March 22, 2013

Last year's chronicles.

I wrote a wedding guest post yesterday for Indieberries. Well, it was supposed to be a wedding post, but as it already happened once before I ended up talking about vampires. Which was probably just as well, because who are we kidding?? I know nothing about weddings. Though no expert either, vampires just seemed a safer choice of topic and I do know my Eric from my Edward (thanks, nieces!).
So either way it seemed that some people liked my story and one commentator was looking forward to reading more vampire stories. Which I hate to disappoint. Then again I think I have written all about them that I can, because – you may need to cover your eyes, eager vampire stories fan – since an overexposure to pouting Stefan, I am actually slightly over vampires. Dig here and here and here if you want to know my former insights on the eternal matter.
Today however I still have some thoughts about my birthday and my previous year to share. I guess most people start reminiscing around their birthdays in one way or another. Some before, some after – once the pressure is off you and realize it is not much different to be 28 34 than it was to be 27 33.  I was reading some old posts again and remembered that though my birthday itself was properly celebrated last year, I was not in a good space. I was in a relationship that was completely wrong and if I care to admit it made me somehow miserable. For an odd reason or another I accepted this misery as part of an adult relationship. As much as I tried to tell myself they could, but pink bubbly and filet in cappuccino truffle sauce (a phrase I never use is in order: OMG!) at the Pot Luck Club couldn't make up for the fact that we were arguing all throughout my birthday dinner.  Things ended shortly after, but I still felt off. A layer too little…out of my skin… uncomfortable in my own skin…and all of them at once.
In June I had my long booked appointment with Rod Suskin. The last time I had spent money on revealing the future and explaining the past I was in a dark square off Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Equally drunk on Bloody Marys and spooky vampire stories (see, dear vampire stories fan, I can always sneak one in for you!) it made complete sense to pay an old witch to tell me about burning towers, the sun, the moon, and the knight in shining armour following them. The next morning I washed the prophecies and the hangover down with two aspirin and forgot all about it. The only reason why I would spend money on a session with Rod as expensive as pink bubbly and filets in cappuccino truffle sauce for a party of twenty was the combined effort of my aunt and uncle. Two people who I trust completely, who cannot be more different, but who were both utterly convinced by his skills. So was I after the session. I still don’t know if I believe in astrology, but I believed him when I told me that I was okay the way I am and that my life choices are on the right track. He told me to stop worrying. He told me that everything was going to be fine. Wouldn't you rather believe someone who tells you that you can have everything you ever wanted and maybe make it a self-fulfilling prophecy than a silly, little voice that advises to be sensible and that you can’t always get what you want? Maybe I was naïve, but I thought I should at least try.
So I tried and before you hold your breath, no, my life did not just become magically better overnight. I still had a difficult year 2012, where things just felt harder all the time than I thought they should feel. The year culminated in a trip back home, which turned out less than exciting and a New Year’s party with an about to be divorced couple. When the first day of the new year dawned I was not only hangover, but had no voice to yell at them to shut up and stop arguing. I was convinced this year was going to be equally bad as the last with such a way to start it. It wasn't.
Somehow, something in me had shifted after this trip and I found a non-New Year’s New Year’s resolution when I came back to Cape Town. I think without knowing the words, I took Rumi to heart when he wrote: Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
Mind you, most of the days I still fail miserably at changing into the person I ultimately like to be. I worry and the worry makes me bitchy and confused and indecisive. Some days however I don’t fail quite as much and just with these few days and the good intention, life has become somehow easy. Or at least a little less hard. I might not be a glass if half full kind of person yet, but at least I have learned that even half a glass of wine is better than no wine at all and that’s good enough reason to keep trying.

March 18, 2013

Hotel dreaming.

My parents did their share of luxury travels in their days, but understandably so, that was before I came along. I think after a few attempts to have me sit still and enjoy a meal prepared by a Michelin Star chef, they realized, though I wasn't a fussy eater per se, that the art of fine dining was still lost on me. Obviously the same went for 5-star hotels and boutique guest houses. I was completely content with fries by the beach as long as there was enough mayo to drown them in and our holiday bungalow as long as the top bunk was mine.
Even when I was a bit older and had learned the art of appreciating a glass of French Champagne at the Ritz, we would still keep accommodation modest. Our priorities called for simple accommodation which just had to be clean and in close proximity to said treats and other attractions.
When I was older and started to travel for work things got slightly different and most trips I went on got even the mere assistant fancy suites. But they would also come with an aftertaste of very early mornings, lonely late nights with room service and TV, and overpriced toothpaste from the hotel shop as I always, always would forget to take my own. And as much as we all like the idea of steamy hotel room sex, nothing makes you in fact feel lonelier than a king size bed, clad in Egyptian cotton and no one to share it with but the resort kitten - which is no euphemism, but an actual cat who I shared my bed with for an entire week while in St. Barth’s once.   
Though I am not a camper/backpacker/dorm-sharer, with these memories in the back of my head, I actually never minded keeping accommodation simple when travelling for fun. On my last trip to Morocco I realized I must have a door to close and a bed by myself and that is all the luxury I really need. So when I booked my upcoming August trip - Yes, I may let you know right here: Trip to Cambodia and Vietnam is approved, flights are booked, and can you hear me screech in excitement? – I didn't mind booking budget hotels as long as I could upgrade to have my own room.
As my itinerary starts in Bangkok I decided to add two nights to acclimatize and explore the city. Unfortunately I had the silly idea to look for accommodation myself (instead of going with the cheap hotel, where my group is staying the first night of the trip) and I found The Asadang.

