The Artist's Way: Chapter 1

I had such an amazing day. It's the perfect time to talk about my artist's way experience (really wondering if that should be capitalized, but since the proper name of the book has a 'the' in front of it, I'm going to skip it.)

I spent the day with two super talented sustainable fashion ladies, both promoting vegan fashion, both inspiring the inner vegan in me who comes out every so often — when I'm not roasting chickens, that is. They reminded me that artistry is less about technique, or the medium you choose, and more about passion. That it's all in the details and it's more about how you do things than what you do. I know that deep down, but it is so nice to be inspired. Ok, I've fought off the urge to brag about my wonderful friends for a full ten seconds, and that is long enough, plus you all deserve to know where to buy sustainable clothes and whatnot. So, Stephanie runs Nicora Shoes, which is getting some love over at Vanity Fair, no biggie. She makes all vegan shoes by hand and a third generation shoemaker no less. Sica runs Bead and Reel where she selects all sustainable clothing items for her shop without compromising, well anything, really. She gets a lot of high profile love too, but so modest about it. I don't know why. I'd shout it from the rooftops. Mmm, I do shout it from rooftops. Can't keep me quiet. Anyways, that's my bit of love from the ladies I live through vicariously. So much love and doing big things for the environment. 

Alright, my takeaways from The Artist's Way, week 1 are this:

  1. The artist pages are magic.
  2. My subconscious can be kind of an ass.
  3. My life is a mix of very strong positive and negative influences. I don't feel like there's anything meager or mediocre in my life. I need to cultivate stability and simplicity.
  4. Learn to feed the positive already. 
  5. Writing in my version of magic. 

So for those of you who haven't read it, artists pages are just these three pages you write every morning. First thing in the morning before anything else you kind of just let your mind throw up for a while. Gross, but true. Just get all of the crap out of the way and let your creativity move. It's very important to the process, I've come to understand, and like I said there can be a lot of really gross stuff floating around in there. It needs to be cleaned out. Also, I'm a big fan of Rebecca Campbell, who put out this video about how important it is to dedicate yourself to a spiritual practice every day. Mine are my artist pages and yoga. Those are my non-negotiables. I don't always do yoga first thing in the morning, but this video about "The Fuzz" showed me that bodies need to be moved and cleaned out. A word of warning, it's not too graphic, but there are cadavers in the video link I shared. I'm a bit squeamish about that stuff but I didn't find the video disturbing, just interesting. 

My artist date was the local farmer's market. I didn't buy anything, I just strolled and got inspired. It was a new turn on an old favorite of mine. I just looked at the flowers mostly, but the art in displays, and passion, and exchanges. "To make living itself an art, that is the goal." Henry Miller — he knows what I'm saying. 

So this chapter talks about how crucial nurturing is and the thing is I did feel creatively nurtured as a kid. I actually felt constantly praised in school for my work with watercolors, at home for playing the piano. I was given books, art supplies, and all kinds of things as gifts for being "the creative one." I think in ways I took this away from myself. I deducted the nurturing in myself because I in my little mind didn't stack up to some societal standard, or realized there wasn't much value for this in society, or that it was made out to be trite and that my mathematical talent was somehow more important — more relevant — than the artistic talent. It felt good to say that. There are ways that I felt a little cut off at the knees as an artist by the outside world, but mostly, I think I brought the heat upon myself. A few big blocks I was able to pull out are that being an artists means that you're selfish and that you're asking for criticism. Another big one for me is this, "Who do you think you are?" feeling. I don't like that. I'm working through it. This reminds me of a quote from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho which says, "People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them. We, their hearts, become fearful just thinking of loved ones who go away forever, or of moments that could have been good but weren’t, or of treasures that might have been found but were forever hidden in the sands. Because, when these things happen, we suffer terribly."

Quotes that stuck out to me:

Pg. 45

"Remember that in order to recover as an artist, you must be willing to be a bad artist. Give yourself permission to be a beginner. By being willing to be a bad artist, you have a chance to be an artist, and perhaps, over time, a very good one."

Pg. 47

"Once we have cleared away the most sweeping cultural negatives, we may find we are still stubbornly left with core negatives we have acquired from our families, teachers, and friends. These are often more subtle — but equally undermining if not confronted. Our business is confronting them."

Pg. 48

"Negative beliefs are exactly that: beliefs, not facts. The world was never flat, although everyone believed it was. You are not dumb, crazy, egomaniacal, grandiose, or silly just because you falsely believe yourself to be.

