A Letter to Myself

A Letter to Myself

So I actually wrote this letter years back on July 7, 2013 (originally written inside my sketchbook with charcoal) but I wanted to share it because what I wrote is very relevant to my current mindset.

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You’re amazing, whether people realize it or not

Dear Nicki,

So here’s the thing, I don’t know why I keep feeling like this, but I’m not happy. Things aren’t bad, but they could be better. Especially my health.  I don’t know how I’ve let it become so bad. I used to care so much about what I ate. But I guess I spent way more time alone too. I mean I’m in great shape compared to other people but I haven’t been able to eat regularly without becoming sick. I think my problem is I care too much, and I’m not a person who could turn this part of me off. It’s deeply rooted. Not just that, but I care about what people think too much. I don’t know why it is the way that I am or maybe I’m just more honest about it. I think everyone else cares too, they just like what everyone else likes, so its not a problem. Or they just go along with what everyone else says. But that has never been the way that I am. I don’t follow the crowd.

I am a renegade at heart, as corny as that may sound. And I like it that way. I don’t want what everyone else wants. I want my own life and to live it my way. I hate gossip and drama. I like the finer things in life. I mean, I can be wild sometimes. But I’d rather relax and watch a Hitchcock movie. Not Fast & the Furious or other mumbo jumbo bullshit all of the time. Movies like that are just a distraction and a fantasy. Not that Hitchcock movies don’t contain illusions or act as a distraction itself. But the story lines are still about regular people and their lives. Not stupid car racing, drug wars, or stupid corruption. I know I’ve written about what I’m about to say somewhere else but it still sticks in my head. I feel like I’m the only person like myself left sometimes.

I can talk about old movies for days. Or Hitchcock movies anyway. I haven’t seen many other old films to be completely honest. I just feel like it’s so hard to catch up while also trying to stay current. Ya know? Of course you do know everything, don’t you?

Don’t let anyone tell you any different.

ANYONE LOL

Well I hate to cut this short but it’s getting harder to write with this charcoal.

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Damn right

Love ya.

Nicole 7/7/13

A Letter to Someone I Love: Everything I Didn’t Tell You

A Letter to Someone I Love: Everything I Didn’t Tell You

A Letter to Someone I Love: Everything I Didn’t Tell You

Photo found on tumblr **The Gaff Blog does not own this image**
Photo found on tumblr **The Gaff Blog does not own this image**

I’m sorry. I’m sorry I hurt you. I’m sorry I stressed you out. I was angry. I know this doesn’t excuse my words or actions. But I didn’t mean it. Your brain isn’t rotten. You have a great mind that can achieve anything. I truly believe that. Even if we do not become one again, I hope for the best for you. Not because you were mine. But because I was yours as well. You’re the one person I never wanted to hurt in any way and I failed. Failed miserably. Mostly because of factors outside of your control. My insecurities together with horrible timing. When we met and got together being with you was heaven but at the end we created hell for each other. I know it’s unrealistic to promise that we’ll be in heaven again, but I hope maybe someday you will feel that. Not just with me, with anyone.

Heaven and Earth are open to you, if you accept them. I cannot promise fights will not happen. That would be a stupid promise to make. But I promise that I learned my lesson. I had the world given to me and I was overcome by petty nonsense. I don’t even believe God is on my side right now. When I was miserable in the past, I asked him for happiness and I truly believe that he gave me that in the form of you. I can’t pinpoint when it started to go south for us, but I do know where I went wrong. I couldn’t understand why you wanted to party on our first anniversary with your theater buddies. But as I thought about it recently I thought perhaps you wanted your friends to meet me.

If that is the case, that is the first time my insecurities blind-sided me to your love. After that, I remember when I was really torn up about not being accepted to the film program at my school. I’m not sure if you grasped how much it truly hurt me. It was not simply people critiquing my work. He called it horrible. Being rejected from the film program hurt, not because they stopped me from making films, but because they rejected my mind. I never thought I would be mainstream. I am a person that is either loved or hated. I do not think there is an in between.

