Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Acquiring Art on a Budget

Let me start with this disclaimer: I am in no way an artist, art expert, or art critic, nor do I have a degree in art.  All I can claim is that I appreciate art, and I enjoy acquiring pieces of original art for my home.  And I do not have a large budget for this hobby, but I have acquired some pretty great pieces over the years.

My first tip is to purchase a piece that speaks to you.  Purchase a piece if you cannot stop thinking about it. If you can't help but think about that painting as you pass by that spot on your wall where it will surely hang if you ever purchase it, then buy it. I am currently coveting a gorgeous painting by local artist Whitney LeJeune--stay tuned for  Fig Columbia blog post about that one as soon as it's mine!

This poster was designed for the recent Avett Brothers concert in Columbia by local design studio & print shop, The Half and Half.  I went to the show, but also couldn't take my eyes off of this poster when I first saw it, so I tracked one down.

This piece I purchased at the annual St. Lawrence Place Angels Tea & Silent Auction a few years ago. Tip number 2 for acquiring art on a budget: scope out silent auctions! So many local artists generously donate their pieces to nonprofits for auctions.  I have scored many a beautiful piece this way, and the proceeds go to charity, so win-win!  The mixed-media painting is by local artist Page Morris.

My husband scored this Hollis Brown Thornton print at the Harmony School Oyster Roast & Silent Auction last year.  He actually got into a bidding war with another gentleman for a lot of 5 prints, but we prevailed.

This piece, whose artist I don't know (!?), I actually purchased from a gym I used to attend. The lobby had local artists' work on display and for sale. I saw this cool collage for weeks and decided to make it my own. And there's tip number 3 for purchasing art on a budget: check out your favorite restaurants, bars, local stores, and even gyms for local artists' displays! You can find cool art anywhere.

And finally, to prove my point that cool (and affordable) art is everywhere: a portrait of "Mommy" by my 4 year old son, Jones.
The likeness is uncanny, I assure you.

And there you have it- a tour of some of my favorite art, acquired on a budget and with love. The Columbia art scene is burgeoning with talent; go find some for your home!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Chef Stories

My husband and I decided to go cable-free over 4 years ago, and I have not regretted it a day since. (I'm pretty sure he has--especially when sporting events are on that we can't stream--but we usually figure out a way to watch.) We did it to save money, but it has ultimately ended up saving precious time and brain cells as well. I no longer watch mindless, numbing TV shows, just to have something on in the background or to serve as distraction from the day. We are now deliberate and intentional in what we watch. And between Netflix and our local PBS station, ETV, there is still plenty to watch--and well-produced stuff that actually informs while entertaining.

James and I are both food-junkies. We love to eat food and make food and grow food and learn more about it; and if that sounds at all like you, then you're in luck. Here are a few of our favorite food shows, all available via PBS or Netflix.

A Chef's Life teaser from A Chef's Life on Vimeo.

A Chef's Life.  The titular chef, Vivian Howard, is endearing and funny and self-deprecating and I have a giant girl-crush on her. She runs 2 restaurants in Kinston, NC, and I devour every episode of her show. I gave James a gift certificate to her restaurant Chef and the Farmer for Christmas, and we'll be taking a trip to Kinston to try it later this summer. Stoked.

The Mind of a Chef. This was recommended to us by a food-loving friend when we lamented the fact that we couldn't wait until Netflix's new show Chef's Table was released.  We binge-watched over the course of a few days, and I can't wait for the next season. Season 1's first episode is about Chef David Chang's love for ramen, and you cannot watch without insanely craving a big bowl of brothy-noodles.

The 5 Ages of Parmigiano
via here

Chef's Table. So far we've only seen the first 2 episodes, but as expected, I'm hooked. The first episode, about Chef Massimo Boturra, is half love story, half chef-show. And the love story is so sweet. Plus, he serves a dish called The 5 Ages of Parmigiano. Eating it in his restaurant in Italy is now on my bucket list.

