Posts Tagged ‘music’

Let’s put this blog back into a positive light shall we?

September 24, 2010

Pics of Williamsburg always make me happy

So my last post was very anger filled. I will tell you in all honesty that blog took me over two weeks to post because I didnt want to do it. I just really felt that I HAD to. So only minutes after posting that blog, I feel the need to put some positivity back up in here!

Tons of stuff to make me happy. Wanna see ’em? Well check it out!:

1. I got a mac. The cd drive is already busted but I hooked up my external drive so its all gravy baby! I’m teaching myself some garageband and imovie. Jay’s gonna help me with the garageband stuff but its already helping me come up with melodies for songs. Despite the early drama (within a week of owning it, it started giving me crap but no worries now) I am still loving every minute of my mac.

2. With this mac, I got a new desk too! Its grey and glass. Bigger than my old one and ohhhhh boy is it sturdy! It rocks.

3. I got new pics within the last few months. My new friend Stephanie Sacchi is an awesome multi talented person who took some kick ass pics. Girl needs to get PAID for her work cuz it is worthy of some economic backing. Here is one pic she did of me:

Done right at Flushing Meadow Park by Stephanie Sacchi


I also got to pose for photographer Sheri Manson, http://sherimanson.com/ an no I am not posting that pic up here. Why? Well because… I …. posed…. NUDE!!!
Yup that’s right I all size 24/26 of me posed nude. I gotta say it felt great. It might have to do with the fact that I posed for a photographer who has been featured in Time Magazine and is an amazing photographer. It also has to do with the fact that its a woman. Now, no offense to men photographers, its not like I wont model for them, just not nude. I have certain fears about it. I dunno why, dont ask me. However being completely nude and carrying a conversation the whole time like nothing was odd about the situation felt so good. It really helped my self esteem too. Being a big girl, I always hate my body. I never think my naked body is attractive. I do look in the mirror thinking “well, I wouldnt want to fuck this”. I know its horrible HOWEVER its not like no one else has said that to themselves. Basically I never wanted to show anything because I never thought anyone would WANT to see it. I had that fear of someone looking and going “eww”. Now believe it or not… I kinda wanna show the pic to everyone haha. I mean Im not shy about it. A little timid but aside from me being completely naked, its a great picture. Sheri Manson really knows how to work with lighting and she made it art and I cant wait to work with her again.

4.) My job may FINALLY start paying me bi weekly instead of months at a time. This isnt definite of course but omg if it is, it will help out so much more.

5.) Money issues have been….improving. They arent brilliant but this time last year, we were broke. Mom was crying every night. I’ve been able to go to restaurants once in a while. We arent eating steaks every night but I love trying out new restaurants and we have been trying some great ones. the most expensive one we went to was two days ago and that was only cuz my sister is awesome and gave me a gift certificate that certainly made it easier to go. Thanks to her I also got to shop at my favorite store, Redress NYC. Got some cute shirts. Very happy. Will be going back soon.

6.) The JSE album is really close to being done. Its been a long time coming but I am determined to have a record release party when its done!

7.) I had given up on throwing parties cuz I felt that either no one wanted to deal with the hassle of coming out to Queens or no one really had fun. However I gave it another go a few weeks ago. Nothing major, just 3 or 4 friends and they all recommended I throw more get togethers so Im gonna! Im happy people actually want to spend time at my place.

8.) I ate alligator! It was awesome! Thats it!

9.) My friends rock. You all really do. We may have our flaws but I have felt nothing but positive energy from so many of you and I hope I can reciprocate.

Puerto Rico Vacation… Part 2

August 18, 2010

Coast of Old San Juan and La Perla close to El Morro

So where was I? Oh yes, I was on Day 3 so lets move on….

Day 4: Tuesday August 10th

Well, mom went on her own to the Barrio to visit my great grandpa. After the day before I needed a break. There is only so much you can take of an old man who wont stop talking craziness, is messy, and forgets who you are. He has no problem remembering mom and mom thought it best I get used to just being on my own in PR even if it was only for a day or two (ends up only for a day but we’ll get back to that).
While mom went to the barrio, I headed to the beach up the block from where we were staying! Woohoo! Yes! I actually went to the beach! I not only went there, I had a bathing suit on! (Finally), rented a chaise for 5 bucks, and went into the water deep enough to go under a few times. Yup! All by myself! Like a big girl! I also videotaped myself ranting but it didnt come out (boo). After that, I noticed the sun was disappearing so I headed back to the hotel, showered, got changed, and noticed it started to pour so I just chilled and watched tv for about a half hour. It cleared up long enough for me to go get a bus and head on out to Old San Juan just to walk around, see some vacant buildings, and NOT be a tourist. It was awesome!!! It DOWNPOURED! LIKE MAJOR. You had to see all the tourists just SCRAMBLING for places to hide and stores to duck into. I was in one when it happened and these two ladies from Seattle were like “Oh my God it rains a lot where we are from but NEVER like this” The only people who were out there were people who lived there so what to do but go out in the rain. It felt great. I mean I dont think you guys understand how Old San Juan streets are. They are extremely narrow and filled with people. So imagine the ease I felt walking down these empty streets with my umbrella. I could go slow, stop and windowshop, read menus, and continue on my way. Tourists would look at me like I was crazy. Locals would see me and just instantly ask me questions in spanish. Granted, you are in Puerto Rico but people mainly speak english in most places and when they see me I am instantly a gringa so when they started doing that it made me feel good. They automatically assumed I was from there and it made me smile. Being on my own felt fabulous. It was the best I felt my entire trip!
Mom met up with me in Old San Juan after having a grueling day with my grandpa. The cathedral was actually open so we went to church then went to Starbucks… cuz well, ya gotta! The Starbucks in PR is nice and since my mom wasnt feeling well and hates Starbucks coffee, I introduced her to Chai and she fucking LOVES it now. Mom had a rough day with my great grandpa. He was disoriented and argued with her about where he was going, insisting that she was wrong meanwhile he was the one that forgot where he lived lol. We go a late lunch at La Bombonera which is an extremely old diner in Old San Juan and very famous. We split a Cuban sandwhich, had their famous Orange Juice (its really good) and after walking around a bit we went back to the Condado and ate… pizza. Yeah I know “What? You have all that great PR food and you chose Pizza?!?!” Well yes, because Danny’s on Ashford Avenue sells some awesome yummy pizza. A personal pizza can fill up two people. If you ever find yourself in the Condado area, I highly suggest it.