I’ve learned a lot since being rejected from the film program. Not that my films or thought process is bad. But that I have a unique mind. I don’t believe I see the world how other people see it. And that’s ok.

I fell in love with you because I believe we are very similar although obviously very different at the same time. We have both mistreated people who have been there for us. I remember our talk before you left for school. I hope you do as well. If our moms can forgive us for all of the crap that we put them through, then I do not need more proof that love exists.

Sure, we may react differently to many things, but I do think we have a similar thought process. I agree I have become more radical than I was in the past but I did always have my liberal feminist views inside me. You know what opened my eyes? The group I followed on Facebook silenced me when I defended you. I never named you but mentioned fights that we had about certain issues and they basically said that they could never do that. That they wouldn’t. How can you learn anything from only speaking with like-minded people? I know you don’t care much about politics but your points of view never bothered me. Even when you proved me wrong. I was better for learning something I didn’t know.

I hope in all of our years together (seems weird writing it) I hope you’ve learned some things from me as well. Not just about me, but about yourself. Before I was with you, I was scared to show my nerdy side, for lack of a better word. Now I do not give a fuck what people think about my 2DS or Yoshi shirt. I truly bonded with my friend Iris talking about Clefable! It felt great to have a conversation like that about my interests that mattered to me. But also about something that wasn’t too serious.

I used to hate small talk because I never knew what to say. But from you I know that if you like or know someone, the easiest way to break the ice and start a good friendship is saying “hi.” I do not expect you to forgive me right away or ever. I really don’t even know how to end this.

Can we start again?

Hi.

I’m Nicole.

I don’t want you to be like anyone else.

This is not to take away from others.

But I like how different you are.

I love how vibrant you are when you are happy.

When you’re happy

You have a smile that gives the world hope.

When I was sad and alone at Bard,

you gave me hope.

If this letter does that for you and nothing more,

I have achieved what I wanted.

I hate to be sentimental on this hypothetical re-meeting (if that’s what you want to call this)

But I’m sorry.

I love you

If you have to be free from me to be happy. I understand.

I hope you’ll say “Hi” back.

Screenshot from an Android phone **The Gaff Blog does not own this image** Characters from Boy Meets World Topanga and Cory
Screenshot from an Android phone **The Gaff Blog does not own this image** Characters from Boy Meets World Topanga and Cory

Nicole

Why I Don’t Fear the Dark or the Light

Why I Don’t Fear the Dark or the Light

As we grow older, we realize who the real monsters are

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Today, I was woken up by a night-light.

I hate night lights.

They serve no purpose other than stopping children’s irrational fears.

I do not mind them in a dark hallway or even your dark bathroom at night.

But they serve no purpose in a bedroom.

Maybe I’m just irritated because I was woken up at 4:30 am by one.

I do not fear the dark because I have grown to realize that the real monsters in this world are people walking around in your average day light hours. They’re the people who force you to smile when you’re not happy and in general create the pressure to be someone you are not. They may not even entirely be responsible for having this mentality. In a way, I presume that people who are like this are just miserable and were not taught to love.

When you love. You accept. Regardless of the good and bad.

Of the roughness and the stress.

Please do not mistake what I mean. If you are in an abusive relationship, you should certainly get out of it and find the strength in yourself to move forward, if not for anyone else, for you.

I know for a fact that is easier said than done. Especially when children are involved. I do not know from personal experience in my own partnered relationships. But I do know this from experiences that my mom and sister have had around me while growing up. When you create a life with someone, a literal, screaming, pooping life, it is hard to disconnect from the person that you created that with.

Even when you have not had a child with a partner in a relationship. It is hard to let go.

Whether the relationship is good or not. You shared a life with someone.

And you may or may not feel that you want to share the rest of your life with that person.

But if your significant other does not feel the same, then it is up to you to either let them go and be happy or be miserable hoping for something that may not be in the plan for you.

It seems odd that anyone could be happy right after a break up and that is not ideal. But what you should feel after a break up is the feeling that you grew and learned something from your significant other. Whether you learned to not trust them or whether you learned something about yourself or them, you learned something.