What you are is scared. Core negative beliefs keep you scared.

The bottom line is that core negatives — personal or cultural always go for your jugular. They attack you sexuality, your lovability, your intelligence—whatever vulnerability they can latch on to."

Concrete Leaf Paperweight

I have a bunch of unposted ShapeCrete projects around here. I made this concrete log earlier too. I'm pretty into this moldable concrete thing. Usually this is the point where I talk about what I've done with my day, but for the first time, maybe ever, nothing comes to mind. Not because nothing has happened but because I've been just generally forgetful today. No particular reason I can place. It's just sometimes these things go around. In the good news department I'll be in Willow and Sage next quarter too. I'm anxiously expecting my October issue in the mail. I also got a preview of my new business cards. I really want to share what they look like along with the new design for the blog, but that'll have to wait. It'll be a surprise, the kind of surprise I talk about every day until it happens. In the mean time I'll keep making stuff with this concrete that the folks at ShapeCrete were kind enough to send me to try out. I hope I'm doing it justice. Oh, also that book under the paper weight is The Untethered Soul. I have a bunch of books in line to read, but this one got bumped to the front since it was a gift. Gifts always go to the front of my list. I'll get to it as soon as I'm done with the majesty that is Power vs. Force. I highly recommend that one, in case that weren't clear. 

Here's what you'll need:

  • ShapeCrete
  • Gold Paint - I used Liquitex
  • An empty plastic gallon of water
  • Some leaves - Mine are from a Birds of Paradise plant

Note: Please use safety-ware goggles, gloves, mask, when working with concrete.


  • Mix up your Shapecrete per the instructions. It's a 3:1 ratio for clay like concrete and 4:1 for pourable concrete. That ratio is water to powder. 
  • Cut your gallon just of water approximately in half.
  • Arrange the leaves inside of it. I did mine spine side down for a more three dimensional paperweight design. 
  • Add in your Shapecrete making sure to press it in gently to get the full impression of the leaf. 
  • Let it dry overnight covered in plastic wrap.
  • Once it's completely dry cover with one coat of gold paint. 
  • Set aside to dry.

Yellow Curry and Red Palm Oil Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

I just found out that Real Simple wants to use one of my DIYs to feature. It's always nice to be pursued by publications that feel a little out of your depth. I guess I have to get into the deep end sooner or later, but it's nice to be led instead of having to push through the muck. This blogging adventure is full of surprises, I'm happy to say. I've roasted a few birds with curry powder recently, I'm a pretty big fan of it. I've got a new ingredient to mix it up with. It's actually my first time using it and it's red palm oil. I found it at Trader Joe's and I felt compelled to buy it. I didn't really have any specific plans for it, but that's something I can always work out later. 

So, as most highly pigmented foods are, this oil is high in antioxidants. It's also high in vitamin E, others have more info on this and the benefits. I also saw on Dr. Oz that red palm oil can help to clear your arteries. I was a little worried that some of these benefits would be lost when cooking it at higher temperatures for a long period of time, but it seems that it's pretty heat stable. So, all is well in the cooking world with my clean arteries and hopefully some of that vitamin E will work its way to my skin and leave me looking super healthy. #lifegoals As for the taste, it's difficult to describe. I've heard it described as saffron, I could see that, I would describe it as nutty. 

For this bird you'll need a turkey roaster. I have a large electric one I use on the stove top, but you can use the kind that goes inside the oven — this is just a giant, oven safe pot, with a lid. I like the countertop one because you don't have to heat up the entire house by turning on the oven and if you commit yourself to cooking a bird every so often, it'll be worth it, or it might just collect dust until you use it once a year on Thanksgiving, which is also fine because it frees up the oven for all the other foods you need to make. Either way, it's a good choice. I have good ideas. #selfvalidating Oh, and you can throw in some vegetables to cook in there too. I used yams and white potatoes. 

