Monday, December 31, 2012

Shake and bake, do whatever it takes.

Sayonara, 2012!
Where did the year go, again?  The world was shaken up more than we could imagine, but as always, it continues onward.  For me, the year could be neatly divided into three parts: the second semester of my sophomore year at college, my summer home working at Mill Creek, then my junior fall -- with ridiculous antics in between!  Unfortunately I can't report any love connections, but I did find a new family as a resident in the Habitat for Humanity theme house, left my heart in San Francsico, acquired a sound board of co-workers, became a full-fledged player on the Ruckus Bus ultimate frisbee team, and gained friends with some incredible ladies and gents this fall.  As mundane and tireless as each day can feel, looking back at the collective experience is astounding.  I turned 20 in early November, so I believe that this will be the start of the next greatest decade of my life.  I'm finally starting to feel older, and sometimes it's a seizing moment of oh shit, this is growing up-- but I have nothing to complain aboutLife will only be better from here.   

Because lists are fun, for 2013 I loosely resolve to:
x. Throw caution to the wind and let life consume me in any circumstance
x. Stop feeling sorry about myself for petty things.
x. Stop questioning and just GO, DO IT AND FIND OUT.
x. Treat my body in a way that makes me feel good.
x. Read more leisure novels and absorb the wisdom they impart.
x. Paint, write, dance and remain artistically in touch with my mind and spirit.
x. Do serious things, but never take myself too seriously.
x. Never allow anyone to make me feel less than I am, and let others know that they are worth something to me.     

May this new year bring you health and joy,
Nicole L.E.

Listening: "El Manana" by the Gorillaz

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Rubblebucket Rochester Rager

Rubblebucket loves Rochester, New York.  
And we love them even more.  I'm that fan girl clamoring at the barriers of the front row, the irremovable grin of ecstasy screaming lyrics, hollering for marriage proposals and dancing like an octopus out of the water.  Best part is, I had nine other friends from college doing the same thing!
I invited anyone who was free from the Western New York region to come to my house, cooked lasagna, meatballs, a fruit-filled salad, and garlic bread for dinner, slowly drove north through the snow to Water Street Music Hall and watched Thunderbody (a Rochester favorite, but we missed Driftwood who opened prior) and Rubblebucket jam as we raged on the dance floor until one in the morning.
 They always put on such an amazing show with their energy, dancing, streamers, face paint and audience interaction.  There were a few times that Thunderbody and Driftwood came on stage to play and party on as well!
Anakalmia on stage with Thunderbody.  
  She's a beauty.
 Thunderbody and Driftwood dancing on stage with Rubblebucket.

 After the shows, Rubblebucket usually does a troubadour parade through the crowd to their merch table, not quite ending the dance party. 
 My roommate Olympia and I.  You will always find us shaking it down in the front row.
And yes, we were those outrageous girls in the bathroom of a venue covering our faces with paint in a dance floor warrior fashion having way more fun than everyone else.  Not pictured: the cobalt blue glitter :D

Alex, the trumpeter, gave a shout out to their concert here exactly one year ago-- which I was also at!-- and how they debuted their wacky, aluminum-plaster robots on backpacks of people that dance through the crowd, how they were only supposed to last six shows and ended up performing at over 150, and I was squeeling with delight because since that concert last winter I've seen them four more times.  My fondness for them has never been stronger, because after they finish a back-to-back New Year's bash in Burlington, VT tonight and tomorrow, they will finally have a well-deserved break.  I love Rubblebucket shows because although their prominence is growing, the audience and venues are still intimate enough to absorb the good vibes of the band and everyone around you!

I finally bought the 7" vinyl of their latest EP, Oversaturated, and had it signed!  They played most of their new songs, though the one thing that would have made the concert better was a longer set with the older songs that I also love.  The lighting in this is terrible, but now I finally have a picture with Anakalmia and Alex.  I was startruck; they are incredibly talented and fun and just so damn cool.

Because of the road conditions we didn't make it back to my house until 2:45 am, and after staying up until 4 we slept in until 9:30.  We had a big breakfast, and once everyone left I slept for three more hours, haha.  Always worth it!  2012 isn't quite over yet, but that was one of the best damn ways I could imagine concluding.
Listening: "There's Only Pain from Love" by Rubblebucket!

