Friday, September 30, 2011

La Weirdo De Brooklyn

On Sunday I did a bit of impulse shopping and got myself a(nother) tattoo. Nothing special, just went to The Village and got some ink on my way home from hanging out with friends. Signed the release form, paid in cash and went downstairs to wait for my tattoo artist to set up the space.

When he put my arm on the stool and began to pierce my skin, something weird happened; my arm felt funny. Not so much because I was allowing someone to stab me repeatedly with a tiny ink-filled needle because pain I'm used to. My entire existence is about pain in some capacity. It's old hat.

This was an uncomfortable tingling in my elbow, sending a message to my brain to GET US OUT OF HERE. My breathing started to become difficult and I had to quietly talk myself down of the ledge in my head. "Everything is okay. We were just getting a tattoo. We've been here before, Raquel, relax."

Normally I don't watch while I get inked because (surprise, surprise) I hate needles (serious side eye at the irony of it all), but I forced myself to watch him etch the Sanskrit characters on my forearm and that's when I realized why I felt so wrong.

He was sort of holding my hand. There wasn't a need to call the SVU detectives- he was strictly holding my arm still, pulling the skin taut at times, to make sure the lines were straight. He was just doing his job.

The problem here, it seems, is that I've become so unaccustomed to being touched that I've actually developed a real aversion to it. There was a person of the opposite sex TOUCHING ME and it was making me so uncomfortable it triggered an adrenalized FLIGHT reaction in me. Once I realized what was happening I took some deep breaths and told myself "He's just doing his job, Raquel. You're going to be okay."

I can laugh about it now that it's over (and yeah, you can go ahead and laugh, too) but at the time a sudden sadness overcame me. My body, my skin, has forgotten how nice a caress can be. It's been THAT long that a tattoo artist gently grabbing my hand to steady my arm could baffle me so. I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT WAS HAPPENING. Isn't that horrible? I've closed myself off so much that my body has taken to rejecting any random form of touch.

In the middle of it all the artist looked up at me, must have noticed the terror in my eyes and asked, "Are you okay? Does it hurt?" Yes, it hurt to think I could be losing my capacity to enjoy human touch. It hurt to think that I've never enjoyed hugs from anyone but my kids, and even then I struggled with accepting it after they'd reached a certain age. And yes, it hurt to know that with every day that passes my heart is turning more and more into stone, that only the people I love right now will continue to be loved by me and no one else will be able to fit.

But how do you lay that burden down on the guy holding a sharp object millimeters from your skin?

"I'm okay," I lied. "It's just me being weird."

*smooches...not sure what to make of all this*
certainly I'm not looking to indulge in random hook-ups again but still, there must be a happy medium somewhere...or a 12-step program...or a Wizard to give me a new heart...

Thursday, September 29, 2011


On Tuesday, Papi flew back to DR after a two-month stint here in Brooklyn. He was here for K's Sweet Sixteen, Ns 11th and Titi Gloris' 60th birthday dinner, but left before his own 76th.

It occurred to me that Papi has always been there for our major celebrations- birthdays, first communions, baby showers and graduations. When I look back on photos he's always in them, smiling along side us. What would I ever do without that smile?

This summer doctors removed a growth from his face that proved to be cancerous and when I heard Minnie telling me so over the phone my heart dropped. I could feel the panic start to rise in my chest and I kept repeating "NO NO NO" in my head. Thankfully it was only in that one spot, the doctors got all of it and scans confirmed that the melanoma hadn't spread.

So I'm more than ecstatic to be able to write this post, wishing my dad a happy birthday and looking forward to visiting him in the spring for the Caribbean Series in Santo Domingo.

Feliz Cumpleaños, Papi! And many, many more!

*smooches...just for my dad today*
he wants a big party for his 80th; I'm so glad we'll have that to look forward to. you're all invited!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday Dedications, 2011: "Apartate De Mi Vida"

Nina and I were on the phone lamenting this hard, hard life we live, and then decided to make ourselves feel better by saying how much harder it could have been had we ended up in the "traditional" roles for Dominican women.

In my alternate universe life, I married a bodeguero, had four kids (Altagracia, Miguelito, Manolo and little Maria) and a Business Administration degree from CCNY, lived in Washington Heights and made empanadas in my apartment to sell on 175th Street and Broadway because my husband wouldn't want me to work (hence the four kids). Then, after my youth had been smothered and squandered under layers of empanada grease, I'd discover that my husband had another family in East NY with a PRican woman. Rat Bastard!

