Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Wonder...

Photo taken from Ulf Buschmann Photography


I've been thinking again.

The deep, life pondering type of thinking, much like in All the Little Puzzle Pieces. I am again wondering about things I'll most likely never get to know.

It started with a normal day of People Watching. I People Watch like it's a full time job. When I walk, when I drive, when I'm at the gym. Not in the bad "Look at that outfit!" way, but in the "What makes you tick?" way. Because I really don't care about your hair. It's all because I'm curious. Because I want to know. Because you might have a lesson from life that could make all the difference in the world to someone. Maybe to me.

I grew up with a lot of elderly people around me all the time. Being in a nursing home every day will do that to you. I met so many nice, lonely, lovely people, all that had multitudes of stories to share. The sad part is I was so young I didn't realize how valuable those stories were back then and I remember very little of my conversations. I do remember one lady and her parrot, but that's because she had a parrot, and parrots are awesome, especially to a 5 year old.

Now though, when I see someone older I sit back and I wonder...

Are you happy? Lonely? Scared?

Are you counting down the days to death's doorway or are you embracing every moment, every breath of life left in you?

Did you lead the life you wanted? Was it happy, fulfilling, everything you dreamed of? Did the weight of the worlds worries hold you down or did you wake up each day fighting them back?

Do you have children? Do they visit? Do they love you and care for you and value your ever dwindling precious seconds together? Do they even realize how precious this thing called time is? Do you?

Did you find the love of your life? Your life's purpose? Something to live for each day?

Do you have regrets? Is there one thing you could've-would've-should've done, but didn't? Or did you take that chance and has it made all the difference?

What I really want to know though, is this:

If you were given the opportunity to share the most important thing you've learned from all your time on this earth - with your younger self, with a stranger, with anyone willing to listen and learn - what would it be?

What would it be?

I'm still working on my answer. I assume that it will change as the years pass, but I am curious...

What would your answer be?

Share it with me and I will share it with everyone in an upcoming post. Funny, serious, life changing - you name it.

Your life lessons matter.


More Quotes

Your confidence in me gives me confidence. 
- Unknown

Make a commitment to your commitment. 
- Unknown

Give thanks for what you are now, and keep fighting for what you want to be tomorrow. 
- Fernanda Miramontes-Landeros

Grownups love figures. When you tell them that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you, "What did his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?" Instead, they demand: "How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?" Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Giving up doesn't always mean you are weak. Sometimes it means that you are strong enough to let go.
  - Unknown

Individually, we are one drop. Together we are an ocean.
- Ryunosuke Satoro


He who does not weep, does not see.
- Les Miserables

By being yourself you put something wonderful into the world that was not there before.  
- Edwin Elliot

I'll follow you and make a heaven out of hell,
And I'll die by the hand which I love so well.
- Shakespeare


Do you have any quotes that you love? Share them with me.
I'm always game for new ones and if I get some good ones I will post them here with your name by them as the one who suggested them!

Facebook. Twitter. Email.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

West Texas

I saw this last week and haven't been able to get it out of my head since, particularly the music. I drove home this weekend and for me, home is a two hour drive of nothing but cactus turned mountains turned pine trees. This is perfect open road music.

I also haven't been to Texas in quite a while, so this was a nice reminder of how beautiful it is there. And it is. Texas is beautiful.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful

Somewhere in the last two weeks I have forgotten my patience and my gratitude. Shame on me.

I drive to the office about three times a week. It's a good hour drive each way and I'm fine with it, thanks to  my iPod, however,  in these last two weeks I have been severely sidetracked by unexpected traffic. Sidetracked like I didn't get to work until hours later one day. No amount of Eminem or Florence + the Machine playing on my iPod could fix that.

The day where I was really, super, incredibly late to work was the day there was a huge accident on the freeway. Normally these things don't phase me, but on this day I was grumpy and impatient, and this car accident thing was not helping. On top of that, I had to pee. Me and my stupid tiny bladder!

So I'm sitting there, stuck for miles and miles, when finally, inch by tiny inch, I get closer to the accident. It's  bad. Helicopter, news reporting, multiple emergency vehicles kind of bad. It occurs to me that I'm being a huge idiot.

Of all the things for me to be upset about or to feel irritated about, this is not one of them. In fact, I have it pretty darn good compared to the poor people in the accident. I'm not all banged up or on life support. My car isn't crushed and I don't need to worry about insurance covering anything. Compared to what they're going through I have nothing to be upset about.

What I do have are plenty of things to be thankful for, like how after five years of this commute I've never been in an accident like that...not even close. Like how lucky I usually am with traffic in the morning, or how reliable my car is for every long drive I take it on. Or even how wonderful it is to have an iPod to entertain me when some people don't even have that.

Idiot!

I can't believe I was so caught up in my own head that I forgot to be thankful for the obvious. As I exited the freeway I said a prayer for the people involved, just like my Godfather had taught me when I was a little girl, and I internally apologized for my dumbness.

Sometimes in life we get so caught up in our own worlds or in whatever moment we are living in that we lose sight of the things that really matter. We lose sight of all of the good, the beautiful, all the wonderful things in our lives.

Take today to open your awareness to those things that are overlooked. Then don't let it stop there. Be grateful tomorrow for something new. Find something every day to look at in a new way and to appreciate, because there are millions of things to be thankful for if you put them in the right light.

I Googled "gratitude" and "ways to be thankful" and I found some good things. Check 'em out.

For Thanksgiving: 12 Ways to be Thankful

29 Ways to Show Unique Gratitude (And other random acts of kindness)

Here's another way to show gratitude based on a personal experience recently:

A while back my boss and I were out to lunch and at a table near us were some soldiers. As we were leaving my boss told me she regretted not buying their lunch for them, as a way to say thank you for all they do for us each and every day. It had never occurred to me to do something so gracious and unexpected, but now a seed has been planted and the next time I realize that opportunity I will take it. While she may have regretted not taking that moment, she gave me the idea by sharing her thought with me, and now I'm sharing it with you.

Thank someone today, and tomorrow, and the next day.

Be thankful today, tomorrow, and the next day.

To everyone out there:
Thank You. Shukran. Tak. Merci. Danke. Toda. Sukria. Grazie. Arigato. Spasibo. Gracias. Xie Xie. 


