Monday, March 26, 2012

Welcome Spring!

Hello all!  I'm sorry for the lack of posts these past few days.  I didn't forget about you!  I've been very busy with a few things that I will be sure to share with you soon.  I have some more illustrations that I have been working on, things for the flea markets and craft fairs that will be coming up hopefully soon, and my mom had to have a corneal transplant so I have been staying with her for a few days and helping her out.

I promise, more juicy posts in the next few days!  Ok?  :)

In the meantime, stop slumping over your computer and go outside and enjoy the sunshine!  The weather is incredible!  I can't believe that winter is over and it is officially spring!  I feel like I am still waiting for the big snow to come and spring just sprang up on me out of no where!  I did not like turning my clock an hour ahead for Daylight Saving Time, but I do appreciate the extra sunlight!  In fact, I have two days in the year that are my favorite.  I'm not talking about holidays or birthdays or anything like that.  I'm talking about two actual days in the year.  Those two days are after Daylight Saving Time when we turn the clocks back an hour and I gain an extra hour in the night, and the summer solstice when we have the longest day of sunlight in the year.  This year the summer solstice lands on June 20th!  I'm going to plan something really special this year to celebrate!  Any ideas?  :)

This diagram was found here.  It demonstrates the position of the sun during the summer solstice,   Notice that the arc of the sun rises higher and higher from the winter solstice, through the vernal equinox in spring, to the summer solstice.  The summer solstice marks when the sun is positioned highest in the sky.  After the summer solstice, it starts to lower again, through the autumnal equinox, and back to the winter solstice (when it is lowest in the sky).

Here is a map of the world showing where people recognize daylight saving time, where they no longer use it, and where it was never used.  It is interesting how the majority of the actual population don't use it anymore.  Personally, I like having it!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Penn State Forever! Vlog Post

This past weekend was full of fun and old friends.  If you went to Penn State, or just love Penn State, you will love this video!  Prepare to feel warm and fuzzy and nostalgic as you join these Penn State Alumni and fraternity brothers in a spontaneous performance at a wedding of a fellow Penn Stater!

Monday, March 19, 2012

May The Road Rise Up To Meet You

Saturday was wonderful.  I met a lot of J's old college cronies and friends that he grew up with at the wedding.  Two Irish families joining together for a Saint Patrick's Day wedding?  Now that spells out a good time.  The food was delicious and so was the music!  There was plenty of dancing and laughing and reminiscing.  Here are a couple of snapshots from the wedding before my camera decided to stop working!

I just love this woven metallic clutch.  The pewter color is divine and the interior lining is so special!  I love that it is not super shiny and bright, but provides just enough of that extra something.  The perfect accessory to my LBD for this morning wedding!
The church was pretty.  I liked that it was a mix of modern and traditional.  The shape and details of the church itself, the structure, the shape of the windows, the lighting fixtures, everything felt modern, yet the crucifix and the idea of stained glass and the classic shape of the church was very traditional.  The natural light that poured in through the stained glass windows created a beautiful and other-worldly atmosphere.

Being Penn State Alumni, what's a wedding without a Nittany Lion drink-pouring ice sculpture?  True art.  Haha.

A harpist at the reception?  Beautiful and certainly different!

An Irish toast to the bride and groom with a little bubbly!

This was the name of the table that we sat at.  I like that our table had a name rather than a number.  What a nice detail.  :)  Makes everything feel a little warmer, doesn't it?

This salad was amazing!  I love salads that mix fresh fruit and cheese in with dark crunchy greens.  Delicious!

Prime rib dinner that melted in your mouth like butter with string beans and peppers and the most adorable potatoes shaped like mushrooms.  I'm not sure why they were shaped that way... aesthetics perhaps?  Well, whatever, they were amazing.
And of course, the cake!  What a unique design!  The tiers looked exactly like staggered boxes with beautiful green satin ribbons along the bottoms.  Inside was a chocolate and vanilla marble cake, but they also served a variety of other cakes such as Oreo cake, lemon cake, chocolate mousse cake, etc.  Simply delicious!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hello Weekend!

