Thursday, August 9, 2012

DIY Craft Week

"Doves" The Black Angels

I actually had a last minute opportunity to see the Black Angels last night at Mr. Smalls Theatre in Millvale.  It was also my first time at this venue.  It's one of those refurbished Catholic churches that Pittsburgh likes to use for non-church like things (such as breweries, bars, etc).  They also have many all-age shows, which is great because most of the time people my age can't see anything without a fake ID.  So the Black Angels were awesome.  Psych-Rock band from Austin heavily influenced by the Velvet Underground (vocalist really sounded alot like a male Nico).
their logo, nico, from the velvet underground

 Aside from last night and working a bunch, I've been filling up my time with some DIY stuff.  So I have a bunch of empty mason jars (from my mom's jersey tomato sauces), so I decided to put them to some use.  I also have an extreme love of candles, so why not combine the two?

Stuff you need:
  • mason jar(s)
  • Mod Podge Gloss
  • water
  • food coloring
  • parchment paper
  • foil
  • paper bowl
  • oven tray

 Begin by 1. preset your oven to 200 degrees F.  2.  thoroughly wash and dry your mason jar. 3.  Prepare your tray with foil and parchment paper on top.  4. In a paper bowl, combine one teaspoon water, 2 teaspoons mod podge, and food coloring (I used probably about 10-12 drops per jar which yielded VERY dark colors... It's up to you how dark or clear you want them to be). 5.  Mix everything together until the color is even and then pour into the jar (I used a rubber spatula to get every drop in!) 6. Carefully rotate the jar until the mixture spreads throughout and evenly let the excess drip out.  7.  Place the jar upside down on the parchment paper and bake for three minutes.  8.  Carefully remove the the excess of the mixture that has collected at the rim.  Remove the parchment paper, and bake the jar RIGHT SIDE UP from anywhere between 5-15 minutes (depending on how clear you want it to be).  9.  Let cool off!

the finished product!!
And voila!!  As you can see, if you don't carefully wipe the rim, the mixture will run and settle (look at my purple jar).  Note that these jars can no longer hold food or beverages.  Also, if you want to use these as flower jars, you're supposed to bake them with a paper cup of water in the inside (so I've heard...)

I also made use of other jars by putting some Jersey sand and seashells inside:
*the colored jars have Yankee Candle "Fluffy Towel" tea lights, and I used "Beach Walk tea lights for the sand jars.

And for the last craft of the week, I also made my own coasters!  The apartment needed some, and I had some old cork lying around, so I decided to make my own!

 Mod Podge. The main ingredient of all my crafts.  Found at Michael's Craft store for about $6

I also used a sponge brush (also at Michael's), brushes, pencil, X-acto knife, scissors, scotch tape, a sheet of cork, and acrylic paints
Begin by 1. cutting your cork into 4 by 4 inch squares and base painting them white (and don't forget the sides!).  2. Then paint whatever you'd like!  If your design is very exact, then trace it and/or cut out your own stencils with an X-Acto knife or use scotch tape for more linear designs. 3. Let your design completely dry before you sponge mod podge on your design and the sides.  *Use the sponge brush so evenly coat.  I do vertical strokes and then horizontal strokes to make sure the little cork holes absorb the glue.  4. Give the mod podge about 25 minutes to dry, and then mod podge four more times to get a thick layer of glue.  5. To give the coasters a completely waterproof seal, spray it with an acrylic sealer (which I've yet to do...)

A Nightmare Before Christmas!!

Need I say Spongebob?

New Jersey of course!  Yellow is my hometown.

A Clockwork Orange

The Dude, The Big Lebowski

no more rings on the furniture!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

going to california... well, i wish

"going to california" led zepp

Oh jeez, it's been one,wait no two months?  oh hell, it's been way longer than that since my last post. sorry world (hem hem probably only like two people).  I had the amazing opportunity to go see Roger Waters' The Wall on July 3rd.  It was seriously the best night of my life.  For any of you who are just obsessed with Dark Side... get over yourself and listen to the Wall (and not just another brick in the wall part 2 please.... just listen to the entire thing - that's how it was meant to be listened to).

quick history check: pink floyd released The Wall in 1979.  the entire album is considered a rock opera and was also later adapted into a movie in 1982.  The Wall is loosely based on Roger Waters' life.  How he dealt with the death of his father in WWII, an overprotective mother, unjust teachers, marriage, and yada yada... anyways, 2010 was the first time since 1990 that it was performed.  It was the second most expensive concert in 2010, grossing at about $60M  (I'd imagine it's much more expensive now since the wall is much larger).

So the show starts off with a partial wall, and as the show continues the wall is continually built to represent the character, Pink's, separation from people.  At the end of the show, the wall collapses when Pink realizes his guilt and orders to tear down the wall.

I decided to spend the extra money and get floor seats, and it was definitely worth it.  It's the best way to be up and close but still be able to see all the visuals.  

"In the Flesh"


"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

"Comfortably Numb"

The concert is all over youtube in its entirety.  Here is just "comfortably numb" (my favorite) with special appearance David Gilmour.  London 2011

Saturday, April 14, 2012

oh maya.....

