Why do we compare?

Why do we compare?

 

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Why were women taught to compare themselves

To diminish themselves

To think, wow she’s so pretty

I don’t think look like her, therefore: I’m ugly

Instead of: wow, she’s pretty. But hey, so am I.

Every facial and bodily characteristic is sitting in a sea of beauty. Some finding this sea, more beautiful than that one. But they all exist and mean something to someone.

N. Oliva

Xoxo

Keeping it Real

Keeping it Real

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Going along with my post from yesterday:
[ https://thegaffblog.com/04/14/16/the-fakeness-is-real/ ]

I wanted to practice what I preach and share my OOTD, which includes my favorite t-shirt.

I can’t lie and say I haven’t struggled with finding myself and just accepting myself for everything that I am. When I saw this shirt from Studio Mucci [bystudiomucci.com] (I bought it last year), it struck a chord in me.

I don’t have to figure out who I am. I create who I am. People see who you are by every move you make. Every word you say, or don’t say. I realized then and there I would focus on myself and making myself happy and forget about what everyone else thinks. Which is honestly where the problem lied. I knew who I was all along. I was simply hesitant to be myself.

Hope you enjoy my OOTD (styled this with some jeans to go to work).

What’s your OOTD? Or do you have an experience to share?
Show some love by liking, sharing and comment about your experience.

Lastly:
Be yourself. Don’t hesitate. Do.
And #KeepitReal

Love,
Nicole

The Fakeness is Real

The Fakeness is Real

How do you react when you feel disrespected?

Is it instantaneous for you? Not so much for me.

I tend to hold certain feelings back to not cause conflict. I don’t like conflict, but I also do not like feeling bad or bottling up bad feelings.

Recently I’ve gotten better at brushing things off.

The inspiration for this post however, was my breaking point.

Why are people sooooo fake?

One thing is for sure. Most people should not say everything they think and feel because a lot of feelings would get hurt. However, a lot of problems could be avoided if people were honest.

What does it even mean to be honest anymore? Are people honest? I honestly can’t say yes.

Everyone is full of the sickest shit and I’m sick of it.

For the protection of the person who inspired this I will not share details.

If you don’t like something, have the guts to say so.

If you agree with this post. Please: Comment, Like, Share. Would love to read about your experiences as well. Vent my loves. Vent!

#KeepitRealKeep it Real written on desert road

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Letting Go of My Anger

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Me when I’m angry

I’ll be the first to admit I am not perfect.

I’ve never had a problem with my flaws. However, my biggest flaw is I let my anger consume me at times. Most of the time this anger is a result of stress, or more honestly: things going wrong that I couldn’t control. I don’t think I’m very unique in this aspect but I could be proven wrong.

The famous line from the Shining has a point: all work and no play makes a dull boy (I’m a woman, but the point still rings true) I doubt this film is the first work of art to illustrate this point literally or figuratively. And it may seem ironic that I’m taking a horror film so seriously but I digress. Art is a representation of life. I don’t know if art always imitates life but in my experience art represents life in the best way: realistically. You may not be able to decipher what an artist or filmmaker had in mind. But artists put their heart and soul into their work. Even if this part of the Shining is trivial, it means something to me.

People cannot live a full life alone. Sure, you can have fun with yourself for a while. I’m not doubting you. I’m saying from experience that a lonely life is not a full one. Yet, there is nothing wrong with having alone time. I love alone time. If you need alone time, take what you need. I won’t tell you to stay at your job if you’re miserable. I can never be that person. That’s your decision. If something is making you miserable: take it out of your life and find something better. Whatever that thing is that could potentially make your life more meaningful. Art, music, film, what have you. Do what you love and if you can make money off of it (again, if that’s something you’re interested in) do it.

Besides alone time, I also love great wholesome fun (or otherwise) with people who want a good time as well. Yet, I’m also not someone who can drop my feelings at the door for anyone but me. If I’m feeling a certain way, I’m most likely going to say it. If I don’t, my feelings eventually bubble over turning me into some crazy monster version of me. At least 3 people can vouch for this. When I’m angry I’m horrible. Beyond horrible. I say things that cut people to the core. If I know you well enough (sounds weird but if I’m fighting with you, you probably mean a lot to me for me to even waste a breath) I know what to say to hurt you. Monster me will go that far. Low blow, however you want to phrase it, I say what will hurt the most.

