Instant (Tickle Fight) Friends

In middle school, a friend of mine introduced me to a friend of hers one day, and I somehow ended up invited to that friend’s birthday party, which was, I believe, the upcoming weekend.

I knew very little about this girl, but I got her some kind of present and showed up to the party.

At the party, I knew few people, but really, really hit it off with the birthday girl – we created our own no-hands cake-eating contest (just the two of us, while everyone watched), and, because we were having such a good time together, turned the birthday party into a birthday slumber party, having girls call their parents (or check with them as they arrived originally to pick up their daughter) to request staying and having a change of clothes delivered.

During the slumber portion of the evening, when everyone was splayed across the TV room floor in sleeping bags and pallets, and the version of “When Harry Met Sally” that has the miniature interviews with old couples interspersed through the film (and therefore adds an extra hour or more to the run-time) was playing, the birthday girl and I were snuggled right next to one another.

I remember my hair being wet still, because we had also turned the party into a swimming party earlier on, and I had swum in borrowed clothes.

Anyway, she and I were watching the movie and chatting with one another off and on, when we came to the topic of being ticklish.

Neither one of us had much of any resistance to being tickled, but we both had the desire to be able to resist the way other people we knew could – mostly people with lots of siblings.

I had (and have) many siblings, so I felt like I was missing out on this special skill that people with siblings seem to have.

And so, by reasoning that it must be a matter of having been conditioned that allowed these people to resist, we agreed to test out our own conditioning.

Therefore, dozing off during the film, we both slowly and gently ran our fingers back and forth across one another’s feet bottoms (yes, the soles), so that we each could practice deep breathing and calming ourselves in the face of being tickled.

Fast forward to today, and I can tell you that our night of tickling practice paid off – most people have no idea that I am at all ticklish (this includes, of course, all the people who actually tickle me – I’m not just saying it because people don’t try or anything).

I can’t resist forever, but I still have a solid thirty seconds to a minute or so that I can resist quite well, even when the tickling is intense.

When the acrobats were hanging with us, we all had a tickle fight (because what’s the point of giving up tickle fights amongst friends, just because we’re adults?)… almost every attempt to send me into crying giggles failed, due to my power of resistance – vive la résistance! – but our fingers grew sore from jabbing at what felt like concrete or brick walls, because the extremely muscled abdomens of the acrobats were also extremely ticklish.

(This went in many different directions… now, back to my original concept with the instant friend in middle school.)

And so, years later, I still recall Sayrah, the girl who became my instant friend that one week in middle school, just about every time I consider and no-hands food-eating contest or event or when I consider my awesome skill at resisting being tickled.

***As a quick note, I totally can be tickled like crazy, and I willingly give in to it instantly when I’m in the mood for a good and deep laughing fit, but it’s nice to be able not to have those when I really just want to be a rock of calm. 😛

Anyway, I miss having that, instant friends… we even mentioned that tonight, missing the social aspect of school, where you get to be surrounded by people of similar age and intelligence at least five days a week, and friends kind of abound… adulting is tough in that respect…

Post-a-day 2019

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Passion for Fashion

Located at 227 5th Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, is a little shop by the name of St. Hrouda.  Walking inside, one will find a combination boutique / art gallery, managed by the fashion extraordinaire Nicole Bell.  St. Hrouda’s walls are chicly lined with art and clothing from local artists and brands, including, my particular favorite, those made and designed by Nicole Bell herself.

Though I was in Brooklyn this past July, I have not yet seen this wonderful boutique/art gallery, because it has only recently opened its doors.  When Nicole first took over the space this fall, it was a somewhat drab and old-looking little shop.  Within weeks, she and her father, through their combined genius, had put together one of the most classy spaces I’ve ever seen (even in photographs).  The before and after photos of the space showed how true a transformation had taken place, and they actually had me wanting to jump up and down to celebrate the amazing results.  It is now the bea-U-tiful space of St. Hrouda, named for Nicole’s grandmother, and housing brands from New York, Australia, Denmark, Mexico, Paris, London, and LA, while featuring, of course, Nicole Bell.  And the gallery portion of St. Hrouda displays art by local New York artists (including, again, art by Nicole Bell herself), all for sale.