Day 5: Wednesday August 11

Well it was supposed to be my other day on my own but mom got so sick with vertigo from running around with my great grandpa that she needed a day off from him too. We ended up going to Rio Piedras cuz my mom insisted that stuff was cheaper there.
Well we get there and its ok. I mean had I needed to buy anything in the area it would have been awesome but I bought what I needed to for the most part except sneakers. Flip flops were not cutting it in PR with all the walking. So I needed me some sneakers as did mom. Its a cool place to shop and yes it is cheaper but if you guys are familiar with shopping in areas of NY like Jamaica Avenue, Fulton Street, and Fordham Rd by the Grand Concourse you know how it is. Fairly ghetto but the people are nice and you get some great deals. Sadly no sneakers so we ended up going back to the mall.
Yeah all of our endeavors to seek out a unique yet affordable place to get awesome sneakers led us to freaggin Pay Less Shoes. Go figure. We bought our stuff and then took a cab Old San Juan for dinner. We ended up in Hard Rock Cafe.
Now I know what youre thinking. “UGH Natalia seriously?!? Out of all the restaurants around there, thats what you chose?” Yes! And Im sooooo glad I did cuz I met some awesome people that truly validated my goal in opening a venue in PR. I went in and the guy who seated us was really cool. It was early enough that there were hardly any people in there so he ended up actually sitting with us for a little while and I dunno how it came up but I mentioned wanting to open a rock venue there and his eyes lit up! He proceeded to tell me that almost everyone who works there is either in a band or works with musicians. He told me the woman in charge of merchandise there would love to talk to me and sure enough within 5 minutes he brought her over and we talked for a good 20 minutes about what i need to do who to trust and what the music scene is like in PR. The bottom line is: There is a demand for a venue like mine and I should put it in Old San Juan since thats where most artists live. I was very excited. I had a great dinner and went to sleep happy and soundly.

Day 6: Thuresday August 12

Ok we had our break and went back to the barrio. We go back to the senior center and he wasnt there. So we went to his place. There he was, shirtless as usual and sitting in the patio. Gummy smile and all haha. We hang out and talk for a while and I keep on hearing this weird noise. I look around, see nothing. Go about my business. I open up his fridge to get a bottle of water out. Hear the noise again. What the hell? Then I see the black dog come from outside into the house and I think to myself “Gee, her tummy is smaller than last time”. I see her run underneath the table and I realize “Oh shit. She had her puppies and they are UNDERNEATH THE TABLE!” I tell my great grandpa and he smiles cuz he had no idea (he cant hear or see very well) so he was happy cuz he wanted to sell them. I tell him he cant sell them right away because they were just born and need to be nursed by their mother for at least 2 to 3 weeks and thats still risky. I dont think he got me but I know he cant do anything yet. We didnt know what to do so we just left them there and kept on giving the momma dog water and a little food. It was hard to feed her though because shes so scared of people that if you throw her some food she runs from it. It took seeing the daddy eat from my hand to realize i was trying to give her something good. Even then she would snatch it and run away. I tried to get close to see the puppies but she would growl something fierce so we realized we needed to stay away. I THINK there were about 5 in the litter but dont quote me on that lol. Too cute from what I could see. Awww.
After going there we went back to the hotel and then decided to FINALLY check out Isla Verde. You know my uncle kept on insisting that Isla Verde was a good place to go and even wanted us to stay in a hotel there. I really didnt think it was a good idea and Im glad I stuck to my instincts. Its not easy to get to and we are not familiar with the area so to get to the barrio was going to be confusing for us.
OMG guys, Isla Verde was so fucking boring! Its pretty, got nice hotels, condos, and clean streets. The restaurants are few. They are normally in the hotels and expensive, like steak houses and japanese places. We saw one Puerto Rican diner and we ate there mainly cuz we had no other option. There were soooo many strip malls and most of them had fast food, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Long John Silvers, Dennys, and omg one of the few MacDonalds in PR, it was ridiculous. I dont get why its become the new place to be cuz it sucks ass! Now granted the diner we ended up eating in had some AWESOME mofongo mmmmm and the people were nice but to go out to Isla Verde for that really wasnt worth it. What we DID go out there for though was Pio Bello Gelato and sadly it was NOT what we expected.
The Pio Bello we were used to was a place that was devoted to different sundaes and desserts devoted to gelato. Mom and I would always get this one tropical one where it was two scoops of vanilla gelato with fresh bananas, oranges, papaya, pineapple, mango, kiwi, etc. So yummy and they would have the different options of sundaes up on the wall and you would pick whichever one you wanted and if you also wanted food, they even had a menu of sandwiches and stuff but that was secondary. Well, this was not what it used to be. There was just a freezer with some flavors of gelato and if you sat down you were sitting down for food. On the menu there was not one mention of gelato. It broke our heart. We got a scoop each of some gelato. It was alright but not what we wanted. Defeated, we left and vowed never to go back. The bright side was that we now knew what we were missing and were right in our perception of Isla Verde. Its a great place if you are a resident of PR over the age of 65. However mom is 68 and she hated it so I guess its up to you lol.

