7.29.2015

#OWWWA: Margaret Keane - Big Eyes

OnWednesdaysWeWearArt: Margaret Keane - Big Eyes
dress - Salty Dame by Megan Besmirched on Etsy / shoes - Kenneth Cole via Zappos / black t-shirt - Target

Today's #OnWednesdaysWeWearArt theme should be pretty obvious... it's Margaret Keane's "big eyes" paintings! I've had this awesome dress for a while now, but never photographed it for the blog, and in brainstorming some #OWWWA topics, this was an obvious choice.

The dress is NOT covered in Margaret Keane paintings, mind you, but a Keane-inspired pattern of paintings by Megan Besmirched (of the shop Salty Dame on Etsy). I love that the spirit of the Keane paintings is alive in the pattern of this dress, but in an updated, modern, "ladies of today" sort of way.

OnWednesdaysWeWearArt: Margaret Keane - Big Eyes

For those unfamiliar with the story of Margaret Keane, she was a painter who gained popularity in the 1960's... sort of. Her paintings gained popularity, but it was her husband, Walter, who claimed to be the artist behind them. If you haven't seen the Tim Burton film, Big Eyes, that tells the story behind Margaret and Walter Keane, it's definitely worth checking out. Pretty interesting stuff.

OnWednesdaysWeWearArt: Margaret Keane - Big Eyes

One of the interesting concepts behind these paintings is that they're super sappy, and dare I say, cheeseball in nature... which is also exactly what makes them awesome. They're not "high art," but also, they are? Just try to go out and buy an original. Good luck with that.

OnWednesdaysWeWearArt: Margaret Keane - Big Eyes

The big eyes are so sad. And cute. What always kind of bugs me is, once you know it was a woman who painted these, it made a sort of sense to the whole topic. When everyone thought that Walter was painting them, didn't it seem kind of creepy? I don't know, I hate to be all gender-biased about it, because men and women can paint whatever they damn want, but something about these paintings just screams lady painter to me.

OnWednesdaysWeWearArt: Margaret Keane - Big Eyes

I think my favorite thing about the girls on this dress are the blue tattoo outlines on them:

OnWednesdaysWeWearArt: Margaret Keane - Big Eyes

So, let's talk about this dress. It's awesome. I did do a slight alteration on it... I shortened it about two inches or so, since I am a shorty, but I just ran the serger along the bottom since the whole thing is made out of a stretchy polyester material. I think that it worked well. I like wearing the black shirt underneath because it helps to break up the pattern.

Now, hopefully by the time you're checking out this blog post and you're all like "OMG I need to get one of these dresses for myself!" - Megan will have re-opened her Etsy shop, but I have this horrible knack for writing about stuff on the blog only to find out that the shop is temporarily (or permanently) closed and the awesome stuff I'm writing about isn't available. That sucks. So as of the time I'm writing this, Megan's shop is closed, but hopefully it will be open soon, and if not, you can always sign up to get an alert when it is.

OnWednesdaysWeWearArt: Margaret Keane - Big Eyes

Above: more sad Keane paintings, including one instance where a clown is slightly less creepy than normal clown times. And then, an awesome YouTube interview with Margaret Keane:



Below: other items I snagged from Megan Besmirched's Etsy shop: a zipper pouch and a round magnet.

OnWednesdaysWeWearArt: Margaret Keane - Big Eyes

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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7.27.2015

The BASE Project

The BASE Project

I was sent one of these awesome graphic black and white bracelets from The BASE Project to share with you guys on the blog. It's really cool - I love the bold black and white color scheme (although other versions are available), as it goes with pretty much any outfit and is great for stacking with other wrist accessories.

This bracelet (pictured) is upcycled, hand-carved from discarded water pipe! The designs are all inspired by the animals, landscape, and rich history of Namibia. You can buy these in a variety of widths (this one being the thinnest), so you could totally rock a wide cuff version of this if you like.

The BASE Project

From The BASE Project website: "The Base Project is a socially-motivated fashion brand building a bridge between artisans in the developing world and the US fashion market. Through our fashion products we create jobs and invest in community development projects."

