Playing CatchUp and Waiting for Midnight

Hello All!!!

Sorry for my absence as of late... I have been busy fully indulging myself in all things Christmas. Now it has come and gone and I am staring 2009 in the face. Before we start looking ahead, I just want to show you some of the products of my festivities...

I made three varieties of cookies this year; from left to right: Snickerdoodles, Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip and Martha Stewart's cookie of the month for December called Chocolate Peppermint Cookies. For my fellow Girl-Scout cookie junkies I highly recommend this recipe which, although labor intensive, will satisfy your Thin Mint craving.

This is an outstanding meal my husband made me. He was recreating a dish we tasted at Bonefish Grill called Saucy Shrimp. It is a creamy garlic lime tomato sauce with kalamata olives and feta cheese. Making it at home is great because you can completely overdose on the Feta. Amazing. I am such a lucky woman to have a man that can cook. My uncle told me that if I can find a man that can cook and dance, hang on tight. I did.

Lastly, these are the results of my adventures in Chestnut roasting this year. I had no idea Chestnuts sweeten so drastically when cooked.

And just for fun, here is a pic of an outfit I loved, but never posted.

And a glance into the new year...
In 2009 I plan to:

- Get all my muscles and tone back! I feel so physically weak and out of shape!
- Wear more red lipstick.
- Finally, finally, finally learn the piano... or start to at least.
- Infuse creativity into my daily wardrobe.

I know it's not much, but it's a start in the right direction. I'm sure I'll think of a hundred more ways to self-iomprove before the week is through.

Now for a long awaited daily tidbit of Useless Trivia:
AULD LANG SYNEThe song, "Auld Lang Syne," playing in the background, is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the new year. At least partially written by Robert Burns in the 1700's, it was first published in 1796 after Burns' death. Early variations of the song were sung prior to 1700 and inspired Burns to produce the modern rendition. An old Scotch tune, "Auld Lang Syne" literally means "old long ago," or simply, "the good old days." Have a safe and happy New Years Eve and relaxing January 1!!


Hallelujah, Holy $hit, Where's the Tylenol?

After my week long vacation, I thouroughly misgauged the amount of work to which I would be returning. Seriously. A week later I am just getting my head above water, and it is really adding a sense of stress to my holiday season. Hence I quote a Christmas movie classic Christmas Vacation, "Hallelujah, Holy Shit, Where's the Tylenol?" 15 days left!

I know my outfit isn't particularly Christmassy today, but it fits the weather. This is a tricky look because of the white-after-labor-day misconception paired with black tights... it requires just the right weather for wearing. Thank my husband for the splash of red. See if you can find my humble little tattoo.

Today's Useless Trivia:

There are approximately 25-30 million Real Christmas Trees sold in the U.S. every year. One of them happily resides in my home.



I spent most of my weekend making tids and bits, but most fun of all was Christmassing on Sunday. But first, let's deal with Saturday.

Saturday I had the pleasure of attending a friends baby shower. She is having a boy and requested that each guest bring one of their favorite child hood books for the new baby. I had no problem picking a book, Where the Wild Things Are seemed like the perfect choice, but the rest was a little tricky. I tend to avoid registries, which I hate as a gift-receiver, but love as a gift-giver. I decided to do something a little more fun: tie-dye. Now, what's more fun than that? Well, lot's of things, but tie-dye is pretty darn fun. Even more so when it's baby clothes. Here are the results:
And my favorite onesie:

And the lovely gift basket that I called the finished product.

Hopefully the Mother-to-Be enjoyed receiving her basket as much as I loved creating it!
On Sunday I spent the day Christmassing all over the house. But is it Christmassy enough? I'll let you be the judge. I love the way my tree came out this year... although I never met a Christmas tree I didn't like!

Problem: Display holiday cards in a easy way that shows them all off.
Solution: Garland + Clothespin + Creativity=

Today's Useless Trivia:
According to a 2002 survey approximately 28 million American dog-owners will give a Christmas gift to their poochie pal.
On a side note, you are in for a treat this Christmas, my dog LOVES opening presents!


