Cheesecake Brownies...

So. It was time for another baking adventure. We could all feel it in our mouths, tingling in our tastebuds. Baking was way overdue. My favorite suggested a nice red (blue) velvet cake (he prefers the color blue…), but mostly for the cream cheese frosting, at that stage. I honestly was not in the mood for something as involved as that and I wanted to save it for a more noble occasion. And I was wanting brownies. So a compromise was reached! Cheesecake brownies, to appease all longings.
cheesecake brownie
There are like forty gazillion recipes for cheesecake brownies on the internet, varying from boxed modifications, to created concoctions. That is what our baking adventure turned out to be. Too many delicious inspirations to choose from, so I mixed and matched per usual.

messy dry ingredients
messy kitchen
 For the brownie part, I used pieces of the recipe on the nestle cocoa box, we really like that one, but I added my own twist, like this…
wet things
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
¾ cup butter
2 tablespoons of water
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of vanilla

a little less than ¾ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon of baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon

 and mix the wet and dry ingredients

The cheesecake part is a little more generic, with less varieties...
cheesecake bit
8 oz of cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon of vanilla
a little bit of cinnamon

Don’t forget to butter the baking dish...

brownie bottom
Then put the brownie batter in the prepared baking dish.
Next dollop the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie part…
cheesecake top
And run a knife through it like squiggles to create swirl (I need to practice this, but it will come with more practice, which also means more brownies!!)
And put it in the oven. My oven is being pretty temperamental, but it should be at 350 and cook for 30 to 40 mins, but I would check it frequently.

almost done brownies
Cool (or not) and enjoy.


Two Roles, One Costume...

I currently work two jobs (awesome). I am a telemarketer (lovely) and a sales associate at Ricky’s (yippee). And some days, I go from one employment to the other, telemarketing in the City in the morning and Ricky’s in Hoboken in the afternoonevening.
First of all, I am finding it extremely difficult modifying typical “Randi,” and creating a more “adult workspace” appropriate clothing regime. And it’s not like I only have to do this every so often; I work five days a week as a telemarketer, with adults, who probably struggle with the things I end up wearing anyway. I am waiting for someone to say something to me. Though one of the lovely ladies I work with commented on the height of some of my heels, but that was more of a health concern. Looking respectful and responsible with my wardrobe becomes difficult when it is necessary with such high frequency.
tuesday attire- this is me trying
Secondly, my other part- time venture, is at place that embraces, enjoys, and even seeks out individuality and uniqueness. So I don’t want to roll up to Ricky’s NYC in a boring grey pencil skirt or something that just blends in. The people I work with let their personality show through their clothes, make-up, piercings, hair color(s), etc. I don’t want to be that stray business (business casual) lady sticking out like a sore thumb. Though my manager the other day said I always look so nice, and the district manager today asked if I came from school or another job. They seem unaccustomed to my semi-tidy fanfare.
monday attempt
So, I wake up every morning I work both jobs, trying to come up with a costume that fits both parts. Sometimes I am more successful than others. What to do…



Since, this blog is about all the things I relish, I picked one of my favorite pieces of all time as the image for my header.The piece is Cupid and Psyche, created by Canova, around 1793, about 14 years after beginning his artistic schooling.
cupid and psyche, 1793
Antonio Canova was an Italian sculptor, who was originally from the Veneto region of Italy, but like most other artists of the time, mid to late 18th century, he went to study art in Rome. Rome was a capital of art and culture, especially when looking at the classics and antiquity, as Canova did. The sculptor had a penchant towards neo-classic ideals, like his contemporaries, the French Jacques Louis David and Scottish Robert Adam.
death of marat, 1793, David

oath of the Horatii, 1784, David

kedleston hall, robert adam

ecstasy of saint teresa, bernini"

Neo- Classicism, involves a grand sense of harmony, and natural beauty, contradicting the theatrics of the Baroque period, epitomized by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. This era, was a return to the refined, and balanced, indulging in the realities of the flesh and measures up to the demands of the “father of art history,” Winckleman. Winckleman was a German art critic and historian, who was exploring the importance of learning through aesthetics and art. This movement in art, was looking back to the ancient Greek and Roman artistic moments, replicating the symmetrical elements of architecture, as Adam did, and the content, as seen in David.

