Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Grand Marnier

I just finished my second batch of Grand Marnier!  And I am glad to announce it came out perfectly.
I did some research on the intranet to see if I could find some recipes...which I did not really like either very much.  One had you zest the oranges into a jar, add the brandy and the sugar, then shake it every day for 2 weeks.  I did 2 jars of that kind, one I left for a month, and it turned out much better than just 2 weeks.

The second recipe that I tried was to cut up the orange and put it in the brandy, then add simple syrup after 2 weeks...That one was so bad, I just threw it out!

So here is what I decided to do:
750 ml Brandy (whatever brand you want...I don't know much about it, so I just got a top shelf on sale)
6-8 oranges

I pealed the oranges trying to make sure all the pith (white stuff) was gone. Then I put them into a tight jar together for about a month.

After that, I made a simple syrup with 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup water, let it cool completely and add to brandy mixture.
Here is a photo from the first and second batches:

the second batch is much clearer.

Second batch, clear and smooth.

First batch tastes good, but very cloudy.

You can put it in the freezer to keep it cold.  Makes the most amazing margaritas or just plain as an aperitif.

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Thought Process

You know when you are thinking something and you wonder "how did I ever start thinking about this"?
Here is mine last night when I was laying in bed trying to go to sleep...

Some "extended family" members have developed this saying, which we repeat every night at bed time:
Sweet Dreams, Happy Rabbits,
One Pump of Soap,
No Scary Spiders...

I was thinking of that saying, when the Itsy Bitsy Spider came into my head...
Then it hit me, this is not just a child's nursery rhyme, it is a metaphor for life...and to think I grew up thinking that it was just about an icky spider, and always wondering why does he have to come back?

Then I started to think...well it is literal for spiders.
I am the rain that many a times came to wash the spider out...
And here is the water spout...

Soooo, after I walked away, did the 'sun' come out for the spider, and it climbed up the water spout? And was it so angry with me it decided to have little spider babies to celebrate it's triumphant rise to the top again?

Am I the reason for the proliferation of the daddy long leg species in my house?  Sweet dreams...

Oh, I forgot to mention that this post is much more exciting if you read it with a British accent.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Metamorphosis of a Blog

I never thought I would ever blog...seemed so egotistical at the talk about myself, things I like, things I am doing and then force my friends (even my son) to read it...sounds so desperate...but I have to admit that I enjoy it very much.

The idea of me blogging began with my Etsy shop. They continue to tell you that if you have a blog or some sort of social networking tool for people to get to know you, you will sell much more...didn't work for me. But I gave it a try. I spoke about what I was working on...the creative process (which for me is more of a journey that begins in my head and evolves along the can you explain it?) which quite frankly I bored myself to death, so why would others want to read it!

Then due to health reasons, I closed both of my Etsy shops.

So then I am back to the beginning of talking about myself...Sophisticated, let me explain that.  It was the name of my shop chosen mostly because it was the first thing to pop into my head.  For me it embodies the idea of some one getting older, but still wanting to stay in fashion or explore who they are now and not being afraid of being that person...a metamorphosis to middle age, still wanting to be hip and cool, but not look too young for your age thus a sophisticated hipster!

Then I closed the shop...kept the name because I like it. changed the blog around to try and represent more of me and who I am.  And now I am free to talk about whatever I want! The rest of you are free to read whenever you want...except of course my family, I will still coerce you into diligently following and commenting...

And here is where I would like to give a shout out to my loyal reader in Tunisia who has stayed through the metamorphosis of this blog...Thanks

Reading the news and seeing images of Tunisia in turmoil, I thought I would post some nice photos I found on the world wide web.

So you can picture where Tunisia is.

Well, I have written what it seems is enough about this subject...and will return soon rambling about various things I love or hate, but I will make sure that it as entertaining as possible.

What about you? Do you have a blog, and what do you use it for? Soap box, family photos, creative outlet?
let me know your there...comment below.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Sleep" Study

Well I had my, what they refer to as a sleep study, and let me tell you...they should call it something else entirely.  Against my better judgement, I will now post a photograph of me taken by me just before I didn't sleep peacefully...Please bare in mind, if you are squeamish in anyway or if you have small children in the room, do not look at the following photograph...

I took it at this angle, so that you could see not just my beautiful face, but also to emphasize the very many wires that are attached to me there at the right...and to think that I was worried that I would sleep well!

And the waiting game continues...they have to analyze the information and it should take two weeks.  Then in one month I go to the sleep Doctor and take a different test that will study a specific sleep disorder...waiting ...waiting...waiting...I think doctors sometimes feel the waiting game will weed out those who really have problems against those who aren't patient enough to find out at that particular time.  I am holding fast!  No ones gonna fool me!

