Take Me To Haverland: Part 2

Dear Michael Haverland,

I’m obsessed with your architectural projects and have embarked on a series to expose them to the world. This week’s feature is the glamourous Waterfront House in East Hampton, New York.

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I love myself a giant window, and so this house is just what the doctor ordered. I love how simple and graphic the design of the exterior is.

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I am fascinated by these sculptural cast bricks on the exterior. And by “fascinated” I mean “confused.” And by “confused” I mean “worried.” And by “worried” I mean “angry.”

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That I’m not laying by this pool right now, sipping a lemonade, makes me feel like I have made only bad decisions in my life.

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Everything in this room is right. Including the too-many pillows on the built-in.

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There are three chairs in this room and I want ALL of them.

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Can you imagine the glamour of waking up in that bed? Sunbeams glittering into your eyeballs, awakening you from your slumber, in which you dreamt about how luxurious your bedding was?

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More of these crazy texture-bricks. They are super Frank Lloyd Wright, but they confound me. I guess they are cool. Or not. What do you think? HALP!

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I’ve always dreamed of living in a house that looks like Lincoln Center, so that at night I would get confused and think I was going to see an opera whenever I went outside.

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So there you have it. Waterfront House. Take me to there!

Love,
Orlando

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In Honor of Jeffery Self: Empowering Breakup Songs

Dear The People Of The Internet,

Have you been following Jeffery Self? I have. He looks like this:

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You can check him out on his hilarious YouTube channel and read see his posts on Tumblr. I fell in love with Jeffery and his co-comedian Cole years ago when I saw their ridiculously awesome Recession Video. A few years after he made that video, Jeffery started dating an adorable guy and they had the cutest relationship ever, which was documented heavily on social media. It looked like this:

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I met Jeffery and his boyfriend Patrick at a pool party last year and they were adorable and sweet and friendly. But then their cute relationship ended. I was sad, because I loved them as a couple. Jeffery was sad because he lost his soul mate. As an older, wiser Gay, I told him to document his story in writing, to get it out of his head. And he has done so beautifully on his Tumblr.

What does all this have to do with you, you ask? Well the one good thing about going through a break up is that it’s an excuse to listen to power ballads sung by beautiful women without feeling guilty or self-conscious about it. Thus, I have compiled a list of songs for Jeffery (and Patrick) to listen to whilst lamenting and missing each other. And YOU can listen to these songs at work and think about poisoning your boss and stealing his job. Everyone wins!

So, wherever you are, listen to these songs RIGHT NOW. You will feel happy. You will feel sad. But mostly you’ll feel, like, totally empowered.

1. Katy Perry Part of Me [RAC Remix]

2. Hannah Georges Someone

3. Viola Wills Gonna Get Along Without You Now

4. She & Him Never Wanted Your Love

5. Tina Turner You Better Be Good to Me

6. Tegan & Sara Alligator Tears [Passion Pit Remix]

7. Björk Play Dead

8. CSS City Grrl [TEPR Remix]

9. Taylor Swift We Are Never Getting Back Together

10. Katy Perry Roar

So there you go. Every song you need to feel empowered. What’s your favorite breakup tune?

Love,
Orlando

PS: In addition to all those empowering ladysongs, also try Handle Me With Care by The Traveling Wilburys

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Friday Fashonz: What’s On Justin?

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Dear Gorgeous Person Reading This Post,

Are you reading Scout Sixteen? You should be. It’s just basically a whole site of Justin Livingston wearing cute outfits, standing on cute streets, being cute. So I’ve decided to start featuring him so that we can all ogle his outfits together. Enjoy!

This week’s outfit is a glamorous floral shirt with some perfect-fitting jeans (I could use some of those). I need an outfit transplant. Like, now. Check out the full details of his ensemble here.

Love,
Orlando

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This Week in Instagramz

Dear California,

I’ve been enamoured with you ever since I left you at 18 and spent all those years on the East Coast yearning to move back. Every day here is chock full of beautiful things to discover. Sometimes, I wake up, palm tree swaying outside my window and just think to myself “How many wonders can one cavern hold?” California. She’s got everything!

This week took me on a glamourously lonesome trip to Ojai:

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My La Habra Heights Clients. I did a totally fun, hand-painted feature wall in their kids’ playroom. Now I kind of want kids so that I can do this for them. So adorable and my clients were stoked.

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I snagged this new, extremely beautiful Pucci book from Taschen. After ogling it in the store, feeling how beautiful its silk cover was, and looking inside to see what an amazing history that company has, I had to have it.

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I’m in love with this house near Runyon Canyon. It’s a cute little Spanish style house with a Jag in the driveway. I want that life, like, right now.

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I’m sort of getting worried that I’ve started to have a few too many Weirdo-Boy from American Beauty moments lately, but I was totally enthralled with the sun setting on these yucca plants at Runyon. If you live in LA, you get kind of sick of people Insta’ing yuccas at Runyon so I felt like a total stereotype taking this picture, but I had to. Just too pretty to leave undocumented. Like your face.