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Kermit the frog here

I realized recently the cause of my worst anger, again, things going wrong that I can’t necessarily control. While I was having a rough time, I spoke with a good friend that told me the best thing you can do to solve a problem or stress is to take action. If you study for an exam, you can’t be mad when you get the grades that you worked for. But I was getting mad at things that I was not actively trying to solve. I was angry at the world for not bending to me. I was angry for not getting A’s when I was barely doing acceptable work (worst critic part of me writing here).

I’m an advertising major. Usually when I receive a critique in my copywriting class I laugh it off and basically I try to prove people wrong by doing a better version of my idea. At first, instead of learning from what people suggested, I did my own ideas that people still couldn’t comprehend. Sometimes my thoughts get very muddled and it’s hard to tell when I’m being stubborn or when people simply don’t understand my work. I am very misunderstood. I don’t speak very much in person. But when I do speak I try to say what’s most important. Maybe this is my problem.

I’ve been judging certain things as more or less important than other things and in the process I’ve done this with everything in my life as a whole. School for me is so much more important than work. But I can’t get to school every day if I don’t work. I live the NYC commuter school life, probably very atypical. The experience you may have not even heard of until now unless you live in NYC yourself. I’m really not writing this to sound cool or clever. I lived on campus for a semester and that definitely was not for me. I’m happy I was there and I learned the most I could learn about myself in those four months. But I fled because I was scared. Scared of being vulnerable. Scared of doing things that made me uncomfortable. Yet, I don’t regret leaving either.

The past four years have taught me a lot about myself as well. When I’m stressed, I’m the worst version of myself. I procrastinate even when that’s clearly the stupidest thing I could possibly do. I wake up miserable. I don’t want to do regular things that would normally make me happy, like eating food (half of the reason I started this blog lol). I’m barely hungry at all when I’m stressed. Most recently, since I may have an ulcer I try to stay as positive as possible and when things spiral out of control and consecutively do not go my way, I crash and I burn, and the saddest part is, I want to burn. The worst side of me wants this to all be over. So nothing can hurt me anymore. I would never cut myself or drink myself to death on purpose. Like I said, I may have an ulcer so every time I drink now it feels like I have the worst hangover or for the ladies reading this, the start of a period.

Most of my stress recently has been due to my health problems, i.e. possible ulcer and stomach issues overall. I want to drink. I want to have fun. Maybe I’m trying too hard. I know what I like, I really do. Sometimes I get tired of my interests and my overall chill life. But whenever I try to have other people’s version of fun I am disappointed. It’s not fun for me to drink before going out because I honestly want to pay full attention to whatever I’m doing. It’s hard for me to truly regret doing something because I see every experience as something to learn from. What I am glad about is that every time I have these experiences that disappoint me, they make me appreciate my interests more.

Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I wear my heart on my sleeve. It’s not as easy as it seems for me to get to this point. At first, I do regret doing it. But what works the best for me may not work for others. If you can shake things off, good for you and I truly mean that. It is hard to build up confidence when you barely have any. But if you already have really firm and honest confidence, please do not let the world break you. Speak up when you need to. It truly helps. Even when someone doesn’t want to hear it. Say it for your piece of mind. Before I encourage you to insult someone, do not get me wrong. Do not say something solely to hurt someone. I am speaking from a very emotional place, but I think I have a very methodical way of dealing with my emotions. It is not typical, I have never been typical nor will I ever be.

I do not want to be typical. If I could erase the feeling of loneliness from the world I truly would do that. If I have ever made anyone feel alone, I straight up apologize here and now. It is never my intention to do so. However, I will say that although I consider myself compassionate and caring, we all have two sides to ourselves. Some people are reluctant to admit it, but we all have an angry horrible side. Or maybe I’m extremely unique again. I don’t believe so. Most people probably need more to set off their anger compared to me. Yet even through all the differences I could name I want to look at the other side.