The BASE Project
The BASE Project

Not only do these upcycled bracelets come in black/white color way, you can also get it in a reddish-brown instead of the black. Bracelets are also available in cast brass metal versions, with gold tone or silver tone finish. Individual bracelets, or special packs of 3 are available.

The BASE Project

An awesome added bonus to buying from the BASE Project is that your bracelet generates income for an artisan and funds a child’s education in his or her community. Wear Your Impact!

*** I was sent a complimentary bracelet for review by the kind folks at The BASE project (my awesome friend Liz works with them!), but all opinions are honest and my own. ***

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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7.24.2015

Eat Your CSA Vegetables!

 photo 1D274906713952-today-vintage-kitchen-140905-01_zpsavyivwxj.jpgThere is nothing better than farm fresh food. I've been cooking with primarily CSA (through Beets+Beats)  & garden veggies for the past few weeks and I can really tell a difference in quality from store-bought produce. Anyway, I've been receiving beets, kale, and garlic scapes (along with many other items) in my CSA goodies over the last few weeks and it's been kind of fun figuring out how to use everything for dinners. This is my favorite combo so far! Roasted Beets over Barley with Kale & Mushroom Beef Stir-fry
 photo Beets_zpslkfbtyno.jpg
The first thing you will want to do is roast your beets (it takes a while)...This is how you do it:
- Pre-heat oven at 400F, cut leaves off (good for other uses!)
- You can either peel outside of beets or keep the skins on while they roast...although it's hot and you get red fingers. 
- Loosely wrap beets in foil. I like to our olive oil and spices around them if they are peeled.  
- Roast for 50-60min (told ya) 
- You can check after the first 30 mins then every 15-20 mins after...I tend to leave them in for 45 and then check 
- Beets are done when they are punctured by a fork and they slide off
 photo Beets 2_zpsmrkttnkg.jpg
While your beets are cooking, you can start your stir-fry. This is the best recipe I've found it's from Gimme Some Oven...I used fresh ginger and it TOTALLY made the dish. I kind of altered it a little, I used some garlic scales from my CSA mixed in with the Kale and then used mini bella mushrooms instead of shiitake... Anyway...here we go:
 photo foil_zpsuczsxawy.jpg
Ok, this is how I did it...
You will need:
MARINADE:
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup vegetable broth
3 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. corn starch
2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. black pepper
What you do: 
"Add all marinade ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour marinade into a large bowl or ziplock bag, then add in the steak and gently toss to combine. Cover/seal and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes." (I did this right after I put the beets in the oven) 
 photo Kale_zpsc2xmgtqe.jpg
You will need: 
STIR-FRY:
1 lb. thinly sliced steak (I used the cheapest steak I could find and cut it into pieces...cuz I'm poor).
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
A package of baby portobello mushrooms
3 cups chopped kale
2 garlic scapes, thinly sliced
What you do:
Once steak has marinated, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large sauté pan (I used a cast iron) over medium-high heat. Remove steak from marinade with a slotted spoon, reserving the marinade (super important) and add to saute pan with garlic. Saute for about 2-3 minutes until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove steak with a slotted spoon and set aside."

Add mushrooms, kale, Garlic scapes and reserved marinade to sauté pan.  Stir to combine and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the kale is wilted, the sauce has thickened, and the mushrooms have cooked, stirring regularly so that sauce does not burn. Add in the steak, and toss to combine."
 photo Dinner_zpsvwjmdjw5.jpg I served it alone with the beets and barley, but the recipe says you can serve it over rice or quinoa. I garnished it with seem mircogreens (also from my CSA veggies) and tucked in!

A delicious and healthy family dinner!

