Searching for Normalcy

"And finally, above all else, it is about leaving a mark that I existed: I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a good purpose and that’s why I made works of art…" – Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Weekend in the keys – Part 3 December 21, 2011

Filed under: Life,Photography,Travel — Lulu @ 1:01 am

When we left the Hemingway House, we walked right past the Key West Lighthouse, which was built in 1847. It was about 4:30PM and they close at 5PM. If we’d had more time, I would have loved to have toured the inside.

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We kept walking down the street to the buoy at the Southernmost Point. I’d been there once before, but there was such a crowd of people I couldn’t get close enough to take a picture. This time there was a short line of folks waiting to be photographed in front of it. We waited about 10 minutes for our turn.

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Cuba is that way. Oh, hey, I think I see my uncle! Hola, Tio!  We wanted to head over to Duval Street for a bit and didn’t want to wait around too long for the full-on sunset, but this was good enough to get the sense of it.

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We were walking down Duval when we caught a glimpse of a guy in a spangly tank top and short shorts singing karaoke in this bar – 801 Bourbon Bar – so, of course, we had to check it out. This place was great! Old queens, karaoke and beer? Hell, yeah!

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Can I just say I am completely jealous of the phenomenal butt and legs on this guy??

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After 801 Bourbon Bar, we headed to Sloppy Joe’s.

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We decided to order some appetizers at Sloppy Joe’s since we were getting pretty hungry by that point. We ordered arepas, conch chowder and hot, salted pretzels. That hit the spot perfectly. There was a great latin salsa band playing which lent a very festive, fun air to the place.

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After Sloppy Joe’s, we walked a little further down to the Hog’s Breath Saloon where we each had one of their signature beers.

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I had completely forgotten to take any pictures of the two of us together until this point.

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We finished up the night at Irish Kevin’s Bar. We were actually walking back to the car to leave when we heard this guy (John Solinski) singing and he totally brought us in off the street. Like the Pied Piper of adult drinking establishments or something! He was really great and very entertaining. I wish we’d had more time to hang out here, but we had a long way to drive home so we had to call it a night.

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And that’s about it for our weekend in the Keys. We had a lot of fun and it was nice to get away for a little bit.

 

Peace out, yo!

 

Weekend in the Keys – Part 2 December 20, 2011

Filed under: Life,Photography,Travel — Lulu @ 1:01 am

Key West residents are known for being eccentric.  If the Christmas décor of this house is any indication, I would say that’s a pretty accurate assessment. Just around the corner from this house was a little secondhand bookstore so, of course, I had to stop in. I practiced restraint and only got one book and a handful of vintage-y postcards.

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Our next stop was The Hemingway House Museum. The boy wanted to see it and, although I had been there before, I was happy to tour the home again.

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All of the furniture is original to the home during the time that Hemingway lived there.

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Hemingway’s 2nd wife, Pauline, replaced all the ceiling fans in the house with these chandeliers. The headboard of the master bed is actually a gate from a 17th century Spanish monastery.

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The kitty fountain (for the almost 50 polydactyl – six-toed – cats that live on the property) was built in 1933 and is made from an olive jar imported from Cuba and… a discarded urinal from the original Sloppy Joe’s Bar!

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Pauline had the pool built to surprise Hemingway. It cost $20,000. Surprise!

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Hemingway’s writing studio, preserved as it was originally, including his chair, table and 1920s Royal manual typewriter.

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Family photos and the master bath.

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Close-up of the floor tiles and the family’s personal book collection.

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Memorabilia from the family’s personal archives and the kitchen.

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Part 3 coming up soon…

 

weekend in the Keys – Part 1 December 19, 2011

Filed under: Life,Photography,Travel — Lulu @ 3:43 pm

The boy and I were supposed to go to the Florida Keys for his birthday weekend in November. Unfortunately, he had a bout of shingles in late October which resulted in me contracting the chicken pox in November, so we had to postpone our trip until this past weekend.

 

We spent the night at the Tavernier Hotel in Tavernier, FL. This place is super cute. Very quaint. And the owner was fantastic about letting me change the date of our stay at the last minute. She didn’t even charge a penalty or anything. IMG_8582

The first thing Fanless did was check the wireless internet connection. It ended up being 3x faster than what he has at home.

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The funky tile in our shower. One of my friends pointed out that it looks like Tetris. =)

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We drove to the Whale Harbor Seafood Buffet in Islamorada for dinner. I had been there about 10 years prior and remembered it being really good. For some reason, I found it to be very disappointing this time around. Oh well. After dinner we walked around back to check out the marina.

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We ended up stopping into Wahoo’s Bar & Grill next door to have a beer before heading back to the hotel. The place is really nice but it was dead. We were the only two people sitting at the inside bar, and there were maybe 8 or 10 people seated on the back deck.