Saturday, December 29, 2012


24 hours, 3 acrylic paintings. 
By no means are they complex or anything ground-breaking, but I was on a fantastic artistic streak.
 First I painted a tropical fish inspired by Williams-Sonoma plates that I bought my parents for Christmas.  It's my dad's 66th birthday, so when I was done painting the fish I cut a hexagonal border (you can kind of see the tape) and pasted it onto another sponged background of graded blue.  I think he liked it!
 My dad's aunt and uncle came to visit, and in between meals and conversations I ducked into my room.  I don't why but I was particularly motivated to do a self-portrait.  At first, I was really pleased with the pencil sketch, nervous to paint... but then the brush hit the paper.
 They say that we create self-portraits the way we wish to be perceived in the world.  If that's the case, I want to be viewed as reliable, elegant, bright and open.  Beautiful would be nice, too.
I've been looking at a lot of graphic illustration lately, so then I made this whimsical design of a hot air balloon.  It actually took a lot longer than it looks because the balloon was initially emerald green with streaks of yellow and white, until that struck me as too much Wizard of Oz.  The white smudge across the middle is where I'm going to write an insightful quote on traveling or whatever :).

The last three days I've been up before 7:30, isn't that outrageous?  I don't necessarily need to, but at least I have these extra hours of daylight.  It's snowing like mad here, I hope the roads it doesn't impede the roads too much. Tonight my favorite band Rubblebucket is playing a show in Rochester, and I've invited all my friends from around Western New York so we can go together!  I can't wait to get my dance on.  This afternoon I'll cooking lasagna, meatballs, a salad and whatever else I can find for dinner for 15 people, potentially.  In my new apron, of course.

Listening:  "Hurricane Drunk" by Florence + the Machine

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Holladaze

Okay, I've done enough Montreal reminiscing to bring us back to the current affair: the holiday season!

I dressed up for Christmas.  
The only one, of course, but I wanted another excuse to wear this dress from Francesca's.  

I was mildly indifferent about Christmas this year, not annoyed by the glee but not entirely absorbed.  I think I was too lost in my warp of school.  Nonetheless, I exercised significant consumer power (see the new L.L. Beans boots above) and returned the favor.  I'm still young/poor enough to not feel obligated to buy gifts for everyone in the family-- I hope in a few years I can afford that though!  For my dad, I bought him a nice pen from my school's bookstore (yeah, he likes pens!) and 'man' soap from one of my favorite local shops, Wickedly Scent in Canandaigua.  They make lotions, soaps, candles and other bath things by hand with few artificial ingredients.  I've been a loyal customer since last spring.  For my mom, I bought her hand lotion from there as well.  I also bought these lovely porcelain, tropical fish set of plates from Williams-Sonoma, so that was more a family gift.  I think they'll be marvelous to use at our house in Florida.

But I'm not that eager to hop down south yet, I'm enjoying the snow!  Above is a picture of some of the charming boat house cottages on the pier in Canandaigua.  Below, my house after the night-long snow barrage.  It's the perfect nordic ski weather if I could just get off my butt and go outside.  It's also the perfect cuddle weather, but oh wait...

Haha, fortunately I have evidence of productivity that I'll do another post on.  Look at this blogging streak!  Trying to sneak as many in before the year ends, I suppose.  Hope you're all staying warm, how were your family festivities?

Listening: the local Top 40 radio station.  It's complete crap, why am I doing this to myself?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Montreal, encore

I just couldn't stay away from Montreal!  The second time around in the city of poutine and beer was the first weekend of December.  We scuttled through the cobbled streets, significantly colder but alight for the winter holidays.  Dressed in a simple black Urban Outfitters dress (courtesy of Courtney), black tights, riding boots, a magenta scarf and three freshemen (HA!) boys in tow, I saw Band of Horses play at the Metropolis for their Mirage Rock tour (the album released in September).

 I honestly didn't know their music too much beyond "No one's ever gonna love you" and "Funeral", but I'm so glad I went because I'm now a converted fan.  It was amazing; their talent was raw but appeared relaxing, easy and pleasing for the band.  Ben Birdwell, the beautifully bearded lead singer and founder of Band of Horses, his vocals simply soared.  They played on a backdrop of projected scenes from western USA, a lot of Lake Tahoe-region locations that our friend Dylan recognized (he's from California).  Right before I came home for the winter, Colin shared all the music he has and I'm enjoying going through their albums, suddenly recalling what we saw live.
That breath-catching moment when the band steps onto stage, illuminated as silhouettes against the stage lights,striking the first chords on their guitars.. AH :)

This is a video I took on my phone of "No one's ever gonna love you" in acoustic!  It's quiet but so lovely.
Here's a video that someone else took at the concert. I wasn't too much farther behind them, and it's pretty good quality so it catches the incredible feeling of "The Funeral." Ben's voice reverberates into your soul!

