Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving At Audubon

Here is my Thanksgiving outfit.  Yesterday was such a beautiful day, I decided to stop by Audubon Park to take my outfit photos.  We're having an incredibly beautiful, but incredibly cold fall here in Memphis.  I am not dressed appropriately here, I need about ten more layers.  I don't really know what I was thinking.

I borrowed this dress from my sister-in-law for the occasion.  I'm not much of a borrower, I don't know why.  Clothes are so personal, I've always felt like I was letting someone wear my identity if I let them wear my clothes (I know, I'm a freak).  But I'm getting over that; it's fun to raid someone else's closet.  I especially love going through Olie's sister's closet because it's insane.  She has great taste and lots of stuff!  I don't have a "real" sister, so I like that I have 2 sister-in-laws that I can steal from.  I thought this dress would be perfect for overeating.  I refuse to wear anything formfitting on Thanksgiving.

I also stole a hairdryer from Emily and blew my hair out yesterday.  I haven't blow-dried my hair since high school (wow, I am really weird).  I kind of wish I hadn't done it, cuz I think it looks awesome.  It was so fluffy and straight all day long.  I'm going to try and only blow-dry it on special occasions.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I was going to do some work today, but so far I've just been looking at online Black Friday sales, eating leftover cake, and watching Olie play Zelda.  It's kind of awesome.

Dress: Borrowed, Tights: Target, Boots: Zara, Watch: Fossil, Assorted Jewels

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hump Day Artist: Suzanne McClelland


This week's Hump Day Artist is Suzanne McClelland.  McClelland is a painter whose work deals with language in all of its variations; how it looks, how it sounds, its implications, meaning, text and sub-text.

As I was researching McClelland's work for this post, I stumbled across many pieces that I had never seen before; many of which were very different than any I had seen prior.  I was struck by how her work has grown and developed over the years, while still maintaining a constant theme.  The piece above really surprised me.  It was painted in 1994 and it is so much more rough and aggressive than her later work, which I had always thought of as very lyrical and almost girly.  Yet her most recent work, which was also unfamiliar to me, is antiseptic and almost cold.  See the image below:



The work that I was familiar with was more like this:

I admire artists that really allow themselves to grow and change.  That's why Picasso's early career is so much more interesting than his later years: the paintings were constantly changing.  McClelland holds true to her subject, but allows the work to go where it needs to go.

I think the hardest thing about being an artist is finding your subject.  Most artists, young artists especially, know they want to make art, but not what they want to make art about.  I do believe that a good subject can keep an artist engaged indefinitely, which is obviously true with Suzanne McClelland.   It took me six years to find a subject that I can really dig into.  But how long will that last?  Is this my final subject, or is this just another stop on the journey?  Is it necessary for an artist to stick to their subject or should they be open to it changing throughout their career?

Any artists out there?  How do you deal with transitions in your work?  Do you keep your technique and change your subject?  Or do you keep your subject and change your technique?  Or, are both constantly changing?  How about art viewers?  Do you admire artists whose work is constantly changing?

Just a few questions that Suzanne McClelland's work brings up.  Check out more of her work at suzannemcclelland.net.  All images from suzannemcclelland.net



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My First Thanksgiving

This weekend, I hosted my first Thanksgiving.  Yes, I know, it's not officially Thanksgiving yet, but my family decided to do it early, which was really nice.  To be honest, I was a bit stressed, mainly about the turkey.  I had never roasted a turkey before (yikes!).  But thanks to this article, it was a great success!  Everything came off without a hitch (ok, maybe the fire alarm went off, but besides that....).

On a related note, I love the internet.  I found almost all of my Thanksgiving recipes online.  I kept everything simple; turkey, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, salad, cake.  My mom brought the dressing and green beans, and my grandmother brought the rolls and this cranberry goo that she makes every year that is absolutely fantastic (canned cranberry sauce, canned pineapple, pecans, and lemon jell-o.  It's very 1950's but very delicious).

For dessert I looked to the master: Martha Stewart.  I made her Sweet Potato and Bourbon Bundt Cake.  I made some homemade whipped cream to go with it, and I added just a touch of bourbon.  Very delicious.  I'll probably do that from now on.  If you don't know what to make for Thanksgiving, definitely go with this cake.  And go ahead and make it today.  It just gets better as it sits.  The glaze soaks in and makes the cake very moist.  I ate the last peice this morning and it was sooooooo goooooood!
I decided not to decorate for the event.  I had visions of pumpkins everywhere, handwritten place cards, and a table setting that would make Pinterest explode.  But, for the sake of my sanity, I chose to spend $10 on flowers instead.  I did make some cloth napkins, but that was mostly because I didn't think it would be appropriate to serve Thanksgiving dinner with paper towels.  But I almost did it anyway.