Im gonna end it hear and write part 3 when I have the energy!

Music Venue Review: Brooklyn Beauty Bar

April 4, 2010

Nice lookin' place, eh?

I really gotta say it pains me to make this review. This review is personal and my own personal dealings have effected my review so I will do my best to not go off on a rant. So here it goes.

The Beauty Bar in itself is a chain venue. There are quite a few throughout the United States. There are two here in New York City, one in Austin, two more in California, and I think one in Vegas. Its a very clever idea: take an old beauty parlor and turn it into a bar. At least thats how it started. I dont believe the newer ones are old hollowed out beauty salons but they have the cool 1960’s and 1970’d salon decor which is cool. The chairs have the hair dryers on them, the lights by the bar are old school hair dryers, its all very hip looking. The bar also has downright amazing happy hour prices. Here in New York City a red bull and vodka can go between 8 to 12 bucks but at happy hour its only 4 bucks there. I mean, if you are a New Yorker, thats fucking cheap!

As for a music venue… ok. So the owner or wannabe owner (I really dont know what that dude is to be honest) was a genuinely nice guy who really wants to have live performers at his venue. Extremely open to ideas and what not. The problem is, it was very clear that this venue is mainly a place for djs to perform and not accustomed to dealing with live acts. There is no sound guy so musicians are on their own when it comes to figuring out how to set up their sound. The stage is extremely small right by the front door and your back is toward the window. That in itself to me is not a bad thing though. I like playing by the window cuz it draws a crowd. Its funny seeing some guy just walking down the street then stop in his tracks, stare really close up into the window, and then start jamming, then walk away like nothing happened haha. Its cool. This venue is best for musicians who are acoustic but yes some full bands perform but the whole band cant be on the stage, the drums would take up about 60% of the space.

So let me figure out how to say this:

Ok if you are musician trying to book a gig. I highly suggest… no. See they primarily tend to seek out people willing to book the entire night. I personally love that idea. It guarantees at least SOMEONE going to your show, whether its one person or 30 people. Plus your friends are there and its comfortable to have fellow musicians supporting you. Does it work out that way all the time? No but still its a good idea and we were down for it. However Beauty Bar really didnt handle this the right way. Initially it went great. However, the “Owner” who booked us to book the shows NEVER paid us, except in drink tickets, never really promoted our shows the way they promoted their other nights, and was really not good at calling people back. I mean if you want stuff done you have to step up and do your job and he was really unavailable. He also didnt know how to interract with musicians. If you own a venue and you happen to NOT enjoy the person performing, you make note and decide whether or not you will have them back. However, you DONT go up to them and tell them to leave. Especially if you had a draw of people and they all end up leaving WITH you. I mean thats just not a way to make money. Also if there are problems you dont leave your bartenders in charge. They arent sound technicians either and there is always going to be miscommunication. I found it funny that once we actually started drawing in a crowd the bartenders started giving us an attitude after generally being really great with us. They expected us to do the job of a sound guy and tried to bring up “professionalism” when they pay us in alcohol. They are not on the ball with scheduling either. They booked a dj at an hour when we still had a band going on and we were not notified yet expected to cancel their set which was highly unacceptable nor professional. It ended in drama which of course anyone who SHOULD be in charge was NOT there to monitor or control.

If its just you thats performing, then I guess its worth taking a chance and performing but not once a week like we did. Eventually that bridge burns through bad management.

However, if you are a patron who just wants to hear some good music and have cheap drinks and dont mind going to a slowly gentrifying area thats not the nicest of areas but still halfway decent (the JMZ to Myrtle Avenue in Bushwick) then feel free to stop on by. The happy hour bartender, Rose, is a sweetie. The after hours bartender Ashley, is a bitch. You can get on her good side but I found it tiring to figure out when that would be.

Beauty Bar – Brooklyn

February 11, 2010

I swear its a bar... no really!

So this is where we got a residency.

