The hits keep coming, don’t they? While the world was reeling from the COVID-19 effects, my beloved former home of Nashville suffered one of the most devastating tornadoes in recent past. Fortunately for me, my friends and colleagues are okay, but there are so many people who were not as lucky. The scenes of the utter destruction, splintered buildings, razed businesses that were once so lively and vital to this town are heartbreaking.
If there’s something I know about the city of Nashville, it’s that it is resilient. When I moved there in 2014, they had near completely recouped from the horrible floods in 2010. I know the community will come together and rebuild and be back better than ever. If you can, consider donating to cmft.org.
Until then, I believe in you Nashville, and here’s my little love letter to you
there is a house in new orleans, they call the rising sun
Well now that the Super Bowl has been won by Kansas City (GO CHIEFS), we can all move on with our lives, and move onto the next party. This is Mardi Gras of course!
Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is February 25 this year. This is the Carnival celebration that starts after Three Kings Day and ends the day before Ash Wednesday. For us non-Christians, this day refers to eating rich, fatty foods before Lent fasting begins. No one throws a party like the Crescent City, and this bonanza of a holiday is the grandest boum of them all. No one throws a soiree like New Orleans.
Laissez les bon temps rouler…
south beach bringing the heat
I had every intention of writing a new blog post on Sunday to post today. That did not happen as I spent the day devastated over the news of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death. Kobe was one of my childhood idols, as a kid who grew up in Southern California, he was everything. The greatest Laker to have ever played. An icon who was more magic than Magic even. Kobe Shaq early 2000s was the most dominating Little Big duo of all time, and I’ve had many great memories watching those games and championships.
We broke down all the games, bought the jerseys, reveled in the parades. I always imagined Kobe as an elder NBA statesman, ushering in young talent of the league, he had seemed untouchable and invincible. And the unexpectedness is maybe what hurts most, because he had so much ahead of him. His daughter and the other victims as well. It’s senseless, it’s so sad and it hurts. RIP Kobe.
Based on Kobe’s philosophy, the Mamba Mentality, he would’ve probably said well, life goes on, let’s get to the next stage. And that stage happens this weekend in Miami at Super Bowl LIV. And perhaps that’s what we should do, LIV it up because tomorrow is certainly not guaranteed for any of us.
Welcome to Miami…
The Lunar New Year celebration is based on the celestial calendar that is used by several Asian nations (namely China, Vietnam, Korea). Each cycle of roughly 12 months is represented by one of 12 animals in the zodiac: rat, ox/water buffalo, tiger, rabbit (or cat in Vietnam), dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.
This year is my year, the year of the rat. I share this distinction with noted creator William Shakespeare and fearless leader George Washington, you may have heard of them. Folklore tales abound, but there’s thought that the rat was the first to show up to a council of animals that was called forth by the Jade Emperor (after sabotaging the cat and the ox, those cunning little rats), or that the rat won a competition set forth by this leader (also by screwing over the cat by not informing it of the time of the competition). Whatever the case, the rat is the first animal of the zodiac and is thought to be very clever and observant (and clearly you should watch your back around them).
If you haven’t already bought your ticket to head to Asia for this celebration, which falls on January 25, this year, then you’re probably a little late. So how better than to celebrate it stateside by going to Disneyland? One of the most notable festivals dedicated to this holiday happens to be at the Disney Parks.
It’s a big party this year as Disney has taken the liberty to denote this the year of the mouse (that Mickey loves to appropriate things to his benefit, doesn’t he? But, also see the Mickey x Gucci collab because it’s fire). They did a great job though, as the California Adventure park in Anaheim and the Epcot China Pavilion at Disney World have a ton of pageantry and specialty merch all set up to welcome the new year.
Chuc mung nam moi!
Facts: Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia. Sidney Crosby is from Halifax. Halifax rules.
Halifax is one of the economic hubs of this region, with a ton of history as a bustling seaport. The site of the Halifax explosion of 1917 and also the closest land to the Titanic wreck, this city has seen its fair share of disastrous events. It’s also home to one of the most iconic sights of Canada, Peggy Cove lighthouse.
facts on ‘fax
Vietnam is a beautiful country with sprawling coastline, bustling cities and agrarian villages. It’s a very popular destination amongst travelers for its hospitality, great food and historic value. And while Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Halong Bay, and its venerable beach cities are probably the main draw, consideration should also be made for its Northern Highlands.
Sa Pa is a city in the northwest of Vietnam, very close to the China border. Inhabited by indigenous tribes of Hmong, Tay and Dao, this area is surrounded by rolling green hills noted for their rice field terraces and petroglyphs. It’s a photographer’s dream, and totally worth the arduous journey to get there.
Sa Pa away, doesn’t anyone stay in one place anymore?
Hartford, Connecticut is an elder statesmen of cities in America. The well-preserved grandeur of many of its old buildings alludes to its history as one of the former richest cities in the country. Home to the oldest art museum in the U.S. and a very beautiful, sprawling central park, Hartford has firmly written itself into the fabric of American history by being home to many of our nation’s greatest literary minds.
Mark Twain once said of Hartford, “Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see, this is the chief. ”
He hearted Hartford, and so will you…
Vermont, known for Ben & Jerry’s, the Green Mountains, Bernie Sanders, and so much more, is arguably the most beautiful state in the US to enjoy fall foliage (I will probably say this about each state I visited).
You may have noticed that I was gone for a few weeks (or maybe you didn’t and in that case, my feelings are hurt); I was on an epic cultural roadtrip through New England, and I definitely forgot to schedule posts (smort). But I’m back, baby, and ready to share some pictures of autumn with y’all.
Trust me, when you get older, you will be thrilled by simple notions such as leaves turning different colors.
nothing gold can stay
Indianapolis is a place you hear about constantly if you’re a sports fan. From the Indy 500 to Larry Bird (Reggie Miller, if you’re in my age group) and Peyton Manning SB team of 2007, the “Hoosier State” capital is hallowed sports ground. It has been the bullseye of the news cycle lately, notably for the retirement of Colts QB Andrew Luck.
I can honestly say beyond sports, I didn’t know much about this city, other than the fact that it seems like I know a million people from there. Impossible, since it is the 17th most populous metro area in the country with about 2 million in population, but their residents certainly infiltrate everywhere else in the Midwest. Indy is about the size of Kansas City, and similar in many ways. There are great neighborhoods, a friendly sense of community and an unmistakable pride in their hometown.
Gentlemen (and gentle ladies), start your engines…
Coral Gables is the leafy suburb of Miami that will remind you of one thing: Golden Girls. Yes, this was the likely backdrop of Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia’s adventures in the beloved sitcom, although their exact location is never expressly stated.
All of the houses look like the house the four women shared, ranch style and marvelous with palms and monstera and banana leaves everywhere. But, Coral Gables is more than a very affluent suburb. It is where the University of Miami Hurricanes (the U) are located and surprisingly, a lot of cultural gems. It’s also the home of del Monte and Bacardi.
traveled down the road and back again…