Nail frenzy

For some reason this keeps happening to me.... Boredom and nail polish...

As of late I have been lusting for the silver shatter from the pirates of the Caribbean line. I even opened the first box we got and was told I could not buy it, weeks ago. Finally, I was able to get it after discovering Sally Hansen has a "crackle" line which is the same as OPIs shatter. Though the crackle comes in different colors like gold, purple, and hot pink. (I got the gold). Also, I was sad to to find out that the silver shatter does not work as well as I dreamt it would.

From shatter to glitter to lines... I am being experimental


Picasso and MoMA...

A couple of weeks ago was the first time in almost a year that I went to the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. I intimately got to know the museum for my master's dissertation, and I allowed a needed hiatus from the arts institution. One of my colleagues from my old telemarketing gig gave me his guest passes to the museum ages ago. So my favorite and I took the plunge and dove into modern art.
I kind of feel like we jumped in head first into water too shallow for such a sport. The museum was crowded, loud and ugly. I really thought it would have been a bit quieter, but it was like Six Flags on a nice day. Tourists, residents, out-of-towners and us; a mix as usual.

Like good museum-goers, we breezed through the first floor, declaring it "not our cup of tea." There were too many words, and too many complex concepts and connections. Like the art historian I am, I can't even remember the name of the exhibit.
We spent the most time in one of the special exhibits, "Picasso: Guitars 1912- 1914." Oh man. I can't say Picasso is one of my favorites, but I feel like I have to give his art time because of its art historical importance. So that we did. The lighting was dim, and the walls were not the same stark white as in other rooms of the museum, creating an atmosphere. No cameras were allowed, so there was not the same stop, go and flash that occurred in the other galleries.
Guitar, 1913
Here, my boyfriend and I talked more about the art, though both of us didn't really appreciate it all that much. He noted, "I don't really see the appeal of it," standing in front of the first piece in the exhibition "Violin Hanging on the Wall." I am not sure I find the art work all that appealing, but I do understand that there is appeal in it, as I alluded to earlier. Picasso, through his various stages, has marked a place in art history, but I still have a hard time seeing why aesthetically.
Violin Hanging on the Wall, 1913
This show looked at how Picasso was exploring different techniques and avenues of construction, using a variety of mediums and materials, ranging from dust, to newspaper to sheet music to created materials (faux marble and wood). The show was all about Picasso's re-imagining and re-imaging the guitar, through forms, lines, texture and medium. This though, was interesting to me (not necessarily how it looked, but process and concept).
Guitar, Gas Jet and Bottle, 1913
I was really interested in the fake woods and marbles, created by Picasso's paint brush, as well as the texture added by the newspaper and sheet music. The faux "bois" (wood) and "marbre" (marble), become yet another way man manipulates nature, bending it further for human needs and desire. This technique gave Picasso even more room to experiment with the shape and form of these musical instruments, pushing the limits of control.
Guitar, 1912-13
 In looking at the art, I felt that the newspaper along with the sheet music, also added an element of context. Newspaper gives a feeling of the present tense, what events and news is happening at the current moment, or even moments in the past, giving the art history. Picasso was disassembling guitars and violins as well as various other objects, and collaging to create a new whole, a reincarnation of the object that was broken to pieces. The various mediums and techniques to me, add layers of reinterpretation and human control to recreate and create.

 On the whole, it was a fun adventure. Art seems to always inspire and provoke interesting conversations and opinions. That is one of the main reasons why I love art so much; no one sees anything in the same way.

We deffo left the museum feeling more cultured and....hungry.



Practical Magic....

What's a girl to do with work during the day... and a dinner during the night?


I have been in love with this striped shirt forever. It is over-warn and over-used because it is one of my favorites and so darn practical (even though practical is not always in my clothing vocabulary). My red mini, on the other hand, is far from practical. I did ask my sister if it was offensive to wear a red skirt with my current hair color. Not sure she answered the question. My skirt is also another faves of mine. One of my besties also likes it, and declared that I should have gotten it in every color, including another in red.... that didn't happen, but I have it in black too!

For my daytime look and my 6 hour shift, I chose to wear my trusty converses (that I tend to forget about until recently). Along with an early college staple, my half-jean jacket. I still love it, and still get a lot of use out of it.

My casual dinner ensemble upped the ante by adding some tan heels, which I have not worn in ages, but remember when I got them, and my white (still forbidden?) blazer. I changed up the hair and the make-up to make it more suitable for night.

And BAM... transformation complete.



Yesterday, marked the day of my first purchase of sunnies!

I never have been a fan of sunglasses, only because I could never find any I liked (aka that looked good on me) and because of my envy for my sister's knack of wearing and picking out perfect sunnies for herself. But yesterday, was my time to invest (hardly) in some funky sunglasses. Whoot Whoot.

