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Monday, August 10, 2015

Adult coloring - the newest art trend! Review

I remember as a child I had a coloring book that I loved (late 70's) consisting of geometric patterns.  It was part of a small series and at the time there was not really anything else like it.  Ironically the same books are still sold today but there are now SO many other different options for what is more recently referred to as "Adult Coloring".  There are books in the geometric patterns that I still love, but also books with designs in or inspired by mehndi, mandalas, art deco, art noveau, fantasy, wildlife, nature, butterflies, fairies, fashion, flowers, etc.  Whatever strikes your fancy really.

I actually recently decided to color as a way to practice shading for drawing (which I had also recently taken a renewed interest in).  I have a vast collection of colored pencils and I was brushing up on different techniques and thought that an intricate coloring exercise would be a good way to practice both shading and working with different color palettes.  I remembered the books that I loved as a child but when I researched books to buy I was shocked at the vast variety of books available.  Soon after I read that "adult coloring" was a hot new trend.   I cannot tell you how many times I get an idea and take up or purchase something and shortly after it becomes very popular.  It is times like these that I consider myself a trend setter LOL.  Not really but it does seem to happen quite a bit :)

Initially I did start out coloring with pencil and found that while it was very helpful for practicing shading techniques, it was also relaxing.  Recently I was talking at work about how I had tried adult coloring and another co-worker shared that she also had taken up adult coloring but with Sharpies, not pencil.  I enjoyed the coloring but not the time involved when using pencil so decided to give markers a try.  I now prefer using markers but will probably continue to use both colored pencil and marker depending on how intricate the design is and what I am trying to accomplish.



I was recently given the opportunity to review  books for Skyhorse publications.  Given my new found love of coloring I happily offered to review.  The books are very different from one another stylistically but I am genuinely enjoying both.  If I had to pick one, the Whimsical Designs would be my favorite.:
Art Nouveau: Coloring for Everyone 
Whimsical Designs: Coloring for Artists

If you are considering purchasing an adult coloring book look no further - these books are great.
- high quality paper
- a large number of designs - 46 images in each book!
- different levels of complexity in designs some more basic and some extremely intricate
- examples of colored pages in the beginning of the book
- a page for color swatches - create your own color combinations
- preforated pages for easy removal


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One thing I found that was funny (in a good way).  Take these out when around kids or a few friends.  You will be surprised how many people want to stop what they are doing and start coloring - seriously!  People love to color!



TIPS AND TRICKS
If you do take up this fantastic new, yet not-so-new, trend here are a few pointers
- invest in some good cardstock - if using permanent markers make sure to put a piece of cardstock underneath to absorb excess ink so you do not ruin the page underneath OR the surface you are coloring on if you rip the page out to color on.  You can see above how the color can tend to bleed through.
- invest in a good variety of pens / pencils.  I discovered that even with the most careful hand, the thicker permanent markers will not do well with the fine lines.  I actually purchased a set of fine line markers from the dollar store and these are working just fine.
- If you accidentally color outside a line or put the wrong color in a certain section do not get worked up about it - Chances are that the mistake is not very noticeable.  By the time you finish coloring you yourself will probably not even notice!

MEDIUMS
- I have a variety of markers (a TON actually).  For permanent marker I find that Sharpies offer a lot of color options but are not acid free.  Bic Permanent markers are acid free so I use these in my mixed media artwork as well as for coloring.
- For fine lines invest in a fine line marker like Stablio,

If you want your work to last a long time without fading, use colored pencil or acid free markers.  Some good examples of acid free markers that I own and love are:
Tim Holtz Distress (waterbased)
Zig (dye based - these are also light fast)
Le Plume (dye based - brush marker on one end and fine point on the other!)

If you are looking for a little glitz, consider glitter markers or gel pens.  Some that I have are Zig's Wink of Stella (LOVE these), Fiskars Gel pen set and Sakura's gelly-roll pens in Stardust.

