Carnaval Kanaval Carnival!! A Diasporic Celebration & Party @ Cumbe, Sat. March 2nd

Carnival Celebration Flyer side 1 (1)

I started off 2019 expressing my thoughts as an artist, and now, I am putting it all into action. In the month of January I was contacted by the wonderful team at Cumbe: Center for African And Diaspora Dance to take a class and learn more about their organization. As of now, I have been taking Samba class on Tuesday evenings with Danielle Lima, and am very excited to announce that I will be performing!

On March 2nd, Cumbe will be holding Carnaval Kanaval Carnival!! A Diasporic Celebration & Party. The format is an informal dance party with pop-up performances by Careitha Davis, Danielle Lima, Azriel Wallace, Cumbe students (me!), and DJ THECAINMARKO. Food and drinks will be available.

Tickets are $10 in advance, and $15 at the door. You may purchase here: http://bit.ly/CarnivalMar2. Come out and get your carnival fix in Brooklyn!

Recap, The Stoop Series: Nadia Lopez in Conversation w/ Michaela Angela Davis

To live in an ever-changing Brooklyn, NY, in a world where women are STILL fighting for equal rights can prove to be exhausting. To quote the late Malcolm X,

The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.

As a Belizean-American woman who identifies as Black, I make it my duty to seek out empowering spaces, activities, and events, for women and girls. I always welcome the opportunity for verbal exchange, as I see it as a form of self-care.

While browsing the BRIC website, the leading presenter of free cultural programming in Brooklyn, I was excited to see a free event on the calendar entitled, Bridge to Brilliance: Nadia Lopez in Conversation with Michaela Angela DavisAs coins are a bit low for me, the FREE was a huge draw, but the women featured were most important. By now, you should be familiar with Dr. Nadia Lopez, the Principal at Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Her story became viral via popular Instagram account & blog, Humans of New York, when her student Vidal, mentioned to Brandon that she was the person who has influenced him the most.

The conversation, moderated by CNN contributor and image activist Michaela angela Davis was to serve as the release event of Lopez’s book, BRIDGE TO BRILLIANCE: How One Principal in a Tough Community is Inspiring the WorldI purchased my copy of the book prior to the event as I figured the inspiring story would help lift my spirits, and help me get out of the “I’m 30 and I have no idea what I am doing with my life” rut.

The event, held on the evening of Tuesday, September 20th, took place on “The Stoop” at BRIC, where many public community events are held. At 7 PM, introductions were made, and we began the night watching Dr. Lopez’s TED Talk “Why open a school? To close a prison”, which was filmed in November 2015.

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#ALifeInTheDayInBelize: In Times of Chaos, Respite in Tobacco Caye

A view of Tobacco Caye

Writing about my travels is one of my favorite topics to cover on A Life In The Day of Andrea as I always include the photos I shoot whilst abroad. I must admit, I have not been very inspired lately in the realm of photography, and I knew that another trip with family to Belize would solve it. For ten days in August, I visited Belize with my parents, making it my eighth trip to the motherland. I brought my computer, but for the first time ever, I did not turn it on, and really took my time in the country as a serious vacation.

We had not made any concrete plans, but knew we would stay in Belize City for a bit of time, and venture south to Dangriga, where my mother’s cousin Sherry and her husband Warren live. For me, the spontaneous trips are some of the best. Whilst in Dangriga, enjoying nature and sipping on the freshest of coconut water, we were able to set up a day trip to Tobacco Caye with family friends; one who chartered a boat (as that is the only way to get there), and one who owned a property on the caye. My parents and I had never been to the caye, so for me, it was something new and exciting for us all to experience together.

Broken dock at Tobacco Caye

Belize as a nation was hit pretty badly by Hurricane Earl in early August, and its path was seen throughout the city and towns, with a plethora of debris, damaged docks, and structural damage to houses and buildings. Despite this, the people remained resilient, carrying on daily life and working through the destruction. At Tobacco Caye, Earl was present, mainly in the damaged docks, but aside from this, it was quite peaceful. Unlike larger caye destinations like Ambergris Caye where San Pedro is, and Caye Caulker, Tobacco Caye is tiny; stretching approximately three acres in the protected waters of the South Water Caye Marine Reserve which is a part of the Belize Barrier Reef.