Have ideas on great ways to be thankful? Tell me. Share them. We can all use an attitude of gratitude.
Facebook. Twitter. 

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Monday, November 21, 2011

I Believe

I believe that friends make up the best part of who you are, what you become, and what you live for. They are an extension of you. They are the family you handpicked, the family you choose.

I believe that your bank account balance does not measure your true worth, nor does it measure your true nature.

I believe that real heroes don't wear capes or masks. Real heroes surround us, doing the things that need to be done, day in and day out.

I believe that age is just a number and that the years of life you have on earth do not determine your wisdom or what you're capable of.

I believe that if you own too much stuff, it owns you.

I believe that some of the smartest people in the world have no fancy paper on the wall declaring their intelligence. Rather, they have a heart full of life lessons and hands on wisdom.

I believe in a difference of opinion and a respect for those differences.


Your turn. What do you believe in?
Tell me. I'm on Facebook and Twitter.


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Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas

Here are some tried and true recipes you can use for Thanksgiving. I've made them all several times for various occasions. All are gluten free and Paleo. These are taken from The Garden of Eating by Rachel Albert-Matesz. 

Enjoy!


Apple - Apricot Compote

Prep Time: 20 mins                             Cooking: 30 minutes                          Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients
1/2 cup filtered water
1/3 cup unsulphurated raisins
1/3 cup unsulphurated Turkish (or regular) dried apricots
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 medium or 6 large tart or tart-sweet apples (gala, granny smith, fuji, braeburn)
½ cup chopped toasted walnuts

Add water to barley, cover 3-4 quart pot. Add raisins, apricots and spices. Wash and core apples, peel. Cut into thin half moon slices and add to pot.
Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender and sauce like, 20-30 mins.
Uncover and stir gently. If watery, remove lid and cook away moisture. Simmer and stir to thicken.
Add toasted walnuts to top off each serving.

Toasting Nuts

Place nuts on cookie sheet and bake in preheated 380 degree oven for 10-12 mins. This will give them a very sweet taste.


Herbed Meatballs

Prep Time: 15 mins.                                               Cook Time: 15-20 mins.                     Yield: 24 Meatballs, 6 servings

Ingredients
¼ cup old fashioned rolled oats aka oatmeal
¼ cup almond, soy, cow or goat milk
1 medium to large egg
1 ½ teaspoons dried herbs or 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs ( Italian blend, sage, thyme, marjoram, oregano, basil or combo)
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ to ½ teaspoon ground chipotle or black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
¼ cup minced fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
½  to 1 teaspoon finely ground, unrefined sea salt or 1 to 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
½ cup minced onion
1 to 1 ¼ pounds of 90-96% lean ground beef, turkey or lamb

In a medium bowl combine oats and milk, eggs, herbs, cumin, red/black pepper, garlic, parsley, salt or tamari sauce, and onion.
Crumble meat into bowl with these ingredients. Mix with hands, pulling mixture apart rather than squeezing and packing to evenly distribute seasoning.
Bake meatballs on parchment lined baking sheet, or baking sheet lightly coated with coconut oil, in preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 mins. Shake pan occasionally, until done.




Silver Dollar Sweet Potatoes

Prep Time: 30 mins.                                           Cooking: 25-30 mins.                         Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients
2 tablespoons melted, unrefined coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons ground rosemary
4 large or 6 medium sweet potatoes: Jersey sweets, white sweet potatoes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Rinse and scrub potatoes. Pat dry. Remove rough sections and any soft or black spots. Peel. Cut into 1/3 inch thick rounds for chip like texture or ½ inch thick rounds for softer, french fry like texture.
In a bowl, using bare hands, mix potatoes with oil. Then add and evenly mix rosemary onto potatoes. Arrange on 2 large cookie sheets or shallow baking pans.
Bake 15-20 minutes on one side. Then flip and bake on other side for 15-20 mins, until tender.


Variations

Sweet potato fries: Change seasoning to cinnamon instead of rosemary. Use Red garnet or orange sweet potatoes instead. Cut potatoes into slices (think french fries), add oil and sliced potatoes. Coat evenly. Add cinnamon and coat potatoes.


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Friday, November 18, 2011

Who Are You?

Every week I'm blessed to have wonderful people read my blog, either on purpose or on accident (it makes me happy either way).

You get to see my life, hear about my week, learn what I learn, and also learn about me. Unfortunately, I don't get a chance to get to know you, which is something I am genuinely interested in.

So it's your turn. This is your invitation. This post is all about you.

Comment on the bottom of this post and tell me all about yourself. Tell me what makes you happy, what makes you tick, what makes you roll around on the floor laughing your behind off. Tell me what your favorite color, city, Power Ranger, or book is. Do you prefer to say tomato or tomatoh? Do you have a favorite quote, favorite recipe, or favorite napping location? Tell me about yourself.

I'm all ears. Or eyes, to be more correct.

All credit for this idea goes to my friend, Brian. I saw this on his blog, The Mediocre Renaissance Man, and loved the idea. So I'm stealing it. Thank you, Brian! When you have a moment check out his blog. He's a great writer and a wonderful friend.


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Paleo Comfort Foods: Review and Recipes

I recently went crazy at my happiest happy place - Barnes and Noble. By crazy I mean that I went it to look at cookbooks and came out with several loaded in my arms. Then I went to the grocery store and bought a cart full of things. Then I went home and cooked all night.

I never realized going to the bookstore could be so exhausting.

Thus far I've started cooking from the Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook, by Julie and Charles Mayfield. I've been stuck in this one book because it's just so dang easy. Get this, throw this in, bake.

I can handle that.

Plus - It's all gluten free and based on my favorite food lifestyle, Paleo. In the traditional form of it, you eat fruits and veggies, meat, good fats (like oils), and nuts. That's it, though. In this book the Mayfields made Paleo appropriate recipes for good ol' home cooked type meals like fried chicken, pulled pork, and gumbo.

These are the three recipes I've tried out so far.

First up, my very favorite:
Crustless Quiche
12 large eggs
1/2 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter (I used 1/4 cup olive oil)
1 cup onions
1 cup spinach
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced small
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced small
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees

2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs together until slightly foamy. Stir in the almond flour and baking powder

3. In a large saute pan, melt the butter, then add in the onions and spinach, cooking until onions are translucent. Mix in peppers and any other vegetables of your choosing.