I'd kick him out of the house, but divorce? Never! Instead I'd start wearing clothes that were too small and too revealing and hang out with my bitter, single friends while Manolito got caught up in gang life (damn Trinitarios got to my baby!) and Altagracia got pregnant by some Black dude who thinks Dominican girls are exotic.

In my random, sober moments I'd play some old records, mostly by Fania All-Star artists, and mourn for my youth, self-esteem and confidence, and wonder how it all went to shit so fast. That motherfucking cheating ass bastard and his skanky whore RUINED my family. Eventually, I'd move on, but not before ruining my kids beyond repair.

Still, even as everything crumbled around me, I'd make my empanadas to sell on 175th and Broadway because really- what else do I have at this point? Fuck him!

*smooches...feeling better already*
turns out this life ain't so bad after all

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hey Brooklyn, Let's PARTY!

This weekend my City butt will be visiting some Country mice, but I thought I'd pass along the details of what sounds like an AMAZINGLY FUN event in the most AMAZINGLY FUN borough in all of New York City- the 37TH ANNUAL ATLANTIC ANTIC STREET FESTIVAL!

From the press release:

THE 37TH ANNUAL ATLANTIC ANTIC is an event not to be missed! On this beautiful autumn day in Brooklyn, the Atlantic Antic will bring together one million people to Atlantic Avenue to celebrate the longstanding tradition of food, festivities, and fun!

The Atlantic Antic is a Brooklyn institution, embracing the myriad of heritages that coexist in the Borough. Spanning four Brooklyn neighborhoods from Hicks Street to Fourth Avenue, the Antic is the largest street festival in New York City! From start to finish, Atlantic Avenue is transformed into a sea of entertainment offering something for everyone.

Comprised of local and national vendors intertwined with trendy restaurants and boutiques, the Atlantic Antic features live music stages that showcase free performances from various cultural genres. Families enjoy pony rides, storytelling, and face painting on an entire block dedicated solely to kid-friendly activities. Best known for its eclectic delicacies, the Antic highlights an array of food from around the world including street fair favorites like funnel cake, sausage sandwiches, and roasted corn! [source]

If you end up going and have a good time, please, don't brag too much. And tell 'em Jaded sent ya!!

*smooches...happy to endorse BK*
any chance I get to prove my borough is better than whatever backwater swamp you crawled out of...yeah, Newark, I'm looking at you...

Monday, September 26, 2011

I Try Not To Be Jealous.

It doesn't always work.

This summer, I took my daughters to Montauk for Ks Sweet 16 and what I thought was going to be a pleasant, relaxing, amazing trip turned into the biggest headache of my life. It got so bad that I almost broke down and cried in the street in front of my girls. Why? Why else- frustration with my lack of money. Why I agreed to have this party in the most expensive beach town EVER is beyond me, but as soon as we got there my funds were depleted and I just wanted to not be anywhere anymore ever.

(And the Oscar for Lead Actress in a Dramatic Performance During PMS Week While on Vacation goes to...)

It was never so apparent to me how many bad financial decisions I've made in my life than this summer in Montauk as I watched the other vacationers eating out at the fancier places and driving around in fancy cars or hanging out in their suites or beautiful beach homes. It occurred to me that at the rate I'm going this would never be my life, and then I was upset for having cheated my kids. Especially when their friends have so much more...

Listen, I know it's stupid and useless to covet & regret. I don't begrudge anyone their wealth or success because I know my own misfortunes are my own doing. It was just frustrating because I wanted to show them a great time. I wanted them to experience a bit of luxury, an escape from the tiny matchbox where we live, to order from a menu and not have to care. I know it's not a necessity but I wanted it for them so badly and it pissed me off to no ends that I couldn't give it to them.

Instead of a beautiful weekend at the beach, we ended it all with the longest walk to the train (because I couldn't afford a taxi) and the longest wait on the platform (because we made a wrong turn and missed our train).

If you ask K, she'll tell you she had a great time (except for the walk to the train and her mom LOSING HER FUCKING SHIT ON A DESERTED ROAD) and her birthday was awesome. At least, that's what I'm hoping. If you ask me? I've failed my babies...

*smooches...looking forward to a better 2012*
I WILL handle my money better and my kids WILL have a great(er) summer. you'll see.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Jaded Stalkers REJOICE...

Blog Café 3.0 is HERE!

That's right- another opportunity to openly stalk yours truly without risk of restraining orders or machetes to the throat.

Technically it's supposed to be a networking event for bloggers and their readers (get those business cards ready, son!) but a little birdy told me there will be free liquor, so...yeah...