After Earl

We took the approximately 10 mile boat trip from Dangriga to Tobacco Caye in a group of eight family members and friends. As it was a day trip, we brought all of our provisions to make a proper Belizean breakfast, juices and coffee included, as well as lunch. A standard Belizean breakfast consists of fried jacks (a fried bread similar to bake in Trinidad) with a side of guava jelly, refried beans, scrambled eggs, juice and coffee.

Making fried jacks

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AFROPUNK BROOKLYN Announces Their 2016 Line-Up, & It’s Great!

Living in a time where there is conflict in the idea of being young, gifted, and Black, the AFROPUNK festival celebrates all of these things, and the people who are often labeled as other. I have been a longtime supporter of the movement, having attended my first fest back in 2007 when they had set up shop in the little skate park in the triangle outside of BAM (RIP as a new high-rise is currently being built in that space).

Last summer, I had the opportunity to go back after a few years, and it was nothing short of magical. Never have I been in a space filled with so much love, acceptance, and happiness, a safe space for the young, gifted, Black other. Today, the summer 2016 lineup was announced for Brooklyn, and boy does it deliver. Peep the video re-capping bits of last year’s jaunt, and check the full lineup below. I have put stars next to my favorites. Will I be seeing you there?

AFROPUNK BROOKLYN 2016 LINEUP
Ice Cube
TV On The Radio
Tyler The Creator*
CeeLo Green
Flying Lotus*
Janelle Monae*
The Internet*

SUPERJAM
Featuring Members from
Bad Brains
Fishbone
Living Colour

George Clinton*
Earl Sweatshirt*
Skunk Anansie
Skye & Ross from Morcheeba
Young Fathers
Benjamin Booker
Saul Williams*
Angel Haze*
Kelela*
Trash Talk
Shabazz Palaces*
Thundercat*
Sango*
Esta*
Gallant*
Prayers
Radkey
Seinabo Sey
The Suffers*
Sir The Baptist
Sate
Downtown Boys
Roman GianArthur
Joe Kay*
The Whooligan
SPZRKT*
Eden Hagos

AFROPUNK BROOKLYN will be held at Commodore Barry Park on August 27-28. Tickets may be purchased here. Act soon before prices rise!

Walks Of New York Delights Foodies With The Official Mario Batali™ Greenwich Village Food Tour

Are you a lover of Italian food? Do you love to explore local gems? Do you live in, or will be visiting New York City soon? If you have answered yes to all of  the previous questions, I have got a treat for you. Walks of New York, the walking tour company that helps New Yorkers and tourists alike discover the varied history and culture of the city, has recently launched the Official Mario Batali™ Greenwich Village Food Tour.

I was invited to take the tour myself from the company, and of course, jumped at the opportunity. I have long been a fan of Batali’s work and authentic approach to food, so I was excited to take the tour to discover more about his food and the home to his restaurants, the Greenwich Village.

Washington Square Park arch

The meeting point for my morning tour was right under the arch of Washington Square Park. It was there on that sun-filled morning that I met Simona, my incredible guide for the tour. Originally from Rome and living in New York City for a few years now, Simona was very well-versed in all Italian cuisine from a historical context right up to the present.

I got some insight on the neighborhood of Greenwich Village, and its history as a stomping ground for Italian immigrants. We took a bit of a walk through time, and I am here to share all of my stops with you.

Special menu for Walks of New York

Our first stop on the tour was Batali’s famed pizzeria, Otto. Nestled on the unassuming 8th Street right off of Fifth Ave, the restaurant opened a little earlier especially for us. Upon arrival, we took a seat by a bright window, and had a little tasting of some of the menu offerings.

A glimpse of the offerings

I nibbled on various cheeses, a fresh arugula and cherry tomato salad, sliced salami, perfectly cooked lentils, stewed apricots with chili flakes, and a bruschetta unlike any other. It was really amazing to get schooled on cheese by Simona, and why different varieties get their specific taste. Along with the nibbles  and brick-oven pizzas, Otto has an extensive wine list and education program.