If you opt for colored pencils there are a ton of options.  I prefer the softer, waxier pencils like Prismacolor or Crayola - I find these offer strong color saturation and easier to blend / pull colors into one another but on the negative side it is more difficult to get the fine detail without constant resharpening.  If you are OK with less color saturation but more fine detail a harder lead may be preferable.  A good example of this is Sargent-Art - these pencils are too hard for my taste but I have my set to my 14 yo daughter and she absolutely loves them.

If you find that you love adult coloring, find what medium works best for you!.

Almost finished!

Page I am currently working on

Finished page!

Press Release!

Skyhorse presents 12 new titles to help you achieve mindful meditation through creation. Since 2013, coloring books targeted to adults have topped bestselling charts, selling more than 1.5 million copies in over twenty-two languages. Five of the top thirty titles on Amazon’s bestseller list are coloring books aimed at adults. Skyhorse Publishing’s first four adult coloring books featuring the paisley and mandala motifs have already sold out four printings, selling at bookstores like Barnes & Noble, on Amazon, and at specialty stores like Michael’s Arts & Crafts and A. C. Moore.

Not unlike the adult summer camps and wine-and-painting parties that have surged in popularity over the last couple of years, coloring is a nostalgic activity that allows people to unplug and fend off the stresses of daily life. With our screen-weary culture, it’s no surprise that adult coloring events have begun to pop up across the US attracting “colorists” to unplug and unwind in social settings.

The recent surge in adult coloring is not just attributed to nostalgia but also its therapeutic effects. Coloring encourages creativity without the intimidation of staring at a blank page. In fact, research suggests that coloring within a premade design might help fight anxiety. Clinical psychologist Kimberly Wulfert of EverydayHealth.com explains that “In coloring, you’re being mindful, and when you move in a rhythmic fashion for an extended period of time, that becomes a meditation.”

Unlike most coloring books, Skyhorse’s books have sixteen pages of full color for inspiration along with perforated pages, allowing budding artists to photocopy, gift, or display their beautiful creations! This twelve-book series features vibrant illustrations and detailed introductions highlighting the histories of themotifs, including paisley, mandala, art nouveau, zen, mehndi and whimsical designs.

Whether you’re interested in the mindfulness movement, in therapy for seniors, or in a business trend that’s dominating the book business, adult coloring books are hot!

Thanks to Skyhorse publishing, here is a download available for free to Momanthology readers!


Disclosure:  I received two books for review purposes.  I did nt receive any monetary compensation.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Bonefish Grill - Review




The girls and I had a great opportunity to visit the newly remodeled Bonefish Grill in North Hills (Six Forks Road, Raleigh, NC).   I was accompanied by my oldest daughter and middle daughter (my youngest daughter was in NY visiting family). 

The girls were excited but not sure what to expect.  I consider Bonefish Grill more of an adult restaurant so we never took the girls there when they were younger.  Now that the girls are older it was really special to give them more of a fine dining experience.   I myself had previously visited another Bonefish Grill location with co-workers  but mainly for drinks and appetizers - this was the first time I visited for dinner.  

I had not visited the Six Forks location prior to the remodel but I do have to say that the interior was beautiful -  modern with rustic elements....clean lines but varying texture in the decor - light and dark hardwoods, ornamental iron, booth dividers made of glass and papyrus(?), etc.  The lighting was low and the general ambiance was what you would expect when going out to a nice dinner.   It all worked together very nicely.  

When we arrived we were offered a seat outside but I informed the greeter that we already had reservations.  Once we entered the restaurant I noticed that it was actually full with a small wait but fortunately our table was ready and we were seated immediately.

The girls were not familiar with the menu but were hungry.  When the server arrived to take our drink order, I also ordered the Bang Bang Shrimp for the appetizer.  Once we were settled and had our menus I helped the girls select their entrees which I usually have to do when we go to out for a nicer dinner. 

The girls ordered off of the regular menu.  Miss C. was very hungry so I suggested the Grouper which is mild tasting fish but seems to have a denser texture so is more filling than other white fish options.  Miss N. on the other hand likes a lighter fish so I recommended that she try the Tilapia.  Christine, our server, agreed with my recommendations - the girls did not want to take just my word alone so it was helpful to have a second opinion.  Ultimately both girls LOVED their entrees.  

