Lookit!

Feb. 19th, 2013 01:12 pm
ceebeegee: (Mardi Gras)
After I got back from New orleans I was jogging and came across a couple of discarded wine boxes outside PJ's (liquor store in Inwood). I grabbed them and decided to turn one into a shadowbox.

I couldn't find a huge fleur de lis stencil (or indeed any) so I made one myself--picked up a lot of stuff at Lee's including paint brushes, paint, spraypaint, and cut-your-own-stencils. Then I found a fleur de lis on line and blew it up and traced it onto the plastic and cut that out. Then I spray-painted it in antique gold on the inside. I wanted it to be a little blurry and messy, like New Orleans :) Then I spatter-painted the inside in purple, green and gold.

I also got some New Orleans-themed scrapbooking stickers (again, from Lee's) and added those to give the interior some texture. Check out all my gen-yew-ine NO artifacts--including REAL Spanish moss! I'd love to add some lights as well, but I'll have to drill a hole into the back. The great thing is I can continue to add stuff every time I go back!

Closeup of interior--that is actual Spanish moss from New Orleans on the top right

More purple, green and gold on the top

I painted throughout in purple, green and gold, the colors of Mardi Gras

I couldn't find a fleur de lis stencil so I made one myself.

I love my blurry-edged city on the rivah :)
ceebeegee: (Mardi Gras)
Mardi Gras went beautifully and we had a blast. The apartment was extra-decorated this year--I ordered a string of special MG lights from eBay AREN'T THEY ADORBS. Those were draped across the entrance to the bathroom, and then Anya did her thing with the balloons, stringing them along the ceiling to the hallways. (You need a tall person to do that, I sure can't reach it!) Plus I discovered a great site online called MardiGrasOutlet.com and bought some more party supplies there, including tons of confetti (masks, stars, etc.) which was liberally sprinkled ALL OVER the place.

We had a nice big turnout--let me see if I can recall everyone who came. Ryan, Michael, Duncan, Tesse, Nobuko, Paul, Ken Scudder, my workmate Katie, Calvin, Megan, Tim and his friend Jason, Griffin and his GF, Eric, Michael Reyna, Paula--I know I'm missing a few, at one point I counted something like 25 people. I was literally picking my way, tip-toeing, through the living room.

I made my two usual King Cakes (one traditional, one with strawberry jam filling), plus red beans and rice which went FAST. I will definitely have to double my rb&r next year! I also made the Cajun shrimp dip, plus I ordered popcorn crawfish and bread pudding from Delta Grill. And hurricanes, of course. Lots and lots of hurricanes!

From the website I also ordered extra babies, so I could put a baby in both the cakes, and whoever got the baby could keep it. They also had cute King Cake beads, so I bought a couple of those for prizes as well.



Party wound down a little earlier this year, I think everyone was gone by 1 or 1:30. Best of all, we more than doubled our take from last year--can't wait to send off the check to Tipitina's!
ceebeegee: (Mardi Gras)
Happy Mardi Gras!


Everybody say a little prayer for that beautiful city on the river with its unique, crumbling beauty and charm and culture. And I expect to see y'all at Chez Green tonight for hurricanes, beads and King Cake!

...It's that time again: that wonderful, crazy, colorful, crowded, happy, mixed-up but glorious time when all New Orleans forgets itself for a day, lets its hair down, puts on a rubber nose, a funny hat, and walks around laughing at the silly people in their crazy costumes...

Mardi Gras is fun and laughter, vulgarity and coarseness, color and light, and at the end, quiet.

Mardi Gras is a state of mind, an attitude, a pose, an opinion. But at its most basic…and perhaps satisfying of all, Mardi Gras is the one day in the entire year when New Orleans can tell the world:

"We're going to have fun!" And we do.


Throw me somethin', Mister!
ceebeegee: (Mardi Gras)
Mardi Gras KICKED ASS last night. SO much damn fun. I met Anya at work and ran home, hitting the Mexican grocery store for ice and powdered sugar--I only had a half cup for the frosting on the king cake, and I needed a cup. Weirdly, they did not have the sugar--I'm surprised a Mexican grocery store (a big one) doesn't have that staple. Anyway, so we ran home and I got dressed and hurried around, setting everything up. I'd made the cake and all the non-sweet food the night before since I worked yesterday, so I pulled all that out of the fridge and set it up on the table or the stove--luckily it all seemed to taste fine. I actually did not have that much to drink or eat since I was busy being a busybee hostess.

