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Curly Girl

3.10.2014

I learned lots of things by reading the original book "Curly Girl" and for most of my life I had no idea how to deal with this mop. I often still have difficulty and sometimes look like a fraggle or Animal the Muppet.



 I have consulted The Curly Girl Method and only of late feel confident about my curls. Thank goodness for Lorraine Massey!

So I invented this half up/half down do that's fast, easy and pretty for the curly girl! Especially on a rainy day like today! 

Instructions:
Wash hair as usual; product (I love Deva Curl Firl Hold Gel) and diffusion (without touching) is essential.
Leaving several tendril around your face, loosely gather your hair at the nape of your neck.
Pin, being sure to hide the bobbies as well as possible but using as many as you feel comfortable with to make your hair stay.
And Voila! Ready for your day.




Moonbeam Chili

2.18.2014

You've never had chili like this before - music in your mouth.


Moonbeam Chili
Ingredients:
1 Tbs Butter
1 Tbs Olive oil
1 Large yellow onion, chopped
3 Large Garlic cloves, minced
1 package ground turkey
2 Cans S&W lightly seasoned white beans
1 can Herdez Salsa Verde
1 can chopped black olives
1 package Uncle Bens Spanish Rice
1 16oz. container of Sour Cream
1 Tbs. Chili Powder
1 Tsp. Garlic Salt
1 Tbs. Cumin
1 bunch green onions
Salt and Pepper to taste
Directions:
In a Dutch oven or similar sauce pan, heat butter and olive oil on medium heat, add chopped onions and minced garlic. Cook until onions are translucent about 7 minutes.
Add turkey, chili powder, cumin and garlic salt. Cook turkey until browned and cooked through.
Turn heat to low and add beans, Salsa Verde, black olives, Spanish Rice and 1 cup sour cream and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until chili is heated through.

Serve in a bowl with dollop of sour cream and garnish with green onion cut on the bias.

A Foggy, Mysterious Valentine's Day - Barmbrack

2.14.2014

 Valentin Rekunenko


I love quick breads - banana, hummingbird, soda -whatever really, but none so much as the Barmbrack.

I first had Barmbrack (a sturdy quick bread meant to be eaten or used as a weapon for it's density) in Ireland years and years ago. A friend made it for me and she served it with a good knob of butter and a cup of strong Earl Grey tea. In the picture above I've generously topped it with Mascarpone - a nod to the Italian liqueur that's in it.

It's traditionally served for the celebration of Samhain (Halloween - to you and me) and some cooks add wrapped treasures - coins, rings, keys etc. The name is Gaelic - Bairin Breac - speckled bread. I made it for the St. Valentine celebration.

I can't think of anything more comforting actually. Except perhaps, on a cold winter's day like today, a sunny beach in Hawaii.

With that said, this bread is not as sweet as banana bread but it's hardier than most quick breads save for the soda bread. It's excellent for breakfast. And the recipe could not be easier...


Barmbrack (Sometimes also called Brack, Barnbrac, Samhain Cake) Adapted from Edible Ireland.



Ingredients - Makes 1 Loaf
  • 3/4 cup dark raisins
  • 3/4 cup white raisins
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup dates
  • 1/4 cup chipped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup Frangelico
  • 1 cup hot, very strong Earl Grey Tea
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 1/4 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon all spice
Instructions
  1. Pre heat oven to 350.
  2. Brew the tea.
  3. Mix all fruits together in large bowl which at the end will accommodate the other ingredients too.
  4. Add hot tea and Frangelico to the fruit. Let fruit sit for at least 30 minutes, although overnight is best.
  5. Spray only the bottom of the loaf pan with baking spray.
  6. After the fruit has soaked, add all the rest of the ingredients. Stir until the dry ingredients are just combined.
  7. Pour batter into prepared loaf tin and bake for roughly an hour and a half or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Cool on a wire rack before turning it out to slice.
  9. NOTE: This recipe literally takes 5 minutes to make after the fruit finishes the soak.

Adrien Broom - Surprise!

2.10.2014

I have seen a few things. Not tons of stuff, mind you - a few things - more than the average Joe...well, Josephine in my case, I suppose.

I've been to a few other countries. I speak (albeit marginally) another language, I can cook world cuisine and I married a Mediterranean man. At this point, I feel like I've been surprised, titillated, hypnotized, mesmerized, wowed, and awed as much as I can be. It's disconcerting to walk into middle age thinking this.

I went to art school knowing full well that I need - no, thirst for - stimulation; that's just me. As, I've grown older, I find that it is harder for me to feel viscerally stimulated. And then there was today...

