Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Brian Viveros

(image belongs to Brian Viveros)

"Viva La Muerte"
(image belongs to Brian Viveros)

"Viva La Muerta II"
(image belongs to Brian Viveros)

(image belongs to Brian Viveros)

"Behind the Dirty Glass"
(image belongs to Brian Viveros)
*Note: Brian Viveros is gorg! I feel like I could marry him and never look back.  I mean, looks and talent=hotness. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Milan Fashion Week:
Dolce & Gabbana

Milan Fashion Week is taking place right now and so far, I am enthralled with Dolce & Gabbana's entire collection.  A lot of trends on the runway are red lips, scattered remnants of leopard print, whites, blacks and dull, military greens.  I am LOVING the chunky wedge heels/sandals I'm seeing.  I also love the vintage white lace in the Dolce & Gabbana collection.

(Images via Elle/ Matteo Volta)

Indie Spotlight: The Boxer Rebellion

Finding new music is like digging for gold...and finding it.  I love "rainy day" bands.  Bands that you can just lay in bed, while it rains outside, and let them just rule your mood.  These are the types of bands that you can listen to at Starbucks but definitely not at the gym.  Thoughtful bands, I should say.  Bands, and music in general, are a dime a dozen these days, so it is really hard to find a band that can rule your mood.  Very hard. 

A couple of weeks ago, I saw "Going The Distance" with Drew Barrymore and Justin Long.  One of the things that stuck out for me the most in this movie was the band, The Boxer Rebellion.  All that I could think was, THIS is one of those bands. 

For The Boxer Rebellion, being featured on "Going The Distance" was their big break.  They are a London based quartet led by frontman, Nathan Nicholson.  In 2009, they released their second album (9 years after forming a band together), "Union", which was released & praised, even without the help of a major label.  Do check it out. 

"Spitting Fire" & "If You Run" are some of my favorites. 

Yay, for Indie music. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Beauty, Grace and Wabi Sabi
The path to Zen

"Wabi Sabi is found in the branch that represents the whole tree."

image belongs to Sarah Davis

Wabi:  comes from the root wa, which refers to peace, balance and traquility.  It is found in a person who is simple, unmaterialistic and in tune with nature.  It is found in a person who is humble. 

Sabi: represents the "bloom of time".  It is found in the person who has aged gracefully.  It is the beauty of rust or the beauty found in wrinkles on a person's forehead.  Sabi means that people carry their years gracefully.

Together, Wabi Sabi is a way of life.  In food, Wabi Sabi allows people to eat from the Earth, to avoid artifical food, or artificial sustenance.  In your home, the things that surround your soul should be limited.  Your home should have no clutter or things that you do not need (or things that remind you of great memories you once had or people you once knew). 
In every day life, you should be content with what you have.  What you have should be enough to make you happy.  You should not employ greediness into your daily life, for example, "If I could just get cable TV, my life would be better."  "A wabi tea man is someone who feels no dissatisfaction even though he owns no Chinese utensils with which to conduct tea." This was said by an ancient Japanese tea master.

"Wabi Sabi is underplayed and modest, the kind of quiet, undeclared beauty that waits patiently to be discovered."  I think there is something to be said for women (and men, too)who do not flaunt their beauty, rather are beautiful just because they are kind, and happen to have an earthly beauty, as well.  People who are kind, help others and never think to expect anything back.  Most importantly, people who age gracefully.  You know how they say that beauty comes with age, that is the definition of Sabi. 

Understanding Wabi Sabi is a direct link to the state of Zen, which I have come to believe, is a total alignment of body and mind.  Or, enlightenment.  Though, enlightment can come before your mind and body is enlightened. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Inspiring Lyrics are always in STYLE.

"Strip it all away,Ill be alright.  Take what you want, steal my pride, build me up, or cut me down to size.  Shut me out, but I’ll just scream. I'm only one voice in a million, but you aint taking that from me." -Natasha Bedingfield ("Strip Me")
I really love Natasha Bedingfield because all of her songs are upbeat and really positive.  She always uses inspiring lyrics that just make you want to smile. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

fried green tomatoes

My friend Tanocha gave me a really good recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes.  They are such a classic food, i.e. the movie was one of my childhood fav's, but I never really knew how to make them. 
The green tomatoes that are just beginning to turn red are the best, but they can't actually turn red!  So, what I did was slice up my tomatoes to get uniform slices that were all about the same width (I am a stickler for detail, but you can fry up any size tomato, even halves). 
After dipping each tomato slice into an egg mixture, I dipped them into a flour mixture.  This consisted of flour, PANKO bread crumbs, onion powder & garlic powder. 

