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Announcing Two New Calendars for 2020

30 Sep

A friend reached out to me asking if I had a new calendar on sale yet. I was so surprised! I didn’t realize people looked forward to them so much. I love creating them, picking a theme, selecting the photographs, and creating new artwork, but I’ve never had huge sales on them (it’s super hard to make any significant profit since it costs so much to print them because of the color photography) so I didn’t think anyone was paying all that close attention to when they came out. After all, it’s still only September!

Well, I’m happy to announce that I now have not one but two calendars for sale for the year 2020!

Hellas is a calendar featuring photographs I’ve taken in Greece. This one is dear to my heart. I create it with my father in mind because years before I began creating calendars, he always wanted me to get him calendars. My first foray into calendar-making began with creating a calendar that I thought he would like. Now I have the pleasure of sharing my heritage with you and other Hellenophiles every day of the year with this calendar!

My Cup Runneth Over is a calendar devoted to those seeking to cultivate an attitude of gratitude throughout 2020. If Hellas was created with my father in mind, then My Cup Runneth Over, with its subtle coffee theme and optimism, is inspired in part by my mother. If you’re into mindfulness, spirituality, and gratitude and are seeking subtle reminders to find the good in each day, then this is the calendar for you.

 

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Experience the beauty of Greece every day of the year with HELLAS, a 2020 calendar. The natural landscape of the Mediterranean comes to life in the rich, colorful photography of Greek beaches, wildflowers, and lush palm trees. As you record your daily appointments in the calendar, the stresses of life will recede like the tide of the ocean. This calendar features US and Greek holidays. On sale now.

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Cultivate a life of gratitude each day of 2020 with the Your Cup Runneth Over Calendar. Each morning as you savor a cup of coffee, take a moment to give thanks. Every day offers a fresh start and an opportunity to practice thanksgiving. By focusing on the things you have to be thankful for, even if some days they may feel like small things, you will transform your attitude and become a more positive person. Your newfound optimism will help you to enjoy the life you currently have even as you seek to improve it one day at a time. Consider these prompts: What are you grateful for experiencing as a child? What friendships are you thankful for today? What do you appreciate about your neighborhood? How can you tell someone you’re thankful for them today? Each day, take a moment to stop and smell the coffee! On sale now.

Have you started planning for 2020 yet?

Don’t forget to mark your calendars with my upcoming events. Find my list of upcoming readings and writing workshops here. I’d love to mark my calendar with any readings, art shows, and concerts you’re involved in too, so drop me a line in the comments section with your upcoming events.

If you’re new to my page and are curious what else I’ve published, hop over to my Publications page to check out my books.

fbp’s “Tomorrow Jams More”

30 Mar
#fbp’s ‘Tomorrow Jams More’ plus #OpenMic and #KatieHenryBand 
Nuyorican
SATURDAY, MARCH 31, 2018
4PM-7PM
#NuyoricanPoetsCafe (236 East 3rd St., New York, NY)
$15 door
See more info here.
Featuring:::
#ChrisBarrera vocals guitar songwriting 
Ciro Visconti II lead guitar
Jonathan Toscano bass
#KatieHenry vocals piano songwriting
Misia Vessio drums vocals
Jani Rose and sons poetry guitar vocals
Camille Schmoeker interpretive dance
Lorena Mnemosyne Cabrera belly dance
Rick Villa timbales
Angel Segarra congas
Elena Ridolfi vocals and social-media
Beatrice Pelliccia theatre and social-media
Lama John Heaviside poetry
Dana Steer theatre
Michael Oakes theatre
Elizabeth Botti opera
Stephanie Nikolopoulos reads #Homer in #AncientGreek and her original work
Virdell Williams opera and gospel
#JonathanFritz guitar
#AntarGoodwin bass
#AntoineAlvear keyboards 🎹
Adrian Norpel guitar
Ronnie Norpel comedy, theatre
RÁ #poetry #theatre harmonica tabla vocals

We’ll open with a jam of The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” and end with Chris Barrera sing-along jam of The Kinks’ live “Lola”

In between with the original songwriting of Chris Barrera, RÁ Araya’s new concept experimental script musical…. And other special guests yet to be confirmed

Produced by #flashbackpuppy #fbp #ElectricCupidund the one chord wonders

#Loisaida #LowerEastSide #Manhattan #NYC

https://www.nuyorican.org/event/1645891-ra-araya-s-music-poetry-new-york/

 

One Swallow Does Not Make a Summer

22 Aug

AristotleNicomacheanEthics

“One swallow does not make a summer,
neither does one fine day;
similarly one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.”

~Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics

Find my other posts on Aristotle here.