Today, I searched #somethingnew. And what came up was a world of color by Adrien Broom. She is a Connecticut artist whose imagination matches that of Erin Morgenstern in The Night Circus. Her creativity and vision is captivating at the least.

She has started "The Color Project" which I found on My Modern Metropolis. Her art is nothing short of genius. As I look at my Art History background, I remember studying artistic movements. We are in a new movement currently but which lacks a name. In a world where Dystopic novels are translated to the screen and where electronics have taken the place of relationships, it is comforting to see that imagination and expressiveness still win out. Enjoy this part of her series but please follow the links above so you can see more of Adrien's fascinating virtuosity.














You also know how much I love Vimeo. So here is a film that chronicles a behind the scenes look at this artist and her art.



Behind the Scenes of Orange from Adrien Broom on Vimeo.

Minted

1.23.2014


There are hundreds of ways to announce your new baby's arrival. You can text it, email it, tweet it, Facebook it, Instagram it or e-card it. My favorite way to announce anything whether it's a birth announcement or a birthday celebration is the old fashioned way. Get a beautiful card customized for a reasonable fee and send it by snail mail!

Minted has literally hundreds of options for birth announcements and celebrations to fit any taste and most budgets!

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, it dawned on me that with all the holiday hullabaloo, perhaps a great idea next year, instead of Christmas cards how about Valentine's cards? Why not? Who says we have to stick with the Christmas card?






Or, if you sort of a stickler for tradition, how about a New Year's card? Check these little sweeties out! I especially love the Roman Numerals!




Just go see Minted. You can live chat if you need help. And there are plenty of possibilities not just with cards and stationery. You can also get party decorations like bunting flags and art prints too!





I can't say enough about he goodness that is this company! They have an affiliate program which helps launch living, breathing real people to artistic success. And a separate affiliate program for photographers as well. It's a savvy company for savvy customers.

The Inspired: Being Human

1.21.2014


Flickr

Pain that just sits
Like a lazy student shits
all over respect for others
it burns like brothers
who steal wives
it festers like wounds that take lives
It's human I guess
I wear it today like an ugly dress
apathy runs in me
I don't care about the handsome man
I don't care about the giggling girl
I'm Free
Except for the 
Pain that just sits.

DIY Lace Resin Cuff Bracelet

1.20.2014


Oh this is a fun one. I feel like I haven't done an in depth post about anything arty or do-it-yourself-ish for a while. As today is  free day from work (thank God), I decided to go for it. Not without some trial and error, such is experimentation.

A cuff is my favorite kind of body embellishment. It is a statement without being IN YOUR FACE. I like a statement necklace as well, but since I am petite I often feel like the necklace swallows me. A cuff bracelet is more subtle but just as statement making.

This one happens to be made of Shrinky-Dink resin paper. You can get it at Michaels or any comparable craft store.

Your materials:

1 sheet shrinky dink matte sided 'paper.'
1 pair scissors
1 design you like (I used an image of lace)
1 oven

Directions:

  1. Print the design you've chosen onto the sheet of Shrinky-Dink paper (make sure your printer can handle it and that the color will not rub off on your skin - if you're so inclined, you can buy special printable Shrinky-Dink paper but it's a bit dear for the wallet).
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 325,
  3. You'll use the entire length of the paper but the width is up to you. If your paper is 8x10, use all 10 inches, but you may want to trim the 8 inch width down to 6 or 7 inches - I trimmed it to 6 inches.
  4. Punch holes on either end of your shrink paper. These are where you'll add the leather or wire or whatever element you'll use to close the cuff (that which will keep it on your arm).
  5. Lay the prepared piece on a parchment lined cookie sheet printed side up.
  6. Put the cookie sheet in the oven and check your design after about a minute. *when you check the piece it will look curled in the oven - don't fret - remove it, wrap it around a glass or anything of similar size to your wrist - and put it back in the oven to remove bumps and blemishes.
  7. After you've removed your piece, move quickly and re-shape it if you've put it in the oven for a second go 'round.
  8. Let it cool and add your leather. The closure type is up to you. I originally did a double slide knot but the leather kept breaking so I didn't use that type of thing, instead I wove the leather.
  9. Voila! You have an enviable cuff. If you can find Shrinky paper that is longer than 10 inches you could forgo the leather part altogether.
  10. NOTE: Using this medium is trial an error. It can be a frustrating material to work with but hang in there. The end product is worth the trouble.





This was my first attempt. You can see the break in the plastic on the upper right part of the bracelet.




I should've re-though the wearer; my arm renders as if I am an 80 year old. But you get the idea.