Vibes, Style, & Writers
One of my dearest friends, Natalia Provatas, sent me a picture of a 2018 memory from before baby came into mine and Amos' life. We were at a house party celebrating episode 3 of VIDA on Starz, which has since been cancelled. I remember this was one of the nights we talked about queerness and got schooled on the word "joteria" by playwright and composer - Abel Alvarado. Since this eventful night, Natalia and I have embarked on our own personal journeys to enter television writing rooms and dream to someday have our own show or sell a script.
I post this image and tell this story not only because our faces express ridiculous joy, but there is something about the color scheme of this photo strip and our brown/olive skin that gives me life.
I recall Natalia's style, and her influence in my life. From her creative essays, to visiting her apartment a while back and sitting at her kitchen table made from a repurposed door. "Anything is possible!" She said.
My personal style has shifted over the years and has declined since my twenties. I find myself choosing comfort over style. Yet, Natalia is always evolving and very subtly makes space for her style to stretch with bold choices that I often admire from a distance. Though I am a lazy dresser, I still stay abreast of fashion and trends.
Someday I'll jolt myself awake again, grab that bold leather jacket from my closet and match it with a red dress and boots. I'll wear it to a dance rehearsal and let myself be imperfectly bold and take risks again.
As Amos and I embark on the future of our home, we are also seeing opportunities for growth and bold choices. It really does help to have creative and stylish friends though, they always get the juices flowing. And we writers and world makers, we're the best at making something out of thin air. Thanks for the flashback, amiga.
Oh baby, baby!
Well it's been officially almost three years since our last post, and that was not intentional folks. This is Rosa and my life has been a whirlwind of change and creative work since our last encounter. Since our post in April 2017, lost of adventure has happened. The most important one arrived last spring in 2019, our son. He is now practicing his walk all over my furniture and smiling at me every morning with his four little teeth. That's right, these two weirdos you see to the left there have decided to reproduce. Lord have mercy! Having a baby is a taxing and rewarding job all at once. He gives us joy we never knew existed on this planet.
So here I am. I have returned to blogging due to being indoors all these days because of this dreaded pandemic, which is - no doubt - going to haunt me and my partner for the rest of our lives. Hopefully, the little one is spared any long lasting imprints from being indoors most of the time. Yet, we're making the most of it. Trying to thrive in an expensive city with a one year old is an adventure in itself. Yet we take it one day at a time and always think about our blessings. It's been a journey to say the least.
This virus has forced many of us to stop what we are doing, and catch up on some of our projects we may have left on the wayside. For me it's writing. For our home, it's been making a list and planning on sketches of what we wan to achieve in the next three years. We hit the snooze button on our home improvement projects, but I am getting the itch to do some improvisational tidying up and organizing while we wait.
Organizing things has helped me focus and create better environments in my home. With a baby, aesthetics is sometimes thrown out the window as comfort and baby safety takes precedence. Now that the kid is one, I am trying to get back to a routine that benefits both his growing experience and inspires me to get up every morning and enjoy my home.
This is my goal for the rest of this year. I need to make my house feel like a home again. Getting another bed, creating a guest room, losing my art supply closet for my teaching art work, having more family stay with us, and also compiling bags of stuff for a future yard sale has had its toll on our casita. Time to tidy up!
Anything for my family at this point because it's not just about me and my husband anymore. Our little bundle of farts needs to have his own space and proper tools for growing a healthy and happy mind, body and spirit. He has it better than I ever had it as a kid, but he'll never know that. I just hope this lock down is at least helping him grow with confidence, empathy and love.
Anyways, I cannot believe I haven't posted in three years. Time flies and it's time to be open with Casa Amorosa again.
My next post will be about tidying up my small office because it looks like a tornado hit it. Time to separate the items, sale the reusable, recycle/upcycle the things that can be resourceful in our home, give away clothes, and throw away the rest. My goal is to make the office a co-living space for me and the kid. A place for my work and also to keep a close eye on him while he plays nearby. This is also wishful thinking, but I have hope and he's getting older now.
Wish me luck and please stay safe out there. Nothing is worth more than our health, our safety, and our families. Until next time!
New Orleans 2017
Amos and I went to New Orleans last week for a workshop, and found ourselves getting re-inspired for our home again. Check out some of these highlight moments.
The color scheme on the walls of New Orleans are bold and cartoony -- my kinda lifestyle. #StudioBe is an incredible gallery, where we found distressed walls, graffiti art, and positive messages all over their walls. They also had a corner dedicated to young community artists, which truly inspired me. The last few shots are of us wandering the streets. The statue street artist reminded me of my retro home - 1920's and fabulous. Bacchanal Wine Bar and Restaurant made great use of XMAS lights. We're thinking of doing something like this for gatherings or events. We also enjoyed the exterior lights used in some of the homes and businesses. New Orleans is not afraid of color, and that was truly exciting to be around. The last image reminded me of Amos and I, during our wedding. I know he's not a skeleton - but the wall art made me think about the mural I want to paint in my house. Though the more I think about it, the more I'd like it to be outside. More details to come in the near future. Right now, the boo and I are raising funds again. Fixing a house is expensive y'alls, but it doesn't mean we have to wait for it to be our home.