I can't begin to even count how many times I've referenced or talked about Maya Plisetskaya on this blog.  She was (and is) just too amazing not to mention all the time.  The main reason why I speak of her today is because I met a really lovely couple at the restaurant where I work tonight.  We started talking about ballet, and it turns out the woman used to dance herself!  We got more into talking, and I found out that she was once Maya Plisetskaya's student!!!!!!  I literally almost dropped the tray of margaritas in astonishment.  This made my day so much to know that I came into contact with someone who has come into contact with my most favorite ballerina EVER.

Never heard of her, or want to learn more?  Definitely check her out on wikipedia.  I consider myself quite an expert on Plisetskaya, and Wikipedia accurately does her justice based on the knowledge that I have from reading her autobiography.

oh maya....
she is just too gorgeous
with jorge donn and bejart's company
the cover of her autobiography, I, Maya Plisetskaya

Still don't believe me about how amazing she was?  Watch these.... Oh and by the way, did you know she premiered in Alberto Alonso's Carmen?  And that she choreographed Anna Karenina?  And to this day, is still noted as having the best Dying Swan?  I could go on and on and on...

Her famous Dying Swan.  Ignore the annoying intro.  This is from 59'
Habanera's variation.  Just think, we wouldn't be watching Zakharova dance this today if it weren't for Maya!
Humpbacked Horse with Vasiliev

I could keep going with all these videos.  So please enjoy and investigate for yourselves.

Friday, April 13, 2012

ohhhh my toes

Ohhh yes, my toes.  And everything else on my body as well!  I think I'm almost over this injury.  I can almost do petit allegro and parts of grand allegro.  I'm sooo relieved to be able to do just simple tendus (which I couldn't one month ago, let alone stand on it).  This past week I've been collecting and filming different videos for a last minute over-the-sea audition. 

This week I also danced in Serenade for the first time in more than two months!  That's partially why I have a HUGE knot in my left calf (my good leg by the way...).  I've also got a badly bruised toe nail, blisters, and lower back pain (as always of course).  But, this is my life.  I'm used to it.  Unfortunately the knot in my calf came in a bad time though when I was trying to record my fouettes =/

Currently obsessed with the style of this sketch...
Tumblr is so awesome for finding really cool and random pics.  Here is a link to my TUMBLR
Most of it is random ballet, art, music, fashion, and of course the random funny stuff.

my own random:

Gosh, I so tired from work and ballet!!  Going to massage my calf, read some more of Bag of Bones and then off to bed!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"days go by"

"days go by" dirt vegas. super super old, but in love still

Spring is among us here in Pittsburgh, yet it's supposed to SNOW tomorrow?! WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?
Anyways other than the upcoming weather...

I had the opportunity to go home for a few days last week, which was so so so great!  I loved seeing my family, and eating my mom's food (unfortunately my stomach is protruding from my tights).  My uncle took me to MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in NYC.  Originally we had wanted to go to the Met (since it's one of my favorite places), but alas the Met is closed on Mondays.   But it worked out because I've never been to MoMA. 

Diego Rivera Exhibition revisits the MoMA since it's first appearance in 1931.  These are just a few of his murals displayed there currently:
Agrarian Leader Zapata. 1931. Fresco, 7' 9 3/4" x 6' 2" (238.1 x 188 cm). The Museum of Modern Art. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund
"The Uprising" (1931) by Diego Rivera. Fresco, 74 x 93 3/4 inches. (Museum of Modern Art)
"Indian Warrior (1931) Water based paint on plaster fresco mounted on cement
41 x 52 1/2 x 3" (104.1 x 133.4 x 7.6 cm)
Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts, Purchased with the Winthrop Hillyer Fund.

Impressionism and Post-Impressionism (my favorite of course, as always):

Claude Monet "Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond" (1920) oil on canvas, 78.7 × 502.4 in

Henri Rousseau, Exotic Landscape, (1908), oil on canvas
Pablo Picasso. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. (1907). Oil on canvas, 8' x 7' 8" (243.9 x 233.7 cm). Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest. © 2005 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Marc Chagall "I and the Village" 1911. Oil on canvas, 6' 3 5/8" x 59 5/8" (192.1 x 151.4 cm). Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund. © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Giorgio de Chirico,

"Gare Montparnasse (The Melancholy of Departure)"

Paris, early 1914. Oil on canvas, 55 1/8" x 6' 5/8" (140 x 184.5 cm). Gift of James Thrall Soby. © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rom
Vasily Kandinsky,

Panel for Edwin R. Campbell No. 3

1914. Oil on canvas, 64 x 36 1/4" (162.5 x 92.1 cm). Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund. © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Gustav Klimt, "Hope II" 1907-08. Oil, gold, and platinum on canvas, 43 1/2 x 43 1/2" (110.5 x 110.5 cm). Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder and Helen Acheson Funds, and Serge Sabarsky
Henri Matisse "Odalisque with a Tambourine" Nice, place Charles-Félix, winter 1925-26. Oil on canvas, 29 1/4 x 21 7/8" (74.3 x 55.6 cm). The William S. Paley Collection. © 2012 Succession H. Matisse, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New Yor
Amadeo Modigliani, "Reclining Nude" (1909) c. 1919. Oil on canvas, 28 1/2 x 45 7/8" (72.4 x 116.5 cm). Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund
Pablo Picasso "Violin and Grapes" Céret and Sorgues, spring-summer 1912. Oil on canvas, 24 x 20" (61 x 50.8 cm). Mrs. David M. Levy Bequest. © 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

These works are just ones that I had alot of interest in.  If I had to have a Top 3, they would be: Exotic Landscape (Rousseau), Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (Picasso), Reclining Nude (Modigiliani).  Rivera's exhibit was incredibe because they had all his blueprints for his large murals.

