Bees

Everywhere I seem to go lately, I am followed by bumblebees.  At first I thought it was just the weather since they seem to get very frazzled with the changing in temperature.  Then I thought perhaps it was my jasmine and vanilla body oils.  It seems though that these were not the contributing factors in bees buzzing my head and body over and over.  You see, in many cultures, bees represent several things: Royalty, hard work/dedication, sacrifice, success,  teamwork/cooperation and the “sweet life.”  I suppose they could smell the sweat and toil and dedication I have been putting into my craft as of late.  Perhaps they understood the efforts that I have now started to make in properly communicating my thoughts, desires, and intentions to others in an effective way.  Maybe it’s a sign that I haven’t been doing any of the things I was doing well in as well as I thought I was!! Either way, it bodes to be a positive omen and nothing like death or things of that nature.

Or maybe it really was that I smelled deliciously exotic?  Eh. Tomato, tomahto.

I much prefer the positive omens of success, teamwork, and the sweet life though.  I am going to make bees my little mascot of creativity for a little while.  Whenever I want to give up I am going to think of those crazy hives of bees…smashed into one little dome, living in cramped quarters, working 24-7 and  yet still dedicated to their jobs without complaint.  I am going to remember how quickly they can build a home from the ground up just because they are committed to it each second of the day until followed through and completely constructed.  If those tiny little bees can do all of that?? I CERTAINLY CAN, TOO!!

In my full-time working life, the theatre I am employed at underwent a major name change, additions of new staff members, a big leap in programming, and we’re gearing up for some new changes to a subscription season.  It’s been a lot of house-keeping, paper shredding, supply ordering, and general pep-rallying with the coworkers to get ready for the onslaught.  The whole office is also participating in a county-wide Fitness/Health challenge.  My team is currently 25th place out of 300+ teams (GO TEAM!!! REMEMBER: WINNING!!!) so I’ve been increasing my activity, adjusting my cruddy eating habits to better ones, and really getting things done.

In small-business land, I have been absent from much of the internet lately.  I am contemplating incorporating the Twinkles and Glitter brand into a bigger block “Creative Studio” that will encompass all aspects of my creative services.  The inspiration, creations, and general services are so much more than Twinkles and Glitter.  The new name will be unveiled when the website is up, shop stock is completed, etsy shop opened, and new facebook page launched.  Instead of fiddle-faddling around on Facebook like usual, I have been hard at work with new inspiration for fabulous new jewelry, sweet new hair accessories, and designing that new web page.

On top of all these great advancements I also had the fabulous fortune to land a vendor table at a burlesque/illusionist event!  A good friend of mine will be starring in his first live stage magic performance that evening.  I was chatting with him about getting tickets, and he mentioned they also have a small vendor marketplace!  I absolutely was interested and fortunately enough he offered to pass along my information.  I spoke with one of the girls at the venue and she said they’d be delighted to have me join the vendor marketplace.

It has really been a whirlwind of positivity and success…AND I LOVE IT!

So, ladies and gents, please stop by the Corsettes Carnival.  Show these lovely ladies some love, let Preston Digitation’s magical illusions mystify your mind, and buy some whimsical wares from the Twinkles And Glitter vendor table (and of course, buy other peoples’ things too!)

You can get your tickets by clicking here: http://www.thecorsettes.com/shows.php

The girls accept payment via PayPal, and suggest that you purchase well in advance because previous performances have sold out!

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Apples.

I like apples…I’m calling this post apples.  This is a thought post.  I’m thinking about things and writing them down.  Because it is my blog.  Because I can do what I want. Because there is a lot to be said about having freedoms to think for yourself and speak your mind.  Because I like to ruin grammatical rules!
Today I spent some time reading Water for Elephants. I’m excited.  It fits in well with my interests and current inspiration track: CIRCUSES and CARNIVALS and SIDESHOWS and things like that.  I’m enjoying the break from life by getting lost and totally immersed in the action and characters.

Today I decided that I would not sign an internet petition to promote the approval of 2 vaccines that “prevents” pneumonia and diarrhea in children, specifically to benefit those in 3rd world or fairly poverty-stricken countries.  Instead I’d rather sign a petition against GMO foods, privatization of utilities such as water and heat, or something promoting public healthcare or insurance for the masses.  Seems better to me to work on not adding more toxins to the human body and our environment than another drug to prevent something we’re causing by neglecting our duties to help one another.

