guest

Hello October

Meet Taylor of http://www.meltinggrape.com. I am proud to welcome her as my guest blogger today. Our paths crossed a few weeks ago and since then we have realized that we have a lot in common. Our love for great food/wine, our passion for expressing ourselves through blogging, and our association with the month of October and BEER! Taylor works at Barsha and was recently introduced to The Dudes’ Brewing Company and fell in love with all of their delicious brews just as I did. This is what she had to say about it:

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At my core, I am a wine-lover. Still, I truly believe that in every wine lover is a beer appreciator. So to me it only seems proper that on the first of October, we should all pay a little homage to Octoberfest by talking about one of my favorite breweries in Southern California: Dudes’ Brewing Company in Torrance. Most of the brewers are true blue DUDES. Hence the name. Their tasting room isn’t open yet, but I’ll be the first one waiting outside their doors when they have their grand unveiling in January.From my first sip of their English style brown ale, “Grandma’s Pecan Pie,” I was hooked.

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Made with real pecans, it’s got a nice nutty, carmel flavor that is sure to please fans of sweet, dark beers. Also (FYI) this is the ONLY Los Angeles beer going to the Oregon Brewing Festival!! I’m also a BIG fan of their double trunk IPA. And not just because of the awesome label.

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It’s nice and hoppy, balanced out by a touch of corn sugar so it’s not too bitter on the finish.

Next up is the Blood Orange Brew, made with REAL blood oranges! I actually haven’t tried this one yet, but can’t wait to get my hands on it!!

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I got the chance to try the a few of these Dudes’ Brews at an Oktoberfest party they hosted at Barsha Wines and Spirits. Brewers Jeff and Brendan were pouring, assisted by Brendan’s girlfriend Tayler. Cutest dude and dudette of the night.

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For all of your LBC locals you can soon find The Dudes’ Grandmas’s Pecan Pie at The Prospector in Long Beach, Ca.! Cheers!

 

sealed with a kiss

Behold the power of the red lip. You know I love it! In keeping with this week’s Valentine theme, I want to share these top 10 stars who know how to rock it, compliments of Daily GlowWho is your fave?

TaylorSwift

GwenStefani

Sofia

JenniferL

ScarlettJ

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Me and my signature red Chanel lip in Ruby Lite.
My signature red Chanel lip in Ruby Lite.

 

5 things with goddess KRING

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I have known Shannon Kringen, or Goddess KRING as she is known in the art world, for over 10 years but we have never met face to face. We met years ago on LiveJournal and then continued our friendship on Myspace and now Facebook. Ahhh, the glory of the internet and social media. I have always admired Shannon’s passion for the arts. She lives her life for art and makes things happen. Between her photography, painting, figure modeling, self portraits, and painting shoes, Shannon makes a living off of art. Check out my interview with her and the awesome shoes she painted for me!

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If you could do what I’m doing right now, and interview anyone in the world, who would it be?

Friedensreich Hundertwasser, my favorite artist. (He passed away in 2000 but I wish I could magically talk to him with a translator…he was Austrian so spoke German). Friedensreich was an amazing person and not many Americans know about him. I know they taught him in Art History class in Norway though…(my Norwegian friend told me that). Hundertwasser was a philosopher, painter and architect. Hundertwasser’s thoughts are a philosophy of the aesthetic and the life and art in harmony with nature. He believed making art was a natural occurance if one relaxes into the self and responds accordingly. He also believed the straight line in architecture should be removed and that buildings should be both eco friendly on a physical level as well as visually mimicking the shapes and patterns and colors in the natural world. He said: “There Are No Evils in Nature.
There Are Only Evils of Man. When man thinks he has to correct nature, it is an irreparable mistake every time. A community should not consider it an honour by how much spontaneous vegetation it destroys; it should rather be a point of honour for every community to protect as much of its natural landscape as possible.”