And if the weather ever improves, I will wear them...



Gallery Opening...

Mr. Williams (the artist) and Donald, a friend of the gallery
Friday night, May 6th, marked the opening of a show called "A Look Back," featuring the art work of Michael Kelly Williams, at Canvas Paper and Stone. I was called in to help out, and I was happy to do so.  It was great to be back in the gallery where I had many of my first commercial art world experiences. On top of that, the work is amazing, and so was the company.
Averlyn, the director, and family
two artists admiring the work
Canvas Paper and Stone Gallery, is a small space located in Harlem, and is actually run out of the director's home. A few years back, I was really lucky to intern there over the summer before my senior year of college. Ever since then, the director, Averlyn, and I, have been trying to maintain contact. Which I am glad about.

The gallery featured mainly prints by the artist, Michael Williams, ranging from large to small. There was one more sculptural piece that I really liked entitled "Created for Daughters of the Dust." It looks like a three dimensional had, created with various materials like cloth.

Some of the attendees were lucky enough to hear the artist talk about the process he goes through to produce his art. He discussed and explained his various techniques such as, mono type, lithograph, gouache, amongst others.

Mr. Williams also explained, citing two specific pieces, Music and Music II, that what he was listening to at the time, really influenced his work. Like many artists tend to state, Mr. Williams said that he was trying to translate the movement and the motion of the music into his art. The images, vivacious with color and motion, illustrate quite literally music, as there are depictions of musicians with their instruments. The artist brought up the use of his Ipod, which allows him to have music at all times and further inspiration for his art.
Otto Neal (an artist) and Michael Williams
I overheard many comments and many conversations. I heard one man speaking directly to the artist about his opinions on the pieces in the show. He said "Your art is like a dream, you know." The man went further into detail, as Mr. Williams listened, attentively, nodding his head. I instantly saw what the man was talking about, the kind of dreamlike world of colors, lines and shapes. Some of the pieces of the show appeared to be abstract on first glance, ribbons of color and sinuous lines. But after further inspection, these lines and shapes, speak secrets, revealing more concrete messages and images. Some had layers of floating eyes, reminiscent of the surrealist movement, described by Andre Breton, while other of his images, were dream like scenes laid on the page in intense color, while even more still had more solid narrative and action.

Another artist, Mr. McIntosh, described Michael Williams's work as "Magic." This magic comes from diverse influences, technique and visions. Some of his works explore ancient themes and even styles. I heard Mr. Williams talking a guest about his interest and study of Egyptology and Sumerian artifacts, which is apparent in works such as "Afternoon of a Georgian Faun." The flat features and the style in its sparse lines is reminiscent of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, creating a connection with contemporary art and ancient history.

I had such a great evening, socializing and admiring the art. I found a few sites with Mr. Williams' work, such as this and this. Check it out...



White Dog Cafe....

image courtesy of the website
When hunger strikes, we have to act fast, especially when I am involved, or there will be a problem. We all worked up an appetite after watching the crew sprints, and enjoying the intermittent sun and Philadelphia traffic. Most every time we visit my sister at UPenn, we encounter the meal dilemma, today was no different.  We walked down the street, Sansom Street, where we have had a few meals at the various restaurants before. This time we stopped at White Dog Cafe, with reluctance and hesitation, due to our lack luster apparel.  No dress code granted us access to the best meal I have had out in a while.
the room we sat in -image courtesy of the website
The Hostess led us through a maze of dinning rooms, each with a different feel. Finally we reached our lavish table ( I say lavish because the room we sat in a room that was decorated with rich reds and warm golden yellows with dim individual unique light fixtures and the booth was a handsome green…. I really could go on).

image courtesy of the website
On top of the professionalism and the friendly disposition of the staff, the food was amazing. The menu, though not extensive, had a certain depth of options variety and an appeal to each of the senses. It incorporated very generic items and ingredients with the unexpected, to create dishes to tickle the tastebuds.

My Father had steelhead trout, accompanied by grilled fennel and an asparagus and lump crab meat salad. He said later on " Being an old baltomoron,  I am not sure about that lump crab, though.” I was not able to get a picture of his meal, but it was well presented, the pink steelhead tuna (reminiscent of salmon, as the waitress pointed out) rested atop the fennel, while the salad combination was placed on the side. All in all my dad concluded;  “Steelhead trout, a new experience, a lot like salmon.  It was quite tasty.”
Mommie's pasta special
My Mother chose one of the specials that night. The waitress had to explain it twice as it had so many ingredients. She described it as a parpadelle pasta with roasted tomatoes, wild mushrooms, Amish pulled chicken, grilled zucchini and squash, topped with a curry cream sauce. Well it is a mouthful, though she said my sister and I had it perfect in the end. Mommie initially said when I asked if she had anything to say about the dinner, "just that it was really good." But she really did have more to say, and continued, "The description of the dish didn't do it justice. it really didn't taste like "curry" but was really mellow and the oven dried tomatoes weren't like the "sun dried" kind you get in a jar, they were sweeter. The mushrooms were meaty and earthy. The chicken was really nice, the Amish chickens must have lived a good life... yes, they were tasty."
Alix's Porkchop special