Until next time!
~Steph @ Calamity Layne

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7.22.2015

#OWWWA: Britt Bass-inspired Fashion

#OWWWA: Brit Bass
dress - Kate Spade Saturday (via ebay) / shoes - Kenneth Cole via Zappos / cardigan - Target / necklace - vintage / crinoline - Amazon

Hello! I'm trying to get better with regularly scheduled #OnWednesdayWeWearArt posts. I have ideas for the upcoming weeks... lets see if I can discipline myself enough to follow through! I really have no excuse at this point. I have less than 3 weeks left of graduate school, and I will be FINISHED! A whole year of classes, plus two unexpected additional classes this summer to complete a Technology Specialist Endorsement and a Computer Applications Middle School endorsement. If you're not familiar with IL teacher licensure, it's a lot of paperwork and red tape to teach some subjects, even if you already have 13 years of experience teaching middle school and have a certificate that covers even more than the area you're going for. You still have to take repetitive classes to... get money out of me? I don't know. Whatever. It's done now. Let's celebrate!

#OWWWA: Brit Bass

This week's artist theme is currently one of my favorite artists. Her name is Britt Bass Turner, and she makes amazing abstract paintings using the most beautiful colors. I actually first discovered her work when May Designs introduced the May Designs x Britt Bass collaboration notebooks. Since I'm a planner/stationery nerd, I ordered a few of these simply because I fell in love with the design. Then, I started to see Britt's work all over! For instance, this KSlademade zipper pouch handbag (that is too expensive for me to buy, but sold out anyways), or these awesome wallpapers for your phone and computer via DesignLoveFest.

#OWWWA: Brit Bass

I can only hope to have the moola to one day afford REAL art. Like, not prints, but PAINTINGS. There are a few beautiful ones available on Britt's site in the $300 range for 16x20 size. Of course, I want the $1000 ones. :) A girl can dream, right?

I love the focus on the basic design elements: color and shape. The occasional line... the use of space. Something about the composition really speaks to me. The outside eye would say "oh I could do that," but TRY IT. SERIOUSLY. I DARE YOU. I only wish I could pull off cool stuff like this. My abstracts always look so amateur...

#OWWWA: Brit Bass

So this Kate Spade Saturday dress looks like a slightly brighter Britt Bass painting, don't you think? The dress pattern is called "Freestyle," and I never snagged this dress back when the Kate Spade Saturday site was still active. So I stalked and stalked ebay and set alerts for it, and then one day it became available! It wasn't an awesome amazingly thrifty score, but I tell you it was worth every penny because I have been in love with this dress for so long, I will probably appreciate this dress more than anyone else that owns one!

I've gotten into a weird habit over the summer of falling in love with unavailable dresses and stalking them online. In an upcoming post, I'll feature some of my 2009 Anna Sui for Target acquisitions, and I've also recently begun the dangerous addiction that is Pinup Girl Clothing. Dun da dun dun.

#OWWWA: Brit Bass

Britt Bass Turner lives and works in Georgia, and even has a studio that you can visit! She offers studio sessions several times per year to actually come and paint with her. Or, you can order a "studio sesh in a box" which has all the directions and supplies you need to make your own abstract masterpiece.

#OWWWA: Brit Bass

This dress has a fabric tie-style belt, that I prefer to wear completely cinched, as shown above. You can also tie it in creative ways to create a cape-like back section... but I tried that and it made me look really wide. Not a flattering silhouette. I think that the dress is probably one size too large, but I was so excited to NOT buy it, or to chance that the smaller size might not fit. #fashionwishliststalkergirlproblems.

#OWWWA: Brit Bass

These paintings are too too beautiful. I like that Britt doesn't limit herself to just one medium. She'll paint with watercolors and acrylics, and they both turn out equally awesome. I think my favorite pieces are the ones with pink swatches in them.

#OWWWA: Brit Bass
#OWWWA: Brit Bass

I wore my trusty Kenneth Cole flats again on this day. Also, I tried out one of my new black crinolines from Amazon. I decided to give them a try since they are relatively inexpensive, but I discovered that the reason for it is that they are scratchy and do not lay nice like the nice chiffon one I owned from Domino Dollhouse. I'll need to find a new source, obviously. But this will work in a pinch.

