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Movies of the Moment: I Tonya

I Tonya

Rounding out films that are still out in theatres, I’d be extremely remiss not to comment on I, Tonya. For those of you living under a boulder (I kid), I, Tonya recounts the story of Tonya Harding, at one time one of the best figure skaters in the world ( to note: the first American woman to land the notoriously difficult triple axel jump), who weathered unimaginable scandal on account of the 1994 attack on her teammate Nancy Kerrigan. I remember this story so vividly from my childhood- growing up in the midwest, the Winter Olympics were a huge event for us and my family and I watched the figure skating championships near religiously. When this story line unfolded we, like the rest of America, were enraptured in it. And yet, there were so many details of the story that I was too young to absorb, or too naive to realize that I had internalized as fact. In this respect, I, Tonya serves as a redemption tale for someone who became, during my childhood, a caricature of the evil villain writ large.

And yet, I, Tonya isn’t a tale of redemption at all. It is, at its core, a really excruciating account of a life of poverty of violence- first of the parental variety, then the marital variety- and finally of the societal variety. And I found the consistent and raw abuse almost too much to handle. There was no tempering of her suffering when she grew up, moved out of her home, or left her husband. Rather, she is consistently and brutally punished every step of the way despite her boundless work ethic and pursuit of something better. Given that, I found it really hard to reconcile this movie as a comedy (despite it’s comedic elements- brought to the fore by an incredible cast of characters as they adopt their respective characters with undeniable gusto). Pictured below, Allison Janney in the role she was born to play, as Tony Hardings abusive mother.

 

Despite finding the violence near unbearable, the movie is extremely well done – and my husband and friends absolutely loved it. It has taken distance from some of the more difficult scenes for me to embrace just how genius this movie is but all the same, I’ve come around. And like Lady Bird below, it is another example of a film that plays exquisitely to the 90’s/2000s nostalgia that is swallowing pop culture whole at the moment (perhaps a testament to the fact that we would all rather escape to the scandals of our childhoods then live the scandals of the moment, which feel too heavy to bear). Margot Robbie as Tonya, Allison Janney as LaVona Harding, Sebastian Stan as Jeff Gillooly, and Paul Walter Hauser as Shawn are all absolutely exceptional in their respective roles.

It’s worth noting that watching this movie prompted me to also watch the  2 hour ABC special: Truth and Lies, the Tonya Harding Story last week and it was insane to learn how accurate the events of the movie are. I recommend watching the special as well if you can’t get enough of early 90’s figure skaters, because honestly, who can? Not I.

I Tonya- Violent, insane, well-executed, funny, and tragic. A little like the woman herself.

 

 

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Movies of the Moment – The Post

We’ve been trying to watch as many movies as possible lately, mainly because other parents feel it necessary to frequently and relentlessly fearmonger us with comments like “You’ll never be able to watch a movie again.” Any excuse to plant ourselves in front of a screen in the name of living our best lives is A-OK with us, and I have to say we’ve caught some stellar films so far on account of it. Virtually every movie out right now is best in class due to it being award season, but I wanted to recount a few this week that we’ve particularly enjoyed, kicking off with Steven Spielberg’s The Post.

 

The Post

Directed by Steven Spielberg, and starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. I could probably end the review right there and that would be enough to impel you to see the film. But this is an important movie to watch in this moment of history, so a little more detail is due.

First, a brief history lesson. The story of the Post is the story of the Pentagon Papers, officially titled “United States- Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense.” The papers, in essence, detailed scathing truths about the U.S.’ involvement in Vietnam. One, that the Johnson Administration “systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress.” And two, that the U.S. had secretly enlarged the scope of its actions in the Vietnam War with the bombings of Cambodia and Laos, coastal raids on North Vietnam, and Marine Corps attacks, none of which were reported in the mainstream media. The papers were released by Daniel Ellsberg, who had worked on the study, and were first brought to light by the New York Times , for which the NYT was served an injunction by the U.S. attorney general. For his disclosure of the Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg was initially charged with conspiracy, espionage, and theft of government property, but the charges were later dismissed after prosecutors investigating the Watergate Scandal discovered that the staff members in the Nixon White House had ordered the so-called White House Plumbers to engage in unlawful efforts to discredit Ellsberg. The Post is about the moment that the Washington Post enters  the fray on the heels of the NYT, to publish the remaining papers, exposing a massive cover up of government secrets regarding the US’ involvement in Vietnam that spans 3 decades and 4 U.S. Presidents.