Today I discovered mashing goat cheese, maple syrup, and sweet potatoes was a good idea.
Today I worked on some more shop stock for my future 2nd etsy shop (really, my 3rd if you’re counting the one I never use really anymore)
This week I favourited some potential Etsy suppliers and messaged one about custom orders.
Progress is good.  Relaxing is good.  Life is very good.
In other news, this lady is neat.  The interview is awesome and her artwork is even awesome-er.
FACTS I’d like to tell myself when I was younger:
  • you don’t need a college degree to succeed in life, you just need massive amounts of sticktoitiveness
  • school loans do not mean free money…you have to pay it back, with extras.
  • vegetables DO taste good
  • doing that senior year of HS research paper won’t kill you, but your parents just might if you get that damn D-
  • nature is the best medicine
  • you have to do what you know makes you happy, not what someone else tells you will make you happy
  • skinned knees aren’t the end of the world
  • there is always something new and exciting around the corner, even more exciting than the very thing you are most passionate about
  • date the 14 year old freshman who is madly in love with you your sophomore year, it’ll save you both a lot of grief in the long run, and you’ll be wildly in love with him right back for the rest of ever (you’re welcome, sunshine!)
  • don’t leave those beautiful, hand drawn-on, bff-signed, dirty, stinky converse sneakers in the house when you leave and mom is still home, she’s going to throw them away and you’ll never find another pair as comfortable as those EVER EVER EVER
  • don’t be afraid to quit your job and find another one, the money is never worth it
  • it doesn’t matter how many times you try to sneak “puppy” or “kitty” or “pony” on your xmas list to santa, mom will still find a way to tell him she disapproves.  Santa is just good like that.
  • banana yellow crayons don’t actually taste like bananas
  • you will not hit the old lady walking on her lawn, on top of the hill, on the opposite side of the road on your first day of driving with your permit with dad. trust me. she’s on the other side of the road, on top of a hill, walking on her lawn…NOT AT ALL NEAR YOU, HONEST. It’s an illusion. relax.
  • don’t be so hasty to get to the future, there’s plenty of time for that…that’s why it’s called the FUTURE it’s kind of infinite and all that
  • needing to wear matching socks is a bunch of malarky, mismatches go with EVERY outfit and EVERY occasion

Gleeful

A few weeks back I had a particularly rotten Friday:  I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and the day was damned from the start.  You know how it is, right?  Working for someone else can sometimes seem like a chore on even the best of days (although truly I am just happy to even have a job “in this crummy economy” or whatever cliche thing is said nowadays to make you feel good about having a job you don’t really enjoy doing all that much, ha!)  No jibes or jokes from friends were helping.  No amount of coffee would wake me up.  No candy was sugary enough.  Add some grumpy, selfish customers to the mix, the fact we worked through lunch break (again,) an almost-overdue student loan payment and multiply all that by the $1100 bill my mechanic gave me, etc etc etc and you have an obvious equation for misery.  I wanted to just throw in the towel.  I took that home with me.

I was in a funk the whole rest of the weekend: crying , complaining, stomping around, you name it.  I wasted Saturday pining over bills, my messy desk, unfinished projects, and the rainy weather.  I didn’t cook breakfast, or lunch, or dinner.  I watched a movie Sunday and felt a bit better, but then I lazed about in pajamas wasting the time away…

Then Sunshine stepped in, with his loving but firm words: “Here, have a hug.  Do you feel better? Good. Now…get the hell out of the house already, will ya?!!!”
I looked at the clock and realised I had about 8 hours left to my weekend and decided I was going to DO SOMETHING with it!

It’s amazing what words can do. The good ones and in some unfortunate circumstances the bad. Simple words. Ones of encouragement, inspiration and motivation. As you reflect on today, think, have you paid it forward? The kind word or words that is? Sometimes that will be exactly what a person needs to hear to persevere, to fight on, to succeed. I’m learning this exact lesson now & being taught something new every day. – Noelle Root (Tinky Winks Photography)

I grabbed a half-filled sketchbook, sat down, doodled some design ideas, and drove myself to the store to get some materials to make a “prototype.”  It’s days like that when failures seemingly overtake successes that you need to just go take a nap and reboot.  Take a second to just recharge, reflect on the lessons you learned, and start on over.

Those JERKS.

Sometimes those jerks Murky and Lurky just steal all my star sprinkles and cover the world in grey, brown, and bleecccchhhh, but it doesn’t have to stay that way forever!  When things get overwhelming, I’m going to take the time now to take a second to breathe, close my eyes, and I will open them again with a fresh outlook.