This year Blog Café will be held at Wix Lounge, a " work + event space for creative professionals in New York City" near Union Square. Yeah, you read that correctly: FREE WORK + EVENT SPACE. As in show up during business hours (when there aren't events scheduled), plug in your laptop and get to work. No lease, no appointment, no hassle! Do you see why I stay in this City even though it kicks my ass on the regular?

Anyway, if you were looking forward to the Jaded Blogiversary and were pissed when I had to cancel it, show up for Blog Café and I'll get you a free drink :)

Be sure to RSVP by clicking HERE or you won't get to party network with us!

*smooches...hoping to see all of you there*
Blog Café is sponsored in part by and Wix Lounge

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"An Eye For An Eye Makes The Whole World Blind"

I do not support capital punishment.

Whether or not you followed the Troy Davis case from the beginning or just heard of it two days ago like I did, it doesn't change the fact that our judicial system is disgustingly flawed and we as Americans need to do something about it. We elected these DAs and judges and government officials; let's hold them accountable.

And that's all I'm going to say about that.

*no smooches today...not in the mood*
so I'll be seeing you at the polls in November, correct?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday Dedication, 2011: "We Are Drinking Beer At Noon On Tuesday"

This weekend I was lamenting that all my friends are scattered across these United States, and sometimes I go YEARS without seeing the people that I used to see every day.

Like Celia and Cathi, who kept me sane (and out of the ditch) in college. Or Alex, who helped me plan many a caper at Tech. Or Lani, who brought me out of my shell and taught me to bar-dance. Or L who kept me sane (and out of jail) at the Waco School for Girls. Or Mari who, well, actually DID grow up with me and now lives soooooo far away!

Don't get me wrong, I adore the friends I've made since moving back to Brooklyn in 2006, but nothing compares to the people who've known you forever and a day, the people you pretty much grew up with, and have seen you make your ugly crying face. There aren't a lot of people in my life like that.

I can only imagine what one huge party with all my friends would look like. They don't all party in the same fashion with the same kind of people, but I can't help but think that with me as their common denominator, that party would shit on any other party you've ever been to in your life!

*smooches...just for the homies*
I need to hurry up & get some of that Stephen King money so I can see my people whenever I want!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why I Won't Sleep With You

For some reason unknown to me, when I tell a guy in no uncertain terms I DO NOT WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH YOU they hear: no, not today, but try me again in a couple of weeks.

And I suspect this is happening to women all over the world. As if men got together one day and decided that No means Maybe. Well, it doesn't. It means GETTHEFUCKOUTTAHERENOBODYWANTSTOFUCKYOURWACKASSBEGONE!!

I never know if dudes ignore my vehement NOs just to annoy me and be funny or if they really believe they have a shot, but just in case... if you find any of this applies to you by all means take it as bible law and have a smooth motherfucking seat while I break it down so that it can once and forever be broke...

Besides the fact that I've promised myself the next guy I sleep with will be my last (as in no more casual times for the kid- only a serious monogamous relationship with a ring and a promise of forever will see my panty-drawz from now on):

>>I don't enjoy the physical act of sex with other people, so to get me to take off my clothes you have to be an exceptional man in looks, personality AND intelligence. Not either or, you have to be ALL of these things. This isn't something I've instituted in the past- I went slumming A LOT- but it's the policy now and forever more. Take a good hard look in the mirror. Is that you? Be honest, because if I've already said NO then the answer is NO.

>>If we've had sex before and now I constantly turn you down it means YOU WERE HORRIBLE and I find you sexually unattractive and/or repulsive. Also, see reason 1. Like, the thought of your nakedness anywhere near my nakedness ever again brings the chunks of last night's dinner to my esophagus. And I can only imagine how far I had to take my imagination to get through sex with you the first time! There will NEVER be a next time. Just NO.

>>If we don't know each other in the biblical sense & I turn you down, again, you do nothing for me. Again, see reason 1. We can be buds and whatnot, but don't waste your best game on me because you're already on the Unfuckable list and that list is laminated.

(What's an Unfuckable? Gay/bisexual men, dummies, fuglies, fatties, lame-os, marrieds/cuffed-ups, dudes my friends like and/or have already fucked, homies that are like family, Caucasian men and anyone under the age of 30. Some dummies used to be able to get it because they had abs of steel but I'm 36 now; you need to be able to conjugate some verbs and name a few current government officials n shit to turn my head.)