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On a regular basis, Nicole hosts a ladies’ night at St. Hrouda – from which I always see photos of wine and fabulous personal styling sessions (Think of what Becky Bloomwood does with her customers in the Sophie Kinsella novels) – as well as a variety of other events and pop-up shops/parties to help integrate St. Hrouda into the beautiful community surrounding it.

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Photos of the Grandmother Hrouda who inspired the name, along one of the walls of St. Hrouda

Now, let’s talk for just a minute about the amazing, spectacularly inspired fashionista behind it all: Nicole Bell.  I recently had the opportunity to visit and interview Nicole in her work studio in Brooklyn, just weeks before she began work on opening St. Hrouda.  Nicole is From Houston, Texas, and, only a handful of years ago, founded her fashion brand Nicole Bell.  Nicole herself is a goofy yet stylishly sassy woman who is taking on the world with long legs and big, brave strides.  She never fails to put a smile on my face when I am with her, and her determined outer self never hides the truth of what it really takes to be successful in fashion – life is hard, and making it in fashion is even harder.

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Nicole Bell of Nicole Bell and St. Hrouda

Nevertheless, fashion is her passion, and so she is going for it with all she’s got (and then some she’s still figuring out)!

Every time I see a Nicole Bell outfit, my inner Lady Gaga whoops with joy and longing – Ooooh! I want! I want! it always seems to shout, over and over, not unlike a little kid begging for ice cream.  Nicole’s designs are impeccable and utterly breathtaking on the powerhouse female front.  When I picture my BA* self taking on the world in heels, she’s wearing Nicole Bell.  And the world is looking on in awestruck astonishment. 🙂

Do yourself a favor, and give my interview with Nicole Bell a listen.  I learned so much about the fashion world, as well as how Nicole comes up with her individual designs and collections/lines.  Her sense of gratitude to those who have contributed to her journey thus far – as well as those who continue to contribute and show their support – is clear, as well as her almost unreal dedication to sharing her eye and inspiration with the world through fashion, despite the many, many hardships that have come with her endeavors and that still lie ahead.  Nicole does not have it all figured out, and that is just part of the beauty of exploration involved in furthering her passion for fashion.

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Nicole and Khaleesi, her baby boxer, @st.hrouda

The talk these days is all about getting to know the people behind our food and our clothing  – Buy local is a regular mantra (alongside Know your farmer and Made in the USA, in efforts to support quality products and fair trade, respectively).  The woman behind this shop and clothing line is definitely worth getting to know.  Especially if you’re in the New York area, give Nicole Bell a solid look – she is local and well worth the visit.  And, even if you aren’t in the area, look her up anyway – she’s that good.

When you find yourself interested in learning about the glories, trials, and tribulations of pursuing a love of and passion for fashion, give our interview a listen.  If you missed the link above, click here to listen to the interview I did with Nicole!

Definitely check out (and follow) her Instagram accounts for St. Hrouda (@st.hrouda) and Nicole Bell (@nicolebelldesigns) – the photos and videos on there inspire me just about every day.

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Notes from the interview:

The photographer Nicole really loved from the skate park is Nico Nordström, found at http://www.niconordstrom.com/

If you prefer regular websites (or want to buy something), check out www.sthrouda.com and www.nicolebell.co.

Check out Nicole’s 2018 New York Fashion Week show here – it’s awesome.  Just scroll down a bit on the page that opens for the video.

*Bad-a**, for those who don’t know

Post-a-day 2019

Comfort

At ease….

It’s funny to me, though totally believable, that my kakizome has already begun to do its work in my life for this year.

安心 Anshin

It roughly translates to a combination of the following:

  • Peace of mind, freedom from care
  • Relief, be quite free from care (anxiety, fear)
  • Feel easy (about), feel at ease
  • Feel relieved, stop worrying (about something)
  • Feel reassured, be confident (of, that), be (rest) assured

And, somehow unforeseen by me, 安心anshin has found its way further and further into my daily life these past couple weeks.

