In Search of Flowers ūüĆł

Inspiration

Memorial Day weekend is fast-approaching and Andy and I are on a mission to dress up our home for the (un)official start to summer.

One of the cheapest and most effective ways to dress up your home? Flowers! Bright, beautiful and festive, I absolutely adore flowers. They look great, they smell great, and sometimes, are downright magical.

I want all the #flowers!…But mostly the sea #dragon ūüėĀūüźČūüĆł

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And what’s more fun than enjoying flowers and plants from¬†the comfort of your home? Shopping for them!

ūüĆĻFlower shopping = my favorite kind of shopping #springhassprung

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Check out some of the photos I snapped this week on our quest for the perfect floral decor:

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Greek Yogurt and Walnut Dip

Food

Working at Chobani, I’m always looking for new ways to incorporate¬†Greek Yogurt into my cooking. Aside from being a great snack or mini-meal, the yogurt’s thick and creamy texture make it a healthy, versatile ingredient to cook with, and can be used as a substitute for butter, oil, cream cheese, mayo and, most commonly, sour cream.

While I’ve used Chobani yogurt in Swedish meatballs, tuna fish salad, shrimp tacos, bean dip, cheesecake and salad dressing, my simplest rendition was created using the recipe I’m featuring today: Yogurt, Dill and Walnut Dip.¬†

I originally found¬†the recipe on¬†Real Simple and love how few ingredients it takes to make a filling and healthy snack. Because – let’s be honest – dip is addicting, so the healthier the better!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2¬†cups Plain Chobani Greek yogurt
  • 1¬†clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4¬†cup chopped walnuts, plus more for topping
  • 1/4¬†cup chopped dill, plus more for topping
  • 1/2¬†teaspoon kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, garlic, walnuts, dill and kosher salt.
  2. Top with additional chopped dill and walnuts.
  3. Serve with carrots or pita chips.
  4. Enjoy!

The Fox and the Hare

Art

So I started this project a while ago, back when the big snowstorm hit the Northeast in March. As I watched the snow come pouring down by the foot, I turned my artistic eye to the future of spring and warm weather, and landed upon the idea of another fox-inspired piece, this time in my current media of choice: colored pencil.

As long as I can remember, the fox has always been one of my favorite animals. In fact, at a young age I used to beg my parents to buy me a fox costume similar the one worn by one of the lost boys in Disney’s “Peter Pan!”

The drawing you see now is the result of a combination of this fox-love and an image that inspired me on Pinterest.

Andy laughs every time I show him this drawing, reminding me that foxes and lagomorphs don’t play well together, and pointing out that the photograph I found was probably featuring a predator sleeping with its prey. Despite this bit of scientific fact, I wanted my drawing to display the opposite, providing viewers with a sense of tranquility.

Looking upon this piece, I wanted people to believe that these two creatures could be curled up together in the forest, not as diner and dinner, but as unlikely friends.

I can only hope that the radial symmetry, texture and color palette of this drawing have had this desired effect. I know that this piece certainly helped me through a storm (literally) and it might even find its way into my office space at work.

We have a release date for “Frozen 2!”

Art, Pop Culture

For the first time in forever…we have news regarding “Frozen 2!” In case you missed it, Disney announced the film’s release date on Twitter this Tuesday.

Yep, you read it right Рwe still have over two years of waiting before the sequel hits theaters! While that seems like a ridiculously long time to wait, we know that the end product will be totally worth it.

In the meantime, here’s some “Frozen” fan art to tide you over:

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My First Venture to Twin Falls and Chobani Idaho

Travel

Working on Chobani’s communications team, I knew it was only a matter of time before I found myself venturing to sunny Twin Falls, Idaho to visit our second hometown location and the largest yogurt plant in the world.

Having gone to school 10 minutes down the road from our original plant (and trust me, 10 minutes is NOTHING in Central New York), I am immensely familiar with our CNY plant and corporate headquarters. This week, after a year of employment, I finally had the chance to travel across the country to Idaho which is, by the way, beautiful!

Two out of three flights ‚úÖ Next stop: Twin Falls, Idaho! ūü•Ē

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I had a great time touring the plant and admiring the great differences between our two locations. Plus, there’s nothing quite like donning a lab coat first thing in the morning!

ūü•ĄSpent the morning touring the world's largest yogurt plant #CHOteam #itsalabcoatkindofmorning

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Let me begin this post by saying that Idaho is beautiful, or dare I say GORGEous. While this was a business trip, my co-workers and I still managed to squeeze in some time for some sight- seeing.

Shoshone Falls

Located a matter of minutes from the Chobani plant, this waterfall location was absolutely breathtaking. If you’re in the area, word of the Idaho streets is that this is the year to visit this location due to the gushing nature of the usually sparse water flow. Apparently it was a good winter for this waterfall.

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The Perrine Bridge

So apparently there are many people that actually jump off this bridge…I am not one of those people. I was quite content viewing the bridge from afar and then later walking under it and admiring it from the scenic overlook.

