back in NYC again. my time off has been a glorious mix of play, warmth, conversation and flirtation — i even shoveled snow at my Mom’s place which was super fun. speaking of shovels, this morning, i woke to the sound of my neighbors scraping the snowy cement and smiled because winter is in full force and we have barely made it through January. no sweat. i have a new mind or perhaps i have returned to my old one. either way, nothing can stop me — especially not snow.

i am flirting with the possibility of romance. not to be confused with love of which i have plenty. i am grateful for the work that love has produced but a girl needs romance too. love belongs to all of us and comes in numerous form. romance is sought after by the heart and loins coated in pure vulnerability. the other day, i watched a man on the train platform and felt a deep love for him (with a little lust thrown in there too). this is what i wrote in my iPhone:

Streetwalker. Today I am a one woman show. I’m watching. Hoping that you will enter the same subway car as me so I can watch some more. We are close but too far to speak. I noticed you tip the Mariachi singers just as they switched cars. I want you but only to look at and smile on. You too are present, gazing at the violinist at Jay Street station, and this makes me want you more.

You must be hot because your coat is wide open and I can see that you’re clothing is made for you, the way your shirt hugs your body and your jeans adopt your frame, slender yet athletic. The A train arrives and I am tempted to follow just to see what’s next in your life. So long beautiful stranger. What’s your name?

Yesterday, after a 9am yoga class, I visited India by way of one of my favorite Brazilian songstresses, Gal Costa. In the confines of my living room, I danced with an old friend to this song bearing the same title as this blog post. Produced in 1973, I discovered it during my stay in Bahia in a cute record shop in Pelo (of course, I bought the album): (it will play in a separate YouTube window if you click on it twice)

Gotta run, I’m making lunch for a former co-worker today and I can’t wait to see her face 🙂 Congratulations Nina on completing your thesis statement and obtaining a Master’s degree at Pratt U!

This weekend, it’s going to be a cold one New York so bundle up, drink plenty of tea, and eat something hearty! And if you wanna come by for a snack or beverage, give a call!

Oh yes, Mr. Conti, bring some warmth back to NYC when you return. Super lovely to chat with you yesterday and thanks for doing your best to stay in touch. Happy travels 🙂

Hugs, love, smiles and cuddles!



who’s bad?

By reading the title of this blog post, you may think that the next few paragraphs are going to be about the bad man and legend, Mr. Michael Jackson. Not exactly but I will take this moment to say R.I.P. Mr. Jackson and thanks for making amazing music and moving millions of people to the beat of your personal rhythm!

See the beautiful images my good friend and photographer, Ocean Morisset, took in Harlem today.

The world is still mourning the loss of the baddest (that’s bad meaning good:) entertainer of this century and it appears as though any scheming entrepreneur or enterprise is capitalizing on Michael’s untimely death. It almost reminds me of 9/11 – the tee shirts, buttons, photographs, and make-shift memorials — except thousands of lives were lost and our government made plans to go to war before the tears could dry.

Don’t get me started … moving right along …

Given that the first anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death also fell on the World Cup games between Brazil and Portugal (0-0) then Chile and Spain (1-2) … it’s no wonder the streets are buzzing with THRILLER-like mania.

Since 1930, every four years, countries all over the world — correction, “industrialized” countries all over the world — are awarded entry into the championship football (or soccer) games. The World Cup is the most watched sport in all of the universe. This year, the games are being held in South Africa! I have two or three friends who made the trip because they are die hard fans. I, myself, enjoy the vibrancy that spawns from this momentous event but I could do without it from a spectator’s point-of-view. I would almost rather play any sport than watch it.

And, for us single ladies, the World Cup is a great way to meet men from all over the world or at least be in the company of non-American men. Nothing against the American guys … it’s more about the man, for me, but who doesn’t love the sound of a foreign accent or the taste of a refreshing caprihina. For example, if you’re into French men, then go to a French bar when France is playing then smile a lot during half time 🙂

There are three more weeks until the championship. Who will make it to the finals? I am routing for Brazil, of course. A sure bet considering they have won the World Cup five times already!


Love and Stuff

p.s. i was too caught up in World Cup hype at Cafe Noir to take one single photo 😦

peaks and valleys

Over one year ago, I began writing this blog as way to stay in touch with my family and friends during my stay in Brasil. Looking back on this past year, it has been amazing yet frightening, a melangé of love ups and let downs, supreme highs and sporadic lows yet still i rise and cannot help but be optimistic about the coming season: Summer. It’s my favorite time of year because my main squeeze is in full effect; I’m talking about the sun, of course.

