Thursday, June 30, 2011

July 4th

4th of July '10Fireworks Exposure
4th of July '10
Fireworks Exposure

I hope everyone has a fun and safe July 4th weekend! I am heading to Charleston to celebrate not only the holiday but one of my friend's 21st.
I wanted to share a festive desert I made for a 4th of July barbecue I went to last year. These cupcake kabobs were a HUGE hit.
What are you doing for Independence Day?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Midnight in Paris

Moulin Rouge!
Sacre Coeur

If you have not seen Midnight in Paris yet, you must! It is the most enchanting film I have seen all year. If you, like me, feel as though you were born in the wrong era and should be living sometime in the past without any knowledge of the future, then you should definitely see this. There are so many allusions and interactions with Parisian artists and writers of the golden ages. I was smiling the whole time while I was watching it and it reminded me of my trip to Paris in the summer of 2006.
Above, I re-imaged some of the photos I took, because they were shot with a crappy digital camera.
Tour de Eiffel

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mixtape Monday: Flo + the Mac

Florence + the Machine (Florence Welch) _FL01018xr

I can hardy contain my excitement because I am seeing Florence and the Machine this Friday. In preparation, I have her music on constant rotation. Here are a few of her lesser known songs that have me under a spell:

1. My Boy Builds Coffins (This one reminds me so much of Stevie Nicks, so haunting.)
2. Bird Song (A song about loud, braggadocios people and feeling guilty, but is symbolized with killing a bird. Check out the Bird Song Intro too!)
3. Falling (I love the crescendo of this song)
4. Drumming Song (I currently have this stuck in my head)
5. Heavy in Your Arms (Super dark and gothic)
In addition, here are some songs I am listening to currently:
6. East Harlem - Beirut (My favorite wanderlusting band is back with new music and I am loving it!)
7. Stranger Things - Local Natives (I like a violin sweeping in)
8. Goshen - Beirut (slower pace than his usual stuff)
9. Sovay - Andrew Bird (I got caught in a summer storm listening to this and it was perfection)
10. Country Clutter - Dolorean
11. Who Knows Who Cares - Local Natives
12. Bizness - Tune-Yards (I am enjoying this super fun and discombobulated group. Happiness.)
13. Helena Beat - Foster the People
14. Heavy Metal Lover - Lady Gaga (I discover new favorites on this album each time I listen to it. I am currently loving on this one.)
Florence + the Machine (Florence Welch) _FL01094xr

Friday, June 24, 2011

Stop-Motion: Morocco I

Here is my first of many Morocco stop-motion/slideshows. I put it to the beat of my favorite Florence and the Machine song "Bird Song Intro."

**I recommend to WATCH it here to see it in HD and larger format!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Summer List

Sullivan's Island I
{Diana f+, Sullivan's Island in Charleston}

I always make a summer to-do list, even though I know less than half will be accomplished. Better late than never to make one.

To Read:
  • Swamplandia by Karen Russell
  • Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series
  • Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard
  • Dreams of Joy by Lisa See
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • South of Broad by Pat Conroy
To Do:
  • buy/make/redo furniture and accessories for my new room and house next year
  • cook more Mediterranean-style
  • paint for my Etsy shop
  • finish seasons 2-4 of 30 Rock, but balance it out with Bravo's summer programming
  • make homemade ice cream
  • start a journal
  • lighten hair in the sun
  • make homemade Oreos
  • write silly songs that I will never let anyone listen to
To Buy:
  • maxi skirt
  • new tennis shoes
  • highlighter color running shorts
  • floppy hat
  • vintage looking 2-piece bathing suit
To Learn:
  • how to make homemade Greek strained yogurt
  • how to make French macaroons
  • how to make homemade perfume
  • how to use my dad's old film camera from the 70's
  • how to make friendship bracelets
What is on your summer to-do list? Any book suggestions?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Savor the Season (Tomato Cobbler)

Father's Day Dinner
For Father's Day I always make my dad a meal, but he usually always insists on grilling the main entree because he lives to grill. Since I was in charge of the side dishes to accompany his delicious and juicy rotisserie chicken, I wanted to make food that captures the essence of summer.
I had him grill some watermelon on the side and then topped it off with some crumbled feta cheese and fresh basil.
The other side was Tomato Cobbler, which was unique, hearty and delish.