These themes- of thankless wars entered into on lies, of presidential administrations lying to and denigrating the mainstream media, of leakers willing to face imprisonment to share the truth with the public, then outed as traitors; and the importance of a free press- are top of mind for anyone who has lived through the Iraq War as well as the first year of the Trump administration. And it is toward the latter, in so many ways, that this film is a direct and unapologetic response. While the film regrettably trades in some of the more poignant historical lessons regarding U.S. involvement in Vietnam for high drama, it’s focus on the necessity of a free and respected press for the perpetuation of democracy is a huge one. For the magnitude of that lesson alone, I suspect it will win plenty of awards.

But there are also a number of moments and details that more subtly appeal to the senses. For one, Katherine Graham (played by the glorious Meryl Streep) plays the first female publisher of a major American Newspaper. Anyone who has ever been the only woman in a room full of men can identify with the shot of her entering a room full of bankers at a meeting during which they will set the IPO price for the Washington Post. In it, Streep is surrounded by a swarm of men in dark suits, and while they tangentially acknowledge her presence (despite her ostensibly being the most important person in the room), the scene only reinforces how invisible and insignificant they deem her to be. I wanted so badly for her to bust their chops as only a woman can, but I was reminded only of the times and how many women like her had to fight to get one word in edgewise, so that I could get in 100. It was a powerful reminder of how far we’ve come.

The story of the Post, then, is also one about a woman finding her voice, and blazing a heretofore uncharted trail. It is Graham who has the final word on whether to publish, and despite the risk to her career, company, and family’s inheritance, she makes the honorable choice.

On a visual level, it is also rich with gorgeous details showcasing the Georgetown homes of the 1970s Washington elite, and the incredible wardrobes of their inhabitants. My absolute favorite scene on this front is the one below, wherein Graham dons a glorious caftan while hosting a party in the garden of her Georgetown home. Just LOOK at that caftan and that hair. She is everything I have ever wanted to be. The intricate wood panelling in her study and the abundance of classic furniture only add to the sumptuousness of the sets.

 

Overall the Post does a tremendous job balancing beautiful period details and high drama with critical themes for the moment. More than anything, it serves a sobering warning that despite our perceived societal progress (and the passing of some 50 years), we currently face staggeringly similar threats to the freedom of our press and society at large. It is a warning that we should be keen to heed and address head on, if we are indeed to survive.

 

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I’m Back!

Well hello there!

I am back after an embarrassingly long “hiatus” that was really not a hiatus at all but 6+ months in the trenches of LIFE on the most intense level!  But I am so thrilled to be back at Maison Sheik with some very exciting life news and a recap on what I have been up to!

 

Studies:

Image via Ace Interior Design

When we last connected, I was just beginning my studies at Parson’s, and have since completed a number of in depth projects, including a complete redesign of the Parson’s Lobby into a restaurant and cafe space, a bedroom for a 10 year old girl with a passion for math, and my personal favorite, a Louis XV inspired pool house in Miami! I can’t wait to show you some of the work that I put together on these! I can’t tell you how much my technical expertise or vision have improved, and I am so excited to embark on this journey further this year. It has been the most rewarding and fulfilling discovery of my life so far! Speaking of decorating:

 

We Moved to Brooklyn!

After 10 years in Greenwich Village (yes, a full decade!) we made the move to Boerum Hill. It’s been incredible. We sleep with the windows open when it’s warm, and we see trees from every window of our (much more expansive) place. We have a working fireplace and 2 floors and basically, to a New Yorker, that sounds like fiction, but it’s true. We absolutely adore it here. I can’t wait to share pictures as we continue to finish decorating!

 

Work: 

After probably the most intense year of grinding it out, bending over backward like I was a gymnast in cirque du soleil, and what amounted to a full fledged political campaign (the trifecta according to tech) I earned a very hard fought for promotion at work in November. So now I can breathe again. It feels good. Especially because I worked intensely through some of the sickest and hardest months of my life when i should have probably been staying home nursing a gatorade, which leads to my next piece of news.

 

Baby!

My husband and I are expecting a baby girl in 2 weeks you guys! (Also, is there anything better than fat baby feet? I couldn’t resist the image above) Anyway, we can’t really believe it either. Going through this experience has made me realize just how miraculous the perpetuation of life is on this planet. We cannot wait to meet her and see her face. But first, a little recap of how the pregnancy has gone so far….

