Frida Kahlo

Frida

Frida Kahlo is one of the most inspirational women in art history.  Her style is unique, colorful, intimate, and at times, shocking, and she is considered a surrealist.  Many of her paintings reveal her personal experience and suffering because she used herself as one of her main subjects.  She was born on July 6, 1907 and at a very young age she dealt with a number of health issues: she contracted polio and later suffered from a tragic bus accident, almost killing her.  In the crash, a pole damaged her pelvis and made it impossible for her to have children.  She married Diego Rivera as a young woman and their relationship was disharmonious; each of them was said to be unfaithful to one another, they divorced, and remarried.  The pain and suffering she experienced throughout her lifetime is conveyed through her art, and she is highly recognized as a feminist icon for her resilience and her grand success.  As a Mexican artist she created over 200 pieces of art, out of which 143 were paintings and of those 55 were self-portraits.  Two are shown below:

Self-Portrait-Dedicated-to-Dr-Eloesser-1940-by-Frida-Kahlo

Self Portrait Dedicated to Dr Eloesser, 1940, by Frida Kahlo

rootspic

Roots, 1943, by Frida Kahlo

Her influence exceeded her lifetime and she is continually depicted by modern artists.  In the painting below, Frida adorns the floral headpiece and hand earrings that she painted herself wearing many times.  I love the butterflies and the vibrant colors.

Oil Painting called 'Frida Kahlo' by  Joanna Sierko Filipowska

Oil Painting called ‘Frida Kahlo’ by Joanna Sierko Filipowska

One of my favorites is a modern Frida wearing a band t-shirt:

by Fabian Ciraolo

by Fabian Ciraolo

One more that I find absolutely beautiful:

Called "Seeing Color" by Sharon Cummings

Called “Seeing Color” by Sharon Cummings

For someone who suffered so many hardships she possessed a positive attitude toward life:

“Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light. Tragedy is the most ridiculous thing.”
– Frida Kahlo

I have a great love for Frida, and I hope after learning a little bit about her, you do, too.  There is a wonderful documentary if you want to know more about her life and artwork called “Portrait of an Artist: Frida Kahlo” (1983).

Chelsea

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Birchbox Love

Birchbox Product Review

Some products are worth raving about and Birchbox monthly subscription is one of my current favorites.  I signed up three months ago and I have yet to be disappointed.  Here is the low down:

Cost: $10

Contents: 4 to 5 beauty product samples + 1 lifestyle sample (tea bags, chocolate, granola bar, stationary, etc.)

These samples are not skimpy in size – they mostly consist of small tubes of moisturizer, mini spray bottles of hair product, small nail polishes and lip stains.  Most of my samples have lasted me the whole month, if not longer, and I have been thoroughly satisfied with them.  If you like trying new beauty products and enjoy getting a package in the mail, then Birchbox is for you.  I love the day it comes in the mail and I get to look through my new collection of goodies.

April Unboxed

april box

1) Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle Detangling Spray – Although this sample was a good size, the spray bottle was defective and I could not get it to spray on my hair.  Fortunately, it did not prevent me from unscrewing the cap and applying it to my damp hair anyways.  This is the first faulty sample I’ve received in three months so I’m not complaining.  In fact, I was impressed that Birchbox sent me a follow up product from the same company after I positively reviewed a sample of Beauty Protector Hair Oil in my first box.  This was a small vial of oil for your hair, wet or dry, which smelled absolutely amazing.  The scent was the same as Pink Sugar perfume in case you ever used that in the past.  I loved the hair oil so much that I committed to buying it.  The first Birchbox worked it’s magic on me.  Plus, I was able to stretch the little glass bottle of oil for almost two months.  Well worth my ten dollars if you ask me.  The detangler smells as good as the oil, but it is only meant for wet hair.  I like the oil better because I can dab it on the ends of my hair to make it smell wonderful on a day when I’ve spent time outside or haven’t had the time to wash it.

2) Color Club Gala Gems Nail Polish ($13.00 for 4 small polishes)- I received a turquoise color with a pearl finish called “Breakfast at…”  I like the color and I love painting my nails so it made me happy to receive a whole polish in my box.

3) Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner ($11.00) – This eyeliner is a soft, wax pencil, and it can be bought in either black, lime green, olive green, dark green, charcoal grey, brown, or sky blue.  My typical eyeliner comes in a green tube from Maybelline and costs a little over $4, and I’m not especially happy with it.  It tends to leave under-eye smudges throughout the day.  This eyeliner, however, pleased me very much and provided me with smooth, black, defined lines and no smudging.  I’m very happy with the size; a whole eyeliner is worth almost half the box.  I would buy this product.  However, the down side is it must be ordered on Birchbox and it’s almost three times the price as my regular, convenient store-bought eyeliner…higher quality, higher price, less convenient.

