6.29.2014

Delightful Discoveries: Ana Teresa Barboza's Landscape Embroidery Art

Ever since discovering the amazing diversity of embroidery art out there in the wide world of the interwebs, I've been fascinated by the new movement of hobbyists and artists who have embraced the medium. Taylor Swift, who recently gifted the adorable Ed Sheeran with an embroidered scene of the two of them with a Drake lyric scrawled beneath, has also brought new-found love and attention to the craft (it's adorable, just click through).

When I came upon the Peruvian artist Ana Teresa Barboza on Pinterest, I was stunned with her ability to actively create and capture natural landscape scenes with cross stitch and embroidery. Her art, which can be seen in it's entirety here, is almost frightfully real for being crated only from needle and thread. Her landscapes seemingly jump off the fabric, and then literally do as well, creating structures that both depict the natural processes in image and then live them outside their own borders.

Check out all of her work which explores the human body and wildlife, combined with the incredible beauty of embroidery. She gives a very interesting in-depth interview on Common Thread, which is definitely worth a read.

Ana Teresa Barboza
Ana Teresa Barboza
Ana Teresa Barboza
The work of Peruvian artist Ana Teresa Barboza covers many loves for me, namely textiles and art. Her sculptural creations include landscapes, seascapes, florals, and portraits. Barboza uses needlework, knitting, and crochet techniques that yield a wonderful texture. Whether it’s a grassy knoll or the current of the ocean, her textiles capture movement and emotion. It’s especially interesting how she frames each piece. For instance, the way her landscapes and seascapes pour forth from embroidery hoops—as though she is giving a nod to the more traditional art form of needlework while also turning the process on its head. - See more at: http://anthologymag.com/blog3/2014/06/24/textile-art-by-ana-teresa-barboza/#sthash.5qk6PCHf.
The work of Peruvian artist Ana Teresa Barboza covers many loves for me, namely textiles and art. Her sculptural creations include landscapes, seascapes, florals, and portraits. Barboza uses needlework, knitting, and crochet techniques that yield a wonderful texture. Whether it’s a grassy knoll or the current of the ocean, her textiles capture movement and emotion. It’s especially interesting how she frames each piece. For instance, the way her landscapes and seascapes pour forth from embroidery hoops—as though she is giving a nod to the more traditional art form of needlework while also turning the process on its head. - See more at: http://anthologymag.com/blog3/2014/06/24/textile-art-by-ana-teresa-barboza/#sthash.5qk6PCHf.dpuf
The work of Peruvian artist Ana Teresa Barboza covers many loves for me, namely textiles and art. Her sculptural creations include landscapes, seascapes, florals, and portraits. Barboza uses needlework, knitting, and crochet techniques that yield a wonderful texture. Whether it’s a grassy knoll or the current of the ocean, her textiles capture movement and emotion. It’s especially interesting how she frames each piece. For instance, the way her landscapes and seascapes pour forth from embroidery hoops—as though she is giving a nod to the more traditional art form of needlework while also turning the process on its head. - See more at: http://anthologymag.com/blog3/2014/06/24/textile-art-by-ana-teresa-barboza/#sthash.5qk6PCHf.dpuf
The work of Peruvian artist Ana Teresa Barboza covers many loves for me, namely textiles and art. Her sculptural creations include landscapes, seascapes, florals, and portraits. Barboza uses needlework, knitting, and crochet techniques that yield a wonderful texture. Whether it’s a grassy knoll or the current of the ocean, her textiles capture movement and emotion. It’s especially interesting how she frames each piece. For instance, the way her landscapes and seascapes pour forth from embroidery hoops—as though she is giving a nod to the more traditional art form of needlework while also turning the process on its head. - See more at: http://anthologymag.com/blog3/2014/06/24/textile-art-by-ana-teresa-barboza/#sthash.5qk6PCHf.dpuf

