Month: March 2015

March Favorites

March FavoritesSpring has FINALLY sprung! Although I’m a little sad that ski season is coming to an end, I could not be more excited about longer days,warmer weather, and flowers. Here are my five favorites from March.

March Favorites

  1. Family time. I got to spend some quality time with my family and friends on a ski trip to Breckenridge, CO.
  2. This adorable locket. My mom surprised me with this and I have worn it almost everyday since. It comes with a sweet engraved message which I read whenever I’m having a rough day.
  3. 75 degree weather. We have been taking full advantage of the warmer temps and sunny afternoons by hiking, playing lawn games, and soaking in some rays.
  4. My new bike! I’ve been lusting after a new mode of transportation and finally made a purchase. Now I just have to get a helmet (and some biking skills).
  5. Stitch Fix. My roommate just turned me on to this affordable personal shopping subscription. My first fix is supposed to be arriving any day now and I can’t wait!

x B

Artist Profile: Katie Craig

Katie CraigI love abstract artists. Maybe it’s because I can’t seem to let go enough to ever complete an abstract of my own. Or maybe it’s the calming sense I get when I see so many brushstrokes (most would argue these are energetic, which they are, but they calm me down…don’t ask). This love is what attracted me to our next artist, Katie Craig. I discovered her prints on Minted and instantly wanted more. Most of her paintings can be found in print form on her Minted page, but you can also purchase originals.

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katie craig

I admire her bold use of color and her love of experimentation. Each piece is unique and you can see her process and aesthetic evolving. Be sure to check out her full body of work here.katie craigkatie craig

And how cool is this piece of fiber arts??katie craigx B

 

Art imitating life

Last week, a young Afghan artist made national headlines after walking along the main street of her Kabul neighborhood donning custom-made steel armor that emphasized her body shape. Kubra Khademi’s walk lasted just eight minutes.

Afghanistan is noted for its deeply conservative rights, particularly when it comes to womens’ rights. Women are expected to wear the traditional burqa to cover their figure and disguise almost every inch of bear skin. The armor was intended to provide protection, as well as a defiant rebuke to the men who make walking down Kabul’s streets uncomfortable for any unchaperoned woman. When she was a child, Khademi was groped on the streets and remembers wishing she had a steel underwear to protect her.  This experience inspired her to make it a reality.

While walking down the street, Khademi’s audience was almost entirely male. Crowds quickly gathered and insults, gropes and throwing stones quickly ensued.  Online footage and threats  referred to Khademi as an ‘activist’ and because of this she can’t return to her house.

After reading about Khademi, I realized how lucky I am to be from a western country where women have the same opportunities as men. But for now, I salute Khademi for her bravery and for making a statement for all women.

x K

Travel Guide: Breckenridge, CO

breckenridge,coI was lucky enough to have my dad, brother, and close family friends come out for a long weekend of skiing earlier this month. We had a range of skiers from pro to first-day-on-the-slopes so I had to choose a resort that was accommodating for all. I landed on Breckenridge since it is my favorite resort nestled in the cutest of mountain towns.

We stayed in a complex within walking distance of both the lifts and the town. This made for convenient skiing and post-skiing entertainment. There are lots of great restaurants in the town and most are budget friendly compared to other ski towns. We grabbed happy hour beers which turned to dinner at Breckenridge Brewery, a family friendly establishment playing basketball on multiple screens — great for our sports loving crew.

breckenridge, coThe next two days were filled with skiing (and minimal falling). We even went off of the peak of one of Breck’s 5 peaks. This was labeled “blue”, but it was definitely tough! Thank god there is no footage of me trying to ski down it. It wasn’t pretty. We also got to check out Breckenridge’s night life by exploring a few local bars. All were pretty laid back with fun games and great music, definitely my kind of scene. We filled the afternoon and evening hours by recovering, exploring the local shops, and playing lots of cards a board games.

breckenridge, coOverall, Breckenridge is a great town for all ages and skiing levels. There are other forms of entertainment including snow shoeing, snow tubing, and a roller coaster on the slopes. The terrain has a wide variety from beginner to expert so you can never get bored. And if they slopes aren’t appealing to you, the town is quiet and quaint, with delicious coffee and food around every corner. They also have a large art scene which I have not explored as much, but would love to on future trips. If you are looking for a great mountain get away, Breck is the place!breckenridge, co

x B

European Industrial Interiors

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As I age I realize I am more and more of a minimalist. I love art and accessories so I will never live a total minimalist lifestyle, but I’ve been loving clean and sparse interiors as of late. I tend to gravitate towards a white and black palette with rich textures and an industrial feel. These interiors generally come from European countries since they do a great job of regenerating great design within existing spaces.minimalistic kitchen

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european kitchenImage source

I love the combination of classic elements like herringbone floors, intricate moldings, and natural stone with more contemporary materials and furniture. I think this look tends to look best with warm metallics like bronze and brass though cooler tones aren’t necessarily “wrong”.

