Holy Shit, I Love You!

​For the past couple of days, I’ve been feeling like the internet was this megaphone for the terminally stupid.

Facebook inspired this ire….because, well…it’s Facebook. ​

I came across someone who genuinely believed that Ato Essandoh (D’Artagnan in D’jango) was actually torn apart by dogs and killed because Leonardo DiCaprio willed it so (apparently, dude is super method) and because racism.

I don’t deny that the US has issues when it comes to race, but dude – fucking really? This? Just…no.

(For the record, Essandoh is fine and just starred that show Elementary on CBS. If you’re working in close proximity with Lucy Liu, I’m gonna go ahead and say you’re doing alright.)

Then, I came across a former acquaintance whose entire life philosophy seems to be a pastiche of bumper sticker wisdom, conspiracy theory paranoia and pseudo-intellectual bullshit about seeking the capital T truth.

​​
You wanna handle this one for me, Jean-Ralphio?

jeanralphio

Thanks, bro.

Internet is my boyfriend and I hate when we fight but this morning, we made up and now, we’re back to good again.

So, here’s a bunch of stuff I love (holy shit) and I hope you love it too:

This story about Howard’s Fried Chicken in Chicago. The food sounds great but the exchange between cashier and client just kills me:

Cashier: I have an order for six chicken dinners!
Customer: That’s for me.
Cashier: Is that for here or to go?
Customer: Excuse me? You think I’m going to sit here and eat six chicken dinners by myself?
Cashier: Bitch, I don’t know your life!

This incredible Spanish guitar cover of Michael Jackson’s Beat It which makes me wanna run away to Spain and hang out in the sunshine while drinking tinto de verano. ​

This post from The Pigeon Gazette ​which features a number of my weaknesses – p​uns, cute animation and Lil’ Jon.

This comic about a mermaid and a unicorn falling in love.

Bar Amo Super Nachos ​which seem to be c​reated with love, scientific precision and pomegranate seeds.

24 Hours in Nashville with Alex Thomopolous which is a great start because I’ve been banging the drum about visiting Nashville for a while now and this just added to the cacophony. I’m hoping to visit over the holidays, listen to lots of live music and eat a shocking amount of biscuits.

These images of the Hotel Nord Pinus in Tangier, Morocco because I want to go to there so badly. Guys, I’ve had the most vicious wanderlust lately.

​This picture of astronaut Leland Melvin and his two rescue dogs.

This video of a Shibu Inu swimming. So, the love of my life is a Shiba Inu and watching this video fills me with such pride that I can’t refrain from babytalking to the screen – “You’re doing it, little pumpkin! You’re swimming! Who’s a pretty girl? Who’s a little mermaid?” It’s ridiculous but I kinda don’t care because dogs are the best of all things.

Just Hold On, We’re Going Home Or, I Love West Palm

A couple of weeks ago, Lenny Kravitz took me to church.

I wish I could say that he showed up – all butter soft black leather and gold eyeliner – grabbed my hand and took me to the front pew of a rickety, ramshackle building where we sang Joyful Joyful and clapped until our hands hurt…

But no – he took me to church in the metaphorical sense. I saw him perform live and while I was shimmying barefoot on the grass as he belted out American Woman, I realized two things:

1. Lenny Kravitz might be Benjamin Button.
2. I am completely and unequivocally in love with West Palm Beach.

When I was eighteen, I was itching to leave my hometown. Like a character in a Springsteen song, I wanted to escape. When you live in the suburbs and spend your nights kicking around shopping plaza parking lots, it’s easy to believe that your town is full of losers and that you need to pull out to win.

God, I was bored. Not just bored but beset with a dull-edged combination of Richard Linklater’s Slacker ennui and Lindsay Lohan channeling Liz Taylor.

bored

So, I left. Away to college and after that, 1000 miles up the Eastern seaboard in relatively close proximity to where Springsteen songs became a reality.

A little over a decade later, circumstance landed me back in West Palm.

Circumstance being a euphemism for shitty break-up.

I got into town on a Sunday afternoon – disconnected and weary. Everything was the same; everything was different.

