A Collection Of Inspiration For The Art Lifestyle

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Sep 20, 2014

10 Reasons to Love the Movie: Family Weekend

One of my favorite movies to watch is Family Weekend, A story about Emily (Olesya Rulin), a competitive jump roping champion, who feels neglected by her eclectic family. As a result, she decides to take her parents hostage in their own home to force them to change their ways and become a real family. In addition to the story line, all of the details in the film are what really make it a one of kind piece that I will always find fun, entertaining and beautifully shot.

I wanted to write a list of ten reasons why I love this film. I decided to do some film photography while I was watching so that I could better capture the moments that help portray these points. The movie is currently on Netflix, and I urge anyone to take the time and check this film out if you haven't already. So let's get to the list.

1. Emily's unique talent/passion: Competitive Jump Roping 

Emily has a very interesting talent, which would be jump roping in place at high speeds. She takes it very seriously, which often times alienates her from her peers. But to her credit, she is the best at what she does by far.  

She wins every competition, but never has any family there to support her. So in the end, victory doesn't really mean much when there is no one to share it with.  

2. Beautiful art

I adored the collection of artwork featured in the film. Art was everywhere and very inspiring. The family seems to live a pretty comfortable lifestyle as the mother is a corporate hound fighting for the vice president seat at whatever corporation she works for. 

I enjoyed the smaller individual pieces behind Emily in this shot because it inspires me to create a gallery wall similar to this in my living room. It's fun, abstract and each piece is different. 

I have a certain fondness for large sized canvases that are bold with color and presence. These are the details that really make a film special to me. I love beautifully designed settings and backgrounds. It gives a true feel of the world of the characters and pulls you in on a more personal level. 

3. She actually holds her parents hostage for the greater good of the family

Emily calls for a family dinner where she drugs her parents, using something she found in her mother's medicine cabinet.

During that time, she was able to get them tied up in preparation for the execution of her master plan. 

4. Emily is amazingly organized and methodical 

A huge reason why I adore Emily and this film is because of her personality. She is very bright, organized and systematic. 

Before going through with her plan, she had to create it first, which she did by typing out a document on her computer, printing it out and assembling it all neatly in a folder. 

Her plan was inspired from a trip she took to her little brother's room in which she learned about how the animal kingdom works from a show that was playing in his room.

All of these events took place within a limited time frame, as she had a state competition to attend the very next day. The point of this whole situation was to get them to turn a new leaf and support her on her most important day. 

I can also be a post it note maniac, or an index card crazy person. I see this as a work of art. Things need to be organized as much as possible sometimes, to maintain clarity and direction. This is just greatness.  

5. Beautiful home  

Films that take place in beautiful homes are always a treat for me. It's such a good time living in someone else's world for the duration of the movie, and when that world takes place in a magnificently designed home, it makes the experience that much better. 

This was a beautiful shot of the back of the house, Lots of windows and wonderful architecture. 

6. Emily's Adorable Style

Emily's style was super cute and prep with her own touch. I was very fond of a lot of the pieces she wore throughout the film. I would wear some of her apparel in a heartbeat. 

7. Awesome little sister who's a natural born actress

Her little sister Lucy is a before-her-time 9 year old who acts out as characters from movies she really has no business seeing at her age. But it works for some strange reason. Super super super talented young lady. The character she is now is Iris from Taxi Driver. 

Reservoir Dogs.

A Clockwork Orange.

8. Dad is an free spirited artist, mother is a super corporate beast, grandmother is a hippie, older brother is an aspiring filmmaker.

His problem is that he needs to make more time for his kids, even though he is the stay at home parent. His art is his whole life, well in addition to sleeping. 

A super busy corporate mom who brings home all the money and is not involved in her children's lives at all. Too busy on her Blackberry discussing business. 

This is the older brother who desperately tries to get his father's attention through his lifestyle choices and his film creations. 

9. Cool little brother who is a zoologist genius and has a tape recorder of a memory

This kid knows an endless amount of facts concerning the animal world. His passion is very apparent when you walk into his bedroom to see it filled with cages of all kinds.

Another awesome thing about her little brother, Mickey, is that he can recite entire conversations from memory as if he were a tape recorder. It's amazing. Please watch this clip. You must.

10. The moral of the story

The film shows that no matter who you are or what your interests be, the important thing is that you have something that sparks life within yourself, something that you are passionate about. And even more importantly, you mustn't let that passion become greater than the people you love. It will always come down to one thing and one thing only....balance.

"Some people are lucky enough to find their true passion, and sometimes it can consume them. That's okay because their passion makes them feel like something. Like somebody. Sometimes its the only thing that keeps them moving..." -Emily

As for me, my passions keep me moving, keep me striving towards something so that I am not consumed by the past and the pain that comes along with some of the things that have happened to me in my life. Stay busy, stay passionate, stay focused, stay happy, but also make time for those you love, and enjoy the moments that surround you.


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Sep 18, 2014

One Pot Chicken and Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

Fall seems to have arrived promptly here in Cleveland, except the leaves haven't caught up with the program, just the cool drop in temperature. I now want to make soups and hearty big potted dishes. I have completely switched over to wanting to prepare meals using the one pot technique.