The Olympics: Invented by the Greeks

5 Aug

Ancient Olympics Nikolopoulos

We Greeks like to claim we invented just about everything.

The most famous? We invented democracy.

If you’ve watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding — 1 or 2 — you know that Greeks invented any word you can think of. This is not an exaggeration. I grew up hearing my father explain to me the Greek root to English words all … the … time.

We even invented cheesecake.

And, we invented the Olympics.

You’re welcome, by the way.

Today is opening ceremonies for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It’s always an exciting event, with a lot of intense political and social history.

I had the amazing experience of attending the Summer Olympics when they were in Athens, Greece! You can see a few photos from that trip here.

I’ve also been several time to the site of the Ancient Olympics. The first Olympics were held in Olympia, Greece. This happens to be on the Peloponnese peninsula where my father grew up, so I grew up visiting there and then as an adult brought my own friends there. You can see my Ancient Greek Olympics photographs from over the years here.

The Greeks invented the Olympics in the 8th century BC to celebrate the mythological Greek god Zeus. Consequently, they were not just about athletics but were highly religious: there were two temples and an altar built. During Antiquity, the games were held every four years. The Olympic games were opened up to all citizens of the Roman Empire during the Roman rule. The games were held until Theodosius I, a Christian emperor of the Roman Empire, banned the pagan rituals of the Olympic games in the 4th century AD. After him, Theodosius II had the temple to Zeus destroyed. For details on the Ancient Greek Olympics, read up here.

For the official modern-day Olympics, visit the Olympics website.

 

Sometimes it’s fun to think of what Olympic games I’d invent if I were in charge of the games today. Here are my picks:

 

  • Olive wreath crown-making
  • Subway turnstile hurdling
  • Best personal essay about gym class
  • Speed typing
  • Freestyle walking

Go, team, go!

 

 

 

 

Summer Fruit Salad with Mastiha-Flavored Yogurt

12 Jul

 

The other day I spotted Homeric Mastiha in the store, and I had to try it! I’d heard of mastiha but never tried the legendary Greek liqueur. I like anything with a literary connection, and Stoupakis’ Homeric Chios Mastiha Spirit offered a unique intermingling of literature, Hellenophilia, and food and beverage.

Made from evergreen bushes found only on the Greek island of Chios, mastiha — or, gum mastic — is a Greek liqueur with a sweet and herbal finish. It’s known for its health benefits: it promotes gum health and is anti-inflammatory.

It’s a special alcoholic beverage on its own, which I’d say tastes closer to gin than ouzo. It occurred to me, though, that it would be a fun way to jazz up a summery fruit salad. I was right! I love Greek yogurt, but I have to be in the mood for it. It can be a bit sour at times. Mixing it with mastiha gives such a delightful floral taste. I’m not sure everyone would like it. It’s very Greek. If you hate loukoumi (Turkish delight), you probably won’t like anything flavored with mastiha. I, for one, thought it made the boozy fruit salad with yogurt something elegant. Here’s my recipe:::

  1. Scoop out your favorite Greek yogurt. I used plain Fage. This traditional Greek yogurt got its start in Athens in 1926. It’s known for being packed with protein and great for vegetarians, so definitely a winning combination for me!
  2. Wash and slice peaches, nectarines, and strawberries. Leaving the skins on is not only easier (yay!), but it’s also better for you! It’s got great nutrients in it. Toss the fruit over the yogurt.
  3. Douse the fruit-topped yogurt with mastiha.

It’s really that simple! I don’t have suggestions for portion size or how much mastiha I used. It’s really up to individual preference.

I packed mine in a to-go container and ate it in Central Park. It was delightful!

You may like these related blog posts:::

 

 

 

 

 

Feisty Blood Orange and Supergreens Salad

29 Mar

Nikolopoulos Blood Orange

Stephanie Blood Orange

red onions

supergreens blood orange salad

Years ago, when my mother still lived in the States, she used to purchase sparkling Italian blood orange juice. It was tangy and just a little bit spicy. I felt glamorous whenever I drank it.

The Arancia Rossa di Sicilia (Red Orange of Sicily) has protected geographical status in Europe, much like champagne can only be called such if it is actually from the Champagne region of France and how feta is a protected designation of origin (PDO) product of Greece. Needless to say, my father has just about every citrus fruit imaginable in his garden in Greece, he does not have the vibrant-colored blood orange.

It’s currently citrus season in New York, and when I saw blood oranges at the supermarket I scooped them up without hesitation. They bring such exoticism to the table. I decided to make a blood orange with super-greens salad, perfect for revitalizing energy.

Here’s the recipe:::

Wash your favorite greens or a mixture of favorites. I used Organic Girl’s Super Greens, which is a zesty mixture of five different greens:

tangy red & green chard, hearty bok choy, and spicy arugula accented with mild sweet spinach.

