Monday, July 27, 2009

Under The Weather

I haven't been feeling too well lately. I've been getting headaches every day, one day even having a migraine. Every morning when I wake up I realize how dehydrated I am, even if I have had plenty of fluids the day/night before. I'm trying to take it easy to feel better in time to stay with Jeff in his new apartment for a while (which I'm hoping will bring about a posting frenzy!) In the meantime, I apologize for the lack of my updating recently. I know I'll feel better soon.

Crystal

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lovely Day Spent In The Sun

Getting sunburned, that is. We share a community pool with the surrounding apartments and usually in the summer it is filled with kiddies and their parents. Today we took the opportunity to occupy the vacant pool, and it was a lot of fun, splashing around with my mom and grandma like we used to do when I was a kid. The only drawback being that I am sunburned on my arms and back. It's not terrible, but enough to sting and be painful. Afterwards I attempted to take a nap. I'm definitely not solar powered because every time I'm out in the sun I instantly become sleepy. Plus, getting sunburned seems to take a lot of energy out of me (and other people, I've been told) and I was pooped out after. We finished off the day with a nice dinner at local Italian eatery, La Botte. Couldn't ask for a better summer day with the family!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Back on Track/First Apartment, Take 2

In the short time that I've stepped away from my lovely little blog here, I've had a lot of stuff happen to me. Some good. Some not. I do feel like because of all the things that have happened in such a short period of time, I had to do some internal growing and reexamine a few things about life. I'm confident that I can continue on now, better than before, and devote myself to CLL& in a positive way.

In related news, I had mentioned before about Jeff getting an apartment with a mutual friend of ours. That is no longer happening, for various reasons I won't publicly share, and so In 24 hours Jeff was notified that he had lost his roommate, then went out and scored himself a lovely apartment in a great community! Kudos to him for not sitting on his laurels and lamenting his loss. He kept his head up and did what he had to do because he knew that was what needed to be done.

Another great nugget of news is that, while Jeff was originally planning to move around the 10th of August, because of the deal he was able to get yesterday, he's signing the lease tomorrow (Saturday) and will officially have the green light to move in on Sunday! Because of his work schedule that's not going to happen, but he will be moving in over the course of next week, as his schedule permits. Of course this is great news for me because this means that I won't have to go nearly a month without seeing him or being with him.

Last weekend I stayed with Jeff and his parents at their house in Valencia and helped them pick out Jeff's new bed. Honestly, I never realized how difficult it was shopping for a mattress. A few years ago when I bought a new bed it was easy; we went to one store, they delivered it and that was that. But there is a whole market of just beds and mattresses and it's all about firmness and plushness and all kinds of things. We went to so many stores and finally his parents just ended up getting him a good quality queen size mattress (with spring and frame, etc...) from Costco, of all places. That cost about $700 after taxes. The weekend before that they had made a trip to a hotel supply store and purchased a Klik Klak couch for around $300. Between those 2 items, the furniture Jeff already had in his home, and the additional things I will be giving to him from when I lived in the dorms, he should have a nearly fully finished apartment! What a great way to start off the new school year.

Additionally, I'm finishing a painting for him and will be working on another painting of a passion flower - his favorite - so that he may have some art to hang on his walls. I'm also looking into DIY projects for a headboard, since he is scraping that purchase for the time being. I also hope to be documenting the entire move-in and set-up process via photos, which I hope to share here.

Thanks for reading.
Crystal

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Be Right Back...



There are some matters in my personal life right now that are causing me to be unfocused and without inspiration. So, I will be taking a bit of a breather, just until I am refreshed and can come back to Color Love Life & with a new focus. And hopefully my personal life will mend itself in the meantime.

Thank you,
Crystal
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Monday, July 6, 2009

Birthdays & First Apartments

Yesterday celebrated my mom's 51st birthday. It was a beautiful day that we started off by sleeping in! Unintentionally, of course. We made it to Pea Soup Anderson's in Buellton for brunch where I had a yummy chicken pasta sandwich and sampled my mom's Monte Carlo sandwhich and my grandma's old fashioned potato salad. Next we picked up the cake, rented a free movie (XFiles: I Want to Believe, which was disappointing) and headed home for cake and relaxation. The cake was a lovely circle cake with white cake, white buttercream filling and white buttercream frosting with pink and yellow roses. It'll all be gone today, I can guarantee it!