All in all, I think it went really well.  As I've mentioned before, I'm trying to be more zen about hosting.  So what if the fire alarm goes off?  Or even if the turkey burns to a crisp?!  You can always order pizza.  As long as there is food, family, and plenty of beer, we will have a good time.  Now, it's time to stuff my face with leftover mashed potatoes and make stock with my turkey carcass (yes, I said carcass).

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Very Anthropologie Christmas

A Very Anthropologie Christmas


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas........ok, maybe I'm a little early, but I am so excited about the holidays.  Every Christmas, without fail, I always want a new dress.  Something sparkly, sassy, and super girly to wear to all of my fabulous Christmas soirees.  Cuz, you know, I'm so popular and have so many parties to attend (oh wait, not really).  Anthropologie definitely has the sassiest party dresses right now.  And the shoes!  It's a girly-girl paradise!  Here are a couple of my favorites.  You don't need jewels with these, just throw your hair back, slap on a red lip and go!  Instant fabulousness.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thinking About Thanksgiving

This year, I've been put in charge of the dessert for Thanksgiving.  I love to bake, so I was initially very excited about this task.  However, now I'm at a complete loss for what I should make.  It's not that I can't think of anything, I just can't seem to narrow it down!  I'm sure many of you are in a similar situation, so I thought I'd run through some of my favorite desserts that I've blogged here on The Starving Artist.
Here is my Homemade Heath Bar Cake.  This is a crowd pleaser.  Kids, adults, and picky eaters all love this.

I love Homemade Salty Caramels, and they are perfect for family gatherings where there is more food than you can shake a stick at.  They aren't going to weigh you down, but they are still a nice little sweet treat for the end of the meal.  Cuz let's be honest, turkey and dressing are the star of the show.  By the time dessert comes around everyone is too stuffed to eat much, so this is a great option.












Maple Stout Quick Bread is probably my husband's favorite dessert, so I might end up taking it to his family's house for Thanksgiving.  If your family sits around after the meal drinking coffee, then this is the perfect choice.  
This is a great one for non-bakers: Raspberry, Red Onion, and Gorgonzola Flat Bread.  I always make my own pizza dough, but if you don't have time/are a terrible baker then you can just buy a pre-made dough.  Then just assemble and slide in the oven.  Very easy.
Here is the dessert that I'm leaning toward: Lemon and Olive Oil Cake.  It's light, sweet, and unexpected.  Whip up some cream and top with fresh berries to make it extra special.

Ok, we're kind of getting into breakfast territory now, but I don't care.  These Chocolate Chip Scones are awesome.  Butter, sugar and chocolate.  What else do you need?
The ultimate: Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread with Bacon.  So good.  SOOOO GOOOOOOOOD!  I mean.....it's Thanksgiving.  The one day of the year where it is perfectly acceptable to eat until you throw up and then go back for more.  So why not?

What are you baking for Thanksgiving?  Any pie people out there?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Gritty Chic





I felt like a Jet from West Side Story in this outfit.  Hence the empty, urban background (aka the Mid-South Colisum).  I ended up watching that movie the day that I wore this and I can't stop thinking about it.  I love the 50's hoodlum style of both the Jets and the Sharks (the two rival gangs in the movie).  Dirty tennis shoes, high wasted Levi's, and cool jackets in bright colors; it's just a great look.  If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and watch it.

What movies inspire your style?

Sweater: Gap, Jeans: BDG via Urban Outfitters, Shoes: Converse: Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters, Assorted Jewels

Monday, November 18, 2013

Winter Warrior


Here I am, winter 2012, covering up my dry, flaky skin.  I love winter.  I love cold mornings, wearing multiple socks and sweaters, nights by the fire and anything holiday related.  But there is a downside to winter: the skin and hair freakout.  I had never experienced this until last winter.  All of the sudden, my skin was super dry and flaking while also super zitty.  My scalp was itching like crazy and my lips looked like a mummy's.  I went into beauty product overdrive.  And by the time spring rolled around, I had my routine down.  Now that it's getting cold again, I'm ready to baby my skin, hair and body.  Watch out winter dryness!  I'm now a Winter Warrior!

I was reading an article on this very topic the other day and was shocked to see that every beauty product they recommended were over $40.  Umm...........no.  That's not how I roll.  We have too many other things we need to buy this time of year (gifts, travel, large amounts of peppermint bark).  All of the products I have here are under $15.  And they work.