Image 1: Art Walk on Frenchmen St.
Image 2: Furniture store wall art
Image 3: #StudioBe gallery
Image 4: #StudioBe portrait
Image 5: Street Art
Image 6: Street Art
Image 7: Botanical Gardens at City Park
Image 8: Vintage Statue gives me fortune
Image 9: Bacchanal Wine 2nd floor
Image 10: Bacchanal Wine
Image 11: Amos walking in Frenchmen St.
Image 12: Frenchmen St. wall art
We got married
We got married last December. This is us with our friend Natalia's dog - Norman - ain't he cute? I like to pretend that we have a dog, sometimes. Maybe someday. It's a good look, yes?
Rosa here! So here's an update on our updates. We've settled in kind of nicely in our home. We went to IKEA, Dot&Bo, Urban Home, and even got furniture on loan from some family members to start filling in our place. Since our move last June (2015), we've kept the house pretty minimal. The fun furniture serving us for our gatherings like Halloween, New Year's, and most recently a screening of Queen B's "Lemonade" between two primas. Oh yes, the house is being lived in for sure. Yet, as y'alls know. Homes are pretty darn expensive. Gas, water, electricity, trash, gardeners, leaks, old pipes, etc etc etc! The list goes on. This home is going to get some TLC from now until probably 2022. But that's my estimation. And although we have our jobs, Amos and I have been finding creative ways to get more income. Like lending our space to some artists!
An artsy fartsy home-dream came to me when I was a film student, actually, a few years back. My friends and I were struggling to find a place to shoot, a place to crash for long nights of editing (as our mothers were getting sick of hosting 5-7 teens and early twenty somethings during film projects). I told my film buddies once, if I ever get a home I'll make it into a Production House - that way we won't annoy anyone and we could work all day and night. In my little house, I now have an office, and it's not huge and immense - BUT - it serves as my personal editing suite. I'm proud of that. I hope to make it into a production office one of these days, but meantime -- allowing artists of all mediums to come and use our home has been wonderful.
From webisode meetings, to readings, to a rehearsal space for an upcoming musical showcase -- I think my early-20 year-old dream is slowly becoming a reality y'alls! Maybe it's not strictly film -- but heck, it's still art!
In the video above you will see Jason Prefontaine, introduced to us by Henry Alexander Kelly; the producer for "Pieces of Me." I invite you to see the video as it highlights an amazing group of singers and talented folk practicing in our colorful living room. I love how this home is becoming a welcoming space for artists.
I encourage folks reading this passage to have a creative group take over your living rooms once in a while. Start a living room concert series, a tiny dance space performance, anything! It will really fill your spirit. Artists paint a home with artistry, and provide and endless supply of positive energy.
I look forward to spotlighting more artists on this blog soon. It's been an honor, Jason, Henry, truly an honor to have you in our home.
Click here to buy tickets to "Pieces of Me" - June 4, 2016
For more information visit the Pieces of Me Facebook Page
The base of the house + plumbing
The person we've decided to help us with our home improvement is my dad. He has over 30 years of experience, and ... well he's my dad. So we get a pretty good deal. Amos had I written down notes, dreamed up knocking down walls, digging up holes, and making things happen! You know ... like on those home improvement shows we're obsessed with.
But REALITY BITES hard in the a$$ y'alls...well more like the wallet. We took a step back and began to think about basics like...plumbing and the house's base.
This beautiful house had not received TLC in a long time. My father later confirmed this as he informed us that the base of the house was suffering from earthquake damage. Which had to be repaired as soon as possible. And that our kitchen pipes...they were, well...ancient and had to be replaced.
How long will this project take? Amos thought we'd be done in a year. But being the daughter of a construction supervisor...I knew, this was going to be a long term project. Little by little, we'll get her done.
Ready, set, GO!
The Turkish Breakfast
Shortly after returning from Istanbul and visiting my prima Fiorella, I sat my family down for a Turkish Breakfast. My prima taught me how to make the brunch spread, and everyone was quite impressed. Well, everyone but my super traditional grandfather who followed up by saying, "What about lunch and dinner?" ... sigh.
Turkish breakfasts are deliciously balanced! It has vegetables, fruits, carbs (bread), dairy, and the usual coffee or tea. Though tea is more common in the mornings. Here is the list of the goodies:
- French Bread: break into slices, everyone can pick a slice and eat to their liking
- Egg Scramble: displayed here is a tomato, red onion, egg blend
- Avocado: because we're in California :)
- Honey & Yogurt: to aid with digestion, honey can also be used on bread
- Butter for toast
- Cheese: displayed here is Ranchero because we're in California, but any cheese is good
- Slices of Tomato and Cucumber with a splash of salt
- Fruit like strawberries and oranges
- Tea, coffee, or lemon water
- Calamata Olives for bread or with the other foods
The best thing about this breakfast spread is that it's got all sorts of flavors. At first sight, it may not look like a lot of food, but that's the best part. You get full on the variety of flavors! Honestly, it's quite delicious, healthy, and balanced. Be sure to give the family small plates, so folks have a chance to share the food together. Cheers to healthy meals! Thank you Turkey.