Compared to the last concert I saw at the Metropolis (3OH!3 my freshmen fall, don't judge it seems so long ago), the atmosphere for Band of Horses was incredibly relaxed.  Everyone was hanging out, calmly sipping beers and buzzing with excitement, minus the shoving and desperate clamor that I've normally experienced at concerts.  Lots of coiffed hairdos, thick-rimmed glasses, blazers, skinny jeans and cigarettes.  It's either a pseudo-European scene, or I'm just not used to being in cities.
All smiles after the show, mine the typical snarl.  I look so short!

After the concert, we took off into the night and drank lots of amber beers, found ourselves at a hardcore metal underground bar, an outrageous gay kareoke bar, the lavish but deserted bar of our hostel (M Hostel by the way, highly recommend it!) and then the two mile hike to La Banquise!  It's the mecca of the finest poutine that serves 24/7.  I hadn't eaten since lunch before we left school.. the hot fries smothered in grilled pepers, onions, cheese and gravy (la Rachel specialty) saved my stomach!  The last time I was here with the frisbee team I split the poutine, but this time it allll went to me..

And there went another overly expensive weekend in a foreign country.  I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

Listening: "Feel Alright" by Albino!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Poutine and Beer

I more or less joined my school's ultimate frisbee team last spring, but this fall I played at full force.  In October we ventured to Montreal, the famed city of poutine and extra-large beer, for our big tournament of the semester.  We are the Ruckus Bus but we became known as Team Shithead.  We didn't win as many games as we had hoped, but there was no doubt that we won the party.
The first night my vehicle was the last to arrive at the apartment where we stayed, and we evacuated into the night because of police-issued noise violations before I had a chance to change out of my well-worn tye dye and zip-up.
 These are only photos from Friday night!  Saturday was more outrageous because our hosts at McGill University rented out a club for all the teams in the tournament.
 There was a lot of nudity-centered antics, but hey, who's to expect less from a group of 18-21 year olds who are hammered the entire weekend.
 It was an epic bonding experience, to say the least.  Although we weren't the most eccentric team there, the frisbee culture proves to be a band of raucous misfits, and we were no exception.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Moving on, and up.

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow U.S. citizens!
In my family we have lunch and then properly tend to our food comas through the afternoon.  I'm trying this Runner's World challenge where you run at least a mile between today and New Year's, so I was able to haul my butt off the couch for an grievous shuffle, but yeah, good pie and cheer with my siblings, nieces, nephews and parents.

I haven't blogged in so long.  I'm a fraud!  But I can barely keep up with my school work and as usual it's all just going to smack me in the face Sunday evening once I return.  I'm trying to take each day for the beauty that it is, because after a long winter break I'll be heading to Shanghai, China to study for the semester!!!  Since I haven't had a Facebook since last winter-- it made me quite sad when I was in France, actually-- I have no intent of reactivating it while I'm abroad.  So in order to share snipets of what I'm up to, I plan on bringing the blog back in full force.  This one's been all over the place so I might make a new blog, or even swtich to WordPress or Tumblr.  My posts will mainly be photo-based.  Any thoughts?

Take care everyone, and have a safe and happy holdiay.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Music Festivities

Okay, I will accept that I am a terrible blogger but I've finally acquired the time, motivation and purpose for a post!  This past weekend I took off from work so I could enjoy a series of music festivities and friends around my region of New York!
On Thursday I went to Trumansburg near Cayuga Lake (one of the longest in the Finger Lakes) for the Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance.  It's a four-day long gathering of people of all ages, local artists, musicians, vendors and good vibes camping on the grounds.  I was volunteering with the festival in the kids tent so I received free admission.  I only stayed for the first two days with my friends Tucker and Eamon (who camped in the woods, rigging hammocks to trees under tarps) but I fell in love with the kindness and happiness of everyone there. 
Working in the kids tent was really low-key, we were right next to one of the stages at the Infield and the kids were adorable!  I'm not sure if it's just the nature of the type of attendees at GrassRoots, but these children were polite and actually knew how to share.  I manifested my inner hippy and wore long skirts, had my face painted, went bare foot in the mud, frisbee'd with random 12-year old boys, hula-hooped, twirled and danced and gave away bracelets made from the twisted bark of a basswood tree.  No doubt, I will be attending this festival every summer as long as I am home.  If anyone's interested in going, check it out, especially through volunteer opportunities!