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minimalistic kitchenImage source

These interiors may be simple, but effective. You don’t need two kitchen islands, the latest and greatest appliances or gadgets, or the largest overstuffed sectional to make your home warm, inviting, and classic.

x B

Travel Guide: Stratford-upon-Avon

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Stratford-upon-Avon is a small town in the Southwest corner of England and is best known for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare. For that reason, it has become somewhat of a tourist destination.  I visited there a few years ago when my mom visited, and ended up back there a few months ago to meet some friends. The second visit was just as nice as a the first and I’m happy to share my picks of the city.

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Running through the middle of the city is the River Avon surrounded by a pretty park and public space. The Royal Shakespeare Company theatre also sits right on the river. A theatre has been on the same site since 1879, but was destroyed in a fire in 1926. It was rebuilt in 1932 and redeveloped in late 2010.  The theatre hosts several productions a year and attracts a large number of visitors.  Even without seeing a production, there is quite a bit to see in the building including costumes, restaurants and a viewing tower that offers lovely views of the surrounding countryside.

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The remainder of the town is very cute. There’s not a ton to do or see, but for a small town it has lots to offer. Over the course of the weekend, we stumbled upon three different food and wares markets, had two excellent lunches at little tea rooms, found a nice old pub with the best mulled wine and took a very brief river boat cruise. We wandered through the city centre to see Shakespeare’s house, checked out the old timber houses, found the church where Shakespeare is buried and walked along the river.

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Other highlights of the visit, include an excellent meal at The Encore. The entire meal was great (and one of the most expensive I’ve ever head), but dessert was incredible: a sampler platter with four different desserts. I think that was the first time I’ve ever not been able to finish dessert! We stayed at a cute little B&B about a 10 minutes’ walk from the river called Bradbourne House. I stayed here during my fist visit as well. Stratford is very picturesque and a lovely place to spend a weekend. And I’d recommend it if you’re in the UK.

x K

What I’m Watching

Kelly told you what she was watching, so I thought I would give you a little update on my tv show obsessions. I know, it’s pretty ground breaking stuff over here. My tastes are a little schizophrenic these days, but that’s to be expected in today’s day and age of binge watching.

1- Breaking Bad

what i'm watching

Yeah, yeah, I’m seven years late to the party, but I’m not usually on the cutting edge of television. It took me a while to get into it, but I’m officially hooked.

2- House of Cards

what I'm watchingSeason 3 is finally here! Frank Underwood is putting South Carolina on the map (though not always in the best of lights…).

3- Friends

what I'm watching

It’s only the 800th time I’m seen each episode, but I will never grow tired of Friends. These six fools have gotten me through some dark times and always remind me that you are never a failure if you have friends.

4- Girls

what I'm watchingIt’s season 4 and so far this season is proving the show’s worth to me again after two mediocre seasons.

5- Broad Citywhat I'm watching

Someone told me this show reminded them of me, and though I would like to deny, deny, deny, they are exactly right. I’m this awkward and weird so naturally I love this show. And I’m a long time fan of Hannibal Buress.

x B

Holy Mole-y

face moleWe all inherit our external features (and internal) for better or for worse from our gene pool. Mine has so kindly “blessed” me with skin that is more prone to develop moles instead of freckles or just even pigmentation like most people. This means I get to visit the dermatologist every six months for routine checkups and now have some super attractive scars from where some of my little friends have had to be removed. Luckily in all of my procedures they have found nothing serious and for that I am grateful. It also means that I have had a mole on my right cheek ever since I can remember. This is by far my most significant mole and subsequently, my most significant feature. We’ve had a love/hate relationship my entire life, but love wins by a hair since I have never gone through with having it removed.
face moleThe first time I felt self conscious about it was when my mom and I went to review my senior photos and the photographer asked if I wanted him to airbrush it out. My parents always called it my beauty mark growing up and that’s what I believed. I never realized it was a “blemish” that needed to be photoshopped. To this day I hate looking at those photos because they lack authenticity and bring back the self consciousness. Every time I begin to come to terms with it, someone brings it to my attention again in a seemingly offensive way. (I have actually been told that I am the mole-iest person my dermatologist’s nurse had ever seen). They always quickly backtrack and then try to tell me it is beautiful, they love it, blah, blah, blah. I have also discussed removing it with multiple doctors including a plastic surgeon (and my therapist!) and they all tell me the same thing, it’s so beautiful why would you want to remove it? I don’t know why it is so difficult for me to get past, but its been a struggle for me since those senior photos. I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes saying, “white girl problems” right now, but low self esteem isn’t just limited to white girls.

