Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2 be back soon...

Hey! I hope everyone is having a great holiday break!! I haven't sat still since I got back from Italy last week and with Christmas, catching up with friends and family and such, I haven't had time to blog. Now I'm here in Atlanta (finally!) with Armon and I'll be here till January 6th. When I get home, I promise to catch up on blogging.

Until then, have a happy and safe New Year's!!

Arrivederci ;)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

1 buon natale!

hello world!

I am finally back in North Carolina and it feels GREAT! It was 70 degrees here yesterday and I was riding around with my sunroof open! But I have to tell you, the journey home was a very long and interesting one!!

I got to JFK around 4:15 PM and after going through the ridiculously long customs line, I got my baggage pretty quickly and met my Aunt Rutha outside. She lives about 5 minutes from JFK in Queens so she didn't even park. Everybody else was like, "Oh Niki, aren't you gonna stay and say goodbye to people??" But I just chucked the deuces and headed on my way! So glad to never have to look at those people again. lol

By the time I got to my Aunt's car... it was already 5:30. We literally left the airport and headed south to VA where we stayed the night with my cousin (her son). We got there around 11, and went to sleep around midnight. I think it was when I got to my cousin Randy's house that I realized I'd left my camera on the plane. :( So there will be no pictures in this post. Hopefully, the airline found it and I can get it back soon.

We slept for about 4 hours and then got back on the road. Now for those of you that don't know.... most people take I-95 south to get from Virginia to North Carolina. But on Sunday, my Aunt wanted to take an alternate route that I'd never taken, which is I-81. She told me that we could take this down to Charlotte and then take I-40 back up to Raleigh. So, I got in the car and let her drive the first two hours assuming she was right, because I didn't know any different.

Little did I know that we would wind up at the Tennessee state border and about 3 hours out of the way. I took over the wheel, found a map at a gas station and chose a highway that would get us back in the direction we needed to go. What I didn't realize, however, is that the highway I chose would lead me over the Appalachian mountains! So I drove about 30 miles and over two mountains before we got back to civilization. lol Luckily, I'm a country girl and I've driven through moutains before. When we finally got over the mountains, I realized we were in Boone, NC... which is about 4 hours from Raleigh. At this point, it was noon, and I had been driving since 8 AM... and I was worried that we would be late to the parties we were supposed to be making that afternoon.

I called my roommate to let her know where we were and not to wait for me. She couldn't believe I'd driven through Tennessee and was now in Boone. haha My dad called a little later and LAUGHED at me over the phone! Gotta love dads ;)

Anyway, we made it back in time to make my cousin Mackenzie's birthday party... and from there I headed to Garner to my friend Bobby's party for a bit... where I saw a lot of my friends from high school and college. I left there and caught up with my Garner Crew and ate MORE birthday cake for Amir's birthday.

By this time, it was like 10pm and I hadn't even made it home yet, I was still rolling around town with my suitcases in tow. When I finally made it back to my apartment, it was so wonderful to just sit down, and be able to sleep in my own comfortable bed.

With that said, I didn't leave my bed until 2pm on Monday. It was fantastic! So so glad to be home, you have no idea!

Tuesday, Christmas Eve and Day deserve their own post, so look for that tomorrow!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.

Ciao for now :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

5 ciao italia!!

You may think you have great weekend plans but I GUARANTEE mine are better than yours!!

I have been here in Florence for 3 months and 18 days... and in about 7 hours I'll be heading to the airport to start my journey HOME!!!! It's been a great time here and I'm truly satisfied with the time I've spent here but I have to say I'm so glad that I am DONE!

Wish me safe travels, and I'll see you in AMERICA!!

ciao! ;)

Monday, December 15, 2008

1 artist spotlight: denis darzacq

These images are from photographer Denis Darzacq's "Hyper" series. None of them have been photoshopped and there was no special effects equipment used to create these photos! What you see, is really what he photographed. I'm not sure how he was able to get these people to fall like that, or capture it with his camera, but its pretty amazing to look at! For more on Denis Darzacq click here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

5 artist spotlight: kara walker

"I think of the work in that way that you have dream images, and the door and the hippopotamus actually represent the same thing. They’re all stemming from the same impulse somehow, which is something like a will toward chaos..." - Kara Walker

Monday, December 8, 2008

0 goods from allma

I love these tops from handmade clothing line Allma.
click the picture to see more on their website!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

0 artist spotlight: ali cavanaugh

Ali Cavanaugh is a St. Louis native who uses a unique technique to create these stunning paintings. She applies watercolor to plaster panels, very similar to the tradition fresco technique. (Think renaissance masters Michelangelo or Rafael). Her simple subjects are accentuate with breathtaking light and the result speaks volumes! She's had group and solo exhibitions in over 40 galleries across the US and her work is featured in 300 private and public collections all over the world. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Ali is that she has battled hearing loss for most of her life...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

6 changes!