People started arriving around 8:20 and then it just never stopped. I think in the end we had around 25 people--let's see Duncan, Chris, Tesse, Jason (Specland), my friend Joy and two friends of hers, Katie Stodd, my friend Katie Hall from work, Paul Martinkovic, Ryan, my friend Jennifer, Tim and a friend of his, my friend Jim Denny, Calvin--I know I'm forgetting a few because I counted up to like 22 today. There were fewer than last year because of the weather, and also Lori didn't invite people. I'd set up a table in the living room--not against the wall (like last year) but sticking out for easier access. This was decorated with party favors (geaux cups + beads), food and glittuh, all atop an improvised purple table cloth. The Big Easy was playing on my TV, and my laptop was spewing zydeco, dixieland and blues. Some rowdy times. Lots of little groups here and there, on the lips couch, by the TV, in the kitchen, in the hallway. Yay! Everybody nomnomnomming on red beans and rice, shrimp jumbalaya, crawfish dip, king cake. And washing it all down with disgustingly sweet hurricanes, of course!

The great thing is this--even with fewer people, Tipitina's MADE OUT. We surpassed last year's take (which had many more people). We almost cleared $100--$96! I'm so proud! Thanks so much, guys--can't wait to mail this off to them!
ceebeegee: (French Quarter in New Orleans)
EEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS!!!!

Who Dat Nation rejoices!!!!! New Orleans is on the rise again! Oh, next Tuesday is gonna be MAJOR at my place!!!! Pre-pare to PARTY!! Did y'all see that shot of Bourbon Street with that writhing drunken celebratory mass of humanity? The drought is OVER!

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS, SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS!!!!!


ceebeegee: (French Quarter in New Orleans)
The Saints are goin' to the Super Bowl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh. My. God. WOW. This is HUGE, y'all. The SAINTS, this just does not happen.

Well, obviously God was listening to me Saturday afternoon because I went to Saturday 5:00 Mass at St. Mary's and our rector said we should pray for the Jets "even though it's not going to help" and I spoke up "we should pray for the Saints!" Of course I was making a liturgical joke but yes, I do love the Saints and YEEHAW!!!! Geaux Saints!!!!!!

And guys, I'd support you no matter who you were playing but you especially gotta kick the snot out of the Colts. I grew up in DC, we do not forgive (the Indy Colts used to be the Balmer Colts, and they picked up literally in the middle of the night and skedaddled out of Balmer. I'm a DCer, not from our neighboring city, but we thought it was disgusting).

Geaux Saints!!!!!

Unbelievable. History, man.
ceebeegee: (mardi gras)
So Lori and I had our inaugural party on Mardi Gras and it turned out very well. People started arriving right at 8 when I was, naturally, running behind and trying to get dressed. I put on a lil' black dress with purple, green and gold eyes and lips, and a similarly-colored mask. Lori spent a lot of time in the kitchen cooking and I was parked at the bar making hurricanes. We had a very well-stocked bar this year, thanks to the lovely Susan who contributed no fewer than 5 bottles of high-end rum, including two Mount Gay flavored (vanilla and mango). Mostly I dished out hurricanes--such a simple, albeit delicious, pleasure. Nothing like a hit of dark rum floated along the sweetness of pure corn syrup and red dye no. 5! I did end up making some mixed drinks later on.

Lots and lots of food for lots of people. Guests included Ryan, Kelly, Chris, Rachel, Michael, Tesse, Duncan, Jason, Michael Clay, Griffin, Molly, Adam and a friend of his, Brett, Stefania, my friend Joy, Tim and his friend Matt, Ashley and a friend of hers, my friend Katie from work, two on-floor neighbors, a neighbor who lives above us, our landlord and a friend of his, two Swedish friends of Lori, a couple of Lori's friends who went to Tulane, and many other friends of Lori's whose names I didn't catch. This is the biggest party I've had since I moved to NYC (not the biggest overall though, that would have to have been when I lived with Ryan and Cami--our insane housearming!). Lori and I were estimating how many guests overall--she guessed 50, I think it was fewer than that (maybe closer to 40). We didn't run out of anything--we served King Cake, red beans and rice, crawfish dip, chicken gumbo, and on and on. And nonstop HURRICANES. All backed up by my Mardi Gras playlist of zydeco, blues, Dixieland jazz, with The Big Easy playing in the background. Woo hoo! Laissez les bons temps roulez! Hail Rex!