Peel as many firm blood oranges as your heart desires. (I used three blood oranges for one 5 ounce container of greens.) With the peel removed, leave the fruit in its ball shape. It’s okay to leave the white pith on it–in fact, it’s actually healthier to do so. Take a sharp knife and cut the blood orange ball into slices.

Next, peel a red onion and cut it into thin slices. Then, gently push the insides of each slice so that it separates into rings.

Toss the blood-slices and the red-onion rings into the super greens. Drizzle with blood-orange olive oil. I used The Filling Station’s Blood Orange Olive Oil, which a friend gave me as a housewarming gift. The oil is warm and soothing, a great complement to the tangy-er and zestier ingredients.

Enjoy! The blood oranges are a delicious source of vitamin C and the greens are excellent sources of vitamin K and vitamin A. The red onion is high in flavonoids. It’s a healthy salad with a beautiful presentation that is sure to impress guests. Invite a starving artist over for dinner!

You may also like:::

 

 

 

 

 

A Greek Cure for the Common Cold

1 Mar

NikolopoulosRakomelo

“A little more, Antonkai,” my yiayia used to say to my father when she was feeling sick and wanted some homemade tsipouro, a Greek liquor made from the leftover skins of grapes. She only drank a little at a time but would keep having my father refill her glass with just a little more.

I followed Greek wisdom the other evening when I wasn’t feeling well: I had a little warmed up rakomelo, which is like tsipouro but with honey in it. I woke up feeling the best I’d felt in a long time.

My father later told me his mother drank Metaxa, similarly a Greek brandy-like drink.

 

You may also like:::

 

 

 

 

Dressing John Stamos for Awards Season

31 Jan

Grandfathered

It’s awards season in Hollywood, and Greek-American actor John Stamos just won Favorite Actor in a New Series for Grandfathered at the 42nd People’s Choice Awards! At the January 6, 2016, event, he hammed it up for the crowd, stopping to take selfies with adorable young fans. He looked quite suave in a black velvet suit accented with a red pocket square.

He seems to be a fan of the red pocket square.

He wore the red pocket square again recently, still with an all black suit, though this time it wasn’t velvet and there was a tie involved. (William Shatner was also involved.)

He wore it better with a tux a few weeks prior to the People’s Choice Awards when he attended The 67th Emmys Governors Ball. He told People:

“All dolled up and sporting Frank Sinatra’s pocket square. Given to me by his manager, the great Tony O.”

Okay, if I had a pocket square that once belonged to Frank Sinatra, I might wear it out as often as possible too!

But the pocket square might be getting a bit too ubiquitous. I mean, it’s kind of like how fellow Greek-American Jeffrey Eugenides became so known for his vest that someone started a Twitter account for Eugenides’ vest. Is someone going to start @StamosPocketSquare?

Even The Washington Post commented on it, though that time he wasn’t wearing Sinatra’s red pocket square but a different one.

I think it’s time for John Stamos to find a new accessory! If you follow him on Instagram, you know the man looks good in a pair of glasses. I’d like to see Stamos rock a pair of glasses at his next awards show. I’d recommend these Greek Handmade Frames:

eyeglasses_1-1

 

It would be great to see more Greek-American stars using their influence to help Greek and Greek-American companies, particularly during the Greek economic crisis.

John Stamos strikes me as a man who can pull off a piece of jewelry. I say, ditch the red pocket square and wear a piece of striking jewelry. After seeing Konstantino’s exquisite jewelry at the welcome reception for the GABBY Awards, I would pick a piece from his Byzantium collection for Stamos to wear:

bizantium_1

And you know how his Full House (and now Fuller House!) character Uncle Jesse was obsessed with his hair? I would obviously have Christo, the Greek-American hairstylist behind Curlisto, do Stamos’ hair. Curlisto did hair for the runways for the Greek American Fashion Week, and he has an entire line of men’s haircare products:

Curlisto

On to the fashion! For clothing, John Varvatos is a Greek-American clothing designer who creates stylish looks. For an awards show, Stamos could wear a grey John Varvatos Cotton Shirt.

Cotton-Shirt

Over the shirt, I would add some sophistication with this black Cotton Vest with Piping Detail:

Cotton-Vest-with-Piping-Detail

And over that, I’d layer Varvatos’ black Cotton Jacquard Jacket:

jacket

For pants, a simple black pair of pants like Varvatos’ Wool Blend Pant would do nicely:

pants

 

When Tommy John approached me about dressing a Greek star for the red carpet this awards season, I thought to myself:

Really? But can’t I just leave him … undressed?