4) Harvey Prince Yogini Perfume Sample ($55.00 for 50 ml) – The scent is light and fresh – good for spring or perfect for freshening up after yoga! I love little perfume samples because they are great to stick in my purse to have on hand if I need a little spritz as the day goes by.

5) KIND Healthy Grain Bars Granola Bar (lifestyle sample, $11.88 for a box of 15) – It’s nice to try a new healthy snack and I liked the taste and crunch of this granola bar.  My bar was Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt, but I think I would have liked Dark Chocolate Chunk or Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate better.  It’s nice that these bars are gluten free and full of healthy super grains including oats, millet, quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat.

Extras:

  • Each box you receive comes with a card that gives a detailed description of each sample in the box and how to use it.  It also provides you with the cost of the full-size product.
  • The boxes are themed for each month.  April’s box also included a “rainy day tip” since April is considered the month of showers, and the goodies were wrapped in blue tissue paper.
  • An added benefit to subscribing to Birchbox is that any product you order after receiving a sample of it will be shipped for free.  The company also sends frequent discount codes by email.  If you post a review providing feedback about one of the products you received, you earn points to save you money when you shop in the Birchbox store.  Referring friends and buying things on the site also earns you points.
  • The cardboard box is reusable – I might use one to store stationary and one to store headbands.  Might as well get your money’s worth out of the packaging!

Other Box Favorites

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil ($25.00) This is the hair oil I was raving about in the description of the first product!

hair oil

theBalm® cosmetics How ‘Bout Them Apples?™ ($32.00) These lip tints are great.  My box had a small square sample with one of the lip tints.  The red color was a perfect stain and it left my lips feeling smooth.  It’s on my buy list!

apples

Skin&Co Roma TRUFFLE THERAPY™ SERUM Boosting Anti-Aging Serum ($75.00)  The serum is a moisturizer to apply to your face and neck after washing it and before bed.  It smells amazing and I could feel it tightening and firming my face.  Too expensive for me, but if you really value an anti-aging serum, then this one is worth trying.

truffle

Chelsea

(Pictures taken from Birchbox.com)

Chelsea Chow

Image

Do you like puppy chow? This chocolaty treat is ridiculously delicious and can rarely be found for sale in grocery stores or bakeries.  I proposed my variation of the puppy chow recipe and named it (not so surprisingly) “Chelsea Chow” for a business presentation a while back.  I gave a sixty second elevator pitch to an audience of fake investors explaining why my dessert should be sold in stores.  In my research of local grocery stores and bakeries I was surprised at the high demand for puppy chow and the inability to find it for sale anywhere around.  The only way to get it is to make it yourself…or befriend me and ask for a batch!  It is super easy to make and it produces a big enough batch to bring along to a campout, concert, or any fun gathering of friends, and it’s so addicting, it’s sure to impress.

Chelsea Chow Recipe

Time: 5 to 10 minutes

Serves: 10 people

Ingredients:

Box of Chex cereal (use plain or either multi-bran or gluten free for the health conscious)

12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter (I use reduced fat, no one can taste the difference and it’s better for you)

1 stick of butter (melted)

1 teaspoon of vanilla

2-3 cups of powdered sugar

Directions:

1.  Melt the chocolate chips in a glass bowl (microwave for about 45 seconds) and combine with the melted stick of butter, the peanut butter, and the vanilla.  Once well stirred, this mixture will coat the chex cereal.

2.  Use a bowl large enough for the whole box of cereal with room to toss it all in the chocolate/pb mixture.  Start out with about three cups of chex cereal in the bowl and pour a couple of spoonfuls of the chocolate mixture, and stir to coat.  Add another three cups of chex and repeat the chocolate pouring and stirring.  Add the rest of the box of cereal and the rest of the chocolate mixture.  Stir the whole bowl of puppy chow so the chex is well coated.

3.  Finally, top off the bowl with about two cups of powdered sugar and shake the bowl from side to side (if you can cover the bowl at this point with a lid and shake it all around that would be the most effective way to toss all the cereal in the powdered sugar to ensure the sugar gets evenly distributed).  Taste test your puppy chow and if it is too gooey or sticky still, then scoop up any powdered sugar from the bottom of the bowl and bring it to the top to evenly coat and add more powdered sugar as desired for the right texture.

Bon appetite!