If any of this hurt your feelings, man, listen- I know I'm not perfect. Many of the guys I find yummy would never even look my way once let alone twice. I accept that and move on. So should you. Just because I find you repulsive doesn't mean that some other female won't want to treat you to many naked delights and make you hers. Go and find THAT woman because I just ain't the one, B!

I know you men like to think you're Magellan and shit, that YOUR sweet lovin' will be THE sweet lovin' to get me sprung and declaring your prowess from the mountain tops, but I honestly don't care to find out because I AM NOT ATTRACTED TO YOU. Let me repeat that for the cheap seats...




There. Maybe that was finally clear enough.

* tired of repeating myself*
sometimes the bitch card is the only one I have left to play

Monday, September 19, 2011

"...You Got To Pick 'Em Up Just To Say Hello..."

"Ray J is why you don't fuck with short men. They have fragile feelings."
-Smarty Jones

I am not a gossip blogger and discussing celebrities is not my shtick because, frankly, everybody and their momma has a gossip/celebrity blog where they all talk about the same boring red carpet event and they all go to the same listening parties and they all mix and mingle at the same happy hour with B, C, and D List celebrities and write about it on the same day.

That's not what we do here. On this blog, we make fun of people, and "I PROMISE YOU" this is the only reason I'm linking this radio interview with Brandy's little brother and wannabe singer, rapper, actor, star Ray J.

Apparently he got into a scuffle with another has-been, rapper Fabolous, and then called into The Breakfast Club to stomp his feet, hold his breathe and kick and scream until he could get an extra cookie for dessert or some such bullshit. Click here for the audio.

Oh Ray J, you delusional tiny, tiny man. I get it. Kim K is BALLIN' right now with a tallllllll drink of slow bus water and didn't even bother to pay homage to your penis. And now you feel like the joke of the internets. I get it. It's okay. Here, have a seat. Let me get that cookie for you...

*smooches...thankful for the late-morning chuckle*
dude needs a hug and some anger management. STAT

Friday, September 16, 2011

I Just Joined Two PTAs

Here's the deal:

K is a junior at one of the specialized high schools in the City. This is THE YEAR when the SATs count and college talks and visits get real and she CANNOT FUCK UP. This is also the year where she may decided, like I did 20 years ago, that 10+ years of being a good student was more than enough and start acting out. This is the year boys might enter the picture or she might want to get her license or study abroad and all that shit. I'm exhausted just typing it.

N just started the sixth grade at what is considered to be the BEST middle school in all of Brooklyn (or at least one of them) for gifted and talented kids like my little Thug Boogie. Also, much to my dismay, she is the ONLY BLACK KID IN THE WHOLE SCHOOL. Three grades of smart kids from all over District 20 and she's the only Black kid. Let that shit marinate in your soul for a second.

I had no choice but to pull back on whatever bullshit I have going on at home (Netflix, sofa lounging, watching soca videos on YouTube) and get involved in my kids' school for every one's safety. Because god forbid one of these little heffas flunk out or fuck up or are ignored by her teachers...

*smooches...transforming into SuperMom*
you should see my fancy SuperMom cape :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Five Years Of Jadedness

First off, let me once again apologize for having to cancel the Blogiversary Party tonight, but I got too busy and the event I had in mind was slowly but surely falling apart. And I’m the type of person that wants things done right or not at all.

I thank all of you who RSVP’d and had planned on showing up to help me poison my liver with a shot of Jameson. We’ll party another time for another occasion and it will be great and alcohol-laced, I’m sure. *besos*

That said, today, September 15, 2011 marks not only the start of Latino Heritage Month but it’s also the Fifth Year Anniversary of my very first blog post on this site. Click here and read it now. We’ll wait.
Pretty standard Jadedness, right? Well since then you’ve all experienced my highs, lows and in-betweens; my tomfoolery, shenanigans and straight up ghetto coonery; and my pity parties, rants and moments of psychosis. As a cyber-family we’ve survived Reinagate, Twitter and its effect on blogging, and a Black man in the White House (although the latter still remains to be seen!).

It’s all been a pretty crazy time, no? I hope The Jaded NYer has been worth all the hours you’ve spent ruining your eyesight and tarnishing your soul, and if it wasn’t OH WELL. NO ONE TOLD YOU TO KEEP COMING BACK.

I want to thank you for your continued support, readership, friendship, advice, cheers, jeers and co-signage. Here's some soca music to help you get your wine 'n jook on:

May the next five years be just as Jaded. And then some.