I bring my inspiration-design sketchbook and ideas-notebook with me everywhere now.  No more complaining that I can’t remember a great idea I had because grumpy customers filled my day with irritating phone calls.  If I have an idea while I am at work, I whip out my notebook whenever possible.  If I can’t do that, I just grab a post-it and jot down a note or a quick sketch.  Later on, I staple that in my notebook.  I know it also helps that I decided to recycle a half-filled inspiration book from a previous project.  I can flip through the pages and see where I began the previously completed project, and how even those little mistakes or scribble-outs culminated into a successful final whole.   When I feel grumpy, defeated, or overwhelmed I sit down and leaf through my book to see what I have accomplished. When I hit a blank page, I immediately start scribbling down any and all ideas I have.  And I’ve been feeling so much better!  Rather than overwhelming myself with what I’ve still left to do, I smile at all I have already done and it doesn’t seem that bad anymore.

Bettering yourself as a person, in all aspects, can be a full time job in itself. Is it difficult to relearn, reprogram and reanalyze your lifestyle as a whole? Yes. But is it impossible for one to reverse certain aliments simply by reverting back to the basics of life? No. I will not say that it is not a constant question in my mind as to why we are making such drastic changes, for it is. Yet if I was to merely focus on the current outcome that making such simple adjustments has had, it would become easier for me to see the positive impact in that they have already made in my life.”
– Noelle Root (Tinky Winks Photography)

I took a sick-day from work today:  rather than sulk and feel miserable for myself with this rotten bout of allergies, I decided to at leasttake this as a day to do accomplish some old goals and set some new ones.  I grabbed a giant mug of tea, a great big box of tissues, and my laptop.  Thanks to a motivating Facebook note from Noelle, and an informative DIY seminar from Tara Gentile of Scoutie Girl I filled almost 4 pages of my spiral notebook!  Today is a good day.

Thank you to my job of the last 6 years for sticking with me, showing your trust, and promoting me to assistant management.  Thank you to my customers who have left me glowing feedback, given me repeat business, and shared my sites and work with others.

Thank you to all my friends and family who have encouraged me to keep going when I just felt like throwing in the towel.

Thank you to the world for being such an awe-inspiring place sometimes.

Dinner Pour Two – Warmth on a Wintry Day

I think I could rival any school-aged child with my love for snowdays.   I think I will probably love the lazy, snowy, cooped up inside in the warmth days forever until the day I die (though ones that end up being a trade-off for an extra 8 hour day on an already 35-40 hour work week in TINY TINY OFFICE SPACE  take some of the punch outta life but ehhh, whatever.)

Been having quite a few snowdays in Jersey the past month or two, and I’ve been craving something warm, spicy, and tropical for a change!  Looking for a taste of summertime led me to create this lovely dish out of our strange mix of ingredients left in the cupboard/fridge.

Spicy Sweet Stuffed Peppers for Two!

Pineapple and Wild Rice Stuffed Poblanos

  • ½ cup short grain brown rice
  • ½ cup wild brown rice
  • 2 cups veggie broth

Cook rice 45 minutes, remove and scoop ¾ amount of the rice into mixing bowl. Return the pot to the stove and cook the remaining rice for the rest of the final cooking time. Set this leftover rice aside.

Mix together pineapple, tomato liquid, agave, spices, and rice.

  • 2  small chunks pineapple, minced
  • ¼ liquid from canned tomatoes
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • sprinkle of coriander
  • sprinkle of lemon pepper blend
  • drizzle of agave nectar

Saute swiss chard leaves with olive oil until just wilted.  Add a splash of veggie broth, sprinkle of lemon pepper, and stir until dark dark dark green.  In a small bowl, place the chopped chard ribs and cover with veggie broth. Microwave until boiling (about 4 minutes) and add this to the swiss chard in the pan.  Cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated (leave SOME to add with rice/pineapple mixture.)

  • 1 bunch rainbow swiss chard – torn leaves from ribs, ribs saved and chopped
  • ½ c veggie broth
  • 2 TBSP greek olive oil
  • shake of lemon pepper
  • SEA SALT

Add chard leaves to rice mixture in bowl, stir thoroughly.

  • 2 med to large poblano peppers, tops cut off and seeded

Stuff peppers as much as possible.  Grease glass baking dish with olive oil, cover bottom of pan with remaining rice-stuffing, and gently place peppers on top.  Lightly brush peppers with oil so they do not burn.  Cook at 350º for 20-30 minutes (or until peppers reach your desired level of tenderness.)

