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Monday, April 5, 2010

New art...

This a painting I completed recently. It's very different from my usual style, but has a very specific purpose. This is a wedding portrait for two very good friends o mine who recently got hitched ! Obviously it is a very funky, alternative take on the traditional. I wanted to take "till death do us part" to an extreme, and also incorporate the couples personality into the details. They are wearing their actual wedding attire, but are set against a desert sunset since they have been living together in Phoenix for years now, they also told me colors and flowers they like so I could bring those into the mix. This couple has a slightly western rock-a-billy style that I tried to capture. The photo makes it hard to tell but I used 4 layers of epoxy resin, painting between each one. When you see this in person it actually takes on a subtle 3-D effect....

Saturday, January 2, 2010

You are what you eat ( and drink !) ....

This New Years Eve was unprecedented for me. I stayed home alone, made a little spread for myself, poured a cocktail and parked it on the couch ! And would you believe it? I had one of the most peaceful, fun and thoughtful NYE's ever. At some point I looked over my appetizers, my drink and thought about what I was doing and realized how much you could learn about me by all this...Ive always heard the phrase "you are what you eat" but had never really thought about it this way... Have a look at my photo and I ll try to explain this....

You will probably notice the beautiful flowers first. Devin gave me these for my birthday earlier this week. Birthday flowers = loving boyfriend. Home alone= loving boyfriend working late AND also indicative of my current unemployment ( not gonna go blow a bunch of money on amateur night !) .

So that covers the behavior and the flowers. Now on to the food and drink. You will notice a heavy cheese over bread ratio... this tells me two things... one Im trying to cut carbs in a half ass way, and two Ive been to Wisconsin recently! The lobster ravioli that Im eating on a night when Im home alone is a product of Devins shellfish allergy... feel too guilty to eat it in front of him ( he grew up eating and loving it only to become allergic later in life ) . Not sure if you can see them but there is a little bullet of cornichons ( a small french pickle) .... I have recently found myself enamored with all things french, I even made homemade duck liver pate !

Now my drink, maybe the most telling of all. Im gonna try and keep this simple. Its a white wine spritzer with ice and a plastic Jack Daniels stir stick. What does this mean? Im 32, trying to stretch one bottle of wine since I dont hold my alcohol like I used to, have a stir stick indicative of my past life in Arizona when I could hold my liquor and went to the type of events that were sponsored by Jack Daniels, and finally the fact that I no longer turn up my nose to pouring this over ice shows I have a boyfriend whose mother lives in a suburb of Milwaukee.... I realize this may not make sense to everyone. It was just weird to look down and read into everything on the table... You dont think about these things while youre setting out the food, or pouring the drink. There really is so much more behind everything you do than you realize. In that one picture, with a little thought, you can pretty much summarize my life right now ! Happy New Year !!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Who doesnt love pistachios and chocolate ??


So now that I've made this a couple times ( literally twice) I feel confident enough to give you all the recipe.... Here goes.

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees


For the filling...*all of these should be room temp before combining

12 oz cream cheese
12 oz ricotta
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup rough chopped UNSALTED pistachios ( half will go inside , and half for around the edge)
1/3 cup pistachio paste ( got mine at Whole Foods)
1 tsp vanilla

For the ganache ( chocolate covering)...
1 cup semi-sweet choc chips
1/2 bar of dark chocolate of your choice ( broken into small bits)
2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup half and half ( or cream )

For the crust...
this is up to you... Ive done it with almond biscotti but I thought the flavor took away from the pistachio a little, so I made my second with regular graham cracker crust, you can even just buy it to make it easier !

Okay... prep crust whether home made or bought, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, ricotta and sugar. Mix or beat till smooth.The whole thing can be mixed on the medium setting. Add one egg at a time mixing in each thoroughly. Then add vanilla, pistachios and paste and beat again till smooth ( this can all be mixed by hand but easier and better with a standing or even hand held beater...or even a blender!). Pour over crust evenly and set in oven for 50 minutes. As every oven is different, just look for the middle to be a little loose but should set during the cooling process. If any part still looks liquid leave it in turned off oven till you feel ok about it.

When done take out and let cool a while, at least 15 minutes, also if you made it in a spring form pan release it.

While your cheesecake is cooling you can make the ganache.

Set up a double boiler ( your gonna have to look this one up, Im sorry! I just dont think Ill explain it very well ) .

