Sunday, March 27, 2011

Things to do in Indy

Wine and Canvas
Do you ever wish you could paint a piece of artwork that you would be proud to hang on your wall at home? (Without going to art school and/or being born with a natural gift, that is.) That's kind of the idea of a new activity available in Indianapolis called "Wine and Canvas." It's been in the Indy area for about a year, and I first heard of it through the magic of Groupon.

The concept is pretty clever: Come spend three hours with your friends, create a new piece of art for your wall, and drink while you do it. You head home at the end of the night with a finished painting.

I gave this a try for the first time last week with some girls I work with. I'm a big fan of the paint-your-own-pottery shop in Broad Ripple, so this was right up my alley. Each person is handed a blank canvas when they check in, then you're directed to choose an easel and pre-set palette of paint. A local artist takes the stage (your leader for the evening), and through the course of the next three hours, that artist walks you step-by-step through a painting while you follow along.

It's a bit like paint-by-number for adults, except the lines aren't already drawn on the canvas. (Below is my painting in progress.)

My review of the experience? Lukewarm overall.

For starters, I felt a little misled when I learned that my pre-paid $35 did not, in fact, include my glass of wine. A "bartender" was on hand throughout the evening, serving beer and wine for $3-4 a glass. Combine the name, Wine & Canvas, with a pre-paid class fee, and all of us in my group expected one glass of wine to be included.

Secondly, I think I would have enjoyed it more had I chosen one of their sessions that were not held in the actual company's studio (at Keystone on 86th Street). They host these events at various places around town, mainly restaurants and bars, and there are enough spaces for about 15 people. At the studio, there were more than 60 of us crammed into this space. And I do mean crammed. I think a more intimate setting would have given the atmosphere and entirely different feeling.

At the end of the night, I did come away with a completed painting (see below) that I would not have known how to do on my own. I got to hang out with friends from work, which doesn't happen terribly often, and we had fun together.

I'd be up for doing this again, but it wouldn't be my first choice, it would have to be a painting I was really interested in, and I wouldn't go to the studio.

I think the concept is great, though, and I love finding new things to do with my friends in Indy. Give it a try if it sounds like something you'd enjoy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

When did I become a grown-up?

Sometimes I find that time can be most easily marked by seeing milestones in the lives of the people around me, as opposed to feeling time passing in my own life.

For example: One of my best friends from college is pregnant with her first child. I think back to my view of age as a kid and a teenager, particularly the way that the teachers -- the grown-ups -- who were in their mid-twenties seemed so... well, grown up. Mature. Wise. Adult. Being twenty-six years old seemed to be light years ahead of me, an age that would take forever to reach. It was an age where people were established in their careers, married, having babies, buying houses, and doing all those other iconic grown-up things.

Now? I'm there. It's my friends who are now the ones getting married, having babies, buying houses, and being real grown-ups. And even though I'm at that age, too, most days I still don't really feel like a "grown-up." I still feel like it's those who are 10+ years older than me who are the adults. Seeing the people around me -- the friends who I grew up with -- mark these very adult milestones is often mind-boggling. It's a clue that I'm there, too. How did that happen?

I also realized recently that I'm crossing a job-seeker's threshold: the five-year mark. When I was searching for both my first job out of college and my current job (where I've been for more than two years now), I was continually frustrated by job ads that said "5 years' experience required." After getting turned down for many jobs for being under-qualified in that sense, it was frustrating to think, "well, how am I going to get that experience if you won't hire me?" But this year marks my five-year anniversary of graduating from college. My five-year reunion will be this fall. I'm crossing that threshold and am now in that 5 years' experience box -- I'm now with those people in the "5-7 years' experience required" category.

When did I become a grown-up? What day did that happen?

And why do I still feel like I'm not old enough to have friends starting families?

What about you, all you grown-ups: do you feel like a grown-up? Do you remember when you realized you were one of them? 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Changing things up on SightSalad

Time for some spring cleaning! What better time of year to try something fresh and new?

