Tag Archives: friends

beginnings&endings // arrivals&departures

Today is my 1 year anniversary of moving to New York. I love it here.

Today is also the day I start my first art residency, at The Wassaic Project in Wassaic, NY.

My friend Joe graciously offered to assist me and be my co-pilot driving up there. We rented a car and packed up all my fabric and sequins and bike and clothes, and drove 2 hours out of the city to Wassaic, arriving just in time for dinner.

We made a mini-video-series documenting our road trip! I love it. Watching this is almost like hanging out with us along the trip – being right there in the car talking about art, relationships, snacks, friendship, the pursuit of happiness…. really great stuff here. A lovely portrait of a friend, and of a time of transition — moving into a new realm of art making and living in new york!!

(don’t worry I edited it so you don’t have to sit through all of our blabbering….)

Joe And Aliya go to Wassaic, the Web-Mini-Series

PILOT EPISODE: “I think our movie is going to be better than Portlandia.”

EPISODE 1: “The Manhattan Bridge: There’s a little park in the corner where you can pee”

EPISODE 2: “Biker Lady Pursuit”

(there is no episode 3)

EPISODE 4: “Come on down to Joe and Aliya’s Style Station”

EPISODE 5: “”We’re Talkin’ about Love”

EPISODE 6: “Mellow, Reflective Episode”

EPISODE 7: “The Dessert Episode, inspired by Nature Goodness”

EPISODE 8: “The Adorable Episode”

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let’s go dancing.

hello friends!

let me take you on a journey* through my magical Friday night.

[*NOTE: after careful consideration of the fact that most photo-documentations of concerts tend to be blury low-lit blobs of color and stage-equipment, I decided that I would document the night via drawings of my impressions of that part of the night.]

This journey started many months ago when my good friend Juliet said “OMG ALIYA, I’m coming up to NYC to see my good friends/ favorite band ever PEARL AND THE BEARD play. you have to come see them / I can’t wait to see you.” I said, “OMG AWESOME.” and bought a ticket.

Forgot about it for a while and then bam it’s time to go! Have to admit, I was more excited to see Juliet than I was to see the band, but I mean, she flew all the way up here from Jacksonville Floridaaa so they must be great / why not enjoy myself there too!?

The Cast:

For this adventure I was not only joined by the amazing Juliet, but also by her also delightful friends visiting from Boston, Emily and Brandon. Emily and Juliet had known each other since they were so little, and Brandon had an awesome red flannel jacket. Some awesome facts: Juliet and Emily kinda have the same hair-cut, even though they haven’t seen each other for months! Brandon and Emily are buying a house in June! woah how exciting / congrats!! and, that house is across the street from a CARPETED grocery store. think about that one for a bit.

We ate some great dinner at this thai place. best Early Bird Special ever (especially because according to Florida standards eating at 6:30pm is NOT qualifying for Early Bird Specials) = $15 for tons of delicious food. TAKE A LOOK!

my fav was the pad-thai with “veggie duck” — it was SO GOOD!!! any thoughts on what (fake meat product) I was eating though? (not tempeh)

Then we headed over to the KNITTING FACTORY. nice place. there was a bar in the front of the concert-y part of the place, and there was an adorable baby hanging out with us at the bar. a baby in a bar. only in Williamsburg. It had cute shoes too. (side note: since moving here I have seen an innummerable amount of little kids on razor scooters. tons. i will attempt to photograph them all from now on. this makes me think of the Great Pregnant Irish Lady Count of 2009)


The first band was THE LISPS. They were a delightful fun/energetic/circus-y/self-described-“quirky”/dancy delightful band that I just loved. totally got me going dancing and singing along and just smiling even though I’d never heard their music before. I also learned that they had just written a musical that was being produced by the theater organization which Brandon works at, which is so cool. Fav lyric was from the song “try”: “try to take responsibility for your crappy life, try to eat the seeds, try to peel the skin, try to be in the place that you’re already in.”

Almost as good as their performance, though, was the 3 intense Fans attending the show as well. They were probably the biggest tallest dudes of the whole audience, and they stood in the very front of the crowd, and were so enthusiastic and singing every word and dancing around and punching the air and being excited. They were so adorable I didn’t even care that they were blocking my view. So my documentation of this set is as follows:

A: super cutie guitar man with the curly hair and red pants (who’s totes married)

B: super cutie lead singer / file-cabinet drummer (?) who wore the best dress that had this hemline that was varied without looking tacky and circus-costume-y, and who pulled off the adorable look without looking 10 years old. A beautiful singer

C: super cutie quiet stoic bass man (are all the bass players stereotyped into this category? sorry)

D: super cutie intense drummer man. he used his shoulders a lot to feel the music / beat. i liked that.