I like to try different foods (always) and opted to order off of the seasonal menu instead.  You can see our choices below. With the exception of the Bang Bang Shrimp I was able to include pictures of everything else we ordered.  (The shrimp were fabulous and eaten very quickly - basically they were gone before I remembered to snap a photo!)

Overall we had a wonderful experience.  Our server was excellent - very friendly, helpful and attentive.  Our food arrived quickly and was absolutely delicious.  The manager (Willoby?) also stopped by our table to check in with us.  I always appreciate when the manager takes time to do this.  It shows that the business cares about the customer experience.  I would definitely visit Bonefish Grill again and hope to do so on a date with my DH or with a group of friends .    I would also definitely recommend Bonefish grill to family and friends.  

Pictures of our dining experience are included below along with a recent press release about the new menu.  I hope that you enjoy!


Miss C and Miss N!


Bread and Olive Oil with seasoning.  By the time I remembered to take a photo it was almost gone!



My dinner!:  Wild Caught Sockeye Salmon with a spinach / bleu cheese / bacon sauce.  Sides:  Mushroom Ravioli and Zucchini.  Delicious!  The Salmon was wonderful but the Mushroom Ravioli were to die for!  




Miss C's dinner - Grouper with mango salsa, whipped potatoes and a side of zucchini.




Miss N's dinner - Almost identical to Miss C's but instead of the Grouper, she opted for the Tilapia with mango salsa.  She also had the whipped potatoes and a side of zucchini.





Miss N's favorite dessert - Crème brûlée!  We actually made crème brûlée at home for her birthday a few months back.  Unfortunately it did NOT come out well so she was so excited to order some for dessert; thankfully she shared as it was wonderful - rich, creamy and decadent!  We had a great time joking about how the Bonefish Grill crème brûlée was so much better than the version we tried to make at home LOL.

Another dessert option was an espresso martini (my favorite!) - SO tempting but it was late and I had to drive so opted to bypass and share Miss N's dessert instead.  There is always next time!

You can find out more about Bonefish Grill at the following sites"
Bonefish Grill website

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From the official Press Release:


Bonefish Grill's New Culinary Forward Menu Offers Innovation and Variety


New selections available at all locations starting today
You spoke and we listened! Today, Bonefish Grill® is launching its new guest-inspired menu with more than 20 new innovative items to complement classic favorites. The culinary forward menu adds Bowls, Steaks, Deluxe Sides and Dessert Flatbreads, using only the highest quality, freshest ingredients, to the existing innovative and seasonal offerings.
"With the new additions to our dinner menu, guests can experience a new side of Bonefish Grill," said Bonefish Grill President Stephen Judge. "We continue to offer our guests great value, fresh fish selections and now an even wider variety of choices. There’s something new for everyone to love."
New bowls deliver bold flavor, using fresh vegetables that combine Asian and Mediterranean inspired flavors.
  • Spicy Tuna Bowl – premium sushi grade, sesame-seared rare tuna served with avocado, sweet chile sauce, jasmine rice and passion fruit salsa

  • Seared NY Strip Bowl – USDA Choice NY Strip seared to your preference served with marinated cucumbers, roasted peanuts and passion fruit salsa, jasmine rice and a black pepper aioli

  • Shrimp Pad Thai Bowl – sautéed shrimp combined with rice noodles, green onions, peanuts, egg and a traditional Pad Thai sauce

  • Fire Roasted Vegetables Bowl – a seasonally fresh selection of vegetables combined with pearl couscous with herb and pesto dipping sauce available with choice of wood-grilled shrimp or herb-grilled chicken
New Wood-Grilled steak specialties include a savory 13 oz. USDA Choice Rib-Eye, perfect with white truffle butter or choice of several new steak signature sauces including:
  • Béarnaise Sauce – classic hollandaise based sauce flavored with tarragon and red wine

  • Asian Peppercorn Demi-Glace – schezwan peppercorns blended with a reduced brown sauce

  • Porcini Sage Butter – blended butter sauce with porcini mushrooms and fresh sage

  • Creamy Mushroom and Bacon Sauce – Marsala wine reduction finished with sliced mushrooms and crisp bacon

