Sunday, January 6, 2008

Last Day of Freedom Blues

I made this salad on Friday. I usually make this salad by layering slices of mozzarella, leaves of basil, and rings of red onions then drizzling balsamic vinegar and olive oil and sprinkling with salt and pepper and a little oregano. However, I picked up these miniature mozzarella balls by mistake so I chopped everything instead. The photo is taken before I let it sit in the fridge a while and marinade which makes all the flavors soak into each other. This salad is delicious on a baguette or could be tossed with pasta too. I ate it on it's own.

I almost made the resolution to continue making lunch even though I am going back to work on Monday. But with the 6:30 AM departure from home and the brain dead state when I return back home at 6:00 PM I know this won't happen and why set myself up for failure? So instead I'll just have pleasant memories of my salad days.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Recycled Beauty

I love this bag. I keep it in my purse and use it for all the little odds and ends I need with me throughout the day like lotion, motrin, a nail file, chapstick, and mascara. What I love even more is that it is from one of my favorite stores in Eagle Rock, Regeneration and it is made of recycled bags from a fair trade company.
Viterra pouches & totes:In urban India, the plethora of plastic bags that blow through the streets are gathered by the homeless and traded in for money. The bags are then processed into the raw material used to create these bags. No dyes are used to create this innovative fabric, as the earthy bands of color are actually derived from the bags themselves.

The Luxury of Time

This is my last weekday of freedom before returning back to the the cave. One of the greatest aspects of the luxury of time is to be able to make and eat lunch at home. I love to step into the kitchen to eat when my body wants to eat not at 12:00 PM or as is most typical when I can step away for 5 minutes to pop something from the lean cuisine line of tastes almost like food products into the microwave and then scurry with it in hand back to my hallway excuse for an office. At home, I use fresh ingredients and eat what sounds good to me on a particular day not what I happen to have left in the office fridge. Yesterday I made a Greek salad and nearly cried. What happened to civilized living? This morning I woke up and felt human again and it only took two weeks to return to my species.

Kalamata Olives
Red Onion
Feta Cheese (get the real stuff)
Red Wine Vinegar
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

All ingredients chopped and seasoned to preference

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Revelations and Resolutions

There are a few self-realizations that have crystallized for me over the last year. Some of these come from the blogosphere, filled with wise souls and silly personality quizzes. Others I have figured out through talks with friends and one sage. Still others resonate with me like a mantra on my hour-half commute. My life has become one monstrous carbon footprint driving down Alvarado to Washington then scooting down Venice through Palms to the edge of Santa Monica then home on the 10 to the 110 to the 101 through Echo Park and over Baxter to Allesandro then back on the 2 to Verdugo. This life is punctuated by lack of daylight inside my accidental career cave and then off to sleep in my neglected bedroom. The floor of the hostel in Istanbul had more charm and warmth than my bedroom. How could I even think I could wrestle contentment out of this?

1) Kindness begins with one's self.
2) I spend most of my time preventing failure rather than succeeding.
3) I don't trust others.
4) I prefer sleeping to being awake on most days.
5) I need to not keep doing what I am doing even if it creates some financial difficulties.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Profiles in New Year Realities and Dreams

So I decided it was time to take Investment Banking off my profile listing for occupation. I am not sure how it ended up on my profile and I noticed that it was there several months into writing the blog. And when I noticed it, I thought it sounded cool and nobody looks at my profile anyway. Something about it made me happy. But really, I am so far from an investment banker and any one of the group of bloggers that I can count on my right hand that read this blog would find that pretty obvious. But I couldn't bring myself to list my current "career" so I just left it with Arts.

DNA of a Concerned Artist

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Soap--I'm Watching Tivo

Getting the Dish On Soap (this is from Fine Living)

Although most soap is made from the same fundamental ingredients, the basic formula has been modified to create thousands of products with different specific uses. Some soaps help to moisturize dry skin, others aid in controlling oily skin, and still others are designed to make bath time more pleasurable and soothing. So which soap formulas are best for which purposes? We asked an expert for the inside scoop on soap.

While working for a commercial real estate firm in Los Angeles, Texas native Shelley Maxwell began reading and experimenting with aromatherapy, creating scents and products that she was unable to find in stores. With a friend, she started the successful natural bath products company Soap scum, which led her to a new career path. Two years later, she founded a new boutique and a bath products company called Luxury Laboratory, with product lines selling in stores throughout Los Angeles and the United States. We asked Shelley, what is soap really made of, and what makes one kind different from another?

* Basic ingredients. According to Maxwell, all true soaps contain the two basic ingredients of fat and alkali. The alkali is usually lye.
* Animal. Most commercial soaps are made from animal fat, also called tallow. Tallow results in a nice hard soap.
* Vegetable. A better type of fat to use, in Maxwell's opinion, is vegetable fat, in the form of palm oil, olive oil, coconut oil or other vegetable sources. Soaps made from these fats, rather than tallow, tend to be creamy and give a good lather.
* Glycerin. Glycerin is a natural byproduct of soap making, and all true soaps contain it. The clear glycerin soaps that you get at the store, claims Maxwell, are not usually pure glycerin, but regular soaps mixed with ingredients, like sugar and alcohol, that make them translucent. Sometimes these soaps have more chemicals and additives that regular soap and can be more drying to your skin.
* Additives. Not all additives are bad, of course, and some can be quite benign. Many shower gels and bubble baths, for instance, contain sodium laurel sulfate, which is a surfactant that creates extra bubbles. Maxwell sees nothing wrong with synthetic additives like this.
* Preferences. The key is to look at labels and decide what you want, and what you don't want, from your soap. Once you find a soap that you love, says Maxwell, use it as often as you like.

Now that you know what goes into soap, how do you know which is right for your skin type? To help you decide, here are some basic types of soap and their uses:

* Milk. Before you buy soap, you should know your own skin type. If you have dry skin, says Maxwell, milk soaps may be a good choice for you. Milk calms your skin down and makes a nice, luxurious soap.
* Oatmeal. Oatmeal soap is another good choice for people with dry or problematic skin.
* Almond. Almond soaps, claims Maxwell, are great for exfoliating and won't clog your pores.
* Tea tree oil. If your skin is on the oily side, soaps made with tea tree oil might be a good choice. This ingredient can help cut skin oil and is good for those with acne and eczema.
* Alcohol. Soaps with fragrance oil are fine, says Maxwell, but you should stay away from anything that's alcohol based. Alcohol can dry your skin out, so look for it when reading a product label.
* Normal skin. If you're lucky enough to have "normal" skin, you can choose from a wide variety of soap products. Look for something that smells nice, or makes you feel good when you use it. Once you figure out which ingredients you really like, you can look for them whenever you buy soap.