Olive Thrift

I have been so busy the last couple of days. Vacation is over and reality has taken its place. Yuk. I miss carefree mornings with coffee and palm trees. The only good thing about the end of Thanksgiving is the begining of Christmas. Well, my Christmas count down started in August, but for the rest of you the season usually begins now. Being back in the office is kicking my butt and I hardly have time to breathe during the day, much less blog. After 8 days of relaxation, I guess I had it coming. Another thing coming was my outfit today. After 8 days of comfy pants and jeans I needed to fancy it up a little.
Blouse: Thrifted
Sweater: Thrifted
Skirt: Thrifted
Shoes: Target
Today's Useless Trivia:
Perhaps the best known Christmas carol is Silent Night, written in 1818 by an Austrian assistant priest Joseph Mohr. He was told the day before Christmas that the church organ was broken and would not be repaired in time for Christmas Day. Saddened, he sat down to write three stanzas that could be sung by choir to guitar music. "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht" was heard for the first time at that Midnight Mass in St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, Austria. The congregation listened as the voices of the Fr. Joseph Mohr and the choir director, Franz Xaver Gruber, rang through the church to the accompaniment of Fr. Mohr's guitar. Today, Silent Night, Holy Night is sung in more than 180 languages by millions of people.


Vacation=Palm trees

I am loving my Floridian vacation... and maybe a tad more now that my mom is here too.  I have decided that vacation = palm trees.  And I am certainly on vacation.
We have a bit of a "Where's Waldo?" situation here... can you see my husband?

Yesterday we went to Tarpon Springs, a little local, and mostly touristy area, dominated by Greek culture.  It also happens to be the sponge capital of the world, so every store has sponges a plenty.

Obviously, we were right on the water.  Here are some more of my favorite shots:
Sand dollars

Spices from the Tea and Spice market.  I picked up some Rainforest tea, black lava salt 
and hawaiian red salt.  Aren't the colors beautifully saturated?

I love the juxtaposition of water and christmas decorations.  Not what I'm used to, but that's
 why I love it!

I was only four feet away from this bird... at the max!  He didn't even flinch.

Today's Useless Trivia:
The average child uses 730 crayons by their 10th birthday.



First and foremost, I want to give a big thanks to A Cat of Impossible Colour for my second blog award!!  Her blog was what inspired me to begin my own blog in the first place... I'm not sure she knows what an inspiration she is!
Our first full day in Florida was very relaxing.  Just lounged most of the morning with coffee and a plethora of Coastal Living magazines.  I have also had the pleasure of being introduced to my new obsession: Wii.  And I must admit that over the last 24 hours I have learned something invaluable about myself.  I am a Wii bowling champion!  Aside from my four Turkey's (three strikes in a row) I also had a run of five strikes in a row followed up by a spare and another strike.  What!?  Turns out I am a bowling prodigy... at least when the gutters are imaginary.

Here are some shots of what I see first thing in the morning here in my home away from home.  My Mother-in-law has house plants all
 over and it makes me want to test the abilities of my green thumb (that I don't have).  She has orchids and ferns and all sorts of palms.  I love the
 vintage-inspired phone that is on the night stand next to the bed... yet
 another thing to covet.  How could your morning start on a bad note when
 this is the first thing you see?

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I can't wait!  My Mom flies in in the morning and she will be visiting with us until Monday morning.  Let the Wii tournaments begin!!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the blogsphere!  Turkeys, and stuffing and pies, Oh my!!!

Today's Useless Trivia:
The average woman eats approximately 7 pounds of lipstick in her lifetime!



Today the hubs and I finally landed in Tampa, Florida to visit his Mom and Step-father.  I am super excited to be with family, and even more excited to be someplace warm.  Today it was in the mid 70's which is a nice change from the frigid Jersey air.  We went to lunch at a restaurant on the beach named Frenchy's.  I was sure to kick off the vaca with an indulgent Mango Margarita.  It's okay, I'm pretty sure that your calorie count is automatically halved when on vacation... similar to when you cry and calories are eliminated altogether.  Here is a shot KJ took of me as the sun had almost set.  It reminds me of a painting I posted in an earlier blog... the real thing is always nicer on the senses.  Posts in the upcoming days will be inspired by the amazing tropic environment and my Mother-in-laws light and breezy sense of style!!
Today's Useless Trivia:
Florida's state bird is a Zebra Longwing and the state day is April 2.



Today is the loveliest day of the week... next to Sunday's. Blessed Friday!! Friday's usually mean a couple of things to me...
1. I get to wear jeans to work. How great is that? Sometimes jeans put me in a rut and I fall back into my old jeans-and-a-t-shirt ways. In an attempt to avoid this I have decided to try and 'bring back' some old items I haven't worn in ages. Here's what I came up with... after a little help from the hubby's wardrobe. It's fun to wear a tie when you aren't serving tables! I had to use the fall theme, since it snowed this morning, so it is officially the end of fall.
2. I get to indulge in my guilty pleasure of watching Ghost Whisperer with the wonderfully dressed Jennifer Love Hewitt tonight.
And now Friday's mean one more thing: Busyism's coming your way!! For those of you who have not had the extreme pleasure of tuning in, Celebrity Rehab, VH1's best show to date, is on its second season of documenting the rehab journey of celebrities. This season Gary Busey's crazy behavior is making for fabulous viewing. Today's little jewel of a Buseyism, "My love for you lives 5,000 miles past heaven." Gary to Jeff Conway, his partner in crime. It sounds sweet, but it takes on a new feeling coming from the mouth of a crazy man. If you want info, full episodes, updates, blogging or extra footage, just click here.
Only 34 days until Christmas! I'm starting to put up some decorations this weekend before we commence our Thanksgiving travels. Next week I will be streaming from a place with palm trees... mmm!
Today's Useless Trivia:
The squirting cucumber (Ecballium elaterium), when brushed by a passerby, ejects its seeds and a stream of poisonous juice that stings the skin. This is the stuff horror movies are made of!