*smooches...urging you to put that bumpah in repeat in my honor*
just because I canceled my party doesn't mean Y'ALL can't party for me!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wednesday Dedication, 2011: "I Don't Know How To Let You Go"

Anytime I feel low I want to hop on the train and go to you, rest my head on your lap and let you braid my hair until I doze off. I want to wrap my arms around your waist from behind as you stir the food and inhale the Agua Florida you splashed all over yourself that morning. I want to help you hang the wash in the yard while you hum old songs that I'll never know.

I'll never have that again and this knowledge keeps me up at night.

*smooches...feeling that void again*
just when you think you're over something, you're not.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sometimes, Man, I Swear...

*smooches...not feeling like it today*
I was glad I didn't have to talk to anyone

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fearlessness: A Healthy Jaded Update

On Saturday I finally stopped avoiding the inevitable and took the next level up in yoga (I’m currently in Level 1 Basics, Kshanti, but have been promising to take the Level 2 Basics, Virya) and proved to myself that I was ready for it. This may seem like a small thing to be proud of, but those of you who are regular yoga practitioners can vouch for the magnitude of such an achievement.

Virya is Sanskrit for enthusiastic effort/diligence and boy is that class properly named. First off I should mention that I took the Basics 1 class at 12:30, had a 30 minute break and then came back for the Basics 2 class. That's right. In one day. My instructor, Jess, said she saw nothing wrong with it if I felt my body was ready and I interpreted that as her asking me if I had the cojones for it.

What took me so long to try this class? Fear, plain and simple. I was afraid of not being able to do the postures correctly and then getting mad at myself and quitting over some nonexistent, perceived humiliation. I'm so afraid I'm going to give up in the middle of this journey, revert back to the lazy, fat, unhappy sofa girl I was just a few months ago and I don't want to be her anymore. She was so unbearably miserable...I just can't go back.

With this in mind, I don't tend to pounce on different physical activities or lifestyle changes at full speed. I'm more of a chug-along-slowly-and-enjoy-the-scenery kind of person. I need to take the baby steps to assure myself that we're okay, we won't fall off the wagon and eat a tray of wings and fries followed by a pint of Haagen Dazs. We won't give up on the goals we've set. But sometimes the baby steps make me second guess myself, too, and that's what caused the hold-up with joining the Basics 2 class.

At first I did concern myself too much with what the others were doing and how I measured up to them, but about 1/4 of the way into it, when I saw I was hanging in there and working the postures, my cojones finally kicked in. And just in time, too, because Jess invited us to begin setting up for the Wading Bird posture:

We weren't ask to try the full posture yet (we're only a Basics 2 class!) meaning our feet didn't have to leave the ground, but we did have to lean forward and rest our knees on our elbows.

Let me explain something- on a long list of things I'm afraid of, doing any kind of work that requires me to balance on my arms and allow my feet to leave the ground is near the top (somewhere after getting trampled to death in a crowd O_o). This means I never did gymnastics; it took me forever to learn to fall properly in Tae Kwon Do and I can't do a cartwheel to save my life. I have this irrational fear of snapping my wrists into tiny bone fragments that will never fully recover.

On Saturday I worked really hard to tuck that fear away and push my body...and I did it. Towards the end of class I tucked the fear away again when Jess invited the class to sustain a half handstand against the wall. I actually spoke up, asked for her to sit by me and guide me through it...and I held it for .3 seconds. It was such a rush! I can almost taste that full-on Wading Bird and handstand! It might be a month away or it might be a year away, but I can taste it. I'm learning to overcome my fear!

And before you know it, I'll be doing cartwheels all over your lawn.

*smooches...excited for my next yoga class*
I'm totally in love with this class, fuck everything else

Friday, September 09, 2011

Labor Day Tomfoolery: Sunday & Monday

You can read about Friday and Saturday by clicking here.

By now many of you probably read all the news reports about the crazy amount of gun violence that plagued NYC over the long weekend, so I won't recount it or link to it here. Just know some people were shot over (what else?) some stupid shit and ruined what was an otherwise super-fun time.

Let's not focus on the fact that I had my baby with me out on the Parkway and that we were almost shot/trampled to death. Never mind that all my fears of crowds and parades starting becoming a reality some time after 2:30PM on Monday afternoon. I'd rather not speak about I've never been SO HAPPY to see Park Slopians in my life after narrowly escaping god-knows-what. Let me instead tell you how much fun we had (before bullets began whizzing by my face. Allegedly.)