In my opinion, Springtime is a total mindfuck (excuse me). One day it’s gorgeous and sunny then the next day is grey and damp, and so on. Nature has a way of imparting life’s biggest lesson: there would be no peaks without valleys, no flowers without clouds and rain. We would not be able to gloat on the mountain top if we hadn’t emerged from the valley below.

Today I am giving thanks for peaks and valleys. My weekend being a murky mixture of both.

Saturday, I took a very long bike ride then found myself in Red Hook on Van Brunt Street at the suggestion of a friend. A tiny enclave of fine dining restaurants, wine shops, an ice cream parlor, and Baked, a bustling cafe/bakery that’s been open since 2005 served as an ideal resting spot. I spent most of my afternoon there, chatting, writing, and sipping on fresh mint ice tea with the sun on my face. Upon my arrival, my energy was scattered; however, by the time I hopped on the bike again, I felt collected and whole again.

There is also a large garden center hosted by Chelsea Garden Center farther down the block. It seems as if I am beginning to fancy gardening. Hmmm…

Again, activities with friends were the highlight of my weekend. A Saturday night invite for wine and tea ensued conversations around film, travel, unconditional love and the conditions of life.

Sunday’s original plans crumbled in the rain; although I managed to share a delicious almond and chocolate pastry with a friend while sipping on ginger tea at Nunu. Just as we parted ways, I received an unexpected and much appreciated text invite to attend a live performance by Ceu, a young Brasileira songstress, at the Highline Ballroom in Manhattan. I had a beautiful evening and the timing of the invite was perfect for so many reasons.

See my heart is on the mend. My spirit is putting itself back together again. These last few posts have centered around my feeling low yet looking on the bright side and giving thanks. This blog has become a digital diary of sorts and although the purpose of it is to share my incredible travel experiences, it is also a documentation of my personal life and many interests. (check out the pages on the right)

Life and relationships ebb and flow or flutter then flounder. My perspective is such: it is better to have loved and have been loved then to never have loved at all. This post is dedicated to love coming full circle. Last night’s concert was a satisfying end to the love I experienced while in Brasil and beyond. Flying high, sailing free, and basking in the pure light of truth. It’s all coming back to me now.

A beautiful Argentinean woman named Mia Maestro along with Aaron Robinson opened for Ceu last night and she too brought smiles and warmth to a rather damp evening. I am ever so grateful for the expression of words and song.

Thanks for reading and please eat something RED today for the heart space.

Try strawberries, rasperries, or add fresh red pepper or cherry tomatoes to your salad.

My dinner of spinach pasta, olive oil & garlic, arugula and roasted peppers

Hugs and smiles,


a work in progress

blogging is fairly new to me, i started a blog in an effort to keep in touch with family and friends during the last winter’s stay in Bahia, Brasil.

currently, nine months later, i am blog-happy and have decided to focus my main postings on international travel. the title of this blog, The Adventures of Lala the Sun Chaser, simply speak to my personal quest to be happy and free while basking in the glow of our most powerful energy source, the sun. if you haven’t noticed by now, i am not a fan of the cold — despite the fact that i grew up in pittsburgh, pa. it hurts my skin and bones 😦

as i travel far and wide, i will continue to share my adventures and if i am not air bound, i will share the stories of my friends – old and new – who choose to see the world in all its splendid glory. it is my personal mission to NOT take for granted the enormous sacrifices made by my ancestors who were forbidden to step foot off the plantation for nearly five centuries — plus i love new experiences. if you do not have a passport, start the process today by clicking here. it is most important…Mom.

in the coming weeks, i will add interviews from friends who recently traveled to Ghana, West Africa and Sudan, East Africa. stay tuned…

since i do not have time to blog daily, i have added pages to your right: eat or be eaten, laugh & love, listen & learn, and watch & see.

i update these pages several times a week with food related info, videos that make me laugh, music i enjoy & news stories that intrigue, and suggestions of movies to watch or rent, respectively.

hence, if you check out my blog and think, ‘nothing new here’, click on the links to the right and have a happy day!


your local Sun Chaser,


Itacaré e legal

São Jose beach - Itacaré

São Jose Beach in Itacaré

the other night i came home to shower since we had been at the beach all day (what’s new). earlier in the day i had hand washed a few garments since i packed ultra light for my one week visit to Itacaré — a small town approximately 10 hours south of salvador via bus. yes, i took the bus for 10 hours on monday night so i could spend some brazil time with a friend who has a gorgeous home here but also lives in new york city.