6.27.2014

My Recipe Book: Freeze-Ahead Smoothie Packs

I tend to be a bit of an impatient person. I hate it when things take too long, especially when I'm in a rush. In the mornings, I'm notorious for waking up early to be able to take my time getting ready so that I don't leave for work in a bad mood - which often means that I'm up before 6am. I enjoy the quiet of the mornings, which is something the nights don't have here in New York. At night, people in my neighborhood stay up until just before 4am, riding their skateboards in the streets and laughing with friends (hoodlums). But in the mornings - the earliest of mornings - that's when you find the peace of the city. Everything slows down, people retreat into their homes, and the city has a quiet kind of buzz of all the early birds getting ready to catch their worms.

So, naturally, I revel in finding a breakfast that's quick and easy, and takes less than 5 minutes to put together. My granola bowl is one of my favorites for when I'm in the mood for something a bit heartier, but generally I like to keep my breakfasts light and uber-nutritious. Smoothies have become such an integral part of my morning routine that I actually spend an hour or two every other weekend prepping them for myself; which, in turn, saves me a ton of time every morning during the work week. Instead of worrying about what to have and questioning whether or not that fruit has gone bad, these make-ahead freezer packs give me mental stability (truly, though) so that I can have a quick breakfast ready to go every day without the fret.

And the best part - smoothies are so inherently customizable! If you like one type of smoothie, make four or five packs of that combo; but if you want some variety, try mixing it up in prep and surprising yourself each morning.

Morning Make-Ahead Smoothies
A recipe (maybe? meh, not really) by yours truly. The amazing blogger Henry Happened also makes these, and I love her recipes, too!


Ingredients:
Okay, so here's where it gets tricky. If you're a stickler for following recipes, this is NOT going to be your thing. I literally grab a handful of anything and throw it into quart-sized zip-lock baggies, so no measurements are needed here (I promise!). Also, if you don't like one type of fruit / berry, substitute something else in! I ain't your momma.
- Baby Spinach
- Mint
- Cucumbers
- Coconut (the meat!)
- Raspberries
- Blackberries
- Strawberries
- Ginger
- Guava
- Orange Juice / Carrot Juice / Passion Fruit Juice (whatever kind of juice you're into)

Subs you can also use:
Blueberries, Pineapple, Bananas, Melon, Watermelon, Grapes, Kiwi, Chard, Celery, Kale, Lettuces, Mango, Avocado, Pear, Apple, Beets, Almond Milk, Greek Yogurt. Just get creative, y'all.  


Instructions:
1. First, you'll want to plop all the greens into your freezer-safe quart-sized zip-lock bags. Be mindful that you're using only the amount that will fit into your blender for all of your ingredients! I have a Magic Bullet, which is my trusty sidekick to mix everything in the mornings. So, with their small-ish sized cups, I use a handful of baby spinach and about 6 to 7 leaves of mint.
2. Then slice up all of the pieces that will be harder to grind when frozen; strawberries, guava, ginger, cucumbers, and coconut meat are all pretty thick to begin with, so I try to slice them down as small as possible to cut down on blender time after they've been frozen solid.
3. Pop the sliced up fruit, roots, and veggies into the packs, and take handfuls of berries to top them with. I love, love, love blackberries, so I tend to use about 10 big ones per pack, and about 5 to 7 raspberries. Like I mentioned earlier, you can easily switch up any of these ingredients; or, if you like, you can choose for one smoothie to be berry-heavy and another to leave them out entirely!
4. You can pre-make as many packs as you want, but I tend to keep it in the two-week to three-week supply region. Once you get past a month, you risk the contents being a little... freezer burnt? Also, be sure to squeeze out all the air from the bags as you close them! It will cut down on frost, and keep your fruit and veggies a bit fresher.
5. When you want a smoothie, pull out a pack and pop into the blender. Pour in whatever juice your heart desires - I like orange, passion fruit, or carrot juice, or a mixture of all of them. Then blend until smooth (hence the name - smoothie), pour into a glass, and enjoy!


