Monthly Archives: March 2013

2000

When I look back at my 34 years (soon to be 35 years), there are certain years that have made an imprint in my soul. These periods contained milestones, like graduating from college, or mere moments in time that changed me forever, like when I realized I was falling in love with Mr. ShuGar.  I like to think of these pockets of time as stained glass windows, which comprise the kaleidoscope of my soul. They define me.

When I feel reflective, I can’t help but think of the year 2000.  No, it’s not Y2K nonsense or thinking the world was going to end.  The images of 2000 parading in my head are featured in the gallery of photos above. In 2000, I studied abroad at the University of London, Queen Mary for my final year in college. It is the year I discovered my passion for new worlds outside the bubble of Southern California.

I initially thought of the concept of life-defining “years” when I heard of Radio Dept.’s song 1995.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhlayqtCplU]

I discovered this band through a Sophia Coppola movie, Maria Antoinette; It’s as if Coppola and I are musical soul mates (see my earlier blog post about Lost in Translation).  The song describes the memories of this monumental year of 1995; the year of the inception of the band.  Some of the lyrics include:

1995 is missing buses

It’s walking 15 miles to see your love

It’s knowing you’re alive through all the fuzz

It’s never coming down from going up

 

1995 is cutting classes

It’s sitting over coffees talking indie treats

It’s the mere sensation of being the first one that you see

When morning opens up the skies

You see me when daylight opens up your eyes

 

And though I’m happier now I always long somehow

Back to 1995

To mirror the song’s message, allow me to take you to my year – 2000.

2000 is tea with milk and crumpets too.

It’s polluted London streets – gray and gloomy, but beaming with life.

Tube rides filled with quiet Londoners and loud Americans crammed into the Central Line to Zone 1.

Be careful when crossing the streets – remember to always look right and left.

It’s walking the streets of London on an architectural tour with my camera. My love for fashion was in its nascent stage – it’s the year I discovered fashion as art. Covent Garden, Oxford Circle and window shopping on Bond street were my pastimes.

No boyfriends, no husband; just me and my map ready to discover whatever café, museum, park is just around the corner. It’s attempting to balance London sightseeing with studying hard in my flat at Queen Mary University.

2000 is using the excuse of bank holidays and many other holidays to backpack through Western Europe. It’s planes, trains, buses, gondolas, and cruises.  Paris can be just like an Amelie movie with endless monuments dedicated to art and love, sprinkled with a tinge of “I hate Parisians” because they really are that rude.

Italy is a country which entices all your senses and you leave it wanting more. Fresh fruits and vegetables on every block in Sienna and pasta heaven in Bologna. Athens  is a jungle, but the island of Mykonos is serenity. The narrow white cobble-stoned streets on a Vespa and indulgence in every meal.  In Spain, streets named after my namesake and funny Spanish accents. “Carajo”, “coño” and  “vale” in every sentence.  A day spent admiring the historical beauty of Granada’s Alhambra palace.

2000 is my treasure – the gift I gave to myself and it is forever mine.

My Top 5

We all should have a list of our Top 5 sexiest celebrities. These are people you would love to “be” with; however you would like to interpret that term.  For me, there has to be a strong sexual & intellectual attraction to those on my list.  It’s primal and you just have to think who turns you on, for whatever reason that may be.

It’s always fun to compare lists with friends and see who they choose. I especially like when you compare your own list over time and see how your taste has evolved. I remember I used to have Jordan Knight from The New Kids On the Block on my Top 5. Wow!

Mr. ShuGar and I have had many conversations about our Top 5 lists. I’m always intrigued to see who he finds sexy and why. You can’t help but wonder if you possess any of the qualities of your partner’s Top 5.  When I first asked Mr. ShuGar for his top 5 back when we were dating, I was a little nervous that he would have someone like Pamela Anderson on his list; thank goodness that was not the case. (Read at the end of the post for Mr. ShuGar’s Top 5).

