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Friday, July 29, 2011

Spokoyni Noches

The post title, a hybrid of good night in Russian and Spanish, is in celebration of my new dinnertime invention which I call Mexican borscht. Even though the summer nights are hot and humid, which is why I'm much in need of a chilled, refreshing soup, I like spicy borschts. I added a little bit of red habanero chili, some ginger to keep things rooty, cumin and onion. I was going for a Cacique type of crema fresca for garnishing, but much to my dismay the supermarket nearby didn't carry it, so I opted for regular ol' sour cream. Topped off with cilantro (even though I soaked the beets in dill, minced ginger and ice cold water before blending) and onion, in addition to the very necessary sol i pieret.

Spayseeba to Kristian who gets rescue camera credit

Ricky Ricardo

I initially came across Spanish illustrator Ricardo Cavolo's website because he's the artist behind Bluebsie's book cover from a few posts below, but while I came for the bluebs, I stayed for his artwork. His stuff reminds me of this Mexican agenda I used to own in like 2008 or something, back when I was considering a Quetzacoatl tattoo (shake my head), oy vay... Anyway, I'm having fun admiring his work, perhaps you will, too:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Clair Huxtable: Mom Style Icon

My friend Chloe started a brilliant blog whose sole purpose is exploiting the stylistic spearheadings of Clair Huxtable. Take a look: Clair Huxtable: Mom Style Icon

This was my favorite look:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Music Health

Rather, he recognized that music was an expression of harmonia, the divine principle that brings order to chaos and discord, and holds all things in their proper relationships. As such, music has a dual value. Like mathematics, it enables men and women to see into the fundamental structures of nature. But further, if utilized correctly, it can bring the faculties of the soul into harmony with these structures, composing and purifying the mind and body, and thus restoring and maintaining perfect health.

— John Strohmeier, The Life and Teachings of Pythagoras

Monday, July 18, 2011

This Week In Books...

This one's a heartstopper:

"What the little park needed, even more than he did, was a drink. Neither alcohol nor rain would do. Tomorrow, in his column, he would ask Broken-hearted, Sick-of-it-all, Desperate, Disillusioned-with-tubercular-husband and the rest of his correspondents to come here and water the soil with their tears. Flowers would then spring up, flowers that smelled of feet.

'Ah humanity...' but he was heavy with shadow and the joke went into a dying fall. He tried to break its fall by laughing at himself."

OOF... Mr. West is in the building, swagger on a hundred, thousand, trillion.

The Addiction Heightens

My Robinson Golluber scarf addiction has only worsened. Even though it's hot as Hades, I couldn't resist these two beauts when I spotted them online; both happened to arrive today. I was so excited by the perriwinkle zig zag one, I had to attach it to my belt immediately. I think it spiced up this dress, which I like to call Athena prison garb, quite nicely. It matched today's sky, as did the twinkle in my eye upon receipt.

View from new office, of Jersey... Me likey!


In true Annabelle fashion, I ended up seeing Tabloid Friday night after being lured by the bright IFC marquee, steps away from descending into subway Hades. Errol Morris once again employs his masterful ability to keep the viewer on their toes while in search for unresolvable underlying truths. The headstrong Ms. McKinney's life kept me on the verge of tears, from both sympathy and laughter, with all due respect. She's quite a character, and her thrilling escapades, which were very ambiguously motivated, only enhance the entertainment. It's perhaps her combination of an unidentifiable honesty and fearlessness- marked with ostensible shamelessness- that I was most affected by. I think these qualities are also responsible for her topsy-turvy life, which has been confirmed as such by the abundance of headlines she's made!


Lincoln Plaza Cinemas - 323 Avenue of the Americas at West 3rd

IFC Center - 1886 Broadway, New York, NY b/w 62nd & 63rd


All the Laemmle's and the Landmark Theatres at 10850 W. Pico Blvd. L.A., CA 90064

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Secret Garden

For those of you dearies in the NY area, I highly recommend Victory Garden's goat milk frozen yogurt. They're on Carmine St. between Bleecker and Bedford next to Grey Dog. Today I had the honey lavender and last week I had their salty caramel. The texture is perfect, not all melty and artificially, rather- subtly icy! Do try some... I was curious about their Orange Blossom Vanilla, but it vanished before I had a change to sample it, which means act fast.

Update: Just tried the Victory Garden Herbal Blend - Holy moly! One of the best things I've ever tasted. A blissful blend of a wide range of herbs that go together so harmoniously. Some of the ones they said were included are peppermint, lavender, sage, thyme, jasmine and oregano. While this may sound like you're in for licking frozen dried leaves, I assure you it is a refreshing combination worth trying.