I enjoy one almost every morning, and it's a great way to get your greens, fruits, and veggies in one easy-as-pie serving. They're just ideal for the summer months, and a lovely little way for cooling down in the evenings, too, as a pre-dinner snack.

PS. This is my 100th post! Yeehaw, y'all. 

6.25.2014

Five Things: A Week in Sunsets

At the end of the day (no pun intended), life is about the little things that you take pleasure in. And really, there's nothing I find more happiness in than watching the summer sunset. It can be anywhere in the world, and a great sunset is truly the perfect cap to any day. I know... what a novel idea, right? A girl who likes sunsets. But, in my defense (before I get called out for being cliche), it's not just the sun setting that I enjoy about this time of day. More than that, I love the differentiation that comes from temperature, wind speed, and cloud conditions. The fact that each sunset has its own palette that's remarkably fresh is the part that's even more impressive to me - that no two sunsets are ever the same. And, they're a bit like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates: you never know what you're gonna get.

In Brooklyn, we have stunning views of the sunset over the city nightly. And in the summer, the sky is cast in the most wonderful array of colors, like someone reached out and tie dyed the entire heavens in one big, ongoing nightly party. The pinks are electric, the clouds turn gold and silver along their edges, and the blues meld into purples which in turn meld into deep magentas and oranges. Over the past few weeks I've taken my camera out for a handful of these amazing views - and five of them have been so stunning that I really have to share them here - it would be a disservice not to, really.






And of course, check out my instagram for more sunsets... because I will never not post a great sunset.

6.23.2014

Tidbits: A Healthy Dose of the Mermaid Parade

How to explain the Mermaid Parade? I meaaan. It's a parade... with mermaids. I first found out about the Mermaid Parade when I was fresh out of college and living here in the city (I was very, very confused as to how I didn't hear about it for the first four years I was here, but no matter). I started going with a handful of my friends each year, and even though I very strongly dislike (read: hate, hate, hate) large, drunken crowds and parades, the Mermaid Parade slowly but surely became the exception to the rule.

If you've never heard of the Mermaid Parade, you wouldn't be the first I invited with the response, "Um. What is that?" The largest art parade in the nation, it invites individuals in New York City (and the boroughs and beyond) to celebrate the Summer Solstice by gallivanting throughout Coney Island and it's oceanside dock dressed as mermaids (and mermen... merpeople, really). Thousands of people come from throughout the area to participate, creating a spectacle full of nipple pasties, mermaid tails, jellyfish umbrellas and pirate costumes. Founded first in 1983 and invented by local area artists, it's hailed as the Summer Solstice celebration for New York and highlights the uniqueness of the people who flock here.

I will say this: the Mermaid Parade is not for the faint of heart. There are so many nipples / side boobs / under boobs out, you'll think it's totally normal for everyone to walk around topless. Also, there are men on the side of the street set up with drink stands, making those long obnoxious plastic containers full of pina coladas, margaritas, and daiquiris for everyone and their brother. The reason why the Mermaid Parade is the exception to the "I Hate Parades" rule for me is the same reason why I think New York City houses some of the best people in the world - because here, no one is ever afraid to be unapologetically themselves. Especially when that means that they can wear copious amounts of glitter.






6.19.2014

Little Things: Thoughts on Living (and Thriving) in New York

Everyone here is complaining about the weather. There have been a handful of really nice, not-too-hot, not-too-cold, not rainy and perfectly sunny spring days, and New Yorkers love those. But, more than that, I've found that New Yorkers love to complain about the weather (or anything else that is bothering them that day, but particularly the weather). It's a part of regular conversation - and it's mainly because we are forced to face it every damn day. We can't just run from our house and hop into our car to escape the rain, snow, wind, or humidity; we have to know the weather every morning and every evening, and be prepared for it with umbrellas and rain/snow boots readily on hand.