Oh wait. Did I tell you guys about this? Ahh ok let me explain:

So a few weeks ago, Jay and I decided we needed to do some research on venues for us to play at. Now, Jay and I are in the band, The JSE and we want to perform but Jay also does solo shows as well. He’s played The Delancey in NYC a couple of times solo but eventually I would go up on stage to accompany him on backing vocals. Well now its Jay and Nat at these type of shows. Its more like rehearsal and experimentation since Jay has sooooo many awesome songs that either don’t fit his other projects or are new enough that they need to be tested or just tried out in front of an audience.

So I was contacting venues in general for both Jay and Nat and The JSE. One venue I contacted was one I didnt know much about: Beauty Bar.

I checked out the website, http://www.beautybar.com/brooklyn/home.html

I realized they were a chain venue that had bases in NY, Cali, and Texas. Originally salons that were hollowed out and became bars, they usually have djs, cool happy hour deals, and a really cool decor that highlights the allure of salons from the 60’s and 70s.

I also contacted a few other places including Arlene’s Grocery, and other places I cant seem to remember for some reason.

Within AN HOUR of my email to Beauty Bar, I got a response asking what we were looking to do. Eventually one of the owners, Dave, contacted me and asked if I was interested in booking Jay and I for a residency. Every Thursday night for the month of February.

I was so shocked. I mean they never heard of us and they never heard us sing but were willing to give us one day a week for a month.

Now its not just Jay and I performing on Thursday nights. There’s more to it. Beauty Bar in Bushwick, Brooklyn wanted Jay to fill the entire night. So its not just Jay and Nat. Its Jay and Nat and a bunch of our friends. Its actually a really fun plan. I truly feel honored to know so many talented musicians and Jay knows even more so we have tons to get to perform with us on a weekly basis. This passed Thursday night it was Jay and Nat, Aviv and…. uhh I dont know the bass player’s name, Martin and Ben, Phil and Seaflux, Guitar Bomb, and then a few djs.

Now here are some of the setbacks of the place but honestly they arent drastic:
1. The stage is small so a huge a big band can’t play
2. Its a bar so no one under 21, two band mates of The JSE are 18 and 20 respectively so they cant come out
3. The bar is not equipped for such things. No sound guy. They do want to go the route of having more live acts so thats great they just dont know much about it.
4. Because its such a bar and not live band venue, loud acts have to stop by 11pm.
5. The door doesnt close behind you. You have to close it yourself so it tends to be cold in there since most people dont close the door behind them and the stage is right by the door and window.

Those are actually the only things that arent perfect but some work out in a good way. Like the fact that the stage is by the window makes people stop and look at whats going on, which then makes them come in and have a drink and listen to some new music. Even though we have to book until like 345 am, ending the bigger band gigs by 11pm leaves time to recup and enjoy the venue for what it is, a bar.

Sooooo Jay and Nat (thats Jay and Me btw) are performing yet again this week. We are playing with the band Seaflux opening, our friend Ethan Donway from The False Alarms, Aviv from Widest Smile Faces, and Joe Cantor. The night starts at 8pm and continues until 3:45am. Its a free show as well. How kick ass is that???
Get there by 7 ish cuz its happy hour and the drinks are cheeeeeeeeeap! omg the cheapest around, Im not even joking. Jay kept on getting red bull and vodka for 4 bucks. FOUR BUCKS? Where have you heard that for red bull and vodka ever?

So to review:

8pm Seaflux
9pm Ethan Donway
10pm Jay and Nat
11pm Aviv
12am Joe Cantor
1am and on, djs will be playing.

Come on out if you can, its really easy too. Just take the J train to Myrtle Ave/Broadway. Once you get off the train its within a block away. Not even.

Check out the website!

I’m no longer apologizing or….

February 7, 2010

….or making excuses for not updating as much as I used to. I want to update every day but because I hadnt in so long, I just never know what to write.

See, I said I wouldnt make excuses and yet I did. Whatever.

Anyways, things have been going alright. I truly cant complain too much. In fact many great things have been happening concerning music. All my songs are on my hard drive. I know it doesnt sound like much but trust me, Ive lost my song book enough to know i need it somewhere it cant really get too lost.

We (Jay and I) got a residency at Beauty Bar in Bushwick. it was a lot of fun performing this past Thursday. I was feeling miserable (physically) but I didnt care I still was so happy I was there. I cant wait to play again. We will be playing Thursday nights for the month of February.

The main reason I havent updated any critiques is plain and simple: I write for SKORCH Magazine now. So I do my reviews on there. However its only one a month so I will get back to posting them here as well. No worries, when Im ready you will see them.

I’ve been really ill the passed week and a half too. Im gonna be ok but I have an abscess on my thigh. It was infected and really painful. It still hurts like a mofo but I will be seeing a surgeon (yeah its that bad) tomorrow and they will tell me if it needs to be surgically removed or not. I am hoping not. Either way its getting better so no worries everything is going to be just fine.

I have mild cabin fever though. I noticed when I went to the show on Thursday I couldnt shut up for the life of me. I need to socialize more, I always say that, but when Im broke which is most of the time, I really dont like going out. Mix in doctors orders of not moving too much and you got me stuck at home wanting company. Thankfully Jay has been here often since he got back from South Hadley but yeah, my other friends who actually live close by? Yeah… lets not get into that. LOL

I have to call the temp agency I rejoined to remind them I am sans a real job every Monday. Let’s hope they get me something.