First thing's first!
Well now, life has been throwing us curve balls y'all. Yet we will catch you up on some old news. Last Summer, Amos and I arrived from our road trip feeling like zombies. We entered our home and, well...there was a lot of work to be done. The carpet was old, the home had collected webs with the absence of people. One thing was certain: we needed to clean.
After calling a few family members to help out, the house underwent a deep cleaning. This helped us make the transition into the house. Little by little, room to room -- we all pitched in. I realized in the process, that a lot of things have to be repaired - like our wooden floors, our old faucets, our mismatched lanterns that have old wiring, but 1970s lampshades. The past residents must have tried to modernize it in the early 80s, but now the house is confused and not from it's original era.
Slowly, but surely, we'll get her back to her glory. For now, a good deep cleaning did the trick and some basic furniture pieces to help us feel at home.
I wanted to share my favorite cleaning tip, brought to you by none other than my mother. To clean walls - grab a small container, fill it with warm water, add a dash of bleach and clothes detergent to the water. Use a small hand towel to clean the wall, and another dry towel to wipe it down. We cleaned our hallways, bedrooms, dining room, and living room like this. Do it earlier in the day, so the walls can dry up by night time.
Soon enough our house will start feeling like a home.
Cutting Corners: gifted furniture
Since moving into our home, Amos and I are finding ways to cut corners and save some dinero...because - if you haven't heard - fixing up a house is SUPER expensive. But we're not going to talk about numbers, we're going to talk about inspirations and fun ways to save. I got this pretty neat old dresser from a friend who has upgraded her bedroom furniture. It was a pretty dresser that she had painted dark brown.
Since my dad was around with his construction tools, I took a sheet of his sand paper and started scratching the dresser down a little bit to give it this distressed look. Check out the outcome!
The dresser now chills in our bedroom and serves as a holder for our socks and multicolored underwear. I hope it inspires you to give your old dresser a distressed beach look!
I added a vintage ornamental mat from the 1920's to go with our 1920's home. Atop the mat some trinkets: a clear unused doorknob from our home, a lucky frog from Machu Picchu village, a music box from Paris, and a vintage necklace from Amos' mom. Topped it all with family picture frames. This was a fun project!
The Road Trip + Reunion
As you may have noticed by my last few posts -- I was all over the place during end of April and mid parts of May. I will sum up all the feelings like so: I was having the scary--scary--scary realization that Amos and I were going to be in charge of a home. What?!!! Don't get me wrong, both he and I were flipping out over the idea of living in a house together; moreover, we were pretty excited that we were going to be able to decorate our own place. A dream come true for two lost goofballs in this world.
I also knew that deep down that we'd both dive into the home projects, construction filled days, watch fixer upper television programs, and subscribe to Architecture magazines in order to make it all work out. This also meant we would have to put travel and creative work aside to focus on the house. So, being the Y-generation folks that we are, we decided to deal with this anxiety by traveling before pitching a tent in Los Angeles, so to speak. You've seen all the images from my trip, and it was wonderful. I got to see my cousin in Istanbul, visit my dance friends in Paris, and even skipped around Canterbury for a couple of days. As for Amos, he also did his own "alone trip" via the highway in the states. He began his adventure at a friend's wedding in Oakland, then went through Eureka to Portland, up to Seattle and Vancouver. He road tripped it all the way to Chicago to meet up with me. My man is pretty hard core.
So we met up in Chicago, Illinois for the wedding of yet another beautiful friend. Ms. Shae! And it was a wonderful ceremony. During this road trip we also managed to stop by Maryland and Kentucky before going to New York for a video job that was waiting for me.
Needless to say, it was a full 2nd half of May with Amos. We went cross country, worked in New York for a few days, and picked up some wonderful home decorative ideas along the way. Including a cute plant from Iowa that I named Carl. Thanks for seeing us Francisco, Katy and Josh! We loved seeing you during our road adventures. And we loved picking up concepts from your own homes, and seeing how some of them can function for us in California.
As for inspiration, my oh my. You need only see the lush lands of middle America to grow an appreciation for trees. You need only open your eyes to see the patters of water on your windshield to know that art is everywhere. You need only pass by a fortune teller's window in New York to know, you're future is something you would much rather leave to chance, rather than have it all set up for you. You only need to visit bakeries in Pella to appreciate the rich history of this countries immigrants (Dutch ancestry in that part of the world), and the wonderful traditions they bring with them. #yummybreads
This reunion and road trip experience created ripples of ideas in our brains for la casa. Bright colors, bold choices, grand entrances and NO FEAR!
We're a couple of goofballs trying to fix up a home & hoping it won't take years.