Au Revoir​, 2016: A Reflection

“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invicible host against difficulties.” — Hellen Keller

Ah! Por fin! This year has come to an end at last. For certain this year was a roller coaster horror ride, which many I am sure can agree with me. Personally, this wasn’t my year at all. As you know from countless blog posts, I suffered deeply from my mental illnesses, falling to what to me felt like rock bottom. Throughout the year countless of lives were taken from us, both iconic and personal, that lead me to question just about everything. My world was turned upside-down, or I should say right-side-up because of the events of this year. Honestly, this year wasn’t a complete dud. I found a new meaning to the creative and adventurous life I wanted to live, vowed to live a life unapologetically and spontaneous and with an afro embracing the natural way my hair coils and curls, made and maintain lasting, genuine friendships that I wouldn’t dare give up for anything in this world, expanded the fruits of my knowledge so that my brain could soak up every bit of information it gets about the world around me and everything that is occurring in it,

My world was turned upside-down, or I should say right-side-up because of the events of this year. Honestly, this year wasn’t a complete dud. I found a new meaning to the creative and adventurous life I wanted to live; vowed to live a life unapologetically and spontaneous and with an afro embracing the natural way my hair coils and curls; made and maintain lasting; genuine friendships that I wouldn’t dare give up for anything in this world; expanded the fruits of my knowledge so that my brain could soak up every bit of information it gets about the world around me and everything that is occurring in it; and ultimately, learned to value my existence, love myself for all of my strengths and weaknesses, virtues and vices, specialties and flaws.

Remarkable events that occurred in one form or another are my extraordinary travels to Toronto, Pittsburgh, and the Poconos; succumbing to a new low with my depression and then surpassing that phase of having a mental illness; celebrating my nationalism for the United States during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; ultimately, ashamed and quite frankly, afraid to be a queer afro latina American in Trump’s America; and lastly embarking on a new life plan to become a professional writer and artist.

Despite the bad, there were a lot of kickass achievements accomplished this year. Some of which include:

  1. 50 million trees were planted in 24 hours by volunteers in India
  2. The Anglican church agreed that same-sex marriages are the same as opposite-sex marriages
  3. Panda’s are no longer on the endangered species’ list, and many other species populations are improving
  4. Physicist confirms Albert Einstein’s theories of the existence of gravitational waves
  5. Simon Manuel became the first black female to win gold in an individual swimming event
  6. Hamilton happened thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s beautiful mind
  7. The Harry Potter wizarding world is alive and thriving with a new book and movie series.

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It is best we put 2016 behind us (and locked far far far away), value the lessons we’ve learned from our mistakes and head into 2017 with full, unbreakable force.

May 2017 be the year for you!

-KIB

A Piece of Me in the Andy Warhol Museum

“Art is what you can get away with” — Andy Warhol

 

The Andy Warhol Museum located in the North Shore neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Conveniently, it is also Warhol’s hometown. Admissions are set at a moderate price (at $20 for adults, ten if you’re a student with a valid ID); luckily for me, I happened to visit during the Art Fest celebration throughout that week, and I saved myself $10.

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Visiting the museum wasn’t my first time at an art museum or gallery. Born and raised in the bursting cultural bubble that is New York City. I found myself in the presence of a plethora of great works of art on display on the streets and in museums like the MoMA or the Met; in which I gladly delved into.

However, one that warm, sunny day in Pittsburgh I discovered a new piece within myself as I became enticed by the works of Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei.

Not only were the pieces themselves fascinating, but the entire layout and architecture of the building were also a work of art! Six floors of gallery space traveling in a steadfast downward cohesive spiral. As advised, you must start at the top level where it all began. The top floor showcases the earliest work of the namesake artist with insider tidbits about the Warhol family. Throughout my trek down the spiral, I participated in each and every exciting interactive room display.

