Tuesday, 18 May 2010

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams

I went to music school in Hollywood. I've always known that I wanted to be a musician: In my fifth grade yearbook, there is a section in the back where all the 5th graders in my class wrote one sentence describing what dreams we had for ourselves. While almost every kid's quote was "To go to UCLA/USC, get married and have two kids and a golden retriever named Scooter," mine was this: "To be a singer-piano player in one." No college specified (like a 10 year old really knows what University she wants to attend...in the same way we adopt our parents religions and political positions, we apparently also absorb their collegiate loyalties...need to please, anyone?). I have always been a dreamer, and I intend to keep it that way.

While at music school, I made some truly amazing friends, with whom I still keep in touch today. My friends Ryan and Justin's apartment was closest to school, and therefore became our clubhouse. We would make grilled cheese, listen to loud music, and talk about nothing and everything. The late night jam sessions were my favorite. We would all pick up an instrument, and play songs we all knew, or teach each other songs we'd written, and sing into the wee hours of the morning. No one ever complained about the noise, surprisingly enough. One such night, several sandwiches (and several beers, no doubt) in, we took down the giant corona bottle cap Justin and Ryan had hanging on the wall, and signed the back of it with a sharpie. We all joked that it would be worth a lot of money on Ebay one day. Now, five years later, each one of us is making a living sharing our gifts throughout the globe. Amazing, isn't it? Sometimes I forget to be in constant awe of that fact and then something jogs my memory, and I am blown away all over again. How did I get here? How did we get here?
NEVER NEVER NEVER forget about your dreams. We all have them. Keep working and living every day toward them, and for them. Things may not turn out exactly how you would have planned, but then again, you just may not be the only one doing the planning.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Photography Lesson

Mid-year resolution: To post more frequently. In an effort to jump start this notion, here is a pretty neat thing I have been toying around with recently. I'm sure some of you already knew this on some level (friendster photo-shoots, anyone?), but I didn't, or had forgotten. So here's a reminder, or a lesson in photo editing. You can pretty much take any picture, taken from any camera (I am going to show a few taken with my blackberry), tweak it, using something as common and accessible as iPhoto, and turn it into a masterpiece. (okay, I could be exaggerating slightly, but you get the picture. ha. get it, "the picture..." schwing!)

All I did here was enhance the photo (which you can do automatically in the iphoto edit screen), boost the color using the pre-determined filter provided in iphoto and mess with the black/white balance a little bit, in the "adjust" window. Doing that really brings out the shadows and the detail in the blades of grass. By the way, it helps to make the original as large as possible while editing, which you can do by holding ctrl and alt (option) and clicking "edit using full screen."

Here, I obviously used the "sepia" filter. Then I changed the "adjust" window settings slightly (which I posted below, so take a look!)

Below are a few more examples of what can be done...and also just pretty photos, I think, so I hope you liiiiike. :)

Taken at the artist's entrance at the NRJ awards in Cannes

Taken in the sky over Norway

Thursday, 13 May 2010

"I don't drink coffee, I take tea my dear"

Current location: Sheffield, UK
Currently Listening: "Tenderoni - MSTRKRFT Remix" by Chromeo
Currently munching: Prawn skewers and pumpkin and feta salad

I write to you now after spending an amazing four days in London. I realized I write about London and Paris quite frequently on this blog - which, besides NY and LA of course, are the cities I am in the most. I also have made some wonderful friends in those cities, and because of them have been introduced to what are now favorite places to see, eat, and enjoy. I've also had the most time to go on solo adventures, exploring new areas and stumbling over little gems along the way.
This most recent trip felt different, however. I got to play tour guide to someone who had never been to London, and be lead, simultaneously. Seeing the city with him made me appreciate it with a new kind of vigor. Everything was new and fresh for him, and became that way for me again; and of course there were things he wanted to do and see that I never would have thought to look for, and so my experience there was again enriched. The first night we went to Dean Street Town House, in the Soho area of London, for dinner and some very unique cocktails (Mine involved earl grey tea, mint, gin and lemon, all over ice). There were six of us, and after mussels, sea bass, risotto, and other delicious bites, we closed the place down.
The next two days were spent sightseeing: Tower of London, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, etc. etc, and shopping. I have been saving my dollars and being very good in order to be able to take advantage of lovely London findings, and my friends...advantage was taken. Hardcore. I finally made it back to Rellik, an vintage store with the most amazing selections, http://www.relliklondon.co.uk/ and found some BEAUTIFUL pieces, including a silk Chloe dress, and Louis Vuitton strappy heels. (at sweet vintage prices. Score!)

On our last day in London, we went on a little Pub crawl, which started in Kensington at the Churchill Arms, and ended in East London at the Red Lion Pub.
That night was my first experience in East London, and if ever I were to relocate to that city, East London would be my home. The closest thing I can compare that area to is Manhattan's East Village/Lower East Side. Artists, interior designers, musicians, photographers, and all renaissance folk can be found here. We went to dinner with a bunch of friends at a Vietnamese restaurant called Loong Kee Cafe. GO THERE GO THERE GO THERE, if you happen to be in London! Great food, really fresh and light, and so inexpensive. We ordered the majority of the menu, and it still ended up only being around 15 Pounds per person. Oh, and it's BYOB, so bring an Asahi or Cobra beer for the perfect pairing.

After dinner we walked over to Shoreditch House. It is owned an operated by the same people responsible for the SOHO Houses, and it is absolutely gorgeous. And massive! Complete with bowling alley, rooftop pool (that allows night swimming), cozy lounge with giant chairs and dripping candelabras. All that was great and all, but the real reason I will return is the hot chocolate. They bring steamed milk out in a big ceramic mug, and a little carafe of melted dark chocolate meant to be poured into the mug. oh. my. gosh.
Now we are continuing our tour through the UK, with two shows in a row - Sheffield and Nottingham. Our next day off will be in Manchester. A few of the dancers are teaching classes, and I am going to (attempt) to take them... pray for me!