I was days shy of thirty. I was back in the hometown I itched to escape and I had no fucking clue what I was going to do with my life. The promise and prospect of living in Los Angeles, having children and a happily ever after? It was all just dust in the rear view now.

And yet, I felt a sense of peace. No, my life wasn’t the J. Crew holiday catalog that I had envisioned it would be, but for the first time in a long while – I felt safe.

West Palm felt like home.

And home, as it turns out, is a pretty damn great place to be.

My parents made me promise to take a couple of months off to readjust and take a moment to breathe, so my plan was to spend an inordinate time on the couch, shower at irregular intervals and marathon watch the entirety of Netflix.

Luckily, the universe is smarter than I am.

Three days later, I was on a date. A really good one involving a very cute guy, prickly pear margaritas and live music. This night eventually lead to three things:

1. The realization that fruity margaritas are bullshit and I should stick to the classics.
2. A really cute boyfriend with an even cuter dog.
3. The aforementioned unabashed and abiding love for West Palm which in turn, lead to me exploring and rediscovering the town I grew up in.

I was bored because I was hanging out in suburban parking lots.

Once you get the hell out of the Steak ‘N Shake parking lot, there is an entire world out there.

A world with tattoo parlors and diners who hold art shows. A world featuring teeny little holes in the walls serving the best tacos, arepas and falafel sandwiches I’ve ever eaten (I don’t know who makes the creamy garlic sauce at the Middle Eastern joint on 5th but I love you).

A world where you can practice yoga on the beach. A world with a five day waterfront art and music festival where you see Trombone Shorty and Gary Clark Jr. rewrite the book on what it means to be a musician.

A world with a brewery where you can buy a beer that tastes like breakfast, farmer’s markets with teeny little piggies that you can pet while munching on the best apple cider donuts and where you can play bocce while sipping on champagne.

A world awash in live music – be it huge national acts or just a man and his acoustic guitar.

This world is interesting and colorful and diverse and it’s mine. Waiting for me – bright, juicy and ripe with promise just outside my front door.

I don’t just reside here; I live in West Palm.

And I have never felt more alive.

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 32

What do you think your life will look like when you’re 32?

17-year-old Jaime: I’ll be writing for an entertainment magazine, married with kids and living in a cute house with a lemon tree in the backyard.

22-year-old Jaime: I’ll be writing for an entertainment website. Married with a little kid and living in a house in the suburbs. Manicured lawn, cute dog and a uniform of capri pants and flip-flops. I basically want to be Sports Guy…but less sports and more 90210. Cheer up, Brando! How about a Mega Burger?

27-year-old Jaime: Hopefully, I’ll be living in L.A and I’ll either be seriously thinking about kids or I’ll already have one. Cute little bungalow and maybe a dog. Hopefully writing for a living or working in the entertainment industry.

31-year-old Jaime:

I’m moving to a tiny apartment in a historical neighborhood. It has Spanish tile floors, it’s close to downtown and I’m going fill it with glitter, books and pictures of musicians. I’m going to learn how to cook malai kofta there and I’m going to spend sunny Sunday afternoons on the back patio, drinking blackberry gin fizz and listening to Big Star.

This morning, I sent a text message to my boyfriend telling him I like him because he’s like Elliot Ness from The Untouchables – smart, brave, upstanding and a total fucking bad-ass.

I don’t have kids or a dog but a lot of my friends have either or both. That means 100% cuddle time and 25% cleaning up bodily fluids time (25% because I’m not a monster. If your kid needs a diaper change, I got you covered. Seriously. Pour another glass of wine, dude).

In addition to doing other things, I do write for a living. And even though I make zero dollars doing so, I write about music and love every moment of it.

Obviously, my life didn’t turn out the way I thought it would.

But, does anyone’s?

The past year has been the happiest of my life and like all good things, I am wild and free.

But also responsible as fuck as I have a good credit score, pay all my bills on time, take vitamins and know better than to drink cheap gin (again, not a monster).

My thirties have been really great so far and I’m excited to see what this next year will bring, so here’s to 32 – adventures, kisses, great meals, icy cocktails, cute dogs and lovelovelove all punctuated by live music.