The museum as a whole had an exhibit running showing the works of Ai Weiwei alongside Warhol’s work. Intricately they wove each piece together to demonstrate the juxtaposition of their lives in ways such as how they focused on their subject matter, themes throughout their artistic careers, and how both Warhol and Weiwei represented the prospective century in which they lived (20th and 21st, respectively).

All my life, for as long as I can physically remember I’ve had an acute interest in the arts. I love to draw, to read, and to write. Creating something out of nothing but my mind and the impenetrable imagination lured me. The jumbled mess of neurons in my brain fired like a midsummer’s thunderstorm nonstop. Many times I genuinely appreciated, and was emotional, spiritually, and physically affected by a work of art; no matter the subject, no matter if it was a song vibrating its sounds into my ears, or a painting, or a sculpture, or a book, a poem. All works of art leave an everlasting mark on me. Indeed, some particular works of art wrought out the emotions and sensations from deep within my inner core to which I have no words to describe them. I found a couple on the walls of the museum. At the time of my visit to Pittsburgh, I was… No, I am experiencing the world where everything is a little duller. For the better half of the year, I saw the world as if it lost all of its colors. I couldn’t feel anything. Kaput, nada, zilch. It was as if one by one my senses experienced a power outage and a couple of the screws and nails in the infrastructure of my mind and soul were unexplainably missing.

Until my day trip across one of the many bridges the City of Steel had and I found myself strolling into a building completely unaware of the impact it will have on me. Oh, naive Krizia has not the slightest inclination or clue she will find a piece of herself within the walls of the Andy Warhol Museum.

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Before this warm, sunny Pittsburgh day, I wasn’t a huge fan of Andy Warhol. I knew of his iconic pop art Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup cans and Marilyn Monroe; that is how far my knowledge of the man went. Now, I hold a piece of him in my heart and thank him (and Ai Wei Wei) for clearing my view like a pair of brand-new prescription glasses. As well as, making my world a little less dull, and on teaching me how to appreciate and find the beauty in everything, even the little things.. especially the little things.

–KIB

Monthly Wrapup #2

“Many boys will bring you flowers. But someday you’ll meet a boy who will learn your favorite flower, your favorite song, your favorite sweet. And even if he is too poor to give you any of them, it won’t matter because he will have taken the time to know you as no one else does, only that boy earns your heart.” — Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows

Today I say farewell to June, and hello to July. We are half way done with the year 2016, and as I reflect on 6th month of the year I am noticing a fire from within that is burning stronger and brighter with each passing day. This fire is symbolic for the growth I’m seeing within myself where I am finding myself and my passions, slowly restoring my drive for a better future.

{My Month In Pictures}


{High-key}

  • Visited Bhavya in Pittsburgh for a week
  • Got my first tattoo
  • Began taking drawing and painting lessons
  • Began a classic books reading challenge
  • Attended my first concert, saw Beyoncé!

{Low-key}

  • Prescription mishaps
  • Sick Shiloh

{What I Read,Watched, Heard, and Ate}

  • Read
    • A Thousand Nights by E.K Johnston
    • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
    • A Clash of Kings by George R.R Martin
    • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Watched
    • Gilmore Girls (Netflix)
    • The 100 (Netflix)
    • Game of Thrones (HBO)
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2
    • The Pursuit of Happyness (Netflix)
  • Ate
    • Pop Burger in WestVillage
    • New York Burger in Chelsea
    • Patacon Pisao in Elmhurst

{Achievements}

  • Acted spontaneous: got a tattoo
  • Landed a job interview
  • Decided what I wanted to do in the fall: going to school to finish my Bachelor’s degree
  • Drank significantly more water
  • Wake up before 10AM everyday

{Looking Ahead}

  • June TBR
    • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
    • A Storm of Swords by George R.R Martin
  • Life Tales
    • Myrtle Beach vacation
    • Adventures in DC
    • Mackinac Island in Michigan
  • Goals
    • Get everything settled (tuition, fin aid, housing) for year 3 of university
    • Sketch everyday
    • Produce a work of art every week
    • Publish content 3 times a week on TinyBlueBackpack (Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday)
    • Spend quality time with mom