On Sunday I decided to skip yoga and sleep in because, if you recall, I got home rather late (or early, depending on what you consider 4:30AM to be), and trekked up to Harlem in the late afternoon for an End-of-Summer house party at Eb's. Oh and she made my FAVORITE: fried chicken. All my thoughts of eating healthy and sparingly went right out the window as I promptly heaped some beans and mac 'n cheese on my plate. Fuck yo Primal lifestyle, there was FRIED CHICKEN in my midst!

We ate, chatted, made fun of people (at one point in the evening there was a strange influx of really unfortunate-looking dudes. Wearing rolled-up cut-off jeans & skippys. Is that a thing? Are guys- STRAIGHT guys- really loving this style?) and danced to the only three soca songs Eb would allow to be played.

(Special shout out to Eb for another great party & to her homie Mike Barnes for that kick-ass sangria that had me rethinking this whole "no alcohol" policy I've tried to instill)

Afterward I chilled with The F$%k-it List at Penn Station until her Suburban Express train arrived and then went home to my babies who had FINALLY come home after being away for two weeks. I was supposed to take a super-disco-nap in order to participate in J'Ouvert but, ummm, my body reconnected with the sofa and it was a wrap.

I woke up at 6:00AM. WOMP WOMP

Instead of beating myself up over it, I just woke the babies up and urged them to get ready for fun on the Parkway, but only N was willing to go. So we got dressed, ate something, bought some flags and scouted a sweet spot near Utica Avenue with enough space for when The F$%k-it List and Tiffany joined me.

The parade itself was so beautiful and fun. All of my favorite BIG TUNES were playing from the trucks and the costumes...mannnnn I was in heaven! Some highlights include Tiffany's boyfriend in the Fauxberry pajama pants:


This Tonton Macoute devil thing that scared the babies (and ME!):

Me coming out as an Honorary Trini:

And these most delicious men (and women) just standing around looking...well, delicious:

We feasted on fried fish, jerk chicken, nutcrackers (LAWD!) and took in all the beauty of our Caribbean people:


Until my life was in danger, everything was cool. And I'd still consider joining a mas band next year. Why not? As we've done in the years following the September 11 attacks on the WTC, we can't let a few idiots kill our joy. This is a staple of Brooklyn's culture. I might just be back.

Shout out to these heffas:

They saved my life. Allegedly.

*smooches...really considering Miami Carnival in October*
hopefully no one dies...

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Labor Day Tomfoolery: Friday & Saturday

Since January, I've been obsessed with soca music and Trinidadian culture. In the past I've always appreciated the food and music, but never with the intensity with which it now dominates my soul. What changed? I went to a soca jam with some Trini friends and realized: these people KNOW how to party and this music is the HAPPIEST music on earth. Hands down. Like seriously you cannot stay in a bad mood while these calypso-heavy riddims play. You just can't!

Because of my new found love of soca, I decided that I would end my boycott of parades and street parties (I'm a bit claustrophobic. Add to that the fact that as a kid I watched many news stories of people getting trampled in a crowd at outdoor events. I wanted NOTHING to do with any of it) and participate in as many of the Labor Day West Indian - American Parade/Carnival activities as I could.

I started on Friday with Brassfest at the Brooklyn Museum, where I FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY got to see Kes the Band and Machel Montano live on stage. Machel also brought Patrice Roberts out during his set and "woi woi woi" I was in heaven... "oh gosh!" At first I was reluctant to get on up into the crowd- memories of crushed soccer fans still danced in my head- so I hung back and sat on the bleachers during the opening act. When Kes came on stage I ventured into the mix a little and ran into my Socacize instructor, Simone, and stayed there for the duration of Kes' set. But I knew that I would need to get closer to the stage when Machel came out because, dammit, he was the reason I'd come out in the first place! I love me some Kes because he is sexy beyond belief, but Machel just gets you pumped and ready to fete, you know? Just full of energy.

So I did it. During the set change I walked further and further into my biggest fear- CROWDS- and situated myself as close to the stage as the fans would let me. So OF COURSE I was in the middle of a mosh pit that went wild as soon as they heard Machel's voice, and OF COURSE I hyperventilated for a few seconds, but I realized: if you flow with the crowd instead of fighting against it, you'll have more fun and avoid death. And in the end I was jumpin', wavin', winin' and "taking advantage of the stage" with everyone else, especially the crazy St. Lucians standing near me. "I see you, St. Lucia!!"

I think maybe I got home at 4:30am or so, like a bad ass, which is why I decided to sleep in my makeup for the photo shoot I had the next morning at 10:00am!

