Tag Archives: Art

Exploring My Backyard

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” – Mark Twain

With graduate school and work being my top priorities, it feels like I don’t have time for much. However, I realized that for not having time like I used to, I have been doing quite a lot. Yes, clearly except for keeping up with this blog, which I truly apologize for.

So you may be asking yourself, what exactly have I been up to with my limited time? Well school work, of course! But also exploring my backyard. No, not my actual backyard, there’s not much there but a great space for contemplating life. What I mean is that I have been exploring New Jersey and my surroundings. I love to travel, but when you have so much going on, seeing what new adventures you may find close to home doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.

I realized that for not being much of a big deal, New Jersey can be quite surprising, and with neighbors like New York and Pennsylvania can one really complain? Alright, yes, but you get my drift.

My backyard exploring began with wine tasting at the Working Dog Winery in Robbinsville, NJ.

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There are so many wineries in NJ and PA that I have no idea why I haven’t become a winery expert by now. It’s honestly the perfect thing to do on a cool Sunday afternoon with a few friends.

Where I found myself next? Well….Even though Atlantic City seems like it’s not part of NJ, well at least to me, it actually is. My best friend Shakia and I attended the 2016 Atlantic City Seafood Festival.

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As I walked in I asked myself if there was such a thing as too much seafood and beer?

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“Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost” – Erol Ozan

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I had what, at that time, tasted like the best Crab Mac and Cheese ever! My taste buds were so happy they urged me to take a cup with me home. Unfortunately, the next day it wasn’t as marvelous. It must of been the hunger and moment wrapped into one.

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We came across a friendly Chowder cook-off. All proceeds went to charity so it was only right to taste ALL of the Chowders. I never had so much Chowder (corn, clam, vegetarian) in my life! I think I had enough for the next year and a half.

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To finish off our adventure at the AC Seafood Festival we did a beer tasting of New Jersey beers! It couldn’t have been anymore perfect! Never underestimate the power of a good ‘ol festival. There are tons of festivals all year around. Look up some festivals in your backyard and give it a try, you might just be pleasantly surprised.

Philadelphia Restaurant Week snuck up on me, but there was no way I was missing out. Shakia and I ended up going to Fratelli’s Italian Bistro where I had the Stuffed Cremini Mushrooms, Penne Alla Vodka, and Tiramisu for desert.

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I would give the restaurant/food a 3/4. Food and service could have been better but it was still good overall. I think I’m going to make it my personal mission to indulge in Restaurant Week every time. There are just so many restaurants! And I sure do love food!

Then I found myself creating art at ArteVino Studio in Hoboken, NJ for my friend Stephany’s birthday. This would make my fourth painting! Maybe I should open up my own studio at the rate that I’m going, but paint and wine events are so much fun. There’s a ton available all over, not only in NJ, NY or PA!

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I wasn’t really pleased with how my painting came out, but I had a great time with my friends and the experience was well worth it.

I like to think that I can do it all because time will never be just right. I don’t fear stress or being tired (my newfound life on a daily basis,) but I do fear not being able to explore and enjoy the small pleasures in life. Though I’m swamped with adulthood, I will never stop looking for my next adventure, even if it’s in my own backyard, and neither should you.

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Good Company

There’s just something refreshing about being surrounded by good company.

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambition.” – Mark Twain

When I think of good company a few things come to mind: happiness, laughter, being myself, adventure, relaxation and motivation. I like to surround myself with people who will ultimately inspire me; people who at the end of the day remind me to always be great, even in the moments that are not so great.

A few weeks ago it was my friend Stephany’s birthday. To celebrate we had Brunch at Zylo Restaurant in Hoboken, NJ. 
[Click Here For More Info On Brunch]

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I told Steph about my new hobby, photography, and she was more than thrilled to allow me to take pictures during our outing. I was so excited to carry a camera all day. I felt like such a creative bumblebee just buzzing around collecting sweet shots of honey. I was able to capture unique moments. Moments that tell more than one story. Moments that are now forever imprinted and that can be remembered if one day forgotten.

We sipped on mimosas for 2.20 hours and ate until we couldn’t fit anymore food in our stomachs. So yes we ate, drank and laughed. Could it have gotten any better than that? Of Course!

Hoboken has a great view of New York City being located right next to the Hudson River. It has the type of view that will make you get lost in it…and we did.