–KIB

For The Love of Pans

As progress spreads from State to State, as justice is delivered in the courtroom, and as more of our fellow Americans are treated with dignity and respect — our Nation becomes not only more accepting, but more equal as well. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, we celebrate victories that have affirmed freedom and fairness, and we recommit ourselves to completing the work that remains. — Barack Obama 

Pansexuality? What is that? Another sexuality? Do you love pans, plates, and pots?  (No I don’t)

There are many questions being asked regarding the concept of pansexuality, and I’m here to help you understand a tad more than you might have known before.

Pansexuality is essentially the attraction to a person of any sex or gender. Rest assured that there is no love for inanimate objects here. The deal is that as a person who identifies as pansexual, is attracted to cis males/females, trans males/females, intersex, androgynous, non-binary, any and all genders and sexualities.

You may be asking yourself, “why does this matter?”

It matters because it is very important to understand the abundances of identities one can possess. It is important to accept and honor one’s individual identity.

I identify as a pansexual cis woman. I am attracted to everyone regardless of gender or sexuality. This doesn’t make me indecisive or confused. I just believe that a relationship needs not to matter if the person is bisexual, or gender-fluid. All that matters is the bond myself and the other person forms. Yes, I have preferences and yes I’ve only been involved with males but that shouldn’t negate my ultimate decision.

Many people in my life don’t know of this aspect of my life and might be shocked.  I know there will be many who will be appalled and will outright reject it. There is nothing I can do about that. Except what I can do is love myself and cherish those who do accept me for me.

Still confused on what pansexuality is? Here are some outside links to help fill in any gaps in your knowledge.

  1. Heavy.com || What is Pansexual Definition? 5 Fast Fact You Need to Know
  2. Everydayfeminism || Pansexuality 101: It’s More Than ‘Just Another Letter’
  3. CNN || What It Means to be Pansexual
  4. The Gaurdian || Deadpool: the pansexual superhero who has never had a non-heterosexual experience

–KIB

City of Steel: My Week in Pittsburgh,PA

“Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself” — Plato

Oh Pittsburgh! Thank you for the week I spent within your city walls. I collected plentiful amounts of  memories, and spent a lot of time thinking about endless topics while roaming your hilly streets. Thank you for being my first stop on my new journey of life as a solo traveler. 6 days wasn’t enough to fully appreciate the glories of this magnificent city carved from the Allegheny mountains. I was blessed to experience the little I had explored. In addition, bless my amazing friend who let me crash at her place to provide companionship in her new city and to her rad housemates who accepted me as one of them. Each day was spend exploring, reflecting, and learning.

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{Tuesday}

Okay ladies now let’s get in formation. My very first day was spent touring the Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Learning a.k.a Cathy in Oakland, eating Iranian food at the Conflict Cafe located at the entrance of Schenley Park, and finally experiencing my first concert watching Beyoncé perform at Heinz Field! The Nationality Rooms in Cathy were absolutely whimsical and with each room it felt as though I was traveling through time and traveling around the world. That is how close to detail each room was! Conflict Cafe is such an ingenious idea for a restaurant because it allows for insight about the countries the United States is in conflict with. Currently Conflict Cafe features Iranian cuisine and it is absolutely delicious! I had bought the dish Khoresht-E Fesenjan, chicken marinated with pomegranate and walnuts served with steamed rice. My mouth is watering just thinking of how great the dish tasted! Lastly, I was giddy with excitement and wonder throughout the whole concert. Beyonce is a very talented and amazing performer and entertainer. It was a lot of fun singing along and dancing to all of her songs, new and old. I was deeply moved by her tribute to the late Prince, so much so I began to cry. I wasn’t a huge fan of Beyonce before the concert, but I definitely am now. I can’t stop listening to her Lemonade album.