Hello my dear readers!  I just wanted to make a quick post to let you know that I won't be posting again until Sunday night, or Monday, depending on how tired I am from the weekend!  Like I mentioned in a previous post, J and I are attending a wedding that is a bit far from home so we will be gone most of the weekend.  The silver lining is that I will hopefully return with lots of fun pictures and stories!  :)  Until then, I have some news to share that should hold you over for a few days!...

I have completed some fashion illustrations that I will be selling prints of in the near future!  They are the first of a new series as well as a new gallery on my website (which you can view by clicking the link above).  Here is a taste of what is to come (and if you are interested in buying this print then contact me through my website)!  I hope you enjoy the illustration and have a fun, festive, and safe weekend!

This is my favorite illustration so far.
pencil, pen, and watercolor illustration of Marie Claire image

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Happy Pi Day!

"Pie Sigh" digital illustration

Yesterday was a very special day to mathematicians and math enthusiasts everywhere... So to all of my fellow nerdy friends out there, Happy (Belated) Pi Day!

What is Pi Day you ask???  Well, oh boy, am I glad you asked!!!

Pi, which is a Greek letter (π), is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.  The first three digits of Pi are 3.14, which is the numerical date of March 14th (3/14).  The concept of Pi is pretty mind blowing if you actually stop to think about it (which, like me, I'm sure so many of you do... haha).  The number is infinite without ever repeating.  ("Nerd Speak" to Impress Your Friends With:  In fancy terms, this is referred to as an irrational and transcendental number!)  It goes on and on and on and on and on.  FOR FOREVER.  Pi has been calculated to over 1 trillion digits past the decimal.   Over 1 trillion digits, people!  That's a heck of a lot of digits. 

Now for some "Pi Fun Facts"!  (Yay!)  The symbol for Pi was first used in the year 1706, by a man named William Jones.  However, it did not become popular until after it was adopted in 1737, by a Swiss mathematician named Leonhard Euler.  You can find out more about Pi here and see one million of the digits of Pi here.

Yesterday, J's entire school celebrated Pi Day.  They played music to do with circles and with the word "Pi" in them.  (He told me that he sang Byyyye byyyye Miss American Pi! about 25 times yesterday.)  The kids played games to do with circles, created circle crafts, and even ate foods shaped like circles!  (Of course that means that there were pies, donuts, cupcakes, and cookies, but of course I did not get any of those at the end of the day.  However, he did bring me apples and oranges...  Yaaay...  Can you sense the bitter disappointment in my voice?  Well hey, we are watching what we eat, so I guess that's good... and apples and oranges are round, too...)   It was an entire day dedicated to the joys and mysteries of circles and of Pi, or pie...  Haha!  Me being the self professed nerd that I am, thought that this idea was genius!  What a fun day to celebrate with your students!  I'm getting hungry thinking about these yummy goodies.  I am really craving waffles and maple syrup right now.  If I ever celebrated Pi Day at school, I would want pancakes and waffles at my Pi Day feast.  Circular ones of course.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Shamrockin' Green!

illustration in watercolor
Hello everyone!  Saint Patrick's day is this Saturday.  J and I have a fun weekend planned.  In fact, we have a wedding to go to.  Not the typical celebration that I would have normally envisioned, but it should be a blast.  (Roadtrip!)  This is now the second wedding that I will have gone to in the past couple of months that has landed on a holiday.  I've heard of men proposing to their girlfriends on Valentine's Day, but now people are getting married on holidays?   I know that it is probably less expensive to rent out a place for your reception when your wedding shares a date with a holiday, but is this some new wedding trend that I'm unaware of?  One of my friends told me that she once went to a wedding on Halloween.  The couple had a Halloween theme and everyone went to the wedding in costumes.  Now there's an interesting idea.  I'm a romantic at heart so I don't think I would ever go that route, but I think it is a unique idea.  With your closest friends and family, that could actually be really fun.  She said that everyone drank and danced and had a wonderful time, and the costumes and the theme just made the wedding that much more fun!  I don't think that I'll have to wear green or shamrocks for this shindig, but I guess I could go prepared.  Hahaha!  Have you ever gone to a wedding that landed on a holiday?