Meanwhile...

Jeff and his parents went up to Camarillo to look at apartments and Jeff has decided on a great apartment community called Alara. It will be a very nice first place for him to live in and I can't wait until he moves in! He has plans to send in his application and put in a holding deposit early this week so he can move in later this month. A part of me is happy that I'm still unemployed because that means I can spend extra time with him to get him moved in, acquainted with his new home, and have together time with him.

Speaking of employment... Unfortunately Craigslist has not been a great source of job opportunities, as I've been victim to scam artists who now have my email and are using it to spam me with crap on a daily basis. Too many job opportunities are being flagged for removal and it's not giving me much hope. How do so many people find jobs via the Internet? I simply do not trust online job sites anymore because every time I do I end up with an inbox full of crap. Is it too much to ask to find something legitamite? I did see a great opportunity in the Sunday edition of the Santa Barbara News Press, so I faxed in a cover letter and resume for that and hopefully something will come of it! Fingers crossed!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Interview: Lifelong Friend & Professional Belly Dancer

Late in the summer of 1998, two 15 year old girls met via the Internet and a shared interest in one of the greatest boy bands ever to grace music. Despite a few hundred miles between them, the changes in life as a growing teenager, college and periods of no contact, these two remained great friends. I was one of those girls, and the second was Julia Lolita Bernal.

We're both 26 today and it's been eleven years of friendship. We've shared stories of first loves and heartbreaks and even periods when we didn't speak at all. But through the amazing Internet we've been able to keep our friendship alive.

Today, Julia is an accomplished Belly Dancer. What started as a hobby has grown into a passion. Accompanied by photos by photographer Nick Chao, I'm pleased to interview one of my greatest friends, Julia Lolita Bernal.


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First, thank you so much for letting me interview you for Color Love Life! We’ve been friends for a long time (11 years!) but we’ve been a bit out of touch for the last few years while I was away at school. During that time you really developed an interest in belly dancing. How did that come about?

Thank you for asking me to be apart of Color Love Life! I am really honored. Wow, has it really been 11 years? Time flies by, doesn’t it? I wish I could say “while you’re having fun” but the years we weren’t in touch, I wasn’t really having fun. LOL.

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I learned basic belly dance moves in my high school dance class, right before Britney Spears and Shakira brought belly dancing to mainstream popularity. The girl who taught me told me I was doing it all wrong, I felt completely dejected and decided to sit out while the belly dance choreography was being taught. I fell in love with the different colored veils that were being used in the dance and decided I would practice belly dance moves on my own, in my bedroom. I did this off and on for about a year or two and met my dance instructor in an online health class during my first year of high school and the rest is history.

You mentioned Britney Spears and Shakira. When they "belly dance" is it really belly dancing in the context of what you do? Or is it more dancing and entertainment?
Well, the only belly dancing that Britney Spears did was for her music video "I'm A Slave 4 U" and I can't even remember now how much of it was actually belly dancing. But with a combination of Shakira and Britney Spears belly dancing did become more mainstream. As far as Shakira is concerned for a while it just seems like all she did was shake her booty and that's it. But I searched YouTube and she actually CAN belly dance, she's amazing!!! So, I wold say that Britney's dancing was more entertainment and Shakira can totally belly dance!

What drew you to belly dancing in the first place?
Well, my introduction to belly dancing would have been through watching and loving the Disney movie Aladdin. I thought Princess Jasmine and the belly dancers used in various scenes were extremely sensual and powerful in the way they moved; all while being very shapely. I always wanted to experience that feeling and when I was given an opportunity to learn, I took it!

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How has it affected you? In physical, mental and emotional ways?
Prior to belly dancing, I really struggled over my body image. I wanted to have the body frame of Britney Spears, with J-Lo’s abs and backside, and have Jennifer Love Hewitt’s legs, because that is what was considered to be attractive or ideal in pop culture. I realized that my body is built to be curvaceous and there is nothing wrong with that, as long as I am living a healthy and active life. If I’m taking care of my body and healthy, why should I have to conform to someone else’s idea of what beautiful is and isn’t? As soon as that clicked in my head, I was instantly 100% happier. I came to realize this through that fact that in the belly dance world, having weight on your body is really valued. Having meat on your body make it so you can see certain moves like “flutters” or “belly rolls.” I also feel more flexible when I’ve been dancing regularly.