Chelsea

Please let me know if you try out the recipe! Also, if you enjoy a little light business reading, I still have a copy of the elevator pitch and I’d be happy to share it.

Package in ziplock bags to share with friends –

IMG_2473

Road Trip Playlist

It’s time for Easter break!  I have a six hour drive to St. Louis, so I take full advantage of the time by listening to great music.  Here’s a playlist of my favorite road trip songs – they range from classic oldies to modern hits.  They’re fun songs to sing along with and jam to!

Road trip playlist:

1.  You Can Call Me Al – Paul Simon

2.  Naïve – The Kooks

3.  September – Earth, Wind, & Fire

4.  Brave – Sara Bareilles

5.  Hotel California – Eagles

6.  Hey Leonardo (She Likes Me for Me) – Blessed Union of Souls

7.  Mirrors – Justin Timberlake

8.  Heart Songs – Weezer

9.  Strawberry Swing – Coldplay

10.  Just What I Am – Kid Cudi

11.  Can’t Stop – Red Hot Chili Peppers

12.  99 Red Balloons – Nena

13.  Big Yellow Taxi – Counting Crows

14.  Walking in Memphis – Marc Cohn

15.  Many the Miles – Sara Bareilles

16.  Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Deep Blue Something

17.  Showstoppers – Danity Kane

18.  Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel

19.  Heart of Life – John Mayer

20.  Can’t Get Away – Third Eye Blind

Happy listening!

Chelsea

Last minute additions: One Headlight – The Wallflowers and Send Me on My Way – Rusted Root

Andy Warhol – The Man Behind the Cans

About VIPs:

I decided to create a category called VIPs to talk about some really cool, interesting, and influential people in the world.  I love Andy Warhol’s art and I have three of his works hanging in my room, yet I know very little about him.  Therefore, I will devote my first VIP profile to Andy Warhol, the man responsible for the famous Campbell’s Soup Cans painting (1962), or as I like to call him, the man behind the cans.

Self-Portrait, 1963-1964 (acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen)

Andy Warhol: the man famous for encapsulating American icons in his artistic expression from 1949 to 1987

Backstory and Success

Andy Warhol is famously known as the most influential American pop artist of the twentieth century.  He was born as Andrew Warhola to parents Andrej and Julie Warhola on August 6, 1928 in Pittsburgh, PA, the youngest of three boys.  From a young age he showed a great interest in films, drawing, and photography, and he grew up with a drive to become a commercial illustrator.  Though his father died when he was only fourteen years old, he had recognized his son’s talent and potential, and he had saved money to pay for young Warhol’s college education.  After high school, Warhol studied at Carnegie Institute of Technology (now called Carnegie Mellon University) from ’45-’49 and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Pictorial Design.  Soon after, Warhol quickly moved to New York City in order to pursue his ideal career, and just as quickly he achieved success.  Glamour magazine published his work for the first time in September of 1949.  He went on to become “one of the most successful illustrators of the 1950’s” and he continued to grow increasingly famous throughout the span of his career.

Warhol’s illustrations are characterized by a fanciful and unique style.  One drawing that appealed to me especially is called In the Bottom of My Garden (ca. 1956) shown below.  I love everything about it: the shapeless bodies and peaceful expressions of the angels, the cursive script and how its nestled between the angels and the flower, and the big, red flower itself.  He has a simple, but whimsical artistic hand, and I think it’s light-hearted and pretty.

warhol garden

He shifted from drawing to painting at the end of the ’50’s, and he created his first “Pop painting” in 1961.  In the next year he launched himself into fame when he debuted his “Campbell’s Soup Can Series.”  People loved his work, and celebrities hired him to create portraits of them.  He was fascinated by Hollywood, so he often used movie stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Elizabeth Taylor as subjects in his works.  In the ’60’s he also worked with others to “create hundreds of films,” the most famous being Empire (1964), The Chelsea Girls (1966), and the Screen Tests (1964-66) (The Andy Warhol Museum).   I was delighted to find he had made a film with my name in the title and I cannot wait to watch it.  The 1960’s kept Warhol busy; in 1964 he premiered his first sculpture exhibit of giant supermarket boxes such as Brillo Boxes and Heinz Boxes and used the occasion to show off his studio.  The studio was painted silver and he liked to call it “The Factory.”  It quickly became a celebrity hot spot, and, as a growing celeb, he began to appear in the media frequently (always wearing Ray Bans).  Since he was so fascinated with Hollywood, I can imagine attaining stardom must have been extremely fulfilling.  Not only did he possess creativity, but he also was a savvy businessman with an entrepreneurial spirit.  His experience as a commercial illustrator in the advertising industry taught him to be attentive to consumer needs and culture, and he learned how to firmly develop his own “signature style” in order to brand himself.  He was said to have a magnetic personality, and that he was willing to engage anyone and welcome them into his own “Warhol world.”  I think I would have liked to be friends with him very much.