Going along with the themes of this post (which I suppose are proposals, weddings, and Saint Patrick's Day...?), I have a good movie suggestion.  I am a hopeless romantic who likes predictable sappy chickflicks.  If you are looking for a cute chickflick to rent this Saint Patty's Day (and it just so happens to also be a leap year) then check this movie out.  The movie is called Leap Year starring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode.  It came out in 2010.  It's about a woman who follows her boyfriend to Ireland where he is going for a medical conference.  She travels to Ireland on February 29th to propose to him in following the old Irish tradition of women proposing to men on a leap year, and she has quite the journey, meeting the handsome and snarky Matthew Goode along the way.  ;)

Friday, March 9, 2012

"Knot" Just For Fun!

Me, getting my samples together for class!

Today was my first friendship bracelet class with the kids! Now some of you may be wondering what could you possibly learn from friendship bracelets, and how hard could it be?... Well if you have ever tried to make one and were remotely successful at making it look awesome, then you know just how complicated it really is. I'm not just talking about your typical candy stripe pattern either, although that one can be hard enough if you are just starting out. If you have ever tried to read a pattern and make a complex one you would see that it really truly is a skill. In fact, many surgeons are skilled bracelet makers, completing bracelets as a knot exercise for surgery!!! Knotting bracelets not only allows people to create art that is wearable and relevant to their lives, but also teaches about color theory, patterns, organization, precision, following directions, puzzles, and motor skills! And it's totally fun!

The art form is a type of macramé that originated from Central and South America. When someone makes a bracelet for you, you are supposed to make a wish and wear the bracelet until it breaks and falls off naturally. When that happens your wish will come true! You wear the bracelet as a symbol of friendship and to show appreciation for your friend's thoughtfulness and hard work. When you make a bracelet you should pick colors that are meaningful to you or the person you are making it for. This makes the bracelet even more personal and significant.  Speaking of personal and significant, in researching for this class I came across this heartwarming site.  Not only can you find adorable patterns on here as well as other materials and inspirations for bracelets, but there is a special section for kids called Kids' Causes.  I took a particular interest in this site for my students to check out because the company creates a pattern for kids to follow to make the special bracelets that show support for different causes.  Then the kids can donate the bracelet and it is given to another child who suffers from or has a relative who suffers from that hardship, whether it is breast cancer, kids with a parent in the military, or juvenile diabetes.  Along with the popular anti-bullying movement in the country, this act of kindness helps show kids that they are not alone in their struggles.

Here are some that I've made and brought to show my class as samples. The kids were frustrated at first, but once they got the hang of how to measure the embroidery floss, start it, and learn the knots, they were on a roll! A trick to making a good bracelet is in the setup. I've tried everything from safety pinning the bracelet to my pants, to wrapping the end around hooks, drawer knobs, and even my toe. Anything to get it to stay still and strong enough for me to pull the knots tight! What a dilemma! Well the secret is to use a clipboard! Clip your bracelet on the board and it will hold your bracelet steady for you and you can take it anywhere (and keep your shoes on, which, in public, outside of summer camp, is actually preferred). Go get some string and get knotting! I hope all of your wishes come true. :)

Here are some of my favorites!  I especially love these smaller ones.  (Oops!   The second one looks like it got flipped around!  Well, now you know what the back looks like.)

