When you are first learning to bake, I have it on good authority that it’s best to start out with a tried and true classic – Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies!
One of my goals for this year is to become a kick-ass, fantastic baker. Why? The answer is 2 fold. Firstly, I think it would do me good to put some energy into creating something tangible. Much of my work and my hobbies are based in the digital realm, and I suspect the process of baking will serve as a nice change. Secondly, if I always have delicious baked goods on hand, perhaps I can get the validation from others I so desperately crave, without having to talk to them or do anything more than hand them a yummy baked treat. (Is that pathetic? Yes it is? Oh, ok. Forget that part then.)
My first foray into the bold world of baking is a classic recipe that I’ve done in the past, and is pretty difficult to really mess up: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. Personally, I prefer oatmeal chocolate chip cookies to regular chocolate chip cookies because those little bits of oats give the whole cookie a more sophisticated, intellectual vibe, right? They are like the NPR of cookies – A little elitist and snotty, but still really tasty. So here we go…
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/2 cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose or unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz)
1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir brown sugar and butter until blended. Stir in vanilla and egg until light and fluffy. Stir in oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Finish by stirring in the chocolate chips
2. Onto non-greased cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart.
3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.
+++ Recipe modified from Betty Crocker ++++
We had purchased this little bar cart from one our favorite Antique Malls – King Richards in Whittier – long before bar carts were cool and being sold everywhere. So it was looking a bit sad and needed a little pick me up. Luckily, sometimes all it takes to give an old piece of furniture a lift is some gold spray paint, marble contact paper, and about an hour of your time.
I’ll admit that there was something about the rundown brass of the cart’s frame that I sort of found interesting. But beyond looking pretty dingy, we had also allowed our cart to get cluttered with too many cocktail accoutrements and glasses, and it had basically become an eyesore in our living room.
The time had come to cut back on the clutter, brighten up the frame, and make the table tops more modern and appealing. Perhaps the most difficult part about this project was deciding what glassware would get to remain displayed with pride on the cart and which items would need to migrate into the cupboard. Ultimately, I chose to use display a few of our smallest tumblers, our set of tiki glasses, and only the most necessary of bar tools – a shaker, ice bucket, jigger, shot glasses etc.
After giving the cart a much-needed cleaning, I sprayed an even coat of gold spray-paint (my favorite is Krylon Premium Metallic paint in 18KT Gold) and let it dry completely before adding another coat. Once dry, I traced the somewhat odd shaped table-top onto the back of my marble contact paper and carefully cut it out, leaving just a little bit of space to account for adjustments. Peeling off the backing, I gingerly placed the contact paper on the table-top, smoothing as I went, then took an Exacto knife to the edges to crop any overlay.
I repeated the same thing with the bottom shelf and presto – a revitalized bar cart! I finished things off by placing my cut down selection of barware on the cart, along with a few essential liquors and that was it. Done!
I’m really so pleased with this quick upcycling. I just love giving older pieces new life. Now, who wants a cocktail? 😉
I was feeling gloomy, as I sometimes do, and I had an intense need to surround myself in color, art, and creativity. So I went on an LA wall crawl…whilst wearing my pointe shoes.
If you’ve never been on a wall crawl, allow me to break it down for you. Basically a wall crawl is when you drive around the city to see, and perhaps take photos of, the best painted walls and street murals in town. Los Angeles is a sort of gold mine of good walls so, like a kid in a candy store, I mapped out a few of the walls on the east side of the city that I wanted to hit.
First on the list is this beauty in Atwater Village. This heart wall, painted by royalurbanart, is located just off Los Feliz Blvd, just east of The Morrison Pub, the Los Feliz Golf course, and Sante D’or Animal Rescue (where I got El Guapo.) The coolest thing about this gorgeous mural is how it has evolved and become a part of the community. People have written in things they love on the hearts, their wishes, their dreams… It’s really a beautiful spot that just exudes love.
I had been eyeing the wall for years, always thinking, I should take some pictures there, but just could never find the time. I’m glad I finally did it. You can follow more of my wall crawl on instagram with #ColorPointes.
I don’t really know how to express my feelings about the new Dance Academy movie, based on the Australian television show of the same name. First things first, let’s start with the trailer…
Ok. Cheesy, dance movie? Yeah you bet. Dancing that could be better? Always. Storyline and characters that so closely resemble the people who I met throughout my ballet career? Scarily, and rather embarrassingly accurate.
I first watched Dance Academy on Netflix one weekend when I was stuck at home with nothing to do. I was immediately hooked because, beyond the typical teenage drama (which is enticing enough on its own) I saw my own adolescence in this show. I saw a handful of summers of ballet intensives at ballet companies around the nation – I saw the pas de deux romances, the crazy teachers, and the dorm-life antics. I saw myself in Tara Webster – a wide-eyed girl who just wants to fly and believes in magic, and sees it come true when she dances. In later seasons, I saw myself in Abigail Armstrong… Like big time.
I fell in love with this show because, despite the teeny-bopper storylines, I saw in it something relatable. Something I longed for in my youth. A barometer to tell me that the sacrifices I was making for this art form were valid, justified, and something young people like me struggle with all over the world. And a gauge to see how it was normal to struggle with that commitment.
Dance Academy has its flaws. But regardless, I think it is an awesome show for young dancers, and I’ll just admit, it’s an awesome show for us old dancers who maybe have forgotten just how sweetly naive, hopeful and dedicated we all were – we all had to be. I can’t wait to the see the feature film when it hits the states… Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long!
The Comden and Green, MGM film It’s Always Fair Weather, bombed at the box office, and marked the end of the brilliant film partnership between Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, but the film has some truly endearing qualities and even earned Comden and Green an Oscar nom for original screenplay. Top of the film’s endearing list is, hands-down, this number in which Kelly’s character does a complete tap number on roller skates. It gives the “traveling time step” a whole new context, and allowed Kelly to choreograph to the new wide pan of Cinemascope with a gliding ease.
I recently found out that my mother has never seen this number and I simply can’t have that. So Mom, this is for you…
The only other Kelly number I love more than this (Singin’ in the Rain and An American in Paris are not included, because those films are in a whole different category of life,) is this number from Summer Stock…
In my humble opinion, both of these brilliant dance-on-film moments are ones to be studied, again and again, for their technique, their originality, but mostly for their exuberance, which is nothing less than inspiring.
Here’s a little music for your March…
March is one of those months where, even though there isn’t a lot going on, and it’s kind of an in-between type of month (not quite winter, not quite spring yet) I always feel a sense of inspiration and gusto. Maybe it’s because I feel like I’ve finally got my footing into the new year. Maybe it’s because I love St. Patrick’s Day. Whatever the reason, in my estimation, March is a good month. And a good month deserves some good music!
This playlist is a little all over the place, but it’s full of songs I’m digging right now. Enjoy!