I would like to dedicate this post to my new and improved Top 5 sexiest celebrities. I recently rebooted my list to knock out Bono and the lead singer of the Killers, Brandon Flowers. I also dumped Gael Garcia Bernal (too short – but still hot). So without further adieu, behold my Top 5 celebrities in descending order:

Number 5: Johnny Depp

Photo credit: Pinterest - Jude G

Photo credit: Pinterest – Jude G

I debated whether to keep him on the list because lately he’s been kinda scruffy and I don’t particularly like his look in the Pirates of the Caribbean, but he’s still hot and deserves a place on the list.  He’s sexy because he doesn’t care how he looks and seems completely disinterested in all the Hollywood fame. He’s an artist and he always chooses the kookiest characters.  I admire his collaboration with Tim Burton and I always cry in Edward Scissorhands.  One of my fav films is Chocolate where his portrayal of Rue is dreamy.

Number 4: Ben Affleck

Photo credit: collider.com

Photo credit: collider.com

He’s been in the media a lot lately with his Oscar-winning film Argo, which is definitely much deserved. I am attracted to his down to earth demeanor, and his light skin and dark features make a perfect combo. I especially love to see him swoon over his wife, Jennifer Gardner, and declare his love for his children. He’s talented and a family man. Hotness defined!

Number 3: Ewan McGregor

Photo credit: All Hands on Deck

Photo credit: All Hands on Deck

Yes, my taste is international and I adore this cute Scot. I am lured in by his smile and his laugh. One of my fav McGregor films is A Life Less Ordinary where he fights for his true love, Cameron Diaz. He’s quirky in all the right ways and his accent just melts me. Plus, he is very talented, so in my book, he’s a catch!

Number 2: John Hamm

Photo credit: kootation.com

Photo credit: kootation.com

Do I even need to explain this? I mean, he’s mesmerizing. I think even heterosexual men would agree with me on that; Mr. ShuGar does. He exudes sex appeal and the role of Don Draper in Mad Men was made for him. He exemplifies the kind of man you want to be swept off your feet by and just do everything with.  Oh, and that tailored suit….wow, I can go on and on and on…..

Number 1: Ryan Gosling

Photo credit: ohyeahsexymen.tumblr.com

Photo credit: ohyeahsexymen.tumblr.com

Yup, he’s number 1. He’s hot, talented, stylish, and seems just so sweet. I am obsessed with the “Hey Girl” photos featuring pictures of Gosling with the funniest quotes that would make any girl giddy. What I adore about him is his unique sexiness; he’s not traditionally sexy like Brad Pitt. Gosling has more of an edge to him and it shows in his acting choices. He never plays the “pretty boy” but instead chooses roles that challenge him and demonstrate his amazing acting ability. I must admit I am also loving the fact that he’s dating a Latina. Hey Ryan….you’re my number 1 so call me (with the permission of Mr. ShuGar)!

As promised, I’d like to reveal Mr. ShuGar’s Top 5. Unlike myself, Mr. ShuGar has struggled with who he would feature in his Top 5 because he says it’s harder to find talented female celebrities that are sexy. So a condensed version of Mr. ShuGar’s Top 5, in no particular order, is Jessica Biel, fashion designer Rachel Roy. Mila Kunis and sultry Scarlett Johansson. I kinda like his choices because I would agree that all four women are gorgeous.  Although, he had Renee Zellweger on his list previously.  Yuck! I’m glad he revised it.

Photo credit: W Magazine

Photo credit: W Magazine

Photo credit: The Wendy Show

Photo credit: The Wendy Show

Photo credit: twilightsaga.wikia.com

Photo credit: twilightsaga.wikia.com

Photo credit: faystyle.com

Photo credit: faystyle.com

So who is in your Top 5?

Mr. ShuGar personally picked the images of his Top 5 ladies so this post has his official stamp of approval.

Grin and Bear It: What Ever Happened to Doctors?

Doctors

Is it really that impossible to find a good doctor?  I mean, I know they exist because I hear people proclaim they have a great doctor. Yet, I still haven’t found one and, frankly, I’m getting tired of searching.  Specifically, I don’t know how many OBGYN’s I have to try before I find “the one.”

What makes this search even more difficult is the fact that I have had on-going “female” problems that require frequent doctor visits. In the past five years, I think I have seen five different OBGYN’s – all medically competent, but all lacking any real ability to help me.  To make matters worse, they seem to lack any sensitivity to my medical condition, and it can be very emotional discussing my most intimate medical problems with someone who clearly doesn’t care. It appears bedside manners have long gone out the window!