I am actually excited about the near future and the present almost every day, even when I wake up in the morning (In case you don’t know, the morning thing is huge for me).

I am not fully where I want to be – not by a long shot – but I am actually moving there now, actively and effectively heading in that wonderful direction, becoming who and how I want to be every day and night (and morning) of my life.

And it feels amazing (including the muscle soreness)…

Thank you, 安心 anshin, for your existence, care, and support in my life… truly, thank you. 🙂

Post-a-day 2019

Inspiration flattened

Do you ever get all excited about doing something, and so do some research on the subject to see what others are currently doing for it, and then become utterly downtrodden about it, because what you find is so good that you kind of don’t even want to bother going for it yourself?

Yeah… I might be experiencing that right now with photography… rather than inspiring me, the awesomely successful work of others just makes me feel like I’ll never be good enough, and so why even bother trying?

I know there’s more to it than that – especially, but not only, the fact that no one will bring to the table quite what I will bring, and I never will bring to the table what anyone else brings, because we are all different people… and that is a good thing – it grows rather boring rather quickly when everyone does the same exact thing…

I think I just need to feel the depressiveness of this right now, so that I can let it all go by morning. 😛

Yep… that’s it.

Here’s to inspiration and self-confidence – huzzah!

(lolz! [genuinely laughing at myself right now for the huzzah – I love when I be me]) 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Friends in action

There is a bit of a tizzy going on amongst those sitting in the director’s circle, just after my friend begins her solo song. I hear something like an ‘I don’t Know,’ from the circle as Blue Sweater turns ’round, shaking his head intensely with an air of sighing disbelief.

“Are you talking about the rag that was left behind?” I ask, since she had just had to step over a dropped white rag from the previous scene.

“What?”

I repeat.

“No. HER,” he says, somewhat dramatically, tipping his head toward the girl on stage, toward my friend. “She’s …perfection. She’s… she’s just perfection,” he says, hands flying with something like exasperation.

‘Oh.’ I agree… a few moments of silent awe follow, as everyone watches her on stage.

Shaking his head, “I mean, she has to know how perfect she is… she Has to know – I Have to give her the note,” and he flips open and begins writing in a notebook.

Everyone watching the stage is smiling, and they are smiles from deep within.

🙂

Post-a-day 2019

Time to get up

The struggles of not being an early-morning person… Tomorrow, I don’t have to be in until around 10am…

If I go in at the regular time (i.e. leaving home right at 7am), I can accomplish a lot of my writing and photo stuff before classes.

If I go in for 10, I won’t have time to accomplish anything except teaching and tutoring and regular working stuff – I’m booked through the evening.

But I would get to sleep in…., which is awesome, especially since we’re hoping to do or first workout class tomorrow night.

…However, I might get stress-y about the potential of showing up late for some reason, if I wait for 10…

So, I’m guessing I will schedule myself for the regular wake-up and get ready times, but just take my time doing them, as I find necessary… if I show up half an hour later than usual, due to increased traffic on the roads, that’s okay – I’ll still have enough time at that point to do my personal work before I have a class.

Good plan.

Yep.

Yeah, I’m definitely planning to leave at the same time as usual. 😛

Haha… I’m quite glad I can laugh at myself with this; laughter is good medicine. 🙂

Post-a-day 2019

Girl Rising

Tonight, I finally watched a film recommended to me by a couple of high school senior girls, called “Girl Rising“.

Before it even was finished, I found myself rather wanting to find a way to get myself funded to go over somewhere where teachers are needed, and to teach children (girls especially) everything I possibly can.

And I am now somewhat worried that I might actually end up doing something radical… like just that… or even finding a way to find a girls boarding school here somewhere, to bring girls who otherwise can’t afford anything, let alone education, and that will be this school I have considered and discussed so much in recent years, the one I have though about founding…

That seems even more absurd than my just going somewhere… somehow…

P.S. I recommend the film.

Post-a-day 2019