I actually do have a lot to say on here. Something tells me you will see a spurt of blogs for a while again.

Yay? I mean, do you guys read? If ya do comment in here. Just so I know its being read. I will still write either way but its just nice to know people are listening.

Music Review: Arcade Fire

January 7, 2010

Yes Folks, Arcade Fire

I know its been a while but yes I am back with reviews. I can’t believe I am still on A. I am so ashamed of my inconsistency. Ah well, be glad I still enjoy doing these dammit!

Arcade Fire is a band with God knows how many members in it originally from Quebec, Canada. The name of the band stems from an actual historic fire where a bunch of children died in a fire in a filled arcade. Tragic? Yes. Hell of a band name, YES!

Anyways, the first song I ever heard was Neighborhood #1 from their Funeral album. Very very odd sounding to me. I cant pinpoint it. I wasnt crazy about the lead singer’s voice. There wasnt a lot of unity in the harmonies. It was kinda all over the place. Yet… yeah, thats ACTUALLY what made the song awesome. You felt the intense emotion from the lead singer, Win Butler. He has this shaky, trembling voice almost like he cant control the notes he hits its just a reflex action that comes out. The main female harmony is made by his wife, RĂ©gine Chassagne, however there are a bunch of people singing and performing on this song. It just sounds like a crowd of people singing you a story in their own way and time. It makes it so impactful. The video is also an abstract cartoon that is melancholy, morbid, yet colorful and bright. That one song got me.

I got the album. It pretty much all sounds like that one song to me. Thats not a bad thing at all. It keeps the momentum going. However I admittedly cant remember many of the others ones from that album… except for Power Out, Wake Up, and the song that makes me cry (if you remember, making me cry in a song is almost always a great thing) In the Backseat.

In the Backseat is sung by Regine. Its like hearing a little child sing a very very sad song but initially is really shy. You can sense the apprehension and timidness at the beginning. As the music gets stronger and the song progresses, she gets bolder and louder. Shes still innocent sounding but she is determined to express herself. Towards the end, she is “aaaahh”ing and “oooh”ing like her life depends on it. Its so touching, so strong, its like standing in a room naked just to make your point known. You cry because you know shes trying to make sure you feel what shes feeling. I cry every time I hear it. Its that good. If you love Bjork, you’ll love this song.

Wake Up is an awesome song. Powerful beginning. David Bowie loves this band. So much so he actually has sang this song with them live. This song was used in the movie, Where The Wild Things Are. When I heard it in the trailer, I thought it was the most clever usage of a song for a film. It belongs in that film.

So to me, the Funeral album was awesome but the band just seemed so chaotic. Neon Bible came out after and that album did well but honestly, I have never seen the band live and I know THATS where the magic is, Ive seen footage of them performing live and it shows WHY they are so seen by others. They put on a great show and its a show to be experienced. I didnt get into Neon Bible. It didnt sound bad but I dont remember any of the songs except for My Body is a Cage which is awesome. The all were good. Just not memorable to me.

I look forward to seeing them live just to get me more motivated to enjoy them as they should be enjoyed. A new album is in the works for this year but hell if I know the title of that or the exact release date. I highly suggest checking them out though.

Video: The video that started it all for me, so so so weird but awesome. I love the artwork and I love the flow. Its the video for Laika (Neighborhood #1)

Sorry Im late 2010…..

January 5, 2010

I’ve had probably the best time this holiday season. I haven’t posted in a while because Ive had it all swirling around in my head. So much has happened that the idea of posting it up on here has been a bit of dread not because I didnt want to but because even at this point, I have no idea to begin. Sooooo….ahh I know Coquito!

So prior to Christmas, I spent 2 Saturdays making my holiday Puerto Rican version of Egg Nog, Coquito. I live in a 1 bedroom apartment so I couldnt fit too many people in my apartment all at once so I split it in half… the 12th, and the 19th…..

Now before I go on I need to emphasize that over 10 people were the ones INSISTING I throw this party. I wouldnt have split it up if I knew how many people would just not come out.

Ive had some rough times in my life having parties specifically here in Queens. From having invited 20 people and only having 2 show up, cancelling, and even one time my mother trying to throw me a surprise party and having me wait at my grandmothers for HOURS only to begrudgingly tell me to come home and see her crying on the sofa with birthday decorations, balloons, a huge hero and a huge birthday cake telling me how sorry she was, she invited as many people as possible and no one showed up. Yeah when youre 23 that sucks ass. Its Rego Park therefore its difficult for people to trek out. I totally get it. Granted, whenever I would be invited to trek out to see OTHERS I would do it because I am their friends and I make the effort however sometimes NOT all the time, its not reciprocated.

Sorry needed to make the point. Im over it.