I have learned that for me to feel free and comfortable with someone, that I  must be able to share my feelings with them. I know now the person that I am with (now or in the future) should not have to complete me. One of my good friends helped me and calmly explained that your significant other should not complete you, but they should compliment you. I had a difficult time grasping this at first, but I let it sit in my mind for a while after admitting my confusion to my friend.

I do not need someone to be at my beck and call all day. I should not have to talk to you all day to feel at ease, nor should you contact me all day to feel at ease. However, it’s my personal opinion, that if your partner has insecurities that you should attempt to work with them and put these insecurities to rest. And this is of course if you are in a loving relationship. I do not expect you to do this for someone who you just started going out with. That may sound ridiculous to some. But I am always friends with someone before I can even attempt to think of them in a loving way. Maybe I am old fashioned. But if I love someone, I love them completely. I have to genuinely like someone and their character, in order to love them. Maybe that’s overly logical or even sappy. But that’s my version of love. I cannot speak for anyone else. We all have different comfort zones and perspectives.

Now to the light.

The light is beautiful. I hate to get all philosophical right now. But don’t let it hurt your eyes

I remember the Allegory of the Cave by Plato from my freshman year of college. I also read it again, I believe, in my sophomore year of college as well, in a totally different class and college. I’ll admit my memory is pretty horrible so it usually takes a couple of times for me to process more deep works of literature. So the second time I understood it a lot better. Especially after dealing with some dark and light in my own life.

We all need some darkness to appreciate the light.

But we also should not fear either, or let the light wreck our vision.

This vision could be your literal eye sight, world view or perspective. I don’t say this to be complicated.

I believe everything that you see and do was meant to be to create the person that you are today. If you did not experience something, then you wouldn’t be the same.

If you went to a different high school, lived in a different city or borough (for my NYC peeps). If you made it into your dream school or your second choice (or third, or fourth choice lol, don’t give up!).

Whatever happened, happened. And you cannot go back. So like I’ve said before, easier said than done, but do not regret anything. Try the best as you can to move forward with yourself, even if you’re the only person on your side at the moment. I do not say this to be sad or grim. I admit I have felt many times that I was alone when I truly was not. Sometimes it is very difficult to see the love from others through your anger and insecurities. But when you do see it and feel it…

Screenshot taken by an Android phone **The Gaff Blog does not own this image**
Screenshot taken by an Android phone **The Gaff Blog does not own this image** You go too guy! Don’t worry about all the pink. Keep reading! lol. 

Give thanks.

The worst thing you can be during or after a relationship is ungrateful.

You do not learn anything from being ungrateful. Trust me.

All you learn is how to be stubborn and to only see your point of view.

The challenge of true love is living your best life while also keeping your partners perspective in mind and compromising when you need to. Or if you feel you should.

If you feel you should. Go for it. No one is stopping you.

The worst they can possibly say is no. Or get mad in some cases I guess.

Screenshot from an Android phone **The Gaff Blog does not own this image** Characters from Boy Meets World Topanga and Cory
Screenshot from an Android phone **The Gaff Blog does not own this image** Characters from Boy Meets World Topanga and Cory

The one thing I feel I should add at this point is relationships are not only about the good stuff. Yes, there are some bad days. Some days when you are so stressed that you hate everyone or want to share all of your anger with one person. And maybe they do not want to hear it. And you should respect that. You definitely should.

But if the person you are with cannot handle you. If your stress is too much for them. You need to find better outlets.

I promise I mean this out of the kindness of my heart. Whatever outlet you need. Whether it’s a best friend, or Tumblr. Or my personal favorite, my blog here on WordPress lol. This is not a plug I swear. If I got paid to say this I would not have shared my personal feelings with you all.

Whatever your outlet is, use it.

Go to a therapist if you genuinely think you could benefit. But for you. Not for anyone else.

You are your star and your priority. Your partner does not necessarily have to be your number one.

But they should be a priority. I will not put a number on it. Because that is not fair to some.

Some people are introverted and grow a small and succinct group of friends that they cherish and keep close to them.

Other people are extroverted and make friends in the blink of an eye and might not even talk to this same person they met a year from now. And that’s not insensitive, that’s just life.

