Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Currently Making Me: Fashionable

This Outfit, worn by Rosario Dawson in her role as Abernathy in Death Proof, is a current inspiration for me in my daily fashion routine. I am at the peak of my thrift shopping life (mostly because I can not afford anything else) and this look is so fun, easy, and doable. I thought the styling of this character was such a juxtaposition to her personality. She's portrayed as such an uptight, danger fearing, mama's girl at first. That's all well represented with the Unicorn shirt and Rainbow necklace, but she obviously shows no fear or doubt in her fashion choices.
(If you've seen the movie we both know that Abernathy is, in fact, a total badass.)
This summer I've made a big point of having more fun with how I dress myself daily, so this outfit is a good source of inspiration.

Rose Checkerboard Tea Cookies

The cuter something is, the harder it is to resist, especially when it comes to food. This is my variation of a recipe from Alice's Tea Cup, and I have added some Wild Rose tea to the dough.
The checkerboard pattern might look a little complicated or intimidating (it was for me), but it is so much easier than it looks! These cookies are great little treats, and look beautiful when put on display.

  • 2 tablespoons Wild Rose tea
  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1 cup baker's superfine sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • rose-pink for coloring
  • 1 egg white
Begin by grinding up the Wild Rose tea with a  grinding stone, or with your hands so that the leaves become quite small. Set aside.
Take 2 teaspoons of the ground tea and steep it in a small cup of boiling water for 5 minutes, strain out the tea leaves and set aside to cool.
Whisk flour, salt, and baking powder together in a separate bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until smooth.
Add the two whole eggs, the vanilla, and 3 teaspoons of the cooled rose tea. Mix well.
Mix in the remaining dry loose leaf tea. (This will create a nice freckled look in the cookies)
Reduce the mixer to its lowest speed, and slowly add the dry ingredients. Mix until it becomes a workable dough.
Divide the dough in half and put one half back into the mixer with about 1/8-1/4 teaspoon pink food coloring, and mix until the dough is an even color.

For the Cookie Pattern:
  1.  On a lightly floured surface roll each portion of dough out to a 1 inch thick square. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2.  Again on a floured surface, roll each portion of dough into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle and lay them on cookie sheets. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Make an egg wash by lightly beating the egg white, do not let it thicken however.
  4. Remove the plastic wrap from the white dough, and brush a layer of egg wash over the entire rectangle. Remove the plastic wrap from the pink dough and carefully place it on top of the white dough. Press with the back of a cookie sheet, but don't squash the dough!
  5. Cut the layered dough in half, the short way, to create two squares of double layered dough. Brush one of the squares with the egg wash and layer them on top of each other, making sure to alternate the colors. Press with the back of a cookie sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  6. Unwrap the dough and begin cutting 3/8 strips of dough with a long, non serrated knife.
  7. Lay out a strip of striped dough, and brush egg wash over the top of it. Take another strip and lay it down on top of the other, making sure the colors are alternating. Repeat this twice more, always using egg wash between layers.
  8. Repeat this step for all of the remaining strips of dough until you have about 4 blocks of dough. Wrap each block in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. These blocks of dough can be kept frozen for up to three weeks!
  9. Cut the blocks of dough with a non serrated knife into 3/8" thick cookie slices. Lay them out on a cookie sheet prepared with parchment paper. Since these cookies do not rise all that much, they can be placed much closer together than other cookies.
         Bake at 350˚F for 12-15 minutes, do not let them brown!

Enjoy with your favorite Tea and Friends!

Monday, July 29, 2013

What Calvin and Hobbes Taught Me

My dad started reading Calvin and Hobbes to me when I was 6 years old, the same age as Calvin himself. It became a nightly ritual, I would get ready for bed and Dad would curl up in my bed with me and read the comics out loud until I fell asleep (or he did). 
Aside from getting a good laugh and important quality time with my Dad, I believe Calvin and Hobbes played a big part in why I am the person I am today. I was lucky enough to have a Father patient enough to explain the more complicated or deeper issues presented to readers of Bill Waterson's comic. I learned so much from them, but I think what stuck with me the most was; 
Question "Authority".