We came across an Arts and Music festival! I was so excited.

We all walked together finding something to laugh about with each step we took. So much life and vibrance everywhere! We inspired each other to keep smiling. It’s the small things that count and those moments we spend with those that make us better. Surround yourself with those that make you great. Surround yourself with those that inspire you. Surround yourself with good company. 

Chicago The Musical – “I Had It Coming…”

My obsession with Broadway grows with each new play I see. The experience leaves me speechless, just wanting to live in a world where I could break into song and dance with every emotion I breathe out.

A few weeks ago, I saw one of my favorite musicals, Chicago, starting Grammy Award winner singer, songwriter and actress, Brandy Norwood. So lets break this down…not only was I about to see one of my favorite musicals live, for the first time, but I was about to see one of my favorite musicals live starring a prominent singer/songwriter/actress who I am a fan of…excited does not even cut it when it comes to describing how I felt!!

IMG_1755The moment my friend and I arrived to Ambassador Theater we were ecstatic, taking pictures of everything worth being taken a picture of.IMG_1768

I thought the theater looked fantastic!

Can you see our excitement?!? 

We had front mezzanine seats so the view was spectacular! I was captivated with every performance. The play had a comical tone on top of the dark plot, which made it irresistible. Amra-Faye Wright, who has played the role of Velma Kelly, worldwide since 2001, did a phenomenal job. She made sure her entrance made a statement with “All That Jazz.” I literally almost jumped out of my seat as I watched “Cell Block Tango” being performed, my favorite musical number out of the entire play! It was absolutely perfect! Ivan Hernandez, who played Billy Flynn…wow beautiful man is all I have to say. Thank you! Raymond Bokhour, who played Amos Hart, because your performance gave me a new found respect for “Mister Cellophane,” which I never really liked along with “When You’re Good to Mama” which, was performed by NaTasha Yvette Williams, who played Matron “Mama” Morton, awesome job also.

I went in expecting a great show and came out with 10x the greatness I was expecting. If my experience couldn’t have been any better, at the end of the show I met Brandy! She came outside and signed playbook’s, posters, and took selfies with her fans! I was not the exception…

Brian O’Brien – Fred Casely 

I had an unbelievable experience and would repeat the day if I could.

You wouldn’t understand why Chicago is the longest-running American musical in Broadway history until you see it for yourself!

DYI Painting

I have always wanted to try a DIY project but for some reason never got around to it… and since this year is all about trying new things and expanding my horizons, I figured this would be the perfect time to give it a try.

I wanted to make a unique gift for my friend and thought about making her a painting. I am not much of an artist so wanted something simple like a quote. I did some Pintrest research to see if I could find something feasible for my creative skills.

I ended up finding an awesome idea that didn’t require much:

  1. Canvas (whatever size you want your painting to be)
  2. Acrylic paint (colors you want your letters and background to be)
  3. Paint brushes (the sponge ones work just fine)
  4. Sticker letters (the size you want your quote to be)
  5. Modge Podge (only if you want your painting to have a glossy look at the end)

This is how my painting came out: 
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Step 1:

Get a canvas and paint the entire thing the color(s) you would like your quote to be:
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Step 2:

Let the paint completely dry and add on the letters spelling out whatever you want the painting to say:
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Step 3:

Paint on top of the letters:
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Step 4:

Wait for the paint to completely dry then peel off the letters (you can use your hands:)
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Step 5:

Lastly, if you want, you can modge podge the painting for a glossy finishing touch:
IMG_0438Simple, cute and it didn’t take much! Now, that’s my type of gift!

My Story

I absolutely hate it when I feel like I have made the wrong decision or choice. Immediately, I ask myself “what if” I chose the other option? “What if” I decided otherwise? The “what if’s” and the “maybe’s” are as common as breathing. We all experience them frequently and always torture ourselves assuming and creating a fantasy, in our heads, of what “could of been” our reality… but I never stopped to think about that maybe… just maybe at the end of the day, despite any decisions we make, we will end up exactly where we are supposed to be.

This occurred to me as I watched my second Broadway play If/Then starting Indina Menzel at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.

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I went expecting to see a story about a girl starting over in New York City and instead saw my story, a girl struggling to accept her choices and failures, stuck in past decisions. Lets just say I was a sobbing mess throughout the entire play because I related to it so much.