Then, I dunked them into canola oil.  Make sure your oil is HOT before putting anything in.  Then, I pulled them out when they looked done to me.  Cooking is all about personal preferences, don't let anyone fool you.  If you don't want to eat it, why did you make it?  Simply put. 
Voila! These were the first two that I made and they turned out great! Of course, I did a major taste test on these little suckers.  I also blotted them with paper towels because let's face it, these aren't exactly healthy!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Spotlight on Mark Ryden (and the original meat dress)

"Incarnation" by Mark Ryden
image courtesy of Mark Ryden

(Note, Lady Gaga's obscene attempt to tell the world that she is "not a piece of meat" by wearning a dress assembled out of raw meat at the VMA's last night.)
On another note, Mark Ryden is an amazing artist.  I would love to get my hands on some of his original pieces of artwork.  Even though the subject matter is often dark and terrifying, you can't help but feel warm and fuzzy when looking at every single piece of art he's done.  It is all just so...wistful and enchanting.  I absolutely love it.  It takes me back to Alice and Wonderland (the warm, fuzzy, odd and terrifying land of Wonderland). 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ciao Bella Sorbet
Earlier this evening, I was shopping at Whole Foods when I stumbled across Ciao Bella's Blackberry Cabernet Sorbet.  I had been trying to find Blackberry Ice Cream all Summer and somehow never got around to it.  When I saw this, I knew it would be a winner! Sure enough, it is actually the BEST frozen treat I have had in a while (probably years!).  I would say it's better than gelato!  It is 3.99 for a pint and available at Whole Foods.  Enjoy!

Besides the delish Blackberry Cabernet Sorbet, Ciao Bella offers many other flavors to choose from!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

(image courtesy of Harper's Bazaar)

Ohh La La Leopard Print:  Cesare Paciotti Bootie

This Fall, I feel obligated to pair military tops with torn denim and accessorize with ANYTHING leopard print. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hot Read Alert: The Recessionistas by Alexandra Lebenthal

Alexandra Lebenthal is an Upper East Side socialite & CEO who writes a fun, chick-lit novel about the economic collapse and how it affected the lives of four wealthy, pampered women. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Autumn wouldn't be complete without a sweater OBSESSION. 

Desert Drifter Cardi, by Free People $228

(images courtesy of free people)

Fall Fruits:  It's Pear Season!

Fall in love with Poached Pears

Pear season begins when the Bartlett Pear comes out- which is late Summer.  Then, come Bosc and Comice, which are in season during the Fall.  Anjou comes next, which is why it is also known as the winter pear. 

Need to know how to cook a pear?  The easiest way is to poach it.  There are many, many delicious ways to poach a pear, but in it's simplest explanation: use a simple syrup.  I think one of the best ways to poach a pear is to accompany the simple syrup with red wine and cinnamon. 

Here is a recipe that I stumbled upon (which I am making today), courtesy of Woman's Day.  This recipe uses a sweet white wine (which is definitely not as flavorful as red wine), but we should give it a try anyway!

1 Bottle of Riesling Wine
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Honey
3 Pieces (1 inch each) peeled fresh ginger
4 firm Bosc Pears, peeled

1. In a 3-qt saucepan, combine wine, sugar, honey and ginger over medium-high heat and bring to a rapid boil.
2.  Core pears from the bottom, then slice off underside so they stand up on a plate.  Add pears to wine mixture.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and let simmer 25-30 minutes until pears can be easily pierced with the tip of the knife.  (Do not overcook or fruit will fall apart).  Remove the pears to a serving dish, standing them upright, and place in refigerator to cool.
3.  Return wine mixture to a light boil and cook for 20 to 25 minutes more or until liquid is reduced to 1 cup.  Discard ginger pieces and serve at room temperature with pears.   

* Another great way to poach pears: use the same recipe as above, but replace the wine with your favorite tea.  Use something a little unique in taste, like a Pomegranate tea!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

La Prima Espresso Company:  Prepare to discover your favorite coffee (if you haven't already)!

I'm a writer, so naturally, I have a pretty good idea of what coffee is good and what coffee is not worth your time.  I've been to every coffee house in Pittsburgh and my absolute favorite, I mean coffee that I love, love love, is from La Prima Espresso Company. 