I had a great time socializing when I could, talking with Tim and his friend (who generally stood in one corner, looking mysterious and talking on their cells--they are G-men after all), chatting with Joy, pulling out my Romeo and Juliet scrapbook and showing it off. It was awesome to see Michael Clay, BTW, haven't seen him since the summer. He's also so good-natured. I got a chance to talk with Molly a bit as well--she wants to do Othello and I was telling her, she could cast herself as Iago.

I brought out the King Cake (which I'd baked that day) and explained the whole custom to everyone and how this was a big thing in New Orleans, and then sliced it up. Michael got the baby. (Sadly, I think Rachel and Kelly had left before King Cake deliciousness. If it makes you feel better, neither Lori nor I got slices either! In general I didn't have that much to drink--I did not have TIME, I was parked at the bar for quite a while.) I actually had several people ask me about the customs of the holiday--the colors, the King Cake, hurricanes (which is a NO thing, not specific to MG) and so of course I took such opportunities to pimp out my beautiful city and mentioned the collection for Tipitina's. Maybe next year I could hang something from the fire escape...I'm also thinking next year a raffle for the Foundation, and maybe adding po'boys to the menu.

At some point (after Kelly had left, unfortunately, 'cause she had on a great outfit), I eyeballed what people were wearing and handed out a couple of little prizes for especially festive outfits. Michael Clay has a purple sweater with a gold hat and something else green, so he won, but our neighbor James had a festive purple argyle sweater. Adam and his friend and Stefania came fairly late, after midnight and stayed QUITE late. After they left (they were the last) Lori and I collapsed and watched a little more of The Big Easy. I finally rolled into bed around 5:00.

We collected $65 for Tipitina's Foundation.
ceebeegee: (mardi gras)
Happy Mardi Gras!

Everybody say a little prayer for that beautiful city on the river with its unique, crumbling beauty and charm and culture. And I expect to see y'all at Chez Green/Garrabrant tonight for hurricanes, beads and King Cake!

"...It's that time again: that wonderful, crazy, colorful, crowded, happy, mixed-up but glorious time when all New Orleans forgets itself for a day, lets its hair down, puts on a rubber nose, a funny hat, and walks around laughing at the silly people in their crazy costumes...

Mardi Gras is fun and laughter, vulgarity and coarseness, color and light, and at the end, quiet.

Mardi Gras is a state of mind, an attitude, a pose, an opinion. But at its most basic…and perhaps satisfying of all, Mardi Gras is the one day in the entire year when New Orleans can tell the world:

"We're going to have fun!" And we do."

Throw me somethin', mister!




ceebeegee: (mardi gras)
I love it when my musical interests mash up. Pandora just played a slowish Dixieland version of "Sunrise, Sunset." So awesome! The Krewe of Jew could feature it at their parade. (No, AFAIK there is no Krewe of Jew, but there is a Jewish krewe, or was--I know I've heard of at least one. Which is awesome and could only happen in America--a Jewish organization that's part of a holiday that's liturgical in origin, where now EVERYONE gets drunk!)
ceebeegee: (Riding)
Ugh. Not feeling too well today. I lovelovelove Trader Joe's Spicy Soy Chips (high in protein and fiber and they satisfy my urge to crunch, plus go great with melted cheese--what's not to love?) but they make my stomach feel funny the next day. Ugh.

Wednesday night I hung out with a Sweet Briar friend of mine who was in town for a conference. She was staying at the SoHo Grand but I suggested we hang out in Hell's Kitchen, a neighborhood I know much better. We had a GREAT time; we ate at El Centro on 54th St. and then went to Vintage for after-dinner drinks. Allyson is so supportive and warm, I just love getting together with her. She's so honest about her life and the ups and downs of parenthood (she has three little girls). Her oldest is getting into riding but her husband really wants to nix that, saying it's more dangerous than motorcycle riding or skiing. Naturally as a rider and a girl athlete, I'm all for it! However it doesn't help that one of our friends from Sweet Briar got injured a lot--Kate just shrugged it off and continued to ride anyway, but she's had several bouts of surgery and her knees are shot to hell. I told Ally that most riding injuries are in eventing and steeplechasing--equitation and dressage are much tamer (and, *cough* more boring but I didn't say that! But it's definitely true that the danger is what makes it interesting). Once you start taking jumps, the risk factor goes up. But still, girls should be encouraged in sports if possible; it teaches them so many useful attitudes and skill sets. Teamwork, ownership of and pride in your body, pride in accomplishment as opposed to appearance/relationship status...