Not to say that reading Calvin and Hobbes turned me into a belligerent person with no respect for people in charge, but it made me think for myself. It made me really think about the power I let other people, or "Higher-ups," have over me.
Do they really have that power? Do I really have to do what they say? How important is it to know what they tell me I need to know? What information can I find for myself, and what topics need discussion with other people? 
Questioning doesn't mean disagreeing, which is something people often assume. Questioning, for me, means to think critically, and decide for my own self if I agree with what is being said or not. Stopping to think about a concept or principle leads to better understanding than just blindly doing as you're told.

Learning how to critically think about the power of other people at an early age is something I find very important, and my Dad reading Calvin and Hobbes to me definitely helped with that. I don't put much weight on what people deem "worthy" or "unworthy", or "low" and "high" art because Calvin didn't. If a six year old who thinks he can sell a swift kick in the butt for $1 has got this concept down, so can I.

He also taught me that imagination and child-like wonder is everything. Without that, all you have is math homework.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dining Table Renewal

Keith and I are on a tight budget for furnishing our new home, so the first couple weeks back from our honeymoon we went Yard Sailing! It was always a fun summer outing, we wake up early, pack a lunch and go on a neighborhood yard sale hunt. We managed to find a good-as-new dining set that was just the right size for our tiny apartment for $25. Huge money saver for us. The only problem was that two of the chairs were a drab red color:

I am a huge fan of the mix-match look, so I was fine with two chairs being a different style and color, but something had to be done about the red. So I decided on a bright sunny yellow, it really added some fun brightness to our living/dining room. We finished the look off with some fun seat cushions from World Market.

I really like the process of spray painting. Its a lucky thing I'm not a graffiti artist.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Inspiring Video for Geeky Girls!

Trends I know will pass, but love to indulge in anyway.

I'm in a fashion mood today and you heard me. I know they're trends, I know some of them may be silly or even ridiculous, but I love them with all my heart, and aim to senselessly wear them out before the next round of gnarly fashion indulgences rolls around.

NUMBER ONE: Perfectly huge round sunglasses. I have a pair almost identical to this, and they just may be my most favorite thing I own. They remind me of hippies (which I spent the better part of my childhood and teenage years trying to be) and they are surprisingly functional. Mine keep the most sun out of my eyes and don't have giant rims that create blind-spots.

NUMBER TWO: Short Denim Overalls. I had many pairs of these as a kid, and until recently was glad they no longer graced my closet, but then I saw this episode of New Girl and now I am on a very serious lookout. I haven't found a pair yet, but when I do it will be difficult to get them off of me.

NUMBER THREE: Cat vests. (Or anything tapestry for that matter) This is one I'm particularly fond of, and my collection is growing at a steady pace. I was actually insanely lucky enough to find a cat vest at a legitimate thrift store. ($2. Yeah.) This is one of those things that I love to wear and go; "Yes, this is funny. Yes, this is ridiculous. But you can not deny that I. Look. AMAZING." I mean Freddie Mercury rocked this look, how can I go wrong?

NUMBER FOUR: Hologram anything. (except shirts. no.) This may be the most short lived trend of the now, but it is one of my favorites. It is cheap, bright, and not flattering in the traditional sense, but man is it fun. I just want to walk around in these shorts all day.

NUMBER FIVE: Too small, too short, too destroyed, high waisted denim shorts. Its cute, sexy in a casual "I didn't even try" sort of way, and one of the less extreme trends, and I love them. Enough said.

NUMBER SIX: Bright Lilac Lipstick. I want my lips to look like a gummy candy ok? (And stuff my bra with perfume, leave me alone.)

NUMBER SEVEN: Galaxy Prints, particularly leggings. I have always wanted to go to space, and once lived in a room covered in space posters, littered with books about the solar system, and hand painted planets hanging from my ceiling. The least I can do is get my legs there.

So there you have it. I hope my small delve into the fashion world was amusing, and inspired you to wear some silly things with pride. Just don't wear everything at once.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Two headed Duckling

I am a huge fan of taxidermy, and have a couple minimal pieces already. I've delved very minimally into it myself (I once skinned a pair of antlers with a skull plate still attached) and would like to do more if I could ever handle it. I would love to try bone articulation more seriously, and am currently working on an exploded rodent skull.
A two-headed duckling is on my taxidermy wish list. I would be most pleased if it had two heads naturally by a birth defect, but a skillfully modified piece would be fine too.