I happened to snap salty caramel with chocolate crunchies.
And look, they have all sorts of toppings, from halvah and maple marshmallow to dried mulberries and popped corn.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dark Habits

For about four consecutive days last week, my body was on what I too generously deemed a natural high. This, thankfully, was nothing a good 15 hour schluff couldn't counteract on Sunday because I seem to be much better...

My condition, as I famously called it, was like being on some sort of lab-made drug, a codeinesque meltiness overcame my limbs and mouth. It was like the time I did shrooms, but with no shameful admission to mother in the fearful horizon. I felt like Edvard Munch's Scream figure, but not as horrific- just confused. I googled "i feel like im on acid but im not" on Friday afternoon. At this point it was Day 4 of the "trip". I learned it could either be due to anxiety, lack of sleep, ADHD, being over-caffeinated or alcohol. I didn't know where to start. Working on any one of those areas is challenging, combating all four simultaneously is more paralyzing than my condition itself, so I couldn't bring myself to undo the damage at first, which created more anxiety and restlessness! This is where I stopped. Relaxed. Thought: "One thing at a time."

First things first, more rest and no booze whatsoever. I don't drink too much these days, but even when I do it feels like too much in comparison to the scant sleep and long workdays. We all forget to weigh things against each other sometimes. Like I said, I ended up just sleeping all Sunday in an effort to reset my body. A random on MacDougal told me "it happens to him all the time," since he works night shifts at a restaurant, and continued on to warn that "Two things can happen- a) you can slip into a sort of insanity and lose a grip on your faculties and nervous system, or b) Start perceiving reality with hyperawareness and become addicted to the state." I'm almost certain there's an option C , overcome the condition by rehabilitating your body, and I'm also almost certain I remember dreadlocks on this guy, so...

My questions remain: Why am I so out of control with this stuff? Why am I (what some might call) abusing my body?

Simply- there's too much fun stuff to do! After a long, long work day, I need a buffer before going to bed. I need to transition into resting mode and sometimes I feel I'm missing out. I mean, had I gone straight home after a stressful work day yesterday I wouldn't have experienced these musical wonders.

Or I wouldn't be able to watch fun movies...

Or read wonderful books, or prepare new patterns...

Then again at other times, as equally as I become overactive, I get completely bored. Why such extremes? Perhaps too tired to put major effort into stuff from the overactive chunks? What's holding me back? I don't want to suffer for it in the long run though so I am going to make steps now to kill some of the destructive tendencies. Like Yolanda in Dark Habits, sometimes you discover no matter where you turn everybody has their sins, their vices, their little secrets... More importantly, you cannot ignore the root of those problems. You have to look inward and change difficult things in order to regain control. Well we're back at square one, because usually that looking inward part is the most demanding bit of it all! Oy vay voy...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Sitting here in this overly air conditioned conference room has caused me to daydream about Martinique. Why there, particularly? Not so sure. I remember it as the setting of Rue Cases-Negres, a film that's stayed with me for years after initially watching it while in college as part of a Film & Social Change course. In the film-

José is a young boy who wins a partial scholarship to attend high school in Fort-de-France, the capital. His grandmother accompanies him there, working as a laundrywoman for the rich white ruling class to pay for costs. José deals with pressure around him, especially with his professor. When he writes an essay on the lives of poor blacks, he is accused of plagiarism. José runs away from school, back to his small shack in the city. His professor goes to his house and tells José that he was wrongly accused, offering an apology. Later, he returns to Black Shack Alley after his grandmother has a heart attack. This happened while she was returning home from a trip to a local clothesmaker to repair José's suit. Even as his grandmother dies, José is launched into a future he can not control.

This midday reverie, which has got me plugging in all sorts of combinations into Vayama's flight search feature for cheap airfares to the Islands, could be the effect of recently reading "House of Flowers" in Truman Capote's short story collection. I have fond memories of reading his namesake play in high school and falling in love with the setting. I even entered the Drama Festival that year in the Production Design category with a presentation on the play (we won first place!). I became briefly obsessed with the West Indies, a region I hadn't had much introduction to. Today, I began to reexamine my connection to this story.