Getting a whole bunch of ingredients, throwing them into a pot or casserole dish and letting them cook and morph into a delicious meal on its own. I have so much to do, and I plan on taking my to do lists up a notch in the upcoming weeks.

Therefore, having a way to cut down on time while still creating something delicious is a major win. I saw a post on a loaded potato casserole and decided that I should get this going and try it out for myself with a few alterations.

 4 Chicken Breasts, diced 
6 Medium Potatoes, diced
6 Slices of Bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
5 Green Onions Sliced 
1 Cup Heavy Cream
Salt/Pepper/Basic Seasonings
2 Tablespoons Butter

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Lightly grease 9"x13" in. casserole dish
  • Season diced chicken in your preferred manner (I freehandedly use some Lawry's seasoning salt and paprika)
  • Spread half of the potatoes on casserole dish, then evenly spread all of the chicken over potatoes.
  • Sprinkle half of the bacon crumbles over the chicken followed by 3/4 cups of shredded cheese and half of the green onions. 
  • Add the remaining potatoes, then the rest of the bacon, and another 3/4 cups of shredded cheese. 
  • Sprinkle on the remaining green onions followed by a light seasoning of salt and pepper. 
  • Pour the cup of heavy cream over the entire mixture. 
  • Slice up butter over the top of dish.
  • Cover with foil and bake for one hour.
  • Uncover for the final 30 minutes, in the last five minutes, sprinkle top with 1/2 cup of cheese.

So I completely forgot that I was out of aluminum foil after I got home and started cooking. So it was time to improvise! I found a glass top to one of my pots and put it over the center of the dish. It served its purpose. There's always another way to do something. 

Before serving, I cut up some more green onions and added it on top for freshness and appeal. This is definitely a "meat and potatoes" type of meal, therefore it was imperative I paired it with something light and crisp. I'm thinking of saving this casserole as an "I'm sorry" meal for Byron when I feel bad for doing something stupid. It is definitely a satisfying dish and extremely delicious.

I guarantee this dish as a winner every single time. How can bacon and potatoes go wrong? The chicken was such a great addition. I wouldn't have it any other way. It lasted us about 4 and a half servings (Two separate nights of dinner for the both of us, and seconds for Byron on the first night.) If you make this, you will be happy.

Bon Appetit

Sep 16, 2014

DIY Art Business Cards: For When There's No Time For Vista Print

I always want to be prepared when I meet someone in case it's someone who may play a serious role in my future art and business dealings. Since I am currently in between official business card designs, I decided to go to Micheal's and test out making a few of my own. Now I do have two parts of my brand, the art side and the business side. Although they come together as one, certain contacts may require a more professional card, where as others may require a more creative touch. 

I worked on these with haste, as I had many items on that day's to do list that needed to get done. As a result, I did not use a ruler or straight edge to make sure my handwriting was level. This batch was a test to see how well the process would work and what I need to do better or differently next time. I did intend on using these cards, but I also knew that I would refine the process afterwards. I made each one completely different, but still using the same overall themes and materials. It was a very fun time, and from now on, each business card intended for art industry networking will be handmade. 

Like I said before, I went to Micheal's and picked up all of these materials except the pens. I spent a total of about $15. I got the watercolors on clearance for a dollar because the package was missing a color. I got the alphabet stamps and rolls of tape on clearance as well. Micheal's has such a wonderful collection of craft paper to choose from. I needed card stock this time around so I searched specifically for any designs that fit my scheme. I needed the thicker card stock to have more of that business card feel. It worked out perfectly.

When it comes to crafting and DIY, I am never going without stamps ever again. They are just amazing. It would have been awesome if I could have ordered a stamp with whatever I needed it to say already customized and ready to go. Instead I improvised and found this alphabet stamp collection. I would like to get any logos or names made into a full stamp sometime into the future. I would stamp my forehead and go to the grocery store like everything was normal. See how many people just blatantly stare, and how many would force themselves to pretend like there wasn't a stamp on my forehead. Okay...so yea....

I'm watching Spiderman 2 right now and I just have to say that Jamie Fox's character is just so good. His whole situation is just so deep on so many levels. I had a field day with scientific and biblical theories based off of Electro's existence. Random. Sorry. 

Creating your own business cards is truly a great option is you are going to an event short notice, and you don't have time to fiddle around with Vista Print, or any other business card design and printing company. I actually tried to design some cards on Photoshop, and then have them printed at Kinko's. It was such an utter failure because the resolution was off and it printed so small and it was just horrible. Horrible I say!

I'm up at the counter paying for the failed attempts, and a new employee who was training with the guy ringing me out was just perched over the counter trying to peer at the business cards and read what they said. I'm already embarrassed down to the bone, and the most important thing you want to do in life right now is figure out what's going on over here with me. No no no! Go away! Stop looking at this pure failure. 

After that fiasco, I decided I would either do my own DIY cards, or get them professionally printed. If my printer wasn't mysteriously malfunctioning, I would experiment half printing and crafting, but until then, I will finish up using these materials, and enjoy this rewarding process. I don't even care if the recipient of my cards throws them away. I at least know that my card will stand out in their possession, and I will take pictures of each one so they live on forever collected in photographic form.