{Wednesday}

Enrich your soul by stepping back in time. Museums have and will always be one of my favorite places to explore. There is so much knowledge in one place that continuously feeds my thirst for learning. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History wasn’t an exception. It was magnificent to explore the extensive collection of gems and minerals. I couldn’t help but think of creating gemsonas inspired by the Cartoon Network show Steven Universe. For lunch I ate a delectable grilled chicken sandwich at the Carnegie Cafe located within the museum. Highlight of my trip to the museum was seeing the dioramas of my favorite species, Giraffes and Sauropods. If you can’t tell, I have a love for animals with abnormally long necks.

{Thursday}

Even tourist need a rest day. Considering I had done a lot of walking on Tuesday and Wednesday, I decided to stay inside on thursday. I was able to spend time with the girls who lived in the apartment with my friend and watch Game of Thrones with them.

{Friday}

Spontaneous decisions create the best memories. After sleeping in until noon, the girls and I decided to venture to North Shore and visit the Andy Warhol museum. I didn’t expect to tap into my creative juices as much as I did while strolling through the museum. Every floor contained beautiful and heart touching pieces made by Andy Warhol himself and Ai Weiwei another contemporary artist. Many of my favorite pieces left a lasting feeling in my soul. I loved every moment! After visiting the gift shop at the end of my tour around the museum I purchased a small notepad which is perfect for when I am traveling and have a quick idea pop up in my head. I strolled around the North Shore neighborhood and stumbled upon a small park that had a beautiful marble and granite monument sculpture that reminded me of a place of spiritual importance. From the steps of the sculpture you can see the river, the many bridges Pittsburgh is famed for, and the magnificent skyscrapers of Downtown Pittsburgh. There I met a fellow blogger, Shannon,  and she was so sweet. Check out her blog: Eat,Sleep,Make! Thank you for taking pictures for me. Across the bridge, I went into Downtown. I had no idea where I was going but somehow managed to walk to PPG place. Ironically that is where my friend is currently interning at so I was able to catch up with her after work. The fountain in front of the glass castle that is PPG industries was so miraculous and peaceful to watch. Instead of ordering food in the area my friend and I decided to get Chinese closer to her home in Oakland; where I had the spontaneous idea of getting my very first tattoo at the tattoo shop right next to where we got our dinner. Josh Hayward, JzaJosh on Instagram, is the owner of the tattoo shop and he is simply amazing at his craft. Thank you so much!

{Saturday}

A day spent acting like children. A road trip to Pittsburgh own historical amusement park, Kennywood, consumed much of my day. We arrived just as the park had opened it’s doors and made our way around each and every rollercoaster at least once, some of our favorites were ridden twice! I love the anticipation, the adrenaline that surges through my veins as I sit in my seat with a brace blocking me from falling  as the cart rides up and up and up to the peak of the coaster before plunging down back to the ground in a series of loops and turns and roundabouts. The most beautiful sights are viewed on the top of a tall rollercoaster. We ate burgers at Johnny Rockets, Italian Ice at Rita’s, and endless amounts of cotton candy. I truly felt like a child again and it is a feeling that I will cherish for a long time. After returning to Oakland, I wanted to have fun before my 11pm bus ride back to the City That Never Sleeps. Meeting friends of friends and making connections with some pretty rad lads in South Side was a great way of ending my week in the City of Steel.

Thank you so much Pittsburgh for the adventures I found in your city. Until next time!

–KB

Monthly Wrapup #1

“Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment in time over which you have any control: Now.” — Denis Waitley

My oh my! How fast the time flies by! We are near the half-way mark of the year 2016!

This month of may was the first month back home and the start of my new life. Even though there were minimal travels and adventures, I discovered new things about myself and of the place I call home.