E: MY FAVORITE FANS! You just wouldn’t have thought these big guys would’ve been so into this music. I loved it. I’m a fan of them.

Later on in the night, Brandon went and spoke with the band and introduced himself, because he had been the one writing the grant to get them the money to produce the musical. And they’d never met! and here they were! together!! It’s Networking Making Friends Time!!!

OK! Act II was LADY LAMB AND THE BEEKEEPER. Wow. she was just very intense. She was a little lady, beautiful, and totally powerful. She had this presence and a voice that filled the stage and the room and bowled you over.

I drew her filling up the stage with her intensity. Those lights behind her were the only band-mates she needed.

She kinda intimidated me. How can you be so young (and by that i mean younger than me, even if it’s only a little) and so successful (“I’m opening for Beirut next month”) and powerful and sure of yourself? Standing up there in some casual oh-i-just-threw-this-on outfit and just taking the world on! It was inspiring and scary. I want to be like that, and I make all these excuses and distractions and am just not that sometimes. I mean in my own genre, not necessarily with singing. But overall she was inspiring. I need those kinds of people to keep me focused on what I’m really up to, to inspire me to keep being big, superhero, powerful woman out in the world taking all the scary things on. And I know she’s a person too. she probably gets scared too.

AND THEN! Act Three!!! Pearl and The Beard were much hyped by everyone around me and all the opening acts and I still had never heard them. And then there they were, lined up and set up really professionally and just, calmly. That’s how I describe it. Calm and Collected: like, “dudes, we got this. don’t worry. let’s have a great time now”

I loved them! so fun! and powerful and musical and all encompassing. My favorite kind of artwork. They inspired me with their intense/calm dynamic. It was “all cool”, and it was all “super serious” all at once. They were beautiful but not too cutesy. Their music was just very authentic feeling. And I loved how mismatched but also perfect they seemed as a trio. That is my very bad description of what they sounded like. Similar to the way concert photographs never quite capture the visuals, maybe my word reviews can’t sum up the sounds. But anyways.

And then I was exhausted. I woke up at 6:15am to bike to BIKRAM YOGA in the SNOW/RAIN. ohy vey, I’m not in Florida anymore for sure. (It was a great week experimenting with waking up early to work out — but it was a nice experiment. New work out routine for this week!)

but the evening filled me with new inspiration. Some thoughts/ ideas I had that night from being in such a creative delightful space:

  • make a line of (non-ironic) crazy pregnant lady clothing. when you’re pregnant i think it must be the best time to wear ridiculous clothes ever. I mean when else is it so socially acceptable to look so bizarre???
  • write/make/sing a musical (preferably in collaboration with my super cutie future boyfriend)
  • make (real) ginger beer
  • a collaborative SINGING PASSOVER SEDER !! (like we find/write songs for each part of the story and then preform them instead of reading the haggadah!!!)
  • make a photo-tour of the neighborhood hardware stores with pros/cons/features of each
  • make a facebook imaginary-band Page and post weird sounds as my “songs”
  • do an interview each week with someone I like/someone I want to get to know/ someone I think is cool or is doing a cool project / someone I’m inspired by.

I leave you all with a quote I overheard at the concert, that sums up a lot about life, really: “I did not want a burrito.”


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a sea of flags

Almost immediately upon returning from Israel the Bonar Family Residency had its First Resident of 2011!! Haley Morgan arrived to the shores of Sunny South Florida to a week of Salvadoran pupusas, flag making, beaching, eating, trivia nights, exploring, photoshooting, communication, sushi making, triangles, everglades-ing, and jumping in the pool (even though it was too cold for this floridian).

It was so great to have her in this Florida life. She reminded me to enjoy all the things around me instead of being so caught up in all the things and projects and plans I have to do. It was certainly more fun than going back to work after all that Israel-touring.