three graces, canova
Canova’s execution of sculpting, the textures and ideals portrayed, mimic the smooth surfaces of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures. His themes and story content, are also borrowed from antiquity, as there is a continued interest in the Golden Age and their culture. Ancient myths and tales were used to teach and instruct.

napoleon, canova
Canova’s sculpture captures a moment in the story of the beautiful Psyche and Cupid, Aphrodite’s son, the god of Love, and his doomed love for the mortal. The sculpture demonstrates a timeless love, rounded with impossible ideals, and god- like perfection, echoing art of antiquity. Canova’s skill and style is evident in every detail, from the drapery to the intricate facial details. Later, what I call the Impressionist sculpture Auguste Rodin, looks to the form of Canova and other neo- classic artists, and morphs it into his own, while remembering the past and where art has come from. Canova’s style speaks to its viewers through its simple beauty and adherence to the aesthetic of harmony.

 the kiss, 1866, rodin



Friday night was date night. We went to Robongi, on Washington Street in Hoboken again. I had been craving good sushi for a while, though I am beginning to think that this craving is always present and hardly ever satiated, no matter how much good or bad sushi I eat.
bento box
The week before, my family went to the wrong place to get sushi, so this unfortunate incident made me want good sushi even more. I had been going (by been going, I mean twice) to this place in the City, on 50thish and 7thish, called Natsumi, which is pretty good. It is in an area that is pretty touristy, seconds away from Times Square, located in a hotel, but does not feel like a tourist trap.
my tempura
Anyway. Last time we went to Robongi, it was also a Friday night, but we went later when the music got louder and the lights dimmer. This time, because we were famished and were trying to avoid yuppies, we went earlier.  My favorite was set on getting a bento box, he had been talking about it all day. So that is what he got. It comes with mixed tempura, a sushi roll (he got spicy Tuna), shumai, and entrée of your choosing (he got salmon teriyaki).
I was also wanting tempura, so I ordered the appetizer size, as I wanted my sushi to be the star of the show. And that  it was…
I picked a chef special roll we had gotten before called Sex on the Beach. It had all the lovely tastes I long for in sushi. The middle was filled with cucumber, tempura shrimp, crab, and on top was tuna, and somewhere in there was eel. It was crunchy from the tempura and delicious, a wild medley that you would not expect to be seductive. All the flavors blended, but at the same time remained distinct. The other roll I indulged in, was spicy scallop, another of my favorites! I have had it at other places, but it is always best at Robongi. The scallops are plump and fresh, nestled in with their spicy concoction, creating the perfect balance of hot (from the spices) and cold (from the succulent scallops). Ooo yum, I am drooling thinking about my sushi now.
Unfortunately, my favorite was extremely disappointed with his bento box, claiming that the sushi was the best part. I was more than satisfied with my generous helping of well-orchestrated raw ingredients. Next time, we will deffo stick to sushi!



As I mentioned before, tights or leg accessories, are vital in my wardrobe.
flowered nets
Right now I am all about fishnets, and I don't mean stripper style (though I am not entirely opposed to large holed nets). But I am talking about all the creative ones I've seen, and bought, and craved as of late. Working ladies seem to be adopting fun fishnets and patterned tights to jazz up their work wear. I have seen this on my daily commute. I wore some to the club this weekend to embellish my LBD.
patterned by hole size
Fishnets come in so many varieties- heavy material with more pronounced holes, to those finer with smaller eyelets, to those that have large fishes (that's what I call the holes). I especially like the fishnets with designs on top or ones with patterns created by the hole size... And who can't be wrong with the sexy secretary seam up the back.
fishnets with detail
 So many to choose from...
fishnet fun


Lemon Meringue Pie...