Revisiting the tale as a 27 year old proved to be a powerful literary journey, and relating to it having gone through newer, more profound, experiences with men, various reflections on freedom, a strong core of female friendship and, for better or worse, a wide distance from a healthy and consistent nuclear family life, I've found myself married to the material, to its essence- not just to an idealized aesthetic and literary techniques. It all started when I decided "House of Flowers" could be a myth in Clarissa Pinkola-Estes's collection Women Who Run with the Wolves. Or maybe it's the antithesis of Pinkola-Estes's examples. I can't decide. I warn you, with a kind spoiler alert- major spoilers ahead!.

Ottilie's freedom initiates our story, most notably in terms of youth and sexuality. One can argue that her promiscuous profession would imply otherwise. It can be naive, and disrespectful too, to regard prostitution as a liberating condition, but contrasted with her eventual marriage, she is not confined or controlled (We can revisit this state as captivity later in my analysis). After meeting her knight in shining armor, Royal, at a cock fight, Ottilie is swept away not just off her feet, but away from the hustle and bustle of Port-au Prince, reatreating to Royal's rural haven, the House of Flowers. At this crux is where we find lots of meat to chew on! With her quasi-evil "mother-in-law" living under the same roof, embittering her relationship with Royal and testing her patience, Ottilie unknowingly loses herself. She becomes nostalgic for the bordello days, but is ultimately silent and tolerant until Royal's Grandmother becomes too hot to handle- not in a Billy Wilder - Marilyn Monroe way so much as a Lucifer sort of way. Ottilie ditches the passiveness, challenges the heat by beating her vicious fire with a more cunning fire. Haunted by the Grandmother, but perhaps ultimately reacting to her finding herself captive, Ottilie becomes a bit looney and Royal is not very loyal in response. He puts her in her place, as the 50s would say (yes, the entire decade), and she ends up teary eyed and tied to a tree. That isn't a euphemism or a deliberate use of alliteration I decided to implement, she is literally tied to a tree in the middle of the night! Her past resurfaces and confronts her in the form of her two best friends Baby and Rosita. Even after they've both spiritually, emotionally and physically saved her and beg her to return, Ottilie still opts for her new life. When hearing her husband return, concerned and treating us with a glimmer of that sweet Royal we, and Ottilie, fell in love with at the cock fight, Ottilie also sheds light upon the reader about how she plans to proceed - choosing love and shrewdness. But is choosing love over liberty shrewd?

I guess my interpretation is not necessarily something the modern feminist would cosign on. Then again, what is the modern feminist? Should we take the side of Baby and Rosita who try to knock sense into her, convincing her she is being mistreated by Royal and doing damage to her more sacred element, or defend our protagonist's decision? I'll be your Johnnie Cochran, Ottilie...

Royal becomes lazy at the onset of their relationship because Ottilie is not in her natural element. She is adapting to her new environ and the inability to be comfortable, having now become the housewife, the cook, the gardener, handicaps her and makes her the subject of abuse from all angles, not to mention neglect from the man she loves. She's too preoccupied to be the (dare I use the word fierce? OK, I will) fierce woman she should be to keep Royal in check. However, returning to the good life at the bordello, for me, symbolizes a denial to grow up, rejecting the route to take life's tough lessons and confront them in a wiley way. Capote, our god for this world, does announce and introduce everything with "she should have been the happiest girl in Port-au-Prince", so we know that this ostensibly free life is really one where she is spiritually imprisoned and discontent. Her love is suffering because life is inevitably suffering, and I believe Ottilie is now more able than ever to get in touch with her sacred element since she has defeated Grandmother. I find her lunacy to actually be a form of healing. You know what it is?! It's actually a dual exorcism- of Grandmother's spirit and of her innermost fears. Her tortured feelings, so long suppressed finally surface. Why does Royal freak out and tie his lady love to a tree after Grandmother's dies and Ottilie experiences delusions of her haunting presence? For the same reason that a man can't successfully love a woman if he's got mommy issues, a good old fashioned Oedipal complex. Royal ultimately loves Ottilie. You hear the pace of his step quicken as he comes to her rescue, and you see her sassy inner fire sparked at the thought of This will give him a good scare. Sounds about right to me.

Their house of flowers is the ideal dwelling for their rudimentary union, for growth and regeneration.

Above synopsis for Rue Cases-Negres snagged from Wikipedia.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Red White and Bluebs

For the Fourth, I made champagne with strawberry puree and blueberries. Imagine that coupled with white foam and I'm sure you'll understand my patriotic intention... Salud! Que demos gracias para la libertad! Fizzy drinking with Lauren amongst painterly clouds followed by a Williamsburg pig roast with Bluebs, I must revise my previous toast- to freedom, fizz and friends!