I mean, he did just recently share a picture of himself on Instagram in his undies!

Stamos2

And then there was that time in 2014 when the Oikos spokesman showed off his underwear with the Greek yogurt logo on it.

Stamos

Why not just leave him in Tommy John’s underwear Second Skin Square Cut:

Red Carpet 2 TJ

And Tommy John’s Second Skin Crew Neck Undershirt:

Red Carpet 4

Have mercy!

Experience Hellas Every Day of 2016

14 Dec

HellasCalendar2016

I took this photograph in May of this year while standing on the beach across from my parents’ house in Greece. The name of the beach is Lagouvardos, which is part of the Peloponnese. I’d stolen one last look at the beach before I traveled back up to Athens to catch a plane.

Like the tides, I have a come-and-go relationship with Greece. It seems like I no sooner arrive, and it’s time for me to leave again. Perhaps like so many children of immigrants, I struggle with the concept of home. I call New York my home. I love the skyscrapers and window-shops, the fast-paced energy. It’s difficult in the beginning for me to settle into the quieter lifestyle of Greece, and yet soon it feels as if I’ve been there all along. Indeed, I’ve known my family’s house in Greece many years longer than the apartment I now live in in New York. More than that, it’s family that makes a home. It’s heartbreaking every time I have to leave.

I created Hellas: A 2016 Calendar to capture the natural beauty of Lagouvardos and Filiatra. The photographs show the blue, blue waters my father grew up swimming in; wildflowers that signify Greek resilience; our blue-and-white flag flying victoriously; and mountains rising toward heaven.

Experience the beauty of Greece every day of the year with Hellas, a 2016 calendar. The natural landscape of the Mediterranean comes to life in rich, colorful photography of Greek beaches, wildflowers, and lush palm trees. As you record your daily appointments in the calendar, the stresses of life will recede like the tide of the ocean in these stunning photographs.

Purchase your own copy of Hellas here.

Consulate General of Greece in New York Proves That Current Greek Art Matters

26 Oct
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The new art exhibion Colors of Greece at the Consulate General of Greece in New York is a phenomenal display of artistic diversity. I was thoroughly impressed by the variety of subject matter and aesthetic style of Greece’s contemporary artists.
 
Contemporary Greek art—be it visual art, as it was in this case, or the literary arts—matters to me a lot. Now, more than ever.
 
As a Greek, I am proud of my country’s rich Classical history. Our ancient art and architecture is revered the world over, and for good reason. To this day, I still stand in awe every time I look up at the Parthenon. How could anyone not? And yet, as well-meaning individuals speak to me about Olympia and Homer and all the beautiful work of Greece’s centuries’ old history, a part of me feels frustrated that only the Greece of the past is recognized. It is as if the Greece of today is nonexistent in their eyes. I think most Americans would be hard-pressed to name any Greek artists living today.
 
This saddens me because Greeks and Greek Americans have done much to enliven the postmodern art world. As a scholar of the Beat Generation, I have often turned to the art of the 1940s and ’50s. Specifically, I have researched the abstract expressionists who hung out at the Cedar Tavern and mingled with the Beats. Several of the most famous abstract-expressionist artists were Greek American: Wiliam Baziotes, Theodore Stamos, and Peter Voukos. Another famous artist of that time period was neon-sculpturist Stephen Antonakos. Today, there are artists like Maria Fragoudakis, who continues the collage and pop-art work of that era. These artists have done exceptional work that does not hinge on their being Greek.
Colors of Greece, likewise, demonstrates the vast scope of Greek art in 38 works. The artists cast their eye far and wide, landing on people swimming in blue, blue bodies of water; dramatic flora; city streets; the human face. Their style is photorealistic, figurative and full of emotion, abstractions. In a small exhibit hall it may perhaps seem jarring to view dissimilar works, and yet that is what makes this exhibit so special. It only captures a small sliver of the variety of work Greek artists today are doing. 
 
At a time when contemporary Greece is looked at through a negative political and economic lense, drawing attention to contemporary Greek artists’ work is a political statement. The Consuate General of Greece in New York shows that there is more to Greece than what you see on the evening news and read in history textbooks. There is a Greece that is vibrant, full of life, energetic, and colorful. There is a Greece that sees beauty among the ruins. It is the artists who perhaps will raise Greece up, who will innovate, who will create a new Greek generation.
 
Colors of Greece runs until October 30, 2015. Free of charge, the exhibit is open to the public from 9:00am to 2:30pm at the Consulate General of Greece in New York, located at 69 East 79th Street.
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Also, I’m pleased to announce Hellas, a 2016 wall calendar that I created using photographs I took while in Greece this past summer. You can purchase it here.