I don't really enjoy the process of complaining these days; I've started to feel like if you sit around and complain, you're just taking yourself one step further away from fixing your problem. Don't get me wrong; I love talking about things and working them out through communication and brainstorming, but it's only when you can actually approach something you can change. And, with weather, there's really no point in complaining, because there's not anything you can do to change it. Some days I do feel a deep desire to crawl under the sheets and just stay in bed when it rains (so cozy!), but other days, it's actually quite nice to feel the cool rain on my skin as I walk home.

My friend recently posted this link to a blog called JustJuliette on her Facebook page, and I clicked through because (since moving to New York) I clearly have a love/hate relationship with the city. And, it seems like Juliette does, too, which I appreciate. It's a complex feeling that only people who have lived in New York can understand, I think. As I read through her thoughtful post, I immediately identified with all of her sentiments; I've included an excerpt below, but you should definitely click through to the above link and read it all. If there's anything that I've found out about New Yorkers after the almost nine years of living here (other than their love of complaining about the weather, of course), it's that we're totally resilient - which makes it one of the best and worst cities in the country, depending on the day, of course. 


---

"When I exit the airport in LA, the daily pressure melts away. [...] And I find myself thinking 'Yes. I could do this. I could be relaxed.' Because, honestly, I'm tired. I'm tired of fighting. But the issue is, I'm not tired of winning. And a victory in New York is like no other, because of the fight you put up to obtain it. The struggle IS real. But so is the payoff." 

LA is nice, but New York is better. 
by JustJuliette 

6.15.2014

Five Things: Father's Day Edition

We've all learned valuable things from our fathers. Most of them, I would like to hope, are extraordinarily thoughtful, positive things. And, like with your mother for Mother's Day, you should always call and touch base with your old man on Father's Day. Especially in my own situation, where my parents live at the other end of the country as me (North / South, duh), I am basically required to call on every holiday.


I was lucky enough to have my dad in town this week - he was here with the church youth group, and as they were touring the city, I was viciously avoiding the terribly tourist-y things they were doing (SORRY - but not really, because Times Square is the seventh circle of hell). But, I did get to see him the night of his birthday, and yesterday, when we went to Central Park and I helped to guide a small group of them from Cedar Hill to the Conservatory Water, to the Boathouse, to Sheep Meadow and then back. While I may not like Times Square or WTC, I definitely do not hate Central Park, so seeing my dad while touring the park when the weather was so unbelievably gorgeous was beyond a pleasure.

Every time I end up posting something on social media to celebrate a person in my life (like on birthdays, Mother's Day, or Father's Day), I always end up feeling like I'm falling so short of the things that I really should be saying. There are very few times in everyday life that you feel like you can be unapologetically cheesy, and I treasure those instances (truly). I think everyone should know they're appreciated - and with today's day and age, it's hard to just let it come from the heart instead of keeping things light.

FIVE THINGS I LEARNED FROM MY DAD

1. Life is for adventuring. My father has always worked hard; he's been doing the same job for a crazy amount of years. I think part of the reason why he's so good at it is because he works so hard. But the other side of that is the skill of remembering that we're surrounded by beauty, and that we should go out and explore it. My dad always planned family trips to far-off places - I've been so blessed to have been to places like Hawaii, Alaska, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, among countless others. I never consciously appreciated the annual family trips until I was out of high school, but these trips shaped my life (and the way I think about the world). Seeing my dad plan adventures for us inspired me to want to experience life outside of the everyday.

2. Learn to laugh. On top of hard work and adventuring, my made sure to teach all of us that life is first and foremost for enjoying. Sure, every day you might be faced with some hardship you have to overcome - being stressed out, having disagreements with friends and loved ones - but the most important thing you can do is to not take anything too seriously. When you're able to laugh at situations, and at yourself, life becomes a whole heck of a lot easier.