After the museum, we went to one of our favorite restaurants in Newark (one that is known for its fish, since I'm a pescetarian).  We had really good sea bass, not-so-good grilled calamari, flan, and of course sangria.

Of course what wouldn't a post be without advertising for Pittsburgh Ballet?  haha Ok, here ya go:
Performances are all this weekend.  Click HERE for tickets.

I honestly have not seen any of the rehearsals, so I cannot say what it will be like, other than that the women playing Swanilda are beautiful!  One of them, Christina Schwaner has just been promoted to Principal dancer, and she's so lovely.  If you're new to ballet, this is a great classical ballet to start with.  It's very funny and great for kids as well.

Today I danced Serenade for the first time in like two months!  It was challenging and I had to mark several things, but I didn't get hurt, and I made it through!

Happy dancing everyone,

Sunday, March 11, 2012

we live in a beautiful world...

we live in a beautiful world - "don't panic" coldplay

That fine month that marks the beginning of spring.  Oh yes.  You know what that means?  Flowers.  Rainbows after rain.  Bunnies coming out of hibernation.  Rebirth.  A New Beginning.  And hell, lets just get to it... WARMER WEATHER.

I'm really excited.  Not to mention, I'm also super excited to start dancing again.  I finally got my MRI, and I do not have a fracture in my navicular bone... just "type 2 accessory navicular bone syndrome" *gosh that's a mouthful*  For those of you who aren't anatomy geeks, the navicular is one of your tarsals on the inner part of your foot diagonally beneath your ankle bone.  Mine never formed correctly, and so unfortunately because this bone carries most of the weight of the body and is also attached to the posterior tibularis tendon....... what was my point again?  Oh yeah.... I need to strengthen the bejesus out of it.  Of course strengthening very carefully and helping it get unswollen.

I watched PBT's A Streetcar Named Desire last night.  I actually liked it very much.  It was nice to see some contemporary work that still actually has a storyline.  It was very different from the play however.  It began with a prologue where Blanche is in the asylum.  Then it flashes back to her wedding with Allan who turned out to be gay.  That marriage didn't last.  Especially when he kept dying every time she touched him.  I especially loved how Blanche always seemed so separated from everything that was going on around her.  Act 1 was brilliant, especially as her relatives are constantly dying around her.  Their black clothing and lack of expression really set the entire ballet as being extremely morbid.  It was also very interesting to have a mixture of some dialogue with the ballet.

Act 2 was also great.  This is where Blanche remembers her visit to her sister, Stella, in New Orleans.  This seemed to hold alot more true to the play.  One of my favorite parts was when Stanley told Mitch Blanche's real story.  Mitch grabbed Blanche and put her under a bright light exposing her for who she truly is.  The rape scene was also really interesting.  I was wondering how the choreographer, John Neumeier, was going to incorporate such a graphic but important scene in the form of movements.  It was really fantastic and also very tasteful.  The point was made clear.


I have the beginning of a Spring playlist.  Enjoy! (in no specific order)

if you want to sing out, sing out -- Cat Stevens
from the mvoie, Harold and Maude

don't panic -- coldplay (really awesome vid by the way
new slang -- the shins (you know you love the shins)
just breathe -- pearl jam (it's an oldie...)
as tears go by -- rolling stones
had to put this up for you guys... who doesn't love jagger?
shattered -- o.a.r. (turn the car around)
carmen -- georges bizet
plisetskaya... I had to

l'amour est un oiseau rebelle (hananera) -- georges bizet (maria callas)
we are young -- fun feat janelle monae (higher than the empire state)
karma police -- citizen cope ( radiohead cover)
romeo and juliet balcony scene -- prokofiev (ferr/bocca. the BEST)
play with fire -- rolling stones (jagger again. yum yum)
the planets -- gustav holst (neptune)  listen to all of them =]
let go -- frou frou (garden state clips)

As you can see this playlist is heavily influenced by Garden State and soft oldies =]  Keeping my loud-mouth guitar-screeching zeppelin stuff for summer if I can resist.  Anyways, if you've ever been wondering if you'd like opera, Carmen is a great opera to begin with.  It's really not that long, and it's very catchy.  I'm sure you'll recognize alot, even beginning with just the Overture!  Prokofiev is also genius as well, and his Romeo and Juliet is just fantastic.

Oh, and cheers to the time change... Yuck.  I almost forgot to change my clock, and that really would have messed up Monday morning.

(btw, it's been about 3 weeks of not biting my nails.... woot woot!)