More about his artwork:

One extremely cool series created by Warhol in 1974 was called Time Capsules: he filled cardboard boxes with “the materials of his everyday life, including mail, photos, art, clothing, collectibles, etc.”  Warhol constructed more 600 of these boxes and now they are considered “an archival goldmine of his life and times” (The Andy Warhol Museum).
Books he’s published include: Andy Warhol’s Index (Book), published in 1967, THE Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again) (1975), Exposures (1979), POPism (1980),and America (1985). An interesting detail about his books was that most of them were “based on transcribed conversations,” according to The Andy Warhol Museum.  He produced TV shows, which were nationally aired, called Andy Warhol’s T.V. and Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes, and he appeared in one episode of The Love Boat.  He was commissioned to draw celebrity portraits for the most famous, he helped rock bands produce music videos, and he signed with modeling agencies and appeared in ads and fashion shows.

Warhol created so many different forms of art and excelled at every creative outlet he experimented with.  His extreme success is measurable by the sheer number of works he created as well as the fame those works earned him.  Both his success as an artist and his impact on the world of American art and culture have been profound.

Some of my favorites:

Model

             Unidentified Model with Butterfly Screen Projections (1952)

cans

                                            Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962)

Warhol-Double-Elvis-247x395

                                                     Double Elvis (1963)

Inspiration:

My first experience with Andy Warhol occurred on a special sixteenth birthday trip to New York City.  I had never been, but for some reason I was so infatuated with the thought of it; a city alive with business, art, culture…too many movies had instilled in me an overly idealized image of NYC (my favorite of which contains a romantic affair at the top of the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day).   I still remember singing “Light My Candle” from RENT with my best friend, completely oblivious of it’s meaning, yet wishing we could be Rosario Dawson.  The excitement of finally seeing the city I loved so much never drained.  Even after realizing I may not need to live in NYC, I was thrilled at getting the chance to explore everything.  When I walked into the center of Times Square and stood with my arms out, I felt energized by everything surrounding me: the screens all brightly lit and the rush of people crowded, moving in all directions around me, and tourists, like us, taking pictures.  I felt happy.  The city was so enriched with cool places and landmarks.  My mom and I chose to take a double-decker tour bus around the city, and to get off at spots we wanted to explore.  I remember getting off in Greenwich Village and having lunch in an artsy café which smelled of coffee.  We liked all the shops we went into and we thought the Washington Square Park Arch was beautiful.  I thought, “This would be a nice place to live, and I could walk to this café to read the paper, write a paper, or do something academic.”  After awhile my mom and I waited at the bus stop, ready to move on, but it didn’t come.  We were lost and flustered for a bit and ended up walking a long ways to find our hotel.  But I remember enjoying every part of the trip, even getting lost.   The city was amazing, we watched two wonderful Broadway plays (Wicked and Legally Blonde The Musical), we saw the Statue of Liberty (although from afar, since we missed the boat), and we went to the Museum of Modern Art.   I think museums are fascinating and I enjoy looking at art, so this place was like heaven.  I had to stop in front of each piece of art, and I took an embarrassing amount of photos.  The artist that struck me the most was Andy Warhol.  I thought Warhol’s art was beautiful; I was captivated by the colors and images he used.  I loved the Double Elvis because I grew up listening to Elvis and watching his movies.   The museum was amazing and the entire trip meant a lot to me.  Now, after learning about Warhol’s backstory, I have an even greater appreciation for him as an artist.  Here are the pictures I have hanging in my room, like this:

     but i always blue    the world red    art

I love the quotes on each picture, and I think they give a little insight into Warhol’s thoughts.  Today is a day to think like Warhol and to let the world fascinate you in any way possible.  Get inspired, do something fun, be happy!