4. Stir the veggie/butter mixture into the eggs, and pour the contents into a 9x13 inch baking dish, and top with pepper.

5. Bake for 45 minuted or until cooked through.

These are the variations I ended up creating after making it a couple of times:

  • Variation 1: From the original recipe take out all the veggies except spinach. Add in artichokes and mushrooms. Add 1 package of bacon (nitrate free, of course). I precooked the bacon to where it was almost done, then chopped it up and put it in with the veggies. This one was a big hit! 
  • Variation 2: From the original recipe take out all the veggies except spinach. Add in broccoli and kale. Add 1 package of bacon, as stated above. Precook the bacon. Here's the difference in this one: I did not saute the veggies. I threw then in the egg mix and let them bake since they're more fragile. I really, really, really like this variation. The quiche comes out beautifully and the veggies look crisp and fresh.

I'm slightly addicted to this recipe. I've made it 5 times in two weeks. People love it, what can I say?



Jules Banana Pudding
1 can coconut milk
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon coconut butter 
3 really ripe bananas (almost black)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Side Note: I like everything coconut related except coconut butter. It tastes like nothing to me and I prefer some flavor, so instead I used almond butter. 

1. Whisk coconut milk, egg yolks, and vanilla together over medium heat. Stir constantly with whisk or wooden spoon until mixture starts to thicken. 

2. Remove from heat.

3. In a small frying pan, heat the coconut oil and coconut butter over medium heat, and add slightly mashed bananas along with cinnamon. You're just cooking long enough to let bananas start to caramelize somewhat.

4. Pour the coconut milk and egg mixture into a food processor or blender along with the cooked bananas, and process until smooth and creamy.

5. Empty content into a bowl, and place a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface. This will prevent a skin from forming. 

6. Refrigerate to chill and serve topped with some sliced bananas. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this recipe and I actually really liked it with the almond butter. Bananas and almond/peanut butter go together so well, you know? I found that the banana pudding tasted even better a day later, so my recommendation is to let it sit for a day before you devour its yumminess.

Breakfast Egg Muffins
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional)
12 large eggs, whisked
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)




1. Preheat oven to 350 degree.

2. Saute onions in olive oil over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add peppers and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.

3. While peppers are cooking, whisk eggs in a large bowl.

4. Once onions/peppers are cooked, remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Dump in egg mixture and stir well, sprinkling in the salt and pepper.

5. Coat a large muffin pan with olive oil spray or coconut oil. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, fill each muffin cup.

6. Place in over for 10-15 minutes. Remove them once the tops get high, fluffy and golden brown. Pop them out with a butter knife or thin spatula. 

This recipe was my least favorite. Maybe it was because it tasted bland to me. Maybe because it took me way longer than 15 minutes to get them fluffy and golden brown. They tasted fine, but they were just a little boring, so my suggestion would be to add in some of your favorite seasonings or other veggies to give them more of a kick.

What's up next?

I'm making their Sweet Potato Casserole for Thanksgiving. I'm also going to be making some recipes from the other books I got for turkey day. I will report back with results.

Update---> Here is the post with the other recipes I tried out.
Recipes from the Gluten Free Baker and More from Paleo Comfort Foods


Have any favorite recipes that are a must every Thanksgiving? Any traditions? 
Tweet me...or Twitterize me. Whatever. I'm much better at Facebook.

Dessert Yumminess - Jess' Trifle Concoction

It's the holidays. This means you have about 272 parties to attend in a mere month and a half and on some of those days you have to be twelve places at once. Need a clone, maybe? How about some tried and true recipes to impress? I got it covered for ya.

Coming your way are all the recipes I owe you from my futile promise to bring you one recipe a week. I have already scolded myself and promise to be better at this, although I may need to scale my original promise back to simply posting recipes whenever. Then when I actually do this you all will be impressed.

Since I have failed, I am about to give you as many recipes as I can type out in the next couple of days. I'm doing finger warm up exercises right now to prepare myself.

First on the list...Jess' Trifle Concoction.

Get ready for heaven in your mouth.


I've mentioned my friend, Jess, before. You know, the one who helped me kidnap our other girlfriend and whose hubby runs the awesome gaming site? Well this lovely lady is one heck of a cook. You name it, she can make it. And she makes it delicious!

She recently came up with this recipe: The Trifle Concoction, da na na!

I made it for a family gathering at my house recently and it was Trifle madness. I kid you not. Everyone asked for the recipe, wanted to take some home, and had it for breakfast the next day (you know who you are, Uncle Phil). I understand this feeling though. When she first made it a while back I was hooked too. I referred to it as chocolate crack.

Below is her original recipe, which is amazing. Since I shouldn't really be eating gluten because it hates me, I came up with a gluten free version of it which is also good (I had people taste test to make sure it lived up to The Original - it did). You can find that one right below this one.

Try one. Try both. Be daring and try both at once. Have your own taste test! Whatever you do, just have fun with this baby.

Jess' Trifle Concoction
3/4 cup cold milk
1 pkg (4 serving size) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
1 tub (12 oz) Cool Whip Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
3/4 cup raspberry jam
1 box (1 lb 2.3 oz) Betty Crocker fudge brownie mix
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules or crystals
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 carton of raspberries

1. Heat over to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of 13x9 inch pan with shortening or cooking spray. In medium bowl, stir brownie mix, water, oil, and eggs until well blended. Stir coffee granules into batter. Spread in pan.

2.  Bake 28-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out almost clean. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.
**Tip** A little over halfway though the baking process, pour a small amount of water over the edges of the brownie.  This will keep the edges from drying out completely and keep it super moist.

3. Cut brownies into 1 inch square. In bottom of Trifle Bowl (or any 3 qt glass bowl), place half or 1/3 of the brownie squares. (I did half for this particular bowl I used. It all depends on the bowl).

4. Mix chocolate pudding with milk using whisk. Mixture will be stiff. Add the raspberry jam and whisk until well blended.

5. Mix the 12oz tub of whipped with the chocolate-raspberry mixture.  Fold until well incorporated. Try not to over mix.

6. Continue to layer the dessert, add 1/2 or 1/3 (equal amounts of what portion of the brownies places in the bowl) of the choco-raspberry goo. Then layer the whipped topping and alternate the remaining layers. End with the whipped topping.

