Thoughts from the Coffee Shop

You can’t run away from your problems, but you can certainly escape reality. And for just for a moment, time will pause and everything will be okay. So, I escaped.

I woke up to waves crashing. Maybe my life isn’t so bad, I thought. The hangover still lingering and the scent of the sea in the air. It was early, and the sun was hot and shining on my skin through the enormous windows in the ceiling, but it’s  hard to be sad when you’re waking up in paradise. What is happiness though?

Ages 1-5: happiness was my mothers arms.
Ages 6-12: happiness was ballet class.
Ages 13-14: happiness was AOL messenger.
Ages 15-17: happiness was being a rebel.
Ages 18-19: happiness was independence.
Ages 20-21: happiness was my friends.
Ages 22-23: happiness was you.
Then it rained… and when it rains it fucking pours.

I no longer felt that light… But something funny happened when I woke up that morning. I felt the spark come back. My happiness had always relied on someone else… something else.
How do you teach yourself to be happy despite your surroundings and circumstances.

It’s such bullshit when people tell you to just look at the bright side… to be happy.
You don’t even notice how depressed you are until you realize you haven’t showered in two days as you lay on the couch watching law & order, ignoring the faint sound of your phone going off.

Depression isn’t crying every day. Sadness isn’t wearing a frown. It’s a feeling deep within you that you try and make go away, but you can’t.

Running away didn’t solve my problems, but escaping reality for a moment helped me reflect on what I wanted, what I had and who I was and was becoming.

Who knew that all I needed was a mental break. Maybe that is what we all need from time to time, and it doesn’t have to be in the form of a weekend vacation. It can be a night alone at a coffee shop with your favorite novel… or indulging in a lavish dinner for one. Mental health is so important, yet so many of us forget this.
I’m still not sure what it was, but I came back lighter, happier, and calmer.
I had been chasing this feeling for so long, not knowing how to reach it. These self-indulgent distractions weren’t my happiness. It wasn’t until I let go of the idea of happiness and what I thought it was that I truly found peace.

Now I stop and observe, I try not to rush life, I look up at the sky a little more and I always take the time to rest my mind. Finding peace with life was better than finding happiness.

To be find happiness in everything, seek happiness in nothing.

-M

r2r3r5r1r4

Gin is In

gin

“It’s cheap…It’s gross…It’s for old people…It’s too dry.” You guys have no idea how many times I have heard those statements about my beloved gin. Just ask the bartender at my favorite dive bar and she’ll tell you how near and dear to my heart gin is. While  whiskey and bourbons are all the rage right now, gin should be what you’re ordering at the bar. Unlike it’s fun cousin tequila, gin is a little trickier to drink. You can’t just take a shot and expect to have a good time  (well you can, but I wouldn’t advise it).

    • You can technically take shots of anything, but do not take shots of gin. Gin is meant to be mixed. Some purist gin hipsters might insist you sip on gin like you would a bourbon, but I’ll stick to my gin cocktails.
    • No two gins are alike. While the base of gin is the juniper berry, there are different botanicals added depending on the brand. For example, Hendrick’s will give you a cucumber and rose flavor, while Bombay Sapphire East will have hints of citrus and pepper. Knowing your gin will make for better cocktails.
    • Gin and tonics originated in the British Colonies. The quinine in tonic water helped combat malaria, and gin was added for flavoring and to help combat scurvy. Knowing it was used as “medicine” kind of makes me feel better about drinking 2 gin and tonics on a Wednesday.
    • Bathtub gin originated during prohibition, and that’s how gin gained its negative reputation. Bathtub gin could hardly be considered gin, containing mostly methanol, and consumption of bathtub gin sometimes lead to death and blindness.
    • Martinis are traditionally made with gin, however James Bond popularized the vodka martini.

Sugary drinks and beer make you bloat, this is common knowledge. I may be biased, but g&t’s never give me a hangover, and I hardly feel bloated when I drink (good) gin. This is perfect for a night out when you’re in that tight dress and don’t want to look beer bloated or for anyone on a diet.