Memorial Day weekend, our friends Hilary and Allen invited us up to their family friend’s place, a summer camp in the Northeast Kingdom, Vermont. We decided to drive up the Thursday prior to the weekend’s kickoff so as to avoid the traffic leaving New York City. An idea which was, of course, shared by approximately 8 MM other people. Anticipating that this was the case, we picked up cold cut sandwiches at the Bedford Cheese shop on Irving place before hitting the road. I didn’t make it past Westchester before my vision turned blurry and I broke into a cold sweat. In other words, I became rapidly and deathly ill. And so we made a detour at a particularly lovely gas station in Larchmont as I proceeded to get more and more ill. Our husbands deliberated outside as to whether my husband and I should uber it back to the city and call it a day. Meanwhile, Hilary cornered me outside the bathroom.

“Dude, do you think maybe you’re pregnant?”

“Absolutely not,” I replied. After “trying” for 3 months, we had lost steam and decided to enjoy our lives instead (our resilience knows no bounds). Which amounted to us living it up, going out, sleeping little and generally having a ball for the month preceding. In other words, there was no way my body was a hospitable temple for anything other than late night falafel.

An hour later we were back on the road and I promptly fell asleep in my husband’s lap, and 5 hours after that we arrived at a freezing and rainy summer camp. The rest of the weekend brought sunshine, boat rides, feasts overlooking the lake, plenty of raw cheese and other indulgences, and an overall marvelous time. But when we returned to the city, Hilary’s words returned to me, and so I decided to take a test and just put the issue to rest.

Reader, it was positive.

From there started 18 weeks of the most brutal illness I have ever encountered. Every day was a fight to survive. But I did. And after that, I felt amazing. And inexplicably, she continued to grow.

And here we are, in the final stretch, excited, terrified, but ready to dislodge this baby from my rib cage ;-). I started my leave from work December 22nd, and after hosting my in laws for Christmas and getting a number of things in order home wise, I am rededicating myself to my loves, one of which is this beautiful blog.

So, those are the broad strokes, with A LOT to share in between.  Needless to say, I am thrilled to be back and sharing this journey with all of you! Thank you for reading!

xoxoxo

Miss Sheiky

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Felice Varini

St. Francis of Assisi stated that the “happiness of our lives depends upon the quality of our thoughts,” implying that our perspective on the world, and our experience of it, are one in the same.  No one translates this concept more compellingly than artist Felice Varini, the master illusionist whose large-scale projections super-imposed onto architectural spaces similarly force us to question the role of perspective in how we view the world. Viewed from one specific vantage point, his installations are precise, geometric forms that seemingly hover in front of the structure that they are painted onto; viewed from others they take on the appearance of complete randomness- shattered lines or panes of glass. To view a Varini piece in person is, I imagine, to waver between confusion and complete awe.

   L to R (Arche e Corone, Grand Palais, Arche e Corone)

His technique is anamorphosis, which is defined by a distorted projection or drawing that appears normal when viewed from a particular point or lens. But finding that ideal vantage point is not in itself Varini’s objective for the viewer. Notes the artist, “The viewer can be present in the work, but as far as I am concerned he may go through it without noticing the painting at all. If he is aware of the work, he might observe it from the vantage point and see the complete shape. But he might look from other points of views where he will not be able to understand the painting because the shapes will be fragmented and the work too abstract. Whichever way, that is ok with me.”

Eglises des Jesuites

That said, viewers who are willing to work to find that lens develop a greater intimacy with the allocated space than they would have if they were just passing through. And what Varini’s work accomplishes is the feat of forcing the viewer to slow down, question their surroundings, and experience their surroundings. In a city like New York, it is these spaces that take on such a special role in the public sphere.

 

Eglises des Jesuites

This is why Varini is such a compelling artist to channel for an interior space. The duality of his work is what makes it striking: simple shapes against ornate architectural detail; primary colors projected against neutrals; crisp paint relative to crumbling infrastructure; immense scale versus the precise vantage point at which the picture comes together. All of this should be reflected in a space that truly embodies his art.