7. Add fresh raspberries to the top of the dessert so you can say "At least there is fruit in it!"
(This is why I love her)

8. Chill for about 3-4 hours in the fridge before serving.

Side note: The grocery store did not have any raspberries so I used strawberries. Worked fantastically.


Gluten Free Trifle Concoction
1 pkg of Zen Chocolate Pudding (4 serving cup size)
2 tubs (12 oz each) of Truwhip whipped topping
3/4 cup of St. Dalfour raspberry jam
1 box of Gluten Free Pantry Chocolate Truffle Brownie mix
1 tbsp vanilla
6 tbsp olive or coconut oil OR 7 tbsp butter, melted (Your choice. I used oil)
2 eggs
1 carton of raspberries
1/4 cup of Enjoy chocolate chips to sprinkle on top (optional)



1. Heat over to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of 13x9 inch pan with oil. In medium bowl, stir brownie mix, oil or butter, eggs, and vanilla until well blended. Spread in pan.

2.  Bake 28-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out almost clean. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours. 
**Tip** A little over halfway though the baking process, pour a small amount of water over the edges of the brownie.  This will keep the edges from drying out completely and keep it super moist.

3. Cut brownies into 1 inch square. In bottom of Trifle bowl (or any 3 qt glass bowl), place half or 1/3 of the brownie squares. (This time I only did one layer)

4. Mix all four containers of chocolate pudding with raspberry jam and whisk until well blended.

5. Mix one of the 12oz tubs of Truwhip with the chocolate-raspberry mixture.  Fold until well incorporated. Try not to over mix.

6. Continue to layer the dessert, add 1/2 or 1/3 (equal amounts of what portion of the brownies places in the bowl) of the choco-raspberry goo. Then layer the other tub of Truwhip and alternate the remaining layers of everything. End with a layer of Truwhip.

7. Add fresh raspberries to the top of the dessert so you can say "At least there is fruit in it!" 
*Optional - Sprinkle 1/4 cup of Enjoy chocolate chips on top.

8. Chill for about 3-4 hours in the fridge before serving. 

ENJOY!


Have any awesome recipes you want to share? Need help converting one to be GF? Holler at your girl. I like challenges. 
Email


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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Yep. You're in the right place.

I tried. I did. I Googled and searched and copied and pasted and NOTHING! I got nothing. I even emailed a blog design expert, Paul, and have not heard back. Paul...wherrrrre arrrre yoooou??

All I want is a little organization here. Why, oh why can't this be SharePoint? At least I would be in my own realm, sort of.

Anyway, since I still haven't been able to figure out this HTML mystery language, I have decided to take matters into my own hands.

This may or may not be the final version...we'll see. But for now, please enjoy the reformatted Chantelle Says look.

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Whew?

Well, I made it through the day.

We were maybe, supposedly, possibly with a chance of rain, supposed to get news about our jobs today.

Nope.

Keeping to my plan of not freaking out, I decided to create a list of my potential new jobs.

1. Cupcake Supervisor
As mentioned prior, I am still considering being the Cupcake Supervisor for Royal Caribbean.
I take my responsibilities as a supervisor seriously. You cruise folk better be ready, because when I get there those cupcakes better be looking good and ready to please.

2. Gym Owner
My friend, Nichole, decided that we should open a gym today. My exact response: BAM! Let's do this.
All we need is:

  • 1 abandoned building, hopefully not in the ghetto
  • Some metal pipes and children of various sizes to hang from them while we lift them (workout for us and fun for the kids)
  • Eminem wannabees, because it is a MUST to workout to rap music
  • 1 Total Gym machine, because Chuck Norris knows his stuff
3. Ninja
I can't share exactly how I'm going to do this because ninjas are supposed to be stealthy. Just know that I'm out there. Somewhere.

4. Rock Band
Matt, my OBFF, and I have been working on our rock band for about 4 years...

40's in the Park

We came up with this back when our old work crew would all go hang out in the park by our office at lunch. We did not actually partake in any drinking, however, we did do a lot of singing to 80's songs, which most normal people would probably need to be drunk for, especially since we did this in daylight with strangers around. Thus the name 40's in the Park. 

We have a good, long list of songs ready to go. Unfortunately, that's all we've got going for us. Anyone want to join our band that can play musical instruments? We are now accepting applications.

5. Etsy
This is an actual project my friend, Mary, and I are working on. She makes beautiful gifts, I make essential oils blends. Somewhere in there we can combine forces. So this one actually could pan out nicely. Well, the cupcake supervisor one could too, let's not forget about that one!


Ever had a crazy job? Want to join our band? I will need a trial video of your talent. Email me.


UPDATE---> I have one vote Ninja and a songwriter for the band (Sister, you are the BEST songwriter ever). Let's keep it coming people! I could use a drummer and a ninja trainer...because I have no flippin' clue what I'm doing here. My clumsiness is stifling my stealthiness!


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Food 'Fess Up

Food 'Fess Up

What is this, you might ask? It's what I ate today.

I promised you a looksy at my plate and I'm keeping my word on it.

Maybe I had seaweed salad for breakfast. Maybe I was normal and had scrambled eggs...probably not though, let's be real here. It's me we're talking about. Maybe, just maybe, I ate something I shouldn't have and the health nut in me feels the need to confess my transgressions. Don't judge me, it happens. I'm  all about being normal...sometimes.

My confession right now: I had chocolate chips for dinner.

Yes, they were gluten, dairy, and soy free, but still. I just wasn't hungry for dinner...and this practically empty bag of chocolaty goodness called to me. In my defense, it was that or the garlic in the side door, and I was just not feeling that.

Guess it's time to go to the grocery store.


Share your confessions! Have you ever eaten something that was weird?? Tell me.
Me and my chocolate chips are waiting to know.

I'm on Facebook and Twitter


UPDATE---> I have learned from some very wise readers that eating tuna with any combination of things, including sprinkles, is not a good idea either. (Thank you, I was wondering about that.) Good information, people. Good information.

Also, it's not wise to eat a block of cheese for dinner. Pass it on.



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Facebook is Up. Finally.

I finally got around to adding a Facebook page, which you can find here, and somewhere on the left hand side of my blog.

Once I figure out this HTML language I might actually be able to add a "Like" box somewhere, but I wouldn't recommend holding your breath on that one.