finished product
All of a sudden, I had the illest craving for lemonade, that sweet tanginess that reminds you of summer. Then, my favorite was like, “What about lemon meringue pie?! Or lemon cookies… mmm.”
That was it. I haaad to have lemon meringue pie. “We are making lemon meringue pie!!!”
This is the recipe we used.
First we made the meringue part.
Then we zested the lemon.
lemon zest

And then we heated up the cornstarch mixture....
warm cornstarch mixture
And mixed it with the four yolks from the meringue.
yolk + cornstarch
After mixing in butter, lemon zest and lemon just with the other mixture, It was time to put it in the already baked crust.
filling in
Finally, it was time to put the meringue on top, and put that bad boy in the oven. So excited.
meringue on top
After baking the pie till the meringue was golden, came the most agonizing part. The recipe suggests you let the pie cool completely before slicing. UGH. Patience is not one of my virtues, especially when it comes to sweet things. But we did indeed wait. It turned out to taste delicious, but cutting it was a bit messier than expected. The filling did not stiffen and set enough, so the middle was a little runny, but still delightful. It was such a great new adventure, since I had never made lemon meringue pie before! Next time, it will be even better.... dreaming of fluffy meringue till then...



my first shatter adventure
I have always been a major fan of nail polish, but since my newest employment at Ricky’s NYC in Hoboken, my interest and passion for nail polish has multiplied by tenfold. My sister is a nail polish fiend, she always laughs at how my nails turn out, “If you didn’t always rush, they would come out better.” I think that every time I paint my nails. Hers always turn out so nicely. Oh well.
Now I find myself painting my nails at least every other day, not only to keep up with the other girls that I work with, but because of the amazing options I am now exposed to.  There are soooo many colors and exciting things to do with nail polish, glitter, neon colors, little gems and patterns, and most of all SHATTER.
Ok, so, Shatter is made by O.P.I. and was inspired by Katy Perry and it appears in her line for the company. This kind of nail polish sells out so quickly, people come in the store looking for it, explaining that they can not find it anywhere. Shatter is being sold on ebay for up to $100, which is a big difference, though in stores it is a whopping $14, which to me is a bit much for nail polish, except Shatter.
Shattered again...

So my friends have asked me what shatter is, because I have been talking about it nonstop, because I am obsessed. Shatter goes on top of already dried nail polish. It is black and while it dries, it transforms, breaking and cracking, revealing the color beneath it, and creating a cool design that can not be replicated. O.P.I. suggests you put Shatter on top of Lacquer (which last longer than regular nail polish, just a little tid bit I learned), because they make lacquer, but really it goes on top of anything.

I am obsessed, and keep thinking of different ways to use it, different color combos, and such. I have also been informed, that they are coming out with different color shatters for the warmer seasons. I actually just read it again in Refinery29 this morning. Guess who’s excited….
finished nails


Shoe Lust...

I love shoes. Heels more precisely, I can’t help it unfortunately. I just love shoes.
Since I have been employed, I have wanted to reward myself, mostly for getting a job and not leaving it within the first pay period, but also because I really want new shoes. When I was in London, shoes and pub food, were my primary purchases. But since my return, there have been minimal shoe acquisitions. I bought these amazing red shoes, though not everyone, mostly my favorite, is not the largest fan
sexy red shoes

I have been dreaming about these purple Jeffery Campbell shoes, since my first week telemarketing. I do not know what made me think to look for his shows, probably looking at facebook pictures or another blog I like. But it was a dangerous decision to look into. Because of course I found a pair I want, and now I am lusting after them.
jeffrey Campbell- i waaant

Maybe next pay check.


Harlem Fine Arts Show...