Florence Prime Meat Market from curbside

Our next stop on the walking tour was Florence Prime Meat Market. The old-school butcher shop has been providing the best cuts of meat to the community since 1936. Once inside it feels like you are transported to yesteryear through black and white photos, and some original signage.

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#MANday Interview: M. Tony Peralta Has A Fresh Take On Latina Icons With “Rolos & Icons”


M. Tony Peralta and his work, “Dora Con Rolos”

*Originally published on Slant News

It’s an unseasonably warm Friday afternoon for October and I am making my way to Manhattan’s Lower East Side to chat with artist M. Tony Peralta. His newest exhibition, Rolos & Icons had opened the night prior to a packed house of family, friends, and supporters. This was the first time he had ever held an opening downtown, and the incredible turnout was a feat in itself.

I had been following the works of the Dominican-American artist by way of Washington Heights for a few years now as we have many mutual friends who’ve invited me to his events in the past. I was intrigued by the juxtaposition of his Latin roots, hip-hop and pop culture elements that were consistent through his works.

I sat down with Tony to talk to him further about his career thus far, Rolos & Icons, and the inspirations behind his work.

I have been following your career for a number of years and I have noticed that there has been a strong female presence throughout. Why is it important for you to showcase women of color in your artwork?

The first exhibit I did, Complejo, had to do with identity issues. Mainly being Black and Latino, and the identity issues we have growing up and the effects of it. I started to think about some of the things that women go through as well; the whole good hair/bad hair thing, which I went through myself, as a man. I had curly hair and would shave it off. For women, it’s a little more extreme because they have to go to the hair salon, and get their hair straightened, and relaxers, etc. I grew up with a single mom and an older sister, and a younger sister, and our bathroom was filled with their products.

Growing up with a single mom that was a very strong figure, along with my sisters and brother, I had a good balance. My mom was very influential. I don’t think it’s something that I do consciously. I grew up with low self-esteem, so I touched upon things that affected me [with the Complejo exhibit] but then I started to think about how it affects women as well because they deal with it more, whether it be a hair [texture] thing or skin lightening, if it’s body issues. There was a piece in the exhibit of a woman in hair rollers, and that woman almost became a Latin Mona Lisa. She had a certain gaze that people thought was beautiful, and I feel that it influenced other artists to start creating works with women in hair rollers as well.


A glimpse into “Rolos Con Icons”

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Call Your CurlFriends! #CURLFEST In Brooklyn Shows Us The Beauty In Sisterhood

Ladies dancing to the music

Living in a world where Black bodies are constantly under attack, respite is always welcomed. Whether it be social groups in schools or within your community, it is important to have those moments where you feel safe, and where your individuality is celebrated. In my life, I seek out these types of experiences, and one that I can now add to my list is Curl Fest.

Curls and Italian ices

Now in its second year, Curl Fest is the brain child of the Curly Girl Collective, an experiential marketing group that specializes in multicultural beauty. I first became familiar with the collective a few years back through mutual friends, and received notice of the inaugural Curl Fest last spring. I was bummed that I did not make it out that time, so when I received the invite for this year, my eyes lit up.

Held this year on August 29th at the Neathermead in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, the event was the ultimate celebration of natural beauty.

Two of a kind

On the sun-filled afternoon, natural-haired beauties beamed in the park and had the opportunity to mingle with their curl friends, and enjoy unique hair-themed activations. Sounds were provided by my girl, and one of my favorite DJs, Tiff McFierce. Styling stations were set up to primp all textures of locs, haircare lines were in tow for demos, and natural hair influencers were available to chat with attendees about their experience.

A hint of violet

Adding to the excitement was a full marketplace with fashion, accessory, and literary vendors. Beverages were also on hand to cool everyone off in the 90 degree weather. I was in the house serving double duty; covering for my blog as well as interviewing various attendees for a larger team project (that I will reveal at a later date). One thing that I noticed from the jump that did not change; everyone was in good spirits, and everyone felt like family.