Anyway, thank you to everyone in advance. I adore you all!

To Hell with To-Do Lists

If you must have a To-Do list, this should be it.
I started out this week with an incredibly long list of items I was certain I would accomplish. Among the usual things of working out, walking the dog, and keeping the house clean, were: Update blog with all the new posts I haven't had time for, enter writing competition, start budget for 2012, upload 400 pictures to computer so I can make x-mas gifts, finish house projects before guests come over for x-mas, plan yard sale for the weekend, work on the list of things I had prior to this list of things, and finishing watching Felicity.

I was a little over zealous. I had every good intention of going to bed early last night until I decided I was  Xena: Warrior Princess - of all things home office related. I was going to kick some paper pile butt.

It started out good until I got sidetracked in a conversation about supplements. From there it stemmed to me checking out new blog templates and trying to figure out why the HTML something or the other didn't want to cooperate, which then lead me to Googling what exactly this HTML thing was in the first place, which finally lead to me yelling at my poor, innocent computer and going to bed at the lovely hour of 1AM.

Needless to say I am tired.

Sooooo tired.

Tired like I went to yoga today and thought I was looking at my reflection in the mirror but it was actually someone else that wore the same shirt and pants. Tired like someone asked me how to say my middle name, which is Russian, and I gave them the very similar, yet completely wrong Spanish version.

That kind of tired.

Needless to say, I was in a terrific mood when I woke up this morning with this overwhelming desire to convert to Couch Potato-ism. There was no hope anything I needed to get done would actually get done. Today or possibly ever.

How did I get so sidetracked? Lately it seems like my normally good OCD skills of organization and list-checking-off have gone kaput. I was about to panic until I realized...it's November.

This time of the year elicits insanity in everyone except maybe Martha Stewart.

There's Thanksgiving and holiday celebrations and shopping and cleaning and preparing and...

It finally dawned on me that I needed to chill. Trying to hold myself to what I thought I could do today was only going to push me farther down the path to Crazyville. Instead, I stepped away from my computer, had myself some quiche, and took a deep breath.

In the wise words of Scarlett O'Hara, "Tomorrow is another day."

With the way I make lists, I'm going to need a heck of a lot of tomorrows.

Ever had a day like this?
Twitter

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The Adventures of Monica and Rachel
Dear Journal
Withholding the Truth

Aromatherapy Recipe: Turkey Day Room Spray

I get weekly Sprouts grocery store mailings and saw this Turkey Day Room Spray aromatherapy recipe in the most recent one...so of course I had to try it.

I find that is does make everything smell like the holiday season, you know, spicy and warm. But get this added bonus... due to the essential oils in it, it also has some wonderful healing properties which they did not mention in their ad.

Check out just how perfect this blend is:

Cinnamon Oil: Combats anxiety, improves brain functions, soothes and aids in digestion and pain relief.

Tea Tree Oil: Boosts health and improves absorption of nutrients in foods. Relieves cough and cold symptoms, and is antiviral.

Lemon Oil: Stimulates and detoxifies. Helps with stress, stomach aches, and exhaustion.

In a nutshell: It makes the room smell good and it keeps you feeling good.

Pretty cool stuff, these essential oils. Gotta love them.

Related Posts
Skin Health: What You Need to Know NOW
The Kindness Chronicles: Everything Essential

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Kindness Chronicles: Well, what do I eat now?

Food. It should all just be edible and delicious and good for us, right? That would be nice. I would love it if ice cream was equally as good, if not better for me, than say kale or zucchini. Life might be just near perfect. Since it's not, and since toxic chemicals and substances are running around pretending to be food all the time, I figured I would give you a list of what's what in the world of health food.

In one of my last food posts I went over Monsanto, the GMO's, and all the evil things lurking out there under your noses. I'm sure you were wondering what the heck you were going to do since it appears nothing is safe. Do not fear, my friends. There are options and solutions.

First, let's start simple. Let's say this whole health food thing is brand new to you. There's so much to it, I know, so the first step would be this: add more fruits and veggies to your meals. That's it! You don't have to go organic or anything, just add more in and get used to that. Start re-thinking the traditional food ideas. Anything can be eaten anytime - remember that. I ate a spinach and salmon salad for breakfast almost every day for a year or two and it was awesome. Awesome.

We label certain foods to be eaten at certain times of the day...but why? Because someone made up a "This is a breakfast food" rule? You can eat anything you want any time you want. My mom swears by the rule of eating your sweet treat in the morning because then you work it off all day long. Makes sense, right? Instead of eating dessert at night when you'll be sitting around doing nothing, eat it early on and get a'movin!  Not that I'm highly recommending eating cake at 6am. I'm just proving a point. Break free of the standards and be daring! Eat a salad for breakfast. Eat a veggie omelette for dinner. Switch it up! Starting your day off with veggies propels like you nothing you have ever known. Trust me.

Another thing to overcome would be the fear that health foods taste awful. They don't. They're amazing and delicious and better than you can possibly imagine. There are a million and a half wonderful recipes out there for every type of vegetable imaginable that are mouth wateringly yummy. You just have to be willing to experiment.

After you have mastered the art of eating more veggies and less processed foods, move on to better veggies and fruits. Buying all organic is expensive. Buying all farmers market items can be difficult. If you can't do that stick to one of these rules or a combo of both (whatever works for you):


1. Avoid the Dirty Dozen
Every year a new list comes out of the most chemically toxic fruits and veggies. The list is made to help you decide which foods you need to use caution with and it also helps to determine which foods you should buy organically. These are the top 12 that are sprayed with more pesticides than the rest for 2011:
- Apples
- Celery
- Strawberries
- Peaches
- Spinach
- Nectarines
- Imported Grapes
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Potatoes
- Domestic Blueberries
- Lettuce
- Kale/Collard Greens

2. Check the Distance
This technique simply means check the little sticker on your food to see where it was shipped in from. When I asked my teacher if I should buy every single thing organic, she said no. What I need when I eat are the nutrients from the food I'm eating. Food travels roughly 2500 miles to get to us at the grocery stores and in that time it loses a significant amount of its nutrients. For example, if you live in New York and the food was shipped to you from California, it's gone quite a distance. However, if you live in Arizona and the food is from California then it's really just next door, thus more nutrients remain in the food. Getting a pear from halfway around the world is great but it's not so great if there's no benefit once you take a bite out of it. Just something to think about.