Lucky Peach Issue #15, via here

While researching for this post, I came across a blog post about a magazine called Lucky Peach. It's a quarterly journal of food and writing, and Chef David Chang is an Editor. I already subscribed, and cannot wait to have this gold in-hand. I mean, the cover of the most recent issue is a true work of art, no?

So, are you as food-obsessed as I? What other shows, movies, journals, mags, websites, podcasts should I be watching, reading, listening to?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Babies and Bourbon and Zombies

How's that for a title?

We have had a sick baby on our hands this week, and let me tell you, it is no cake walk. I am in awe of parents who care for seriously ill children on a regular basis, because sick babies are pitiful and exhausting.  Birdie had the coxsackie virus.  If you've never heard of it, consider yourself lucky. If your kid has had it, you feel my pain.

She's finally feeling better, and James and I are excited to escape the house for a date night tomorrow night. We're heading to Bourbon for an early dinner and then to see Evil Dead, The Musical at Trustus Theatre.  If we have time, we may sneak by Craft & Draft for a pre-dinner nip.  Have you heard of this new craft beer store & growler shop on Devine Street?  We're excited to try it out. 

It's crazy how valued a date night is once you have kids...you try to cram so much into the night, when really you should be home getting a good, uninterrupted night's sleep...
Nope, I'm too excited for a baby-free night out!

What are you up to in our fair city this weekend?

Check out this review of Evil Dead, the Musical in the Free Times.

Also, have you partaken in Bourbon's weekday 2:30-5:30 PM "Bite the Bulleit" special yet? It's a bump of Bulleit bourbon, a draft beer, and a burger for only $10!?  The burger alone is worth more in my book--you must try it!  Ordering the house made pimento cheese on top is essential. You will thank me, I promise.

I'll be posting about our date night on my Fig Columbia site blog soon, so check there for the details!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

BisQit at the Beach

My family vacations at Litchfield Beach in SC every summer. Have since I was in elementary school.  It's a beautiful, easy, old-school-feelin' beach town and I love it.

On our most recent jaunt to the shore, we discovered a new restaurant that we all now love: BisQit. (In a span of 12 days, we ate there 3 times.)

BisQit is located in the Pawley's Island Hammock Shops, and it has a great menu of burgers and beer and milkshakes.  You can elect to have your burger made with a beef patty, a falafel patty, or chicken breast.

American Beauty Burger (with a falafel patty!), includes American cheese, bacon jam, pickles, shredded lettuce, and kinda secret sauce. I got mine with a Gatherer salad. Delicious!
my sister enjoyed the burrito
 The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating, (on a screened-in porch), and it is super-kid-friendly- as evidenced by these happy customers:

And the perfect ending to any meal at BisQit is a milkshake.  I prefer spiked, but you can get a virgin one too ;)
Granny's Secret: Four Roses Bourbon, vanilla ice cream & caramel. Indeed.
Read a more detailed review of BiQit here.

Have you eaten at BisQit; what do you think? 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

On Repeat for Days

I cannot stop listening to this tune. I am enamored of John Fullbright's voice and piano skills.
First heard of him two nights ago while listening to this Fresh Air NPR interview.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thursday's Thinking of Food

So, I haven't posted anything from this bygone series in quite a while...

I am excited to hear about this film by (and starring) Jon Favreau.  He's been a favorite of mine since Swingers 
Sidenote: I also fell in love with Vince Vaughn while watching Swingers.  I still love him.

Chef looks to be funny and chock-full of amazing-looking food, and movie stars.  According to this SceneSC blog post, the soundtrack's pretty awesome as well.

Here's to hoping it plays somewhere nearby for us Columbians.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Soapbox Moment: What is the Opportunity Gap?

Basically, low-income students of color in America lack the same access to opportunity as compared to their white peers.  Combined with the educational disparities these demographics also face, known as the achievement gap, this is a deleterious abhorrence.  It is in everyone's best interest to seek ways to enhance equal opportunity and achievement for all.

I am a sucker for a cool infographic and I also like Good magazine.