This is where you may comment and discuss doctor foul play, your own waiting game, a general conspiracy theory you have been waiting to get off your chest...I am here waiting...

Monday, March 21, 2011


Hello Dada, nice to see you again...let me introduce you to my friend (insert name here).  I can tell you are going to be great friends!

The Dada Movement, or Dadaism, is my favorite Artistic time period. I think because it was so interconnected.  Like a group of friends sharing their lives, creative juices, spurring each other on to reach out for something new...exciting...different...bizarre at times...ART in it's prime. Morphing into something new that would change art from there on out.

I love the idea that this group decided to explore art that didn't have to be pretty...Yet turned out beautiful!

First, I would like to share my favorite photographer...Man Ray...

He really was one of the for runners in darkroom manipulation of photographs. Not looking for something so pure, changing the way photography was looked at... not just something to remind us of memories, or a pretty picture to hang of our favorite place...but as ART.  If you are interested, check out his Rayographs, and Space writing.

Now one of my favorite painters from the Dada period is Marcell Duchamp, and here is why...

Other notable artists in this group of friends are Tristan Tzara, amongst many things a poet...

And a Collage artist, painter, sculptor...Max Ernst...

So glad we had this time to get you two acquainted, I hope you will pursue a friendship that leads to a long life of creativity and motivates you to some extraordinary journey...

What is your favorite artist, photographer, poet? This is where against all inner desire to remain anonymous you break out of your shell and make a comment...go ahead, you can do it!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Brightest Moon in 18 Years...

I am a photographer. Here are my credentials...I took four years of photography, won various awards, worked for awhile in photography in various ways, Yet...

Tonight the moon is supposed to be the brightest it has been in 18 years. I can attest to this fact as it shines in my bedroom window as if the sun is coming up (at least what I imagine that to look like). The insomniac me struggles with the sleep deprived me...what to do...I picture in my head the amazing shadows that haven't been captured on film it 18 years! And then I think just one more second and I will be blissfully falling asleep...

I should get my "I am a photographer" revoked...

Then I think of Ansel Adams. He would pack up his box camera, wooden tripod, glass plates and hike out to some spot in Yosemite and wait there with his camera set up till the light hits in the perfect spot...and then...

However, Ansel Adams stumbled across photography to pay his bills. He was a pianist, that was his first love. So, if you asked him, "Are you a photographer?" what would he say? (assuming he was alive)
I don't know...this is a blog, not a research paper...My point being we decide what we are and what we do with that.

For instance what about those people who take pictures of their animals?

used a photo of my dog so as not to injure feelings of others,
although I have to admit I did not take this photo.
Would you call them photographers? I would have to say as opinionated as I am, sure...
Art invites opinion, but opinion does not dictate art...

So after a little...we will call it a pep talk...from my friend Steph, I have decided the following...
I am a photographer. I am a writer. I am an artist.
And I will see what I can do with that soon...

Now that I have that off my chest, I will either lay for several more hours in bed, or I will fall into a unrestful sleep...But what I will not do is fret over not going into the frigid weather to take photographs...I will leave that to the up and coming Ansel Adams out there...

Oh, but isn't my dog so cute?

Monday, March 14, 2011

The End of an Era

As you may know two of our dearest friends have been accepted to Gilead Missionary School. It is such a bitter-sweet feeling.  It is wonderful to know they will be moving on the amazing adventures, new friendships,  great is just hard that we won't be there with them to experience it all...

So we had an End of an Era was wonderful, to have a weekend full of laughs, memories, and lots of emotional turmoil over not knowing how to deal with these new feelings...

The fam...minus Jolie who had to leave before the photo.

We will miss them so much, but it will be comforting knowing they are moving on to more adventures...they can share with us.

However we did make new memories that night...

kind of helps with the emotional turmoil.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hipstamatic Has Changed My Life...

I just downloaded a new Hipstamatic app it's called IncrediBooth...So Much Fun!

Sorry Fi-Fi's not feeling so good...but you can see her not trying to smile in the last one! That's a whole lot of fun for .99! Just wanted to share...We can play with it this weekend guys!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Yummy Yummy Soup

I decided to try to make an Asian style soup...and I have to say it turned out wonderful!  I would like to share, but don't get upset...I don't cook with measurements, so sorry about that...

First, I boiled chicken breasts in water with salt to make the broth. Then I julienned some yellow and orange peppers, and snap peas.  I also would have added some salad onions, but I didn't have any. I saute these veggies, then add some soy sauce, brown sugar, and sweet pepper sauce.

I took out the chicken and cubed it, then added it all together, along with some shredded carrots and let the carrots cook though...I would have added some type of Asian noodles, but didn't have those either!

Oh, and yes, I started eating chicken...When you pick yourself up off the ground, take a look at my picture.

Well, it does taste great, I am not sure the photo does it justice!