On top of all of that here is some information you need to know, and should know, but probably don't because of the sneaky sneaksters who don't tell any of us about this so that they can become rich while killing us slowly.

1. Nitrates 
These are tricky little devils that show up in dried fruit and packaged meats and various other places. These babies cause cancer, headaches, migraines, and other things, due to the chemicals they contain. The synthetic compound is required by the FDA for all cured meats, however, many companies have gone to a natural nitrate cure which is fine. These safe foods, oddly enough, will be labeled "nitrate free" even though they have some form of a preservative in them.

Confusing? Yes. All because the FDA requires it. Here's the trick: No traditional grocery store has nitrate free lunch meat, so stick to your local health food store. The packages will clearly state that they are nitrate free and no nitrates will be listed on the ingredients. The same goes for dried fruit and trail mixes. Nitrate free is the safest way to go. We'll cover this again below, that's how important it is.

2. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), Corn Syrup, and all the other tricky names they come up with to fool you
Remember those commercials that were on for a while, where one woman argued with another one over how HFCS was just corn? That is the biggest bunch of bull ever. The food companies were so ticked off that everyone was avoiding their products due to the corn syrup fear that they spent millions on these commercials to fool you. Don't fall for it. No matter what they want to call it, it is NOT the corn you eat at a BBQ. It's a compound that your body doesn't recognize making it incredibly hard to digest and eliminate, leading to storage of chemicals in your body that then lead to all kinds of diseases. It's like putting toothpaste in your gas tank. Your car would freak out and that's what your body is doing.

Consider this as well: HFCS is actually known to make you hungrier. To set off the triggers in your body that tell you to feed it, making you want to eat all the time. Considering just how many products it's in that people consume - soup, yogurt, cereal, bread -  people are getting huge doses of it without even realizing what they're doing to themselves. Plus, on the financial end for the companies, it's brilliant. The hungrier you are the more you have to buy from them. It's a never ending cycle of hunger, purchase of foods, repeat. Ditch this stuff entirely and not only will you be saving your own life but you'll be saving your money.

3. The First Five
This is the rule to ingredients. The first five items on the ingredient list are what the item is mostly made up of. Everything else is a fraction of what the first five are. If sugar is in the first five then know that you are getting one heck of a dose of it in whatever you're eating.

The key here is this - the shorter the list, the better. Better yet, something that doesn't have an ingredient list is the best you can get, like an apple. This is just another reason why avoiding or limiting processed foods is ideal.

4. Hot Dogs
Hot dogs are an American thing. Go to a baseball game, eat a hot dog, right? It's tradition! My grampa and I used to get one every Sunday. It was a nice thing we did together and I have great memories about it, however, this is not a tradition I will be continuing now that I know what I know. And why do I care so much about hot dogs out of every other type of nitrate-filled packaged meat? One reason: Children. They are the ones that consume more hot dogs than anyone else. Beanie Weenies anyone? I have many adorable little nephews and nieces and I want them to be well, so here's the deal:

The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods states that there is "...evidence linking consumption of nitrates to a significantly increased risk of the major childhood cancers, including leukemias, lymphomas, and brain cancers" and that "Children who eat 12 hot dogs per month have nearly ten times the risk of developing leukemia as children who do not eat hot dogs. Children who eat hot dogs once a week double their chances of developing brain tumors; eating them twice a week triples the risk".

Scary, I know, but parents - don't beat yourselves up. You can't know these things unless someone tells you and the food companies don't tell you these things. They just don't. You can find safe, all natural sausages and hot dog comparable foods at your local health store. The kids don't have to miss out on the tradition of this, you just need a different product.

Now for the good food news...

1. Grass Fed Beef
First let me explain the difference between grain and grass fed.

Cows do not naturally buy themselves a bag of grain and eat it. No. They eat grass. Feeding a cow grains is like feeding a person crickets. Yeah, we can eat it. But are we supposed to? No. Is it going to benefit us to eat that all day, every day? No. Will it cause us problems if we do? YES. Same with the cows.

Giving a cow grains means you are giving them a diet of soy, some hay, and other fillers to fatten them up. So, if you are what you eat then you're eating a lot of soy and fillers. And what if you're allergic to soy? Well then you're eating it without even realizing it. See my point here? On top of that, grain fed cows are proven to contain excess levels of omega 6 and 9 (which we don't need extra of) and food borne illnesses live inside them. Ick!

Grass fed are the opposite. They are full of omega 3's (which we do need a lot of) and food borne illnesses are typically non-existent in grass fed cows. Plus...they're immune to Mad Cow Disease! FACT.

On top of all of that...it tastes better. Whenever we have people over for BBQ's they think we've found some amazing seasoning and want to know where to buy it. We use nothing. It's just the flavor of the beef.

Buy it from your local farmers, if you can. It's good to support the people that help keep this diminishing traditional method alive. Otherwise, get it at your local health food store.


2. Veganaise
Pronounced Vegan-A's, however I like to actually call it Veg-uh-knees. Far more fun. Anyway... this is your alternative to junk filled mayonnaise. It's natural, you have a variety to choose from, and I actually think it tastes much better.

3. Perfect Foods Bars
Good for you? Check! Delicious? Check! Protein bars beware, these babies are taking over. Not only are they all natural but they even have veggies in them. Only down side is they need to be refrigerated.

4. Ezekial 5.7.9 breads
While these are not gluten or wheat free they are better for you than "normal" bread since the grains are sprouted. This is the old school way of baking but since sprouting takes time, and the world is in a hurry, we by-passed this important step to produce bread faster. Sprouting makes the grains digestible which equals a happier belly for you.

5. C20 Coconut Water
No surprise here, right? Me and my love for all things coconut. It's all natural, low in calories, makes you feel like a million bucks after you drink it, and great for athletes. It's even used in IV's when traditional methods are out of reach. I've tried other brands but this one remains my favorite by far.
                   
6. Sea Vegetables
Quite possibly the most secretly magical food ever. They pack 10-20 times the amount of nutrients as regular veggies and when you eat sea vegetables they enable your body to release metal toxins that build up. There's an all natural gel like substance in them that binds with heavy metals to pull them out of your body as you eliminate food. No other food can do this as well as sea vegetables, not even close. If you can't handle eating seaweed, although I do think it tastes great, get some Kelp or Dulse seasonings and sprinkle it in when cooking. You won't taste anything but you'll get all the benefits. I use it in BBQ sauce, omelettes, etc.