 

In this, we join the ranks of numerous cities who recognize the wonder of his approach and commission him to rejuvenate public spaces and historic monuments. With washable paint he has wrought an indelible mark on many antiquities, painting the walls of Versailles, 12th century abbeys in western France, 15th century Augustinian monasteries in Monte Carasso, and alleyways in New Haven alike.  Interpreting his references, we will create a space that forces New Yorkers to consider the world around them in a new way.

                       

(L to R: 56, Avenue du President Wilson, New Haven Alleyway, Grand Palais, Trois Triangle Orange.

In a city where old is frequently torn down to make way for new, super imposing the modern on top of the crumbling is a novel and welcome concept indeed.

 

Sept Couronnes Excentriques, Felice Varini, Le Chateua d’Olonne, France, 2006

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Sacre Bleu! I’ve been out of commish since 4/20?! Did I blink only for 20 days to pass?!

We had my parents in town this past weekend and it was absolutely incredible! They very rarely come to New York (for reasons unbeknownst to me because they are TRUE New Yorkers at heart when they are here) and we had an absolute ball with them. Friday’s weather brought forth a full fledged deluge that had their flight rerouted through ALBANY, but they finally made it (although- we had to relinquish our 4 tickets to the New York Philharmonic, which was the entire point of their visit). Not to fret however as my husband pulled out his phone and promptly bought 4 tickets for Saturday night’s performance via Stubhub. Yet another instance of our luck being hit considerably and our ability to respond in stride! We are getting pretty good at this!

Given that, we found ourselves with a free evening and some “post-show” dinner reservations uptown at Boulud Sud- so we had my parents over for a cheese spread that was fit for the Gods. They had a great time, and above all LOVED our apartment which made me the happiest person in the world. My mother was ready to move right in! And for the first time ever ever, not for nothing- she said she was proud of me. #daymade #yearmade What have you. Dinner at Boulud Sud was INCREDIBLE- I started with the asparagus soup which was bursting with flavor – followed by Sea Bass and then the most DELUSHUS spread of baklava and lemon verbena tea you ever did see.

Highlights of Saturday included dog watching in Washington Square, shopping in Soho, a long and luxurious nap with all the windows open while my husband and mom chatted on the balcony (hello alternate universe I love you never leave) followed by Beethoven’s 9th at David Geffen Hall at LIncoln Center, which was the most moving and MAGNIFICENT concert I have ever seen in my entire life. I cried like a baby you guys. It was insanely beautiful. Afterward, we were all on a high and floated over to PJ Clarkes for Oysters and Burgers. Both nights we stayed out well past midnight, something my husband and I don’t even do in our normal lives. Party animals those parents of mine!

Finally, Sunday we met them for breakfast at the Soho Grand, where they were staying, and saw them off to the airport. It was an incredible reminder of the beauty of New York in spring, how wonderful it was to spend time with my parents when 10 nieces and nephews aren’t vying for their attention, and just how lucky I feel in every single way. A soul restoring weekend, as it were.

There you have it! I SHALL be back tomorrow with all types of culture vulture and design updates- but I will leave you with that little jaunt through the weekend until then. Just so you know I am alive and well. Hoping you are too! BAH!

 

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Life Lately

Happy 4/20 my friends. Where oh where has this April gone? Am I seriously on a July 4th diet already? curses.

We’ve had a lot going on, quel surprise; this last week alone found us in Chicago and Boston (LA too for my husband); we’ve been redecorating and working and exploring and catching up with friends who have emerged from hibernation. It’s been a whirlwind, but it looks like things might be calming down slightly for both of us and we couldn’t be more thrilled. As such, I wanted to collect myself and share some excellent places we’ve been to and things we’ve done as of late.

 

1- The Whitney Biennial

This year’s Biennial was politically charged and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course we saw Dana Schutz’s “Open Casket”, a work that has come under a boatload of controversy for co-opting black suffering (Dana is a white woman). I however found it powerful and beautiful, and thoughtfully done. Dana has promised not to sell or profit from the painting, and I think that should be a good enough compromise for shedding light on a gruesome event in history.

The Whitney’s new space is also incredible, not only due to the fact that it’s a stone’s throw from my current office. The space is expansive and filled with light, and much easier to navigate than the Whitney’s old space on Madison. I particularly loved the works of New York photographer Deana Lawson and LA painter Henry Taylor, both of whom made intimate portraits of black men, women and children. Samar Golden’s The Meat Grinder’s Iron Clothes was a magnificent feat of illusion, and Raul de Nieves’ Installation was a revelation. It is a particularly wonderful way to kick off a weekend as the Whitney stays open late on Friday evenings – go and let me know what you think!