Anyways despite the smaller group of people they were in fact the BEST holiday parties I have ever thrown. The first Saturday I had 4 people over: Huston, Scottie, Chantell, and Jay. It was small but sooo much fun. People really came to learn how to make coquito. We talked about everything and it was intimate and lovely. I was so happy that people were happy. It was cuddly. I loved it

The second Saturday was just as fun! It was wilder and crazier but just as intimate and fun. It was Mike, Wendi, Jay, and Iris. Still only 4 people but you need to keep in mind it was a blizzard and to expect ANYONE to come out was a bit too much. I was honored that they came because I knew the weather was not something anyone would trek out it. Iris was molesting the life sized Santa Claus. Wendi was drunk after two cups of coquito , mounting Jay and both toppling over onto the floor. Mike was teaching Iris and Wendi how to fight. It was a blast! So yeah total, 8 people. Probably could have had them all in one night but you know what? In retrospect, I wouldnt have had it any other way. I had two fantastic Saturdays!

It also really emphasized friendship. I was genuinely honored and proud to have friends. I always am. I love my friends like family but I was feeling it. I know many friends who hate the holidays but I love them BECAUSE of what I experienced this holiday season. Like, what I had from my friends is what I want out of a holiday: Fun times with friends and memories I will cherish. Fuck the presents. I love buying presents when I have money but this just proved to me whether you have money or not, you can still enjoy the holiday season and I truly did as I know my friends who participated did. I felt it and it made me happy. I am still glowing just thinking about it and to those of you who were able to come out, I deeply sincerely thank you and am honored to have you in my lives.

Christmas Eve and Day were not as eventful but they were ok. Pretty laid back. Now, New Years Eve?…. theres another story…

New Year’s Eve didnt really have set plans until the last minute. We decided that we would go to Spike Hill to see a band perform and then to a rooftop party in Williamsburg. Mom was excited to go cuz she never really goes out for new Years except for a few years ago when Jay performed with A Black Tie Affair at Desmond’s Tavern. Since then my mom had been looking forward to going out for New Years. Jay then realized that MSG was selling 20 buck tickets for Mariah Carey at the last minute and would try to get those instead. We didn’t get them but hey despite not being a fan of Ms. Carey, come on, New Years? MSG? that would have been awesome.

Anways we planned on going and then the weather decided to be cold, slushy and treacherous. I was determined to go out but mom didnt look as happy as she did a few hours before. I went to the store to buy food and came home to see mom sitting on the sofa looking a bit melancholy. We ended up having a long talk. She told me she didnt want to go out but knew that it would be really heart breaking for me to stay home. We had NEVER spent a New Years apart. I dont think many people understand that.

In our family, holidays like Christmas and New Years are family holidays. You do your best to spend it with your family. We have always done that. This was the first time we were gonna be apart. Mom WANTED to go out but she DIDNT want to deal with the weather. She cried. I cried cuz she cried. I thought she was crying because she was sad that she would be alone. Well, she was but it wasnt just that. She was actually happy. It was a milestone. She was able to let go a little more and she was happy about that. I felt horrible initially. I mean I was soooooo ecstatic to finally be able to go out by myself for New Years and have fun with my friends but I felt so bad that she was by herself. This was a big deal for her and Im really proud. She even said, its time for me to let go a little. You can do this by yourself now I just wish I had something to do. Awww. Next year, ma, next year.

So, I take the bus to Williamsburg. It was awesome. Everyone is in an awesome mood. I go and see some really great bands. Everyone there is feeling the joy you get when you are all celebrating in unison the end of a decade. Martin showed up as did his friend Patrick. Jay is celebrating the moment I see him and he is the happiest I had seen him in a while. We had touching and lovely talks about our futures and we were really happy to have Martin be a part of those conversations. When the Nightmare River Band is done with their extremely fun set, we take off. We eat a slice at Anna Maria’s pizza and then head on out to first Seth’s party. We were literally racing the clock. We were down the street when we heard people going “10! 9! 8! 7!” and we BOOOKED!!! We ran and got into the apartment right when the clock struck 12! I will never forget that moment. It was the happiest moment. I just remember as we were rushing to the apartment how Martin and Patrick were worried about not getting there in time and I thought to myself: Even if we didnt get there on time, I would love the idea of the clock striking 12 while we are in the street. I know how special that moment would be and know I would never forget it. Either way, we did get there in time and I did remember that moment. It was awesome. It would have been perfect to get a good New Year’s Eve Kiss but hey, it was such an awesome night, I dont miss it too much, haha.

A little bit later we headed out to the rooftop party, saw Kate, hung out for a bit and we headed back to Seth’s friend’s party. I really was tired and wanted to head on home but I knew I needed to do something. I needed to say something that was incredibly important to me. I knew I needed to tell Seth. I didnt meet him until that night… Well,… actually no, he opened for us last April at the Delancey but I didnt get to talk to him really. I knew I needed to talk to him tonight.

How can I explain Seth? Seth is a guy that when you meet him or feel his energy in a room you feel like you are taking a nice, cleansing breath. Jay had been staying with him for about a month or two and it was a time where Jay was the happiest I had ever seen him when it came to his creative energy and just being at peace with himself. I knew sooo much of this had to do with Seth and I was soooo thankful this was the person that was with him up in Mass. I knew I had to tell Seth. I was not going to start this year off without making sure this guy knew how thankful I was that he existed. So I did. It made me happy doing so. I met him and just looking at his face you felt so happy to be in his presence. Seth, you rock dude! Im glad I started my year telling you that.