If you want to see all of the samples I chose, Read More!!!  (They're pretty cool, you'll want to see!)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Iron Matt Vlog Post

Hey there all you happy readers!  Now that you are in the partying Mardi Gras mood from my last post about the Iron Matt gig, I have great news!  Not only am I providing you with eye candy, but here is some candy for your ears!  Those pics I posted were just the teaser.  I actually have videos to share, so here's the good stuff!  Now you can really get into the groove!

Jason and Joe performing at Iron Matt!  The duo sounds great, I love the medley of songs!  And how funny is it when 'Black Swan' pops in with a 'soda'?  Haha the best!  

Another great Jason specialty (with a little cameo by Andy).  This is a great Maroon 5 song, and Jason does a phenomenal job with it!  It's quickly becoming one of my favorites by Big Convention!

When everyone else is dancing and twirling and spinning and jiving on the dance floor, they don't always notice the craziness on the stage!  As you can see, it's always fun up on the band stand!  Haha Big Convention has BIG FUN!!!

This song is my favorite that Jason sings with Big Convention.   This go around was funny though because even the best can have an 'oops' moment!

Walking + Chewing Gum at same time = Bloopers!

The horns take it away at the end of "The Letter"!  Go work the crowd, boys!  Work it, work it!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Saturday Night With Iron Matt

I know, I know, this post is a bit overdue... I may have procrastinated a bit... But in my defense, there were a ton of pictures for me to edit and upload onto the band's Facebook page!  This past Saturday night, Big Convention played a gig for Iron Matt at the Indian Hills Country Club.  It was fabulous!  The band sounded hot.  H-O-T!  Dare I say, smokin'?!  The party was for Iron Matt, the Matthew Larson Foundation which raises awareness and funds for the fight against pediatric brain cancer.  You can check out their website here.  The theme of the party was Mardi Gras.  Fun!!!  There were beautiful masks for guests to wear and everyone came dressed to the nines!  Now the still photos came out awesome, but with all the movement, my lack of a tripod, and my complete disdain for the built in flash on my camera, the photos did not come out exactly as I had hoped, clarity-wise.  But you get the gist.  (I cannot wait to get a better camera.)  Then the battery died and I had to take some fuzzy photos with my cell phone...  Can we say BOOTLEG?  Hey, at least we have some pics of the gig for you to enjoy if you missed out on the action Saturday night, right?

There was a table of appetizers, a delicious buffet dinner, and the most incredible dessert setup!  There was a large fountain of chocolate fondue that I wanted to just roll in and splash around in.  There were mini skewers with marshmallows, cake, brownies, strawberries, and other goodies just waiting to go for a dip in the fondue fountain.  There was also a crepe station where a lovely gentleman in a chef's hat and coat created your made-to-order crepe right in front of you, adding whatever berries or chocolate that you wanted, to the crepe!  Amazing!!!!  One just wasn't enough... and I wasn't the only person who thought that!  :P

I've posted some pics from the gig.  I also posted some pics of the Riverside Duo, who opened for Big Convention.  They were fabulous, of course, because Jason is fabulous.  He has a fabulous voice.  He's just fabulous.  Hahaha did I say fabulous enough?  Alright then, fabulous.

Here are some photos of the Riverside Duo doin' there thang.  

The dynamic duo at it again!

I just love the way this photo came out.  I think it's so funny that everything is moving but J's head.  HAHA

And now, for some Big Convention photos and some detailed shots of the gig for you to get into that Mardi Gras state of mind.    ;)

Throw on some beads, and scroll on!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Artistic Inspiration

I had to follow up my Brooklyn Flea post with an elaboration on one artist that I encountered there in particular.  That artist is Matt Schwartz.  Browsing around the flea market certainly inspired me artistically in ways I haven't been inspired in a long time.  Now, Matt wasn't actually there himself, but his photography was incredible.  I took a card and later looked him up online.  You can visit his site to view more of his work here.  He creates these beautiful image transfers on watercolor paper from polaroid pictures!  They have this whimsical, nostalgic look to them and the subject matter typically walks the fine line between beautiful and erotic.  His work is my new latest obsession.  In addition to the one above, I've posted a few more of his images.