I'm not talking about espresso drinks, frou-frou lattes, I'm talking about the sustenance of life:  black, plain, coffee.  (Of course, I love sugar, syrups and milk but for dramatic effect, I felt the need to talk about black coffee). 

La Prima Espresso is located in the Strip District to buy wholesale bag of coffee beans.  By the cup, La Prima is served at many cafes, restaurants, bars in Pittsburgh.  Here is the complete list!

  Something very cool about La Prima Espresso (other than their awesome delicous coffee) is that they are part of something called Relationship Coffee, which means that they get all of their coffee from one farm, and one farm only.  They deal directly with the farmers, no middlemen. 

Please check La Prima out at!

Mise en Place
Have everything in order before you cook!

I love this phrase! I hear chefs say this all day long and I wanted to give you a quick definition so you could use it when YOU cook.  It is a french phrase that literally means "everything in place."  Anthony Bourdain has said mise en place is his religion.  It's a concept that is used in the kitchen, specifically professional kitchens, but I like to think that it is just a great concept to apply to your life:  preparation is key to exectution.  It is just as important, maybe even more so.  Plus, anything in french sounds cool, right?

Before you begin cooking, have everything pulled out, measured out and ready to go.  Veggies are washed and cut BEFORE putting a recipe together.  Spices should be measured out and placed in bowls.  Everything and everyone in a kitchen has a place.  This is called mise en place.  If everything in your recipe is ready to go, it allows you to be able to focus on timing when cooking, rather than running around, scatterbrained, trying to find random ingredients that you forgot mid-recipe.  The more complicated your recipe is, the more important mise en place becomes. 

An excerpt from Kitchen Confidential  by Anthony Bourdain:

“Mise-en-place is the religion of all good line cooks. Do not fuck with a line cook’s ‘meez’ — meaning his setup, his carefully arranged supplies of sea salt, rough-cracked pepper, softened butter, cooking oil, wine, backups, and so on. As a cook, your station, and its condition, its state of readiness, is an extension of your nervous system… The universe is in order when your station is set up the way you like it: you know where to find everything with your eyes closed, everything you need during the course of the shift is at the ready at arm’s reach, your defenses are deployed. If you let your mise-en-place run down, get dirty and disorganized, you’ll quickly find yourself spinning in place and calling for backup.

I worked with a chef who used to step behind the line to a dirty cook’s station in the middle of a rush to explain why the offending cook was falling behind. He’d press his palm down on the cutting board, which was littered with peppercorns, spattered sauce, bits of parsley, bread crumbs and the usual flotsam and jetsam that accumulates quickly on a station if not constantly wiped away with a moist side towel. “You see this?” he’d inquire, raising his palm so that the cook could see the bits of dirt and scraps sticking to his chef’s palm. 'That’s what the inside of your head looks like now'.”

Jennifer Aniston under attack for controversial comments (on more than one subject)

Jennifer Aniston is one of my favorite actresses.  I love every movie she's in, I loved her in Friends, everything!  Lately, however, the world has a lot to say about her!

She's been under attack a lot lately, it seems, for "The Switch".  Bill O'Reilly says she's being "destructive to our society" by suggesting that it's okay for women to have babies without a father.  To get this response from O'Reilly, Aniston said in an interview:  "Women are realizing it more and more knowing that they don't have to settle with a man just to have that child. Times have changed and that is also what is amazing is that we do have so many options these days, as opposed to our parents' days when you can't have children because you have waited too long." 

Sure, Bill, Jennifer Aniston is being destructive to our society, not people like Snookie, Ke$ha and Paris Hilton (who was recently arrested for possession of cocaine). 

On top of all of the controversy for the subject matter of "The Switch", Jennifer Aniston is under attack for an interview she did with Regis & Kelly to promote this movie.  Regis brought up a recent photoshoot she did where she channeled Barbara Streisand for Harper's Bazaar.  "You're playing dress up!" Regis said.  "Yes, I play dress up.  I do it for a living, like a retard."  With the use of the R-word, Jennifer Aniston has been attacked by the better part of the entire world are now majorly offended by her insensitivity.  While I doubt she meant to say this, in the tone people took it in, it is still a jarring comment. 

I am a huge fan of Jen, but I wish she wouldn't have put herself in this situation with the R-word! 
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