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Key West Sunset Ale.

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The following morning we got back on the Overseas Highway and headed south to Key West.

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Even though I don’t swim, I still love the ocean (Cancer is a water sign, after all). I just love the beauty and calm of it. I know that is probably the thing I will miss most about Florida when we move to eastern Washington. Driving south on the Overseas Highway, you have the Atlantic Ocean on the left and the Gulf of Mexico on the right.

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We decided to stop for lunch at Porky’s Bayside. This place is super funky and eclectic, the food was good and the service was efficient and friendly.

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They even let you write on the walls! We left our mark.

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Enjoying the view while waiting for our lunch.

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I had the pulled smoked pork sandwich with sweet potato fries and coleslaw. Fanless had the same but with onion rings instead.

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The power of the internet: Fanless checked us in on Foursquare and one of the comments someone had left for Porky’s was “you have to try the Fried Key Lime Pie.” So we did. It was the bomb-diggity! And I don’t even like Key Lime Pie, so that says a lot about how good it was.

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Part 2 coming up soon…

 

Still Smashing–Part 2 December 12, 2011

Filed under: Scrapbooking — Lulu @ 6:10 pm

And here is part 2 of my black Smash book pages…

 

Pretty invite from my friend’s baby shower (do not adjust your monitors; I blurred out the personal info), Hambly owl sticker, a couple of favorite photos and page from one of the Smash pads.

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Old Navy 3-D glasses and stickers, a printout of Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” (my absolute favorite poem of all time), tags from some Martha Stewart craft items (love her stuff!), and a little drawing I made playing around one day.

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Random photos that I love. A couple are extras that I printed by mistake, The smaller ones are 2”x3” Zink photo stickers I printed in my Dell Wasabi printer.

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Business cards from restaurants and shops that I like. Eventually there will be something on the left side, but I don’t know what yet.

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Just a page of “Us” photos and random memories. That little orange doodle is my “portrait” of Christian. =)

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Cards from my BFF.

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More random bits: a photo from my niece’s wedding and the little “thank you” banner that was attached to the wedding favors, Hello Kitty tags, tickets from Miami Heat games.

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The hospital bracelet from my birth, the newborn photo (inside the card), some elementary school pics, the card from the Get Well flowers from my family (I had surgery in 2007), a Valentine I made my mom when I was in 2nd grade and another card from my BFF.

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Miami book Fair ticket from 2007, pictures of my bookshelves, a business card I like, Mother’s Day photo from 2006 (bad printout = perfect for smashing!), an “About Me” page.

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Mexican loteria card, “Lady” cutout from a magazine with a post it explaining an inside joke about the word “lady.” My Playbill cover and ticket from “Wicked.”

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Vintage pinup images cut out of the back cover of an old wall calendar, a map of Seattle and a booklet my MIL sent me from Liberty Orchards in Washington.

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There are other pages that I didn’t include because they are nowhere near completed. Plus I think this is plenty of photos for now. =)

 

Peace out, yo!

 

Still Smashing–Part 1

Filed under: Scrapbooking — Lulu @ 5:04 pm

It’s been a while since I’ve shared some Smash book pages on here so I thought I’d do that today. Some of these pages I’ve shared before, but I’ve added more stuff since then. Since there are so many pictures, I’ve split it into two posts.

As I’ve mentioned here before, I’ve been crazy for K&Company’s SMASH collection from the first time I learned of it. The freestyle memory-keeping idea behind it really appealed to me and I loved the design of the books and accessories. The first thing I did was set about collecting all of the available books, one of each style.

These are the unused books tucked into one of the shelves in my desk hutch. Sigh… so pretty…

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When I started purchasing the cool accessories that are included in the SMASH collection, I realized that I would need some portable, practical way to keep them all together and easily accessible. Enter this plastic zippered pouch that I got at Office Depot for $1. It’s small enough to be convenient, but large enough to hold everything in one place.

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This is my “Smash Kit.” All of these items fit in that little pouch perfectly, including the “tools” (inkpad, tape runner and paper clips) that I use to smash.

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So far I’ve only used my original Smash book, the black Mod style. There is so much space to fill in these books! I thought for sure I’d fill this one up in no time at all but it’s been six months and I still have a bunch of empty pages in this one. And trust me, I’m constantly collecting and smashing stuff in here. No restaurant take out menu, movie ticket, Wasabi Zink photo or concert ticket stub is safe!

On this page I used a small paper bag and a sheet of Chinese joss paper to make a pocket that holds takeout menus from some of our favorite restaurants. At the top of the bag I wrote “We love to eat!”  =)

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Some truly awful photobooth pictures taken at the Seattle Center, bits of leftover Washi paper, a clothing tag, an embossed card my friend made and a vintage image.

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Postcard from an art show and a prayer card from a funeral (I love religious imagery), and a watercolor print I found online.

