Thursday, August 23, 2012

Nothing Says Summer, Like Dinner on the Porch

It's Thursday!
Time for MY LITTLE BRATTLEBORO, where I talk about art, culture and style on Brattleborology.

Summer isn't over yet my friends, and there is nothing better than a little dinner on the porch with those you LOVE. I'll be honest, I don't tend to make many fancy meals on my own just because I have other priorities these days, but when friends come over, it's a great excuse to make a pretty and tasty dinner. 

Still, I don't like to spend a million years in the kitchen, so I use little short cuts which I'll share here. 

One of my favorite meals to prepare is Mole Enchiladas. I pared them with a fresh salad from a friend's garden, along with black rice from the co-op (look in bulk) and a summery cocktail. 

Easy Mole Enchiladas:
Take a package of corn tortillas and lightly heat in a pan. In a bowl, combine black beans, a bit of red onion, cumin, corn, and a little scoop of salsa if you have it on hand. 

Roll it all and put in a big baking dish. On top, spread cheddar cheese, Mole (I buy a little jar of it at my local co-op and add water over heat b/f pouring it on). If you have a bit of tomato pesto, it's nice to throw that in, too. Finally, add some green chili peppers for a little spice.

Garnish with fresh, homemade guacamole, cilantro, and sour cream. 
Who can resist a salad full of strawberries and flowers?
This one has a little fennel, pecans and red onion thrown in for good measure. 

My new fav: a little coconut water, apple juice, elderflower liquor (St. Germaine)
and Bee Balm flower to garnish.
I like to serve the plate to my guests, because I love how it looks on the plate.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Vintage Sale!

It's Thursday!
Time for MY LITTLE BRATTLEBORO, where I talk about art, culture and style on Brattleborology.

Do you love VINTAGE? I do! The sad news is that Morning Glorious, the sweet vintage boutique in Putney is closing it's doors. The good news is that they are reopening in Brattleboro in spring 2013. You can find them in the near future at Twice Upon a Time and online now.

But, really the thing to do is to pop over to the shop for the best deals. I was lucky enough to get a private viewing with my good friend from Cali yesterday, and even though I'm pretty well stocked on vintage dresses, I simple couldn't resist these specials. I took home three outfits for under $60, and that my friend makes me smile.

Did I mention everything in the store is 20%-50% off
Sale ends this Saturday, so get your hot buns to Morning Glorious and take advantage of these specials.
Originally just $35, I scored this classic Jackie O' set from the $5 closet at Morning Glorious.
Accessories from Kokuun.
Originally marked at $55, this cotton dress with a fun Asian print was only$25.
Cute and comfy, I might never take it off.
I love this vintage, Asian print.

Do you have a favorite vintage store? Do share!
Thanks to Elle James for the photos, and Kokuun for your studio.

Behind the scenes

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dreaming of India: A Tale of Surrender

Shanta and Desha enjoying tea at the Twilight Tea Lounge
As featured on My Little Brattleboro, my weekly column on Brattleborolgy...

Yesterday, I  met up with Shanta Crowley at Twilight Tea Lounge to check out her beautiful images she shot while on a 5 month adventure in India. I love that Shanta had a dream, and even when she lost her job and her car died, she still pursued her heart's desire. The result- 12,000 pictures and a lot of surrendering. Here's to you, Shanta. We can't wait to see what's next for YOU!

1. Shanta, I learned about your adventure to India in an article in The Commons, and as a fellow lover of travel and culture, was intrigued by your decision to take off for 5 months to India.  What was the catalyst that drove you to actually go?

I lost my contract last May that I had for 2 years with the City of New Haven.  The same day my job ended my car died on the highway. It just seemed like a lot of stuff was coming to an end and it was time for a new beginning. I landed a consulting gig last summer and my husband (at the time) and I were also planning our wedding.  We decided that it was as good a time as any to go explore since we were both lacking full time work.  
Photo by Shanta Crowley
It is interesting because I guess one could say that I'd long been called by India.  I was deeply in love with the Taj Mahal and the story behind it; one of my favorite movies, Kama Sutra, A Story of Love had such amazing scenery and portrayed such beauty; there was also an author, Indu Sundaresan, who captured me with her portrayal of India during the Mughal empire.  I always wanted to travel and live abroad.  Back in 2007 I was lucky enough to be chosen by my job to represent them as a part of as a small delegation of two other individuals in Uganda, AfricaGoing felt scary, but staying home due to fear didn't feel right either, so I gave in to adventure! 
Photo by Shanta Crowley

2. You mention in the article that you had recently lost your job and both you and your newlywed husband were unemployed at the time you decided to venture to India. On a logistical note, how did you manage to pay for your adventure and how did you overcome the fear of going on a five month vacation knowing that you'd return without jobs in an uncertain economy?

