Saturday, January 31, 2009

Everything A Girl Needs To Be Happy

Photo by Sarah


Penelope ♥

Friday, January 30, 2009

Daily Inspiration - January 30th

Photo by McKenzie

Nothing is lost when it comes to love. We get stuck in this perpetual cycle of passed looks, of that yearning for conversation, for words, for smiles, for anything. We become diary-writers and backyard poets, guitar-strummers and jitterbugs, all for the sake of four little letters - letters that we spell out in black ink and huge, looping letters, L-O-V-E. We want it written all over our bodies like tribal tattoos and battle scars. We become Yakuza gangsters, painting our history on our backs for all to see, for us to experience. My grandparents told me that they met while my grandmother was working as a waitress at a burger joint, that my grandfather ordered root beer after root beer and kept emptying every one that my grandma would bring him out the window of his convertible when she left just so that, when she brought him another, he could see her again. Love is funny like that. True love means being bashful and strange and completely unpredictable - it means ordering those thirty root beers just to see that one beautiful soul that you've wrapped your wings around, even if you have to empty every last one of them out the window.

Love, spectacular love, high-flying cotton candy silky-milky circus love, means setting all conventions on fire and throwing caution to the wind. Love makes us brave, it makes us unbelievable, and so we become those poets and musicians and artists and revolutionaries, all for the sake of four little letters. But in the end, when we find ourselves held tight in the arms of that one spectacular person, the root beers seem insignificant. The words, those letters, those are the only things that matter, and it's a beautiful thing to be able to say them with true conviction.

I love you, we say. Root beer and all.

Penelope ♥

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Penelope Bat ♥'s Hip✩Hop Candy!

In my travels around the great big internet, I just so happened to stumble upon a fabulous, pink-tinted place filled with jewelry, buttons, and keychains galore. This sugary-sweet heaven contains everything you and your inner-child could possibly need to take on the great big world with a pinch of flair and an excess of classic Japanese cuteness, catering specifically to high-flying go-go girls who, somewhere along the road of life, simply forgot to grow up. Hip✩Hop Candy was started by the darling Miss Kitty (a.k.a. Olivia Bruno) as a tiny web-based company, and since has grown into a much bigger enterprise, appearing at numerous Japanese anime and manga conventions with much success.

Because of my undying love for what Miss Kitty's doing and her amazing products, Hip✩Hop Candy and Cocoa have teamed up to present all of you lovely bunnies with a contest! The prize? A surprise goodie bag filled to the brim with all kinds of Hip✩Hop Candy swag! All you have to do to win is compose a classic Japanese haiku about Hip✩Hop Candy! 

For all of you who have forgotten your school-yard days of literature classes, haiku's are a form of Japanese poetry that are composed by the number of syllables they have. They're usually three lines and follow a 5-7-5 structure, the first line containing five syllables, the second containing seven, and the third containing five again.

You can enter as many haiku's as you'd like in the form of a comment, just please don't post anonymously! If you're our big winner, we need a way to contact you! Be as creative as you possibly can - there are no rules or prerequisites - just be sure to have all of your submissions in by Wednesday, January 28th!

As a way to fire up your creative juices, here are some H✩HC themed haiku's that I whipped up!

Panda bears and charms
Strawberry keychains and rings
Fire up Paypal!

Why travel the world
For Japanese goods when there's
Hip✩Hop Candy here?

Brighten up the room
With necklaces of tea cakes
And pink cupcake rings

Get writin', my super-cute bunnies! Prizes await!

Penelope ♥

Friday, January 23, 2009

One-Line Fairy Tales

Photo by Amalia Sieber

♥ Those hot-chocolate winter nights were what drove us outside, beneath the canopy of rambling trees with branches so thick that the blanket of the stars and the sky was but an afterthought, and it was there that we found our miracles, our haven, our tiny dancing girls with fresh drew in their hair and our anima queens who wore paper doe masks and tiny silk dresses and our animus kings in thick arctic coats and combat boots and our dazzling reception of music and merriment and magic, and we held hands as we faced this brave new word, tiny unspoken questions still on our lips, and we watched as the sky lit up with things we could not understand but loved nonetheless, and when the howling of the wolves and music of the night finally faded into silence and the electric light of their hopes and dreams faded into a sweetly dim refection of the stars, only then did we go inside, dizzy and drunk with the magic of that winter night, wondering from behind sleepy lids if maybe it was just a great and curious dream.