7. Canned Coconut Milk
Antiviral? Check. Antibacterial? Check. Antimicrobial? Check.

What does this all mean? No other food is quite as good at killing the bad things in your body. Plus, it's delicious and can be used as a dairy substitute. The canned kind is all natural while the coconut milk in cartons is made specifically to be more like a cow milk substitute for cereals. The canned stuff is the one you want for the anti-everything qualities as it is all natural, nothing added to it.


8. Almond Butter for the Road
Peanut butter is great but when it comes down to nutrition, almond butter wins every time. And now you can take it with you wherever you go thanks to some guy named Justin who made convenient and delicious little packs of it. There are various varieties ranging from all natural to honey or maple flavored. I take them with me when I travel. It's a good source of protein and pairs excellently with an apple or banana. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.


A Little Food Spiel For You
My last recommendation is this: Think about what you're eating. Think about what you want your life to look like, how good you want to feel. I like dessert just as much as (probably even more than) the next person, so I understand.

I suggest the 80/20 rule. It's easy and flexible. With it, 80% of the time you eat healthy, 20% of the time you eat whatever the heck you want. Keep in mind the 20% will still affect you and how you feel based on what you decide to eat, like if you ate an entire package of Oreo cookies you most likely will not feel good at all. And everything about how you feel - emotionally, physically, mentally - can be linked back to what you eat.

When it comes to health and well being possibly the most important question you can ask yourself is this:

What do we all have in common, above everything else, that could possibly affect all of us?

Food.

It's the thing we need to survive. The thing that brings families together, is shared over celebrations and despair, and makes us all go crazy thinking about it. It's something we simply cannot live without. Not one single person can avoid food.

Way, way back when we didn't have grocery stores, what did we eat? Only what we could kill or grow. Period. If it didn't walk, swim, or grow out of the ground, it wasn't going in our mouths. Now we march into grocery stores and buy things we like to think of as "food". Food that comes in convenient boxes with pretty colors and the magical triple combo: salt, sugar, fat. Put those three things together, whether they be natural or not, and it will make anything taste good. Anything, including things that were never food to begin with.

Consider this next time you're grocery shopping:

How many things can you pronounce on the packages you buy?
Do you know what any of them mean and if you did would you still eat them?
Who is actually going to benefit from eating this? You or the company selling it to you?

And my favorite...

As advanced as we are in the world, why haven't we found a cure for everything?

It's actually pretty simple once you get to the basics of it. We can't cure what we tend to repeat. If we use all the medicine in the world but still eat junk food, we're only putting a band-aid on the problem. You can't avoid what you don't know but you can make a change any moment you choose once you are informed.

Every day holds the possibility of a new start.

It's up to you how you treat your body, how you care for it, and in turn, how it will take care of you as you grow older.

I saw this article, below, recently. It's pretty informative and I recommend looking over it. The list is fairly long, therefore alarming, however, as I said before, it's good to be informed.

What's really in food? Article from Natural News

Questions, comments, concerns? Holler at me. 

Update---> I still believe GMO's are evil and should be avoided at all costs. However, with times being the way they are and people losing their jobs left and right, there have to be alternate options. If you can grow your own food, excellent! If not, just get back on your feet, take care of yourself, and then you can start avoiding the GMO's full time again.

Related Posts from The Kindness Chronicles
Healing Foods
Diet is a Four Letter Word
The Truth That LIES Before Your Eyes: Monsanto and the FDA

The Work of Fabio Napoleoni

Since I'm clearly in an artsy mood I thought I would share another one of my favorite artists with you - Fabio Napoleoni. I discovered him a few years back when I stopped in an art gallery in Florida and saw this...
Your Presence is Required
It grabbed my attention and sucked me in. I just kept staring at it. I was so drawn to this beautiful, sad, yet deeply touching piece of art, that I couldn't pull myself away. It moved me in a way I was completely unprepared for.

When I got home I researched the artist and found that he had started this particular set of work when his second daughter was born with serious heart problems and had to undergo major surgeries. He was so deeply distraught during this time that it was like the door to what he was missing in his work had suddenly blown open revealing to him what he needed, what element was missing.

The main character in his work, the funny little stitched together creature that you see, if I remember correctly, is actually his daughters doll. The good news - his daughter is going strong.

The truth is I haven't been the same since that day in the gallery. I know that sounds dramatic, and maybe you need to be up close and personal with one of these to feel the story it's telling, but it did make an impact on me. I actually think about his work often. I bought a small replicated piece of his work that day, Hope is Free, and actually do hope one day to own an original of his. It's on my bucket list anyway. I hope all of you get to see one up close and personal at some point too. It's worth it. It's life changing.

Please Fill the Emptiness
The Love Note


All photos taken from his website, http://fabionapoleoni.com/

Who's your favorite artist? I'm always looking for new art interests! Details, please. 


Related Post
Bank on This

Update---> If you like any of the pictures you see on the right and left hand sides of my blog, you can now purchase them (some, so far) at Society6

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I See Silver

"When you have come to the edge of all the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will either be something solid to stand on or you will be taught how to fly." - Anonymous
If you want to be given everything, give everything up.
Tao Te Ching
This is how I feel right now except instead of stepping off into the unknown I am going to be pushed. It's not like I didn't know this was a possibility. It has been for a while. It's just that I've come to terms with it. The "it" which I'm referencing is being laid off. I work for a company that is making some changes in terms of people numbers and a lot of people are going to get laid off. It's no secret, it's just a secret to those of us who work there as to what happens to who and when exactly.

As I was driving to work the other day, pondering life, I saw the most beautiful sunrise. Looking at the clouds in the early morning light I knew that everything - everything - was going to be alright. It was in the way the sun shined on and sparkled through the clouds. It was like hope come to life in a picture in the sky. I know I should feel panicked. After all, I've only worked there since I was 17 and devoted my entire working career to this place. However, this possibility has lurked in the background for a while, giving me the chance to really think this through. To calm myself and any worries and to see the silver lining to this whole situation.