Some people are not meant to be there forever. Some are there for fun. For happiness.

Maybe some are there to share in your grief, or give you another point of view to consider.

But give thanks. Do not let the people you love and cherish ever feel like they are undeserving or that they are worthless.

Everyone and every soul is worth something.

You are worth something.

Trust me.

Even in the dark I’ve had the benefit of knowing that I am worth something to myself at least, I need to be here for me.

To live a great life. Ending it does not solve anything. It does not teach you anything.

I have learned so much from my experience with the dark and I have also learned a great amount from the light.

Different things, but important nonetheless.

From the dark, I have learned what I can handle. I can handle death of a loved one. Even though I obviously miss them and wish I could have their point of view on someone that I love right now. I would love to have a long chat with my Papa about my problems right now. I know he would listen and after all of it he would probably tell a story and maybe a joke at the end. And regardless of the story or joke, I would feel better because someone listened to me and shared with me as well.

Screenshot taken with an Android phone **The Gaff Blog does not own this image** Quote with Pink (Artist/Singer/Entertainer)
Screenshot taken with an Android phone **The Gaff Blog does not own this image** Quote with Pink (Artist/Singer/Entertainer)

Maybe I’m simple, or maybe I’m complex. I do not believe I am either.

I am so in the middle of simple and complex that I am still to this day an enigma to myself.

I do not think we ever truly know ourselves. I think some might know. But I think we are all constantly growing and evolving and grow into ourselves endlessly.

I’m not sorry for my endless metaphors lol.

I’m trying not to say sorry anymore unless I need to. So the opposite of that is saying that I am not sorry.

I’m not sorry that I loved.

I’m not sorry if I lost the one that I loved.

I do not believe that I lost him. But if I did, life goes on.

I do not regret anything.

If you do not have closure I hope you get it somehow. I think I’ve reached my closure.

Tomorrow I could be crying all day about this again, who knows.

But I am constantly striving to be the best me I can be. Whatever that means.

Be the best you. If that makes you feel bad, then you’re being blinded by the light.

Do not hate me for trying to make you better.

Do not hate your mom for telling you to be safe when you go out.

Or your girlfriend for getting mad at you when you don’t share with her or don’t say goodnight back.

These people love you.

I love you and I don’t even know you.

I appreciate the dark and the light because they are important and have taught me so much about my number one

That’s me. I’m number one. Not compared to others.

I’m number one to me. For me. Nobody else. Unless they want me to be number one lol.

Cute hippo :) lol. All of you is beautiful. Trust me!
Cute hippo 🙂 lol. All of you is beautiful. Trust me!

Don’t be afraid to live.

Don’t be afraid to have fun.

Do not say no to something that cannot hurt you.

Say yes to life.

Yes to fun.

Yes to new experiences.

Otherwise, you’ll just be in your house or apartment all day hating the world.

Please do not hate the world. I understand hating some people (haven’t we all felt that at some point)

But as cliche as it sounds, the world is yours.

You create or destroy the fun.

You create or destroy yourself.

You create. Point blank.

I love to create.

I love to draw.

I love writing on this blog.

I love writing in my sketch book of all places.

Some people might have cringed just hearing that but my sketch books have always been like a personal diary for me.

Whatever I feel, I put it in the sketch book. I have literally three or four books to draw, paint and write in.

I have this blog too. Which is even better.

If you feel you have no one. Look again.

If you still can’t find them. Put yourself out there.

There may be someone looking for you too.

You have the power **Screenshot taken with an Android phone. The Gaff Blog does not own this image** Dorothy's red slippers.
You have the power **Screenshot taken with an Android phone. The Gaff Blog does not own this image** Dorothy’s red slippers.

Thank you for reading this,

Nicole

Hit Record: On TV – A Piece of Art #Art Tuesdays

Hit Record: On TV – A Piece of Art #Art Tuesdays

Typically, I would not review a TV show on here, but since I have said this you must already know how great Hit Record: On TV must be. Should I even go on?

Of course I will go on!