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You can see his work here. There is a winery in Napa Califironia designed by Hundertwasser. (Most of his buildings are in Europe and Asia) Some of his rules in architecture: No straight lines. Roofs are planted with grass and trees. Every building is capped with a golden turret to elevate man’s sense of himself. Color is king . I love his artwork and feel a kinship with his way of seeing the world and of making marks and designs. I am also a lover of nature and have a strong interest in living in harmony with nature and taking care of plants, animals and the earth itself as much as I can. I love his abstractions in his work which relate strongly to my own abstract painting. I am highly influenced by the colors and designs of his work. I see Hundertwassers work as an abstraction of the shapes I see in plants, animals and the land masses on earth. He is a fascinating artist and I wish more Americans knew of his wisdom and philosophy and artwork. I might do an MFA degree that I design myself and will use his ideas as part of my curriculum.

I went to Vienna Austria just to visit one of Hundertwassers buildings. It is an apartment building, a cafe and a museum containing many of his paintings. It made me cry. I felt so at home with his work. I know about him because of my mother who is also an artist who raised me with prints of his work around our house. His shapes are a bit like architect Gaudi and painter Gustav Klimt.

What’s your most uncomfortable modeling moment that comes to mind?

Well lets see…I began modeling for artists in 1992…amazing it’s been 20 years. That is
half my life! I once did a pose for 90 hours, which was the longest and hardest job I have ever done as a model. It was sitting in a chair for 6 hours a day for 15 days. I had to stare at a piece of tape on the wall to hold my gaze in the same place so they could paint me very realistically. That was physically challenging. I have to play with my mind when I model for long poses like that. I sometimes meditate and I sometimes hear poems come through or sometimes I daydream while modeling. I love the mental freedom I have when figure modeling for artists.

What’s your favorite thing to do creatively, and where do you see the future of your art?

My favorite thing, is to wander around and walk on a good “natural light day”, and take spontaneous, improvisational photos and then share them online with people. What I call “creative taoist photography” after an article I read in the “journal of transpersonal psychology”.

My dream career would be to travel around the world taking strong photos of any subject I see that moves me and share it online. I would write about my travels as well as print my photos out in large scale and show them in galleries. I’d love to do a book of my work and go on an international book tour as well. Lately, I have also gotten into fusing my abstract paintings with my photography. I take an image of my painting and make it transparent, then I combine that digitally with my photos and flatten them together as one layer. I love to shoot urban decay, reflections on chrome, mud puddles, close ups of water droplets on plants, architecture from extreme angles, self portraits that are unusual, and anything that is colorful or has a strong rough texture to it. In my work, I increase contrast and saturation of color to bring out the shapes and textures in what I see. I also like to move my camera while shooting at night to “paint” with light, making intentionally blurred images that have a dreamy quality.

What medium do you most enjoy working with and why?

Cameras! I am hooked on digital photography because it’s so easy to travel with. I can be spontaneous! I also love to paint and draw with acrylic paint and chalk and oil pastel. I also paint onto shoes with waterproof markers and fabric paints (have done this since 1986 while in high school). In 1996 I painted a pair of high heeled shoes for musician Tori Amos after her fan club set me up with backstage passes. Tori Amos wore the shoes during a concert in Seattle, at the Paramount Theatre, and thanked me from the stage BY NAME!

With digital photography I can combine all of this work by scanning or photographing my work and open it on the computer and fuse layers of work I have done in any medium with a photograph. I also make video monologues and did a weekly public access tv show for 15 years called “Goddess KRING” and still make videos I share on my youtube channel.

Even though you lead a very public/open life, what is one thing that might surprise people about you?

I am a bit shy at social events, sensitive and overwhelmed by loud noises and also a bit conservative in terms of not drinking or smoking or being into any drugs.

-You can catch up with Shannon on her website and see all of her amazing photos on flickr.

Thank you Shannon for my awesome, custom painted Chucks! I love them!
Thank you Shannon for my awesome, custom painted Chucks! I love them!

Shannon’s book ARt, Identity and the Sacred is now available through Blurb here in PDF, soft cover and hardback!