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In my opinion, the play was absolutely amazing, from the catchy heartfelt songs to the characters on stage. It is the best feeling when you feel you have gained more than what you came with and that’s exactly how I felt, as I left the theater and waited outside to hopefully, get my Playbill signed by Indina Menzel….Well Indina never came out but I did get to meet two other actors from the play, Anthony Rapp, who was in the original cast of Rent! and the very handsome James Snyder, who I just couldn’t take my eyes off as he signed my Playbill!

James Snyder – Josh

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As I sat on the train ride back home I contemplated my life choices and thought about who I am today and where I am now. I can’t do anything about the choices I missed out on and assuming and thinking of the what if’s will only hold me back and keep me in the past. So the best I can do at this point is live in the now and pray, that regardless of the choices I make, in the end I am bound to be where I need to be.

Musée Magritte Museum

Musée Magritte Entrance

René François Ghislain Magritte

Today, I visited the Musée Magritte (English translation) Magritte Museum located in downtown Brussels. It is a museum dedicated to the Belgian surrealist artist René François Ghislain Magritte. His artwork is suppose to challenge observers views of what they consider reality. The museum is composed of 3 different floors each pertaining to a specific period of his life. The rooms are dark with dimmed light (no pictures allowed because of this.) There are paintings, sketches, advertising posters, vintage photographs, and letters hung up all over the rooms. There were also a couple of videos. What I found to be the best part of the museum were the beautiful quotes (in French) all around the rooms said by Magritte himself .

René Magritte

 

Some of the quotes translated into English:

“I love subversive humour, freckles, knees, the long hair of women, the dreams of young children at liberty, a young girl running in the street.” –  René Magritte

“Life obliges me to do something, so I paint.” – René Magritte

“Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.” – René Magritte

Magritte at work

 

Some of my favorite painting were: “The Unexpected Answer” – 1933, “The Harvest” – 1943, “Black Magic” – 1945, “The Companions of Fear” – 1942, “The Lovers” – 1928 (This one wasn’t exhibited in the museum but I absolutely love it!)

I absolutely loved that his paintings were so different. You can interpret so many different things from his work. It also seemed like he appreciated the female body because he had a lot of creative works that incorporated a woman’s body. I definitely recommend visiting the museums site Musée Magritte Museum . You might learn a thing or two about one of Belgium’s famous artists.

Randomness In Gloomy Brussels

Today was a gloomy day in Brussels. It was very windy and wet. From what Belgians tell me apparently, the weather here is usually cold, wet, windy, and gloomy. I would find this out already being here! Oh well! Though the weather is crummy, I was very happy today and pleased with my surroundings. You have to appreciate the little things like how amazing the opportunity to be in this country is!

For this post I would like to share some random stories as I type on this gloomy day! Plus it’s always good to sit back and read some interesting stories.

The Tram

1. Saturday morning, I was waiting for the tram to head to the second day of the Art Fair. As I was listening to some song on my iPod I hear some French that I was pretty sure was being directed towards me. I take off one ear plug and turn around to realize some man was speaking to me from behind the fence. This man had a sling on his arm and was really trying to holla at me! .__. IN FRENCH! I couldn’t believe the situation! I told the guy I didn’t speak French (though I understood everything he was saying) and why did he continue to speak to me! He asked me some serious personal questions and what amazed me even more was how none of those questions included my name! Every other time someone has approached me that’s the first thing they ask! He asked where I was going?, where I worked?, what commune I lived in?, where I was from?, if I was married? (which I said yes) and he still continued to ask questions! The guy even blew me a kiss after 5 minutes of trying and getting denied! I was in shock and disgusted!

2. I think I have lost count of how many tweens I have seen having full blown make out sessions in the streets! I mean these kids go in! The guy touches the girls butt and everything… no shame! I think what concerns me about this situation is that I don’t see adults making out but KIDS!!! Talk about puberty kicking in and hormones being released!

3. Some interesting facts: In Belgium you can drink/purchase alcohol at 16. (21 in the states) In Belgium you can start driving at 18. (16 in the states) In Belgium you can gamble at 21. (same in the states) My Belgian friend broke it down to me. She said that since they allow drinking at 16 driving is not allow till 18 because by then teens know to drink more “responsibly.” Funny how in the states they do it backwards! I wonder what are the statistics for drinking and driving accidents in Belgium and the states! Which system works better?!