It is four times as expensive and I could buy massages and Pad Thai with that extra money for the entire month.

Why do I need a fancy hotel just to sleep?

And who goes to Bangkok to sleep anyhow?

I don’t care.

My heart longs to go there...

March 11, 2013

The boy above my bed.

Guys, this post is really not my doing, again I am little more than a translator here. All the wit and linguistic splendour really comes from my delectable friend Julia, the cotton candy girl. This is my much preferred job description for her these days as I find plain old journalist just a tad boring. And though I will admit that whether you know the story behind the name or not, it has the slightest stripper notion attached to it, I still like it and know she doesn't mind.
I ended my Tuesday last week with a Facebook status saying Today yoga kicked my ass, YSL broke my heart, and now poor pasta has to make it all better. I should add that I don’t mind at all having my ass kicked in a yoga class. What happened on the runway at the Saint Laurent F/W 2013 show I did mind a whole lot.

Let’s start from the beginning. I adore Yves Saint Laurent. And more than just the brand I adore him as a person and what he has created and inspired over the years. I have a picture of him in Morocco over my bed, which admittedly has raised some eyebrows of men guests who have shared stayed in my bed. I think why not? Though not generically handsome, he is endearing.  A bit nerdy, a bit innocent; a hipster in the true, original meaning of the word. To call him the godfather of all hipsters would make sense. He made it cool to be uncool way before it became cool to be uncool. He was also a prime example many times that really anything is possible if you set your mind to it. An awesome combination if you ask me. Why not have him to be the last thing I see before I go to sleep, so I can dream and spread my wings with his inspiration in mind?
Over my years in New York it was part of my job to watch and attend shows.  Whoever was designing for YSL at the time, some collections I liked, some I was indifferent about, but I pretty much always felt that I had missed out on the best part of it: The time when Yves Saint Laurent himself designed and pretty much made fashion history with each and every collection.

Now my fashion days are long over and I don’t really care all that much anymore. There are few collections I still watch, but I view them completely different now. I can get excited about Hedi Slimane’s first collection under the Saint Laurent name just because I had found a new future wedding dress when I saw his Witches of Eastwick dresses. It didn't matter to me that when you put them in context with the history of brand, they didn't quite spell YSL, I just liked them for me.
But when I looked at his latest collection, I actually just wanted to curl up in bed, clutch Yves’ picture to my chest, hold him tight and say I am sorry, I am so sorry! Then I wanted to write a letter of condolences to Pierre Bergé who had to sit through the show and put on a brave poker face. Nothing felt or looked right about it, nothing even whispered YSL. 
What made it worse was that nobody but me seemed to care at all. Maybe I was a day late with my reaction, maybe critics weren't overly enthusiastic either, but in general I felt rather alone in my dismay. That was till I got a message from Julia. She started the conversation by telling me she found a wedding present for me. Which was exciting because it implied that there is at least one other person who has not given up on me eventually finding Mr Charming (I call him Mr as being a Princess seems tedious work, so I don’t want a Prince.) Then she answered my unspoken question and wrote no, under no circumstances would I get it as a birthday gift, I would just have to wait and find HIM first. Then we spoke about yoga and after we moved swiftly on to the actual important part of the conversation, which inspired this post:

Julia: And btw: can we talk about Slimane. I almost - and that’s NOT fashionjourlistexaggertaionnonsensetalk (her word not mine) – started to cry this morning and (now she is moving into German, I shall translate) hope they kick him out of Paris latest by day after tomorrow. I would throw him in the Seine. Though that would be sad for his photographic skills.

Here comes the time for me to admit that I always mix up Hedi Slimane and Raf Simons. Scorn me if you want though I am pretty sure I'm not the only one. There is just something about the two that makes them like Tweedledum and Tweedledee to me. So I wasn’t quite sure yet whether to agree with her, because I didn't mind the Dior show all that much. Just because it didn't blew me away, didn't mean he – Raf as it turns out – deserved a future as French fish food.

Me: He is the one doing YSL? I always mix him up with the other one. If yes, then I will help kick him out. Pierre Bergé surely started crying?

Julia: I thought about this immediately and Madmoiselle Deneuve probably got a fright and went for a smoke first. Mon dieu! (that’s how she writes – don’t you love her??) But we will talk about this horriblehorriblehorrible horror tomorrow in detail.