  • White Truffle Butter – Italian white truffles blended with fresh creamy butter
Or try the Ahi Tuna Steak, fire-kissed and perfectly paired with a signature sauce including the new Lime Tomato Garlic sauce – creamy butter sauce with garden fresh tomatoes and a hint of lime.
Deluxe Sides are now available to complement Wood-Grilled selections and entrées including:
  • Crab Fried Rice – jumbo lump crab wok-fried with eggs, bell peppers, carrots and green onions with a hint of soy sauce

  • Porcini Mushroom Ravioli – classic Italian ravioli filled with porcini mushrooms and ricotta cheese sautéed in a sage brown butter and topped with crispy mushrooms

  • Wood-Grilled Broccolini – small florets tossed with garlic herb butter
Four new appetizers provide a unique approach to classic favorites:
  • NY Strip Tataki – perfectly seared USDA Choice NY Strip, Thai peppers and a mustard soy sauce

  • Twisted Edamame Hummus – edamame replaces traditional garbanzo beans, topped with a roasted tomato relish and crunchy pepitas served with flatbread chips

  • Bang Bang Shrimp® Flatbread – crispy shrimp, mozzarella cheese, cilantro and a creamy, spicy sauce

  • Cold Snap Ceviche – chilled bay scallops, shrimp, fresh fish, avocado, cucumber, jalapeno, citrus, cilantro served in a glass made entirely of ice and warm tortilla chips on the side
The perfect way to finish a meal is with a Dessert Flatbread such as S’mores with creamy chocolate, toasted marshmallow and graham cracker crumbs.

Bonefish Grill has also added new handcrafted concoctions to start or complement any occasion. The Fresh Pineapple Martini is made with Malibu Rum, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, fresh pineapple and homemade vanilla bean simple syrup. The refreshing Cold Snap Cucumber Cosmo is made with Reyka vodka, Solerno Blood Orange liqueur and fresh English cucumbers served on the rocks in a glass made entirely of ice.
"We're always looking to push the envelope," said Judge. "Our innovative and creative culture is going beyond what we have presented in the past. This new menu, coupled with friendly and attentive service, will continue to make Bonefish Grill a favorite place to dine."

The new menu is now available at all Bonefish Grill locations nationwide. Reservations are conveniently available via Catch-A-Table, Bonefish Grill’s new online reservation system available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at www.bonefishgrill.com or by calling the restaurant. Walk-ins are always welcome.

About Bonefish Grill
Founded in St. Petersburg, Florida, Bonefish Grill specializes in market-fresh fish from around the world and other savory wood-grilled specialties. Guests receive "chef's coat service" and are guided through an innovative, seasonal menu and specials featuring the highest-quality, fresh ingredients. Combined with a big-city bar, Bonefish Grill offers hand-crafted cocktails and an affordable list of 30 wines by the glass offering a great match for any food pairing.

The restaurant provides a fun and lively place to eat, drink, relax and socialize on any given day of the week. The experience is based on the premise of simplicity, consistency and a strong commitment to excellence at every level. In thirteen years, the award-winning Bonefish Grill family has grown to nearly 200 restaurants across the country. For more information, visit www.bonefishgrill.com, or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Thank you to Bonefish Grill for this review opportunity!  I was provided with gift cards for review purposes.  I did not receive any other compensation for this review and I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Repurposed Notebook


I have a ton of old notebooks - several are branded promo items.  I decided to revamp a few of these.  Here is a mini-notebook that I turned into an art journal.  (The prismacolor pencil is added for size reference).  I love this because of the smaller size - I can take it with me virtually anywhere.  I also love the funky lettering, motivating statements, contrast of the black against the colorful painted background and the overall aesthetics.

How To:
This is a very quick and simple project that you can make using scraps.  I used painted paper created on my gelli plate, mixed media stickers, washi tape, black cardstock, cardstock letter stickers and metallic gold rub-on shapes.

the painted paper was trimmed to size and mounted on the cover.  Then I decorated until I was happy with the end result.


Here is the inside - an art card that I made a while back mounted on the inside cover.  On the next page you can see a list of planned projects and my dirty little secret - (I have horrible penmanship).