Works by Henry Taylor

Dana Schutz’ “Open Casket”

Raul de Nieves

Another view of Raul de Nieves

One of my favorite rooms – when we went at 6pm it was full of purple light (not captured here)

 Podcasts

I know, I’m always raving about podcasts, like a typical early 30’s NPR listening yuppy, but hear me out. On the way down from Boston we listened to “Missing Richard Simmons”, a podcast by obsessed filmmaker Dan Tiburski. An apt description from the podcasts’ own site:

“On February 15, 2014, fitness guru Richard Simmons disappeared. He stopped teaching his regular exercise class at Slimmons, cut off his closest friends, and removed himself from the public eye after decades as one of the most accessible celebrities in the world. Nobody has heard from him – and no one knows why he left. Filmmaker Dan Taberski was a Slimmons regular and a friend of Richard’s. Missing Richard Simmons is Dan’s search for Richard – and the deeper he digs, the stranger it gets.”

It’s so good, y’all.

The second and much more bizarre one I am listening to currently (if that is at all possible) is actually a work of fiction called “Alice Isn’t Dead”. From their site:

“Alice Isn’t Dead – a new serial fiction podcast from the team behind Welcome to Night Vale. A truck driver searches across America for the wife she had long assumed was dead. In the course of her search, she will encounter not-quite-human serial murderers, towns literally lost in time, and a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman.”

After listening to a bunch of depressing non-fiction podcasts (S Town, Missing Richard Simmons), it’s refreshing to get my dose of depression from a work of fiction. At least then I can pretend it isn’t real ;).

 

Parsons the New School

Finally, and perhaps most exciting of all, I’ve enrolled in night courses at the Parson’s School of Design so that I can begin working toward my certificate in Interior Design. This has been a long time passion of mine and I am over the moon to be taking this step to credentialize  myself in that regard. Who knows where this will take me, though I have big plans for that too – I can’t wait for classes to begin and am so utterly thrilled to be taking this step. So I am knee deep in research on all things interiors and loving every minute of it.

 

That’s just a touch of what is going on around my parts, but all good things and I am feeling grateful for many things right now. Love to all of you and wishing you all a good and rapidly dwindling week! Enjoy your greens today!

xoxo

Ms. Sheiky

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10 Things

Oh Happy Day

Time for a Friday roundup – but first, how fucking fabulous is the wallpaper above? Yes- that is actual wallpaper from House of Hackney’s “Art Deco Menagerie” series, and I am lusting after it so badly for our entry way. (I can feel my husband’s nether regions receding into his body from here. Hear me out babe, I plead.)

But real talk, I’ve had it up on my desktop all day. It’s mesmerizing. AND ONE DAY SOON IT WILL BE MINE.

Other things I am loving so so much right now:

2) Chance the Rapper performing Blessings on Jimmy Fallon. Breathtaking. Must watch. This whole album is so gold.

3) Bonus: This drawing of “Chance the Raptor” that our bestie Tom sent me. Thanks brother.

4) Our new built in bookshelves and yuge ass OLED TV which are the two best things that ever happened to our apartment minus the humans in it, but just barely if we’re being honest. Here is a stock picture of the TV, for your pleasure.

5) Ava Duvernay’s The 13th on Netflix, which is the most astounding and enraging documentary I have seen in a long while. The NYTimes calls it “electrifying” and that’s honestly an understatement. Watch it.

6 & 7) On the opposite end of the spectrum, the new Dave Chappelle and Louis CK Netflix specials are so smart, so witty, and so utterly hilarious, they expose the true genius of these two gentlemen. Netflix is slaying it as per usual. SLAYING.

8) Have you checked out the new Vogue Arabia? I love how they are interpreting the Middle Eastern aesthetic. And aren’t we all tired of reading about former coked-out white girls marrying English lords and moving to the countryside? (Much more glamorous to marry a fat Emirati sheikh and dress in couture!)

Feast your eyes on this insane cover photo of Gigi Hadid. She is everything.

9) These shoes are the ultimate man repeller and for that reason I love them. Mules are back in y’all!

Rococo inspired mules. You know you like them.