I made some changes to the blog... hope you like! Those of you viewing this in Google Reader, click that little gray circle to the right of the title and see what I'm talking about!

Obviously the content of my blog will be changing a little bit as well when I return to the states. Although I won't have pictures of Italy to post anymore, I will try to post as regularly as I have this semester. With going back to a full course load + work and maybe a social life (?) it may be a little difficult but, bear with me!

17 days till I'm back in the U S of A.
Ciao! ;)

1 designer spotlight: courtney sloane

In my quest to find Black role models in the field of Interior Design I came across this phenomenal woman and was so inspired by her story! She's worked with a ton of celebrity clients but still targets her design company to the masses. She's done retail design, corporate design, stage sets, furniture design.... you name it, she's done it! For examples of her work and more about Ms. Sloane, check out www.courtneysloane.net. Her website is so cool too. Meanwhile, here's an article I found that pretty much sums up how awesome Courtney Sloane is!

"Sloane, who is as expressive in her language as she is in her work, derives her unique designs from her clients' personalities. "Living spaces and work areas should read like an engaging novel," she says. "Every room should tell a different story, and each threshold should invite new and exciting twists while maintaining continuity."

Alternative Design's revenues tell a story of steady growth, with last year's sales reaching around $350,000, and projections for this year at more than $550,000. Sloane is quick to attribute the company's success to the strength of her design team: seven employees including an architect, a full-time designer and a project manager.

Sloane has come a long way since 1991 when she started the business part-time while working as a design consultant for Formica Corp., a Wayne, N.J.-based building products company. Sloane, who attended Rutgers University, says she never saw furniture design as a career option. The reason was she didn't know of any African Americans in the field. In fact, the Washington-based Organization of Black Designers estimates that only 2% of all interior designers (there are more than 70,000 in the U.S.) are black.

Government contracts sustain most black design firms because they lack networking opportunities. However, Alternative Design has survived solely on commercial clients. "I would never get the opportunity to do what I like to do if I had to follow the specs," says Sloane, who enjoys having creative autonomy.

At one time, Alternative Design relied heavily on word-of-mouth marketing and black clients. Now, roughly half of its clients are white and Asian, and Sloane is getting some major play in the press. She is the first African American and one of a handful of female designers to participate in Metropolitan Home magazine's "Signature of Style" campaign for the Design Industries Foundation for AIDS. Sloane will stand head and shoulders with such industry virtuosos as Vincente Wolf, Glenn Gissler, Albert Hadley and Victoria Hagan.

While Sloane is attracting more sophisticated customers, she says that disparity still exists in the industry. There are no ground rules in the billing percentage of interior designers, unlike in the billing practices of architects, who receive a set percentage. Most interior design firms can command anywhere from 10% to 20% per design gig, averaging about $4 million a year. However, the average black design firm commands less "work for work" and "dollar for dollar" than its white counterpart.

Which is one reason Sloane is going global. Alternative Design was recently commissioned by a licensing company to design a commemorative watch for South African President Nelson Mandela." Source

Monday, December 1, 2008

4 update proper.

Hey ya'll!!!

So I haven't given a proper update on what's going on with me in a WHILE! Things are well here in Florence, I have 19 days left and I am too excited about going home. Being away from my family and friends on Thanksgiving was pretty awful. But! I did get to talk to the family briefly and I had some good pizza for lunch on Thursday ;)

I spent the whole weekend in my apartment this past weekend doing absolutely nothing. It was fantastic. I only left on Saturday night to go to a Jazz Club to get a drink with my roommate Becca and our friend Chris. Other than that, I sat around the house in my pajamas, did a little work, relaxed a lot and thought about coming home even more! I had to stop myself from thinking about packing because I was seriously considering popping open my suitcases. lol In my procrastination from school work, I even created this silly calendar to put on the frig counting down the days we have left! It looks like it belongs in a kindergarten classroom but I love it. I marked off the 1 today with a big red X!!

Today I took my final exam for my Textiles class and I am SO glad to be done with that class. The most aggravating and confusing class I've taken in a LONG time is finally over and I could not be happier about it. With that class done, now I only have my Italian final (which I will ACE as I have every other exam in there!), and my art history paper + exam. My art history things aren't due until December 18th, which means for the next two weeks, I'm free! I'm thinking of making one more day trip to Pisa... but the weather hasn't been cooperating! It's raining here pretty much everyday, it's cold, and the sun goes down a little before 4:30 each day. (That's part of the reason I stayed in the house all weekend). But! Even if I don't leave Florence again, I'll be hitting up a few places within Florence I haven't visited yet, buying a few last minute gifts and just enjoying my last few days of la vita italiana.

Ciao for now! ;)
<3 niki
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