♥ The music of the evening called out to me, like the sound of a tuning fork struck against a star, until I thought, while huddled over endless sheets of paper and ribbons of pre-soaked ink, that it would drive me mad, and so I gathered up my typewriter, in it's faded black case, and my thick corduroy hat and my stiff winter coat and my one-way train ticket meant for nowhere in particular and I left the house with all the doors still open, the lights turned on, the locks left at ease so, if they so pleased, the doors could swing open and they too could enjoy the night, and I thought nothing of cops or robbers or thieves, but only of the night and what it held, and so I walked down quiet streets, past bakeries that I had frequented, bookstores I had loitered in, coffee shops that I had spent hours inside of simply watching the sun rise and set, and I knew that I must leave them all behind, and so I walked until I reached the shore and, standing on the last plank of the only pier in sight, threw off my stiff winter coat, my corduroy hat, my train ticket all into the ocean, keeping only my typewriter, my closest friend, and together I knew we could make our own home somewhere here, somewhere in this crisp, velvet night.

♥ The boy and I, the boy who I knew but knew nothing about, we wandered those streets illuminated only by the moon and the stars and talked about movie stars and coffee shops and dreams that made us both wake in a sweat, and I told him how I dreamt of carousels and ferris wheels that electrified the night and he told me how he dreamt of car crashes and broken glass and flashing lights that lit up the sky in blues and reds, and together we shared slices of pizza and broken stories in pizzerias with no doors and I told him how he looked happy, flustered yet happy, and how his cheeks were tinted a Shirley Temple shade of pink, and we walked each other back down those quiet and swollen streets, our laughter and joy and attention caught only by the sound of breaking glass, and together we watched that tiny red car crash into a brick wall, breaking into tiny, sugary specs like a ten thousand volt supernova, and in our amazement, in our fright, I was the first to notice the wall itself, a towering brick thing, and how behind it a ferris wheel, bright as the sun, was turning round and round in quiet excitement, and so together we stood there, shaken by the curious awe of the world, taken aback by the strangeness of it all, and when the world quieted back down we turned our backs and, solemnly, he walked me back to my waking life.

Penelope ♥

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Weekly Wishes

I wish... for ska music so loud and explosive that it sends entire neighborhoods into fits of slam-dancery. I wish for the heat of club lights, for skipping drum beats, for a full brass band that pumps out short breaths and falsetto rhythms. I want shaking hips, skankin' souls, midnight sing-a-long songs in tiny clubs - I wish I could wrap myself in notes and beats and crashing cymbals and fall into that shattering, crystalized pop of noise.

I wish... the best for our incredible new president, and I hope that every American takes this opportunity to come together under him for a truly United States of America.

I wish... life could be lived out in perfect poetry - in stanzas and lines and parallel structures. I wish everyone could turn life into their very own love song, a string of verse and rhyme, and make their own unique poetry out of days and weeks and years. I wish our songs would define us, our words bring us together, and our differences be set aside for at least one moment where we get to sing out that love song fearlessly to the rest of the world. I wish our lyrics would save us.

I wish... for little pink tutus and subway rides.

As always, my sleepy honey bunnies, what do you wish for this week?

Penelope ♥

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Currently Digging - Zombie Edition!

Photo by Sameli

Through a curious twist of fate, this past week has been completely zombie-crazed in the land of Penelope, from video games to movies to backyard shenanigans. So much so, in fact, that when it came time to compile my Currently Digging list for the week, I found that more than half of my digs were somehow zombie-related. So this week's Currently Digging is going to be a little special and themed all around those lovable undead folks that fill our hearts with joy and hunger for our brains. That's right, bunnies - this week, I'm digging zombies.

Zombies! Organize!!
This Le Tigre-esque electroclash band has to be one of the best groups that's ever come out of the North-of-Miami music scene, and not just because they based their entire first album off of the 1985 movie The Return of the Living Dead. Their songs are funky and  charming, throwing dirt in the face of the classic "social-commentary-through-music" and doing things their own way - the zombie way. Their entire album, Before It's Too Late,  can be downloaded for free off of their Myspace just to top things off, so go give them a listen right now!