In the dbl boiler put half of all your choc and all of the half and half and butter.
Let sit a minute to warm up and then begin slowly mixing this while it melts. Just folding slowly with a spatula. Add the rest of the chocolate slowly, never too much at a time. Once consistent and your cheesecake isnt hot anymore take the ganache off the heat and set it next to cheesecake.

Pour about half of the warm chocolate on the center of the cake and spread slowly over and around edges with a spatula... this could take some getting used to, just do it slowly and add chocolate as necessary. Make sure you cover edges evenly and with a thick enough layer as this will act as the glue for the pistachios.

Placing the rest of the pistachios around the edges is a little tricky. Im actually hoping someone comes up with a better, smarter way to do this. So far the method Ive been using is to use a soup spoon, or tbsp and just push it lightly around the cake one spoonful at a time . After each spoonful turn over spoon to the clean side and give a little extra push into the ganache. Once you've tediously gone around the cake take a look around to see if any areas have been neglected or lost too many soldiers. You can fill these in by hand with pieces of pistachios... just BE CAREFUL ! You can easily make a mark in the ganache that cannot be fixed ( at least to my knowledge). Chill for at least 3 hrs...

Have fun with this, it is DELICIOUS ! And remember you can do whatever you want with the pistachios as far as decorating, this is just how I did it.

Happy eating !

Sunday, November 22, 2009

gomez, get miles

I love Graffiti on facebook ! I wanted to do more with this one, but I didnt know how to save work to do more later yet ! Now I do, watch out!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


This blog goes out to some people I love, some Ive even just met, but are clearly not above... you know who you are :)

I spoke to you, I spoke to Ky
I talked to Dyl, I talked to Ry

Asked all kinds of questions, here and there,
To try to make sense of this sordid affair...

I question you all at the end of the day
Life is too short is all I have to say

Do me a favor, and take a deep breath
Focus for a minute, for no one is near death

No need for sticks, no need for stones
What you all really need is some god damned time alone

Not on mom and dads couch, nor on the tour bus
All these places cause more drama, more fuss

I wish for you all some peace and some quiet
To please put an end to this dumb ass riot

That IS what it is, and nothing more
When the clouds leave your membranes you will see this for sure

You will look back and wonder how you got so worked up
Over things so mundane, so trivial, so lame

Get over yourselves, you can do nothing more
None of you are more important, none of you have the cure

To you all I have this to conclude
I love you today, and will love you tomorrow, but this very moment all you bring me is sorrow.

You should know by now we are all just works in progress,
Though right this second you guys seem more like a plain mess

Focus on you and you alone
And maybe, just maybe you will find your way home

Thursday, September 24, 2009

BLING THEORY ( or the Bling Blog I really couldnt decide)

Ok, I think we all know by now what it means when someone refers to "bling"... but just in case here are some visual (above) and textual aids for your understanding....

As defined by the "Urban Dictionary"

bling 1341 up, 269 down love it hate it

Jamaican slang that has been adopted by some African American rappers and inserted into popular culture. The term "Bling Bling" refers to the imaginary "sound" that is produced from light reflected by a diamond. See The Silvertones "Bling Bling Christmas" for the earliest known usage of the slang.
This "bling bling" shit has been done to death.

As defined by Websters dictionary
  • Main Entry: blingbling
  • Pronunciation: \ˈbliŋ-ˌbliŋ\
  • Variant(s): also bling \ˈbliŋ\
  • Function: noun
  • Etymology: imitative
  • Date: 1999

: flashy jewelry worn especially as an indication of wealth; broadly : expensive and ostentatious possessions

Alright so I can think of bling, in its current definition, going back at least to George Clinton and thats just in my memory. Im sure there are others that I am not aware of, or at least that are not on the tip of my memory's tongue. Oh wait whats his name... the guy that plays in Groove is in the Heart? Its a funny name, Sloopy, Bitsy, Boots, oh yeah Bootsy ! Bootsy Collins! That song really had a lot going on, with Q-tip rapping and everything... I dont know if Bootsy is older than George but he popped in my head either way, I think he had some bling. ANYWAY, jeez. So bling has been around. It has its lovers and its haters. The haters like to call it tacky, obnoxious, and unnecessary. The lovers just love it I think, and truthfully whether you like it or not it is getting more and more creative as time goes on.

What I'd like to know is whether or not the lovers or haters have ever thought about why bling became such a thing. I have a theory.