10) And finally, the following organizations that have tirelessly provided support throughout the brutal, senseless, and endless onslaught on the Syrian people. Please click on the links below to donate to these exceptional causes, and start the weekend off knowing that regardless of your side in this latest argument (and for what it’s worth, this Syrian liberal sides with Trump), you will be supporting a people that so desperately need medical relief.

 

Doctor’s Without Borders

Syrian American Medical Society

With hopes that you all have a wonderful weekend full of lively adventures with great friends, long mornings spent poring over newspapers, good coffee and delicious meals, long walks and plenty of laughs. Thank you so much for your kindness after my last post. I truly love you all.

 

i tonya I

Thoughts

Last Friday, I went in for oral surgery.

By way of background, these past few years my stress levels have been especially high; I have felt heightened pressure, like many folks in their early 30s do, to pour myself into my work as much as possible and make something of myself before the invisible “the window closes”. this window an insidious creation of both a culture that praises at the altar of 30 under 30, and an industry in which I don’t see a single face over the age of 45.  I have dug deep down and to process my own hypocrisy – on the one hand chiding Trump voters who don’t understand that it was automation, not immigrants, that took their jobs, and on the other hand knowing that I am single handedly playing a massive role in this automation and am myself putting structures in place that will allow for fewer people to do more and more.

There was a scene on this Sunday’s Billions where Mick Danzig has a session with Wendy Rhoades. In it, he relays his nightmares about Russian hackers destroying his portfolio. Wendy weighs this crisis of conscience and suggests his nightmares are reflective of the very real fears he has about the negative impact of his work on the people of Sandicott, who are about to be unceremoniously bled dry by a bad investment.

Thoughts similar to these and the stress it creates manifests itself in something very real, and that is grinding the ever loving shit out of my jaw. Despite wearing a mouth guard, I have spent what is now tens of thousands of dollars to correct issues arising from the crushing weight of my grinding, until last weekend I woke up with a partially swollen face and knew something terrible had happened. And I was right; I had, as a matter of fact, fractured a bone in my jaw, which had created a pathway for infection that caused half my face to swell. I saw two specialists first thing Monday morning.

Multiple scans later, I was given the news.

“I’m so sorry to tell you this, but we aren’t going to be able to save your tooth,” she told me, as I broke down into tears. “And we’ll have to do a bone graft to replace the one you have so that your gums don’t collapse.”

33 years old and already losing teeth, I thought. At this rate, I won’t have any if I’m so lucky as to live into old age. For me, this was devastating.

Friday afternoon, I went in for corrective surgery. I wish to God I hadn’t been awake for it- it was grizzly and painful and I wouldn’t wish it on an enemy. And two thoughts kept going through my head- 1) I am so Goddamn lucky I have dental insurance and 2) I am even more lucky that I can pay for what isn’t covered without a second thought. Because in addition to being painful and awful, this surgery would have bankrupted anyone, and that is a horrifying thought. And a proof point that health care is a fundamental human right.

I spent the weekend at home recovering, and was kind enough to have so many friends and family check in on me constantly. But I had a lot of time to think; and I realized that I need to get fucking serious about my stress levels and my health and what I want out of this short life. I have proven to myself that I can “do it all”, that I can start a new team at work and plan a wedding at the same time, that I can do right by my clients and do right by the example that my tireless parents set for us every day. But I also understand now that it is okay to set limits on what can and cannot be achieved, and that using fear to motivate myself to work harder, better, faster, stronger- is landing me in dire straits. When I look at what I want out of life – to have a happy marriage, children, to be nearer to my family and have more access to the outdoors and to read and write, and pursue joy, I realize what is not at the top of that list, and never will be.

That’s okay. And okay will have to do for now.

i tonya I

KAUAI!

You guys, I miss Kauai so much. Being back in New York in 20 degree weather is making me realize just how much I hate winter, hate being cooped up in my apartment, hate being cooped up in the office- in that order (just kidding- I hate them all equally). It’s been hard to even write this post because it makes me so sad not to be there. WOE IS ME.

Kauai is absolute paradise. Known as the garden isle, it has a population of 67,000 (sparse, perfect) and is approximately 6 million years old (resulting in the most astonishing cliffs and valleys, beaches and dense tropical vegetation). As our helicopter pilot Trevor told us “It takes a lot of years to build beauty like this.” (<–How obnoxious was starting a sentence with “our helicopter pilot, Trevor”, on a scale of 1 to 10?)