I'm ready for a change. Fresh air. New growth. Variety. New challenges. Different perspectives. With that spirit, things are going to change here at SightSalad.

I've been doing Project 365 since March 15, 2008 -- exactly three years to the day, which is purely a weird (very weird) coincidence. After 901 posts, I've decided to try something different.

I'm going to continue blogging here, but it won't be focused on a daily photo. (Let's be honest, life has been getting in the way recently, and I haven't been very good about "daily" photos anyways!) Instead, I'm going to open up the blog and allow more freedom for myself. I want to see where it takes me.

What might you see? Plenty of photos, that's a given. You could see cooking and recipe posts. Perhaps some cookbook reviews. Commentary about life in general. Reviews of books I've read recently. Happenings around town. And who knows what else? That's the beauty of it -- even I don't know.

Where and how will inspiration strike?

I'm excited about this new venture, and I hope you'll stick around with me while I explore this new road.

Away we go...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

156/365 Spicing up vegetables

Garlic seems to be one of those things that divides people between love-it and hate-it. I fall into the love-it category, and I've been trying to use more of the fresh stuff lately. I add it to just about everything I cook, from soups to scrambled eggs. One of my favorite new soups from this winter -- Tuscan Chickpea from Cooking Light -- calls for eight cloves of garlic.

Yep, you read that correctly. Eight. Cloves. It's fantastic, and I honestly don't find the garlic flavor overpowering or dominating by any means. (Same goes for the two cups of onion: it doesn't make the soup overly onion-y.)

Add to its resume the fact that garlic is incredibly good for you, and I'm sold.

Are you a fan? Do you fall into the love-it or hate-it side of the argument?

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens and 430EX Speedlite, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 500

Monday, March 7, 2011

155/365 New theme: vegetables

A new theme of 'vegetables'? This theme is right up my alley! In one way, it's an easy one for me, because I love to photograph food. But at the same time, I've done so much of it, I need to get a little more creative and not just repeat a photo I've done before. A challenge!

This one's new in the fact that 1) it's the edge of a collard green, which I've never photographed or 2) eaten before. It arrived in my latest bin from Green B.E.A.N. Delivery, and rather than substitute it out for something more familiar (like my go-to favorite, baby spinach), I kept it. I'd read on a couple blogs (one good how-to example here) about using a collard green in place of a tortilla or bread to make a wrap, and I wanted to try it.

The verdict? It's good! I didn't feel like the raw green by itself had a whole lot of flavor, so it easily worked in place of an also-bland tortilla.

I love when the trial of a new vegetable ends up with a thumbs-up review!

Have you had collard greens? How do you like to eat them?

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens and 430EX Speedlite, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 500

Thursday, March 3, 2011

154/365 Newness: pencil erasers

Buying these made me feel like a kid again, shopping for school supplies in August. I loved that time of year! Fresh pencils, new erasers, perfect white notebook paper, untouched crayons of every shade... makes me want to run to Office Depot now and go on a shopping spree.

I was helping Mom to clean out my parents' basement this weekend, and we were particularly focusing on my old college and kid's-room randomness that is still there. We ran across a stash of my old notebooks (which I had a lot of, as an office supply-obsessed child/teenager/person), and you never quite know what you'll find when you open the cover!

Take, for instance, a notebook started (yes, I dated it) during my freshman year of high school. I only made it through making seven lists before I quit (pathetic!), but the ones I did get done are hilarious. Mom was laughing so hard she could hardly stand up. Care for a couple samples of the mind of this 14-year-old girl?

Things I Require in my Husband
A great smile
Values like mine

It's funny to see what my priorities -- ahem, requirements -- were at 14! I must have had marriage on the brain, because there's another list along the same lines:

Things to Remember When I'm Married
I will NEVER put my children in daycare.
I will NEVER cuss (say bad words to) at my children or around them.
Fighting is normal in a relationship. The key is resolving and moving on.

Wise words from someone not old enough to drive yet, ha!

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens and 430EX Speedlite, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 640