It has been said of bling, even in the Websters definition, that one of its purposes is to be a show of wealth. An overt, in yo face, Ive got money honey show piece. Ive personally heard mostly white people criticize it, and mostly black people admiring it. Mostly. Of course there are exceptions in both categories. A white rapper here and there with some bling, a snobby black republican ( yes they exist, just look up the head of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele) and I'll tell you what- the ladies from Housewives of NJ could give any rapper with bling a run for their money! My point is that overall I do see it as a black and white issue ( pun intended). Most of the critics are white and proponents black.

That all being said, is it really all that surprising or hard to understand that a black American, male or female, would want to spend their first big sum of earnings on something that would show the world they have attained success? Now this idea is going to touch upon big issues that deserve a post all to themselves but bear with me. I know its been what seems to us a long time since slavery was abolished, and civil rights were enacted, but we all know this is a deep, complex issue that lingers.

I myself have no idea what it would feel like to live in a world where it may seem like the cards were stacked against me. Of course, how deeply your life is affected by your race depends on location, family, education and of course money. I feel down and out at times, truthfully right now Im not doing so hot. Ive been looking for a job for what feels like forever and I have days when I wonder if Ive been "blacklisted" ( a term which ironically has no connection to ethnicity) from all the restaurants in Chicago ! But even on my worst days I still cant imagine adding to that emotion the idea of my people as a race having been enslaved, emancipated, degraded, upgraded at times, and finally given back rights that should never been taken away. I know a lot of white and black people feel this isnt something we should dwell on. To an extent I agree, and I am sure it is circumstantial whether or not this always comes into play. I do think though that to have on your back, to some degree, the idea that it is so much more important that you prove to yourself and the world that you can be a success based on this history is quite a heavy load. Its like being the first in a family to go to college on a much, much grander scale. Furthermore to understand the WHY of certain issues I think keeping this in mind is ever so necessary.

It has only been 45 years since the Civil Rights Act was put in place, outlawing segregation and implementing laws for equal opportunity. 45 years ! That is no time in terms of history, and we all know that when this act was put in place in 1964 the minds of the people who made these laws most necessary were not magically enlightened. Some still arent. Keeping all of this in mind now begin to think about white people. Even though I feel this should be assumed, I think if I dont mention that there are whites who havent always had it easy I might get in trouble ! I do realize that plenty of White, Hispanic, Asian and others out there also have had hard times. These are not who we are focusing on in this particular blog. All Im saying is white people have enjoyed the freedoms of success longer. We didnt have a time of oppression on this continent to set us back. Only time can bring about things like the term "old money" . Only time can allow people to go from humble beginnings to making money, then investing, and finally reaping the returns. Unless you win the lottery, making money, especially lots of money takes a lot of time. Time for trial and error, time to get comfortable enough financially to be able to take the kind of risks that earn the big money, without worrying about the stability of your family. Time is key.

Some people on the other hand have been at it for a good while now, and have had time to establish. Time to pass down money in our families that enables some of us to have an easier time earning even more money. Money for education. Money for hobbies that enrich our lives and sometimes prevent us from going down the wrong road. Money enough to feel mentally and emotionally calm enough to not entertain thoughts of quick fixes, or illegal ventures. Again, I am speaking in VERY broad terms, I know there are people of all kinds that struggle. This is a very general overview, but the truth that is there really does over time affect us so deeply and subconsciously in ways that form our behavior.

So when a rapper makes his first million and doesnt want to immediately invest it all, or run out and buy a house on Marthas Vineyard for his grandchildren to enjoy it makes perfect sense to me. When a singer wants to go out and buy a super giant diamond pendant instead of a "tasteful" strand of pearls, I understand. On an abstract level I might even go as far as thinking I would want to spend money on just the opposite kinds of things than the people who kept my people down. I, too, imagine that I would want to buy whatever screams to the world in the boldest way that I am a money making success, especially since I would have no idea how fleeting my popularity might be. This could be my only chance ! BOOM, Bling theory.

Speaking of bling, get a load of thats what Im bleepin talkin about!

The Guinness Book of World Records has just added Rapper LIL' JON as the owner of the largest diamond pendant ever. The hip-hop star's, "crunklinks Aint Dead" pendant is 7.5 inches (19 centimeters) tall, six inches (15.2 centimeters) wide, and one inch (2.5 centimeters) thick. It weighs almost 12 pounds (5.4 kilograms) and features 73 carats of diamonds - with 3,756 round-cut white diamonds encrusted in 18-karat yellow and white gold. The diamond pendant has been valued at about $500,000.