A few weeks ago I went to the Harlem Fine Arts Show, which was basically an art fair, exhibiting new and experienced artists, as well as the works selected by various galleries and dealers. I essentially went to chat with the gallery director of Canvas Paper and Stone where I used to intern ages ago. But it turned into an art adventure I was not quite expecting. Canvas Paper and Stone is a small gallery that was run out of the gallery director’s home. Now it’s going through some changes, as all things do, but I was really privileged to be a part of it, and form such a great relationship with the director.
Any way. I had been to a bunch of art fairs when I was studying in London, getting my Master’s with Sotheby’s Institute. I had been to some young art fairs, such as one in Berlin and Brussels. But I also attended one of the most famous art fairs, with the most expensive, and prestigious art galleries and artists represented in Maastricht. The art fair in Maastricht has all the glitz and glam (and pretension) it is known for, and the art ranges from antique to current, and diamonds and furniture. It was beautiful to see, but kind of uncomfortable to go to.
Art fairs are becoming more and more important in the art world, as gallery spaces have become extremely expensive to obtain and maintain. What has been dubbed artfairization, took its roots more than a decade ago, during a large boom of the art market. Ever since then, there has been dramatic exponential growth and success of art fairs, where cities jump at the potential for art fairs as they bring tourism and satellite fairs. There are many benefits as well as disadvantages to art fairs, but, that’s a long story, that I, unfortunately, am well versed in. I wrote a whole paper on this…
This art fair in Harlem was completely different than any I had experienced in Europe. The setting was Riverside Church, uptown by Barnard and Columbia University. It was a pretty beautiful venue, which added a sense of atmosphere and history, as the building is a piece of art in of itself.
The air, the attitudes, and especially the art were different. Everyone, artist, gallerist, attendee, was friendly and warm. The artists, who were generally representing themselves, were so open to questions and so willing to give answers. I asked questions I would never have dreamed of asking in the stuffy Maastricht fair, and artists were excited to answer them, excited that people had genuine interest. I was let into the pathos and reasoning as well as process of many artists’ work, which is amazing to me, being an art history junky. Art history, especially looking at the art that I love the most, the old stuff, is kind of about making up those answers. Yes, there are theories, and sometimes the artists wrote things down, but much of what I think art history is, is creating sound hypotheses. So, actually hearing from an artist exactly what they were thinking when putting together a piece and executing it, is truly amazing.
One of the people that was helping out my old boss asked me what I thought of the fair. I spoke to him about my previous experiences, of high ceilings and convention spaces, and elaborate city planned carpeted venues. I also noted the sense of community I felt and saw. So many people knew each other, not only artists knowing other artists, but attendees knowing other people coming to see the art. I loved that bit a lot. Just seeing the black community supporting each other, especially in a field that it is not generally recognized for.
It was definitely a good experience, stepping out of the familiar-ish territory I had already witnessed. I got the chance to see something different, something that some day I would hope to become a part of, you know, once I get interested in contemporary art (yuck).


Sweet Oatmeal Cookie Dreams...

Every once in a while, probably more than that really, I get super inspired to bake. Today, well this week, was one of those times. I would have baked earlier in the week had I not been so occupied. Tonight, was an oatmeal cookie baking adventure.  I am also a dweeb and enjoy bringing cookies to work. Last month I made and brought with me probably close to three dozen cookies. They were all gone before 2 pm, and I put them out at 11:30. Oh my.
A few weeks ago, I had a dream, a dream that lasted the whole entire night, resulting in restless sleep, about oatmeal cookies. To be honest, I never really thought I was a fan of oatmeal cookies until this dream. I was looking at a baking blog and in it was a recipe for what she called “the tastiest basic oatmeal cookie.” Since that moment, I have been all about trying out oatmeal cookies, especially since I do not think I have ever made them on my ownish, without my sister. In my dream, I was trying all these different variations, add-ons and mix-ins. The highlights were: oatmeal raisin, oatmeal raisin with a creamcheese drizzle, oatmeal cranberry, and oatmeal cranberry with white chocolate chips.
So today, I made my dream come true, well almost. I made oatmeal cranberry and oatmeal cranberry with white chocolate chips. I found a recipe on the back of the Craisin bag for white chocolate chunk and craisin oatmeal cookies. And there was another recipe on the top of the oats container. Also I glanced at the recipe I saved from the blog that gave me sweet oatmeal cookie dreams. I kind of mixed the three  together, creating my own recipe, taking bits and pieces, making it my own.
done cookies!
Randi's Oatmeal Craisin/ Craisin White Choco Chip Recipe
1 cup of Butter (softened)
1 cup of brown sugar (packed)
1/4 ish cup of white sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups of flour
2 1/4 cups of oats
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 1/4 cups of craisins
white choco chips to taste
Cream butter, sugars, and vanilla till fluffy. Add the eggs, beat till smooth. Combine dry ingredients (salt, baking soda, flour, oats and cinnamon) in a bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the butter sugar mixture, a little bit at a time. Stir this well. Add in the craisins, and then the white choco chips. ( when I did this, I divided the dough in two after adding the craisins, and only added white choco chips to one half) Bake the cookies at 375 for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on size and how you like them. This makes three to four dozen cookies.
me making cookies...
The verdict on the homefront was... YUM! We will have to see what the people at work think tomorrow.
sweet oatmeal cookie dreams....