1.  The ultimate classic: Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream.  I've learned through my years of trying product after product that some things are classic for a reason.  This lotion is super rich and very moisturizing.  Yes it's $14, but it's a huge tub and it lasts forever.  Smear it on your cuticles and elbows as well as your face.  My husband also swears by it for moisturizing after a shave, so pick one up for you and one for the dude in your life.

2.  This one was a great find: Skin Obsessions Balancing Facial Oil.  I'm sure you've heard all of the recent buzz about facial oils.  They are super trendy right now, but that's because they work.  I've been using this one for a while now and I really like it.  My skin soaks it up really quickly.  For super dry days, use your Cetaphil first and then top with this oil.  The oil traps in the moisture from the lotion.

3.  This one is super budget friendly: Africa's Best Ultimate Herbal Oil with Ginseng.  I use this all over: hair, face, body.  Like the facial oil, you can layer this over your normal body lotion for baby soft skin.  Find it in the African American beauty section of your local drug store for a mere $2!  And take a minute to look at the ingredients.  Guess what?  You can pronounce them all.

4.  Does your scalp get itchy in the winter?  Mine does.  Like.......crazy itchy.  Embarrassingly itchy.  I started using Head and Shoulders last year and I've never looked back.  I always thought it was just for dandruff, but it really soothes an itchy scalp.

5.  I'm a huge fan of Bare Minerals make-up.  It's the best.  But in the winter, I need something a little more moisturizing.  So I switch to a tinted moisturizer.  Recently I've been using CoverGirl BB Cream, but I also really like Clinique Super City Block SPF 40.  Both are great, but the CoverGirl is cheaper and the Clinique has a higher SPF.  So they tie.

6.  Another classic: Aquaphor Lip Repair.  It works.  Nuff said.

Also, remember to take your vitamins!  This makes a huge difference in my skin.  Take a multivitamin (my doctor husband recommends a chewable vitamin like Flinstones vitamins because your body really absorbs them.) and take a Flax Oil capsule every day.  And stay hydrated!  Be sure to drink water in between all of those pumpkin lattes, chai teas, and holiday cocktails!

And there you have it!  My winter stand-by's.

Anyone else have any winter tips?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sassy Hand-Me-Downs


I love hand-me-downs.  When we're kids we absolutely hate them, but then you start paying your own bills and buying your own clothes and you start to recognize the beauty of a good hand-me-down.  My friend Rachel gave me this shirt.  She said she just can't ever seem to "make it work," so it got passed on to me.

It's funny, I wasn't that crazy about this outfit when I put it on.  But you know how it goes: you're in a hurry, you have a weird outfit on and you have no choice but to wear it or be super late.  However, I got a lot of compliments that day, so I decided to do an outfit post on it.  Sometimes being in a hurry works in our favor.  I think I wasn't crazy about this outfit because it is a bit out of my comfort zone.  I'm not a big skirt wearer.  I like pants and dresses.  I don't really do skirts.  I have a few super cute skirts, but they just sit in my closet.  Maybe it's time for them to get a workout.

Skirt: Target, Boots: Zara, Watch: Fossil, Assorted Jewels

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Coolest Tie-Dyed Shirt Ever And How To Do It


Have you ever dyed anything?  I've recently become obsessed with clothes dying.  It's so easy, fun, and it can give your clothes new life.

Before I start my diy, I'd like to give you a few helpful hints about dying in general.  I've made a few mistakes along the way, so I'd like to share them with you so that you don't do the same.

1.  Only dye whites and very light colored fabrics.  Apparently you can dye other colors, but I've never had much luck with this.  I tried to dye a pair of red pants black and they just turned out a gross brown color.

2.  Don't dye to cover sweat stains.  I know this is a gross tip, but I thought this was completely brilliant.  Take an old dingy shirt with pit stains and give it new life.  Sounds great right?!  Guess what?  The stains are still there.  Only now they are just a new color.  In my case they were pink.  Not attractive.

3.  Don't dye clothes you are super attached to.  Here's how I decide what I'm going to dye:  I ask myself, "what am I going to do with this article of clothing if I don't dye it?"  If the answer is donate it or throw it out then you're good to go.  That way, if you do make a mistake, you haven't really lost anything.

I find that the best thing to dye are old dingy whites.  Let's face it: white articles of clothing don't have a long life.  At some point no amount of bleach or oxiclean is going to restore them.  That's when it's time to dye.