#OWWWA: Brit Bass

More beautiful abstract work (with pink swatches) from Britt Bass Turner. <3 p="">
#OWWWA: Brit Bass

Eyeliner on point on this day. Also, awesome pink lipstick to match - I think that it was Tarina Tarantino (similar)? And chunky pink vintage beaded necklace, which was a birthday gift a few years ago from Steph.

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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7.20.2015

Eat It: Teriyaki Tofu Sliders

Teriyaki Tofu Sliders

At the food truck rally a few weeks back, Todd had a delicious teriyaki tofu slider. What do I do in these instances? Try to figure out how to do it on my own! And I've come up with a pretty delicious version, actually! We've made these at home several times since then, and I thought I'd share my recipe with you.

These mini sandwiches are great because the only real "cooking" you have to do is to toast the bread, which I suppose you could skip, too, but then the texture is slightly more squishy/gummy. But because of the lack of cooking, this makes a fantastic summer recipe! Also, these would be a fun party food since they're mini. They could serve as an appetizer or a main dish. Make as many or as few as you like.

The basic recipe is this: teriyaki tofu on a toasted Hawaiian roll topped with coleslaw. So, you could just buy everything pre-made and assemble. However, I've got a great (and super simple) cole slaw recipe that I like to use here. It's the perfect mix of acidic and creamy, and tastes super fresh. Check it out below:

Teriyaki Tofu Sliders

Super Fresh Coleslaw (adapted from here)

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag Shredded cabbage (or pre-shredded coleslaw mix)
  • A handful of shredded carrots (totally optional, I actually didn't even use them here)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise or Vegenaise
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (fresh or bottled - I usually use bottled)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Teriyaki Tofu Sliders

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the mayo, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and black pepper.

Teriyaki Tofu Sliders

This is your coleslaw "dressing."

Teriyaki Tofu Sliders

Dump your cabbage (and carrots, if using) into a large bowl, and then pour your dressing over the cabbage. Stir thoroughly.

Teriyaki Tofu Sliders

That's it! Now, it's a good idea to let your coleslaw sit and marinate - put it in the fridge while you get all of your other slider ingredients together. You can even make this the night before, because it's one of those dishes that gets better the longer that it sits.

This cole slaw is great for other recipes, too, so if you don't use it all, re-purpose it the next night! I especially like it as a topper on fish or shrimp tacos, or as a (veggie) burger topping along with some BBQ sauce. You could also just use the coleslaw as a side dish on it's own, you know, like a regular person. :)

Now, onto the sliders. This part isn't really a recipe, just a quick how-to on how I assemble them...

Teriyaki Tofu Sliders

First, get some of those tiny Hawaiian rolls. As many as you want to make. But since I usually am making dinner for two, I typically make six tiny sandwiches, or only 1/2 of this 12-pack package.

Next, you need teriyaki tofu. I buy this pre-made from Trader Joe's (see photo above). It's in the refrigerated section by the fake meats. All I have to do is cut it up and put it on my sandwiches - no cooking required! However, you may not have a Trader Joe's near you, so you can also make your own teriyaki tofu using a recipe like this. I recommend making it ahead of time and keeping it in the fridge so there's less work at dinnertime. Also, if you're making your own teriyaki tofu, take into consideration the time to marinate (the recipe suggests overnight) and about 30 minutes to press your tofu before marinating. Do you have a tofu press? I love mine! I recommend a model like this, if you're interested. It's totally worth it.

Teriyaki Tofu Sliders

Assuming that you don't have to make your own teriyaki tofu, you can just pull this pre-made stuff out of the package - it comes in little blocks like this (see above).

Teriyaki Tofu Sliders

Cut it up into sandwich slices. I find that if I cut each block into eight slices (as shown above), two slices make a nice little square that fit the rolls almost perfectly!

Teriyaki Tofu Sliders

Hawaiian rolls do not come sliced for sandwiches, so grab a knife and do that. Then, get a big flat skillet, like for pancakes or grilled cheese, and toast your buns with butter, as shown below:

Teriyaki Tofu Sliders

I just butter the cut side and put it on the hot, flat pan, like I was making a grilled cheese. I suppose you could try using an olive oil spray or a margarine if you're trying to be healthier.