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I spent last night with a friend at the Yamashiro Farmers Market. Which is really more like a food truck trailer park (in a good way) than a farmers market (I saw not one produce stand). You can grab a nice meal at food trucks (including Heirloom LA and Coolhaus) and then sit and look over the city and talk about the future, the past, and your deepest fears. I forced my friend Earl to come with me and we drank a bottle of wine with a straight couple whilst gabbing about gay dating. It was delightful!

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So there we have it. Me waddling around all over town acting like a too-emotional high school weirdo, obsessing over how pretty everything is all the time. If you want to follow my Instagram in real time, check out Hommemaker on Instagram.

Love,
Orlando

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Whut Glamour: New Illustrations from Richard Haines

Dear Richard Haines,

Every once in a while I find it necessary to peruse all the wonderful drawings you share on your gorgeous blog  What I Saw Today. They are the most beautiful fashion illustrations in the history of time and they make me want to live in a world where I am made out of gorgeous, gestural strokes of charcoal instead of flesh and bone. Here are some more recent entries:

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Love,
Orlando

PS: See more hyperbeautiful Richard Haines works here.

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What Happens in Ojai, Stays on Hommemaker

Dear Diary,

My friend Evan had a birthday party in Ojai this past weekend. At his aunt’s uberglamourous Ojai estate. I went because I wanted to celebrate Evan, but also because I’d never been to Ojai and was always curious what it was about. My only impression of it comes from Real Housewives and Brothers & Sisters. It turns out it’s a totally cute place in the middle of nowhere. Which is the exact kind of place I like.

The weekend was filled with glamorous pooltimez, drinking, and laughing whilst staring into each others eyes, loving (this creeps out my friends but I’m totally fine with it). The landscaping around the house was beautiful and the whole scene was just dripping with Californian glamour, wine pouring, glasses clinking.

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We brought along our drink holders from Summertramp. Mainly because they are the most important discovery we have ever made.

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Someone brought this totally amazing tee from RVCA, which I wanted to steal because it’s the coolest thing I’ve seen since that flamingo cup holder from Summertramp.

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I love succulents, so I found myself ogling them the whole time, along with all the beautiful topiaries that were all over the property.

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This glamourbell is how Californians call their gorgeous children to dinner:

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I was happy to run into my famous writerfriend Aaron, whose recent book Rapture Practice is doing crazy well and who I could not be more proud/envious of.

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Dinner was beautiful and being around Evan’s wonderful, loving family was totally Chicken Soup for the Heartbroken Gay’s Soul.

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I woke on Sunday morning, before everyone else, and got sad because I missed my ex boyfriend. Like me, he’s an early riser, the only other one in our group of friends who would go exploring with me early in the morning, checking out all the cool houses in the area, fantasizing about living in them. So I went on a walk alone. Ojai is a magical place, with mountains in the distance and gorgeous, tall trees that remind you of how tiny you are and how vast and lovely the world is.

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I loved this giant tree next to this 60s house. I want to live in there.

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The town of Ojai is pretty adorable. Lots of cute little shops and wineries. I grabbed a cup of (totally gross) coffee and wandered around the downtown by myself, receiving more than a few sideglances from locals for wearing a hot pink sweater, palm frond hat, and flip flops.

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I found myself obsessing over the indented typography on the front of The Oaks at Ojai. So beautifully done.

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Also squeezably adorable was the Ojai Valley Museum, which looks like a California Mission.

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Ojai has an awesome mid-century supermarket, complete with a sign that uses a gorgeous font.

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Not sure what this is, but I like to pretend it’s the real location of glamourcollege Art Center College of Design.

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Finally, the vibe of the whole little town can be summarized by this cute sign for the library. Oh that I were that naked dude, reading alone on a perch…

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Evan’s magical birthday, my lonesome wandering/pondering, and the hours spent with friends made this trip to Ojai exactly what I thought it would be. Relaxing and beautiful.

Love,
Orlando

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Dear Gays, Are You Racist?

Dear Self,

“What are you?” is a question I get a lot. Usually people ask me that question because they want to know what my ethnic background is. As you may have guessed by my full name, Orlando Dumond Soria, there’s a crazy collection of ethnicities going on behind these blue eyes, sandy brown hair, and butter-tone skin. My racial breakdown is as follows:

Mexican 50% (via Spain, like generations ago).

French/Polish/Scottish/English 50% (and probably every other European country).

My father identifies strongly with his Mexican heritage, my mom sort of cares about her Whitepeople lineage, and I sort of don’t care about either of them. I know that’s terrible, but when your family has been in California for like 5 generations on both sides and you are always the palest person in a room, you sort of don’t care about identifying with either side of your background. Not that I don’t appreciate Mexican culture or Euro culture, I just don’t really feel a part of it. Like a lot of people, I just identify with where I live (California) first, American second, and as a Raging Homosexual third.