On Saturday Paula and I hung out--we went to the new New Orleans-style restaurant on Restaurant Row, called Bourbon Street, where we rhapsodized over one of our favorite movies, Spike Lee's School Daze. (LOVE that movie! Lovelovelove "Good and Bad Hair"--"it ain't even real!") The food was pretty good, fairly authentic-tasting. I had cheese grits, Cajun red-beans-and-rice dip with chips, and shrimp jambalaya, and for dessert Paula and I shared this amazing cafe au lait creme brulet. (Ugh, don't want to think of food right now.) And they had Abita and Dixie, including Blackened Voodoo, my favorite. But the mixed drinks were ridiculously expensive. $13 for a Cosmo? A margarita on the rocks? That's outrageous. The beer wasn't expensive, I don't know why they're soaking us on the drinks. And they didn't have hurricanes--they said they weren't making them yet. Hello!--you have a NO-style restaurant, you probably should have the signature NO drink! The staff was really good though, very friendly (both the manager and the chef stopped by) and I liked the atmosphere, although it was a little too clean and shiny. I showed Paula pictures of the real thing on my iPod, I have great photos of seedy places like the cheap-ass bar on Lee Circle and the Old Absinthe Bar. Mmm, seedy New Orleans...

Afterward we met Ryan at Vintage and sucked back martinis. Walter from Oberon was there and he and I schmoozed--he wants to audition for Romeo and Juliet. He's actually playing Tybalt now in another production and I was all "hey, come audition for my show this summer!"

In other news, last week, Dani and I caught Mickey at the sink with this:



Note that there are no fewer than TEN little jars of Colman's Mustard! And that's just what was in the refrigerator! There were another 4 jars in the cabinets. PLUS 2 containers of another brand of mustard (French's?) and two of wasabi sauce. I just thought it was so endearing, all his tiny little jars of mustard. Men and their condiments!

Going to the Hoboken Arts & Music Festival this Sunday with Ted--what fun! Homemade soaps and Mickey Dolenz...
ceebeegee: (Mardi Gras)
So I had a Mardi Gras party last week that went well--we had real hurricanes with Pat O'Brien's mix (they do not taste the same if you make them from scratch--you need that Red Dye No. 7 chemical high), shrimp gumbo, two kinds of red beans and rice (spicy vegetarian and with sausage), Cajun dip and homemade King Cake. This year for the King Cake I used Pillsbury crescent rolls which didn't work quite as well as the pizza dough I used last year--the cake was splitting apart a little bit. But I added extra butter in the filling, plus some strawberry jam, and that made it very rich.

I was a little flustered because about 5 people came right at 8:00 (when the invitation said the party started)--I'm used to people being as slackjaw late as I usually am! I really apologize for seeming overwhelmed and not being better prepared--next year I'm just going to take off my evening assignment so I can be ready and IN costume when the guests arrive! Elizabeth helped out enormously by making hurricanes and putting out crackers and whatnot. I was still stuck in the kitchen heating up gumbo and red beans and rice--I'd made most of the food the night before but then I had to pop it back into the microwave. And bake the King Cake--again, I'd put everything together that afternoon, but it tastes best if it's fresh as possible. Otherwise I could just order it from Gambino's!

My Mardi Gras playlist playing on my laptop (Elizabeth lent me her speakers) and I put on The Big Easy at some point. *Love* that movie--it's hard to believe the original script was actually supposed to take place in Chicago, because the movie feels inextricably grounded in New Orleans. I mean, everything--the music, the accents (most of them), the theme of charming corruption...One of my favorite characters is Remy's defense lawyer, with his charmingly opaque remarks: "New Orleans is a marvelous environment for coincidence." His accent sounds so authentic, I was shocked to find out it was actually Charles Ludlum--born and raised in New York--who plays him.

Beads and geaux cups were also handed out--I meant for people to take them home as souvenirs but completely forgot as people were leaving, probably because I had several hurricanes in me at that point. Um, if anyone wants some Mardi Gras souvenirs, let me know...And a contest for the best costume--a lot of people dressed up a little with some makeup or a mask, but Elana and Tesse actually had ensembles. Tesse ended up winning the prize, special flashing baby pacifier beads. I also put out an envelope for contributions to Tipitina's Foundation--Tipitina's is a New Orleans institution, a restaurant/club on Tchoupitoulas (hey, my mama and daddy used to live on that street!). It's also where Anne and Remy eat the first time they go out in The Big Easy. The envelope was in the bathroom so no one would feel pressured to give. At the end of the night we had $25 in loose cash at the end of the evening, and then the next day several people said they'd forgotten to give. Ultimately we ended up with $95! I sent the check off to Tipitina's today. So happy! Anything that helps my beloved city get back on its feet.
ceebeegee: (Mardi Gras)
Laissez les bons temps roulez!

