Meet me at the cemetery gates.

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A few years back, I had a job right by the Forest Lawn in Glendale. On a particularly miserable and stressful work day, I decided to go for a walk at the cemetery during my lunch break and I came across an older section of the grounds that had beautiful tombstones and monuments. One of the graves even had a bench carved into it, practically inviting me to make it my designated lunch spot, so I did. Several jobs later, I still long for my cemetery lunch breaks on that stone bench.

A few weeks ago I was feeling a little restless, so I grabbed my camera and headed back to the old spot. If you follow me on instagram, you saw a couple of stills that I captured during my visit.

Cemetery Still1

Cemetery Still2

I also did some filming that day, but hadn’t gotten around to editing the footage until recently. Enjoy a bit of darkness accompanied by the musical stylings of Florence + the Machine, because it’s never too early in the year for a good dose of “Memento Mori”.

Cemetery from Dinah on Vimeo.

Greetings

Life has been strange, crazy, stupid and awesome, all at the same time. Needless to say, my blogging has been on the back burner for several months. I apologize to my readers (all 3 of them) and want you to know that you are not forgotten! In fact, here’s a mix for you all of you. Get your dance on with no pants on.

Hope you are all feeling the exquisite onset of the symptoms associated with Spring fever. I know I certainly am.

xo

Savory & Sweet Caramelized Sprouts

We’re only a couple of days away from Thanksgiving. How did we get here so fast? Honestly, I find myself saying that every year because it’s that holiday that creeps up on me while I’m still in the midst of post-Halloween blues. One thing that always helps cure the blues is seeing my absolute favorite Fall veggie in the produce section – Brussels sprouts! Without further ado, here’s my recipe for Savory & Sweet Caramelized Sprouts…

Ingredients:

1 lb Brussels sprouts
2 1/2 Tablespoons of virgin coconut oil
1 cube of veggie bouillon
1/2 cup of water
A splash of apple cider vinegar (I’m guessing I used about 2 T or so)
2 Tablespoons of agave nectar
2 large garlic cloves
1 teaspoon of onion powder (be sure not to use onion salt)

so much hippie in this picture

Warm the coconut oil in your skillet on low while you clean your sprouts by peeling away any yucky leaves and cutting off the stems. Cut each sprout in half, length-wise with the nub intact, otherwise they’ll fall apart. Chop garlic into very thin slices and when I say “thin”, I mean Goodfellas thin. Ok, don’t use an actual razor blade but go as thin as you can! Put the garlic in the coconut oil and watch it closely – I MEAN IT. Don’t walk away or get distracted because charred garlic will ruin this dish, or any dish for that matter.

When the garlic starts to brown and fill the room with its delicious aroma, take it out of the pan and reserve it for later. Turn the heat up to medium and put the sprouts into the skillet, cut side down. Let them cook until they start to smell nutty and turn a vibrant green (about 5 min.)

Use a pair of tongs to turn a few sprouts, checking to see it any browning is happening but don’t flip ‘em yet. Once you see some browning, add 1/2 cup of water and crumble the whole bouillon cube into the water, THEN flip the sprouts over. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of onion powder over everything and cover with a lid.

Set your timer for 5 minutes and take a few sips of wine, play on your phone for a bit, ponder life’s questions, be annoyed by the excessive number of x-mas commercials on TV, etc…

Once 5 minutes are up, uncover the skillet and let any remaining water cook off. Add your splash of apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons of agave nectar, then toss everything around in the pan to coat the sprouts with deliciousness.

please note the extra dark bit on the lower right  *drool*

You’ll notice that some parts of the sprouts will darken very quickly at this point so turn the heat off and let the residual heat finish caramelizing everything. This is especially important if you’re using a cast iron skillet since they stay hot long after the flame has been turned off. This is where you can opt to reincorporate the garlic back into the pan if you like things extra garlicky like I do. Taste a sprout and see if they’re salty enough for you. I find that the bouillon cube adds just enough salt but sometimes when I’m feeling WILD & CRAZY, I’ll add a dash of vegetarian bacon salt at the very end. I like to live on the edge, you see.

Behold! Brussels sprouts that will turn just about any sprout hater into a sprout addict. I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes and it has become an Autumn staple around here. I hope you guys love this recipe as much as I do :)

Happy Thanksgiving, errbody!

P.S. In case you find yourself wondering what kind of weird stove I’m working on – It’s this mid-century beast with a burner drawer that you pull out of the wall, then you push the burners back in to hide them once you’re done cooking. So Mad Men :)

Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.