 

We also ate at a number of restaurants during our stay. The tourist favorite? Elevation 486. Not only is the food interesting (I had quail by the way ‚Äď first time for everything!) but the view is breathtaking. If you are ever to find yourself in Twin Falls Idaho, this hot-spot eatery is an absolute must.


I’m very fortunate to have a job that allows me to travel to new and interesting locales. That being said, I’m happy as always to be back in New York!

Singing in Chobani’s “Fruit Symphony” Commercial

Inspiration

All the years I spent pursuing my love of music, I never pictured myself in a national commercial. I am truly overwhelmed in the most positive of ways, and have so many thoughts and feelings regarding the amazing opportunity I was given. Right now, all I can say is that I am truly blessed and have led a very fortunate life. Thank you, Chobani, for being a force of good in this world and for helping me to live my dreams.

Read more about the new commercial on Fast Company, MediaPost and brandchannel.

An Enchanted Retelling of the Tale as Old as Time

Pop Culture, Review

Even though it took me a little while (8 days following the release to be exact) to make it to the movies to see this incredibly anticipated film for the first time, I’m happy to say I have now officially watched Disney’s live action remake of “Beauty and the Beast” twice.

Staying true to the original story, this film was full of the magic we associate with the animated class, while still bringing something new to the table. Emma Waston was, of course, fabulous as Belle, retaining the old world charm we remember of the original character while also furthering Belle’s charisma and fearlessness.

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A round of applause is also in order for Dan Stevens who played quite the believable Beast.

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Aside from the amazing talent and incredible reputations backing up each of the cast members, there were so many other elements that contributed to this film being spectacular, and dare I say, even better than the original…? That might be a debate for another day.

In the mean time, here are (in my humble opinion) the top five changes that made this live action retelling so successful:

Character Development. Characters are one of the most important pieces in your story. While filmmakers already had most of the plot laid out for them, sticking to the original story, it was essential that they add to the characters of Belle and Beast to make them fit for a full-length live action rendition. Adding backstory to both protagonists (essentially the deaths of parents) gave viewers a deeper understanding  of both characters.

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New Songs. Speaking of character development, how fantastic were both “Days in the Sun” and “Evermore?” Did anyone else feel their hearts ripping in half during the latter? Thank you, Disney for giving us new songs to obsess over! (“Be Out Guest” was still amazing of course.)

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Gaston and Lefou: Watching this movie, I realized I didn’t hate Gaston as much as I did in the original. In fact, for a while, I quite enjoyed his role in the movie. Don’t get me wrong, by the end I was wishing to push him off the bridge¬†myself, but I enjoyed the filmmakers’ decision to create a like-able villain, deviating from the always-despicable cartoon version.

And Lefou? He was just hilarious. Enough said.

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Style. While there were definitely differences from the original, I absolutely adored the stylization of the furniture, castle interior and costumes. As I mentioned in a previous post, this story demonstrates Rococo influence, making it absolutely stunning to behold.

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Special Effects. An outstanding bravo to the film’s art department – you guys killed it! In a piece that relies so heavily on fantastical characters it’s easy to become focused on where the fictional representations are lacking. This certainly wasn’t the case with “Beauty and the Beast” ‚Äď the team behind all of the fabulous special effects did an outstanding job. I’ll be waiting any day now for my tea cup to strike up a conversation.

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Clearly, my overall opinion is positive. Unlike so many other movies, I didn’t feel like I was watching the film, I felt like I was experiencing¬†it. Truly an elegant masterpiece that will be enjoyed for many years to come.

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Can’t get enough “Beauty and the Beast?” Check out my story-inspired embroidery piece here and¬†drawing here.

Getting ready to see #BeautyandtheBeast for a second time – this time with mom and grammie! ‚̧ԳŹūü•Ä

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Celebrating the DVD Release of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

Art

The magic is back: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them releases on DVD today! The last four months have certainly dragged Рbut we all know that it was well worth the wait.

Even though¬†I know you’re very busy, out frantically shopping for your copy and consequently watching the film overandoverandover again, I’d like to take a minute and share with you my latest Beasts piece.

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We all remember Dougal the Demiguise right? The crazy, kind of scary but also incredibly cute creature that can turn invisible and see the future? If not, here’s a quick memory jogger:

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He’s also the first Beast alluded to in the film, as our first look at Newt Scamander shows him speaking¬†to Dougal through his magical case:

This sketch was one of the first I completed upon receiving my Prismacolor pencil set and I was having a lot of fun combining grey and purple tones.

I’m liken to think it has character ‚Äď very much like the character as a matter of fact!

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But that’s enough about me – get the popcorn going, it’s time to re-watch this film!

“Wicked” (Touring) – Nothing Short of Spellbinding

Pop Culture, Review

We’re not in Syracuse anymore!¬†

This weekend I had the immense pleasure of attending my first off-Broadway show: “Wicked,” touring at the Landmark Theater in Syracuse, NY.