Read on to see some more of my favorite Matt Schwartz photos!

The Brooklyn Flea

Yesterday J and I went on an adventure to the Brooklyn Flea.  This was definitely one of the most amazing flea markets that I've ever been to.  It wasn't your typical flea market with people trying to sell you jumbo containers of faux Clorox wipes and markers called "Skarpie" markers.  There were artists, vintage clothing and accessories, handmade furniture, homemade edible delicacies, etc.  During the winter months the market is hosted in the old Williamsburg Savings Bank.  Downstairs in the vault are food vendors.  The smells that flow through the vault are mouthwatering.  Jason treated me to a homemade donut with chocolate frosting, one of my all time favorite classic combinations!  The donuts were big and fluffy and sprinkled with candy pieces!  There was also this amazing looking coconut donut with coconut shavings on top... maybe next time.  I also sampled these pickles (one flavored with garlic and the other with spicy peppers) that someone had made and jarred which were by far the best pickles I've ever tasted.  Ever!

Read on to see more images from our Brooklyn adventure!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Polaroid Perfection

I was sooooo excited to find my old original Cool Cam Polaroid camera in my storage boxes!  It's in mint condition!  Someone had suggested that I sell it, but I couldn't part with such a cultural icon!  Haha instead I've decided to buy film for it.  The Impossible Project took over the last Polaroid factory in October of 2008, saving analog instant photography.  It was a dying art form, but thanks to The Impossible Project, artists and photographers can continue to create and explore with unique instant films and materials!  I'll show you the instant photos after I shoot them!

It's been so long since I've used this camera!  I love my Polaroid!

A Rocky Road for Rocky

Riley has a stuffed raccoon named Rocky that he got as a present.  He loves it so much.  After the first day he ripped poor Rocky's ears right off.  All in good fun of course.  Haha!  Then he made it his mission to rip off the tail.  He worked and worked on it until it was hanging by a thread.  We decided we had to just cut the tail off so that he wouldn't swallow any of the stuffing or threads.  So now poor Rocky has no tail either, but Riley still loves to attack him...  

Agent Riley.  His mission: TO DESTROY.

Let's Take A Drive

Today we headed to the New Meadowlands Flea Market to check out a potential space and vendor information.  When we got there the weather was absolutely beautiful, windy, but beautiful.  Perhaps it is because it is still winter so there weren't as many vendors out, but it wasn't even really worth taking photos there today.  However, on the drive home and to run some quick errands it was the perfect opportunity to take some scenic photos of the city.  We were up nice and high, and the sky was so blue, other than the wind it was perfect!  The other perfect part of the day?  Stopping at Sonic to get a Mocha Java Chiller with whipped cream and hot fudge... Whoa.

I never noticed these memorials...

Can you see J inside the car?  Hahahaha

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fun at a Fundraiser

Last night J and I went to the Habitat for Humanity of Bergen County fundraiser concert.  The bar where the concert was held had a nice large section that was well lit for the bands to set up.  Our good friend Joe was singing in a hard rock cover band.  The night was great and the music was upbeat.  The crowd loved every minute of it, especially Joe's rock opera voice!  Earlier in the night there was a dinner buffet for guests, and later into the night volunteers passed out the most adorable, individually wrapped, sugar cookies shaped like houses with the Habitat logo on them.  They were made by some of the children that the organization has helped.  The fundraiser was a huge success!  Habitat for Humanity was able to reach their goal for the night, and the money will go towards their goal of helping to build homes for low-income families.  Wonderful news!

Me, right before leaving for the concert!


"Umm, where'd your hair go?!  Lookin' gooood!"

Here is Joe in action!  You've got to hear the set of pipes on this guy!!!

Cool camera effects!  It's like a rock light show!