A lot of people are confused when I tell them I am half-Latino. They think anyone with Latin heritage is going to be gorgeous and tan, with the glowing coconut skin of Ricky Martin. Gah, if only! Because of this misperception I’ve coined a new race for myself and other people like me. Whitino (White Latinos). Here are a few totally fun examples of Whitinos:

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 Robert Gant, The Hunky AIDS Boyfriend from Queer As Folk (Born Robert Gonzales)

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Raquel Welch, Gorgeous Actress and Lana Del Rey Inspiration (Born Jo Raquel Tejada)

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Juan Pablo Galavais, ABC’s First-Ever “Minority” Bachelor

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Cameron Diaz, Quintessential California Girl (Born Cameron Diaz)

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And Robert Gant. Again. For, like, no reason.

So yeah, that’s my background. I’m a secret Latino, hiding amongst everyone else without them knowing, doing secret Mexican things while no one is looking (like screaming “¡Olé!” and eating avocados). I’ve been thinking a lot about race since I wrote a blog a while back about New Year’s Resolutions. I got a lot of flack for including images of only White dudes. And I really took it to heart. I consider myself a person who values diversity very much, so how has my worldview become so White? This inspired me to ask the larger question, why does West Hollywood seem so White? How have our social circles become so segregated? Are we at fault? Is it wrong? And is there actually anything we can do about it?

I don’t know if this is my perception, or just one that I am projecting, but it is my understanding that “Mainstream Gay” culture is predominated by White guys, and that women and minorities tend to feel maligned by it. If you look at the leaders of the Gay Rights Movement, from Harvey Milk and Larry Kramer to Lance Black, you tend to see a pattern. So it makes sense that the public perception of Gay Rights and thus our collective identity would skew towards white guys. The reason I bring this up is not to give you a history lesson on the Gay Rights movement (I’d be, like, the world’s worst teacher on that subject). I bring it up because I think if there is a perception of exclusiveness in the Gay community that we should somehow be trying to combat that in the way we live our lives.

I just don’t know how to do that. It’s not like I’m going to walk up to random Black people and ask them to be my friend just so that I can feel better about having Black friends, like I’m doing something to make the world better.  The last time my life was really diverse was in college, where my friend group looked like a Cornell diversity poster. Like one Asian Girl, a Black guy, Wheelchair Girl, Effeminate Gay, Obese Dude, Dwarf Guy, Latino Girl, Ambiguous Pacific Islander Dude, the works. But once I graduated I moved to Chelsea, then to West Hollywood (I know, could I be any more of a 90s Gay stereotype? Gross). And in these communities I found myself surrounded by people just like me, most often white (in my defense I do have a semi-diverse group of friends, not as diverse as I’d like, but diverse all the same).

Because I am a maniac and I obsess about things, I’ve been running all over town asking my friends why our group is so whitewashed. After all, we live in one of the most diverse cities in the US. Here are some of the answers I’ve gotten:

1. We are segregated because of class. Socioeconomic and racial inequity are linked. We only hang out with people in our own socio-economic group, which in turn causes us to segregate racially.

This one I sort of understand, but I went to college and grad school with people of color from very wealthy backgrounds. Sure, they were outnumbered by White people, but it seems a little simplistic to say that all minorities are poor and all rich people are White.

2. We seek friends who are like ourselves, and often find commonalities with people of our own racial background.

This makes sense to me. And is probably the reason my group of friends is so homogenous. And why there are groups of Black Gay Guys that I’ve never met who have fun Black Gay Guy parties like in Noah’s Arc that I’m never invited to. Seems fine to create social circles based on commonalities. Or is it?

3. Because of the history of oppression in our country, minorities band together to find strength and thus tend to stick to themselves.

This also makes sense to me, but when do we heal? When can we move on and, like, hug each other? I guess that’s easy for me to say, because I don’t descend from slaves, have that painful history in my direct ancestry. Which probably means I should shut up.

4. Gay guys hang out with people they subconsciously want to sleep with and most Gay guys are attracted to guys who are racially identical to them.

This is a problematic argument on so many levels, and totally offensive (completely oversimplifying Gay Guys as sex robots). Which is probably why it’s true.

5. Our social spheres are the result of how we were raised. And most of us were raised in communities of people who look like us. 

This makes sense for me, as I was raised in the middle of the woods, around wholesome white Park Rangers, wholesome white resort managers, and one (literally one) Black Park Ranger. Probably one of the reasons I didn’t feel particularly tied to my Mexican roots is that all my friends were White. I was White. So even though my siblings and I had Spanish sounding names, we didn’t particularly feel like we were racially different than our friends.

It has become clear to me that this is an issue people want to discuss. Diversity, inclusion, exclusion, and the Gay community. So I’d be interested in hearing your story. Do you feel included? Do you feel like your group of friends is diverse? Do you care? Whose responsibility is it to make sure people feel included? How do we change the notion that the Gay Rights Movement is for rich White guys? I’d like it if you shared your story with me, as a Gay Person of Color, as a White Gay, as a Straight who struggles with the same lack of diversity in your friend group. Tell me everything. And then tell me how I can make my friend group look like that Cornell diversity poster again…

Love,
Orlando

PS: I realize that I only included pics of Whitinos up until now, so here is a picture of recently-out Raven-Symoné, who just may be my favorite person in the whole world. Mostly because That’s So Raven is both my favorite TV show and my favorite way of saying that something is really cool.

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