So instead of freaking out I've imagined this being a good thing, much like I did prior to sky diving. Before the big jump I pictured myself stepping off into the unknown, taking a deep breath, and being calm, happy, and at peace with the nothing below my feet. When the day finally arrived to jump, instead of a feeling of terror rising up, I felt...free. It was liberating even. That is how I'm picturing this.

Nothing may even happen. Some strange twist of fate could place me somewhere completely different but my gut tells me otherwise. Whether it be sooner or later, I believe my time is up because it's meant to be. I've decided that this is a chance to see what else is out there. Not that I don't enjoy my work or haven't over the years but when you get right down to it, and the basics of the whole place, we're like two pieces of a different puzzle. I need art and life and creativity. The closest I have to that now is the ability to make PowerPoints and SharePoint sites and even then I have limitations as to what they can look like.

As strange and stupid as this may sound, I am more afraid of it not happening than of it happening at all. I don't want to miss an opportunity to be different. To try something new. To let go of the thing that in many ways holds me back from being me.

I think we hold on to certain things or ideas of what our life is supposed to look like in an attempt to balance ourselves. We fear that if we let go we will lose the delicate hold we have on our realities. We don't realize that the things we're holding on to may instead be an anchor, dragging us down, pulling us away from changes that might serve us better. I don't want to hold on to an anchor anymore.

I've been very seriously going over this in my head and have decided that if I'm set free, not only am I meant to be let go, but this is a step that I need to continue on my path. Because really, when it comes right down to it, I'm stubborn and I hate giving up so sometimes a push is exactly what I need.

So what is the silver lining that I see coming from all of this? I can write more. Every day even, without losing sleep or trying to fit it in my busy schedule. I can always go work on Royal Caribbean as a Cupcake Supervisor. This is an actual job and I am very seriously thinking of applying. I've managed all kinds of things - people, reports, confidential items - I can certainly handle cupcakes and travel all around the world at the same time.

Then there's school of course, me and my eternal addiction to learning! I already signed up to re-audit the nutrition classes next year (see what's changed, see what's new) so maybe I could get certified in a few other things. Or become an architect, learn French, take piano lessons again, for the third time. And maybe, just maybe, I'll find my dream job.

I know I'm not the only one going through this. I know everyone is uncertain of the future in these times. It's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you are in the midst of the overwhelming darkness. I believe that everything happens for a reason, even if you don't know what the reason is right away. I believe that if you're patient enough to wait and find out, if you're open and aware to the opportunities that present themselves, eventually the "why" of it all will come to the surface and everything will make sense.

To everyone who is in this same boat with me, please pause before you panic. The waves may be choppy and the shore may be far off in the distance, but it's there. Land exists and you will find it when and how you're supposed to.

Remember that you are strong and capable. Endless opportunities are waiting out there. While they might not be what you expected, they still exist and they might just have something to teach you. They might just be exactly what you need, without even knowing it. Above all else, you have friends and family members that care about you. You are not alone in this. You will find your silver lining.

"I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars."
- Og Mandino

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bank on This

I was in France recently, perusing a book store, when I came upon a whole slew of incredibly awesome graffiti books. You see, graffiti makes me happy. Happy like it's-my-birthday-and-I-got-the-pony-I've-been-asking-for-my-entire-life kind of happy. I really, truly love it. I'm picky though, it has to be the real deal, not the random junk that gets sprawled all over the place. I'm talking about the artistic ones that make you stop and just think, wonder, question what it's all about. The ones that tell some kind of a story. The ones that make you feel...something.

One of the books I found was Banksy Wall and Piece, a book about a graffiti artist whose unique stencil graffiti has shown up all around the world. His art is always questioning the rules, the government, society in general and while other graffiti artists may reveal who they are, Banksy remains a mysterious unknown individual, which just makes him that much more interesting. The book is excellent if not for the art but also for what he says about each piece. It makes you want to go on a scavenger hunt all over town for his work.
After my trip I was pretty enthralled with all of this graffiti business and came across a movie called Exit Through the Gift Shop. The whole thing is about graffiti artists, but more specifically about the guy who was supposed to be making a documentary on them, Thierry Guetta, AKA Mr. Brainwash. He was obsessed with filming EVERYTHING (I do mean everything) and one day became hooked on filming street art. He started following street artists around and ended up telling them he was going to do a documentary on their work, except that he had no actual intention of doing that. He just had an obsession with filming it. He becomes friends with all the street art clan and finally meets Banksy who befriends him and, breaking all his own personal rules, lets him in on his life as a graffiti artist.

This guy, Mr. Brainwash, then decides he wants to be a graffiti artist but he goes about it an entirely different way and ends up hiring people to make his art for him. Yep. He gets the ideas and they do the work. Then, get this, he makes it big. Madonna big, as in she hired him to do an album cover. I'm not going to lie, he has some good work, but the way he went about "making it" just seems off. I prefer my street artists to be in the street, for a while, earning their name. I guess I wouldn't really call him a street artist at all. I really don't know what the heck to call him actually. I don't want to totally diss the guy since you have to give him credit for being creative and risking a lot of things, but at the same time he kind of cheapened street art, and that just...sucks.

I must say the movie is excellent. It made me open my eyes a little wider to the world of graffiti. Now I look for it everywhere. Now I understand it a little better. I guess what really got me about all of it is how Banksy views the criticism of street art. In his book he writes, "Despite what they say graffiti is not the lowest form of art...it exhibits on the best walls a town has to offer and nobody is put off by the price of admission. The people who truly deface our neighborhoods are the companies that scrawl giant slogans across buildings and buses trying to make us feel inadequate unless we buy their stuff. They expect to be able to shout their message in your face from every available surface but you're never allowed to answer back."
I never thought of it that way but he's right. I would much rather look at graffiti, the artistic version, than advertisements. So yeah, I'm a fan. Street art just makes the streets more interesting. It's intriguing and beautiful. In fact, I secretly (yet clearly non-secretly) hope he reads this and decides to come here and mark our city up a little. I'll even be the lookout and I promise not to go all Mr. Brainwash crazy.

Want to see more of his work? Go here:
80+ Beautiful Street Crimes by Banksy

Are you a fan of graffiti? Hate it? Have any cools pics you've taken? Or have you possibly seen a Banksy work of art, up close and personal? Which means I'll be jealous...