face moleBut after a quick google search I realized that some of the most beautiful women in the world, Cindy Crawford, Marilyn Monroe, Eva Mendez, and Kate Upton, all share the same feature. A face mole. It’s time I learn to embrace it and realize that it is a feature that makes me unique. It is also time that I learn that everyone is beautiful in their own way, with or without a face mole. So, here’s to losing the genetic lottery, but being perfectly ok with it, learning to love yourself, and learning to embrace your uniqueness…being generic is overrated.

face mole

x B

The best brownies

IMG_2024 editBrownies are one of my favorite desserts, so I’m glad I’ve finally found the perfect recipe.  This week a friend tipped me on Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc brownie recipe.  I’ve only baked these once and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to any other recipe. My version is a slight adaptation from the original.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
3/4 pound (or 340 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped into chip-sized pieces ( about 1 1/2 cups)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour your tray (either 13 x 9 or 9 x 9). 
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside. Melt half the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Put the remaining butter in a medium bowl. Pour the melted butter and stir to melt the butter. The butter should look creamy, with small bits of unmelted butter, and be at room temperature. Mix together the eggs and sugar until think and very pale.  (I whisked for approximately 5 minutes because I don’t have the luxury of a KitchenAid).  Add one-third of the dry ingredients, then add one-third of the butter, and continue alternating the remaining flour and butter. Gently mix after each addition. Add the chocolate and mix to combine. Spread the batter evenly in the pan. (Side note: the batter is delicious and I’ve tasted my fair share of brownie batter. It is definitely a sign of the goodness that is to come.)

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes if using a 9 x 9 or 30 to 35 minutes if using a 13 x 9 pan, until a cake tester or wooden skewer poked into the center comes out with clean.

Allow to cool and serve while still warm with some vanilla ice cream and hot fudge if you’re really lucky.  And you’re welcome.

x K

5 Favorites: Restaurants in Greenville, SC

restaurants in greenville scGreenville is a small city in the upstate of South Carolina nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. When I was growing up it wasn’t on anyone’s radar, but it is gaining more and more buzz as of late for its restaurant scene. Many prestigious chefs and restauranteurs are setting up shop in Greenville adding to its rapid growth rate. Though I don’t live there currently, I still daydream about its delicious food. Here is a round-up of my five favorite restaurants from around town.

  1. Tako Sushi: A combination of Asian (not just limited to sushi) and Mexican cuisine. My favorite dish is the Ahi Pokke, so incredibly good!
  2. Lemongrass: A quiet restaurant that is tucked into the heart of downtown, but some of the most incredible Thai food I have ever had. And that includes the food I consumed while in Thailand. I can’t decide which is my favorite between the Massaman Curry or the Cashew Nut Chicken, but you really can’t go wrong with anything on this menu.
  3. The Trappe Door: A relatively new addition to the Greenville restaurant scene, but it has quickly climbed its way to the top of my list. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu especially the burgers or mussels since they are served with fries and multiple flavors of mayonnaise (your choice!) for dipping. If this isn’t enticing enough, there are tons of delicious Belgian beers to choose from or even Absinthe.
  4. The Bohemian: Another quaint restaurant, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a lot to offer. The menu is incredibly varied and nothing disappoints. They are open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Once you are done eating, be sure to stop by Horizon Records to see their latest vinyl collection.
  5. The Lazy Goat: A tapas restaurant with the best brussel sprouts and fried goat cheese I have EVER. HAD. It is best to grab a seat on the patio and enjoy your meal al fresco and take in the stunning views of the revitalized Reedy River.

That’s not to say there are only five great restaurants in Greenville. Trust me, there are dozens more!

x B