If you had a business card, would you list “Professional Belly Dancer” as your profession?
Yes, I would.

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Do you do performances professionally or more casually? Do you make any money from it?
I used to perform casually for many years. It wasn’t until I decided to eat healthier and be more active, that I lost a lot of weight, almost 40 pounds, and started to gain a lot of confidence in MY body. I started to buy professional belly dance costumes and worked really hard in the dance studio with the troupe I am in. Naturally the professional paying gigs came pouring in for the past year.

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Are there any misconceptions about belly dancing people should be corrected about?
I want people to know that belly dancing isn’t stripping. I hate that they are linked together. The other problem I have is how men, who do not know how the world of belly dancing works, treat belly dancers. I don’t think people know how to handle the beauty and power that belly dancers have when they move to the exotic and rich music. So I think it’s easier for them to instantly relate it to something like sex and then treat us like an object and not a human being. Sure we’re in revealing outfits but it doesn’t warrant you to disrespect us.

What are the outfits like? Are they easy to move in?
I have Egyptian and Turkish belly dance costumes; which consists of a skirt, harem pants, bra, and belt. The skirts are sheer and made out of chiffon. One of my skirts is made out of chiffon panels and the other is a two tiered chiffon skirt. They’re extremely beautiful when you’re spinning! The harem pants are an option. Some women show off their legs, I choose not to. If I don’t wear my harem pants, I feel like I might flash the audience a lovely color of my underpants! The bra and belt, by far is my favorite part! They’re decorated with fringe, beads, sequence, coins, appliqu├ęs, etc. Costumes are like clothes in the sense that they look differently depending on your body type. So if you get a costume that fits your body type well, you will move around easily and with confidence.

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Which costume of yours is your favorite to wear and dance in?
Oh man, I haven't found a belly dance costume that is my favorite. They're all pretty but I'm still looking for my dream costume. I really want to buy a costume that has shades of orange, red, and brown. Those colors are gorgeous and makes stage makeup REALLY fun.

Where do you see yourself going with this? Will you be a professional belly dancer for the next stage of your life or do you have other plans?
About a year ago I wanted the troupe I am in to be so much in demand that we traveled to other cities, states, or counties. But things have changed; I will always belly dance, it truly is a workout and I like the way it tones my body. The next stage of my life would have to be a career in teaching elementary school, and since meeting my significant other the possibility of being married and having a family is now an option that I am going to take when the time is right for us to do so.

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Your cousin, Mara, dances with you as well, right? What's it like to have family by your side with you while dancing?
It's so much fun dancing with my cousin Mara. We look so much a like that we get a lot of guests from private parties or members of an audience come up to us and ask us if we're twins, sisters, or cousins. Sometimes we say sisters, if we're feeling like bras we say twins, but usually we giggle and tell them we're cousins, in unison too. It's like surround sound.

How can someone get started with belly dancing?
I would recommend finding a belly dance instructor in your area. Just google belly dancing and your town's name. Sometimes it's available at a gym, that's also a possibility. If you're too shy or don't have an instructor near you, I'd buy an instructional DVD. I recommend The Magic of Belly Dance by Ansuya and The Heartbeat of Bellydance: Rhythms & Belly Dance Combinations for Drum Solos with Jenna and Raquy. They're great DVDs that may or may not be a challenge, so you'll get more out of it then a basic DVD where you learn a step right away and then you've got all you can out of the DVD. Thankfully the dance steps are broken down and you can pause it if you need to drill it a few times.

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Many thanks to Julia for allowing me to interview her! For more on Julia, you can peek at her Facebook. Photography by Nick Chao (who is 17 years old!)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The September Issue Trailer

I've seen this trailer a few times now for "The September Issue", which is a documentary of sorts about Anna Wintour. It's being hailed as the real The Devil Wears Prada. See for yourself.


Thoughts?