Now, more than ever, I wish I could find a compassionate and competent doctor who cares enough to diagnose my condition. Mr. ShuGar and I would like to have a baby, but my medical situation makes it very challenging to do so. Unfortunately, every doctor I have seen has no solution but to give me antibiotics or poke around. The results are always the same – everything’s normal.  Really? It sure doesn’t feel like it!

My latest OBGYN disaster was classic. I saw her with an open mind because I really wanted to find “the one.”  After having two appointments with her where she made me wait for an hour and a half twice to finally get the chance to see her for a whopping five minutes both times, I have decided I need to find another doctor – once again! What really upset me was that after I was waiting in the examination room half dressed for that long, she had the audacity to come in, with no apology, and almost act annoyed that I had so many questions about my condition. Her solution was to “grin and bear it.” That’s it.  That is the last time I plan on seeing her.

Alas, I am on the search once again. I am optimistic, but my patience is running thin. All I want is for someone to care enough to help me.  Is that really too much to ask?

In my profession, we are in the business of being compassionate and attentive and we would never get away with how these doctors have treated me.

In response to my last doctor, I will not bear it. I will continue to search and hope. I have to. There’s no other way. And one day, I pray sooner rather than later, I will find a good doctor who can help me and I will grin – a big grin.

Swoon-worthy Fashion: Wedge Love

I admire women that can walk around in heels; I’m not one of them. No matter if I insert insoles and additional padding, I just don’t last long in heels. It’s too bad too because there’s is nothing sexier than a stylish high-heeled shoe. If you suffer from sensitive feet like me, do not fret! Wedges will save you from shoe boredom and bring sexiness back to your feet. Wedges have the heel component, but lack the uncomfortable feeling of a heel. For this reason, I proclaim my wedge love.

Below are four of my current wedge obsessions; all with a different style, but all oh so cute!

Seychelles Stop Traffic Wedges

Seychelles Stop Traffic Wedges

Nordstrom's Leigh Wedge

Nordstrom’s Leigh Wedge

The navy wedge (Leigh Wedge) to the left is from Nordstrom and costs $154.95. The shoe also comes in black, but I am loving navy this season. What I like about this wedge is its versatility. You can wear it casually on the weekend, or dress it up with a nice pair of pants and look fashionable at work. I am always looking for ways that I can be comfortable, but stylish, at work.

The b & w striped summer wedge from Seychelles is on trend with the current b & w fashion you see in every store at the moment. This wedge costs $120 and is also available in orange and pink. Seychelles are my go-to shoes when I want to buy comfortable, fashion-forward shoes. They never disappoint. They are on the pricier end, but they are so worth it because you can make a fashion statement and still walk in those shoes all day. I like this wedge sandal because of the pop of yellow and blue. Adorable!

The next two wedges are a little funkier, but still very versatile.

Anthropolgie's Hansa Mary-Janes

Anthropolgie’s Hansa Mary-Janes

6pm's Gabriella Rocha's Addie Wedge Sneaker

6pm’s Gabriella Rocha’s Addie Wedge Sneaker

On the top left is Anthropologie’s Hansa Mary-Janes at a price of $168. I would call myself a Mary Jane girl; I just think they are so flattering and girly, but still very unique. These particular black Wedge Mary Jane’s are a bit more formal so you can use them with tights and a pencil skirt for a night out or a more formal day at work. I particularly like the thin black straps.

The final navy and gold wedge, 6pm’s Gabriella Rocha’s Addie Wedge Sneaker, is the cheapest of the four at $52.99. They also have this wedge in black and taupe. This is definitely the funkiest of the four because it is a wedge sneaker and has lots of bling on it. I think you can definitely rock this hip wedge with some cute skinny jeans and gold accessories.

The best thing about wedges is you can wear them with skirts, dresses and jeans and use them for both formal and semi-formal occasions all day, if need be!

Thank you for reading.

Sincerely, Mrs. Wedge-Obsessed.

Coppola’s Lost in Translation: The Whisper

Coppola's Lost in Translation: The Whisper

Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Tanslation

When I love a movie, I can watch it again and again and discover something new each time. It’s like visiting my favorite cities (London, New York, Paris) and finding a new neighborhood off the beaten path that has the cutest boutiques and the tastiest restaurants and cafes. I don’t know how many times I have seen Sofia Coppola’s masterpiece Lost in Translation, but I always study the last scene: The Whisper.