My go-to gin cocktails to order at a bar:
– Tom Collins – Negroni – Gin Gimlet – Gin and Tonic – 

If you’ve been reluctant to order gin at a bar, my twist on the classic gin and tonic is the perfect drink to make at home. It’s simple to make, delicious and refreshing.

 Ingredients:
-Hendrick’s gin (Hendrick’s works best with the cucumber flavor)
-1 cucumber (peeled and sliced)

-tonic water  (Q tonic water is my personal favorite)
-lime wedges
-ice
Place a few cucumber slices in your glass and muddle with a muddle stick or spoon. Combine 1 part gin with 3 parts tonic water in a glass with ice cubes. Garnish with a slice of cucumber and a squeeze of lime juice.  Enjoy. 

Vodka is out, gin is in.

-M

Trip Off the Strip

Recently I was able to take a quick “vacation” with my best friend. I use quotations because our destination was Las Vegas, and Las Vegas hardly qualifies as a vacation. Anyone who has ever been to Las Vegas knows that it truly is the city that doesn’t sleep. The drive there took a few hours and we were soon pulling up to the pearly MGM Signature gates. Being a Vegas veteran, I was craving a different experience than your typical party/club scene. I text my good friend Kat and we were soon en route to Downtown Las Vegas.
I didn’t know much about Downtown Las Vegas except that it was where the old people went. I was wrong. Murals began to line the streets of Downtown, and despite the rain it was full of life. We didn’t get to explore as much of Downtown Las Vegas as I’d hoped due to the rain, but it was definitely one of the highlights out of all of my Vegas trips.

dtlv3dtlv4dtlv5

Our first stop was a quaint little gastropub called Park On Fremont. From the exterior this place doesn’t look like much, but that’s what makes it so great. The interior is filled with bold prints and the area behind the inside bar is home to various taxidermy animals in odd positions. The back patio is just as whimsical as the interior with its mismatched furniture and cozy fireplace. If you look hard enough you might even find the entrance into a hidden area with a seesaw. Yes, I rode it in the rain. I ordered one of their specialty cocktails called Pillow Talk, which was delicious. Prices were reasonable and most definitely cheaper than any bar on the strip. Their brunch menu looked delicious and I will definitely be back next time I find myself in sin-city.

park1park2park

Park on Fremont
506 Fremont St
Las Vegas, NV 

The second place we went to was Gold Spike. I immediately started screeching on sight upon entry. There was a lounge area with literal giant silk beds in lieu of chairs and tables (typical Vegas). There was also a good size bar area inside, but Kat led us to the back patio. I have to say, this back patio, or backyard as they call it, was a literal adult playground. Supersize all of your favorite childhood games and add alcohol and you end up with the Gold Spike backyard. There was a fenced in area with beer pong tables, giant Jenga, giant chess, and trash pong. The place was relatively empty when we went, but we still enjoyed a round of trash pong in the rain with a bridal party from some irrelevant midwest state. They have live music on weekends on their badass little vintage trailer stage and Gold Spike is also home to The Real World 31. Definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in Downtown Las Vegas.

IMG_7798

Who left their weave?

IMG_7796

IMG_7801

Kat, our DTLV guide. Follow Kat’s rad IG @kat_longlastname.

Gold Spike
217 N Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV

Before we left we stopped by Container Park and explored until the rain had us running back to the car. Container Park is a cute little area with an adult-friendly jungle gym, chalk wall, shops, bars, and restaurants. They also have a stage which features local acts and musicians. Container Park is also home to the praying mantis pictured below. It was originally created for Burning Man by an aerospace engineer and artist. And if it weren’t already badass, it also shoots 65 ft flames at night.

dtlv

I wish it hadn’t been raining so much because I would have loved to explore Downtown Las Vegas  some more. The strip gets old and tiring, and Downtown Las Vegas is the perfect solution for this. As for the rest of my trip well, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

-M

FullSizeRender-4

2016

Growing up I had always heard people say that the older you get the faster time flies. I’m finally beginning to see that it’s true. Now I normally don’t do New Years resolutions, but this year I told myself that my only goal would be to take better care of myself emotionally and physically.