Tonight I would like to celebrate! Let's raise a glass for the Kreativ Blogger award.
The rules are as follows:
-List six things that make you happy
-Pass the award on to 6 more kreativ bloggers
-Link back to the person who gave you the award
-Link to the people you are passing it on to and leave them a comment to let them know

Six things that make me Happy:
1. Spending time with my little family. By that I mean the hubs, KJ and my pooch Jet, short for Super Sonic Jet Pulverizer. Yeah.

2. Red Lipstick and Nail polish. My Grandfather once told me when I was young that "ladies" only wear red or clear nail polish. Even at 8 I knew that was just an old man's last generation pre-women's lib opinion, but what can I say? It stuck with me.

3. Finding the perfect outfit with the perfect shoes... heels naturally.

4. Food, cooking food, eating food, and avoiding cleaning up afterwards.

5. Christmas... but not the 'away in a manger' holy christmas, more the Rudolph and Santa hustling bustling commercialized Christmas in all its tinselized glory. And let's not forget the all the food associated with the holidays!

6. Ella Fitzgerald... she never hit a wrong note. And how many vocalists do you know have their own room in the Smithsonian?

Now to pass it on. Here are the blogs I am loving today:

  1. First and foremost, the lovely giver of the Kreative award Q's Daydream.
  2. Freelancers Fashion Blog
  3. Shoe of Salvation
  4. Art and Ghosts
  5. Blackbird Studio
  6. My daily inspiration to love my clothes A Cat of Impossible Colour

I almost forgot Today's Useless Trivia:

An anteaters tounge averages over two feet in length.


A Deep Sigh of Relief

Finally... the wedding is over and I can BREATHE EASY ! It was one hell of an exhausting weekend, which made it not feel like a weekend at all. Friday was spent traveling to Baltimore, Maryland (where the event was to be held) and preparing for the ceremony rehearsal at the venue. Luckily I was able to spend Friday night at my best friends adorable apartment in the city, which happened to be super-close to the venue. On Saturday morning we hit the ground running... literally. I don't think I did anything at a normal pace on the day of the wedding. Everything was at hyper-speed. I completed all the decorations for the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception just in the nick of time. If my bestie hadn't been there for support there is NO WAY I could have gotten everything done. In the end, it all came together beautifully.

Here is the piece you were able to see sneak-peek style last week. It was a hand-painted banner that two groomsmen unfurled at the close of the ceremony, right after the reverend announced them as MR. and MRS. for the first time! It is exactly what every bride wants to hear at the close of her wedding, "...and they lived happily ever after." It was an exciting moment for all! I was very happy with the way it looked and was presented... minus the groomsmen holding it crooked. Oh well, we can't win them all.

After the ceremony and cocktail hour the guests were directed to the first floor of the venue where they were greeted by the one and only Elvis and Priscilla Presley. The layout of the place cards was an idea I had during the planning process, that we took to the next level with the dolls. All of the Brides guests had place cards on the Priscilla table, with the Groom's guests respectively with Elvis.

One of the most fun, and tasty, decorations to set up for display was the delectable candy bar. Everything was color appropriate with the exception of the Elvis edition Reese's Peanut Butter cups. They didn't match the color scheme but they were gone in a blink. Doesn't this pic just make you want beautiful pink junk food?
Lastly, I would like to give a big shout out to the bride, her family and bridesmaids. It was a pleasure to work with such beautiful and sweet women... thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a part of such a profound and memorable day! It was an experience I will not soon forget!!!


Sneak Peek

So here is the sneak peek of the project I have recently finished for the wedding this weekend. I hope it doesn't give away too much. Two of the shots are of the painted script and the third is of the lovely satin ribbon that I sewed on the back... it's all in the details!Today's Useless Trivia:
Donald Duck comics were banned from Finland because he doesn't wear pants.