I have made other repurposed notebooks from composition journals, moleskin journals, etc.  This is a quick, easy and fun project that can be given as a gift or made for personal use.  


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Drawing in colored pencil 101


I recently started drawing again but have had to basically reteach myself the basic fundamentals.  I have swatched all of the pens and pencils that I own and have been practicing different shading techniques.

At Good Will I purchased a book on bulb flowers with the intention of.using the photos to practice drawing.  I definitely need to work on better use of white space.   I also need to apply less  - the finished project had a waxy / glossy finish which means I used too much product - I either layered too much color or applied too much pressure when drawing.

The project below was completed using a variety of colored pencils and Faber Castell Pitt Pens.  I plan to finish up the top right corner but this is otherwise complete.


Original image



Initial outlining, coloring and shading


Adding more color and shading


almost finished!



Friday, May 08, 2015

Updates and Six ingredient Paleo recipe

I am still posting older posts that had to be deleted a while back tue to an issue with "unnatural inbound links".  I debated on whether or not it was worth the effort or not but decided that it was.

I decided to work from oldest through newest posts so if you see things coming through, please check the dates.  I am back dating to the original post.  Right now I am still on 2008.  regardless of how tedious this project has become I will continue to post until most of my original content is back on the blog.

Since the above is rather boring, here is something a little more fun.  Recently I have been going on and off Paleo.  I have probably lost 20 lbs total over the last year but have plateaued recently.  I also find it difficult to stick to beyond a couple of weeks

This is one of my favorite dishes - it is not only delicious, but also very simple and easy to  prepare.  I love breakfast but cannot eat first thing in the morning so usually I prepare this for brunch or dinner.


- 2 - 3 eggs, scrambled (tip: add water, not milk, to make your eggs light and fluffy)
- chopped tomato I used about a half of a large tomato
- 1/2 an avocado, sliced
sea salt and course ground pepper to taste.
- hot sauce  I used Sriracha but for someone that is on a strict Paleo diet, stick with regular hot sauce (or no hot sauce) as Sriracha contains sugar.

Bon appetit!







Saturday, May 02, 2015

"Graduation Day with Mom and Dad" chalkboard themed layout

I have not posted much lately.  Blogging really has fallen to the bottom of the priority list.  Between work, my kids activities and my other interests, I just do not have the time or passion that I used to have.  

Lately I have been doing more mixed media / fine art but still occasionally scrapbook.   I worked for a couple of months on this album and wanted to share double layout.  

I made a graduation scrapbook for my DD.  This is one of my favorite layouts.  The pages both have an abundance of layers but these did not photograph with as much depth and dimension as I would have liked.  The entire album was created with chalkboard themed paper and embellishments.  By the time I was finished I was completely over this trend but overall I was happy with the results.

National Scrapbooking Day is today so it is an appropriate time to share!  Please feel free to linkup in the comments section any recent projects that you may have completed.  










Friday, February 13, 2015

What is the most popular post on Momanthology?


It would be this gem >  CLICK HERE

Apparently this is much more common than I thought when I initially posted.  I do appreciate the comment from Charles which gives a great scientific explanation.   Thanks Charles!!!! :) 


2015 updates

It has been so long since I posted so I am sharing several random musings.  Sorry for the long post!

I am still in the process of re-posting old reviews.  It is tedious but I did figure out how to backdate these to the original date they were published.

2015
What else has been going on?   I have been very busy at work -  after the first of the year my work load increased significantly (as did everyone else's).  This was expected and I have been trying to get as much done as quickly as possible to avoid becoming buried because new work will continue to come in.  I have been in my current role for close to a year.  Leaving the company that I worked at for 15 plus years was a bit of a journey but in the end it could not have worked out better.  I love the company I now work for and feel very fortunate.


On to the family...  I look back at earlier posts from 6 years ago and I cannot believe how quickly the girls have grown:

- Miss C. left home over the holidays to live with her girlfriend and is busy living her own life.  

- Miss N. has a boyfriend.