Saturday was so beautiful and sunny! I promptly dressed in my new BRKLYN tee from Brooklyn Industries and met my homie and talented photog, Marcin, near my house so that we could travel to the location together. Where were we going? To Kiddie Carnival, of course! We went all the way to Crown Heights, found a nice spot along the parade route and took in the festivities.

These costumes were beautiful and the kids looked AMAZING! Needless to say, after I showed N the pics from my phone, she was asking to be in it next year. Oh. Hell. Yes. So if you have the hook up with a mas band for my baby, let me know.

In the meantime, enjoy these amazing photos courtesy of the uber-talented Marcin Kaliski:

That night, after maybe a 40-minute nap, I met up with Stephanie Tiffany for a night of no behaviour. The first place we went to was LAME and chock-full of her uncles and cousins dancing in the corner and selling jewelry to patrons. Now, I love me some rock steady reggae but I was in the mood to JUMP UP so the music was truly dampening our spirits. After a delicious serving of jerk chicken and a free rum-and-ginger concoction, AND after some voodoo man shook a menacing-looking rattle at me, we left for what we hoped was a better party. (Please note that the voodoo man followed us outside to ask us to stay. SHUDDER!!!)

At the next venue we fared better: even though the DJ insisted on playing mostly hip hop, Stephanie Tiffany's friends unleashed the Trini flags from their pockets and persuaded him to give us a soca set. Ahhh the joy I felt at that much joy that I encouraged the Blancs in my midst to palance with us. I was so high off the fun that I *actually* said to one of the bouncers, "My, aren't you a tall drink of water?" Go ahead and side eye me now. I deserve it.

I got home at around 4:30am again, but it was so damn worth it. And the best part? My weekend was only half over...

*smooches...excited for next year's parade*
N will look SOOOO CUTE in a carnival costume!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Wednesday Dedication, 2011: "Don't Let Me Fall In Love With You Again"

I still get butterflies at the thought of you. I need you to know that, but not really. It's beyond time I let go of my crush although I sense there will be no end in sight. To me, you are still the bees' knees.

Maybe one day I'll get to rest my head in the crook of your neck and breathe you in again. Maybe our lips will meet again. Maybe I'll get to stare into your beautiful chestnut eyes and melt away... again.


*smooches...fighting the feeling*
my thug status is in jeopardy...over a freakin DUDE, son!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

A Jaded Makeover, Part I

I've never been into makeup that much. I mean yes, I do indulge in massive amounts of Clinique lip gloss (all variations of the same shade, mind you) when they're having a Gift With Purchase deal, and I have accepted the importance of concealer and mascara in my life, but in general I always found the whole applying-makeup-everyday practice to be too time-consuming for a Jaded gyal like me.

Still, sometimes you just want to look a little spruced up, you know? I can't see myself doing up some elaborate color scheme on my face everyday because I prefer to just get up and go. However, there are times when you want a dramatic eye to accentuate your stank face. Or lips so perfectly rouge that no one can resist them.

So a couple of years ago I made a random comment on Twitter about how I wish I knew the ins & outs of applying makeup flawlessly, and lo and behold, that year for my birthday, fellow Brooklynite The F$%k-It List gifted me a makeup application lesson at MAC Cosmetics. It took me two years to use it because...hmmm, I don't really know why, but probably something along the lines of "I'm too busy" or "It's too hot to wear makeup" or "Oh, I forgot I had this gift card..." Whatever the reason I finally decided that last Friday would be THE day, especially because I had this, um, photo shoot (we'll discuss that later) and figured I could get my face beat by a pro instead of slapping on some paint and calling it a day.

I chose the MAC store on Montague St. in Brooklyn, went in after work with my usual naked face:

and let Rebeca (I hope I'm spelling that correctly!) show me how to create a neutral daytime look that I could easily glam up for the evening. It was a bit daunting because I'm a perfectionist, and I wanted to do it EXACTLY as she was describing it, but then she was all, "Relax, have fun with it, experiment." She did one side of my face and then handed me the brushes to replicate the look on the other side of my face while she held up a mirror. And in the end, we had this:

I really want to thank Rebeca for her patience and encouragement (even though she pretty much implied I was HIGH YELLOW when she switched me from a pink-based mineral powder foundation to a "golden"-based foundation. hmph!) and for showing me how I can present a cleaner, sharper, better face and still be Jaded.

And a huge shout out to MAC Cosmetics for making a product that can survive a night of jumping and waving with my Trini massive and still look flawless:

(It even carried over to the next day for the photo shoot but you're not supposed to sleep with makeup on so you didn't hear that from me...)

*smooches...with a whole new face*
I never knew how TIRED I looked until I took these before and after shots. I need more sleep and cucumber eye masks in my life!