Here's what you'll need:

  • 2 tablespoons of red palm oil - I used Trader Joe's
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon of yellow curry powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon of rice vinegar - I used Kikkoman
  • 1/2 teaspoon or garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of salt - I used Himalayan
  • 1 whole roasting chicken - mine was about 5 1/2 lbs
  • 2 medium white potatoes - chopped
  • 2 medium yams - chopped


  • Pre-heat your oven or turkey roaster or oven to 400°
  • Before you begin marinating your bird make sure to remove the giblets and gizzards inside the bird. They're typically in a small bag. I cook them for the dogs so they don't go to waste. You can also try this with yours.
  • I usually give my chicken a quick rinse to get rid of any extra juices before I start. Do this with very hot water. 
  • Mix up your red palm oil with your herbs and spices. Rub them onto your bird with a brush. I just use my hands.
  • Place the bird breast-side down inside your turkey roaster and arrange the potatoes around the bird along with the chicken stock. 
  • Reduce the heat to 350° and cook 20 minutes per lb. Mine was 5 1/2 lbs, so it was about 1 hr and 45 minutes to 2 hrs. 
  • For dryer meat flip the bird breast side up and set the oven to broil for 10-15 minutes or until browned. I got that tip from my sister who prefers it that way. However you cook it make sure the internal temperature of the bird reaches 165°

Potting and Nurturing New Succulents

Just when I begin to think that all of Los Angeles is a concrete jungle, I end up somewhere completely new, like the desert in Agua Dulce, Ca, a pretty mild jaunt from where I live to experience something completely different. 

Naturally I couldn't miss the opportunity to forage for new plants for my house. I got some green lemons and tuna (cactus fruit) that you'll probably see in some recipes sometime soon, but right right now we'll talk about how to pick and plant succulents you found outdoors. The single easiest way is find a plant that looks like one of the two above and grab one of those little ones. They pop right out of the soil and usually have very shallow roots. You can let their roots dry out for a few days or transplant them right into soil. The point being, they'll be fine without soil for a few days.

Since I wanted to pull off some of the less healthy, more unattractive leaves what I did was let them sit in water for about an hour. This helps the leaves come off much more easily. I also like to get the roots exposed so they transition easier. 

From here all you do is drop the plant into so soil. Cactus soil is always a good choice for plants that need fast draining soil. You can also choose to add some sand or rocks to get a more coarse soil. I didn't do either of these things this time, but you can especially if you live in a more humid climate. 

These are some of the other cacti I collected. I'll update on what I decide to do with them in upcoming posts. I think I may sprout some pups like in this post and this post or maybe just plant them like I did in this post. Those two little hairy ones I'm especially uncertain about. Maybe I'll try them both ways and see what works. I'm excited to see them grow up like that picture below. Oh and water these new plants about twice a week and make sure they get plenty of sunshine. Sunshine is crucial to succulent growing. :)

Things I Love 10.4

I was going to do my first post about The Artist's Way today, but the thing is that I've only read the chapter — haven't done the activities. So, I got to thinking it would probably be a lot more exciting knowing what my experience was rather than just my impression of it. See, the whole book is interactive and I, well, I take that stuff pretty seriously. There's really no in-between for me, plus I tend to take on any kind of challenge — healthy or not, we'll leave it at that. It's just in my nature to go all in or suffer the crushing guilt from not going all in. So, as I live and learn I choose to minimize the crushing guilt thing and just do it right the first time. :) This week I'll do my illusive Things I Love feature. I never really know when I'll do these, just when the mood strikes or when someone I know is doing something awesome that I want to talk about... and also the cute things I see on Pinterest. That's how that works, basically. It used to be a regular thing, now I just kinda sneak them up on you. So, here's the stuff that's inspired me most on Pinterest these days. 

One day, maybe three years ago, I decided to go through all of my Pinterest accounts and print out a bunch of photos for inspiration. This was one of the ones I printed and it inspired me to knit a scarf just like that and continue growing my hair out its natural color — no small feat, especially that second part. source: srtrends

Just some good advise. source: viciously cyd on tumblr

I second that. source: then let it be on tumblr

Definite crystal envy. source: the boho garden on tumblr

Amethysts have been my favorite recently, even though I can't find mine right now. Maybe it's a sign to buy more. source: amethysts and the moon 

I really want all of these cacti. All of these swirly, round cacti. P.s. the rest of the photography on this link is worth checking out too. source: jessie webster

Some days are like this... source: buzzfed

... and some are like this. source: boho mixology

I'm so into orange these days, plus I just generally like what's happening here with these colors. source: fubiz

This is the cutest smoothie I've seen in a while. source: ambitious kitchen

Dreaming of what it might be like to wake up here. source: indoors and outdoors on tumblr

I'm wondering if I can get a bunch of different sized paintbrushes and do this myself source: domaine