It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive and I’m more than glad.

I am over-fucking-joyed.

Austin: A Journey Told In Gifs

I’m known for being hyperbolic.

Gin isn’t a delicious beverage served with tonic. It is a life-giving elixir and the only thing capable of making you feel civilized when your world has been torn asunder.

Bruce Springsteen isn’t a talented musician with an enduring career so much as he is my surrogate heartbeat and progenitor of this immigrant’s America loving soul.

So, it makes sense that my trip to Austin last month was the greatest goddamn thing I have EVER done.

I love Austin. I love Austin so much that I would never want to move there and ruin it.

I’ll visit. I’ll spend ALL my money, I will eat enough tacos to kill a burro but I will not move there. Y’all don’t need my bullshit.

So, first thing people do when they go to Austin?

tacobell

God, Karen! You’re so stupid! You don’t go to Taco Bell when you’re in Austin. You go everywhere else. I ate migas tacos, grilled queso fresco, fried avocado tacos, bean tacos, roasted vegetable tacos and fried portabella mushroom tacos – all doused in amazing hot sauce.

And now, the Mexican food in South Florida doesn’t hold up and I miss Taco Deli’s Salsa Dona more fervently than I have ever missed any family member, friend or lover.

lcmissyou

Oh and also?

You GUYS. Their fucking grocery store sells hot fresh tortillas. And the sweet little abuelita making them? Just GIVES you one to taste and smiles at you encouragingly when you eat it (as abuelitas are wont to do) and it is just straight magic.

yum

ACL

Less douchebags per capita than Coachella, less smelly than Bonnaroo and less terrifying than Burning Man – Austin City Limits is just like heaven….but with better food.

Seeing your favorite new band live is like going on a first date. You’re excited but nervous and there’s this underlying fear that it’s going to suck.

ellewoods

Luckily, The Gaslight Anthem were the best first date I’ve ever had. They played a great selection of tracks from all of their albums, their stage patter would have made Springsteen proud and I cannot wait to see them again.

The Replacements played Alex Chilton and I did this:

jessicaday

I’ve always thought of Eddie Vedder as this serious elder statesman of rock and roll, you know? He’s the fiery, impassioned soul who scribbled pro-life messages on his arm during an MTV Unplugged performance and routinely speaks out about politics.

I expected him to be a couple of notches below Neil Young on the ‘Go Fuck Yourself’ Meter but

wrong

Dude drank a bottle of wine onstage, cracked jokes and invited everyone to an afterparty at the sound guy’s house.

vedder

Outkast opened with B.O.B. and closed with The Whole World and I got to hear my favorite, favorite Outkast line.

Eminem and Skrillex also performed but

maxshot

That aside, I spent the entire festival feeling like this:

bird

Everyone in Austin was super chill and friendly. The service was among the best I’ve ever had in my life (looking at you, Frank!) and people were just wonderful. Except the two broads who hit on my boyfriend right in front of me.

leave

Yeah. That is not OK. I will find you and I will ruin your credit.

I saw the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue.

srv

I did this:

sobeautiful

I also explored a cave, hung out with cute puppies and great people, bruised, blistered and bloodied my feet (and kept going) and fell in City Love once again.

Austin has officially become my favorite city in the United States and I highly recommend that everyone take a trip there at least once in their lives. The residents are interested and interesting. They care. Oh God, they give so many fucks – about their music, about their food, about their history, about the world we live in. They’re kind and they’re warm and they want to come and hang out. Just don’t move there, bro. I mean, shit. It’s on a t-shirt and everything.

Oh and just because I feel it’s kinda necessary

swearalot

Falling In Love With Cities and Dead Musicians

When I was nineteen, I fell in love with Stevie Ray Vaughan.

And by proxy, I fell in love with Austin – this weird little music-loving burg in the heart of Hill Country. The place Willie has a street named after him.

I’m going to Austin next month for Austin City Limits.

Image by Brooke Weber.

Image by Brooke Weber.

To say I’m excited is an understatement akin to saying the Beyhive can occasionally be a little intense.