{My Month In Pictures}


{High-key}

  • Explored my neighborhood of Ridgewood and discovered plenty shops such as Topos Book Cafe, Milk&Pull, and Trinity Tattoo Collective.
  • Caught up with Natalia, my best friend of six years.
  • Met my mother’s boyfriend and his children.
  • Mother’s day dinner with the amazing women in my life.
  • Learning that the ovarian cyst the size of a jumbo chicken egg (huge I know!) plagued me no more and had shrunk into nothing!

{Low-key}

  • Having back to back migraines for 2 weeks.
  • Constant sleepless nights.
  • Quarter life crisis brought on because of my uncertainty of the future and the little support and guidance I received.

{What I Read,Watched, Heard, and Ate}

  • Read

    • A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
      • I give this wonderful book a rating of 10/5 starts (Yes it is possible, and yes this book is that amazing). The sequel to Maas’s book series A Court of Thorns and Roses is a 600+ paged novel of eloquently written words, heart wrenching plots, and a multitude of dynamic characters who show great development from page 1 to page 624. I cannot wait to read the third installment when it is published in 2017!
  • Watched

    • Young&Hungry (Freeform)
    • Game of Thrones (HBO)
    • The Real (WNYW)
    • DeadPool
    • Captain America: Civil War
  • Ate

    • Shiro of Japan in Glendale,Queens.
      • New Japanese restaurant that recently opened its doors at Atlas Park in Glendale,Queens. At the door, the hostess gives you the option of habachi or sit-down settings. The wait staff is super polite and helped with creating a calming ambiance in the restaurant. It is quite pricey to eat here as the bento box I ordered was $40; however,  the food is 100% worth it.IMG_6739
  • Listo Chimi in Ridgewood,Queens
    • Listo Chimi is a Dominican owned fast-food restaurant with all of the fritua (fried food) a Dominican, like myself, would fall in love with. They have patacons ( meat sandwich made with large smashed fried plantain as bun), empanadas, chichron, chimichurri, and a large array of fresh fruit juices and smoothies. They are open until late into the night available for any late-night munchies that occur.

{Achievements}

  • Published my new blog with its own domain name.
  • Sought out professional help to make mental illnesses (anxiety and depression) more manageable.
  • Organized my room (I was living out of my suitcases from university for half the month).
  • Booked my upcoming tattoo sessions for my quarter sleeve!
  • Made the decision to go bra-less; It’s been 2 weeks since the decision and I never felt better!

{Looking Ahead}

  • June TBR

    • A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston
    • The Wrath & The Dawn by  Renee Ahdieh
    • Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
  • Life Tales

    • Beyoncé Formation Tour concert
    • Week in Pittsburgh
    • Visiting family in Philadelphia and in the DMV area
  • Habit builder/smasher

    • Drink 2L of water daily
    • Sleep and wake up earlier
  • Goal to accomplish

    • Begin forming workout routine that sticks

–KB

Welcome Home

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”                     — Maya Angelou

For my whole life, New York City has been my home. From birth on March 3rd in Park Slope, Brooklyn to Sunset Park to Bushwick, and finally to my current neighborhood, Ridgewood, Queens. I moved to this quite middle class neighborhood at the age of 9 with my mother and older brother.

Off the bat, I hated the neighborhood and my apartment. Although I didn’t have a legitimate reason to. In my 9-year-old mind this was the place that took me away from my friends. I was worried about starting a new school and of making new friends. Very typical fears of a child; I would imagine.

Time passed and I made my official decision that I was sick and tired of this place. To me New York City – Ridgewood was boring. (My thoughts about my hometown were generally thought of as “crazy” because New York City was a city that so many adore and dream of residing within) I, therefore, moved out to a suburban town outside of Philadelphia. Finally somewhere new and exciting!

Four years later and I am back in the city that never sleeps.

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As a side-effect of being bitten by the travel bug, my eyes were open to the countless adventures awaiting for me in this city that has been my home for as long as I can recall. It is time I give New York City a chance. A chance to show me its wonders. A chance to fall in love with the city, just as countless of others have fallen in love with it.

–KB