(Editorial from some New Orleans paper--the Times-Picayune, I think)

...It's that time again: that wonderful, crazy, colorful, crowded, happy, mixed-up but glorious time when all New Orleans forgets itself for a day, lets its hair down, puts on a rubber nose, a funny hat, and walks around laughing at the silly people in their crazy costumes...



Revelers at the parade of the Krewe of Orpheus.

Mardi Gras is fun and laughter, vulgarity and coarseness, color and light, and at the end, quiet.



Krewe of Proteus Parade.

Mardi Gras is a state of mind, an attitude, a pose, an opinion. But at its most basic…and perhaps satisfying of all, Mardi Gras is the one day in the entire year when New Orleans can tell the world:



Bourbon Street, the French Quarter.

"We're going to have fun!" And we do.
ceebeegee: (Mardi Gras)
...It's that time again: that wonderful, crazy, colorful, crowded, happy, mixed-up but glorious time when all New Orleans forgets itself for a day, lets its hair down, puts on a rubber nose, a funny hat, and walks around laughing at the silly people in their crazy costumes...

Mardi Gras is fun and laughter, vulgarity and coarseness, color and light, and at the end, quiet.

Mardi Gras is a state of mind, an attitude, a pose, an opinion. But at its most basic…and perhaps satisfying of all, Mardi Gras is the one day in the entire year when New Orleans can tell the world:

"We're going to have fun!" And we do.


Laissez les bon temps roulez!



Mardi Gras Costumes/Mask_Desktop Wallpaper (800x600)









ceebeegee: (Red Heather)


Unbelievable. I really can't believe someone would go to that kind of effort, and not realize how spectacularly offensive and cruel that is.
ceebeegee: (French Quarter in New Orleans)
The Saints are up by two touchdowns and change at halftime against Atlanta.

It's their first game back at the Superdome since Hurricane Katrina. The Saints are (atypically) undefeated. The energy is INCREDIBLE.

Not only did they sell out all their season tickets (the first time it's happened), they received so many requests for press passes, they can't even fit all the reporters into the stands. Al Jazeera requested press passes!

Geaux, Saints! We love you, New Orleans! Kick some Falcon ass!
ceebeegee: (French Quarter in New Orleans)
You and your children are in my heart today.







I miss you and I'll be back.
ceebeegee: (French Quarter in New Orleans)
I am really missing Nawlins right now. I suppose it's because of all the Katria anniversary documentaries and whatnot.

Man, do I love that city. Krista, we goin' again for Mardi Gras this year?
ceebeegee: (neon heart)
The next day we woke up pret-ty hungover. Man. Jagermeister is nasty stuff--I couldn't even think of it without feeling nauseous. Five krewes (Pontchartrain, Shangri-La, Pygmalion, Sparta, Pegasus) were rolling that day, and the parade route took them around Canal Street before turning onto Tchoupitoulas--very convenient! People were lining up along Canal Street with camp chairs and such as we walked out, and as we were eating breakfast, we saw the floats. I got excited and we ran out. The floats are...like something out of a dream. They are these huge spooky heads with exaggerated smiles and features, creepy and medieval.





There may be as few as 10 or as many as 40 floats per krewe, and krewes will roll one right after the other (so what feels like one parade is actually 3 or 5). On each float are krewe members, all masked, throwing out TONS of shit (called throws)--mostly beads but also cups, doubloons, plastic toys and stuffed animals, CDs, throw bags (bags for your loot), food, superballs, flags. But mostly--beads, beads, BEADS. In every shiny color but mostly purple, green and gold. So many beads. You clap your hands and say "Happy Mardi Gras!" and "Throw something to me, mister!" (the traditional Mardi Gras parade cry) and when those weird masked people throw it to you, you're happy. Sometimes you exchange glances with someone, and they point to you and target you with the throws, which makes you feel special. It's a 30-second romance, until the next float lumbers up and there's someone new with bright, shiny, cheap plastic beads to tempt away your loyalty.



More fun )

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