Alix, my sister also had one of the specials for the evening. Her's was a pork chop marinated and cooked in a glaze combination of soy sauce and orange. The meat was served on top of a bed of kale cooked with bacon. The vegetable side had pieces of bacon strewed in it, evidence of their time cooked together. My dad, looking at Alix's plate asked what the sauce was. She and I both tasted it with eyes closed, and she came to the conclusion that it was "some kind of reduction." Alix has real skill with food, as she is an excellent cook and baker. Both she and my mother (and maybe me) have acute taste buds, and the rare ability to articulate what it is they taste. When I asked her what she thought she said "it was tasty." However, she was not completely satisfied, "The pork was a little too sweet maybe... and over cooked on one side ( but not too bad )."

Spicy Lamb Bolognese
I chose to save the best for last (well in my very biased opinion). I ordered one of the pasta dishes on the regular menu. This was the Spicy Lamb Bolognese. The menu describes it as "Meadow Run Farms Lamb, Severino Rigatoni, Whipped Basil Ricotta, Organic Baby Spinach" while my sister described it as "BANG." That happens to be the word I would use as well. It was amazing.... After my tragic meal at Court Street in Hoboken, I was afraid to eat out again. But this is how food in restaurants should be. It was very meaty, which I definitely can appreciate (meat is very important to me). It also had a lovely kick to it, as it is described as spicy. The rigatoni were cooked to a perfect al dente, and littered with wilted spinach, and topped with flaked Parmesan cheese. The whipped ricotta with the basil, was just the metaphorical icing on the cake. Its thick and creamy texture added an element of silky richness to the mosaic of my pasta dish. Chewing this concoction created fireworks in my mouth, and will forever be imprinted in the memory of my tastebuds. The dish was a lavish combination of hot (spice) and cold (basil ricotta), crunch (rigatoni) and smooth (wilted spinach).

The pictures I snapped right before my famished family members began to eat do not do the food justice, at all. And I am not sure any picture could, as each dish was accompanied by tastes, aromas, textures and feelings no image could convey....

Such a great meal!


Meet the Crew...

My sister told me I had to be free for May 15 at least a month ago. So, like the dutiful sister I am, I requested off (and got scheduled anyway) to be free for my sister's first (ish) big race. As the day approached my sister warned me: "Do not wear heels or anything... It's not like that..." Noted. But then, what do I wear? Dilemma... I wore pants (gasp), converse (gasp) and a fake chambray shirt from Primark.
So, honestly, I know nothing about crew. It looks pretty when it is done right, and it is an extremely athletic sport that challenges your body in crazy ways. There are different kinds of boats with different numbers of people set up in different ways. That's all I really got. I know that it is definitely a team sport and each individual adds to create a synchronized whole. My sister describes the boat as being "a well oiled machine... the rowers are all dumb jocks and the coxswain is the brain."
my sister's boat of newbies
The weather started out awful. It was rainy and overcast, but when the sun finally came out, the mugginess remained (unfortunately). It was misty weather and hazy understanding on the Cooper River in New Jersey.

The crowd was sporting memorabilia from the teams they were supporting in this North Eastern Sprints Event. It was so weird to see the Brown insignia after so long. Collegiate activities almost seem like a foreign language to me now, though in reality, it has not been that long.
mid race
My family sat on wet and muddy bleachers, listening to the two different announcers, saying two different things. The bandstand was near the finish line, so one announcer was talking about the winners and runners up, while the other was narrating the races where we couldn't see.

My sister's race, which started around 12:40, was a two boat race, with two 4's, meaning both boats had four people in it. This was one of her first sprints, she mentioned she was in a head race before, but my understanding is still weak on what that is. But Sunday was a big deal. Unfortunately, her boat came in second, but she was still excited to see improvement in herself, as well as her boat. She mentioned that her coach at one stage was embarrassed to have her boat on the water, but now says that Alix (my sister) has brought power to the 4. She said the last time her boat raced the same one they did on Sunday (she was sick), her boat got beaten, badly. Her boat managed to shave time off their race this Sunday, which shows improvement. My sister was a walk on and never rowed in her life before, but she is determined to improve and keep up with the challenge, which I really admire.
after Alix's boat passed the finish line
My family did not stay to see all the sprints, and the more important ones happened later in the afternoon. But we saw what we came for, Alix's debut(ish). It was really amazing to see her in action, learn about the sport and meet her teammates!
Fun times!!