The film is about an aging movie star, Bob Harris, played by the formidable Bill Murray, who is reluctantly visiting Tokyo to do a mediocre whiskey commercial and get paid a couple of million for his endorsement of the product. To say that Murray is not happy in Tokyo is an understatement. During his stay, he meets a young and confused woman, Charlotte,  played by Scarlett Johansson, who is recently married and is struggling with her loneliness in Tokyo while her busy husband is off on a photography assignment. Bob and Charlotte first meet unofficially in the hotel elevator, but officially strike up a conversation at the conversation at the hotel bar.

The chemistry between the two is immediately palpable as the unlikely pair develop a bond based on their mutual isolation and sense of inertia in the sea of bustling Tokyo. I would consider Tokyo the third character in the film; its sights and sounds are always either in the background or foreground of every scene. Coppola shows us many scenes where the main characters are gazing through a window at the enormity of the city. It creates a sense of being separated from the entire city. Because of the characterization of Tokyo as the backdrop, you can say that Charlotte and Bob both are Lost In Tokyo, but find in each other friendship, solace and, I believe, love.

This love subtly grows in certain scenes in the movie – one being their first date where they karaoke and appear to serenade to each other. Charlotte flirtatiously sings The Pretenders’ Brass in Pocket and Bob sings a touching rendition of  Roxy Music’s More than This. In this scene, it’s almost as if no one else exists in the moment they both sing these songs because they can’t take their eyes off each other. Oh amor!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLXJhTDVoZQ]

But, that last scene…..the whisper! What does he tell her? Gosh, I would give anything to ask Coppola what she told Bob to whisper in Charlotte’s ear!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgJ3WqCRuKg]

I am not a screenwriter; That’s Mr. ShuGar’s profession and he is very talented at it. I have had many discussions with him about what we think Bob tells Charlotte as he sees her walking through the Tokyo crowds on his way to the airport. He embraces her, whispers in her ear and then gives her the most beautiful kiss – oozing with tenderness and love. Cue the closing song by The Jesus and Mary Chain Just Like Honey.

Allow me a quick tangent. I love Coppola’s soundtracks. They are so rad because they have retro tunes, mixed with really cool indie rock. Lost in Translation is no exception. I especially love the soundtrack for her film Marie Antoinette. This is how I discovered Radio Dept – another music obsession of mine. Her musical taste and mine are very similar so I look forward to her next project partly because of this.

But back to the movie – so what does he tell her?

I think he says they will meet again, possibly in Tokyo, but their story is not over. I like to believe that he confesses his feelings for her and she is overcome with emotion and that’s why you see her eyes filled with tears. My interpretation is that her “ok” in the scene is agreeing with his reassurance that she will find her way in her life, but that their relationship will continue. It’s sad, but it’s life. Call me an optimist, but I like to think that this is just the beginning of their love story. They are no longer lost, but they have found each other.

What do you think he told her? I’m sure there are many websites dedicated to this, like this one. Well, that’s my take on it and I am sticking to it. What can I say? I am a sucker for love.

Musical Land Mines

I have a thing for anything Brazilian; I love the whole Brazilian vibe – the beaches, the food, the people and definitely the music. Brazilians have an intoxicating joy for life. They work to live, not live to work. Marisa Monte is a perfect representation of the beauty of Brazil. Marisa is a well-established Brazilian singer whose musical genre is a blend of Brazilian pop with Bossa Nova roots. I believe she only sings in Portuguese so she probably is an unknown to most Americans. The moment I heard her voice, I was mesmerized. In Brazil, she is highly admired and if you listen to her song A Primeira Pedra (translation – The First Stone) you can see why. There is a softness to her voice and a vulnerability that touches your heart.

Although I enjoy many of Marisa Monte’s songs, I haven’t listened to her music in a while. This is a consequence to me subconsciously associating her with the heartbreak of my previous relationship. He was Brazilian and, for many years, I tried to disconnect myself from anything Brazilian-related. A good writer friend of mine described this feeling perfectly. He said that after a horrible break-up, you are very careful to not step on any “emotional land mines.” These land mines can be anything that reminds you of that relationship. The moment you stumble upon an “emotional land mine,” you can go down a quick downward spiral, even when you least expect it. You try to move forward and avoid being triggered. You destroy those pictures, cut off ties with “his” friends, move to a new city – you do whatever it takes to move on.