I was really at peace there and having a good time, but alas, I had to leave because Saturday harked for another musical opportunity.  I spent the afternoon down at Keuka Lake and went swimming and boating, then met up with more of my housemates and friends from college.  We went to the South Wedge district of Rochester (it's a trendier area catered for those under 30) for Boulder Festival!  It was a Friday through Sunday event sponsored by Boulder Coffee Company, right in their back parking lots.  It was filled with craft makers, vendors, wood-fired pizza, pink liqueur, fancy coffee drinks, smoking hipsters from around the area and two petite stages.  So I skipped out on the rest of GrassRoots to see Saturday's headliner, my faaavorite band, Rubblebucket!!!  Their music is quite fantastic to listen to, but their concerts are a whole new experience.  Yes, I have total groupie status and I was shamelessly singing and dancing so hard in the front row their entire show.  We were literally a foot from the lead singer, Anakalmia, whom I also have a girl crush on-- she's amazing!  
 My goodness, it was one of the best shows I've been to.  I was electrified with joy to be right there with my friends and Rubblebucket on a spectacular night, and it only cost $5!  This was my fourth concert and they just blow me away every time.  The band even came into the crowd and danced with us, and we talked to the trumpeter Alex for a while when we were on our way out.  They are hard-working, quirky people who are truly dedicated to their fans and craft.  Alex described how they've been touring strenuously since January (which I also saw them then in Rochester!) but they are almost finished with a new EP.  After they take a break at the end of August they'll be back throughout the Northeast this fall... I can't wait!  And the hype is well deserved, they played on Jimmy Kimmel last Wednesday (they're part of Artists against Fracking)!!!!  Haha, I hope you can feel my excitement burning through these webpage pixels because I am absolutely thrilled for Rubblebucket and the credit they are receiving. 
I noticed that the keyboard/synthesizer is really pronounced and Kal has a lot of makeup on (must be a tv thing, she usually is natural), BUT otherwise this performance is pretty accurate to the type of show Rubblebucket plays!  The streamers, dancing, crowd surfing and all!  No giant robots, unfortunately.  They also played their single, "Silly Fathers."  

Afterwards, we drove alllllllllll the way back to the Finger Lakes to a beautiful cottage on Keuka Lake.  More star gazing, bonding, and bluebuerry-eating ensued.  The next morning we went tubing and boat riding before a very reluctant departure.  Nonetheless, I spent the evening with some of my favorite friends from high school at a long-overdue dinner party together.

I basically had the best Thursday through Sunday in a while.  I should post about San Francisco, though, that was a pretty fantastic trip from June.  I hope you're taking care, this summer is whirling by!

Listening:  Rubblebucket, duh.
Oh, and the new Ed Sharpe CD that I mentioned a few posts ago is amazing!  Amazon offers the mp3 download for cheaper than iTunes.  I definitely recommend it.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Indoor Oasis

When I'm working and start to deposit paychecks, I acquire these inflated notions of my wealth, contrary to what my bank account actually says.
When I am in my room, I am at the height of my generally debilitating scatterbrain habit.  I'll start working on something, see something else or have a flash of realization, literally drop what I'm doing and move to that.  Then I'll work on that intensively and then have another idea, move on and pull that out.  Before I know it, my room is a disaster of unfinished projects and loose ideas.
How does this all tie together?  Well, I'm using this summer to unleash the environmental caretaker within me.  I started a compost pile next to my barn and this past week I went to a local farmer's market and bought an array of herb sproutlings.  They are now planted in a nice box on the other side of the barn-- painting that box will be the next step!  Then I went to Lowe's because I've had these illustrous visions of house plants enveloping my room with their gentle rustling from an open window and fresh O2 via photosynthesis and charming accents of color on my shelves, and before I knew it... I spent $50 on my new plants.  At least I had a Wal Mart gift card for the additional $20...  Oh well, these things are definitely worth it.

Meet the family:
 Pre-potting.  I bought 3 cacti, 4 succulents, a baby Jade (which may count as a succulent, I have no idea) and 2 'exotic' house plants!
 The qquarium section outfitted me with pretty stones for the bottom of the pots (which you actually can't see though because of the soil haha), while glass dinner ware bowls became the new habitats!
 Hahaha there's a sparkle setting on my camera-- perfect for making daily life look a bit more fabulous. 
Who knew that succulents and cacti were so damn photogenic?

I'm crossing my fingers that I can help these plants thrive where they reside in my room.  Unfortunately, the cloudy conditions of Western New York are definitely working against these sun-thirsty gardens.  We shall see..!