I use Rit dye.  It's cheap and it works well.  Rit dye can be found in most grocery stores (normally near the panty hose......don't ask me why).  When I first started dying, I thought I was limited by the 7 or 8 colors that Rit offers.  Wrong!  Check out ritdye.com for an extensive color mixing guide.  This is quite possibly the coolest thing ever.  They have hundreds of colors and the recipes for how to achieve them.  There are also a ton of different projects and dying techniques.  This is a diy-er's dream.

I'm going to show you how to tie dye.  Maybe a lot of you have done this before, but you were probably in the third grade and your parents did most of the work and you just watched.  So here we go.

First decide what you are going to tye dye and throw it in the washing machine.  I went with a white button down that I wore too many times on the beach (sweat, sand, sun, saltwater, and sunscreen.  My perfectly white shirt just couldn't handle it all).  And let's be honest....a tye dyed button down? There is something so totally wrong and so totally right about it.  Preppy and hippy together at last, in one perfect article of clothing.  I felt like a genius when I decided to do it.  I kind of still do, I'm pretty nuts about this shirt.

I like the sunburst technique for tie dye, but there are plenty of others.  But here is how to do the sunburst.  Find the point on your shirt/whatever-you-are-dying where you want the center of the sunburst to be.  For most of us, this will probably be in the center of the shirt, though it doesn't have to be.  Pinch that point and hold the shirt up and from that point.
Now, start rubber banding the shirt about every inch to two inches.  Make sure your rubber bands are tight.  Notice how I banded mine: the rubber bands are slightly spread out and not banded close.  This will make the tie dye look a bit more organic and add some cool striations where the bands were.


Now, you are ready to dye.  I find that the easiest way to dye is with the washing machine method.  Everything can be done in the washing machine and there is no mess.  Be sure to read the instructions!  But I'm still gonna tell you how to do it, so don't worry if you got water on your package and now you can't read it.  That happened to me once.

Fill your washing machine with hot water.  Dissolve your dye in a cup of water.  Add your pre-dissolved dye and a little bit of laundry detergent to the water and let it agitate to mix.  Add your shirt and a cup of salt to the water (the salt helps to brighten the color).  Your shirt needs to be in the dye for at least thirty minutes, so keep resetting your washer so that it continually agitates the water.  Don't let your shirt just sit in the water without the agitator running.  My washing machine agitates for about 8 minutes before it starts draining, so I just set 8 minutes timers so that I can run and reset it.

Once your shirt has been agitating in the washing machine for 30 minutes, you can let your machine continue its cycle.  This will drain, rinse, and spin your shirt.

When the cycle is complete, take your shirt out of the machine and remove the rubber bands.  Now it needs to be washed again on a warm water setting.  Check out your awesome shirt!

You do need to run your washing machine again after the shirt is complete, just to get all of the dye out.  Throw a couple of old towels in there, some bleach and a bit of laundry detergent.  This will get all of the dye out of your machine.  Be sure and throw the towels in there!  Your machine responds to weight.
And that's all there is to it!   Be sure and ALWAYS wash dyed clothing separately.  If you are just dying and not tie dying, the process is the same.  Just leave out the rubber bands.  This is a really easy way to spruce up your wardrobe.  Don't feel limited to just tie dying shirts.  I tie dyed some pillow cases for my guest bedroom and they look so funky and awesome.  Also, remember Carrie Bradshaw's tie dyed dress in the Sex and the City movie?  How great is that dress?!  So get creative!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Strolling


Here we go: another cute Forever 21 jacket!  I swear, they are killing it in the jacket department.  I kind of want them all.  Maybe I'm just in love with jackets at the moment.  This amazing fall we are having does require some fun layers.

Hope everyone is having a great week.  I have a killer diy for you guys soon, so get pumped!

Jacket: Forever 21, Dress: Primarck, Boots: Target, Assorted Jewels

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fall Is Here


I'm completely obsessed with this jacket.  I bought it at Forever 21 recently and I don't think I will be taking it off at all this fall.  I realized recently that I don't really have any light jackets.  Which is crazy because with our mild winters, that's pretty much all you need here in Memphis.  So I bought this one, since I "needed" it so badly.  But I have no regrets.  This is quite possibly the cutest jacket ever.

Hope everyone is loving this fall weather as much as I am.  Scarves, crunchy leaves, nights spent by the fire pit............Fall is perfect.

Jacket: Forever 21, Shirt: Gap, Jeans: Old Navy (these were really cheap and are super stretchy and comfy, almost like leggings), Shoes: Converse, Watch: Fossil, Assorted Jewels