the feminine mystique

from Stellar, by Ignacio Torres

I’ve written ad nauseam about the trials and tribulations women face in their professional and personal lives. I am a woman, and the struggle is very real for me and my fellow females.

But today is International Women’s Day, so for this one day of the 366 days this year, I will not tear my hair out in worry. I will celebrate my femininity in all its beautiful, graceful, wild, and imperfect glory. I will dance and sing and love every inch of myself. I will send love to all my fellow women in the hopes that they, too, get some reprieve from the everyday battles and have a peaceful moment today to simply exist and to enjoy their existence.

Happy International Women’s Day to every girl and woman out there, whether you were born this way or identify this way. The fight continues, but that fight should never get in the way of everyday gratitude and self-love.

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best day ever // pt 1

photo 1 (2)

You know how you have those days sometimes where everything goes right and nothing can get you down and by the end of the day you just feel like A++ Screen Shot 2015-07-04 at 11.34.18 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-04 at 11.35.02 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-04 at 11.35.26 AM? Yeah. Those days.

I had one of those days recently completely without meaning to and am still basking in the glow of how perfect it was. The day started out innocently enough — I just signed up for ClassPass’s free two-week trial and decided to wake up early for a class at Elevate Interval Fitness. Needless to say, after two weeks without working out, Elevate totally kicked my ass. My coworker Matney invited me to the zoo and after a quick pit stop for doughnuts and coffee, we spent a couple of hours walking around the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, where I made friends with an orangutan and found a golden lion tamarin I will one day have to smuggle home in my purse.

zoo time!

I met up with the boyf and headed to Chinatown Coffee Co. for a R E F R E S H: Screen Shot 2015-07-04 at 11.47.38 AMMoroccan Mint TeaScreen Shot 2015-07-04 at 11.47.38 AM, my new mingering mike's supersonic greatest hitssummer fave, then onto Shake Shack for a cheese fries R E F U E L. We headed into the American Art Museum to see Mingering Mike’s Supersonic Greatest Hits, an exhibit about a self-taught artist known only as Mingering Mike. Though he privately recorded some songs, Mingering Mike’s musical career was, for the most part, entirely made up. The exhibit comprises dozens of hand-painted cardboard records, album covers, song lyrics and liner notes made by Mingering Mike in the 60s and 70s, when black radio was still brand new and artists like Marvin Gaye and James Brown were just coming on the scene. Not only are the works super funky fresh, but the exhibit is also a powerful dialogue on the historical moment in which Mingering Mike lived.

From there, we hit up Showtime Lounge for a quick Tecate + PBR break before an early dinner at Red Hen where we indulged in bubbly + squid ink pasta which is basically Screen Shot 2015-07-04 at 12.10.52 PMMAGICScreen Shot 2015-07-04 at 12.10.52 PM. Then an Uber ride to the Angelika theater pop-up at Union Market for a showing of Ex Machina, a movie about robots that act like humans and humans that act like idiots. It was fairly mind-bending/blowing and we both left there feeling like maybe we need to stop trusting machines so much.

We weren’t quite ready to stop yet so we made a trip over to Crane & Turtle to check out Bar Otsukare, a Japanese whisky pop-up led by Eddie Kim and Jesse Selvagn. Eddie & Jesse became interested in Japanese tipples while working together behind the bar at Daikaya and have amassed a collection of rare and funky whiskies, shochus, and sakes. Their kickoff event was an all-around good time, and we had a blast sampling new (to us) drinks among some of our Room 11 friends (where Eddie used to work and Gavin, my boyfriend, currently tends bar). Stay tuned for Bar Otsukare — They’ll have more events coming up and, trust me, you won’t want to miss them.

squid ink pasta + japanese whisky

We finally made it back home and I passed out in front of the TV (no surprise, given I’d been awake for close to 24 HOURS by that point). I’m constantly amazed by how vibrant, creative, and fun the DC food/art community is, and how much there is to D O and S E E and E X P E R I E N C E. I can’t stand hearing transient folks bemoan the erroneous belief that this city is all lobbyists and lawyers and politicos hanging out on the Hill and downtown when there’s so much beauty and culture and LIFE going on in the rest of the city. It’s absolutely magical to get to be a part of it all. Also, let’s be real — It’s insane the amount of shit you can get done in one day when you put your mind to it.

R E L A T E D : Want to find out about the fun things going on around town? Check out A Creative DC and BYT for plenty of ideas to entertain those idle hands & feet & bodies.

:: hair goals ::

modeling dem curls

modeling dem curls

I won’t lie — Having insanely curly hair is fun.