That tiny thing next to the building dead center on the bottom right photograph is the Statue of Liberty, it was much bigger, but that was all my poor cameraphone could render. Just felt you should know it was part of my backdrop... The light was particularly majestic today. Maybe because of my tipping point? Or maybe because everything seems more grand from a rooftop. Oh, look... Freedom birds!

Extra! Extra! LA Woman Wallowing In The Mire

Whenever I read interviews with my favorite authors, or even ones I don't like so much, I notice a pattern. They all wake up mad early, embracing the day head first with a cup of joe, ready to type away. Always! I'm shaking my head because I know that this June, I.. well, I slacked, but in coming to terms with my June gloom, I have resolved to get my act together. It's like Jim Morrison said, No time to wallow in the mire. I don't normally follow stoners' advice, not even respectable ones (respectfully... RIP Mr Morrison *sign of the cross* - I am very superstitious) but that's because I'm usually too stubborn to take most people's advice. I blame my father for this gene, but before I start giving you my family tree, I just want to say that I reached the mire wallowing tipping point today. It's been one day too many where I sleep in an embarrassingly long time, waking up in a panic to 15 work e-mails and their opposition, the SMS messages and Twitter notifications, tempting my thumbs with a longing to be answered first, with their brief response- time commitment and jovial subject matter. In honor of this evening's abandoned, yet serene Park Slope stroll (abandoned because of all of the businesses were closed in observance of Independence Day), I'd like to submit the following poem. It'll serve as my own prayer as I enter the last days of laziness and usher in an era of the discipline I know I owe to myself and deserve.

Walking Around by Pablo Neruda

It so happens I am sick of being a man.
And it happens that I walk into tailorshops and movie
dried up, waterproof, like a swan made of felt
steering my way in a water of wombs and ashes.

The smell of barbershops makes me break into hoarse
The only thing I want is to lie still like stones or wool.
The only thing I want is to see no more stores, no gardens,
no more goods, no spectacles, no elevators.

It so happens that I am sick of my feet and my nails
and my hair and my shadow.
It so happens I am sick of being a man.

Still it would be marvelous
to terrify a law clerk with a cut lily,
or kill a nun with a blow on the ear.
It would be great
to go through the streets with a green knife
letting out yells until I died of the cold.

I don't want to go on being a root in the dark,
insecure, stretched out, shivering with sleep,
going on down, into the moist guts of the earth,
taking in and thinking, eating every day.

I don't want so much misery.
I don't want to go on as a root and a tomb,
alone under the ground, a warehouse with corpses,
half frozen, dying of grief.

That's why Monday, when it sees me coming
with my convict face, blazes up like gasoline,
and it howls on its way like a wounded wheel,
and leaves tracks full of warm blood leading toward the

And it pushes me into certain corners, into some moist
into hospitals where the bones fly out the window,
into shoeshops that smell like vinegar,
and certain streets hideous as cracks in the skin.

There are sulphur-colored birds, and hideous intestines
hanging over the doors of houses that I hate,
and there are false teeth forgotten in a coffeepot,
there are mirrors
that ought to have wept from shame and terror,
there are umbrellas everywhere, and venoms, and umbilical

I stroll along serenely, with my eyes, my shoes,
my rage, forgetting everything,
I walk by, going through office buildings and orthopedic
and courtyards with washing hanging from the line:
underwear, towels and shirts from which slow
dirty tears are falling.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Just figuring things out. I really need to get a new camera. Until I do, I'll -

Work stuff has really usurped all of my time. With the film I've been working on for the past two years speeding along towards completion (which is mildly causing a healthy dose of personal anxiety), I'm a little bewildered as to how to proceed... in life. Yes, one of those times. Actually, a great time to go see Tree of Life. I saw it with Blueberry last weekend and haven't stopped thinking about it since. Speaking of which- Bluebs' book How to Get Into the Twin Palms is being published next summer! Ao! What joy! Do check out!

I'm still on the Truman Capote kick. Starting In Cold Blood after wrapping up the short stories; also, as far as reading goes, I will say that this month's interview with William Gibson in the Paris Review served as a surprising whirl of inspiration.

Pictured below are some of my favorite goodies from the past week to hold you over until I pop back in full effect in about.. one week:

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I'm an LA transplant now living in Brooklyn. I develop film projects by day, write at night, and have a dangerous predilection for vintage Robinson Golluber scarves- this blog serves as a tiny window to everything else I do when I'm not satisfying those first three passions. I'm trying to blog more and tweet less @annabelleqv. What about you?


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