 

gobble gobble

As some of you may know, I don’t usually eat a lot of sweets, but these pumpkin cupcakes with uber (yes, UBER) fluffy ginger cream cheese frosting are worth the cheat! Last Thanksgiving I wanted to make something fun and different for dessert, so I turned to my good friend and baker extraordinaire, Joel. He sent me this recipe and WOW!!! It was so easy and they were so delicious that I made them several times. Now that the holidays are upon us, I can’t wait to make them again!!

PUMPKIN CUPCAKES ( about 18 )
Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.
Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 min. (about 21 in home oven, 18 in mom’s ). Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

UBER FLUFFY GINGER CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
Ingredients:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon awesome vanilla extract ( or vanilla paste or seeds)
2 tablespoons fresh ginger ( or 1 tablespoon of powdered)
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions:
Microplane fresh ginger ( if using ) into bowl of mixer with paddle attachment. Add cream cheese and butter, whip in high 3-5 minutes scraping every so often. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and turn mixer to low until all sugar is combined. Turn mixer to high and let whip full 5 minutes. (add a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream if it’s too stiff)

Transfer frosting to piping bag with large round tip. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. *(I added a sprinkle of orange sugar to the tops of mine for color. I was able to dye regular sugar with food coloring to get the color I wanted!)

This holiday season I have a lot to be thankful for. Thank you all for your support and encouragement this last year! It really means a lot and has kept me going on this blog adventure. Eat, drink, be merry, and have a Happy Turkey Day!

 

memories, music and a little mayhem

Meet my mom! She is a retired teacher, amazing mother, fashionista and gifted writer. To keep her creative juices flowing now that she is out of the classroom, I asked her to write a post for my blog. I gave her no boundaries or guidelines. I just wanted her to write about something that she found interesting. She is very talented and I’m sure you will find her writing style entertaining!

I was honored when my daughter Brittany invited me to be a guest writer on her blog. My mind raced with subject matter ranging from my kooky retirement life with her hilarious dad to new food recipes tried but gone life-threateningly wrong. I thought about my past week and the evening fun I had encountered and my subject matter was ready for paper.
Last week my hubby Jack and I took a chance on an e-mail advertised show at our local playhouse; this is quite an adventure in this little town of limited nightlife. I love the exhilaration of the theatre and how, for an hour or two, one is able to fall prey to the stage. It’s more than a show but a chance to be somewhere else, or someone else, and to also feast your eyes on appropriate sets and costumes, all while sitting in your seat. Well then, let the show begin!

Malt Shop Memories and More… was written and directed by Deanna Fielden, a local gal with many community and professional credits to her name. The show opened with two seventy-ish year old tapettes, visually and meticulously counting every dance step without any sign of a smile. I was extremely reluctant to look over at Jack who rarely does theatre because of moments just like this! Suddenly and thankfully the momentum shifted like my car on the Autobahn. A thin and feisty black man named Jacques suddenly appeared on stage like a rabbit out of black hat. He tore off his dazzling satin cape and proceeded to gyrate to the familiar tune of Elvis’s Hound Dog! Without warning, the sweet lady in the wheelchair next to me threw off her lap blanket, stood up, and feeling the exuberance of Elvis with all limbs in motion, was definitely reliving a magical time in her life. My thoughts suddenly shifted to her, but not for long, as I realized that Jack was tapping in his seat and singing along to Duke of Earl- which he informed me was his favorite song back then. The singers shifted and Madeline Tanner was singing Joplin’s Piece of My Heart, my favorite. Flashbacks of past experiences in the 60’s raced through my mind… a mesmerizing mind movie indeed. This show really was a walk down memory lane for hubby and me. It brought back days of Woodstock for him. For me, it was a musical retreat to the jukebox and the tunes of that time.
We slept good that night. We fell asleep thinking of songs that we loved that missed the script. Visions of The Twist, The Monkey and The Stroll danced in our heads and we were like two little kids snuggled in bed on Christmas Eve! Once again, let the show begin! Good night!