Typical me

In my chats with my fellow attendees, never did I feel like someone was judging me. I did not feel any negative energy in regards to my appearance or the way I spoke, everyone seemed very warm and open to chat with me. I hugged and joked around with women whom I had met for the first time that day. I danced in a circle with the women behind Curly Girl Collective, and everyone present. I connected with people, majority Black women, in a completely organic way.

Do you understand how important that is?

Mother & daughter

To be in a public park in the inner-city on one of the hottest days in the summer without being harassed because of the length of my shorts? To be surrounded by fellow Black women and receive hugs instead of side eyes (*Note: this doesn’t happen to me much, but that’s what mass media & reality TV try to shove down our throats)? To feel completely free for that moment of my life? That’s a huge deal.

Carefree

To say Curl Fest was a gathering of “carefree Black girls” is an understatement. I would say this is true, but I would add that it truly felt like the grounds for building a sisterhood. Men were present in smaller numbers, but women were at the forefront here, and that is what made it so beautiful.

Squad photo to end off a lovely day

My afternoon ended with the above squad photo, of friends new and old. Can you tell which ones I’ve known for years and which I met that day? Maybe that was a rhetorical question, but I hope it is not so easy to tell as we truly welcomed everyone with open arms, and that alone is where the beauty beyond the physical lies.

*All photos by Jason Chandler

#ALifeInTheDayInLA: Carnival Rides & Japadog at the Santa Monica Pier

View of the beach from the Santa Monica Pier

On a bright summer day in late-July, what better way to pass time is there than to take a trip to the beach? During my time in L.A. I had one beach day, albeit dry as I hadn’t prepped my swimwear in advance. With camera in hand, I took a long stroll along Venice and Santa Monica beaches with the family. I was covered in sunscreen as the weather report called for temperatures in the 90s, although it began quite grey and overcast.

The famous Japadog truck

My main goal for the afternoon on the Santa Monica Pier was quite simple; take awesome photos, eat good food, and get on a ride or two at Pacific Park. Within minutes of arriving on the boardwalk, I spotted the Japadog truck. I had first discovered the Montreal-based, Japanese-style hot dog truck while watching A Brit And A Broad on Tastemade TV. I enjoyed the idea of Japanese fusion hot dogs, so I HAD to try one out.

My aunt’s order

The set-up is pretty simple. You can order one of the nine (up to fifteen depending on the location) specialty dogs listed on the menu for ease of mind, or you can create your own. There is something for everyone here as the dogs are offered in All Beef, Bratwurst, Turkey Smoky, Three Cheese Smoky, Arabiki, Kurobuta Pork, and Veggie flavors!

Celeb fans of the food

My aunt ordered the Kurogoma Kimuchi option with a Beef dog, and I got the Okonomi with a Kurobuta Pork dog. It took a little less than ten minutes to get our orders which was awesome considering how crowded the pier was that afternoon. Upon biting into my Japadog, I was immediately taken to FLAVORTOWN; word to Guy Fieri. The combination of the sweet pork dog, mayo and fish flakes was quite divine! Needless to say, I finished my food in maybe seven minutes, and my tastebuds were satisfied.

Looking up on the ferris wheel

We took a left from FLAVORTOWN into Pacific Park to check out the carnival games and rides. As I was with my aunt and 6-year old cousin, I knew there would be a few things to check out here, but I was set on the ferris wheel. I don’t know why I have such a love for ferris wheels, but I make sure to ride them wherever I go.

Overhead views!

Camera still in hand, my goal was to enjoy and capture the views of the beautiful blue Pacific waters on my ride, and boy did I! The Pacific Wheel is 85 feet tall and while in motion, reaches heights of over 130 feet that overlook the Southern California coastline. I was able to get awesome shots as the wheel moves at 2.5 revolutions per minute, ensuring that all patrons are able to soak up the gorgeous views.

A view of the pier from above

Being so high up in the sky made up for not taking a dip in the ocean that afternoon. I was really able to relax and really appreciate the beauty of Southern California one revolution at a time.

If you are in the Santa Monica area, I would definitely recommend heading to the pier. Aside from Japadog and other mobile vendors, there are a variety of sit-down restaurants for adults and family, as well as entertainment.