In a way it was an excuse to see all my favorite places in Florida before I leave. My favorite day was when we went to the Boys Market — a bakery/deli/specialty store out in west Delray that is notorious for ample samples, small aisles, grouchy in-a-hurry or basically-standing-still older patrons. We ordered some bakery things and they guy behind the counter threw in 2 extra chocolate ruggelah — my fav. which made up for the cannoli which haley and i decided was filled with frosting and not ricotta goodness which accounts for why i was literally on the most insane sugar rush after eating two bites REALLY. it was weird. We left The Boys with (a belly full of samples and) a picnic lunch of baggette, brie, carrots, a plum and a peach, strawberries, hummus, and sliced salami (in a moment of craziness from these two almost-vegetarians).

Haley is really the master documenter, so she documented the trip so well that I only have a few pictures myself. Here is my montage:

During her residency, Haley and I explored Delray and Flag-Making. Flag-making as a way of turning any place into a party, flag making as a way of declaring yourself in one place, flag making as a way of showing the world what you’re all about. We are all about triangles apparently. It became the theme. I think that is fitting. Triangles are forward-moving shapes. they keep the action going. They are angular and intentional and make things happen. They are both intimidating and a little scary, as well as being just cute and a harmless shape. So they are a lot like Haley and myself. Here are our totally delicious triangle crowns that I really do think we should start marketing/selling.

Would you want to purchase one for yourself? we could call them “Just Press Play” Crowns. oh haley would like that. she LOVES puns.

Haley being here was like exploring a place I already know newly. THANK YOU HALEY for this special experience of having a sleepover 5 nights in a row, for sharing yourself and your life and your art with me, and for making it a party everywhere we went, no matter what we were doing or how stressed out I made it all seem. Thanks for helping me to make my last big (art) mess in the Bonar Family Residency Program and inspiring me to just play and have fun making flags in a whole new way.


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24 years of galloping

Today was my 24th birthday!!! this is going to be a great great year. especially because 24 is an even number.

Tonight I had an amazing celebration with a conglomeration of high school, TMLP, seminar, middle school and coworker friends tonight — totally fun having everyone in one place, driving from as far as Miami and Orlando to come celebrate (despite the FREEZING temperatures and outside location…).

I’m looking forward to a New York celebration tomorrow night including Hampshire, Elsewhere, Casis (Elementary!!), and C3 friends!!! (wow)

I AM SO THANKFUL and excited (and really just awed) to have so many beautiful delightful inspiring empowering people in my life in so many places. THANK YOU FOR MAKING THIS SUCH A GREAT YEAR!!

I like my birthday being at this time of year because my new year’s resolutions/goals are very much in line with my birthday goals/resolutions. I guess I didn’t share around New Years, so here are a few things I am creating in 2011/my 25th year:

  • creative empowering forwarding job(s) that support me financially and are inspiring and igniting.
  • empowering everyone around me pursuing and moving forward their passions and whatever they are committed to.
  • a big scale multi-month collaborative project that is way out of my comfort zone
  • moving somewhere new and establishing my own community there.
  • an amazing gorgeous empowering creative boyfriend
  • becoming financially independent
  • keeping in touch with friends from all over
  • developing the IFEELGREATTODAY brand: creating new fashions I love to wear and sell
  • a totally delicious strong body I love and feel super-woman-esque inside of
  • being courageous, looking people in the eye, saying things straight, being confident and self assured and a magical force.

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San Francisco: The Adventures of Businesslady Aliya and Hampshire Alum Aliya in the same city

welcome to san francisco!
i loved all the rail systems. i coulda ridden the air tram for days.

First stop: meeting up with Adrienne from Elsewhere! Terrible Documentation Faux Paux, I didn’t get any pictures of us together. but the important thing was that we got to “stare into each other’s eyes” over delicious vietnamese lunch specials at Sunflower Cafe. So much to say, and so much future to plan. Philly 2011, look out baby.
Some shoe shopping for her parent’s re-marriage back to each other coming up this week (the dress she is wearing “demands a simple black pump”) took us to various delightful thrift stores. I particularly enjoyed the combo of flannel next to short shorts:

BUT, then it was time to go. A combination of my conference schedule and her wedding and “Girls Together Only” time (bachelorette party? with your mom? sorta?) schedule meant this would probably be our last meeting for now. with lots of hope for the future we parted ways.

And more transit rail systems! I loved all the escalators.