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Just getting some random thoughts down, along with a favorite photo and ampersand print. I’m a total typography nerd.

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Tickets and memorabilia from sporting events and other outings.

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Movie ticket stubs and smashpad lists of our favorite movies.

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More random thoughts and pictures, a Celia Cruz postage stamp and a Harajuku Lovers tag from a handbag.

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A list of concerts I’ve been to and a few ticket stubs.
(A few days after this picture was taken I also added a picture of Mike Herrera from MxPx, whom we saw perform in Stuart, FL last week, in the top right corner.)

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Random collection of tags, an expired Jungle Island annual pass, Starbucks card and cup sleeve.

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That’s it for Part 1. Part 2 coming up later.

 

Rickenbacker Fish Company November 9, 2011

Filed under: Food,Life,Personal,Photography — Lulu @ 12:11 pm

(Warning: Photo heavy post.)

 

The boy and I had another great dining experience, thanks to Groupon. I love that these coupon sites, like Groupon and Living Social, give us the opportunity to try out restaurants and activities that we may not have known about otherwise.

 

This time we got to try out Rickenbacker Fish Company, located right on the water on the Rickenbacker Causeway. We arrived at around 5PM and, because the weather was so nice and it was not hot or humid, opted to sit outside on the patio. We had a really nice view from our table.

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This year I am participating in the “Shades of Summer” project on Liz K.’s blog. (Info on the project: Liz purchases a few pairs of the same sunglasses every summer and mails them out to participants who signed up ahead of time. The participants then take a photo of themselves wearing the glasses, email the picture to Elizabeth, then mail the glasses to the next person on the list, and so on. Once she receives all the photos from participants, Liz will post them on her blog.)  These were the glasses I received in the mail and, really, what better backdrop for a photo, right?

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We arrived during Happy Hour so we got to take advantage of the 2-for-1 drink specials. They didn’t have Blue Moon, but Key West Sunset Ale was a pretty nice substitute.

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I really can’t get enough of this view. This is what’s known as a “Chamber of Commerce photo.” Perfect weather, perfect setting, perfect ambiance.

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Let me point out that this appetizer is not chicken wings. They are huge, bacon-wrapped jumbo shrimp, with a BBQ glaze. And they were DELICIOUS!  We could’ve eaten about 20 each, they were that good. We also ordered a really yummy tomato and basil bruschetta, but I forgot to take a picture. Trust me, it was great.

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I ordered a blackened Mahi sandwich, which was nicely prepared, albeit a little too spicy for me. And typically I don’t really go for french fries but, holy crap, were these good . They were perfectly crispy but not overcooked and had some kind of seasoning we couldn’t figure out. Maybe garlic and crack?? I don’t know but we couldn’t stop eating them.

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The boy ordered the Southern Style Pecan Trout. It was mouth-wateringly delicious. Perfectly prepared, flaky but not dry, flavorful but not overly seasoned. The mashed potatoes were creamy and had a light garlicky flavor. He almost licked the plate, his meal was that fantastic.

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We were way too stuffed to enjoy dessert, but maybe next time. (Oh, yes; there will definitely be a next time.)

 

Thanks to our Groupon we enjoyed a meal that would typically have cost around $70 for about $25 plus tip (we always tip on the full amount sans coupon). But we both agreed that even without the Groupon, the overall experience – the setting, the food, the service – is definitely worth the full price and we wouldn’t mind paying such.

 

This was a ‘just because’ shot I took when we were leaving.

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And just some fun trivia to end this post… When the manager came over to the table to scan our Groupon, we got to talking and he mentioned that “The Glades” – one of our favorite TV shows – had actually filmed a scene in almost exactly the same spot where we were sitting. I actually checked when I got home and found the clip online. Here’s a screen shot:

The Glades RFC

 

So if you happen to find yourself in the Brickell/Rickenbacker/Key Biscayne area, I definitely recommend you check out Rickenbacker Fish Company. It’s so worth it.

 

That’s it for now. Peace out, yo!

 

Looking Forward to… October 21, 2011

Filed under: Miscellany — Lulu @ 11:01 pm

What I’m looking forward to in:

1 second: Finishing this episode of “Blue Bloods”

1 minute: Starting season 1 of “Breaking Bad” (the boy said I have to watch it)

1 hour: Hopefully, nite-nite time. I am not getting anywhere near enough sleep lately.

1 day: Going to the Apple store, then lunch at Sarussi’s, with the boy

1 week: Live Halloween ghost hunt on “Ghost Hunters”

1 month: The boy’s birthday outing to the Keys (technically it’s less than a month, but close enough)

1 year: Fingers crossed we’ll be in Washington, in our own place and enjoying quiet, country living

10 years: Still in Washington, completely settled and just enjoying our life.