*All photos by Andrea K. Castillo

A Lovely Summer Evening At Brooklyn Museum Of Games, Sneaks & Eats. Photos by Gyasi Kirtley

Happy to be outside

On a beautiful Thursday evening in Mid-July, I attended Brooklyn Museum’s “Art Off The Wall” series for their much anticipated, The Rise of Sneaker Culture exhibition. I had previously seen the exhibition on the day of the press preview (more to come on that), but was present for a discussion including an esteemed panel of female sneaker heads.

Once inside the museum’s lobby bursting at the seams with attendees for the Thursday evening adult programming, I bumped into my girl Gyasi. With camera in hand, she told me she was waiting for a friend, to which I replied, “Chill. I’m on the press list. You can be my photographer.”

And so, the evening began.

In the shadows

We walked around the ground floor and took some shots outside of the dining area as the sun was still beaming. I was feeling cool in my new super-fitted American Apparel skirt, and the natural light really caught the color combo well up top. We head back inside to view the panel, then went off to play in the FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds exhibit. FAILE, the brainchild of Brooklyn-based artist duo Patrick McNeil and Patrick McNeil, showcased various elements in their exhibit, including mixed media canvases, sculpture, neon wall art, and custom arcade games.

Readjusting my specs

Walking into the arcade portion of the exhibit was sensory overload. The walls and floors were covered in various new-school interpretations of old school movie posters, lit completely in black light, with sprinkles of neon light sculptures sprinkled throughout the space. I really enjoy the elements of lights captured in these photos.

Look at these arms!

After taking tons of photos in the black light, we shimmied over to The Rise of Sneaker Culture exhibit, which includes some of the most iconic pairs of kicks over the years, and their origin.

This picture was me being silly prior to making a proper pose, but I enjoyed this better. Note how long my arms are.

Grade A tings!

The exhibit does take some time to walk through as there are so many pairs of sneakers on view with intricate backstories, and so many opportunities for photo ops. Gyasi got some great photos there, but once we were done, I had to eat.

We walked over to Dutch Boy Burger on Franklin Ave so I could get something to eat. In dire times, I feel burgers are the only thing that could save me, because red meat = protein + iron. I ordered their signature burger and fries (which was probably a terrible idea at 10 PM) and sipped on a glass of water.

Gyasi couldn’t stay, but snapped this photo of me looking like a creep in the window. The evening was truly lovely and unexpected, as I had no idea it would end with such beautiful photos. Keep capturing your summer folks!

*Photos by Gyasi Kirtley

Event: Target First Saturdays at Brooklyn Museum 4/4 Celebrating Basquiat, With Music by Lion Babe

LION BABE

Another month has begun, and you know what that means? Time to share the programming for Target First Saturdays at the Brooklyn MuseumApril’s programming is exceptionally exciting as it is a true homage to New York City during the 1980s. To celebrate the opening of Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks, Saturday’s programming is meant to evoke the NYC  that he experienced in the realm of art, music, and culture. Special live performance by one of my fave downtown duos of the moment, Lion Babe.

Full program below. Be there Saturday, April 4th! As a note, all events with an asterisk are ticketed, with free tickets offered at the museum visitors desk.

5 p.m. Music: Revive Music presents a jazz tribute to Basquiat reminiscent of downtown NYC in the 1980s.

*6 p.m. Curator Talk: Exhibition Co-Curator Tricia Laughlin Bloom shares her insights into the creation of Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks.

*6 p.m. Film: Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (Tamra Davis, 2010, 88 min.) offers an intimate look at Basquiat’s career from his first SAMO tags in the 1970s to his early death in 1988.

*6:30–8:30 p.m. Hands-On Art: Design and create your own crown in celebration of Basquiat.

7 p.m. Music: Natasha Diggs, of New York City’s premiere all-vinyl party Mobile Mondays, spins ’80s and ’90s hip-hop.

7–9 p.m. Interactive Space: Join W.A.F.F.L.E. (We are Family for Life Entertainment), a collective known for transforming subway cars with gravity-defying pole pirouettes and acrobatics, for an interactive performance and dance workshop. Contribute to a collective mural with Slackgaze and enjoy an ’80s hip- hop set by DJ Kid Ginseng from Tom Tom Club.

