After studying in New York, I arrived home in South Africa inspired and changed. I love New York! Every single day felt like I was in a fairytale. The flight to New York from South Africa is 14 hours. I can honestly say I was welcomed into the city with open arms. I’d always imagined New York to be an intimidating place. I was thinking “Sex in the City” and famous stars like Beyonce and Jay Z walking the streets on the flight over. Not to mention that it’s the financial capital of the world – the Wall Street Stock Exchange sounds scary. But I was pleasantly surprised with how friendly the people were and how do-able the city was.
Mercado De San Miguel is one of the most exciting things to do in madrid … a day and night food market… fresh food, plenty of cocktails and- my favourite – oysters! 🙂 in cape town we have something similar called ‘the biscuit mill’
The next morning our protagonist wakes up in her hotel room with a red rose and a letter outside her door. It’s from her husband, apologizing for his affair and begging for her forgiveness. He confesses everything, along with the fact that he secretly flew in from his business trip in Vermont just to watch her show. In the letter he tells her how magnificent her performance was and how much he loves her and how sorry he is. He asks, with one single red rose, if she will accept his apology and forgive him. He writes about the dreams and plans for their lives together which they once had. He wants to re-ignite those dreams, as well as the flame between them. Our protagonist reads the letter and is taken back to a time when they were indeed very much in love and shared many dreams. She thinks about their memories and the passionate times they’ve shared together as she decides what she will do.
1. The Rose. Roses are ancient symbols of love and beauty. The red rose was also adopted as a symbol of the blood of the Christian martyrs. Obviously the rose is the perfect symbol of the love between our protagonist and her husband, as well as the beauty of their relationship. The red is associated with blood which is also poignant as blood is connected to life. It is responsible for transporting oxygen and nutrients around our body, as well as playing a role in removing waste from our system. In a way, this symbol represents that he wishes to remove the ‘waste’ that has accumulated in their relationship – culminating in the toxic affair. As blood also plays a role in repair in our bodies, so this symbol serves furthermore to represent his wish to take the first steps toward repairing the life they have together that has been wounded. Again, the red of the rose playing a role as a motif throughout our story. See it’s symbolism HERE.
2. Perfume. While she is relieved, she is unsure what to do. She wonders about whether or not she will forgive him as she gets ready. On her dressing table is everything beautiful, delicate, feminine and luxurious. It represents her inner self and the side of herself she is confident in, unlike their relationship which she is unsure of. We have her seated at her dressing table as she remembers all their loving times together. She sprays on her favourite perfume. It’s the same scent she was wearing when they first met, on a romantic rainy evening years ago, and this moment takes her back to that time. The definition of perfume is “A pleasing, agreeable scent or odor”, made up of the word “fuming” – To fill or permeate with fragrance; impart a pleasant odor to. This is symbolic as these memories are like a pleasing fragrance to a troubled mind. She thinks back to their gentle and sensual first kiss.
3. Music. Finally she makes her decision. She decides to forgive him and give their love another try. Her exuberance in spirit is matched only by her cheeky smile as she realizes that “she’s still got it!“. Her husband has chosen to stay with her over his mistress. There is a sense of triumph mixed with lighthearted relief. Their love is indeed the same beautiful song she’s remembered all along. We have her sitting next to a piano, with her smile at the outcome of her tragedy as the symbolic Crescendo in the musical score that was this story.
Here are some behind-the-scenes pics:
I’ve found I’ve been asked to help out with the planning of a lot of stuff lately. Something I realized was that most people are terrified when they hear the word “party” or “birthday” because they know that this means they have to throw something. Let’s breathe! From my experience, our fears of what our guests expect on our big day are way disproportional to their actual expectations.
So here are my pointers / rules:
1. Start Early. It’s horrible running around days before the party. Make sure you begin your planning about 3 weeks in advance.