My Style Is…

I was filling out an application for Urban Outfitters. Unlike any application for retail I've ever encountered, Urban Outfitters has short answer questions, mostly to display character and poor grammatical choices. The first of sixish questions asks the applicant to fill in the blank “My style is…” I was doing this while sitting at my baby internship at an art gallery, and found myself talking out loud.
“My style is…”
“My style is….”
“My style isss……hmmm” I kept saying out loud.
This was the very first time I had to even try put my style into words, articulate something that is generally shown, my character by way of fabric.  “My style is…”

I looked at what I was wearing that day, and as it turned out, the skirt I had on incidentally inspired my applying to Urban in the first place. It’s my “duckskirt” as I fondly call it, still unsure of the fowl that patterns the green, “Flat Black by Pegleg NYC” skirt. My sister and I spotted it in Urban only two days before, and it instantly became a favorite piece of clothing. Apparently I was eager to wear it. Accompanying the marvelously new “duckskirt,” I wore a loose white tee tucked in, a thin black belt with a golden buckle (I say golden, because it was gold colored), and a grey boyfriend blazer, topped off with my favorite tan suede six inch wedges (I measured the heel and the platform later that day in the gallery).


At this stage, I honestly can not remember what I wrote; something about girlie with a little bit of edge, but mainly I was trying to fit into the brand identity of Urban Outfitters, so what I wrote was probably a whole bunch of b.s.
But what is my style? Do I even have a style? Those were things I was asking myself that quiet Wednesday in the gallery, and questions I even ask myself now. At this point, I can’t say my fashion vocabulary is extensive, because to me it is deffo show not tell.
But, I'll have to say... Definitely girlie.

I LOVE dressing up (or what other people call dressing up). I rarely leave the house in jeans and a teeshirt, and if I do, its generally modified, or featuring heels. Skirts are my life it seems. Only this weekend going through my drawers I discovered near to 40 skirts. Oh dear. I am known for my skirts, in all seasons. They come in many shapes and sizes, but generally one length: short (though this is changing). I gravitate towards high-waisted skirts, some embellished with volume through pleats and layers, others tight in bright colors.

My affinity towards skirts, has created a necessity for tights, hosiery, leg accessories, whatever you want to call them (especially in winter, though in London it was more of a year round dealie). I really enjoy patterned and intricately detailed tights. Just the other day, after a sushi dinner, my friends were commenting on tights, and said that mine were “cool” and “sexy.” They were my FAVORITE tights, with this lacy pattern up the side of either leg, while the rest was sheer black. While in London, intricate tights were all the rage; pairs featuring polka dots and hearts, stripes and squiggles, illusion tights, were all over the place. I am still looking here for the interesting ones, but I do not want to spend $20 on something I know will get a run in it. The search continues.

Sometimes, with these girlie skirts, come edgier elements, like oversized blazers, denim shirts, and heeled combat boots or military inspired wedges. I like to mix girlie, with the edgy (leather jacket, masculine shapes, loud colors). Ruffles, lace, patterns, and belts are also frequent in my clothing vocabulary, playing up the feminine but sometimes also creating contrast with the rest of the outfit.

All in all, I would say my style is evolving, changing not only with the seasons and annually, but also from day to day. No day is the same. My style ranges from playful, to minimalist to eclectic to obnoxious and over the top.