7 p.m. Poetry Reading: Inspired by Basquiat’s rich use of language, Cave Canem presents Poetry Meets Art, featuring readings from LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs and Roger Reeves.

*8 p.m. Dance Performance: Urban Bush Women explore representations of the body in Dark Swan, for which the contemporary dance company won a 2014 Bessie Award.

*9 p.m. Workshop: Tom La Farge and Wendy Walker of the Brooklyn-based Writhing Society lead a writing workshop inspired by Basquiat’s notebooks.

9 p.m. Music: Recently named one of “10 New Artists You Need to Know” by Rolling Stone, Lion Babe presents a unique blend of soul- and funk-infused R&B.

WOMANday: 2014, A Year of New Experiences To Add To A Life In The Day of Andrea!

On this last day of 2014, I wanted to take a look back on the year. Filled with incredible moments, I wanted to focus specifically on those moments that I experienced for the first time. In doing so, I came up with a pretty hefty list, which I am happy to share with you all in photos. Always move forward, challenge yourself, and don’t be afraid to do or learn something new!

Being the subject of an interview multiple times for amazing lady bloggers & writers.

As someone who prides themselves in finding great subjects for feature interviews, I was incredibly flattered to be on the other side of the conversation this year, not once, but three times! Many thanks to Desire of Global Grind, Chelsea of ContemporaryTeal.com, and Stephanye of iSo14Below.com. Check out the features below.

Why Changing Your Career Isn’t The End Of The World on GlobalGrind.com

Feature Friday: Blogger, Journalist + Photographer // Andrea K. Castillo on ContemporaryTeal.com

Six Questions With Andrea K. Castillo on iSo14Below.com

Covering the Brooklyn Artist’s Ball After-Party at the Brooklyn Museum!

I had become familiar with the Brooklyn Artist’s Ball about a year ago; an evening commemorating contemporary artists for one fun-filled night at the Brooklyn Museum. A large part of it is the after-party, geared towards a younger crowd. i was SO SO happy to be asked to cover it this year, and bump into some familiar faces.

The after-party crowd

Portrait of Luke James

Finally launching a portfolio site for my photography & freelance writing.

In April of 2014, I launched Andreakcastillo.com, and independent site out of this blog that hosts my online portfolio of photography, freelance writing, and more! Thank you to all of my friends and supporters to coming out to the launch.

Shooting a fashion lookbook for LeSuite Boutique.

I’ve done a lot of photography in the realm of fashion and beauty, but it was in this year that I shot my first fashion lookbook, including the pieces sold on NYC fashion truck Le Suite Boutique. Thank you Iran and Mareana for the opportunity!

Being an on-set guest at HuffPost Live.

Probably one of the biggest on-screen moments of my life to date! I was invited to the HuffPost Live studio in the spring to be a guest on their Mid-Week Cocktail chatter segment. We chatted about hot topics over cocktails, how fitting! You may view the full segment here.

Creating my own rum punch recipe and selling it to the people!

In the spring I decided I wanted to make my own rum punch, because I didn’t like my options. I figured out my own recipe, bottled it, sponsored my own parties with it, and have sold to many happy customers! Follow the journey on social media @casrumbeverages.

Meeting, dancing, and snapping pics with Yukimi of Little Dragon.

I MEAN. Probably the most calm, geeked moment of my life. I had seen Little Dragon in June for the Friday show at Terminal 5, and was invited to their after-party/DJ set the day after at the McCarren Park Hotel & Pool. I brought my homegirl Indira with me, and I was super-focused on meeting Yukimi. Sometime after midnight, this photo happened, and after that, we were all dancing in a circle together. I can’t make this up.

Hosting a party across the border (Canada) with great friends.

Via this blog, I’ve introduced you guys to Girls With Gunz & Fire 4 Hire, my fave Canadian fashion girls and DJ click (respectively). In August during Caribana weekend, I co-hosted a party with the gang at The Crawford in Toronto which was a great success! Had my AKC logo on the flat screen and everything 🙂

Climbing to the top of Xunantunich Ruins in Belize.

