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Well, I did it!

I did a fabulous day filled with fabulous 90° turns, both from a standstill and moving, as well as a bunch of fabulous other maneuvers.

I went a bit wonky on the sharp u-turn part, where you can’t put down a foot on the test, but I did everything else wonderfully, and passed the exam, with commendations from the teacher.

Have you ever known someone who was really good at something, but who was only just starting out?…. and the person was so good that you wanted to see him/her pursue it further, because you could just see how amazing that person could be at it?… I’ve had that every so often with students, and I encourage them to stick with whatever it is, because I can see the natural inclination of awesomeness at the subject matter within them, and I want the world to benefit from that awesomeness, as well as the student….

Well, today, I got to be that person, that student. (!!!)

After the class, the coach was telling me how I was such a good and natural rider, and that a bike just seemed to suit me, I did so well with it, and, what’s more, that he felt I really would do well getting a motorcycle instead of getting a scooter (the scooter having been mentioned this morning at the start of the class)…

He was actually disappointed to discover that I already owned the scooter, because that meant I wouldn’t be getting a bike anytime soon.

And, truly, I was really a bit honored by his compliments.

He said that, while he tried to give the guys in the class a fair time, he put me first on just about every exercise – and I noticed how he would use one of their bikes to do the demonstration, and then line it up in a different spot, so that person wouldn’t go first in the group, and he would encourage me to go near the front…. then, after one round or so, when e would stop us briefly to talk, or have use move to a new location, he always had me as first in lone – because I was the best in the class.

Wow.

I mean, I felt this way a bit myself, that I was doing best overall, but I had no idea it was something worth sharing with me nor that there was such a difference in performance levels, and that mine was quite so high….

It was a really cool feeling… especially when I got the paper to show that I can have the M endorsement on my license now and forever more… that part was really cool for me. 😀

Watch out, World – I’m coming in bright red, European travel gear again!

(And I am thrilled!)

Post-a-day 2019

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90° into the future

Last week, my only struggle in the motorcycle training course was making a 90° turn while looking in the designated direction.

Funnily enough, I was so paranoid about messing up the turn and dropping the bike or something while I was looking left (for a left turn) and couldn’t see directly in front of the bike anymore, that I always ended up cutting over the inner cones… aka I was scared of hitting the outside ‘wall’ of baby cones, that I made the turn even tighter than it needed to be..,

Seriously, Banana?

Apparently so… haha

And so, tomorrow is the final day of the course… I have already passed the knowledge test/exam for the M endorsement on my license (M for motorcycle, even though I own a Vespa, not a motorcycle – a very powerful Vespa, of course), and I have passed the first few stages of the riding portion of the licensing exam, the skills test.

Tomorrow, I have the rest of the skills to learn and to do well, including that 90° turn that is genuinely the only skill that has me concerned… everything else is so natural for me, and I have done probably all of it before (we had dirt bikes when I was a kid)… just not a 90° turn while looking so far to the side (it makes sense, of course, in terms of safety regarding not having other cars show up out of nowhere, but I always want to watch the road a bit more than they like for the test, even on my bicycle [Yes, I checked how I do the turns on my bicycle this past week, and I do a back-and-forth head turn thing on my sharp turns.]).

Therefore, I am thinking longingly of a set of fabulous 90° turns in my near future (tomorrow morning, to be exact), and safe, genius diving for myself.

So, here’s to a wonderful night’s rest, and beautiful day tomorrow, and passing my licensing skills test tomorrow morning: Cheers! 😉

Post-a-day 2019

Tomorrow

I am driving to another city early tomorrow morning, so that I can view and examine and, possibly, test drive a scooter…

My hope is that the scooter be perfect for me, and that I, therefore, purchase it and bring it back to Houston with me.

I will have to take my motorcycle safety course, and purchase a cover and lock before I get to have it at my house, but that’s okay – it will sit in the garage of the family friend who is meeting me in a truck to go pick up the scooter in the first place, and he is extremely trustworthy with anything motorcycle related (and scooters are related, like cousins from Europe).

I am nervous to go to bed, because tomorrow will be here sooner, so far as my conscious kind is concerned, and the excitement of today will have ended…, but tomorrow will be perfect, for whatever reason, in whatever way it happens… of course, I am biased in the direction of this beautiful scooter becoming my friend and coming home to Houston with us… yep…

Anyway, I have my alarm to wake me at 5:35am, I think, so I really need to giddy up and go to sleep now, seeing as how it is almost midnight already.

And then, after we get back home, I have to do muscle testing at the gym, to see what maximum weight I can lift doing a certain motion, now that we’ve completed an eight-week cycle focused on building strength…, so I have to make sure I have proper energy and food for that tomorrow evening.

On that note, I bid you a wonderful night. 🙂

Post-a-day 2019

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