Friday, January 30, 2015

Traveling and Art

Oh, did I forget to say that I went to England, and Mexico, and California yesterday? My bad.

Well, ok, actually, I was only in the houses, not exploring outside.

All right... I wasn't exactly in the houses, but I was looking inside them.

Fine, I wasn't actually looking at real houses... I was looking at miniature houses. In the art museum. Really, really tiny houses.

Experiencing art feels a bit like traveling. Maybe that's part of what's so enchanting about it to me.

But really, you should take a look at Thorne Miniature Rooms online, and then go to the Art Institute of Chicago and see them for yourself some day. They are stunning, intricate, and just captivating and immersive!

Even though this was my third time at the Art Museum (in three weeks), there was still so much to see that I hadn't seen yet. Brynna (my RA) and I went there on Thursday and meandered through exhibitions, enjoying every minute of history, beauty and aesthetics. These are all things I value so much, and art just exemplifies all of those features perfectly! It's inspiring, and so refreshing.

I have been thankful for the Winter Free Days at the Art Institute. It has been a wonderful getaway! I'll be sad when the free days are over on February 10th. Hmm...maybe I'll have to figure out a way to get a cheap student membership or something. Who knows? Maybe it's worth it? It satisfies a part of my need for traveling, beauty, history, and it's a place to go with friends too.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Kelley and Cupcakes

 On a regular Tuesday afternoon...

It's tradition now to go out for cupcakes with Kelley in January and stroll through the park that's near my favorite cupcake shop (Swirlz). It's that time of the year again!

This view of the "L" has always been one of my favorites.

After getting off the train, we walked to my favorite park (Oz Park). I hadn't been there this semester, so it was such a treat to watch dogs play, enjoy trees and a beautiful sunset.

There was a Golden Retriever that ran over to us for attention (we happily obliged), and her owner chatted with us for a few minutes. It felt normal. I forgot we were in the city for a minute, as I stroked the Golden's head. She took a picture of us, and we said, "have a great day!" 

Kelley and I weren't the only friends there. There were these buddies too. They all belonged to different people, but they frolicked as if they had been best friends for life.

The sun faded over the neighborhood and park as an airplane jetted across the sky. I love seeing airplanes, by the way. It makes me happy every time. Airplanes mean travel. And travel means seeing people I love, whether that's going home, or to another state, or even coming back to Chicago. 

Not pictured: cupcakes (gluten-free, of course!), how cold it really was, good, honest conversation, a little detour to Aldi for frozen fruit and Trader Joe's for almond milk, walking back from the Red Line stop near Moody and noticing pretty buildings along the street, even in the semi-darkness.

These are the calmer moments at Moody. It's good to just "be" sometimes. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Go Raw Bars: Review

I happened upon a giveaway back in November for Go Raw Bars. Come to find out before Christmas, I won the giveaway and received a package in the mail!

I am always super excited about trying new foods (especially when they're free!), so it was a wonderful surprise to open up a box of Go Raw Bars a few weeks later.

It wasn't part of the "deal" to write a review on these bars, but I wanted to anyways, to support Go Raw and as a sort of "thank you" for the giveaway as well. So, here is my honest review!

Flavors: With 5 different flavors, there is bound to be one that strikes anyone's fancy -- from Apricot, to Spirulina Green, to Pumpkin seed, Banana Bread and Granola. Since two of these bars contained coconut (I'm intolerant), I gave those to Caleb and Haley before we flew for Christmas. Although the flavors of these are bold, and definitely not overly sweet, the mildness is a nice change to other bars on the market. I wasn't a big fan of the banana bread one, only because real banana in a bar has always tasted strange to me. Caleb and Haley ended up liking the pumpkin seed one the most, both for flavor and texture (I agree!), as well as the notes of coconut in the bars I wasn't able to try.

Texture: Speaking of texture, you should know that these are not regular bars! These bars have not been baked, processed or altered in any way. The seeds are sprouted, which brings out the natural enzymes and makes them easier to digest. The Apricot and Banana Bread bars are chewy - almost too chewy for my liking, but it really depends on your own preference. The other flavors with extremely crunchy - maybe too crunchy. However, when you eat the crunchy bars with a glass of almond milk, or along with some fruit (or chocolate...hehe), then the texture is perfect. For those who like a more dry and extremely crunchy bar, I'd recommend the granola or pumpkin seed bar.

