Artsy Fartsy

I’m not sure what it is, but I’ve perked up lately and been really inspired to create things. This time it’s watercolors! Or just art in general. It’s hard to explain this wall I’ve had up. It doesn’t make much sense. I enjoyed art when I was a kid but I would get really frustrated if I couldn’t draw something perfect and then intimidated by the world of amazing artists. I figured I could always return to it as a hobby but post college, every time I’ve tried to sketch or paint something I’ve been crippled by the fact that it might suck and I’d waste my art supplies and time on a crappy painting. This really makes no sense since you need to practice to get any better… so lately I’ve had this epiphany. What sparked it was a photograph of a woman out to lunch with some friends sketching a pizza she ordered and drinking wine. I think it made me realize how cool this is and how it’s actually an enjoyable activity. I want to be that woman! So that night, I went to Michaels and bought some new paintbrushes and a sketchbook and dusted off my old paints and fancy water color papers. Now that I’m fully armed with supplies and determination I’m breaking down this proverbial wall I’ve build up and I’m making art!! I’m not saying it’s any good but at least I’m doing it.

That said, I’m a little scared to post some of the things I’ve made just yet but I did make myself a dandy little portable art kit that Steve said would be really cool to share on my blog… so, here it is!

The only thing new that I had to purchase were the little plastic containers to hold the paint and they were only $5. I also spent a lot of time debating on the type of sketchbook because I knew I wanted to use watercolors but I didn’t want a spiral notebook and I wanted the pages to open completely and the only watercolor sketchbooks moleskin makes are landscape oriented which I really didn’t want. So I took a risk and bought the regular sketchbook (with my 50% off coupon) and it paid off. The paper wrinkles slightly but not nearly as bad as I thought it would.

So here’s what’s in my kit:

  • The brushes are from a cheap brush set I bought several years ago, I sharpened the one with the pointy tip so it would fit in the box and I could use the tip to make marks in the paint
  • Betsy Johnson binder clips (impulse buy)
  • Old Honey/Jam jar for water
  • Colored Sharpie pens- probably won’t use these- I just threw them in because I liked the colors
  • Fancy 4B drawing pencil I stole from my Mom a loooong time ago (shhh…)
  • Tech Liner Drawing Pens
  • Pencil Sharpener
  • Eraser
  • Small travel spray bottle- I think this was part of a travel kit I never used
  • Charcoal Pencils Set– Fits Perfectly in the lid
  • Paper Towel
  • Various Paints in plastic containers
  • Tin I found in my grandparent’s house before they moved out
  • Moleskin sketchbook

The “kit” is rather large. I’ve seen lots of watercolor sets in Altoid boxes and old watercolor tins. I think the idea is to scavenge around your house and pull together whatever you need to make a painting. If I actually use it, I can definitely work on some improvements or maybe invest in a real travel watercolor kit. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up and go sketching and painting outside somewhere. Let me know if you want to join me so I don’t look like the only weirdo drinking wine, drawing stick figures and spattering paint everywhere!

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Thanksgiving Feast

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About a month ago, Steve came home with a giant 16 lb turkey because it was “on sale”. After some Pinterest consultations and Bon Appetit page flipping, I got overly excited and decided to make Thanksgiving dinner…..for two…..on a Wednesday. I’ve had better ideas.

Brussel Sprouts

We already had this guy on hand. We geeked out at whole foods a few days before when we saw brussel sprouts on a stem! It looked like one of these from band class and I kept half-expecting them to ring when I moved it.

bread cubes yuuuum

I think pursued this whole endeavor so I’d have an excuse to make homemade stuffing.  I used this recipe from Bon Appetit and even though it took much longer than I thought (I think I kept turning off the oven instead of the timer) it was AMAAAZING. It was so rich and savory and decadent I could have eaten the entire dish. (So much better than Stove Top.)

Behold, the finished product:

I wish I could eat this picture

Cheese Platter

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Turns out brussel sprouts taste amazing when cooked with bacon. Who knew?!? Here is everything minus the turkey.

Sides

I also made pumpkin spoon bread but it was disgusting so I didn’t even take a picture.

The pup

Don’t let that cute face fool you. He did nothing to contribute! But he helped with the leftovers. We ended up boiling the carcass down and making a delicious stock that we used to make a soup with the leftover turkey. Even that was delicious. Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. I’m so bummed it’s over but so thankful I got to celebrate it twice this year! Maybe we’ll start this as a gluttonous Nimitz tradition. Now on to Christmas!

Some Serious Dancing with Disregard

Do you like that new header there? I drew and painted it myself! I also spent a lot of time cropping and editing and adding fancy texts in photoshop only to find out it was too wide for the template header… for ALL template headers actually, so it’s the cropped version. I also wanted to point out that bump there on the blue girl is not a boob. It’s a shoulder (thanks, Steve). And the glitter. You know you can’t have a dance party without some glitter.

So in honor of my new header and first water color painting since I was 6, here is some serious dancing with disregard (I’ve watched this video 100 times in the past 3 days, it’s amazing and those dance moves are a great workout)

Yelle – Comme Un Enfant (Freaks Remix)

I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog lately, and I’ve concocted some big ideas. I really can’t wait to share. In the meantime here’s a pretty picture.

Summer Playlist

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I spent a lot of time staring at my computer screen at work this summer. No Bahamas vacations for me this year :( but luckily, I have no shame in wearing giant noise-cancelling headphones while I’m chained to my desk so I decided to share some tunes I’ve been jamming out to this summer. It’s much easier to check out my playlist on Spotify here  Summer but I also went through the painstaking effort of copying the songs below.