"Hit Record On TV" image, **The Gaff Blog does not own this image**
“Hit Record On TV” image, **The Gaff Blog does not own this image**

So hard not to explain my love for this wonderful show that Joseph Gordon Levitt plays such a pivotal part in. I do not know how much of this show was Levitt’s idea, but whoever created the concept for how it is put together is ingenious.

Basically, Hit Record: On TV is a skit show made entirely through collaboration with Levitt’s Hit Record community online.

My love for this show is undying. I finished the season almost in one day (8 episodes, 20 minutes each). Would have finished it in one day but I wanted to stretch it since each episode was so good.

I will admit I am a very emotional person, so I cried at least once per episode. The content is not entirely sappy but this show does get very real and discusses topics in a very beautiful way. Refreshing does not suffice as an explanation of its character/ personality. Extraordinary does not cut it either. It feels like a show that you have always wanted to watch, but always felt was there at the same time. In a way, the show feels like a friend that you missed for a long time and you see them again.

The first episode coincidentally: deals with the number one (1). All of the episodes have their own theme which are very fitting. Talking about the number one in the first episode, is a very great introduction to the rest of the season. Most of the episodes start and end with about the same format. The last episode is a very great ending to the overall season as well.

One example of when I cried: the episode RE: Space. The opener to this episode is so heart touching and warm. I will not give away anything else related to the rest of said episode to not ruin it. I did not know before googling that this show was shown on Pivot TV, which is a great network. But I saw this show entirely on Netflix.

Please give this show a chance, we do not get good quality content like this every day. Hit Record: On TV is truly a piece of art and I would not waste time writing this if I did not truly believe it.

National Hot Dog Day 2015: How Do You Like Your Hot Dog?

National Hot Dog Day 2015: How Do You Like Your Hot Dog?

If you have not read any of my other posts: I recently discovered I may be gluten intolerant. And will be going to the doctor soon to test for celiac or chrohn’s disease.

This past Fourth of July, I enjoyed many standard all beef hot dogs. My family prefers Nathan’s brand beef hot dogs or Ball Park beef franks. I enjoy them as well. But since I made this recent discovery, I have had to make a lot of changes in my diet, while still attempting to keep myself sane with foods that I love.

For National Hot Dog Day, I celebrated a day ahead of time with two organic uncured beef hot dogs by Applegate (also gluten free)

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Applegate Organic Uncured Beef Hot Dogs **Image by Nicole Oliva**

I had them in Udi’s Gluten Free Classic Hot Dog Buns

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Udi’s Gluten Free Classic Hot Dog Buns. **Image by Nicole Oliva**

This year National Hot Dog Day (USA) falls on July 23, 2015.

You may be tired of all these national holidays. So instead of simply saying have a great hotdog: I’d like to know how you like your hot dog. Not just how you like them. But what kind do you like? Do you like all beef? All meats? Or a certain brand? Even veggie dogs?

If you hate hot dogs more than anything, you can vent about that too.

You can even vent about the never ending list of national holidays

The floor is yours! (Or page, however you want to put it)

Show The Gaff Blog some love by liking and sharing this post

Art Tuesday – Art is Much Less Important than Life, But What a Poor Life Without it. How Have You Benefited from Art?

Art Tuesday – Art is Much Less Important than Life, But What a Poor Life Without it. How Have You Benefited from Art?

I have a poster in my room that reads:

Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it. Robert Motherwell.


Quote by Robert Motherwell (on the left) Copyright MOMA or Museum of Modern Art. From their Abstract Expressionist New York Exhibit Oct 3,2010 - April 25, 2011; (On the right) Pablo Picasso's
I have always believed that art is an important piece of the puzzle of life. Without art, I would not be complete. (Two of many posters/images on my wall)                                                                            Quote by Robert Motherwell (on the left) Copyright MoMA or Museum of Modern Art. From their Abstract Expressionist New York Exhibit Oct 3,2010 – April 25, 2011; (On the right) Pablo Picasso’s “Girl Before a Mirror” Also, purchased at the MoMA.