Health: What these bars might lack in bold flavor and perfect texture, they gain in extreme health benefits. There is nothing bad to be found in these bars. They each contain a little bit different combination of sweeteners (from agave, to dates, to raisins), but they're all natural. And like I said, the seeds are sprouted, so they are easily digestible for everyone. Not to mention, they are gluten-free, dairy-free, low-sugar, high-protein, raw, and paleo! What more could you want??

Conclusion: These bars are the ultimate health-conscious choice for a snack! Seriously. They may not be the most tasty and decadent bar on the market, but when you eat one of these, you'll know you're giving your body nutrients and taking care of yourself. Don't get me wrong, these don't taste bad! But if you're expecting a dessert-like snack, these wouldn't be for you. If you're looking for a bar with some real substance and energy and you don't mind a little texture difference, these are a great substitute for normal granola bars.

Thank you, Go Raw, for sending me a box of these!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Caleb's Birthday Celebration

 11 of us, friends and family, gathered in Caleb and Haley's cozy apartment to celebrate a very special occasion...

Caleb's birthday!!

The evening was filled with so much laughter, fun, good conversation, extremely tasty food (Haley was an awesome hostess!!), and celebration. Caleb, you are loved dearly by all of us!!!  

Friday, January 23, 2015

Clairelyseen Clamera

I have an exciting announcement.

After much contemplation, research, and advice from others, and after saving up for a long time now, I am so excited to announce the newest "clamera" (as I like to call it)!

With this new full-frame camera, I look forward to many more opportunities to learn and grow as an artist. I'm committed to photography, and this is just another step in moving forward, and showing that commitment.

So! Please, if you have any photography needs in the next few months, or years, I would love to help capture some of your favorite moments and memories. This camera will make a huge difference in the quality and look of my photos, and I can't wait to continue to use it wherever I go.

I got to go to the Art Institute again today, but with my friend Brittany. I had asked her if she wanted to go, but not only to look at art, but also to take photos. She obliged, and what fun we had strolling around Millennium Park and enjoying the not-too-cold-winter weather. I hope you enjoy these as a glimpse into the city world, and a taste of what's to come for Clairelyseen Photography!

Here's to a new year with photography and art and wonderful people!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Art Institute of Chicago

After spending the night with Tyler and Lara on Sunday, we woke up early on Monday (it was a school holiday for me). Breakfast casserole (scrumptious), coffee (excellent, as always, from Tyler), and a dazzling sunrise - perfect start to the day. 

Tyler and I took Lara to work, and then headed into the city to enjoy a free day at the Art Museum for a bit before Tyler had to go to work at Intelligentsia at 12:30. I had never been to the Art Institute, so what a fun treat!

We got to the museum by 9, excited that we would have plenty of time at the museum, only to find out that the museum didn't open until 10:30!

Well, downtown at Millennium Park, it doesn't take long to find something to do while we waited!

One of our stops was a new park near Millennium Park. It just opened not too long ago, and it's beautiful (especially the playgrounds for kids)! Maggie Daley Park is a nice addition to Chicago!

A little ways away is the Millennium Park location of Intelligentsia. Tyler has actually worked at this location a few times, so it was fun that he was able to say hello to baristas that he knew. 

Finally, we headed over to the Art Museum, got our free passes, and the exploring began! We only had an hour there, because of Tyler's work, but we enjoyed everything so much. I especially loved the wonderful art from Impressionists like Monet, Cézanne or Pissarro. I still remember the first time I ever experienced (and fell in love with) Impressionism - at the Albertina museum in Vienna, on a school trip with BMA in my freshman year. It was quite the full circle to now see similar paintings in Chicago

The light in the whole museum fascinated me too. What a beautiful building, with its big windows and inviting spaces. I will definitely be coming back!

We hopped on the "L" and continued with the rest of the day. It's kind of amazing how much you can do before noon if you try! 

Monday was fantastic.