This is a year that I know will be great. Whether I accomplish a lot of things or minimal things, my outlook on life is anticipation and optimistic. I know that there will be rough times, its the nature of the beast. However I am thankful for the friends I have. I am thankful for the opportunities that are there. I am thankful for the decisions I am making with my life. I am thankful for the decisions I am making on my own. I look forward to sooo much and to those who support me and want to be along for the ride, hop on. For those who really cant make the effort, well… Im sorry but this train is an express haha. Make an effort to be at the designated stops and then we will talk haha.

Some positive news and some awesome links….

December 10, 2009

So if you have not yet heard from me, I had a pretty good week already and its already Thursday. There was one thing that was sad though which I will get out of the way at this very moment.

My grandpa (dad’s dad) passed away a few days ago. He was 96. Very sweet man. I never met him but talked to him on the phone a few times once my dad reconnected with us again when I was 28. Loved our talks but he developed dementia and stopped talking on the phone because it scared him. I wasnt close clearly and wish I could have visited but according to family he died peacefully and he and the rest of my family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Despite this tragedy, I actually did have a pretty great week. I feel a bit guilty being so happy about it considering however I need to cherish the joy when it comes my way! Lets go along the list:

1. My best friend Jay got an apartment! Woohoo! He now lives in Bed Stuy. You know it is the ghetto but the misconception is that all of the ghetto is horrible. Its NOT. I actually like his street and area. He lives in a brownstone and the apartment is fucking gorgeous! He gets a backyard, a block away from the park and yay! He actually lives closer to me! My train ride will only be less than an hour instead of an hour and a half. Sure I may have to take 3 trains but its still quick! I cant wait for him to get furniture and stuff its gonna be sweet!!!
2. Jay also got a gig this week. That may be just a joy for him however I sing back up on a few songs so woohoo! I get to perform.
3. I actually sang last night at the gig. It was at The Delancey in Manhattan. It went remarkably well. Friends came out, it was a free show and fun was had by all!
4. Biggest news… I am officially a music editor for Skorch Magazine. Skorch Magazine is this great magazine that is reminiscent of Elle, Vogue, In Style but it caters to women that are not a size zero. Its an online magazine that will soon have distribution so yes, I don’t get paid but hey, I gotta start somewhere no?

Im uber excited about it. I will discuss things pretty much like I do on here, in fact expect some rehashing of already blogged artists. I already submitted my column for January. I also hope I get to go to more local shows, check out artists that are unknown, up and coming, plus size is always a plus, and would love to do interviews, concert reviews, etc. I truly am glad I started doing music reviews on here. Its what got me the job!

Oh check out the magazine: http://skorchmagazine.com/ there is a free preview of it but if you want to actually become a reader its only a buck a month on pay pal.

Now while I was in the process of getting set up as the music editor, Cali from Skorch asked me to join and make a profile with Polyvore.com. If you are someone who LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVEESS style and clothes and really really wants to check out the coolest outfits and websites that sell it, I highly suggest joining this site.

Skorch is a fashion magazine afterall I mean just cuz Im the music editor doesnt mean I have nothing to do with fashion and style. On the Polyvore site, you make a profile and then you can create a look that is all yours through pics and stuff. Its totally free. You click on articles of clothing and whatnot and make a collage of your style picks. Its really cool. I already did mine. Check out that site too. I KNOW I will become addicted to it.

Find me on Polyvore

So far its been a good week, there is more yet to come. I am having one of my TWO Coquito Parties ( I have a small apartment) this Saturday. It should be fun to see friends I havent seen in a while.

Music Review: Aqua

December 8, 2009

Yes, I am seriously reviewing the band, Aqua

Don’t even try to pretend that you don’t remember this band! You SOOOOOO do! No! I will not even hear of it! You do SO! Stifle!!

Ok so yeah I am reviewing this band. I will sit here and tell you quite honestly. I like this band. I really do. As I have said about other bands, I dont LOVE them, I like them.

We all know about the song Barbie Girl. Its instilled in our heads. We cant shake it out even after all of these years.

Btw, mini rant before I go any further: How fucked up is it that when this song came out Mattel actually got all fucking high and mighty and sewed the band Aqua for using the name Barbie meanwhile recently they have used THE VERY SONG in their campaign ads for the bimbo doll???? Like seriously they changed a few words around but its still the same fucking song. What douchebags!

Anyways, Aqua is a band formed in Denmark. They got famous in the late 90s in Europe first with songs like Roses are Red and My Oh My. Very bubblegum eurodancy but fun as hell. I mean if you wanna work out and dance to some songs, I highly suggest them.

Im sorry but Barbie Girl is one of my LEAST favorite songs. Yes, you heard right, I actually like OTHER songs from Aqua. See fellow Americans, you gotta stop that big ole “One Hit Wonder” mentality sometimes. We forget, the US isnt the only country that plays the music haha. Aqua released 2 albums before they split up in 2001. There was of course, Aquarium and then Aquarius…. yeah I know, how original.

Now I know many people are thinking, “Natalia, really? What on earth made you like this band??”