In case you wonder, yes, this whole conversation happened on Whatsapp but we already had a Skype date lined up to discuss further.

Me: I am so happy you exist… I couldn’t even find anyone on Twitter to gossip and share my sorrow with.

Julia: True! But those are all cretins (Her word, not mine. I didn't even know it existed and thought she made it up. Sorry if you are on Twitter. Don’t be offended, I'm sure you weren't one of them and just really busy last Tuesday not to respond to my tweet), who cannot differentiate between something they would wear themselves or something that puts the entire identity of a fashion house to the grave. Love you!

Me: Wise words though if I wanted to look like Courtney Love I would buy Marc Jacobs!

Julia: Funny! I said exactly the same today. But we knew already that we are soul mates!!

And that we are. Detailed report from the two candy cotton soul mates about the current state and future of YSL to follow.

P.S. As it is now a few days later I can report that there was no talk of Mr Laurent whatsoever during the Skype conference. We decided boys in our bed were more important to discuss than the one above it. 

March 8, 2013

The morning after.


Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 28 34. I had a whole post planned with birthday ramblings about getting older and wiser and where I was last year and where I am now and so on. You will get it eventually, but today I just don’t feel like rambling. Today I just feel insanely grateful (I just misspelled it greatful - which is sort of awesome) and much loved. I woke up to my little flat being in a complete state of chaos and it made me nothing but smile. In a mess of glasses, left over brioche hotdog buns and empty champagne bottles I also found a few unopened ones. I am not sure why I would be so lucky, but how can it not make my day to find champagne bottles instead of green juice first thing in the morning in the fridge?

And though I may sound like I’m practising my Oscar acceptance speech here, but I need to say thank you for … countless calls and emails, flowers, cupcakes, the four people who attempted to sing for me, so many wonderful and thoughtful presents, and the fact that I managed to fit 20 people in my little flat to celebrate with me!

March 4, 2013

One wedding and two unkissed frogs.

We have thoroughly examined my inability to pack and how when the time comes I always sit like a deer in headlights and just stare at my suitcase, right? Well as things go last Thursday I had to brave the unwanted task yet again and this time multiplied in its magnitude of what the heck should I take and how am I going to fit it all? It was my cousin’s wedding on Saturday and as much as I was all excited for a road trip (and yes, Grabouw makes it a road trip in my books!), a gathering with some a lot of my favourite people over wine and food, and of course the overall soppiness of a beautiful occasion, I had no clue what to take. Which was partly due to the fact that the groom who was in charge of two things, invitation and accommodation, but didn't get around to either. So I basically didn't know if there was any dress code and since I was scheduled to sleep in a tent I would have to get wedding ready in a bathroom which was called 'a clean ablution block' on the farm’s website.

Luckily I wasn't a slave styling assistant for years for nothing.

So I dug out my pink unicorn headlamp and an old dress, which was chic enough to match any dress code, yet slutty enough to make it appropriate for a sailor’s wedding (not a euphemism, my cousin is actually a captain) and I thought me ready for anything. The next day I even managed to buy some padkos though I realize I need to re-evaluate the concept of padkos as surely it doesn't count if you eat it all before you even hit the N2 or does it?

The drive went as smoothly as a drive can be with me and two cousins and no vodka:

Cousin 1: Did you bring vodka?
Me: No sorry.
Cousin 1: But what’s in the bottle then?
Me: That’s my yoga water bottle. Filled with water.
Cousin 1: Pity, it looked like a Grey Goose bottle.

Obviously there was much sex talk as we were driving to a wedding and thus deemed it the perfect topic of conversation.

Cousin 2: Let’s talk about sex.

And much screeching singing and me almost driving into the orchards while Night Fever was playing.

Me: Night fever, night feeveeeer!
Cousin 1: Whoo – why is there an apple tree in the middle of the road?

Somehow we managed to arrive all three of us and my little car intact.
Then there was…

A lake.

Fairy lights. Yay!

A slip ‘n slide with more adults fully dressed on it than I cared to count.

Tequila shots more than I cared to count.

Two swims around the entire lake and the realization that you do need your abs to swim…who would have guessed?

A DJ and a squazilionair, applying to become members of my family by the end of the weekend.

Countless pairs of shoes, cast aside after we opened the dance floor, patiently waiting for their owners to find them the next day.

A bit of magic all around.

Two frogs. Unkissed. At least one of them, as far as I know. Both may have been kissed. If you kissed one too, comment now or be forever silent.

The bestest chocolate cake ever. Seeing that it was delivered in person - do you read this, Callie?? – gives me hope that he may yet cave and make one little cheesecake for my birthday…

Oh yes, last but not least there was also a beautiful bride and a handsome groom and they both said yes!

Here are some little snapshots. I will not even try to explain the hats and wigs...

One should mention that there was however neither a full length mirror nor a power plug in our tent as some people…ehm, cousin 1?!...thought there would be. With that in mind I think I deserve a medal for my glamping skills.

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