I'm going to San Francisco this Wednesday with my parents-- I am stoked and ready to take several hundreds of photos if necessary!!  I hope you have an excellent week, and you'll be hearing from my soon.

Listening: "Up From Below" by Ed Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

p.s. Any thoughts on my new blog layout?  I felt like it was time to change it up :) I especially like the new page tabs at the top, although does anyone know if you can create multiple posts within those pages??

Thursday, May 31, 2012

May's Last Stand

Hey, marvelous news: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros released a new album on the 29th called Here!  With it having nine songs, it costs $9.99 on iTunes but Amazon is selling the mp3 for $5.00.  Now, I'm a general advocate of tangible items, but I am also unabashedly frugal; perhaps digital purpose will be the way to go.  If you're unfamiliar with this 11-piece troubadour, then I suggest you check out their arguably most well-known hit, "Home" that expresses love and nostalgia through folk-driven, instrumental-thumpin' chords and chants.  I cannot wait to have my hands (ears?) on their new music!!

With May on its last leg, I guess this means that we are tumbling into summer.  I like blogging about what's happened to me from the school semester because if you've been following this blog you should know by now that basically all I do is work.  As usual, I ended up greasy and with tired feet, though yesterday I had time to go out to dinner and a movie (The Avengers, which was actually pretty good) with my friends.  I also bought a few herb plants and I can't wait to see how my planting box progresses!
Here are a few photos from the gorgeous last weeks of school.  I took higher quality photos with my camera because I had no choice but to shrug off studying and lie beneath the trees to capture the temporary blossoms.  And hey, even though I go through cycles of panic and self-doubt with school work, I had my best semester yet academically (and otherwise)!  So it seems you can take time to stop and smell the flowers and finish what you need to do successfully :D.
Regarding the last photo, I never found out why, but the knitting club went on a guerrilla knitting spree (at least that's how I like to think of it) and they created public knitting installations all over campus!  On bike racks, railings and that tree, which happened to be fantastic because it made the tree favorable to look at and hug.  Random as it was, I hope they do more of that next year!

Listening: "You Can Call Me Al" by Paul Simon

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Last Monday I went to the Adirondacks to romp around in the woods with my recently graduated housemates plus a few other friends!  My housemate Hannah, her family has a cabin on a 5,000 acre members-only property that's full of stocked lakes and ponds, pine-needle paths, dignified lean-tos, antique cabins and water craft.  

We swam and had a cookout at a lean to the first night.

There were 15 of us causing ruckus in their beautiful Scotch-pine cabin, built in 1890!

There was plenty of lounging about, bacon cooking and snake wrangling.  As in the giant garter snakes that kept appearing in their side room (the doorway with the antlers over it!).
The misty rain didn't stop us from going to the boathouse.  I went rowing and fly fishing for the first time!  Figuring out how to row really demonstrated how uncoordinated I am...
We had the two dogs in our boat, who kept shoving me off for the a seat haha.  I was an unsuccessful fisher-lady, but my friend Kate snagged a brook trout on our way back in!  We grilled that 17-incher up later that evening, with a delicious mustard seed spread :).
The pond was incredibly still after the rains, like a mirror.  I understand why people never would never want to leave.

Granted, I was only there two days but it was a darn good time.  It's just fantastic to be around people you are completely comfortable with.. which bites, because 11 of 13 of them won't be around next fall.  Alas, we all just need to keep moving to the next thing.
On the way to Kate's house where my parents were to pick me up, we had an absurd car accident.  I won't let Kate, who was driving, take the blame for this-- it was equally my fault, because I was blabbing my head off, not paying attention to the GPS and being a terrible co-pilot.  We took a right turn too hard and drove straight into the gas tank of a logger truck from Quebec that was, fortunately, stationary.  And the miracle was, everyone was alright.  We were kind of in shock, but minus a few bruises and whiplash, we didn't have any injuries.  The front end of the car was totaled, but the logger was able to drive back up to Canada.  Mind you, that made the afternoon a bit longer; we went to the nearest hospital that was 30 minutes away from the no-reception site of the accident, then my parents sped for two hours from my house to retrieve me (Kate's parents came from an hour away).  I'm not sure if it was a miracle, but it certainly reaffirms how lucky I am to be alive. 
And then the next day I was back to work, and from Thursday to Sunday, I clocked in 42 hours.  I know I say this everytime, but I am exhausted... But happy to be alive!

Listening: "Stuck in the Middle With You" by Stealers Wheel