2. Don’t Just Use Facebook. Use text also. Believe it or not, not everyone bothers to check their event invites on Facebook and it would be really terrible if you are missing guests because you presume they know about the party. I suggest texting and e-mailing if you have their e-mail addresses.
3. Always over-invite. You’ll be surprised at people’s priorities. They don’t all stick to their commitments So make sure you add an extra five or so people to the list in case ‘life’ just ‘happens’ to some. It would be a shame to let all that good food go to waste – or worse, if you planned seating, to have empty seats.
4. Plan on a colour scheme. If you don’t have a specific theme that can guide your decorating, try a nice colour. Colours are great and can provide a nice base for decorating the venue! It depends on what the event is and how personal you want to get, but you can use your colour scheme to guide you when buying plastic cups, plates, bowls, ribbons, banners, balloons, invites and even the clothes if you want people to get into the festive spirit.
5. Arrange for music. Music is a really good ice-breaker and adds ambiance to the environment. Make sure you have some kind of stereo system set up, or even just a plain CD player. You can make a CD of music according to your crowd. It depends what kind of event it is, but jazz is always a great backdrop if you are having a dinner party. An alternative to music systems would be to get a live musician – a singer with a guitar is a great idea.
6. Always over-cater. Try get a nice catering company if it’s a big event. Even if it’s a small one, I recommend you use a local caterer to make the food. Unless it’s a dinner party where you are cooking yourself. Caterers are good with providing a lot of variety and you can use their experience to give you an idea for numbers. Catered food always looks professional, it’s fresh and if you get platters (savoury platters are always a hit), it arrives an hour before the party and there’s no fuss or cleaning up for you. In my experience, people eat more than you think!! You can also always take left overs home to enjoy over the following week.
7. Get wine and champagne. Again, it depends on the kind of event you are having, but (if it’s for adults) a must-have booze is red and white wine and a bottle or two of good champagne. You can also make punch – a great recipe for Sangria punch is HERE. A nice one for a Bloody Mary punch is HERE. Beer is also good if you know your crowd likes beer, as are basic ciders. But make sure you always have a non-alcoholic option like a soda or juice. There’s nothing more awkward than being the guest at a party which hasn’t catered for you. Another option if you’re having something more relaxed, is to tell your guests to bring their own booze. It’s up to you. This works nicely as they know what they like to drink. Most do anyway.
8. Balloons are nice! Okay, so what is a real party without balloons? Try and get 2 bunches of five balloons at least to fill up the room (hey, if you’re gonna do this, you may as well do it right hey?) 🙂
9. Give your guests a TIME. One of the worst things in my experience is to not know when to leave. Don’t put your guests in that position and give them a legit time to leave. Make it run for like 4 hours and then let them know via the invite your times (e.g. 7pm-11pm). This lets them know that it’s okay for them to say goodbye at a certain time viz. you won’t hold it against them. This time ‘says’ that there’s a designated time they can walk up to you and say: “Thanks so much for the great night, I’m going.” You can all smile and hug and say goodbye and everyone will be much more comfortable and happy. You can end on a high! Don’t let your party drag on. Besides your guests, this rule is for you; so you can feel that you’ve done your job and it’s finished. It will also force the stragglers who do like to hang around eating and drinking you out of house and home to leave!
10. Send out thank you’s for your presents. This is a huge rule for me that’s close to my heart because I know what it’s like when you have gone out of your way to buy and wrap a gift for someone with lots of love and thought put into it, and they don’t say thank you. I have had this more time than I care to remember; birthdays, anniversaries, stork parties, weddings – why do people do this? For me it’s the first thing I do when I open my gifts the next day. I write down a list of every gift I’ve received and who it is from. I then make it my personal mission to e-mail, facebook message or text them to say thank you. And I make it personal. I say; “Thank you for the soaps or for the perfume.” I personalize it to what they actually got me. This goes down very well and it makes then think fondly of you an remember the party with kind memories.
Hope these help and that the event you are planning is unforgettable!