- Miss E is 21 mos younger than Miss N but has surpassed her in weight, height and shoe size!  Miss N. has always been tiny for her age but she has leveled off.  I am thinking that she should have one more decent growth spurt but only time will tell.

The girls are back in soccer already.Below is a recent picture of  Miss N., 14, and Miss E., 12,  taken at the mall around x-mas time.  This picture cracks me up - both are wearing Hollister jeans, Ugg boots and Victoria's Secret shirts.   I did not buy them these - I refuse to spend a fortune on kid's clothes for the brand name.  That is where their grandmas step in - they do not have the same objections I do :)







Sunday, January 25, 2015

Rainbow Loom Layout




Here is a fun Project Life layout I did of the Rainbow Loom craze with a plain sheet of rainbow paper on the left.   X-mas 2013 she received a tote that held 3 - 4 plastic organizers and plenty of bands to fill it up.  What fun it was sorting thousands of bands (NOT!).  I ended up doing most of the work but it was a labor of love and I love the picture of her little hand sorting the bands.

Miss E. loved making bracelets on her loom and you could find her weaving away any day of the week.  She still does love making the bracelets, but not obsessively like she did about a year ago :)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Get Your Betty On - Review and Giveaway

I have a long standing partnership with Betty Crocker and am pleased to be sharing another fantastic giveaway with my readers.

I have been blogging since 2008 and during that time I have worked extensively with Betty Crocker and General Mills.  I have shared this before but for those of you who are new, in 2010 I was one of an extremely fortunate, select group of bloggers who was invited up to the General Mills facility to tour the campus, learn about the company and bake in the test kitchens.  I am not really sure how I got invited because I am a home baker - most of the ladies I shared this adventure with were hard core bakers :)  Regardless, I had such a wonderful experience that I will treasure forever.


Here are a couple of pictures from the event:

Me!  Posing as Betty Crocker
Photo Credit Matt Holland

Baking with Betty Bloggers
Photo Credit Matt Holland

The Betty Crocker name has always been synonymous with baking to me - I inherited my grandmother's 1960's Betty Crocker cookbook and it is my absolute favorite one.  I refer to it quite often - especially when I bake from scratch.

Thanks to Betty Crocker am thrilled to be sharing another awesome giveaway - #GetYourBettyOn.

This holiday season make sure to set aside time for baking.  It is a tradition in our house.  I love making frosted xmas cookies, pizzelles and pumpkin bread.  I also usually try to bake a new recipe.






Betty Crocker created a basket filled with baking goodies for me and one lucky reader. The basket  includes:
- Kitchen tablet stand
- Betty Crocker™ Mixing Spoon
- Betty Crocker™ Oven Mitt
- “Get Your Betty On” Apron
- Gingerbread Cookie Cutter
- Betty Crocker™ Sugar Cookie Mix
- Betty Crocker™ Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
- Betty Crocker™ Whipped Vanilla Frosting
-  Betty Crocker™ Holiday Recipe Booklet 2014 – featuring The Top 10 Cookie Decorating Ideas of 2014

I look forward to trying one of these recipes when I bake next weekend.  I WOULD have already tried one and shared it with you but my kiddos already baked both the Betty Crocker™ Sugar Cookies AND the Betty Crocker™ Chocolate Chip Cookies (both of which were delicious by the way)!

Here are just a few of the recipes you can try:
- Holiday Blossom Cookies
- Cookie Wreaths
- Melting Snowman Cookies

The fine folks at Betty Crocker are all about sharing the memories of baking cookies with kids this season, and pulled together a helpful online Kid's Cookie Corner featuring their Top 10 cookies for kids and short, inspirational/how-to videos on each.
This will be a quick giveaway.  I will select a winner next Monday (12-22) so make sure to  #GetYourBettyOn and check it out!


To enter to win, you must follow me via one one of my pages (blogger, twitter, facebook, google plus, etc).  To win, simply post how you follow me and your favorite holiday recipe from Betty Crocker.  Once you have done that, fill out the rafflecopter form below.  Extra entries are available!

Thank you to Betty Crocker for this review and Giveaway opportunity!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  I did receive a gift basket for review purposes.  I did not receive monetary compensation nor was I required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.







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