1. Hannah Cohen- Sunrise (Man Without Country Remix)

2. Daughter- Still

3. Bonobo, Andreya Triana- Eyesdown

4. Lykke Li- Love Out of Lust

5. War Paint- Billie Holiday

6. Bon Iver- Beach Baby

7. Bonobo- Cirrus

8. Daft Punk, Panda Bear- Doin’ it Right

9. Klangkarussell- Sonnentanz

10. Gold Panda- Junk City II

11. Daphni- Ye Ye

12. Mario Castro Neves- Candomble

13. Bonobo- Emkay

14. Grimes- Genesis

15. Blouse- Time Travel

16. Disclosure, AlunaGeorge- White Noise

17. Cat Power- Ruin

18. Hot Chip- Flutes- Sasha Remix

19. Washed Out- Hold Out

20. Toro Y Moi- Best Around

I just realized that I should have included Ke$ha since she’s my most played artist for the summer on last.fm but her songs didn’t really flow with the rest of the playlist. This is my “mellow summer, I still have to read through RFPs and proposals while listening to this” mix. Maybe next up will be a fun, dance playlist with lots of Ke$ha.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM!!!

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I did it! I finally did it! I made a perfect, delicious, creamy batch of vanilla ice cream. After multiple disappointing failed attempts I finally found a great recipe and nailed down a few techniques and I’m so excited about it I decided to awaken this abandoned portal to the world wide web and share with EVERYONE!

Now it all started when I got the latest issue of Bon Appetit in the mail, wait no, it started around Christmas 2011 when I got my ice cream maker, wait no, it started in my early childhood when I discovered ice cream, wait no, it started when I was an infant when my mom thought it would be fun to give me a sample of her ice cream. I’m pretty sure I didn’t care for it much then but my unwavering, unadulterated love affair with ice cream has been in existence since I can remember. I mean, I really love ice cream.

And I’ve finally been able to recreate it in my own kitchen! How exciting!!!*!! I started with the simple vanilla recipe  and after some trial and error I’ve gathered a few tips I’d like to share:

-The bucket must be frozen solid. I had mine in the freezer overnight and it melted before the ice cream formed. This may have been due to the fact that we were cooking on the stove, inches away from the mixer, and baking in the oven a few feet from the mixer on an incredibly hot day in July without A/C but nevertheless, at least two solid days in the freezer.

-They’re expensive but if you’re making vanilla ice cream, I recommend using the vanilla bean over the extract. I’ve tried both and I find the flavor much better with the bean. Plus the little specks of vanilla bean are fun.

-Follow the recipe closely; when it says to stir continuously, stir continuously; when it says to slowly incorporate the egg yolks, SLOWLY incorporate the egg yolks (they can cook if you don’t)

-Make sure the custard is cooled down completely before churning. I usually stick it back in the fridge overnight.

-Place ice cream in the freezer for at least a few hours before serving (this helps it solidify a little more and have more of an ice cream rather than soupy texture).

-I’ve also had issues with ice cream crystallizing, this may be due to the recipe or not churning the ice cream enough. Make sure the ice cream has thickened and almost solid while in the mixer.

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So there you have it, it may require some planning and a couple days but now you’ve got a good solid ice cream base to run wild with. Next post will be about bacon and avocado ice cream or maybe honey lavender ice cream….

The garnish is some chocolate chips stuffed into raspberries. Stole the idea from Pinterest and it’s just as easy and delicious as it looks.

*”!” x infinity

Going Granola

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Since all my bragging about not getting sick at all this entire winter inevitably backlashed and I’ve been somewhat bedridden the past few days and have almost exhausted my Netflix queue, I thought it might be good to post some of these pictures I took a few weeks ago. 

Despite my lack of blog posts, I’ve had good intentions. I worked a solid first two seasons of the Jersey Shore on my first knit hat (most of the time was spent re-learning how to knit) which I was super excited about and already developed serious plans for a photo shoot with myself wearing my cool new beanie posing with my snowboard with a fresh blanket of snow in the background. However, the finished hat resembled more of a yamaka than the cool slouchy beanie I envisioned and it never snowed again so the “beanie” is now sitting in an unfinished heap on my coffee table.

I also experimented with a juice cleanse. Although it was a lot of fun concocting bizarre fruit and vegetable combination, by day 2.5 I was exhausted and felt like a walking zombie. I had a pounding headache that started at the end of day 1 that was preventing me from focusing at work so I decided to come home and have a salad for lunch and felt instantly better. I’m pretty sure the reason for the headache and grogginess was due to my lack of research and any sort of protein or fat in my diet. I have a tendency to throw away instructions and learn as I go, and then go back and realize I would have saved a lot of time (and headache) if I just read the instructions to begin with. Oh well. I lost 3 lbs and can say that I at least tried it. 

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So, in an attempt to be healthier and save money (as I sit here eating raw, store-bought cookie dough), I thought it might be fun to make my own granola! Not as exciting or dramatic as a juice cleanse but it was delicious and relatively easy.

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I used a recipe I found here and headed over to Eats to gather the ingredients.

 

 

 

I also used the opportunity to play around with my tripod and remote control to take some pictures of myself. It was kind of fun and a lot easier than I thought it would be.Image

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While I was gathering the ingredients I realized I didn’t have enough dried fruit but I did have some fresh grapes in the fridge so for the second time in 4 months I whipped out the dehydrator and made my own raisons! How’s that for home made? 

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