Every year that I visit Belize, I make it a priority to climb a new set of Mayan ruins. Xunantunich has been on my list for sometime as it is one of the taller structures in the country. In late August, I finally completed this feat, and was so proud of myself. Such a spiritual experience.

Making Mama Cas’s yellow rice and passing the test!

2014 was definitely the year of keeping myself in the kitchen, and while in the kitchen, my goal was to start recreating the recipes of my mother. The first was her famous yellow rice that the family and countless friends line up for. I made it one day this fall and passed the test! I’ve since made it two more times and haven’t dropped the ball yet! LOL.

Writing about Belizean food & personal stories for LargeUp.com.

As I have been on the path of becoming a dual-citizen of Belize, this year has been filled with travel back to the homeland, uncovering stories, and recipes of course! I’m so happy to have finally linked up with Caribbean culture site Large Up to document said recipes. Check out my archive here.

Curating 7 hours of music for Sound.WAV at Aqua Art Miami that people enjoyed.

I work with a company called Audiophile PLUS that curates musical experiences for the art world. Last year, we held our premiere event, SoundVision Miami at the Aqua Art Miami show, and this year followed it up again at Aqua for Sound.WAV Miami. We programmed music & booked DJs for the entire course of the fair, with yours truly curating the tunes on the final day. You can check out the full playlist on Spotify. A great way to end out the year!

Stay safe and live out your dreams in 2015!

FIAF Presents Art de Vivre: “The Art of Sex & Seduction” Event Series

FIAF, The French Institute located in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, is a premiere destination for French language and cultural experiences. As part of their Art de Vivre series, the current program theme is “The Art of Sex & Seduction”, with events including talks, art exhibitions, and film. Check out the full program below. We will be reporting back with our faves!

Love, Sex & Dating in the Digital Age

Panel Discussion with Helen Fisher, Daniel Jones, and Harry Reis

Moderated by Erica Lumière

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
7pm  | FIAF, Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th Street
New York, NY 10022

FIAF Members $20
Non-Members $25


Visual Arts 
Jean-Daniel Lorieux 
Seducing the Lens

Thursday, October 30–Saturday, December 6, 2014
FIAF Gallery


CinéSalon • Nov/Dec 2014 
The Art of Sex and Seduction

Swimming Pool
Tue, Nov 18 at 4 & 7:30pm

Guest speaker:
7:30pm: Ry Russo-Young, American filmmaker and actress

View Info  •  Buy Tickets

Stranger by the Lake
Tue, Dec 2 at 4 & 7:30pm

Guest speaker:
7:30pm: Alan Brown, writer and film director

View Info  •  Buy Tickets

The Last Mistress
Tue, Dec 9 at 4 & 7:30pm

Guest speaker:
7:30pm: Melissa Anderson, film critic

View Info  •  Buy Tickets

The Man Who Loved Women
Tue, Dec 16 at 4 & 7:30pm

Guest Speaker:
7:30pm: Laura Kipnis

View Info  •  Buy Tickets

Art In NYC: Andy Warhol, “At Face Value” @ Pop Gallery 11/10

Being lovers of contemporary art, we make it our duty to experience art as much as possible. Thankfully, living in New York City, we are privy to some of the most sought-after collections in the industry, one being that of the incomparable, Andy Warhol. SoHo’s Pop International Gallery  is home to one of the most extensive Andy Warhol collections, and guests will be able to experience it all starting Monday, November 10th at it’s opening.

This wonderful print exhibit is both an art collector’s dream and an art history lesson. POP International is thrilled to be working with the Revolver Gallery to be able to bring this timeless and wonderful body of art to New York City, from where it emanated, and where in essence and in many ways, it still belongs. ~ Jeff Jaffe (Founder/owner Pop International Galleries.)

To attend the opening, please RSVP here: AndyWarholRSVP@popinternational.com. Works will be on view until January 10th. Definitely not to be missed!