I've heard this movie called pretty much everything, from Zombie Flesh-Eaters to Island of the Flesh Eaters to Gli Ultimi Zombi to just plain old Zombie, but whatever you want to call it, it's still a fantastically gory and all around thrilling Italian horror flick that has to linger near the top of my zombie flick list. It's not for the feint of heart!

Left 4 Dead
In the past few weeks this game has somehow become the center of my life - and I don't even have an Xbox 360 (or a PC!) Never played it? Never heard of it? You're missing out! The plot-line is simple: an infection à-la the Rage Virus from 28 Days Later has conquered man-kind, turning most into zombies and some into special mutated beasts. Few are left alive and intact, and it's your job as one of these survivors to band together with others of your kind to fight through these hoards of the undead and find rescue. I don't think I could ever possibly explain how amazing this game is, especially for a zombie-lover like myself, so I urge you to experience it first hand! Have a zombie apocalypse party! Invite all of your closest friends over! Battle it out in the high-octane landscape of Left 4 Dead all night and see who comes out on top!

♥ Formulating a zombie escape plan
It's always a good idea to be prepared, but this Zombie Escape Plan notebook really makes preparing for the zombie apocalypse pretty stylish, too! Filled with all kinds of useful information such as maps, guides, and excerpts from medical textbooks, you've got just about everything you could possibly need in case the worst were to happen - plus, there's lots of empty space to write your own escape routes and supply lists down, too! Remember what Winston Churchill said: let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning. (Who knows - he could have been talking about the zombie apocalypse!)

♥ 28 Days Later
What I think is so incredible about this movie is that it's one of the first to change two specific things about zombies and the way zombie movies are made: first, the Infected can run. They're not slow or dim-witted à-la Romero zombies, but instead are as quick and agile as any other human being, infected or not. They can think, reason, and they know the most effective way to get what they want which is a trait that most other writers don't give to their undead stars. And second, the movie in itself doesn't follow one straggler band of survivors the whole movie through, only telling their story, but instead conquers the bigger picture of what's going on within the government and military to keep the Infected contained - to keep the world safe. Granted, the end result of their efforts isn't very cheery, but it sure makes for one great movie.

♥ NYC Zombie Crawl
Rem first turned me on to this super-cool event after he watched the madness unfold last year, and I have to admit that it sounds like pure, unbridled fun. Basically, every year folks from all over the city dress up like zombies and have a "crawl" from one location to another. Last year, they crawled through the Whole Foods at Union Square to pick up canned goods for the Zombie Can Drive for World Hunger (which I think is a wonderfully noble, if not ironic cause), and then proceeded to Washington Square Park for what can only be describe as a "zombie massacre". This years festivities are still in the making, but the NYC Zombie Crawl website is updated regularly and you can join their mailing list to participate in 2009!

Penelope ♥

How To Make Fabulous New Years Resolutions (And Keep Them!)

Bonjour 2009! The new year may already be in full swing the whole world round, but to those hoping to make some changes to their life, it's never too late to make New Years Resolutions. What do you want to get out of this sparkling new year? Who do you want to meet? What changes do you want to make? If you haven't already, resolve to tweak your life and change it for the better, and for those who need a little help with coming up or keeping resolutions, here are a few simple tips to help you get the most out of two-oh-oh-nine!

♥ Picking Your Resolutions
Focus on the small stuff! Improvement means taking baby steps, so in order to conquer those huge, long-term resolutions try to break your action plan into pieces. If your goal is to lose weight, make your resolution to take a yoga class or try a vegetarian diet. If you want to get rid of excess stress, resolve to take a big pink bubble bath at least once a week. Making your resolution as specific as possible will make it easier to attain, as well as twice as fun! Remember, resolutions aren't obligations - there's nothing stopping you from making them enjoyable!

♥ Tips For Sticking To Your Resolutions
While making resolutions is easy, actually keeping them seems to be a little bit trickier. First and foremost, if your resolutions involve long term goals, then only make one or two at a time. Any more than that and you're bound to get overwhelmed at some point and permanently slip up, so the bigger the resolution the fewer you should have. Most importantly, though,  it's essential to remember that it's okay to fall off the bandwagon! Don't beat yourself up if you break your resolution once or twice - just work twice as hard to meet your goal! It's statistically proven that people who break their resolution within the first six weeks are more than twice as likely to reach their goal in the long run. Take it one day at a time!