OMG, you HAVE to listen to the lyrics. These types of bands always got me for the sheer silliness of their music. Im not even talking the sound. Im talking the actual songs. I mean lets be honest, that dance beat will make TONS of people dance. Whether they like the song or not. I laughed the very first time I heard Roses Are Red because I honestly thought Aqua was a parody band. Like I thought this band was just a bunch of actors imitating the sound of eurodance music ala Spinal Tap with Metal. Imagine my surprise when I realized this was a REAL band!!

Lene: “Roses are red and violets are blue, honey is sweet but not as sweet as you, roses are red and violets are blyue, mmya neena nefgjwrgowreiowefiljweif dum dee da dee dum dum dee da dee dum dum dee da dee dum..”

Rene: COME PICK MY ROSES!!!

I swear thats how the song starts! I almost peed myself. So so so funny! How can I not like their stuff its just a good old time and makes me happy. If you are ever feeling down put on an Aqua song. It will brighten up your day.

Oh but dont put Goodbye to the Circus from their second album. It actually made me cry. I think its cuz I pictured the video and they are all circus performers in the bedroom of a little boy who is dreaming and its time for him to wake up and they are telling him goodbye and they will always be with him and hes crying.

What? I have an amazing imagination and I made myself cry. Shut up.

Ok so I cant pronounce or even spell half the names of the band members cuz I dont think my computer types them, but I will get close: The girl lead vocalist is Lene Nystrom (there should be a slash in the o but I dunno how to do that), The bald guy that sings like a gym rat given a mic is Rene Dif, The guy with the blonde spikey hair is Soren Rasted and the other dude is Claus Noreen…. that was actually exhausting.

Ok so the way the band started was actually by the two guys that never freaggin sang! Soren and Claus would write music and then they met a prostitute named Rene. Yes the big burly bald dude was a prostitute in Denmark… how fucking awesome is that!?!?! They formed a band and called each other Joyspeed and release an album and then Rene met Lene on a ferry where she was singing and got her in the band. They actually dated for a long while and then Lene cheated on him with Soren and eventually married him. (Omg Danish Drama!!!) They would all say that the split was amicable and what not but no one believed it especially after Lene gave an interview in 2004 admitted she cheated on Rene before they broke up he vowed he would never forgive her……

…. yeah so they reunited hahahaha! Yeah they reunited in like 2007 and they put out a greatest hits album and are working on a new album for 2010.

This band made a bunch of videos. Most are down right ridic! However funny as hell cuz they are so lame and weird. However, I needed proof of the Roses are Red lyrics so here is the video. Old as hell but omg, please, just pick Rene’s roses:

Music Review: Apples in Stereo

December 5, 2009

Apples in Stereo

I have to be very honest. I haven’t listened to this band in quite some time. I mean, if they have a new album out I dont know nor am I interested. Its not that I dont like them though. I just lost interest. It happens with bands and my psyche. However I can talk very highly about this band.

If you are familiar with bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and The Olivia Tremor Control, you may have heard of this band back in the day since they were all once in the same grouping, The Elephant Six Collective.

This band is just very catchy. All the songs I have no problem calling “fun lil’ ditties” because thats really what they are. The sound is very nostalgic. You can sense the influences of The Beatles and The Beach Boys in their tunes. Strawberryfire is very reminiscent of The Beatles psychadelic ventures or The Beach Boys and their song, Good Vibrations. You can tell this band knows what got stuck in people’s heads.

The lead singer Robert Schneider has a very nasal sound and I get it when many of my friends think its a but annoying however to me its endearing and works with the songs played. What I love about this band as well is that the lead singer isnt some overly sexed, emo looking hot guy. Its a balding guy that wears glasses, a beard, and has a gut. Every cub or bear’s wet dream! Sorry dudes, the man is straight.

He was married to a time to their drummer Hilarie Sidney. They have divorced and have a child. Logically the line up changed and she left the band. It kinda sucks though because the band did have songs that had her on lead vocals and I really enjoyed them. Since then I havent been a fan of the songs that they have released once she was gone. Im not saying they are good, I just lost interest.

I do know that they eventually joined Simian Records. The reason thats worth mentioning (to me anyways) is because Simian Records is a company started and owned by Elijah Wood. Yup, Frodo himself has a record label. Whodathunkit?!

I used to love the song Energy however on my trip to Puerto Rico this past August, I grew to hate that fucking song. Why? Well picture it: In the mall in Puerto Rico they have these panels everywhere that play commercials over and over and over. Well Pepsi endorses TONS in PR and guess what song was in a Pepsi commercial this summer… yup, Energy. I dunno if it was played here in the states because honestly I never heard it here nor have I seen the commercial since but for a week in Puerto Rico it was PAHHLAAAYED OUT! I can NOT listen to Energy anymore. Sorry dudes, I know its not the band’s fault. I mean hey, when ya need bank, Pepsi is a good way to go. However they really played that shit out!

If you are looking for some up beat, sunny songs that make ya smile. I highly suggest checking this band out. Its worth a listen.

This is a cute video for a cute song haha. The song Same Old Drag from their album New Magnetic Wonder. It has a it more electronics used on that album but still great songs. Check it out!