if anyone worries about me being here alone, no need to worry about that. HOWEVER, i need ALL the prayer i can get when it comes to travelling by bus — onibus or otherwise. do not – and i repeat – do not get caught in the street when a bus is coming in your direction. you will be killed on the spot. in bahia (maybe all of brazil), vehicles rule – no question. my trip to the rodoviario or bus station was thrilling to say the least. i would consider riding the bus the equivalent to a roller coaster ride. there is just one thing, you are not in an amusement park, this is for real. the entire 45 minute trip was down right scary as they say in the US south.

when training bus drivers in bahia, the rules must be:
– anything goes
– drive as fast as you wish
– stop if you feel like it
– barely slow down when retrieving passengers, and
– hit ANYTHING that comes in your way – or at least attempt to hit anything !

and surprisingly, i have not seen one bus accident since my arrival.  i am still alive and that is what matters!

Painting from an art show we attended

Painting from an art show we attended

so it has been nearly a week since i arrived to my friends’ place (Rosalie, Christophe and Vincent) and as you will see in the photographs, i have been blessed once again. a place very different from the beaches of salvador, Itacaré contains one main road (Pituba) and several — perhaps hundreds — of beaches. it is a tiny yet bustling town full of die-hard surfers from every nationality, wandering spirits, and local residents who want a simple life and LOVE the beach. oh, and this is the place for reggae enthusiasts and mixed couples for sure, very different from salvador.

Eliana and me

Eliana and me

oh i lost track of my thoughts, so the other night i searched the clothesline in the yard and was struck by what the night sky had to offer. brilliance. pure brilliance. so many stars and it was as if i could grab each one and place them gently in my pocketbook (another southern word for purse). unable to move, i thought to myself: you do not know anything KalaLea, that is the only thing you know for sure. here i stood in the midst of a mini-forest (there is a lot of land around the property), and earlier, i had spent the entire day in the ocean with all sorts of life forms. i am a small itty bitty part of this grandiose universe. in this moment, i found myself awestruck by what hovered above my head — another place full of mystery.

Lakes at São Jose beach

Lakes at São Jose beach

in new york city, i miss seeing the stars. i am aware of their presence but it is rare to see them shine their bright lights in the city. so for the remainder of my stay, i will walk with my head in the sky and trust that a bus will not hit me 🙂

Amelie (my little emu)

Amelie (my little emu)

i could call this a real family vacation since my friends have a three and a half year old daughter, Amelie, i call her my little emu (pequeno ema). she is larger than life and is convinced that she will be able to fly one day. and then there is pedro, an actor and comedian for sure. amelie and pedro are first cousins. pedro and his mother are visiting from são paolo for the month. the two paler guys are my french buddies who, like myself, have fallen in love with brazil. christophe came to brazil for work over 15 years ago and has not left since. rosalie and christophe have been married for fourteen years – something like that.

Amelie's cousin - Pedro
Amelie’s cousin – Pedro

we have been together — in the car, at the beach, at the kilo spot, on the deck — just chillin’. my portuguese is all fucked up now since i have been listening to french most of the time with some portuguese words sprinkled in between the Alors, Mais Ouis, and Doncs.

São Jose beach in Itacaré

São Jose beach in Itacaré

Like my new hat? Just kidding.

Like my new hat? Just kidding.

The deck of my friend's house

The deck of my friend's house

Rosalie, Christophe e Eliana

Rosalie, Christophe e Eliana

A day at the beach with the kiddies

A day at the beach with the kiddies

so as i previously mentioned, pedro is a total ham and super dramatic ! on the way to itacare, their plane experienced some major turbulence and everyone was panicked. it’s a scary thing if/when it happens and different people have totally different reactions. pedro began to scream, ‘Nos vamos morrer!’, which means We are going to die! pedro is hilarious and a ball of energy. his mother said that she had to keep herself from cracking up while explaining to him the severity of his words. he retracted and begin to yell, ‘Nos nao vamos morrer!’.  We are NOT going to die!

i see that it is growing warmer in New York…that’s terrific. wishing you well and i look forward to chatting with you soon!

Life is grand !

Life is grand !

one last thing, my brain has been going all week and for those of you, who do not wish to spend anymore cold winters in the States and would prefer to be on the beach, then i have a plan. i will share this in one of the following posts.

Eliana needs a good waxin'

Eliana needs a good waxin'

beijosãos (that means big kisses)