This meant getting rid of toxic people, focusing on school, following my passion for writing, working out, eating cleaner and drinking less…all while working a full-time job.

In the mood to quit the bad habits cold turkey, I kicked off the year by participating in dry January. A whole month with absolutely no booze. I don’t crave a drink everyday, but I did find myself getting off of work stressed and craving my go-to gin and tonic quite a bit more during January.  By the end of my dry January run I didn’t notice a significant difference health wise or energy wise, which was kind of disappointing. However, I did save a good amount of money and my liver was probably happy. On February 1 I had two Hendrick’s gin and tonics. January taught me that (almost) everything is fine in moderation.

“I love Jesus, but I drink a little”. – Gladys Hardy

February was the month that I focused on my emotional health, which directly tied into every other aspect of my life. Having had gone through a tough breakup at the end of 2014, I felt somewhat lonely, lost and unhealthy. Determined to make a change I kicked my horrible eating habits to the curb. Working 30+ hours a week and going to school made it easy for me to grab fast food during my daily breaks, eliminating the stress of having to grocery shop and cook. This horrible habit was making me look and feel like shit, but the thought of cooking terrified me. Through trial and error I eventually learned how to make quick and healthy meals. I found it so much more satisfying to eat a meal that I prepared myself with quality ingredients over processed drive-thru garbage. As a result I was beginning to look and feel healthier.

I will never be the girl who wakes up at 5 am to go for a run followed by a cold pressed juice. It’s just not who I am. Once upon a time I thought it would be a great idea to run 2.5 miles to a juice shop near the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and run back after I had finished my delicious juice by the beach. It was early and the scorching sun was beaming down on me with every miserable step I took. By the time I reached the juice shop I felt like I was going to die.  I ordered something called a hangover helper and took an Uber black back. As I sat in my air conditioned Uber with my juice realizing that running was NOT my thing, AND THAT WAS OKAY. Find ways to stay healthy that make you happy.

I will also never be that girl who snapchats her daily gym sessions and shows up in a matching sports bra and yoga pants, hair perfectly done in two French braids. Just like cooking, finding a workout routine that worked for me took a lot of trial and error. I tried a plethora of classes and routines, but I hated them all. I went through a personal trainer and two different gym memberships, hating it all. Then I discovered the magic of yoga and YouTube. Most of my workouts consist of me dancing along to a YouTube choreography video or following 45 minutes of yoga in my living room. This works for me because I can roll out of bed and make a fool of myself in my oversized mens t-shirt and sweats without anyone watching me. Just because you hate going to the gym doesn’t mean you can’t workout or be fit. Try different things and find what works for you.

In the last 2-ish months I have almost become a new person. I wasn’t afraid to go after what I wanted and I was beginning to regain my confidence back. What helped me the most was that I FINALLY stopped focusing on what I DIDN’T want and started focusing on what I DID want. It’s so easy for us to focus on our problems which in return end up attracting more negativity. While eating healthy and working out are great for you, a positive attitude is the key to overall happiness and emotional/physical health. Cheers to a positive 2016 for anyone reading this and remember to smile at strangers, be nice to people and focus on the good.

-M

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 3.23.56 PM

Robert M. Drake

My Date With Frida

This past Sunday I found myself bored with nothing to do so I decided to hop in my car and just drive. I ended up at the Fresno Art Museum which ended up being a treat. I quickly learned that there was a Nickolas Muray exhibit showing various photographs he had taken of the amazing Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.

I wandered around the museum checking out different exhibits, and saved the best for last. I showed up an hour before closing, meaning I had the entire place to myself.

While I wasn’t allowed to photograph inside the museum, I managed to find some of my favorite (photographs) online to share with you all.

Frida and Diego Tizapán – 1937
Nickolas Muray
nikolas muray diego frida tizapan

This photograph stood out to me because of Frida’s chingona stare at Diego. Just from this photo you could tell that it was she who wore the pants.

