Friday, March 21, 2014

On Movies, Mickey, and Jim Calhoun

Enchanting imagery from Wes Anderson, per usual
I am always excited for the weekend. Who isn't?! This weekend they are calling for temps in the 60's and 70's.  I call that brisk--considering temperatures were in the upper eighties last weekend! I am looking forward to balancing being active with some cozy, relaxing activities.  

Here are some of the highlights: 

This weekend the babe and I are going to see Wes Anderson's newest--The Grand Budapest Hotel .  I have heard nothing but good things.  I actually won two free tickets off the radio (Thanks KCRW!) so the film carries with it some good luck.  I loved his latest, Moonrise Kingdom

Mickey and me 
I plan to vintage hunt in Magnolia Park (a designation within Burbank), which was recently featured in LA Mag: here.  The vintage places are numerous and include: SwiftPlay Clothes, the Bearded Lady, and 33 Rooms. The most recent vintage addition to my wardrobe is an old Mickey sweatshirt--gifted to me (thanks and much love MAC).  

Otherwise, the weekend plans include the usual morning hikes, C&C, a boxing class at City of Angels (post about COA to come soon), homemade brunch and a trip to the Farmer's Market.  I also hope to send out a "Spring has Sprung" package for my parents.  Snow is still on the ground back home and the winter has been brutal so I hope to send them a little care package from LA that is uplifting. I usually run to Olvera Street for brightly colored gifts that remind them of their times together in Latin America (my parents met in Mexico)

Jim Calhoun, circa 2004. He's the man and once ate
one of my mom's cookies!

I cannot end this post without mentioning March Madness.  College basketball is my favorite sport to spectate.  Having gone to UConn for undergrad, as a freshman I experienced both the women's and the men's team winning the championship (and therefore mass riots on campus,as seen here, I dunno college kids are weird and violent), had season tickets, and went to class alongside or close proximity to Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordan, Rudy Gay, and Charlie Villanueva. To keep my many, many college basketball memories alive (btw, so happy DUKE lost!) I always fill out a bracket and take part in some friendly annual betting.  This year what is on the line is a weekend getaway.  I am the front-runner so seems like yours truly is going on vacation! 

Anyways, it's Friday fools. Have fun out there!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

On What it Means to be Irish

Leprechauns making Irish Coffee
My Dad's side of the family is Irish, which actually means that well-- EVERYONE on his side of the family is Irish.  The Mullen family didn't stray too far from their baile (means home) even after coming to America many, many years ago.  I swear some of them are still accented--how after hundreds of year in America? I do not know!  
From my understanding, the MacMullen's came to the USA via Ellis Island from Cork County, Ireland before the Civil War.  It was upon our arrival that our family name was shortened to Mullen so that people in New York might mistake us for the more established and better liked Italians.    
My great-great-great (maybe one more great) grandfather fought in an Irish infantry during the Civil War and was honorably discharged by President Lincoln after getting shot in the throat.  There are some papers floating around with Lincoln's signature next to my G-G-G grandfather's signature.  I think one of my responsible Aunts donated those documents to a museum.  After literally dodging the bullet and the war, the Mullen family ended up in working class Pennsylvania and well . . . . . worked. . . . and acted Irish. . . and drank and had dry senses of humor and children and so forth.  
I notice remnants of the Gaelic ancestry in my aunts and uncles and noticed them magnified in my Grandma Mullen when she was still alive.  I remember there was the family crest hanging above her doorway--noble with the right dosage of plaids and knights and swords. Being Irish Catholic, my Grandma Mullen had more rosaries than I could count and many hanging by her bedside.  Crucifixes were a common interior fixture even though they are scary when looked at and aren't really the most uplifting decoration (no offense).  The women of the family all have a Claddagh ring--which not only symbolizes their heritage, but also their availability.  
With St Patrick's Day recently behind us, I recently thought about my family heritage a little bit and to sum it up: Green beer and "kiss me, I am Irish" tee shirts, and really, really drunk people do absolutely nothing for me, but the sound of Irish bag pipes, Firemen dressed in Kilts, and step dancers awaken something deep in my soul.  I am proud to be a part of Irish-American diaspora. Aw yes, and freckles, thanks to my Irishness, I have freckles.  