AND then off to the most magical Team Management Leadership Weekend. I completed my first year of the program and oh my goodness it was so lovely. All my hard work was acknowledged and looking back on the year, I realized that I really am unrecognizable to myself from where I started. I was in a situation where I felt no power, no freedom, and no self expression. Now I am in a total open space, ready to take on what’s next and even powerfully create whatever it is that’s next — not just wait around for it to happen to me. I could even declare myself now as a Community Artist in the World, making a difference now — really, me . yikes this still scares me. Over the course of the weekend anyone I was frustrated with, mad at, incomplete with, or had felt like I had been banging my head against a wall with for the past 3 months (or more even) completed with me so that we were both freed up from whatever was there that made it so frustrating before. I saw that I had really really made a difference for everyone around me, even when I thought I had been doing nothing right. I just fell in love with everyone I saw. Everyone looked so beautiful. I don’t know how else to say it but I just feel so empowered and ready to take on the world.
On the last night of the weekend we all went to dinner at this moroccan restaurant. I was surrounded by about 20 of my favorite people, all seated on these low couches and eating delicious things. They told me amazing stories, created collaborative futures with me, shared what they were grateful for, and danced. I had the priviledge of dancing with some of the most talented salsa dancers I know (thank you miami), and then letting it rip, being totally free and myself.
Businesslady Aliya Rocks AND gets down, basically.

Over the weekend I also got to meet in the flesh a lot of people I’d been talking to on the phone every week for the past 3 months: Here are some of my favorite Team Leaders from across the eastern region — Ritajean from Philladelphia, Joshua from Baltimore, Morganlea from NJ, and Brad from Indianna.

On monday morning Ritajean and I took a walk up the crazy crazy hills in san fran. look! such a huge hill!

And here are some of my favorite people from my Florida Team: Debbie, Fernanda, Lynn, Brandy, my brilliant coach Gladys, and Henry

From one life to another: After the TMLP weekend, Businesslady Aliya turned into Hampshire Alum Aliya and met up with some favorites from college: Kate, Julia, and a new friend Maureen

(in the shade)

(in the light!)

Oakland living (you can tell we’re in Oakland because of all the bikes)!  Thrift stores, walking through adorable neighborhoods, coffee shops, cuties.

Beautiful bathingsuit:

way too adorable/involved chalk drawings. you crazy californian kids.

Really complicated hopscotching:

I’m not sure if you’re supposed to have 4 feet for this square…
The Salami and Ravioli Factory! ……

…… is protected by both a barbed wire fence AND a series of cacti!!

maybe there’s more than salami and ravioli in there.

beautiful car installation art. grade: B – (high marks for ambition in utilizing an outdoor installation and indoor/outdoor coordination, low marks for not fully utillizing the rest of the coat hanger wire diamond)

Guerrilla “MaRia R” Installation Art: grade C (high marks for effort but low for production quality)
Sculents I love you.

Further Research and Investigation into the Pregnancy Romance Novel Genre continues (domestic research) (note, there is a whole sub-series of these novels called “Texas Maternity” and “Texas Paternity”

While Kate’s at her super-important grown up GRAD SCHOOL orientation, A day with Julia!!
Self Portrait with Birds.

No Karate Parking.

Post-Grad School Orientation Reunion (and photoshoot): (note Kate’s very profesh yet Mad Cute outfit choice definitely not deliberated over for and hour plus)

Marriage: A tough financial decision either way

After an evening and morning of watching Ke$ha, Miley, Beyonce and other variations of their music videos, we had to close our visit with a diva-licious photoshoot (i.e. add awesome boots to current outfit — which for many was choice pajamas):

another ride on the rail transit system reminds me I am not in Florida:

me & my trusty luggage: like old married people we know how to travel together.

someday i'll sew the "courage" onto "urge"

good bye west coast. you were fun.

still definitely not florida:

oh houston airport.

And, Home.

back to “normal” life. my intention is to move out of florida (or at least into a job I love that is a total self expression, which may involve florida) by the end of September. I’m not sure at all what that looks like. My upcoming weeks I am envisioining lots of catch-up sewing, working on my new website, packing crap that has sat around since I graduated, writing/photographing for my culminating “Bonar Family Residency” publication “Florida is a Feeling”, watching movies, making friends, calling back old friends I’ve missed.

OK south florida, show me what you got.

I love you all so much, near and far. You are so incredibly beautiful. Let me see your face soon.



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photographic evidence!

a piece of portland, pretend nostalgia for old technology, friendship, and a lovely lady named natalie.

also featured, liam and skye.

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