I’m going to Austin with two of my favorite people, I’m going to see Outkast and Pearl Jam and Gaslight Anthem and Benjamin Booker and holy fucking shit you guys, I’m going to see The Replacements live.

I’m going to eat ALL the food because Austin is the land of migas and tacos and vegan Frito pies. I’m going to drink Shiner Bock while listening to bluesy boogie rock and I’m going to take a shitload of pictures. I’m gonna be talked out of buying a pair of cowboy boots and talked into taking one more shot (which is always the best/worst idea).

And I’m going to leave a fresh pack of guitar strings at the Stevie Ray Vaughan memorial at Lady Bird Lake.

It’s a bit silly, really. I mean, it’s not like he’s going to use them and odds are, they’re going to be stolen like, five minutes later.

(To the dude that’s gonna steal the strings: Play Lenny and if you don’t know any SRV, play a little Willie and if you don’t know any Willie, but the damn strings back)

But, when I was nineteen, I fell in love.

And love isn’t rational.

So, you leave six slinky strings for a man long gone and hope that somewhere amid the chaos and calm of the universe, he knows that you’re grateful for all the love he passed your way and that even though you never knew him, you miss him.

Love in the Time of Adulthood or, Unsubscribing to the Carrie Bradshaw Bullshit

I was 13 when William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet came out and like every 13-year-old girl with pictures of Leonardo DiCaprio plastered all over her walls, this movie became my everything.

I owned a copy on VHS, both soundtracks, posters and every magazine with Claire and Leo on the cover.

It was marketed as, “The greatest love story of all time….for our time,” and when you’re an awkward 13-year-old with glasses and frizzy hair, you buy this.

“This is the most romantic thing ever. They’re soul mates. They love each other. It’s destiny!”

However, when you’re an adult with D&G glasses and access to a flat-iron, you see things a little differently.

It’s less impossibly romantic and more, “Oh my God. You dipshit chowderheads. You’ve known each other for THREE DAYS! Throw a solid month at it before you decide to start fucking about with daggers and poison.”

My concept of love came directly from the movies.

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys and don’t let television and movies set the standard of what love is for your highly impressionable teenage daughter.

I thought that in order for it to be real – love needed to be like the movies. I believed the Carrie Bradshaw Bullshit.

What’s the Carrie Bradshaw Bullshit?

Pretty much everything she has ever said but this in particular:

cb

As an impressionable teenager, I understood this completely.

As an adult? Yeah. I’m gonna let my girl Lana Kane sum up my thoughts on this one:

lk

Let’s stop and think about this for a second.

Ridiculous? Really? Monkeys wearing tiny little pants are ridiculous. The price of fresh juice is ridiculous ($11 for a cup of pulverized fruit? Seriously, bro?). The fact that the chairman of the FCC used to be a lobbyist for the cable industry is ridiculous.

Any decent relationship shouldn’t be considered ridiculous. You’re looking for an adjective? Try happy. Try uplifting. Try amazeballs. Try anything but ridiculous.

Inconvenient? Like ATM fees and pop-up windows and when you realize you forgot something at the store and need to jackass all the way back to get it? Like that? This is something that you want to cultivate? OK, knucklehead. Enjoy that.

If a relationship is a pain in the ass and a chore, why are you engaged in it?

Consuming? You know what they used to call tuberculosis? Consumption. Look, there is nothing wrong with being into the person you’re into but I’m good without the symbiosis. You were your own fully-fledged person before your significant other came along and you should hold onto that.

If I wanted a tapeworm, I’d eat a raw slab of ham.

Can’t Live Without Each Other? I assure you, you can. And you will. Because unless the person you’re in a relationship with happens to be your conjoined twin (and that’s just a whole ‘nother kettle of crazy that I’m not going into), odds are – you’re gonna be just fine. You’ll endure. Because that’s what people do.

Despite all this, I like to believe that I’m still a romantic. My perspectives have shifted like the colors in a kaleidoscope and I just happen to be a realist/not a fucking idiot about the whole thing.