**This recipe is completely vegan.

(Sunshine of course couldn’t help himself though and melted a whole heapload of cheese on his portion, haha!)

Aside

I’ve not been to the blog in awhile, and for that I am ever so sorry!  On the bright side, the facebook and etsy shop have been updated TO THE HILT and feature lots of lovely new images!!

Mmm Mmm Soup!!!

Poor Artist Lentil Soup

It’s a pain that sometimes being an artist means you don’t get rich until you’re dead!  Unfortunately for me, I’m still here and still poor. (Well, I mean I’m happy to be alive but could stand a few more dollars in my pocket, you know? Haha!)  Fortunately for me I’m pretty handy in the kitchen with a limited ingredient list!  That means when the moths flutter out of my wallet, my heart goes aflutter for delicious one-pot meals packed with delicious nutrients.

  • 2C lentils (rinsed, picked over)
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery hearts, chopped
  • 1 med russet potato, skins on, chopped
  • 1C frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves galic, minced
  • 1TBSP rosemary, crushed
  • 1 14.5 oz can Fire Roasted  Diced Tomatoes with Roasted Garlic
  • 1C crushed tomatoes with basil
  • 4C vegetable broth
  • 3C filtered water

Chop all vegetables and place in bottom of a VERY LARGE pot.  Cover vegetables with about 2C of broth, add crushed rosemary.  Cook on high for 10 minutes until veggies soften a smidgen.  Lower heat, add crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add remaining liquid (broth/water) and stir in the lentils.  Raise heat to med-hi, cover. Cook  for 20 to 60 minutes depending on desired texture, stirring occasionally.  For extra flavour, drizzle some Extra Virgin Greek Olive Oil over the soup after serving!

Nothing complicated. Just something delicious, healthy, and warm :) MMMMM!! SOUP!

HELP CHRISTOPHER LEIDENFROST-WILSON BECOME THE NEXT STOLI ORIGINAL!!!


Here’s how you can help! :)
View the video on YouTube.
Mark it as a thumbs-up.
Leave a friendly comment.
Then head on over to the Stoli Vodka Facebook FanPage and cast your vote for Mr. Christopher Leidenfrost-Wilson to be the next Stoli Original!!

“The legend of Henry Martin- Part I: Long ago, on a tropical island off the coast of Rio, all the pirates of the world gathered for their annual holiday bash… However, one pirate didn’t want to go for he was always made fun of. Why? Because he didn’t like rum. On the night of the party, a hurricane swept across the Caribbean, sinking the cargo of rum the pirates ordered for their soiree! It seemed all hope was lost- until a ship reeled out of the storm.

Part II: On the deck was none other than the pirate who didn’t drink rum- Henry Martin! “Never fear!” he cried, “For I have sailed the world and returned with the finest of spirits to help us celebrate!” The crew began unloading mysterious crates emblazoned with Russian. When the pirates opened them, their eyes dazzled with delight! All 16 varieties of Stoli! The bottles were opened, the drinks were poured, and the pirates all knew that the day had been saved by Henry Martin and Stolichnaya!

Five Reasons this pirate loves Stoli:

1) You never know what life (or the sea) will throw at you! Stoli is versatile and delicious and will flawlessly accompany any situation (or cocktail) you may encounter!

2) Pirates are fickle- but luckily there are 16 great Stoli varieties to please any bucanneer!

3) On a cold night on an open deck, Stoli is the best way to warm your body and spirit!

4) You have to have Stoli because as Jack Sparrow aptly states in every one of his movies– the rum is always gone! (But there’s always plenty of Stoli for all!)

5) This particular pirate drank dirty martinis the first time he went out with the love of his life– what kind of vodka was it? Aye… the world’s most original!! (And has already been aptly stated: there’s no way to make a “MARTINI” without “Henry MARTIN!””)

Contest Entry!

 

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I don’t know why. I don’t know what it is.  But I am always and forever impressed and fascinated by horses.  They’re such powerhouses and yet at the same time manage to look so graceful, peaceful.  They’re truly magnificent creatures of this world.  And without further ado I present to you my entry for iheartfaces contest of the week: the beautiful, magnificent face of one of the horses at a family friend’s barn, Blue Pine Stables !

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Contest entry in the weekly competition on iheartfaces.com!

Week 50 theme: PET FACES