♥ Resolutions to Make 2009 Fabulous
+ Learn to play an instrument
Pick up anything from the electric guitar to the tuba and learn to play at least one full song on it, even if it's just Hot Crossed Buns. Who knows, maybe your undiscovered talent lies in playing the ukulele or the trombone!

+ Keep a journal and fill it with tiny kisses from each day
Days are too short and sometimes in the madness of day-to-day life we forget the small moments that made the time between sun-up and sun-down so great. Buy a tiny journal like Moleskine's mini notebooks and fill them with at least one moment from every day that made you break out in a smile. Capture the kisses of each day that would otherwise pass you by so that by the end of the year you'll have a complete ledger of happiness.

+ Pick up a strange hobby
One of my close friends, as seen above, is an insane yo-yoer who somehow managed to pick up all of these incredible tricks in just a six month period. Through this strange and curious hobby, he's discovered an entire yo-yo subculture that thrives off of loud music, cool tricks, and video proof of it all. It just goes to show you that you can pick up just about anything in a mere six months! (Plus, you get to look super cool while practicing all of your tricks!)

+ Learn something new
Read a book, learn a new language, take a night class, attend a lecture - do one thing different and see what you learn from it! Be willing to try new things and open your mind to the possibilities that it can incur! If you've never had sushi before, trek to the nearest Japanese restaurant for dinner. If you've never seen Star Wars, rent all six and have a movie marathon in your living room. If you've never been out of the country, put some money aside and start buying the travel books for your dream vacation.

+ Become an expert at something
Perfect your skills at something you've always wanted to be great at, whether it be playing Tetris or C++ coding. If you're super brave, try taking on something completely new that you've never tried before and try to become a master at it by the time 2010 rolls around.

Photo by Jenny Holiday

+ Get organized
Expunge all unnecessary clutter from you life - it'll make you feel so much better in the long run! Clean out your closet, rearrange the furniture, paint the walls a new color, and have a stoop sale. Clear a path for the new you!

+ Make new friends
Open yourself up to the possibility of making new friends and get to know those brief acquaintances a little better, too. Introduce yourself to strangers with funny hats, ask those distant friends of yours out for coffee, make it your goal to shake hands with everybody at a party, or just strike up a conversation on a whim! Everybody out there has something to contribute to your life - make it your goal to welcome all of those contributions with open arms and give something back to your new friends' lives, too!

+ Write a novel
Sit down and finally write that Great American Novel you've been planning since high school. Buy a sleek pink typewriter, brew a cup of coffee, and get to work right away creating your sci-fi dreamworld or film noir heartland or 20th century prairie or lavender-scented French countryside. Looking for an even bigger challenge? November is National Novel Writing Month - a time when brave writers  from all over the world push themselves to churn out an entire 50,000 word novel in 30 days!

Penelope ♥

Back In Action!

Photo by Kim

After dropping off the face of the Earth for a little over a month, I'm pleased to announce that the fabulous Miss Penelope Bat is back in action!

So I know what everyone's thinking - where exactly have I been? First and foremost, let me deeply apologize for my unannounced leave of absence. A lot of things contributed to it, namely the rush of the holidays, a massive work-load from art school, and a pressing need to sit down and reorganize my life. Everybody has times like those, times where everything just comes crashing down at once and you suddenly can't find the time to do the things that you really want to be doing, but I've done a bit of prioritizing and Cocoa has miraculously come out on top. I really can't tell everyone how sorry I am that I backed away like I did - Cocoa really does mean a lot to me, probably more than a sleepy little blog should, and I know that you amazing folks do enjoy reading regularly. I'm so crushed that I've let you down so I'm going into overdrive mode right now to make it up to all of you!

So here's my challenge to everyone who's still reading: drop me a line and tell me what you stunning go-go girls want to see more of! What direction do you want Cocoa to go in from here? Do you want more dazzling daily inspiration? More fabulous fashion madness? More far-fetched fairy tales? More alluring advice? Cocoa is yours, bunnies! Where do YOU want to go with it?

Penelope ♥