Art has been a major influence in my life in a lot of ways. Not simply visual art either. Artists (visual and musical), paintings, music, film (also directors and screenplay writers), animation, writers like Maya Angelou (bless her soul and her beautiful poetry), even some clothing designers (You go Diane Von Furstenberg!), have all inspired me in some way. Even to start writing this blog.

When I look at the walls in my room, it’s easy to see how art has been an inspiration to me, even though recently I have hit a bit of a wall with my creativity. I’ve always been willing to try new things when it comes to art, as far as exploration and discovery go (in one’s art that is). But it seems whenever people tell me that they do not like some of my work, I take it too harshly. Should I or shouldn’t I? Nevertheless, I still draw and paint to my heart’s desire.

(In order clockwise from the top left) Robert Motherwell's quote again; Also Picasso's
An extended view of the pictures on my wall   (In order clockwise from the top left) Robert Motherwell’s quote again; Also Picasso’s “Girl Before A Mirror,” Andy Warhol’s “Chocolate Bunny which says: “I never met an animal I didn’t like;” Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” in a hardcover copy; Warhol’s Flowers in Red; Warhol’s Pop  Art Print – Shoes which says: “It takes a lot of work to figure out how to look so good.” (**All Artworks showed in this image except Angelou’s bought from the MoMA. All rights reserved to original owners**) **Image by Nicole Oliva**

Until recently, I was not too good with words. Creating visual art was my sole escape. Keyword was. I still enjoy drawing and painting, reading, writing, going to museums whenever I can. However, life has caught up with me and has become more serious. I especially struggled after I was rejected from a film program I yearned to be a part of ever since I fell in love with film: the ultimate visual art in my opinion, because it encompasses all aspects of visual art, but also utilizes music and dialogue (in modern cinema of course).

Art is my escape from reality because art does not force you to have an impression or experience you do not wish to have. Certainly, artists have intentions for their work when they create them. But experiencing art encompasses everything you have ever seen. Depending on your point of view, you will see something different from how I do. Also, creating art is a unique experience in itself as well. People have tried to describe the process of creating art. But it is not the same for everyone.

Pablo Picasso's
Pablo Picasso’s “Girl Before a Mirror” **Image taken by Nicole Oliva. Artwork purchased from the MoMA or Museum of Modern Art in NYC.**

To me, “Girl Before a Mirror,” connects with my insecure side. When I look into it, I see myself looking into the mirror and think about how I pick apart myself and my flaws. But it is fair to say that this was not even close to what Pablo Picasso was thinking while creating this piece. Or while deciding on which colors to use, the shape of the woman’s breasts and hips, etc. He may have simply been fascinated with a woman’s habit of peering into a mirror. Picasso had more than a few women in his life. In the past, when I read about Picasso’s life and accomplishments I was fascinated about how he lived. He and the people he lived amongst revolutionized cubism during their own lifetime. Imagine doing that during your time alive? One could only hope to accomplish as much or even half of what Picasso did during his own lifetime. To be so successful, that your grandchildren do not have to work. If you do not believe me, google his grandchildren. He probably made most of his wealth after he died, and sure, he had his flaws, but can you say you are perfect?

** Original Artworks Created by and Image by Nicole Oliva** (Top left) Self-portrait 2013;  (Top right) A Still Life 2013; (Bottom right) Two Hands 2013 (Blown up version of the image on the bottom left) All original  works shown here were created for a drawing class.
Drawings by yours truly   **Original Artworks Created by Nicole Oliva and Image by Nicole Oliva** (Top left) Self-portrait 2013; (Top right) A Still Life 2013; (Bottom right) Two Hands 2013 (Blown up version of the image on the bottom left) All original works that are shown here were created for a drawing class.

Does Art Imitate Life or Does Life Imitate Art?


I do not think I could give a definite answer to that question but in my opinion, my art reflects my life. Sure, I have tried to redo some Picasso pieces. So in that literal way, I replicated art and was influenced by it. But I have always been an observer. Not necessarily a follower. Following this line of thought, some people may entirely imitate art, but the ones who revolutionize, their art imitates life. Not the other way around.