Tomato Cobbler
(from Martha Stewart)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 lb cherry tomatoes
3 Tbl flour
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1 1/2 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add onions and garlic. Cook until caramelized, about 20 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes, flour and red pepper to onions and toss. Salt and pepper to taste.
3. For the biscuits, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Rub in butter with fingers until small clumps form. Stir in cheese and cream until dough forms.
4. Spread out tomato mixture in a 9X13 baking dish. Spoon clumps of biscuit dough over tomatoes. Brush dough with cream and sprinkle remaining cheese over biscuits.
5. Bake at 375 for about an hour and 10 minutes.

S'mores in a Jar

and for dessert.... S'mores Cake in a Jar. When I saw the recipe on Tastespotting, I knew I had to try it! It was so incredible and surprisingly easy to make.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mixtape Monday: What I am Listening to and Why

Here's what I have been listening to lately and why:

1. YR Go To - Architecture in Helsinki (They were one of my favorite bands in high school and I love their new sound. Its good when artists grow but are still recognizable.)
2. Up Up Up - The Givers (Such a happy song! For fans of Ra Ra Riot and Vampy Week [Vampire Weekend])
3. Lighthouse - NewVillager (Got it off a Birp playlist. For fans of "All These Things That I've Done" by the Killers, which by the way, their debut album still remains one of my favorites of all time.)
4. Swimsuit - Oregon Bike Trails (This is pure surfer music, also from Birp.)
5. Eyes - Peter Bjorn and John (I still need to get this whole CD, just have bits and pieces now. Makes me want to do the twist!)
6. Change of the Seasons - Sweet Thing (I got this song stuck in my head after I saw the opening credits for Easy A and it is the first day of summer tomorrow.)
7. Second Hand News - Fleetwood Mac (Still on my Fleetwood kick...)
8. Grown Ocean - Fleet Foxes (This song makes me want to go running in wooded hills while the sun is rising. Get this record if its the only thing you do this summer.)
9. Longing to Belonging - Eddie Vedder (The Ukelele is THE instrument of the summer)
10. Carousel - Vanessa Carlton (I have always been a loyal fan of hers, I think she is really underrated. I also love the images of this song.)
11. The Cascades - Fleet Foxes (After having been to Spain now, I am craving Spanish guitar music.)
12. You Were Never There - Diego Garcia (another Spanish sounding tune...)
13. Sunday - Field (I love their voices)
14. 20 Years - the Civil Wars (They harmonize so well, gives me another reason to move to Nashville. I have a strong desire to live there but ironically dislike country music.)
15. Subterranean Homesick Blues - Bob Dylan

Also, Paste has put together their 10 New Songs for Summer 2011, and I think they are pretty spot on.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Stop-Motion: Tarifa y Madrid

Here is a little stop-motion I made about my day trip to Tarifa, Spain and my evening in Madrid before flying home the next morning.

Song: Elephant Gun by Beirut

**WATCH HERE for better quality HD and larger view

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vegan Blueberry Cinnamon Muffins

Blueberry Vegan Muffins
Blueberry Vegan Muffins
Now that I am back to my summer job and working in the mornings, I am always looking up solutions for a speedy breakfast that I can grab on the go. These muffins are super easy to make and are extremely healthy - low in sugar and dairy free - but are full of flavor and texture. Stored in an airtight container, they can also last up to a week.

Vegan Blueberry Cinnamon Muffins
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 Splenda (if you don't like artificial sweeteners, then do 1/2 cup sugar all together)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup light vanilla soy milk (you could use plain soy, almond or rice milk too)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup frozen blueberries, NOT thawed

1. Mix flour, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl.
2. Stir in honey, applesauce and soy milk until well combined.
3. Fold in blueberries.
4. Spoon into muffin liners or greased muffin pan and bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes or until done.

*This recipe is very adaptable - use any type of fruit you want frozen, fresh or dry. I also think some nuts or seeds baked unto the tops of these would be delicious as well.
Blueberry Vegan Muffins

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mixtape Monday: For the Summer

Sullivan's Island I
{Diana Camera - me at the beach in Charleston}

Now that I am back in the states, the idea that summer is here is setting in.
Watching fireflies on after-dinner walks, gilding my hair with lemon juice and sipping frozen smoothies are always on the agenda.
Summer is also the only time where I get to drive my car (I don't bring it to school), so I get to listen to the radio and catch up on the year's hits that I've missed. I apologize in advance for anything mainstream, but sometimes they're just so catchy.
Here is my first of many summer music mixes:

1. Rill Rill - Sleigh Bells (I was all about this band last summer when they debuted. This song is just so chill and easygoing, not to mention it mentions The Parent Trap - one of my favorite summer movies.)
2. How I Roll - Britney Spears (This one is off her new album. I like to think of this one as a strange lovechild of "Soda Pop" and "Me Against the Music." Remember her debut album?)
3. Hair - Lady Gaga (Mother Monster's new record is so amazing. This one is super fun and uplifting.)
4. Everywhere - Fleetwood Mac (I am on a Fleetwood Mac kick right now, Lord, they were fantastic! Could totally pass as a contemporary indie rock song.)
5. Every Teardrop is a Waterfall - Coldplay (always looking forward to what new directions they're going in)
6. Lorelai - Fleet Foxes (Another Fleet band I have been obsessing over - especially their new album. I listened to it all while driving through Morocco. Their music just has a way of transporting you somewhere else. More so on their first album, I see lots of traces of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide")
7. Love Like a Sunset, Pt. II - Phoenix
8. So Far Around the Bend - The National (I have a thing for deeeeep voices)
9. For the Summer - Ray LaMontagne
10. How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep? - Bombay Bicycle Club (This was my abosutlte favorite song last summer)
11. The Next Time Around - Little Joy (The most attractive Brazilian band I have ever seen or heard.)
12. Sweet Road - Animal Collective
13. Tricycle - Psapp
14. For Beginners - M. Ward
15. Scissor Runner - Jenny and Johnny (Reminds me of 90's pop rock I grew up with)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Madrid for an Evening

<span class=Madrid

A week ago from today I was just getting into Madrid, our flight to the US left early the next morning, so we had time to spend a most wonderful evening there.
The weather could have not been more perfect, nor the lighting (I love how it doesn't get dark until 10). Having not done any research on the city before going, I didn't know what to expect.
Oddly, as big and busy as Madrid is, I didn't feel overwhelmed, like in Marrakesh. Perhaps it was because I didn't know what to look for or top sites to see, so I just wandered and let it all sink in. It was perfect. We were all in this blissful, relaxed state of being in awe of our surroundings.
We went to the main square of the city and had a feast of Sangria, melon with prosciutto, chewy white bread, and seafood paella.
So. good.
With the amount of beauty I saw in the few hours I was there - the architecture, the food, the men - I now know that I NEED to go back to Spain. As soon as possible.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Last Day in Morocco

Sunset IV

Day 22 - Last Day in Morocco

My last day in Tangier could not have been more complete.
In the morning we had our last classes and discussions, followed by a lunch at the hotel. In the afternoon we were free to do as we choose, so a few of us went into the medina to get last minute purchases and gifts. Spent all my dirhams.
We all met up later to go have tea and Moroccan cookies at my professors apartment downtown. We looked at pictures from the past 20 days and already started reminiscing.
That evening we went to one of the restaurants we went to one of our first nights there. We devoured some delicious pizza and wine and called it a night.
I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to go on this trip. It was everything I expected and more. Not only have I come back feeling really inspired for new projects and paintings, but I have caught the wanderlust bug (as if I didn't have it before) and realized that being out of my element and routine truly gives me a new perspective.
It was culture shocking for sure, but it was what I needed. Although I don't have a full comprehensive understanding of their culture or religion, I feel I have a better grasp on it and have since stopped comparing their standards to ours when it comes to whats allowed there and whats allowed here. This trip has dispelled any ethnocentric ideas I might have once had.

I highly recommend Morocco - for the eyes and for the mind.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tarifa, Spain: Day 21

Tarifa, SpainTarifa, Spain
Tarifa, SpainWall Art
Church in Tarifa
Tarifa, Spain
Tarifa, Spain
Tarifa, Spain
Tarifa, Spain
LaundryTarifa, SpainTarifa, SpainTarifa, SpainTarifa, Spain
Tarifa, Spain
Old Wall
Tarifa, Spain
Tarifa, Spain

Day 21
Today we took a day trip to Tarifa, Spain, it’s only a 45 minute ferry ride. It was neat to be in on another continent for just a few hours. Because it was a Wednesday and in the middle of the day, it was a very chill and quiet place. It was sort of nice to escape the crowdedness and hagglers of Tangier for the day.
We walked around and shopped a little. I got this silver and amber ring that I wore out of the store - a true sign I love it. Then we stopped for some yummy tapas for lunch.
From 2-4, it was siesta time, when all the shops close, so we decided to go to the beach. I still cant get over the colors of the Mediterranean.
Walked around some more and had some crepes.
Relaxing day well spent, soaking in the sun (I did get a little burnt).
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