3. Be motivated to fix things. My dad probably doesn't realize this, but every time I call home with even the most minor of issues, he always tries to help me fix them. I don't always need for him to do that - most of the time I just need to vent. But, over the years, I learned that he does this because you can't dwell on things that go wrong; you just have to try your best to fix them and move forward. And, no use in waiting around and being upset about things that go wrong, because where is that going to get you?

4. Listen to good music. It doesn't have to be one kind of music over another - just listen and connect to it. I discovered that there's so much soul and life in the music that I was raised on as a kid; from Bobby Darin to Billie Holiday to The Who and beyond, there was always some genre of music to listen to when we were growing up. To this day, every single time I'm home with my parents, my dad can be found in between tasks putting on a new album or vinyl for the whole house to enjoy.

5. Appreciate your loved ones. I mean, I think this is a given, but my dad has always made it a point (as has my mom) to tell each of us how proud he is. It may seem cheesy, and on more than one occasion I may or may not have laughed it off, but how important is it to feel reinforced in life by the ones you love? Whether it's a phone call home because you haven't spoken in a week or a link being e-mailed in a chain between each other, my family's bond is one that's ever-present, which always makes me feel more confident in my choices as I get older.

Happy Father's Day, dad! Now, everyone go hug your father figure and tell them you love them.

6.11.2014

Tidbits: Fresh Floral Arrangements

For Memorial Day (so long ago, I know, SIGH), I wanted to do something special with one of the hippies. We're stretched across the country, so I always have a great excuse to travel whenever I get a handful of days off. Since I hadn't seen her in far far far too long, I flew out to Wisconsin to visit with none other than our lovely Midwestern contributor Mateline. Over the weekend, it was beyond gorgeous out; we frolicked in farm fields, had a good old-fashioned BBQ, and, of course, created our own lovely little floral arrangements off of flowers found on her parents' farm.

We created a very simple bouquet from what was readily available; we chose armfuls of purple lilacs and richly pink tree peonies to pair with them. Mateline and I both loved the way the formation of the lilac blooms perfectly complemented the big, puffy peonies, and the greenery poking out around them made the whole thing come together quite naturally. I adore being outside on the farm in the fresh open air, and (if you couldn't already tell from my ridiculous string of floral images on Instagram) to me, there's nothing like flowers in the spring and summer seasons. The pops of color are a recipe for instant happiness, which is why I pick up fresh flowers from the market often to pepper throughout my home.

And, FYI - nothing feels (or smells!) better than an armful (literally... an arm or two full) of freshly picked flowers.





6.02.2014

Day Trippin': Manitou Point

As springtime inches into summertime here in New York City, it means one of two things: it's either absolutely flippin' gorgeous out, or it's hotter than a pair of sweatpants full of barbeque. What's the best way to fight the heat when it comes around? Take a day trip (duh)! Getting out from under the skyscrapers - and off the sweltering sidewalks - always beats the heat, no matter where you are. Shaded hikes are some of my favorite day trips around the city, and New York in particular is so unique because you're never more than just a quick train ride away from mountains, cliff sides, and rivers.

Being on the water is, of course (I'm from Florida, lest you forgot), one of my favorite things in life. It's breezy even when it's boiling out, and somehow I always find it so emotionally refreshing, even if I'm not always getting wet. Plus, New York has some gorgeous little hikes that are peppered throughout the not-too-far-upstate landscape, making them terribly easy to get to, and even easier to get home afterwards. So, when this past weekend came around and I started itching for adventure, we hopped on up to Grand Central and took the train to Manitou Point.

Manitou Point Preserve, a gorgeous little trail system around the Hudson River, has all the things you're looking for in a nature getaway: wooded upland, rock outcrops, a steep-sided ravine, and a marsh with rocky bluffs along the river. This area actually used to be owned as an estate by a man named Edward Livingston, who is a descendant of a signer of the Declaration of Independence (perfect for Fourth of July weekend romping?), Philip Livingston. Renovated and revived, there are four miles of trails in the area that are available for public use.






 
Blogging tips