I believe all great art imitates life. Even abstract art. Abstract art in itself is a complex puzzle not meant to be solved. Just like life. Why are we here? I do not have an answer to that question either. Are we here to live and then die? What should be we do while on this Earth? What if we all have a purpose that is meant to be fulfilled? Have I fulfilled that purpose yet?

More pictures on my wall lol. Pictures of Lady Gaga **Image by Nicole Oliva** Original images taken from a magazine. Copyright goes to original owners or photographers.
More pictures on my wall lol. Pictures of Lady Gaga **Image by Nicole Oliva** Original images taken from a magazine. Copyright goes to original owners or photographers.

If you read through older posts on the Gaff Blog, you’ll see one post that mentions Lady Gaga, who is another great influence in my life. Say what you will about her. But her music, whether she was high while writing it or even making the beats certainly imitates her life. From Bad Kids to So Happy I Could Die, to Monster, if you dig deep into her lyrics, you can see the real her. Even Poker Face is apparently about her hiding a bisexual fantasy from her lover. The rawness of her music is what always attracted me to her as an artist. Also, her love of playing piano always inspires me to bring an aspect of what I love into my future work and career. Although her taste for leather repulsed me during my vegetarian phase, I accepted her for her flaws. Some may think she has more than others. But again, we’re all imperfect. Artists may simply be  more attuned to accepting their flaws.

To end this post, I will say that art has continued to be an immensely beneficial aspect of my life. If art has not benefitted you in any way, I suggest checking again. On your walls, on your clothes, maybe some place that I wouldn’t even think of. But find what makes you happy and pursue that, whatever way you can.

Last image from my wall.       Quote by Diane Von Furstenberg
Last image from my wall.      Quote by Diane Von Furstenberg. “Be yourself and enjoy it! Live healthy and love your body! Your confidence is your real beauty.” **Image by Nicole Oliva**

For more information on Robert Motherwell and his artwork, visit http://artsy.net/artist/robert-motherwell

Lamarca – Lasanga So Good, I Broke Tradition

Lamarca – Lasanga So Good, I Broke Tradition

As a child, my mother always told me to never leave my plate completely empty. She said to leave just a little bit, it makes you look refined and that you had enough of whatever was given to you, no matter how hungry you truly are. While it never really made much sense to me, I always kept that tradition. Then I went to Lamarca.

Lamarca - exterior of restaurant **Taken by Nicole Oliva using a Samsung Galaxy**
Lamarca – exterior of restaurant **Photo by Nicole Oliva**

Randomly googling for a pasta joint in the city led me to Lamarca, a wonderfully warm and quaint Italian restaurant on the Lower East Side. I’ll spare you the details on the ambiance and get straight to the main course I had, their Lasagna made only on Thursday and Friday. I never had lasagna at a restaurant, quite frankly, I have only had lasagna whenever my family made it and one time my friend experimented making his own. While those efforts were good this one totally blew them out of the water.

Lamarca - meat lasagna - **Photo by Nicole Oliva**
Lamarca – Meat Lasagna with Parmesan cheese to the right – **Photo by Nicole Oliva**

The meat lasagna was served in a round bowl, something I was not expecting. Topped with parsley, it left a rich range of flavors in my mouth compared to the standard pasta sauce and cheese. One of the coolest things about this lasagna was that it was sitting in a pool of meat sauce, which had some beef mixed in and also added to the flavor. The lasagna itself did not have meat in it, which was another break from tradition for me because the homemade lasagna my family made in the past were filled to the brim with meat. The winning combination allowed me to fully appreciate the flavor of the sauce and noodles, all which were excellent. The Parmesan cheese offered really topped everything off. So good in fact that Nicole noted that my plate was completely clean. I did not even realize that I broke a 22 year tradition. It was THAT good.

 I advise anyone that has an extra 20 dollars on a Thursday or Friday to head down to Lamarca and prepare to be amazed. I know I was. I eat like a truck driver, but every now and again something good like this comes my way. So good I had to share.

Lamarca – outside of restaurant by the corner of 3rd Avenue and 22nd street **Photo by Nicole Oliva**

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