Monday, March 17, 2014

On #selfies and Hashtags and Followers and Blogs

I have always been conflicted with writing a blog.  During graduate school at USC, I loved it when I started ShishBoomBang because I was new to Los Angeles and needed a vehicle to journal my adventures.  I also needed an efficient way to keep in touch with my friends and family as well as track the places that I visited and the places that I wanted to check out.  Rather than write 20+ personal emails while working as a full-time student, I just sent my kinfolk a link (how sweet of me).  Now, I am more-or-less back to the occasional and much more intimate snail mail.  

In the past year or so, I have got to wondering, are blogs egomaniacal?  They are the #selfie of a journal. Have social media applications like Facebook and Instagram made it ok for us to track and post our every move, our every meal, our every outfit?  Will our kids look back on technology circa 2014 and ask us "What were you thinking, you crazed self-centered beings?"

The thing is, even though the Internet is saturated with first person narrative.  WE, as a collective, care.  We care about the I, me's, and mine's of other people.  We follow. We like. We share. We tag. We hashtag.  When we could just opt out from the smart phone culture of today, we don't.  At all, ever. 

Some bloggers that I follow get upwards of 25K likes per photo they post within minutes of posting.  That's a whole lotta #instalove.  Do blogs actually benefit their readers or do they just glorify the author? or both? I think both. That's why I am here contributing to the blogosphere and posting a selfie. #happymonday

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

On Coffee & Croissants

At Alfred, where the coffee sleeves are
illustrated with mustaches. 
My boyfriend and I have gotten in the habit of waking up leisurely on Sunday mornings and going out for coffee and pastries.  We usually grab the paper and sit for an extended amount of time over mugs full of cafe au lait and whatever sweet, flaky morsel we can get our hands on.  We people watch and read the newspaper and browse social media before hitting the hills for a hike/run.  
One of our newly discovered places is Alfred Coffee on Melrose Place.  This past Sunday was the LA Marathon so rather than hop in the car we biked over via Hancock Park.  I love browsing the city on a bicycle.   
Our other favorite stops for morning coffee and viennoiserie are: 

 Le Pain Quotidien-- We go to the one in Larchmont since their Sunday Farmers Market is my favorite. Really good coffee, though not so
swoon-worthy croissants.  
Cubed sugar the French way at Le Figaro

Le Figaro Bistrot -- We go to the original location in Vermont Village at the foothills of Griffith Park in Los Feliz.  There is a newsstand adjacent to the cafe, which is perfect.  The outdoor seating is hard to come by, but certainly coveted.  

Urth Caffe-- We have yet to go in the morning together, but from past experience this cafe is perfect for a quick pastry and coffee. Their coffee cake is delish and I am a sucker for their green tea muffin.  However, they don't know how to spell Earth or Cafe very well! (kidding)

and finally 

Window displayed at our regular spot,
Trails Cafe 
Trails Cafe-- Boy and I are here just about every single weekend.  This article in the Selby captures its essence: Everytime I have a visitor from out of town we end up here.  I recommend getting there early--the line can get pretty long, but it's worth a wait. 

Photos by: author

On Making a Comeback to the Blogosphere

It has been about a year since I last wrote a blog post.  Where have I been, you ask? I am stilling living in and loving Los Angeles.  Since my last Shish Boom Bang entry, I have fallen in love, discovered a boxing gym, continued running, continued working as an urban planner, and continued to explore the city and eat/cook delicious food.  A lot has changed, but a lot has stayed the same. 

I need a creative outlet in addition to working a 9-to-5 and a rigorous workout schedule.  An Instagram account is not enough (my handle is: bljss) so I am back to the blog. Enjoy!