The Copper Colored Gal

Sorry for the two month hiatus but you know it is summer and I've been enjoying the heck out of it!!

As I sit and wait to see if a great idea pops into my head about my next blog post (remember I'm new at this), I'm reminded how I want to approach things in my life. I try to keep things simple. So, the obvious is to tell the story of how I came to start my business and how I came up with it's name. Maybe my story is different and maybe it's not.

In 1994, I was living in Southern California. I grew up in Orange County and just the year before I was studying classical voice at CSUN in the San Fernando Valley. I moved back to the O.C. to finish my degree but continued to venture to Los Angeles to hang out in all the hip jazz and music venues. During that time,  all the best New York musicians would make the rounds at The Jazz Bakery, Catalina's Bar & Grill, Museum Venues and the Playboy Jazz Festival.

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Amber, Cynthia and I at the Playboy Jazz Festival

(Back Story) I started to go out to hear live jazz during the mid 80's. You see I grew up in a musical family. My brothers, father, uncles and everyone we knew were musicians, so I basically started hanging out with musicians at an early age.


The Divine One, Sarah Vaughn and me on the Hollywood walk of fame.

Los Angeles, CA.

Los Angeles, CA.



I was lucky enough to be around to hear musicians like Benny Carter, Freddie Hubbard, Betty Carter, Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Shirley Horn, Cedar Walton, Joe Henderson, Johnny Griffin, Ray Charles and so many more. It was a fun time for me. Jazz made me excited, adventurous and left me feeling happy and alive.


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This is the great Shirley Horn! She was my idol. I would go see her at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel every time she was in town. Carmen McRae was in the audience one night and Rudy and I met and chatted with her. A double thrill!

Being a young twenty something woman, most of my friends and family were not into listening to jazz or even familiar with it. Frank Sinatra was jazz to them. I loved bebop, modern jazz and just plain music that swung. Just after the new year in 1994 I met Rudy. He was in his 60's and a huge connoisseur of jazz and lived in NYC in his early years. He would invite me to hang out with him at all the jazz spots in L.A. He even turned me on to many new (at least to me they were new) and classic recordings of singers.



My sister Olivia, the legendary bassist  Ray Brown  and me!

My sister Olivia, the legendary bassist Ray Brown and me!

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Me and the one and only Kenny Burrell.


So one night he took me to go check out a New York based trio lead by pianist Benny Green. There was a big article in the L.A. Times about his latest recording with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Kenny Washington. I was familiar with all the artist and heard them play at one  point or another. I saw Benny play with Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, Christian with the Young Lions and Kenny through his recordings via the radio. The night Rudy and I were at the club (I subsequently went to the club 3 times with 3 different people to hear the band that week), we approached the artists to pay our respects. First it was Benny, who was chatting with Chick Corea who was in the audience. We were introduced and chatted. As we turned to walk out of the club, Mr. Kenny Washington was sitting near the exit. We stopped to say hello and that's where it happened!! I introduced myself and told him how much I enjoyed his playing, like most people did as they left the performance. We shook hands and that's when he said, "Where are you from?" I get that all the time from people who rarely can pinpoint what my heritage is. Anyway, I said, "L.A." like the smart ass that I am. "No", he said. "Where did you get that Copper Colored Skin?" Ok, no need to tell you the rest of this particular part of the story (maybe in a later post), except for a tiny bit of info about Mr. Washington. I found out later that during the late 90's and 2000's he was a host of his own radio show in NYC and a jazz historian. Like many jazz greats that came before him, he was a big nickname giver. Well, I'm happy to say that on that night, I was given the nickname Copper Colored Gal. Copper Colored Gal of Mine was a song recorded by both Fats Waller & Cab Calloway with his Orchestra between 1934-1937.

 Everything came together after I chose the name. I will elaborate more on why & how I started my business in a later blog post.

Thanks for listening.


Benny Green and I at the old Catalina's bar & Grill

Benny Green and I at the old Catalina's bar & Grill

I just wanted to leave you with a little something before I go...

The Johnny Griffin Quartet featuring a young Kenny Washington on drums.



Celebrating Mom!!


I wanted to celebrate my mom this Mother's Day by highlighting some of her signature dishes.

Growing up, my mom would make fresh flour tortillas for the family.  It was something she didn't know how to do so when she married my dad he taught her how to make them. Then she taught me. She said he was so patient with her. It took her a long time to get them right. Sometimes they would  turnout hard and tasteless but my dad never said a thing about it. Eventually they turn out alright.

When I was in high school, Dad would work in the a.m. and Mom would work the swing shift 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. She would make the tortilla dough before she left for work and leave it for me to roll out and cook for our family dinner. It was a lonely job so I would call Janet (my across the street neighbor) to come over and keep me company. She would sit at the kitchen bar as I would make us fresh quesadillas and talk about boys. I never really made them from scratch, I just shaped and cooked them. Mom never measured anything so I can't give you her recipe. Although, I did find a recipe online that was pretty close. I've been meaning to try this recipe but I'm fond of corn tortillas. As my dad would call them "tortillas de palo." That means tortillas made out of wood, lol.

Jauja Cocina Mexicana

Another staple in my mom's kitchen is her homemade salsa! Chef Rick Bayless is always a great resource for Mexican cooking. I call him "My Husband" because I want him to cook for me all the time. My mom and I talk about him and his television series "Mexico - One Plate At A Time". This salsa is a family favorite!

Feliz Dia De Las Madres!

THANK YOU MOM!! xoxoxo

Note: Add lots of garlic too!!


My City

My City

Welcome to my first blog post:

I'm Alejandra! A former Cali gal, now a full fledged New Yorker. This  October will be my 20th year here in Brooklyn. Wow! It's hard to believe I've stayed here this long.

I say Brooklyn not NYC because Brooklyn is my New York. Many people outside of the city think of Manhattan as the city. As I was schooled early on, NYC is all 5 boroughs, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island.

I came to NYC in 1998 to find something I knew I couldn't find in Southern California. Los Angeles and Orange County are nice especially the weather but I knew I wanted to experience what life and living were really about. Boy, this place could eat you alive if you don't have the stomach for it.


I took this picture on a rainy day while sightseeing in Dumbo, Brooklyn with my niece Demi from California.

My goal in this blog is to share my experiences with you in hopes that it will inspire you and give you the courage to open your heart and soul to new people, places and ideas.

I'm not planning on writing a novel here because  if you're reading this here you can see that I have other things on my plate.

As I explore the world of blogging I want to feature some funny and interesting people that I've come across in the last 20 years. Also highlight the cool places, adventures and insights of being a designer/maker.

My friends are an array of performers, artists, musicians, food and fashion industry folks. I surround myself with lots and lots of talent. They are all warriors in my eyes and are on a continuous journey of personal reinvention.

I've seen the reinventing thing first hand and NYC is the perfect place to do it!


The spectacular view from Robert's Restaurant at Columbus Circle. I was  having Easter Brunch with my big brother G a few years ago.

Since we are on this journey together I'd  like to hear from you! So please share your thoughts or questions.











Me waiting for the F train in Manhattan