We all want basically the same things. No one wants to feel lonely. No one wants to feel hurt or feel weak. You may want to end everything. But please, please. If you do not have much more time or even not enough care to finish reading this look here: You are your star. Do what makes YOU happy. Stop caring about what other people think. If it seems like the world is against you, it’s time to learn something. Trust me please with this one.

I have had the biggest highs and really deep lows. I have had numerous times that I wanted to end it all. But even through all of that, I still love myself enough to not give up.

What works for me you may ask? How did I get through it? That’s a hard question to answer but basically, I do not hide my emotions if I feel their important. I cry when I need to cry. I leave class when I want to leave class (yes, really lol.) I walked out of my copy writing class when my professor would not hear me out about my ad concepts. Dramatic? Maybe. Did it make me feel better? Damn right, yes it did. Yet, even through my anger, I talked it out, listened to people dear to me who I know have my best interests at heart and applied what they said. Instead of being a bone head, I changed my idea based on my professor’s comments and he seems to respect my ideas even if he has a crappy way of showing it. I respect my professor, even if he hated me for my reaction that day.

Before this turns into a novel, I want to end this on a positive, but also honest note. If you take anything from this please believe me when I say it:

Be yourself.

When you let down those walls that have been killing you to your core, it is the greatest feeling in the world.

Yes, it is uncomfortable at first.

People get busy… soo…

Make yourself your world.
Don’t expect the world to bend for you.

Sometimes you have to swallow your pride and do what is right.

If you want to scream fuck the world, do it.

But sooner or later if you’re miserable, you have to do something for you. Stop listening to other people, or stop hanging around people who make you feel bad. Especially if it seriously effects you.

You should apologize when you’re wrong or hurt someone you care about. But do not apologize for being yourself.

If you must explain your actions, do it.

It is worth it for someone you care about.

You are more than worth it. You know why? You’re lucky to be alive. You’re lucky to breathe a fresh breath every single day when you wake up. Even when you’re in pain, or hungover or whatever is plaguing you. There are people in many undeveloped countries who want to be in your position, even if they have never experienced it or know nothing about your life.

I do not like thinking of events as lucky or unlucky. But I certainly am blessed. I have worked for most things that I have whether people believe me or not. I am a constant work in progress. We all live and die. I am not scared of death. I’m scared of not living a full life. But on my terms. Not yours, or his or hers, or the dudes that only like me for my body.

Fuck them. Fuck other opinions. Love life.

Throw out the bad stuff in your life. Embrace the good.

Please.

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Shine bright

Thank you for reading,

Nicole xoxo

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

Heavenly Honey Battered Half Chicken with the Most Average Crispy Shrimp – Dallas BBQ – 23rd Street & 8th Avenue, NY, NY

Heavenly Honey Battered Half Chicken with the Most Average Crispy Shrimp – Dallas BBQ – 23rd Street & 8th Avenue, NY, NY

As promised, kingwich and I made a visit to Dallas BBQ. I had the pleasure of being there for their recently launched drink: the Funny Bunny Royale. I do not eat barbecue very often, but when I do I expect it to be tasty and filling and Dallas BBQ filled that quota.

Before even choosing our entrees, kingwich and I tasted the “Dallas BBQ sauce” to see what it would be like. The best explanation of the taste would be to compare it to a smoky flavored ketchup. So instead of getting barbecue chicken, I went ahead and got Honey Battered Chicken and Crispy Shrimp with french fries and corn bread. What could be better?

chicken and shrimp dallasbbq
Honey Battered Half Chicken and Shrimp with Cornbread and French Fries (Tartar Sauce to the right)

One thing I typically do not like to do is get my hands dirty, and you might think it’s strange that someone like me would go to any barbecue spot. Yet, I still love barbecue. The Honey Battered Chicken was not only sweet and syrupy (in a good way) but so tender that someone as fidgety about dirty fingers as myself, could eat it with a fork. Also, the french fries were crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside – just how I like it.