It took me a long time to heal from the betrayal of my previous relationship. Discovering infidelity in your partner feels like a punch in the heart. It took a lot of self-love and time to build my trust in love again. It was a painful, yet empowering process. Mr. ShuGar has also helped in the healing process. His love taught me that not all men are the same. There are still some good ones out there. I thank my lucky stars for having found one of them.

The years had gone by and I never realized I buried my love for all things Brazil. I guess this is another side effect of the break-up.

I recently fixed my iPod and I heard Marisa Monte’s A Primeira Pedra once again.  The song begins by her asking who can throw the first stone who has not suffered or died because of love.  Who can resist the temptations of the heart and revoke the laws of the heart? For many years, I judged myself for falling in love with the wrong man. Time has taught me to have no regrets, but, rather, to embrace all the experiences that have brought me to this moment in my life. They are all a part of me.

I am (re)embracing my love for Brazil. There’s so much beauty in its culture and I hope to take Mr. ShuGar to my favorite parts of Brazil one day. But first, I think I might start learning Portuguese again – it’s been a goal of mine for a very long time and I absolutely love the sound of the language. Brazil, muitas saudades.

Special thanks to my dear Brazilian friend who helped in the translation of Marisa Monte’s A Primeira Pedra.

BFF – How Do You Know When It’s Over?

Image from Wikipedia

Image from Wikipedia

As a child, my sister and I watched a lot of movies. Maybe it was a combination of growing up in L.A. and having protective parents who each worked full-time jobs. Whatever the reason, we spent a lot of time indoors. It was safer for two girls to stay at home during those long summer months than to allow us to run around the neighborhood. Hence, movies became a fun way to pass the time. One of our favs was Beaches, a story of two women who met as children and grew to be the best of friends, despite being polar opposites on many levels – Hilary came from a privileged background and became an attorney and CC from a working-class family pursuing her life-long dream to be a successful entertainer. As a little girl, I wanted to have a best friend, just like in Beaches.

For reasons that I will not divulge here, I have struggled with female friendships throughout my life. With women, there can be so much jealousy, cattiness and drama involved and I have not had great experiences with girly BFFs. I know I am partly to blame for the circumstances that have led to the dissolution of several female friendships. This is probably why I loved the idea of a male BFF – less drama involved.

I have been fortunate to have a male BFF who has been a great friend for over a decade now. I am also lucky to have some truly amazing girl friends – they are my heart and they know it. My BFF was there when my first marriage crumbled; we’ve traveled the globe together and he was my bridesman at my wedding. I couldn’t imagine my life without him. At least, not until now.

When someone starts a new relationship, things change in a friendship because a new person is added to the circle. You want to spend more time with your new love and the friendship gets downgraded a bit. It’s only natural – it happens. In a marriage, your spouse (and child ) takes priority above all else. You must take his/her feelings into consideration and you no longer have much time for other areas of your life. Life has a strange way of weeding out friends so that when the years go by, only the truest of friends stick around. However, sometimes, relationships dissolve and the circumstances are beyond your control.

We never had any huge fight or have ever even discussed this issue, but I feel like the BFF I once had no longer exists, or least not the way he once did. I sometimes wish we had had a fight like in this scene in Beaches because then our hearts would have been exposed. But, alas, I choose to blog rather than argue.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDHWvnNRv_U]

Yet, I wonder if this is just a consequence of life and two people evolving. When people find love and bring another person into their life, the dynamics of all relationships in their inner circle are bound to change in some way. You can no longer expect to have them available at all times or do the same things you once did together. Mr. ShuGar learned this the hard way by losing one of his BFFs when we started dating. It’s unfortunate, but se la vie. Ironically, I now find myself in that same predicament and I am asking myself, “How do you know when your friendship is over?”

At this time, I think I am mourning the friendship we had and learning to accept a new reality. I would rather do that than lose the entire friendship. Nevertheless, it hurts and I am sad. I hope I can reach the point where I accept the new friendship and its evolution. After all, BFFs are forever; at least you are blessed if they are.