All you straight-haired girls envious of wild locks have a right to be. It changes your demeanor and, if you really rock it, ends up defining your whole persona. People tend to see you as a hot mess or as free-spirited and fun; either way makes you highly interesting. I wrote a whole supplemental college essay about my curls and you can bet your ass I got in. But growing up with curls is tough, especially when your mother has no idea what to do with your hair and all of your TV and big-screen and role models have straight hair or perfectly ironed faux curls. I used to find myself identifying with pretty much any curly-haired African American women I’d come across both IRL and in the media (where my curly Latinas at??), and I begged my hairstylist more than once to give me a ‘fro. But though I’m not lacking in volume, the texture of my hair is very, very fine — Not something you can turn into a cute little pouf #mixedraceproblems. So instead I’d straighten, and straighten, and chemically straighten, and flat-iron, and then get angry when the humidity that comes with island life would inevitably turn my hair into a frizz-ball.

Post college I discovered the Deva Curl cut, ie. a hair cutting technique that actually works for curly hair instead of treating it like straight hair. It’s expensive as all hell, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t do some at-home trimming in between cuts to cut costs. But the Deva Curl method also recognizes that curly hair needs to be cut while it’s dry, and needs to be styled with as little handling as possible, and needs serious C O N D I T I O N I N G  in order to keep it shiny and non-frizzy. I’ve switched from my usual drug store brand shampoo and conditioner to ones that use all-natural ingredients meant to keep moisture in. I swear by Herbivore Botanicals’ Therapy Hair Oil as both part of my conditioning and styling routines, though I’ll soon have to make a switch to a new hair oil as the line is being discontinued. As someone who never used to spend so much time or money on beauty products/body care, this is all a lot of work. But it’s worth it to see such a big part of my personality — those big, wild, bouncy, fun locks — looking good and feeling F R E S H.

So now it’s on to trying to grow this mane out. Even if it only lasts for a season, I am determined to have long hair. In the meantime, here’s some curly inspo (curlspo?) for anyone in the same boat. We. Will. Overcome.

rihanna_curl

Queen RiRi {pic via}

SJP, the original curly girl. {pic via}

SJP, the original curly girl.
{pic via}

julia_curl

JULIA {pic via}

Shakira, Shakira {pic via}

Shakira, Shakira {pic via}

curl_model

some BABE. {thanks, Internet}

m o o d s :: i n s o m n i a

 

duanemichals

from The Spirit Leaves the Body, 1968 by Duane Michals

Sleep is hard. Insomnia comes at night and suddenly I’m staring at the ceiling, willing myself not to look at the clock. The stars outside are beautiful, or would be we weren’t all drowning in light pollution. No matter, there are ocean waves and rainstorms on my headphones. If I can’t sleep, at least I can listen to the sound of my own breathing until the sun’s rays light up the bedroom walls.

Tonight. There’ll be another chance to sleep tonight.

stars

pic via

boston-fancy & catching cold

Screenshot 2015-06-11 at 4.27.12 PM

photo of me looking like a boss-lady in Solange pants via my friend & wedding weekend roommate @bartonke

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind — Packing up and moving into a new apartment, playing host to some INSANELY adorable pups & kittens at Salt & Sundry for a fundraising event with the Washington Humane Society + Spoil Me Rotten Dog Biscuit Co., experiencing all the M O O D  S W I N G S when the weather decided to get freakishly cold again && the full moon was in Sagittarius, and, finally, heading up to Boston for one hell of a wedding weekend with all my old college buddies. As one friend put it this week: “All of your photos from the wedding are blurry.” Obviously blurry from all the dancing, not all the alcohol involved (see above). Obviously. I also got to spend a day exploring Boston with a friend from high school who I’ve been way too out of touch with. She took me to SoWa (highlights include buying a starfish-shaped cuff && realizing I’d lost my debit card somewhere along the way), the Lawn on D, and to a trapeze class at TSNY Boston where I sort of conquered my fear of heights but mostly just prayed I wouldn’t pass out mid-swing.

So it’s not much of a surprise that I’ve now got a head cold, complete with a sore throat and general sense of fuzziness in my brain. I’ve been nursing myself back to health with Alka Seltzer Cold & OJ because it’s all I’ve got in my house, but I could really go for a bowl of ramen and my warm bed right now. Usually when I’m sick my MO is to just stuff myself full of cold meds til I can’t feel anything anymore, HOWEVER now that I’m trying to keep weird pharmaceuticals and chemicals away from my self and out of my body, I’m down to try some natural remedies (though nix on the weird homeopathic b.s. Trader Joe’s convinced me to spend $10 on). You can bet your butt I’ll be soaking myself in alcoholado tonight (the Puerto Rican mother’s cure-all to any ailment — which, you guessed it!, my mom sent me a bottle of a while back) but other than that and drinking plenty of liquids ++ sleeping as much as possible, I’m at a loss for what actually works to help you get over a cold/sore throat combo and what’s just some pseudo-science crock.

What do you all use to help you ride out a nasty cold? I’m ready to feel like a normal person again.