My dislikes were the shrimp and the cornbread. And don’t get me wrong, they were not bad. But they did not have any oomph to them. They were just there. Maybe the honey batter overwhelmed my taste buds, maybe not. I could have gotten the same crispy shrimp anywhere else and I could have made the same cornbread (probably better).

The 100 percent winner of the night had to be the Funny Bunny Royale:

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Funny Bunny Royale

Although, this was apparently supposed to be purple (source: https://www.facebook.com/dallasbbq) and mine is clearly on the pink side, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The Funny Bunny Royale is a purple/pink Long Island served with Moscato and a shot of rum. It is difficult to explain the taste of alcohol, but if I had to explain the taste in terms of how it made me feel, this drink had me wishing I could have one every night -and I am not a big drinker.

If you want a restaurant that is not serious or something new, go to Dallas BBQ. If you’re not a fan of their barbecue sauce, definitely try something battered in honey, or hurry to get their Funny Bunny Royale and share it with a friend or loved one.

You won’t regret it 😉

And don’t forget your wipes

dallas bbq wipes
Dallas BBQ Wipes
City Kitchen – Whitman’s – A Simple Cheese Steak for Everyone.

City Kitchen – Whitman’s – A Simple Cheese Steak for Everyone.

Hello everyone! My name is Ariel Martinez and before I begin my little review on a decent sandwich I had a couple of days ago, I’d like to let you guys (and gals!) know a little about myself. I’m a simple man. A man sort of behind in the times, a man who isn’t on any social media or even likes using his phone. Hell, the only reason I got rid of my old Galaxy 2 was because it was at a point in its life where no matter how much I tinkered with it, no matter how much I prayed to the heavens for just one more day of use… it was dead. Shucks. If we have any Parks and Recreation fans out there, I have been compared to Ron Swanson a bit too often. I hope that paints a picture of the person I am. Except that I don’t boast one of the most beautiful mustaches on the planet.

Just a beautiful mustache.

Very much like Ron Swanson, I am a big fan of American cuisine. Burgers, Ribs, Cheese steaks, Apple Pie, you name it. I’ve never had a salad and I intend to keep it that way. There’s a certain science to making the perfect burger, the perfect ribs which always leads me to try new places and certainly be open to try anything that ANYONE recommends me (seriously guys, any burger BBQ American cuisine locations you guys can recommend in the NYC area I will go to). A couple of days ago, I had the pleasure of going into City Kitchen in New York City. Nicole commented on the history of City Kitchen and what was in store there but the first thing I noticed while walking in was a bustling and maybe even a bit cramped center of great food. Its like the food court in your local mall but just replace teenagers with hipsters. A lot of hipsters. The particular establishment I decided to chow down on that day was Whitman’s.

Whitman’s is a burger joint whose main restaurant is located in the East Village. It makes the food we’re guilty of loving but using locally grown ingredients. If I can enjoy a burger and help local farmers, I have done my patriotic duty as an American. I decided to try their cheese steak which looked amazingly appetizing on their online menu. When I received mine it looked awesome! However there is one fatal flaw…. I had to put ketchup on it!

Whitman's
Visually pleasing.

Now that shouldn’t be! A cheese steak should carry the flavor all in it self without any extra sauces or condiments. The steak should be seasoned to the point where the cheese compliments the flavor of the steak. When I first took a bite, the cheese was the only thing I tasted. The cheese was fine, a very smooth buttery taste whose texture added to the overall smoothness of the steak. However, the main ingredient left my taste buds wanting a little more. The fries, a corner-stone to any sandwich, were very small. I wondered whose hands they were designed for. They were however, some of the best fries I have ever had. It was a roller coaster of flavors which started with a very crunchy outside followed by a very fluffy inside. It had a very enjoyable salty after taste which sat well in my mouth when I followed it up with another fry. I found myself eating the fries before I even took a single bite out of the sandwich, it was that good.

Whitman’s cheese steak is a fine sandwich for lunch on the fly but for more seasoned cheese steak veterans, it lacks the fantastic seasoning that other dedicated cheese steak places offer. But their fries are out of this world. Seriously just go there for fries alone. You won’t be disappointed.