The two images above are probably Nickolas Muray’s most famous photographs. Both were taken at his studio in New York City, before she left for Paris.
The first photograph of Frida in a magenta rebozo hung, for years, over Diego and Frida’s bed.
On the back she signed,
“Nick, with all my heart, with all my love, with all my memory, I think of you.
Frida”.

 

Throughout their time spent together Frida began falling for Nickolas, and he for her. They wrote to each other frequently, especially while she was in Paris, criticizing the aristocratic , snooty Europeans. I spent a majority of my time at the museum reading the letters exchanged between Frida and Nickolas. Their exchange of words was beautiful and would put and any Nicholas Sparks novel to shame.

In a letter from Nick Muray to Frida dated February 8, 1939, he wrote:
“Darlingest Xochitl.

The first reaction to your wire was to extend my arms and embrace you to kiss the tears away from your sweet cheeks and swallow the salty sorrow of your heart.
Your Nick.
(all of him)”

In a letter from Frida to Nick dated February 16, 1939, she wrote:
“I could kill that guy and eat it afterwards…I have decided to send everything to hell and scram from this rotten Paris before I get nuts myself…I’d rather sit on the floor in the market of Toluca and sell tortillas.
One special kiss on your neck. 
Your Xochitl.”

 

what the water gave me

What The Water Gave Me

This painting by Frida Kahlo was given to Nick in exchange for his financial help while she was in Paris. One of Frida’s darker paintings, this one in particular depicted how her life was shaped by destruction.

tacos
My experience wandering through the Fresno Art Museum alone was magical. I think everyone should go to a museum alone at least once. It gives you the chance to escape into the world that the artists captured in each painting and photograph, and a chance to escape from your own reality. Continuing my date with myself  I ended my night with tacos,  because any time is a good time for tacos.

-M

 

 

Copper & Marble

I have been drooling over the combination of copper + rose gold + marble for some time now and it’s beginning to take over my life. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration,  but the ever classic marble paired with copper and rose gold is  completely lust-worthy. My favorite shade to pair this combo with is none other than one of Pantone’s 2016 Color of the Year – Rose Quartz. Below I’ve curated a list of some of my favorite pieces  following the copper + rose gold + marble trend. Enjoy!

IMG_4664

a. This trend is totally wearable with this marble copper stone ring. This ring is dainty enough to pair with other classic pieces from your jewelry collection, such as a gold Cartier Love bracelet (or a faux gold chain bracelet, holla broke college students).You can get this ring here.

b. If you’re going to burn your money you might as well make it look pretty. This candle contains a coconut soy wax blend in the fragrance of your choice. When the wax is all burned you can totally reuse it, giving the marble container and copper lid life again. Purchase here.

c. For all of your DIY needs, marble contact paper is perfect for giving everything from an old dresser to a journal a makeover. I love this site, because you can order a sample for  $5.99. Available here

d. This is probably my favorite find, because it’s so beautiful. This cloth make-up bag has copper hardware and is perfect to keep in your purse/travel bag. It comes in two sizes and has the option of black or white marble print. Check it out here

e. I normally hate iPhone cases that aren’t a solid color, but i can’t help but love this marble and rose quartz themed case. Available in shiny or matte, at under 20 dollar, it’s an absolutely steal. Purchase here.

-M

 

 

 

Following Through With Things

mask

Hello to all two of you that will probably read this. I have dabbled with the idea of starting an e-zine/blog for a good 10 years now. I remember taking the Louis Vuitton catalogues, and scanning images to my computer to upload to my e-zine… via AOL dial-up. After several failed attempts with blogspot, tumblr, and WordPress, in the last few years, I am finally going to follow through with keeping a consistent blog.

If I had a dollar for every time my friends told me that I should have cameras following my crazy adventures, I’d probably have my coveted Alma BB bag by now. With this blog I will talk about my fitness journey as a working college student, ratchet Michelle adventures (we will get into that later), my obsession with lavish skin-care/makeup, my love for gin food, and traveling on a broke bitch budget.

If I don’t keep up with this blog, someone personally come slap me.

M


Follow my daily, crazy thoughts on twitter