Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Artist Spotlight: Cristina Troufa

I have always been amazed when artists are able to treat the negative space in their artwork as an important part of the story. Cristina Troufa, a Portugal based artist, does just this in an amazing and intriguing way.  I LOVE the way she combines realism with modern lines and simplistic surroundings.  I find myself filling in the negative space as my eyes wonder over each painting.  I don't miss what's missing at all.  In fact, if her work was "whole", it would not be half as interesting.  This series of paintings are self-reflective in their exploration of womanhood.  Every painting is a self-portrait that reveals more through what is absent than what is represented.  LOVE it !

(all images via My Modern Met.  Look at more of Cristina Troufa's artwork here)

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Have you seen this?..."Convos with my 2 yr. old"

How many times have you thought back on a conversation you have had with your toddler...and felt that much more ridiculous that you actually engaged in the thought process of a two year old?  Jason and I talked about this just the other day...after a very irritating conversation with Isabella...a conversation that she definitely dominated with her superior 4 year old intellect : )

I think this is why this video struck such a chord with me.  I couldn't stop laughing...because this has happened to EVERY parent...and you can't help feeling utterly ridiculous when it does. 

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Saturday Song...

It is an absolutely beautiful day.  The kind of day that makes you feel guilty every time you step indoors.  It's a wonderful way to start this long and relaxing weekend.  Even though it's going to be filled with a variety of get-togethers and birthday party prep, this kind of weather makes the days go slower and smoother. 

Here is a song for your Saturday...

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! : )

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Friday, May 24, 2013

The Friday Five...

{ Swans bathing themselves...there's something strangely hypnotic about it }

{ Finally added window boxes to our front porch.  Love being greeted by so much color }

{ The invitations are out...}

{...and birthday preparations are in full swing : )  }

{ Excited about up-cycling these old thread spindles into a solution for my string, twine and ribbon problem }

What are Your Five?

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pay It Forward #6: Show love through food

I just realized the other day, I have not posted a "Pay it Forward" in a while.  It's not that I have forgotten about my Pay It Forward campaign.  In fact, I have thought a lot about it.  My previous Pay it Forward posts have been geared towards anonymous gifts...and I LOVE doing that. But as I have gone through the past weeks, I have been a bit bummed about not finding the time to coordinate a Pay it Forward.  And then I remembered that a Pay it Forward does not have to be anonymous.  Helping the people you know and the people you love is a wonderful way to remind them that you are keeping them close to your heart.  The purposeful things that we do, the actions we take, can change the direction our day and theirs can go. 

Sometimes, one of the best and easiest ways to show you care, is to make food for someone.  Ava asked me not too long ago why we were taking a meal to a friend, and I explained how cooking is not only about feeding someone as much as showing that you care for them.  We cook for people for many different reasons- because they are sick, they are super busy, they need a pick-me-up, or we just want to pass along a "Love You" reminder. 

There are a few things you can do to make taking a meal to someone extra special-

  • Consider their favorite foods when deciding what to cook.  Keep everything as separated as possible so everyone can make their meal according to their preferences.  

  • Even though I love a pretty presentation, sometimes convenience is a better gift than pretty dishes.    

  • It's a meal, but that doesn't mean you can't add a little flair : )  A hand written note with instructions and a little bit of color from flowers can make your meal seem even warmer. 

Keep sharing the love : )

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"Clouds"...a song and a story of true inspiration

I learned of Zach Sobiech five months ago, when I stumbled upon his music video "Clouds" on YouTube.

Zach was diagnosed at the age of 14 with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer that usually affects children.  His outlook on life after his diagnosis, was amazing.  I was instantly inspired by his story and his love for life.  I can honestly say that after watching that video, my perspective changed...on everything.

About 2 weeks ago, Soul Pancake posted a documentary about Zach Sobiech on YouTube. In 22 minutes you can learn everything you need to know about who Zach Sobiech is. And everything you need to know about how to live life to the fullest and appreciate every day you are given.

Zach passed away yesterday morning.  And even though I knew from the moment I watched "Clouds", how Zach's story would end, I am heart broken.

On this blog, I try to share the things that inspire me, and even though those things usually are light-hearted, I can not remember a time, when I have been more inspired by the way one person has lived.

(top image via PopWrapped.  Video via Soul Pancake)

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Have you seen this?...the floating forest of Homebush Bay

This rusted out hull belongs to the 102 year old ship, the SS Ayrfield, which currently resides in the Homebush Bay, just west of Sydney, Australia.  The ship was built in 1911 in the United Kingdom and it delivered supplies to Americans in the Pacific during WWII.  It was retired in 1972 to Homebush Bay which was a ship-breaking yard at that time.  Even though most of the ships that arrived in Homebush Bay were broken down, four ships all over 75 years old, survived and still float in the Bay.  The SS Ayrfield is the only one that contains a mangrove forest.  

"The Floating Forest", as it has become known, is a tourist attraction to an area that was previously only seen as a ship graveyard.  I love that nature can take something that we have discarded as scrap and turn it into something beautiful and amazing.   