This is the type of piece I aspire to do myself some day, it is so hauntingly beautiful.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Why Life is like Mario Kart Double Dash

We've been playing a lot of Mario Kart Double Dash lately, and are well on our way to unlocking everything. Lately I've been noticing something about the game engine; it will hit you when you're down. If you stay in first place for the first two laps, you better be ready for the vicious onslaught of shells and bananas and bob-ombs. There was one moment when we got hit with a red shell, and before we even stopped tumbling a green shell smacked into us right before Bowser swerves into frame and pushes us clear off the track, only to be brought back up and land on a banana. 1st place to 8th in less than 5 seconds. 
Sometimes this happens in real life. Maybe you lose a job. Boom, Red Shell. Then your other job has to close for a few days so you miss a week. Bam, Green Shell. Right as this happens a bill arrives in your mailbox. Shoved off the track. And then- your computer, one of the most expensive things you own (which is also your only other way of making money) breaks down. You just landed on a banana. 1st to 8th.
This is very real and happens to everyone. There isn't a single player on that track that doesn't get royally screwed at some point in the race.
But there is something people don't generally talk about when they go into the whole "life will kick you while you're down" rant. 

There are boosts.

What makes Mario Kart Double Dash such a fun game, is that the worse you do on the track, the better items you get. Oh you're in 8th place? Have a golden mushroom. Not doing so well? Here's a Chain Chomp to help you along. The same kind of stuff happens in life too.
We may get hit by those pesky shells and bombs, or even fall off the track completely, but there's always something great waiting for us when we get back on the track. 
That's why people keep playing. That's why having those Mario Kart tournaments are so much fun. No one goes home and broods over the fact that they ran into a bob-omb, or ran into a bad mystery box. 
They remember laughing with their friends, and how they caught up after being hit while they were down. They remember their friends' ridiculous hollering and victory dances, and the good time it was and how they can't wait for the next tournament. 
Those are the boosts life gives you. It may be a hard time for you as far as the world is concerned, but no amount of shells or hits can take away those boosts. They will always be there, and keep coming to you. 
(And lucky for us- there is no finish line. The game just keeps going, and the fun continues.)

Friday, July 19, 2013

People I Love: The Husband

This is one of my favorite pictures of Keith and I. He is my best friend and the laughter of my life. We met when I was 17 and he was 19. I feel so blessed to have found each other while we were so young! We just got married and moved into our first place together, and couldn't be happier!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Top 5 Horror Movies

Its one of those days at work, so its time for a good ol' Top 5 list to get me in a good mood. I've been obsessing over horror movies lately as inspiration for my artwork, so today it will be my Top 5 most highly recommended horror flicks. (In no particular order of course)

1. The House of the Devil
Directed by Ti West, this movie has a very purposeful retro feel (it is set in the 1980's) and legitimately gave me chills. However, I keep watching it again and again.

2. The Shining
This is by far my favorite horror film of all time, one of my all time favorite films in general. Directed by Stanley Kubrick, the shot of the axe being followed by the camera is my favorite part.

3. High Tension
A French horror film directed by Alexandre Aja. The less I say about this the better. Just watch it.

4. Evil Dead (2013)
Directed by Fede Alvarez. I grew up watching Army of Darkness with my Dad, somehow completely missing the fact that it was the third movie in the Evil Dead series. (Wow. I know. Guess Dad didn't care for the other two.) I only recently came to the realization, promptly caught up on what I'd missed, and went straight to the theatre with my best friend and saw the remake at midnight. One of my favorite things about this movie is that everything is practical, no CG. Definitely the creepiest make-up I've ever seen. 

5. Beyond the Black Rainbow
This has got to be one of the most inspiring movies for my artwork the this year. Directed by Panos Cosmatos, it is a Sci-Fi Horror film. Very Kubrick-esc, and very unnerving. Its an incredibly slow movie, but the daring compositions and strange vibes make it so worth it to me. This is a movie I like to have on in the background while painting.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Summer Goal 2013: Hold a Chinchilla

Last summer my goal was to hold a bunny, and I was very successful! This summer I would like to hold a Chinchilla, their teeny little nubbins for hands just send me over the edge.

Wish List Item

When I was little my Barbie has this exact pair of red lace-up boots, and she never took them off. I was head-over heels for those boots and have been on a casual look-out for ones in my size ever since. I came close in high school, but they were leaning a little too far toward the goth side of things. 