When your rolls are toasted, you can now assemble your tiny sandwiches:

Teriyaki Tofu Sliders

Two tofu slices, then a forkful of your coleslaw that's been marinating in the fridge.

Teriyaki Tofu Sliders

Oh yum. These are so good.

Teriyaki Tofu Sliders
(Plastic Orla Kiely plate via a particularly successful HomeGoods shopping trip.)

You could definitely use this concept (tiny sandwiches) to make other versions, like tiny fish sandwiches using this coleslaw recipe, too. Speaking of, Trader Joe's actually sells fish nuggets that would work really well here. Or, instead of teriyaki tofu, try BBQ. So many options! Now go eat!

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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7.15.2015

Cats On Pink: OOTD

Heart of Haute Mandie Bee: Cats on Pink
skirt - Heart of Haute / shirt - Target / shoes - Zappos / sunglasses - Marshalls / lipstick - NARS "Funny Face"
I've decided that fun skirts are my new favorite thing. It may have started with my spiderweb skirt, or the loss of my original eShakti black tulle skirt, but I'm constantly window-shopping for fun new prints, and stalking eBay for ones on my wish list (like this one or this one, but in purple) to suddenly become available.

When I decided that I finally wanted to pull the trigger on a true "circle" skirt, I searched high and low for just the right pattern and style before making my first purchase. I settled on this Mandie Bee circle skirt in "Cats on Pink" from Heart of Haute. Also, the overall length is 23 inches, so the fact that it is just slightly shorter than other circle skirts was really preferable to me (as a shorty short girl... not quite 5'2"...).

Heart of Haute Mandie Bee: Cats on Pink

When my skirt finally arrived, it was actually too big, and I exchanged it for a smaller size - so the good news is that I can tell you that their customer service is super awesome and I was able to get this taken care of, no problem. I even had to call them to check up on my order (their entire shopping system was updated in the middle of my exchange process and I lost my order info!) but everything was super smooth and taken care of - I will definitely order from Heart of Haute again! Especially because I do love this skirt so much!

Heart of Haute Mandie Bee: Cats on Pink

I don't have any fancy retro or reproduction vintage tops to pair with my circle skirt, so I just went with a simple scoop-neck t-shirt from Target (hey, for like $6 it can't be beat!) and I'm very happy with the end result. In the colder weather, it will be really easy to pair this with a cardigan and some tights. Seasonal fashion? Heck no, make it work year-round!

Heart of Haute Mandie Bee: Cats on Pink

Pro tip: I wear black "bicycle" shorts under all of my dresses and skirts, or leggings in the winter. Although I do enjoy dresses, you never know when the wind might pick up, or you've gotta climb a ladder or sit cross-legged on the floor. Better to be safe than sorry.

Heart of Haute Mandie Bee: Cats on Pink

Nope, I don't iron. Not if I can help it. Deal.

Heart of Haute Mandie Bee: Cats on Pink

I'm still breaking in these shoes from Kenneth Cole (purchased via Zappos). They pinch the top of my foot a little bit at the front end. But once they get broken in and stretch out just a smidge, they should be fine. I really like the ballet shoe elastic criss-cross at the ankle style.

Heart of Haute Mandie Bee: Cats on Pink

In other news: Hey check it out! I painted my nails! They had gotten longer than usual, so instead of cutting them down, I decided to just go for it and paint them a nice green color (Halloween witchy-vibes)... It lasted about 3-4 days before they chipped too much and I removed the polish altogether. I can't decide if I'll finally cut them, or if I should try a new shade, like purple.

Heart of Haute Mandie Bee: Cats on Pink
Ice Age ring - Alicia Hannah Naomi / wedding band (black diamonds) - custom
I've been trying to remember to wear my wedding rings and my favorite Alicia Hannah Naomi ring most days, with varying degrees of success. I can't sleep of shower with rings on, so I take them off and forget to put them back on each day. Gotta work on that.

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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