Chelsea

Sources:

“Andy Warhol Biography.”  (2013).  Retrieved from http://www.warhol.org/collection/aboutandy/biography/

MoMA Learning.  Retrieved from http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A6246&page_number=3&template_id=6&sort_order=1

Caught in the Rain

a farewell to arms

A Book Review of Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms

Plot Summary:

The novel takes place in Italy during World War I, and it tells the story of an American named Frederic Henry who worked as an ambulance driver and lieutenant for the Italian Army.  Lieutenant Henry gets injured by a trench mortar shell while eating macaroni and cheese in a trench with three Italian soldiers.  His legs are harmed and one of his knees is badly injured.  While recovering in a hospital in Milan, he falls in love with an English nurse named Catherine Barkley.  Their romance develops throughout the time Lieutenant Henry recovers, returns to the war, and finally escapes it.  The couple moves to Switzerland and Henry seems to have moved past the war (which is still waging without him) to live a happy life with his wife, whom he calls Cat, and their soon-to-be-born child.  The word “seems” gives the ending away, but I won’t spoil it completely (yet)…I’ll just tell you to have a box of tissues at hand.

My Critical Opinion:

I loved reading this wonderful novel for many reasons.  Hemingway’s prose beautifully describe the environment and the setting so that the reader can produce imagery of it in their imaginations.  You feel like you are seeing the mountains and villages of the Italian countryside that Henry sees, or watching the long caravan of soldiers marching, or feeling the rain drench through your clothes.  Hemingway shows Henry’s experience with narration while seamlessly integrating dialogue between characters.  The cool thing about this novel is that it contains certain plot points which really occurred in Hemingway’s life: he worked as an ambulance driver for the Italian Army, he was injured by a trench mortar shell, and he fell in love with a nurse while recovering.  As an author, he used biographical material from his life and created works of fiction, like this one, to tell a story about something that mattered to him.  A Farewell to Arms is a story about the duty of a soldier; it’s about the senselessness, yet inevitability of war, as well as the inevitability of death; and it is also a story about finding and losing love.

Extra:

So in giving plot summary I mentioned that Lt. Henry gets injured while eating mac ‘n cheese…it is not essential to the plot, but it’s funny.  When the offensive attack started, Henry was sheltered in the Major’s lodgings trying to get food for his drivers who were waiting in a trench, hungry.  Lt. Henry got the macaroni and some cheese to put on top and ran out during the bombing to bring his men the food, against the Major’s advice.  So Hemingway paints a picture of Henry and his three Italian soldiers sitting in a trench, all eating mac ‘n cheese out of the same pan with their hands and mouths during the attack.  I think I actually laughed out loud while reading it.  It amazes me that Hem was so skilled he could make something funny out of a violent act of war in one, ironic scene.  Oh, and did I mention wine? They were also drinking wine while eating their mac ‘n cheese.  Henry has a great love for alcohol (not coincidentally so did Hemingway) and drinks himself into jaundice after his surgery.  He drinks from the beginning to the end of this novel.  Even while Catherine is having a caesarian section he has a few drinks at a café across from the hospital.  The hospital is located at the bottom of the mountain that Henry and Catherine had been living on, and Hemingway symbolically illustrates good things happening while up in the mountains and bad things happening down on the plain.  Rain is a reoccurring symbol throughout the novel which also indicates something bad stirring.  Spoiler Alert: It’s raining when Catherine goes into labor and it continues to rain through the end when Henry walks back to the hotel in the rain, alone.  The tragedy occurs at the end when both Catherine and the baby die during childbirth.  I instantly and uncontrollably burst into sobs…not just a few tears rolling down my cheeks, but the loud, heaving, sobbing type of crying when I reacted to the loss in the story.  I think Hemingway built up the romance between Henry and Catherine so strongly and emotionally, showing them overcome obstacles to be together, only for Henry to be left completely alone in the end.  No one escapes death; it takes everyone in time.  Though tragic, the end is captivating and moving.

Overall, I enjoyed the novel so much so that I think I’m warranted in suggesting it to anyone who likes to read.  I’ve been mentioning it in daily conversation and randomly informing friends and colleagues of little bits of Hemingway trivia.  What can I say? I’m a book-nerd.  I hope you read it and I hope you like it as much as I did.

Chelsea

A passage from the novel, my favorite passage, and one that reveals the essence of it:

“Often a man wishes to be alone and a girl wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that.  We could feel alone when we were alone together, alone against the others.  It has only happened to me like that once.  I have been alone while I was with many girls and that is the way that you can be most lonely.  But we were never lonely and never afraid when we were together.  I know that the night is not the same as the day: that all things are different, that the things of the night cannot be explained in the day, because they do not then exist, and the night can be a dreadful time for lonely people once their loneliness has started.  But with Catherine there was almost no difference in the night except that it was an even better time.  People bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them.  The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places.  But those that will not break it kills.  It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially.  If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry” (Hemingway, pg 249).

 

Photo taken from http://www.powells.com/biblio/17-9780684801469-1