I saved some money and we also received money as a wedding gift to help us on our way.  Between some previous savings and the gig that I had last summer, we were able to make the trip around India.

Photo by Shanta Crowley
Overcoming the fear?  Good question. Staying and struggling to look for work seemed just as risky and daunting as going.  It was more about which choice was going to be worth the story and worth the chance.  Anyone can stay and stick it out during a rough economy but leaving and taking a chance?  I must also say that I did turn down a job offer just before leaving, thinking that other prospects would turn up, but I also wanted to do something that would engage my heart.  I believe in calculated risks--- and deciding to go to India was one of them.

Also, we rented out our apartment while we were away and placed most of our items in storage, so it was not like we just left everything high and dry.  We put things in place so that when we returned we could have a home to return to at least.    
Photo by Shanta Crowley

The one thing I did not foresee happening, was that after returning from India, I lost my husband, as I am currently going through a divorce.  So in many ways, displaying my work has been medicine for my soul and a part of my healing during such time of transition.   Given the turn of events, I have asked myself lately if I would have gone to India knowing that this would have happened at some point upon returning--but it was well worth the trip.
4. While in India, you took 12,000 photos and the title of your current exhibit at Twilight Tea Lounge is "Surrender", what did you surrender to in India?

Well I should say I chose "surrender" because it was what I had to do to adjust to how life was changing before India, it perfectly describes my journey in India, and the many crazy changes post-India.

I had to surrender to so many things:  the lack of planning or constant change of plans, surrender to the culture, and any given moment whereby you might meet a Holy Man, hop aboard the wrong train, encounter the crazy driving that left me in shock many times, or just meet new friends that you might not have expected.  I also found myself just having to let go of expectations--things that I normally would not do or expect back home had to be suspended during the 5 month journey.  Surrendering and the letting go seemed to be so apt, especially now.

Photo by Shanta Crowley
Right now I am surrendering and grappling with the reality that I have had the opportunity of a lifetime, yet I have lost someone who is very near and dear to me who was involved in that trip.  Quite an interesting and fascinating time.

Learn more about Shanta's India adventure on her blog and check out her photos at the Twilight Tea Lounge, with new photos coming in September for Gallery Walk!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Naughty Dog. Cute Skirts.

It's Thursday!
Time for MY LITTLE BRATTLEBORO, where I talk about art, culture and style on Brattleborology.

The other day I was shopping in one of my favorite downtown stores, Twice Upon a Time, and I happened to find the CUTEST handmade skirt. It was perfect since my BFF was coming to visit from Cali bringing her adorable little 3 yr old and I needed a gift. Luckily, I was able to get a matching skirt for my daughter so they could be twinkies. I was so excited that I emailed the designer and found she was local! Jamaica is local, right? I mean, it IS Jamaica, VT. Here's her story:

Twinkies. Skirts by Naughty Dog.

Kim Rak, Naughty Dog

When did you start making clothes, and what inspired you to do so?
I started making clothes when I was a kid - my mom was always making things for me, and gave me my own machine when I was a teenager. I remember making clothes in college for kids going to parties to make extra money. When my son was born, I made some of his clothes. Several years ago I realized I needed a retrospective, a portfolio, to make sense of my life in the arts. I decided to develop a children's line as a business model for colour expression, and because children's clothes wouldn't require many materials. It helped me find my confidence again, and here we are today.

What's your story?
I have always had to relay on my resourcefulness, inventiveness and attitude to make ends meet. I lived self sufficiently for 15 years (using a treadle machine during those years,) by choice. Growing up in the 60s and 70s with a European mother who was a refugee from an occupied country, and a french Canadian father who

was an orphan for part of his life, brought me a different perspective of living life. Being of modest means, I have a tendency to feel challenged by day to day activities - how can I make it brighter, more interesting and more fun? The byline of my portfolio project is inspired by a line from a postcard my son sent to me during one of my most creative times "Hope you're Having Fun!", it's something I think of daily and thus became part of the logo/branding of The Naughty Dog. Though we have our own naughty dog, I imagine we all know and love the spirit behind any family "naughty" dog.

Where can we find your stuff?
Right now, my stuff is available at Jamie and Dave's, Jamaica Coffee Shop in Jamaica, Vermont and at Twice Upon a Time in Brattleboro, Vermont, and on Etsy at The Naughty Dog. I do have a website, that is currently down, at (I hope to have that running and up to date soon.)

Anything else you'd like us to know about you or your creative work?
hmmm. I think that it can be hard to let creativity just happen in everyday have to practice that idea. Once you have, it's important to take time to enjoy the beauty, you know, admire the moment... it again. Do it for growth. Do it for happiness. Share it. Teach it. :) It's most enjoyable!

Thanks Kim for sharing your story. Are you creative? If so, I'd love to hear from you. Send me a note in the comment section below and stay in touch HERE as well.
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