We arrived Tuesday just before sunset and immediately noticed the party was on outside on the terrace. We raced to our room to drop our bags, put on acceptable attire (why, you don’t travel in big white sneakers like your aunt Mary Martha from Tampa?), and head straight out to the hotel’s expansive 180 degree deck overlooking Hanalei Bay for sunset drinks and dinner. We stayed at the St. Regis Princeville and this quickly became a tradition every night- running up to the terrace, grabbing a much desired table with gorgeous views of the bay, and waiting for the most epic sunsets. The St. Regis does a champagne sabering every night as well (a nod to a favorite practice of their founder), and as they do, they tell an ancient island story very animatedly (as we quickly realized- it’s the same story every night);  it was always great fun and got everyone in the mood for the rest of the evening!

A few highlights from our 5 days in Princeville:

^The hotel pool, where M and I practiced headstands and holding our breath under water like little kids. For the record, he would probably urge me to confess that I can’t do either exceptionally well, though like the insecure child I still am I demanded an A for effort. The hot tub was also a favorite. As always.^

^The beach on Hanalei Bay, where we wiled away many hours reading books and looking for crabs. Plenty of coral and fish for the snorkelers in our midst (The guy next to us emerged from the water with his snorkeling mask on one day and proudly proclaimed “YOU GUYS, IT LOOKS LIKE MARS IN THERE”. I think that’s an endorsement)^

^ Hiking the mind-blowingly beautiful Napali coast on our second day. It is an 11 mile path in total and typically takes hikers 2 days to do; but most stick to the first 2 miles to a hidden beach and the 2 miles back, as it’s a rigorous 10/10 in terms of difficulty. Proud to say that all of my stairmaster skilllllz served me well as I felt like I was flying through it. It felt so good to be warm, active, and surrounded by such beauty. The coast is absolutely immaculate and the views from the hike were superb. Pro tip: Next time I would bring a backpack as I had to makeshift a beach bag into one and tie it to my arms with little room for circulation as it was full of water and snacks, haha- but I would do it again in a heartbeat. Plan to arrive at the trail head between 8-9 am to get a spot.^

^More views of the breathtaking Napali coast^

^Our awesome wrangler!! My favorite car ever. We cruised around a ton with the top down, listening to weird Hawaiian radio and discovering new beaches at every turn. Loved it so much, highly recommend renting a car out there, particularly a wrangler so you can drive offroad!^

^The roads are gorgeous. I took a ton of pictures that basically look like this, which we all know are imminently frame-able. 😉 ^

^Friday we took a helicopter tour of the islands with SUnshine Helicoptor and despite the death stares we received when we rolled into the safety demonstrations 10 minutes late (like can we live?! We were on holiday time okay!), we had an EPIC time up there. I am terrified of heights so frankly I was low key scared out of my mind all morning, and clutched M’s arm in a death grip as we floated up, up and away. But minutes into it I had gained my courage and thought it was absolutely amazing. Would totally do it again and thought the views, particularly in the later afternoon with the sun reflecting off of the water, was just exquisite. Such a treat to do something like that^

 

Not pictured but not forgotten

  1. Tropical Taco – the most incredible, insane fish tacos. They are SO BIG and SO DELUSHUS. 10/10, would eat again (and we did; like every day. Not mad about it)

  2. Kilauea Lighthouse & Wildlife Refuge – A beautiful lighthouse (the Westernmost one in the US!) and bird refuge where you can take binoculars out at your leisure and roam the grounds as really great bird experts tell you what you are looking at. Loved this so much. I was overwhelmed at all the birds. “Look- there’s an albatross!” I gleefully told my husband. “You’re an albatross,” he responded. True love, you guys.

  3. The roosters. Kauai is known for its wild chicken population (brought by the European settlers because of course they brought something as random as chickens to a place where you can get the best fish everywhere you go). The actual story is cooler and involves a hurricane freeing all of the chicken fight chickens at once and allowing them to roam free and populate the island. Whichever you believe, the chickens are a hilarious addition to the island.

  4. Our lovely friends from Sacramento that we met and had a serious friend-affair with the last 2 days of our trip. They were the best and our last night on Kauai was especially fun because of them. Love you guys!

There were so many more memories to share but this was a start. We love you so much, Kauai. Thank you for showing us the barefoot Aloha spirit in its best form. This was truly one of my most favorite trips ever and I will never forget it.