A Big Behind

Sorry I didn't get a chance to post for you all yesterday. I had a terrible case of the Monday's and the day seemed to drag on forever. Today is off to a better start, but I am still behind. I have such a hechtic week leading up to a big wedding event this weekend. I have taken on day-of-coordination duties for a friend of mine and the big day is this Saturday. In addition to being the ring leader I have also helped organize a great deal of the decor. Most importantly, there will be a beautiful hand painted banner being used in the most creative of ways at the close of the ceremony. I don't want to give away too much, so I will upload a little sneak peek later this evening. You won't get to see a photo of it in all it's glory until next week, but I promise it will be worth the wait.

In the meantime, here are some older images to keep your eyes happy.

Today's Useless Trivia:
Brought to you by a fellow blogger and friend.
Ever seen a goat faint?



As I mentioned before, I would like to have a complete body of work available online. Here is a piece (Terror,Terror911 Acrylic on Poster Board) that dates itself. Unlike most of my other pieces, I do not enjoy reminiscing over my days spent completing this painting. Part of the beauty of any artistic outpouring is that for the both the creator and viewer/reader/listener it can often evoke a very specific memory linked to a very specific feeling or very specific point in time. Art, no matter your medium, is always personal.

Today's Useless Trivia:

The cost to build the Empire State Building was $40,948,900.


Puppy Love

Marriage does not mean the end of puppy love! My husband and I consider our puppy-dog our little son. Since I don't come by art models very often, Jet, my pooch, is my constant stand in. He never seems to mind that I'm staring at him and sketching or incessantly clicking away with the camera right in his face. It took me forever to get this shot... but the batman effect is priceless.

Today's Useless Trivia:
August is the month when most baby's are born... I guess that means that November is the month when most babies are made.


Past Paintings

I would like to start posting images of past completed works so that I have a full and well rounded body of work online for you all to see. You can really get a feel for an artist's style when you see all of their pieces lined up and juxtaposed. I can't avoid mentioning that it is helpful for me as well, or any young artist to occassionally see a cumulative collection of their work. It gives you a sense of where you have strengths and weaknesses as well as helping you to harness your personal aesthetic. The first painting, BodyLines (acrylic on canvas), was actually inspired by the logo for the no-longer-in-business Wachovia bank. It hung in my entryway for a long time... too long actually. But now that it is off the wall I miss seeing it.
The second painting I am including today is titled Lovers Allegory (acrylic and collage on glass). I painted this for my husband when we first started dating. Now it hangs in a nook by our dining room. It was a challenge working with glass and trying to create a collage that would allow light to pass through, but in the end it was rewarding. There are wires that are twisted around the entire painting that function as hooks and allow me to hang it easily.

Today's Useless Trivia:
Yesterday I got so caught up in my top ten list that I forgot to give you your random tidbit... so today you get two!
1. A "sysygy" occurs when all the planets of the our Solar System line up.
2. The ZIP in zip code stands for "Zone Improvement Plan."


Top Ten Coolest Things Found at the Intersection of Art and Food

10. Andy Warhol: Wedged between the classic Campbell’s paintings is this little gem.... it brings out the Hamburgalar in me.
9. Green Eggs and Ham… Dr. Suess's perfect balance of art, food and literature.
8. Beautifully prepared, plated and photographed food. I think we have all been served food that was pretty as a picture, and we've all seen a painting that looked good enough to eat.
7. Martha Stewart: The crafting, cooking, planning, organizing and business empire building Queen. The quintessential home maker, Martha's recipes are the perfect collision of crafting and culinary arts.
6. The movie Chocolate. It is the perfect combination of the best things life has to offer: Johnny Depp and Chocolate.
5. Jidlo: a short by Jan Svankmajer- a long short, but totally worth it. Ever seen a man eat his pants and shoes? http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x23oru_jidlo-aka-food-jan-svankmajer-1992_fun1992_fun
4. Patianne Stevenson (right) Sculptural and painted representations of food. Always good to pay it forward to another artist.
3. I love you with my Ford by James Rosenquist http://www.guggenheim.org/exhibitions/rosenquist/highlights2.html
2. Anissa Mack: Pies for the Passerby The best combination possible: Food as Installation Art.
1. Playing with your food... It's my new craving:



Here is a sketch I did last night. I'm pretty happy with it, especially considering I didn't have a model, which is crucial. It was fun to play with my technical pens and watercolors, which I hadn't done in a while. It just may be time to invest in some watercolor paper and masking fluid. "She smiles the secret smile because she knows exactly how to carry on." Sheryl Crow; Run Baby Run
Today's Useless Trivia:
In honor of election day...
The housing market is a huge issue in today's political debates. Monopoly, however, has been unaffected. Values on the Monopoly gameboard are the same today as they were in 1935.