Opening Reception
Monday, November 10th, 2014
7pm to 9pm

Pop International Galleries, SoHo
473 West Broadway
New York, NY 10012

 

*Photos courtesy of Pop Gallery

#ALifeInTheDayinBelize: An Awe-Inspiring Trek Through The Ancient Maya Ruins of Xunantunich

The red ginger plant on the grounds of Xunantunich

Visiting Belize for me is a time for many things; a time to relax and unwind, a time to spend with family, but most of all, a time to uncover my roots, and the history of the country. For the past few years now, I have made it my duty to visit various museums, reserves, and archaeological sites in my trips to Belize, to learn more about the country’s rich, multicultural history. As the country is situated in what was once the center of the “Mundo Maya” (Mayan World), visiting various Mayan ruins is always a part of my journey. On this trip we visited the extremely popular, Xunantunich.

El Castillo, the main structure of the grounds

Xunantunich has always been on the top of my list of Mayan ruins to visit for many reasons. I had learned at a young age that the site has one of the tallest structures in the country, and that that structure happened to be called “El Castillo”. For me it felt like a duty of all Castillos everywhere to visit, climb to the top, and take in the glory of such a feat. And that I did.

El Castillo stands at 130 feet tall making it the second largest structure in Belize, after the structure at the ruins in Caracol. The structure is the center of the Xunantunich (Stone Lady) grounds, and is believed to be the edifice in which the kings lived. For this trek we had a lovely guide, of Mayan descent, who really gave us a full history lesson on Xunantunich, the rise and fall of the Mayan empire, and how that all equates to the current state of Belize. Our journey was simple; climb to the top of El Castillo, and learn more about it along the way.

The view on our way up the side of the pyramid

As I have climbed the ruins at Altun Ha and Lamanai in the past, I was not scared to embark upon El Castillo, but there was a significant height difference. Given the fact that this trek was years in the making for me, I did not let my nerves get the best of me, and pushed forward. The photo above shows the view looking up during our hike to the top.

The view from the top of El Castillo; just gorgeous

The stone steps leading to the temple’s zenith were steep and uneven, but sturdy nonetheless. As the space around me lessened, I will say that anxiety set in, but I wouldn’t let it hold me back from getting to the top. I took a quick break on the level below the top as I was sweating at this point, then made my way up the narrow stairs to the top.

What I was greeted with is what you see in the photo above; awe-inspiring greenery in an area of the country that is almost untouched. The site is less than a mile away from the Guatemalan border in the West, and you could literally see the country from standing on the top. I felt such satisfaction to have made it that far, like I was coming closer to finding some lost treasure. Maybe that will be in the next chapter of my travels?

Close-up of the frieze on the side of the structure

I took tons of photos, and had my brother take a few of me, which I decided not to include as I looked a bit tired and sweaty. I know, I know, I should have just included them, but I’m a little self-conscious, you know? I stayed at the top for about ten minutes, and I knew it was time to go down when this little thing called anxiety kicked in. For whatever reason, it was more difficult for me to walk down than up, as I imagined myself tumbling on one of the stones, and having a terrible accident. This, thankfully, did not happen, and I was able to take more photos, like the one above showcasing the detail of one of the friezes, depicting life of the ancient Maya.

When we were back on the ground, we took time to walk through the plaza, learn about the native trees and how the Maya used them in ancient times, as well as learn about their leisure activities. Exploring Xunantunich was by far one of the high points of my Belize trip. I feel satisfied that I made it, and am forever thankful to our tour guide.

But wait, the Belize stops don’t stop there. Look out for more adventures in #ALifeInTheDayInBelize!

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo

Video: Curly Girl Collective’s CURLFEST, The Ultimate Summer Picnic Re-Cap

The lovely coiled ladies of the Curly Girl Collective hosted their first annual Curlfest in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park a few weeks back. The event hosted ladies of all hair textures and the men that love them in a carefree environment, complete with a DJ, snacks, and major haircare swag.

They have unveiled the re-cap of the event in video form, which you can view below. Looking forward to next year’s event!

CURLFEST™: The Ultimate Summer Picnic from CurlyGirlCollective on Vimeo.

 

*Photo by Shawn A. Lawrence