Admittedly, I have no idea what the hell I’m doing but I know this much to be true:

1. Be kind. You learned this as a toddler and it’s still applicable today.
2. Knock off the shit. Welcome to the big leagues. You are no longer in high school and here, we use our words. Don’t employ the silent treatment to punish someone. Don’t ignore texts and phone calls. You’re an adult. Talk it out. Be honest. Be generous with compliments, quick with apologies and sincere in both.
3. Make out. Like, a lot. Like, a whole lot.
4. Try. Put in the effort for no other reason than the other person is worth it.
5. Seriously. Goddamn it, babies. You’ve got to be kind.

I was in this restaurant once – eating solo while reading a book. I looked up and saw this middle-aged couple. Nothing remarkable or out of the ordinary – just two people sitting across from one another, holding hands.

Just happy to be there.

Romance is the little things and that’s what I want.

Yeah, you could be with someone who’d die for you…but wouldn’t you rather have someone who’ll live with you?

Shame Shopping Or, What’s Important In A Dress Is The Woman Who’s Wearing It.

I have a shameful confession to make.

Actually, I have multiple shameful confessions to make:

– I really like that Kid Ink/Chris Brown song.
– Sometimes when I get really sad, I’ll shame-eat a Burger King veggie burger and onion rings.
– I can’t remember half the character names on Game of Thrones and refer to them by their attributes (super cute political powerhouse queen regent, creepy bastard fuck who flayed Lily Allen’s brother, Lily Allen’s brother, kid from Love Actually who I love…)

But this shameful confession is far worse (don’t worry, Mom. I didn’t murder anyone or eat pork).

I buy clothes from Forever 21.

I know.
I KNOW.

There are a litany of issues with shopping there. Two of the biggest being their unfair labor practices and the fact that I am 31 and therefore, SO not their target demo (anorexic teenagers with a penchant for text speak and garish prints that look terrible on everyone).

But society insists that I wear clothes, Forever 21 sells cute little frocks for $10 a pop and I am only human.

It’s an unfortunate state of affairs. Especially for the girl who is 100% on board with the No Pants Revolution, but that’s the way it works….for now.

Look, I would love to be the cute girl who rocked Madewell and Kate Spade but here’s the deal – I can’t justify spending $158 on a dress when I could take that $158 and spend it on premium cable, gin and cheap tacos.

Priorities, y’all.

Since actually visiting one of their stores is as much fun as a surprise pap smear, I opt to buy my clothes online.

This is alternately a wonderful and terrible idea.

Wonderful because I don’t have to actually go into the store, battle a gaggle of judgy middle schoolers and have my eardrums assaulted by Iggy Azalea dubstep remixes.

It’s terrible because I don’t actually get the opportunity to try anything on and I just have to trust that the item I’ve chosen will fit.

I recently bought a few things and was understandably excited when my order came in.

Polka dots! Peach teardrop earrings! Sandals that are undeniably uncomfortable but super cute! That stupid thing to make a sock bun with!

I try on two floral print dresses and so far, so good. They fit well and I can totally wear them with my nude heels.

Then, I try on dress #3 and I go from looking like cute girl in a floral print to a monstrous sea cow…in a floral print.

Forever 21 and I disagree on many things and the definition of ‘medium’ is one of them.

So, I head to the store to return the dress and dear God, it is exactly the fresh hell that I envisioned.

Why are you wearing a Wu-Tang shirt? You don’t know the glory of the RZA, the GZA and M-E-T-H-O-D M-A-N.
Dear God, they make Frappuccinos that big now? Who needs all that sugar?
Little girl, does your mother know you left the house wearing that?
Wait, how did you get your sock bun to look so good?

After a solid half hour of furious rifling, I managed to find another dress that didn’t make me look like a pregnant dugong and switched out my purchase but I’m still having Kurtz-ian flashbacks – “The horror….the horror….”

Am I going to stop shopping at Forever 21? Probably not because $10 frocks and the fact I value HBO over clothing BUT I’m definitely going to try to make the attempt to seek out better retailers.

Any and all suggestions would be much appreciated.

Now if you’ll excuse me, one of these goddamn rings turned my finger green and I’ve got to scrub off the evidence…