Monday, September 05, 2011

"Take Out Your Rag, Take Out Your Flag..."

The parade soon come... even though I slept through j'ouvert, I shall be on the Parkway enjoying the food and festivities in a couple of hours.

Yes I am a Brooklyn native.

No I've never been to the parade.

Yes, this is my first year attending the Carnival parties and such. Better late than never, right?

Oh, and if you're reading this and saying to yourself, "J'ouvert? Parkway? What is she talking about?" then this post is not for you. Have a Happy Labor Day and come back tomorrow when I'll be talking about my butt or something.

*smooches...excited for my first Parkway experience*
y'all already know...

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Jaded Photographs: September 2011 Edition


*smooches...keeping you safe from sea mammals*
don't say I never did anything for you.

Friday, September 02, 2011

How I Survive In New York: A Cautionary Tale For Midwesterners Who Dream Of Living In The Big City

Let me preface this by stating that I am heavily in debt yet own nothing. I'm terrible with money and always have been, despite being the daughter of an accountant/bookkeeper. I suppose it's the equivalent of the preacher's daughter being a total slore.

That said, let me explain to all you out-of-towners the realities of living here. It won't be pretty so if you have a weak stomach, maybe you should go grab a bucket and a blankie before we proceed.

Ready? OK!

I am a writer by trade; it's how I earn a living. Not many people who call themselves writers can say that but I'm one of the lucky few. I put up with a lot of bullshit to be able to finally say that, but there it is: I am a writer and someone pays me American dollars (whatever that's worth!) to write.

This job pays in the 40s; not bad considering last year my salary was in the low-to-mid zero. I also receive child support from my ex for the girls (no alimony, though... me and my STUPID pride!). From this 50-something annual paycheck, I have to meet the following financial obligations: $1200 rent; $40 ConEdison bill; $20 National Grid bill; $220 Verizon bill; $60 Cablevision bill; $20 for Netflix; $104 for a monthly MetroCard; $600 a month for after school care; and somewhere in the vicinity of $300-$400 month for groceries. I'll wait for you to do the math and realize how broke I am. Go ahead. I'll wait.


Did you remember to carry the 1? Got the answer? RIGHT. It's expensive to live here, bitches. And I'm one paycheck away from being a pathetic 30-something living in her mother's basement. It sounds horrible, right? Who can live with that level of instability? How am I not a ball of nerves or working the ho stroll to make things better? WHY DO I STILL LIVE HERE? Well, this is how I get by.

First, I'm from here, which means my family is from here, and should any major tragedy ever crash through my life, they've got my back. I honestly can move into my mother's basement if I needed to because she's has a basement...and two other levels in the house; plenty of room for me and the babies.

Also, my family is from the Dominican Republic, and if you know any Dominicans you know that we come here to work our asses off just to build a house "back home" for our retirement, etc. There are a myriad of homes that have been offered to me- rent free- in DR if this New York life gets to be too much.

Next, I am pretty skilled at many things, so a job is never really out of my reach. I was one of the best workers the McDonald's at Fulton Mall ever saw- my register NEVER came up short, my line was never out of control & my area was always clean. They pay NOTHING but if I had to I'd be a French fry pimp. I've also been a teacher, a child care provider, a house cleaner, an office manager and a publishing assistant- all low-paying gigs that I would take in a heartbeat (and have!) to make ends meet.

Finally, I go without- plain and simple. I've been wearing the same clothes and shoes(depending on my weight) since 2004; I hardly ever eat out and I don't travel anywhere BoltBus can't take me for $20. I do as many FREE things as I possibly can to offset the pricey things I may have to pay for (like kids' shoes, hair products, grass-fed meats and cage-free, organic eggs...). I learn to enjoy my sofa and psych myself up into believing that I don't miss all the parties and outings I have to turn down.

How glamorous is MY life? Jealous, much?

Right. So find an awesome place in your own town to move into and STAY PUT. We're all filled up on broke-ass writers over here.

*smooches...hoping this posts keeps people outta BK*
there are too many of y'all creeping in here taking over & raising the costs of everything. just stay in Wisconsin and leave our ghettos alone!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Lessons From Books Vol. 2

"Rule: Never have a serious relationship with someone whom you get drunk with and screw on the first night."

-Feel This Book
by Ben Stiller & Janeane Garofalo

*smooches...wishing I had paid attention sooner*
poor grammar aside, this is really good advice. and dammit I've had this book since 1999 yet still managed to FUCK UP...