Although I had read the book, I was unsure of what to expect from the musical. Obviously I had heard it was good, and considering my¬†predisposed love for “The Wizard of Oz,” I was eager to see what the hype was all about.

scarecrow

One of the many Scarecrow-inspired paintings I created during my undergraduate studies.

If you read the title to this post, ¬†you probably have a pretty good idea as to what I’m going to say. That being, this musical was FANTASTIC, or should I say WONDERFUL.¬†

Everything about this production was spot-on, magical and completely bewitching. I kid you not when I say I sat at the edge of my seat during the entire show. That’s a full 150 minutes¬†of sitting up as far as I possibly could on my child-sized, 1920s-constructed balcony seat, eager to witness, listen and experience every sound and dance move¬†being performed onstage.

Feeling a little bit #wicked!!! ūüíö

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Whether you’re a Central New Yorker currently debating whether or not to buy tickets for the show, or someone considering seeing it on Broadway in the future, here are three reasons why you absolutely, positively should:

MUSIC

I’ll preface this subsection by first saying that I love music and I love musicals, BUT sometimes, just sometimes, there are musicals that start to lose me¬†in the second act, whether it be through an over-played dramatic number or a rhythm that just doesn’t catch. The great thing about “Wicked?” All of the songs are great! Catchy with character, all of the musical numbers directly contribute to moving the story forward, while also conveying an impact and overall experience that acting alone would fall short of. Some of my favorites included “Defying Gravity,” “One Short Day” and “The Wizard and I.”

ElphabaGlindaOneShortDay.jpg

SPECIAL EFFECTS

I don’t care who you are – special effects are fun. Especially when those special effects are portraying a young girl’s transition from bookish outcast to the Wicked Witch of the West. No joke, the end of Act 1 gave me goosebumps. There’s also a lot to be said of watching Glinda fly in on a steampunk inspired bubble.

wicked_defyinggravity_fullstage_7510

STORY

Finally, I’m always one for a strong story – it’s what drives effective communication and makes for the most memorable¬†entertainment. Whether you are a fan of “The Wizard of Oz” or not (though admittedly, it helps) this musical supplies audience members with a strong story, as magical as it is relatable. Themes of¬†love, friendship and the search for identity make this show accessible to all ages. And truthfully, aren’t you just a little bit curious about how the Wicked Witch comes to be? No? How about the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion then?

wicked-2

Outside of my top three, there are also countless other elements that make this show amazing, including but not limited to costumes, lighting design and the immense talent of the entire cast.¬†All of which goes into my saying that I couldn’t have been happier with my “Wicked” experience – the show was everything I’d hoped it would be and more.

If you ever have the opportunity to see it, I highly recommend you¬†do so. After all, it’s not every day you get to defy gravity.

*Respecting the request of the theater and production, the author refrained from photography during the show. Photographs of the show featured in this article were retrieved from Google Images.

Talking about Rococo, Tea Cups and “Beauty and the Beast”

Art, Pop Culture

“Beauty and the Beast”¬†releases in theaters today and dear God I couldn’t be more excited! Although I may not be able to make it to the theater¬†for a few more days, I’d like to celebrate this happy day with my latest art piece, a colored pencil drawing inspired by the Rococo art period, a movement that is very much visible¬†in “Beauty and the Beast.”

First thing is first: what is Rococo? Having been an art major in college, I took my fair share of art history courses and would be more than happy to fill you in.

While most of us have at least heard of movements¬†such as Impressionism (You know, the blurry French paintings? Monet?) or Cubism (think Picasso) ¬†the term Rococo isn’t quite as mainstream.

An art period that unfolded in late 18th century France, Rococo strongly concentrated on light and very much intricate detail. You may be familiar with this piece, “The Swing” by Jean-Honor√© Fragonard:

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Well, at least you’ve probably seen it here:

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(Needless to say, Rococo is a wee bit flirtatious).

If not, perhaps you’ve seen my personal favorite of the period “The Embarkation for Cythera” by¬†Jean-Antoine Watteau.

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Either way, you get the picture.

Rococo. It’s light, its airy, it’s pink-hued and it’s intricately detailed. It’s also a style which I’m very much reminded of as I eagerly await the release of ¬†Disney’s live-action”Beauty and the Beast.”

Debate among Disney-enthusiasts has not yet revealed a conclusive answer as to whether or not the fairy tale is meant to be set in the Baroque or Rococo time period. Either way, we know it’s French and it’s beautiful, and maybe that’s all we really need to know.

All of which brings me back to main point, which is to share with you my latest drawing, inspired by “Beauty and the Beast”¬†aesthetics.

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Although they’re no Mrs. Pots and Chip, these tea cups stand up in their own right (literally and metaphorically speaking).

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Inspired by an image I came across on Pinterest, I loved blocking in the variety of colors with Prismacolor pencils.

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The smooth texture was later achieved by blending the pigments together with a blending pencil.

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Hopefully you find this drawing inspiring – I know you’re just excited about tonight’s movie release as I am – and stay tuned for future “Beauty and the Beast” inspired artwork!

(Something tells me there is going to be a lot of it.)