Then I saw these. They're from Free People so the dream lives on, but I just think this is the perfect realization of those Barbie boots. One day!

Friday, July 12, 2013

People I Love: LooLoo

My Maid of Honor and Best Friend. Lauren is such a loving person and a really big inspiration to me. She's got such an amazing eye for fashion and art, which you can follow here, she's basically the only reason I even know how to do my make-up properly.
She is my person.

People I Love: The Table

My Husband, Keith, and his Best Men; Paul and Jonathan. The Tripod. Newly called "The Table" with the addition of yours truly!

In the Artist District of LA, I would love to live here for a spell.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Currently Making Me: Ecstatic

If anyone were to ever ask me what my spirit animal was, which is an uncommon question (we can change this!) I would say a Squirrel without hesitation. There is something about these creatures that I feel a pretty significant connection to. Call me crazy, but I call them my friends.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Damn Hawaii, you sexy!

I was so busy planning the wedding that I never gave our honeymoon a whole lot of thought, so when it finally arrived I was beyond excited! I had never been to Hawaii before and it actually exceeded my expectations. Everyone would ask us, "what are you going to do in Hawaii?" and our response was always "nothing". Our lives are so hectic and busy at home that all we wanted to do in Hawaii was eat, sleep and swim. And that's exactly what we did.

Probably the only swimsuit I've ever loved. It has a nice 90's vibe!

The pool-side bar is probably what I miss the most.

This pink inner tube was my favorite purchase on the trip. The pink with the blue of the pool just makes me giddy.

Top 5 Albums

Mine and Keith's first road trip together was to Bamboozle Left in 2008.

Music is a really big part of my life. My Husband is in a Bay Area based punk band, and a lot of our years dating were spent traveling up and down California for various shows and concerts. To quote the drummer from that band (also known as Paul, one of my best friends) "Music is Magic." I couldn't agree more. There is something so inexplicably wonderful about this intangible thing, it can only be described as magic.
These are my current Top 5 albums giving me chills, and major inspiration.

1. The Flatliners - Cavalcade

This album is full of fast-paced, inspiring, straight-up punk goodness. This album was a big source of comfort to me during a particularly rough period of time in college.
"Live through, live strong. Carry on and on and on. No more false-start life at traffic lights" - Carry the Banner

2. The Menzingers - On The Impossible Past

This is one of those albums that just feels honest. With two different vocalists this album always sounds fresh, and is so much fun to sing to. Just don't get caught singing the incredibly catchy song "The Obituaries" to yourself in the wrong place. ("I will fuck this up, I fucking know it.") It has happened to me, and if they aren't familiar with the band, it will be awkward.

3. Coheed and Cambria - The Afterman: Descension

There are two songs on this album that have quickly become very near and dear to me. They made me feel understood during my decision to leave an art program I had dedicated far too much of my life to, doing something I was not passionate about. I can confidently say it was the hardest decision I've ever made, and this album helped me through it.
"I stood by everything I loved, while you never understood me much." - The Hard Sell

4. Lana Del Rey - Born to Die

This has become my go-to summer album. I was talking with my friend about this album, and we both came to the conclusion that it is almost completely un-relatable, but that doesn't take away from this particular piece. I think it adds an element of intrigue, and it just makes you want to drive down to LA on a whim.
"Now my life is sweet like Cinnamon, like the fuckin' dream I'm livin' in" -Radio

5. The Dear Hunter - Migrant

Aside from the fact that The Dear Hunter is my favorite band, this album is really sitting with me these days. The second track, "Whisper", makes me feel like I'm flying through the air every time I hear it.
The Dear Hunter as a whole is a very unique band, and Migrant is a breath-taking addition to their collection of work.
"I think that we've all made our gravest mistakes on the greatest intentions that we're too stubborn to let go. With this little time before I go, I'll open up my mouth, and scream it out, to cast my voice into the crowd." - Whisper

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Disney Bachelorette Party

I am not known for following the norm, so when it came to my Bachelorette Party I wanted to do something different. Something fun because there's no denying it, not because hundreds of movies have told you its supposed to be fun. So Disneyland it was! Though we did have our fair share of penis-themed party favors, the bachelorette party was anything but typical.

This Stormtrooper thought I was the droid he was looking for.

We got our shirts here, all in Disney typography.