(top image by Steve Dormann, images in the middle by Louise Evangelique, bottom image by Rodney Campbell.  All images via My Modern Met)

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Saturday Song...

Do you know that feeling when you wake up...and before you open your eyes...you are trying to figure out what day it is.  And when you figure it out...and it's Saturday...you sink back into your pillow, and close your eyes once again. 

I LOVE that feeling : )

I hope you have a wonderful weekend : )

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Friday, May 17, 2013

The Friday Five...

{ Mother's Day spent in Old Salem...a very nice surprise }

{ Binoculars? Check! Sheriff's Badge? Check! Cowboy boots? Check! Gypsy skirt?
Check! Random ribbon typed about your waist? Check!  Ok. Let's go : )  }

{ I fell in love with these typeset letters at the Old Salem printing press }

{ learned how to make home made oatmeal creme pies...definitely going to make ASAP }

{ watching pewter spoons being pouring and polished...the patience that goes into one spoon is amazing }

What are Your Five?

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fabulous Food: Chicken Tortilla Soup

This recipe is inspired by the Mexico City style soup I used to eat at Houston's restaurant in Kansas City.  It had a light chicken broth base with tons of fresh veggies.  All the traditional flavors that I love were there, but the soup was not too heavy to eat on warm days.  

For this recipe, I combined my favorite elements of the Mexico City soup- fresh corn, zucchini, avocado and a light broth base...and my favorite elements of a traditional tortilla soup- black beans, shredded chicken and a smoky green chile flavor...to create one of my favorite soups to eat right now-  Chicken Tortilla soup (Mexico City style). 

The ingredients:

2 cups chicken boiled and shredded
2 small sized zucchini diced (approximately 1 cup)
1 medium sweet onion diced (approximately 1 cup)
2 cups of fresh corn cut from the cob
1 can of black beans (rinsed)
2 cans of diced tomatoes with mild chiles
2 cups white rice cooked
5 cups chicken broth
1-2 tsp taco seasoning or your favorite Mexican seasoning
1 Tbsp olive oil
serve with shredded cheddar cheese and tortilla chips


1) Boil the chicken in salted water.  Drain and shred the chicken and then set it aside.  Prepare the rice per the directions and set aside. 

2) Saute the onion in the olive oil until it is tender and slightly translucent.  Add the zucchini and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the zucchini is heated through, but still crunchy.

3) In a large pot, combine the onion, zucchini, tomatoes, black beans, corn, rice, chicken and chicken broth.  Stir together until well combined.  Add the taco seasoning.  I like a more light and fresh taste to my soup, so I usually use 1 tsp.  Feel free to add more to fit your taste.

4) Simmer soup for 15 minutes and then it's done.  If you want it to be more soupy, add an additional cup of chicken broth and a little bit more seasoning.  

Serve the soup topped with cheddar cheese and cubed avocado.  You can also sprinkle tortilla chips on top, or you can scoop it, like I  do : )

This soup is very light.  It has a slight sweetness to it, with a small kick of spice at the end.  It's very, very good and easy enough to make after a long day at work.   

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Have you ever "experienced" art?

About a month ago, I wrote about Marina Abramovic's performance piece called The Artist is Present.  In this piece, she was reunited with a long lost love, and we all got to experience the moment with her (you can see it here).  This moment was obviously emotional...so much so, that I almost forgot about the experiences of the 1500 other people who sat across from her during the 3 months, or 716 hours and 30 minutes, she sat in the Met's atrium.  

There is a new tumblr page dedicated to all the people who had an emotional experience staring into Marina's eyes.  The page is appropriately named "Marina Abramovic Made Me Cry".  Just looking at some of these photos, I begin to tear up. I have never participated in a piece of artwork like this, but I have been moved to tears while experiencing art...many times.  

One has to wonder what these people were thinking...and feeling...the moment they could not hold back the tears.

Art moves me greatly, and doing a weekly Artist Spotlight post has made me cry more than usual, which is a lot : ) 

In recent memory, my most memorable cry was standing in front of Edouard Manet's painting Olympia in the Musee D'Orsay in Paris, France.  I think Jason may have been a bit embarrassed, but I stood there in front of that massive painting...knowing the woman who I was looking at.  Knowing that she was a painter herself.  Knowing that the closest she was ever going to get to the Salon, was to be a model...and muse...for the master Manet.  Knowing that when this painting debuted at the Salon in 1865, she was perceived to be a prostitute instead of one of the hundreds of nudes gracing the Salon at the time.  I like to think that her brazen gaze was announcing to society that she was comfortable in her own skin, and that for the first time, these people were being stared at as they stared at her naked body.  I LOVED her as soon as I saw her, and I LOVED Manet for giving her the gaze that got his painting banished to the darkest halls of the Salon.  

So, I stood there and cried...while most just saw another nude : ) That is the beautiful role art plays in our lives. 

Have you ever begun to cry while experiencing art?

(all photos are by Marco Anelli, from his book Portraits in the Presence of Marina Abramovic © 2010 via the Tumblr page Marina Abramovic Made Me Cry)

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