy to see them again so soon!
  • Beach House i’ve been looking forward to seeing them, and they didn’t disappoint… i like them a LOT. i’d warned R & S it was pretty chill-tastic like The XX, but they chilled right on through it (mad props) while i was dancing in my own little world as usual
  • Slightly Stoopid we passed up seeing Spoon for the gazillionth time this year to try something new. fun show, plus gave us easy access to the food area and the bathrooms for a little break…! way-too-spicy fish tacos and Imperial (costa rican beer).
  • Vampire Weekend favorite favorite favorite!!!! you know i love those boys. great show, as always, but the contra girl wasn’t the background this time because of the lawsuit.
  • The Strokes seemed really fun even though we were pretty far back and couldn’t see anything.
  • Phish yay! finally! never seen them before and they were so much fun. we caught the last hour, after The Strokes, but it was awesome and i want to see them again. S liked them too!

and now, here we are, back at home, after the long trip back to the car and a stop at walgreens. maybe i’ll get tired here soon and get some sleep. S is off in search of a breathing treatment. i’m just watchin tv. already watched the end of Something’s Gotta Give (favorite!) and now i’m watching The Lost Boys (first time ever). so yeah! perhaps another update tomorrow? we’ll see!

xoxo
james





dave magic, dave love: the most magical music festival i’ve ever known

10 09 2010

well, this has definitely been the year for festivals, so it’s fitting that i included a dave-fest as well. this year was the first that i was privileged to attend dave’s annual labor day 3-day run at The Gorge Amphitheatre, just outside of seattle. my friend jennifer and i made the trek to the west(best) coast last friday morning, drove a lovely three hours from seattle to the city of george, washington, and set up shop for the weekend. the gorge is set up much like the other festival grounds i’ve been to this year- huge campground centered around one of the prettiest settings for a show i’ve ever seen. the campground was as, uh, rugged as bonnaroo was, with clumps of awful grass and ruts everywhere. not muddy though! 😉 we had just enough time to set up our luxurious 4-person tent complete with air mattress before heading into the venue for the first of our three shows. Read the rest of this entry »





thoughts from the city, day2

15 07 2010

finally got my luggage back from the evil clutches of delta. never again!! so. day 2 in the city. wearing my own clothes. word up!

observations thus far:

-I actually can survive without coffee. it’s not pretty, but it’s doable.

-no matter how old i get, I will always love shopping at Forever 21. especially the one in times square with five floors of *awesome.*

-there are some beautiful beautiful boys in this city… however a lot of these boys happen to like other boys.

-people are juuuuust the right shade of rude in the city. I like it. like I like aggressive driving.

-texting while walking in the city may be just as dangerous as texting while driving.

-never, ever let your metro card get bent. esp when there’s still money on it. (madre!)

-i might just have the slightest touch of asperger’s. minus the smarts. special shoutout to those who helped make me this way. love ya mean it!!

-avoiding eye contact could be a major method of survival.

-always walk with purpose! you will get run over! (again: madre!)

-life is always better when you live in Musical World!





.::headed to the concrete jungle where dreams are made::.

13 07 2010

well, I’d written a little “I’m going to new York, bitches!!” post a lil while ago but it got deleted. along with my original flight. yep, my 11:40 flight woulda had me in NYC at a beautiful 1pm. *sigh* now we had to work some magic and get rerouted… no show for me tonight… won’t get in til 730p. if we’re lucky. apparently, the weather sucks. or maybe it’s raining in grief over Steinbrenner’s death.

as I was saying, though, we’re off to new york! can’t wait. looking forward to exploring new neighborhoods, seeing new shows, and taking lots of new pictures… both with my hipstamatic iPhone cam (awesome) and my new hipstamatic-ish Diana Mini *real film* camera that Nadia got me for mah birthday!!! yay 🙂 thanks Nadia!!!

Nadia & Bryan & Shaniah & Lindsay are all coming on Thursday to join me & the madre for a fun-filled weekend. then, back on Monday… if airplanes & ports decide to love me again…

hopefully I’ll be able to give random updates throughout the week. love having this wordpress app. check ya later!

peace,
James