I’ve been seeing some pretty sexy booze commercials on TV lately. I’m sure it’s because the holidays are here and everybody’s celebrating OR maybe they’re anticipating the end of days and want to go out with a bang. Either way, here are a few that have caught my eye recently…


Baileys + a million beautiful women + music by: Blondie

Absolut Greyhound + music by: Swedish House Mafia (this one’s more like a mini movie)

Rémy Martin + Robin Thicke + music by:  The Elkcloner

Dewar’s Scotch + Claire Forlani + music by: unknown 

Spookycakes

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At this year’s Halloween party, our spread will include these fun little tombstone cupcakes and some of them will have tiny zombie hands breaking through the ground! I couldn’t wait to assemble a cupcake and see how these would turn out. The scale between the tombstone and the hand is a little wonky but nobody cares about that, right? RIGHT? Okay, okay, I’ll stop being a psycho perfectionist :P

If you’d like to acquire any of the supplies pictured above, here is a list of sites that carry them:

• Printable tombstone toppers: Courtesy of Chickabug (FREE)

• Black sugar sprinkles for the “dirt”: Amazon $4.00

• Zombie hand toppers: Sweetestelle via Etsy $3.50

• Iron gate cupcake wrappers: Amazon $5.00

Special thanks to Heather of Chickabug for making those free, printable tombstones available – they were just what I needed!

What kind of sinful sweets and deadly treats are you making this year?

It’s October!

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Ah, October. How I love thee.

If you know me, you know this is the time of year I absolutely live for. It’s the month when I feel most inspired to craft and create. Naturally, I’ve got Halloween craft projects coming out of my ears! This week the weather has finally started cooling down in L.A. and it’s starting to feel like Fall. Just last week it was STILL in the 100’s! Ewww.

Thought I’d share a couple of projects that I’ve worked on so far. I found all of them online so I’ll include links to all of them in case you’re feeling frisky. First up: the Gypsy sign

BEFORE

This started out as white card stock and text printed on regular paper that I glued on. After loosely following this tutorial by Dave Lowe, Prop master extraordinaire, I ended up with this:

AFTER

One of my friends will be reading tarot cards at our annual costume party, so this sparked a whole gypsy tent project that I felt needed a proper sign. This gypsy has been all over the world and this sign should show it! I love how brittle and dry it looks now.

One thing I learned during this process is that strong coffee is the best “paint” to use when aging paper or fabric. I tried simulating this look with acrylic paints and it’s just not the same. Coffee is key!

Moving on to the cauldron. I found this project on Haunt Forum and talk about trial & error! I wanted to turn a plain ol’ plastic cauldron into something that looked rusty and well-used. The kind of cauldron that has cooked many a witch’s brew. Below is a picture of the first attempt.

DURING

The first round didn’t work because it was supposed to be a mixture of sand, oatmeal, water and glue. Well, I skipped the glue part and everything flaked right off the next day. OOPS! Crafting FAIL. I got the mix right the 2nd time:

AFTER

I am totally in love with the end result. To get that extra-rusty look, I used Dave Lowe’s faux rust technique video and I have to say, it turned better than I thought it would. Doesn’t it just wreak of bubbling toil and trouble?

Last, but not least, the costume wand. This year I’m going to be a student of Slytherin house and I needed a proper wand so I found this tutorial on DeviantArt worthy of application. I don’t have a “before” pic but you all know what a pair of wooden chopsticks look like, right? Add some hot glue, paint and beads…

I ended up  doing lines of hot glue along the length of the chopsticks instead of the hand-rolling that the tutorial suggests, mostly because I’m afraid I’ll burn myself, which happened anyway. NEVER make skin contact with the tip of a glue gun. Ouch. Anyway, I really like how this turned out and best of all, it’s 1 of a kind! Below are my wand stats because I’m a nerd:

Wood: Ash from the dark forest

Core: Dragon heartstring

Length: 12″

Exterior embellishments: Golden serpent eyes

Flexibility: Unyielding

Hope you’re all getting into the Halloween spirit. I personally plan on savoring every single minute of Octobery goodness. Pumpkin flavored everything! Oh, but speaking of savoring…

Tried these candy corn Oreos. YUMMMM. Happy October!

Ceramic tie affair

The other day I was scouring the interwebs when I spotted these ceramic bow ties made by Italian brand, Cor Sine Labe Doli. Instantly fell in love. I am a total sucker for pretty much any men’s neckwear but this new spin on the bow tie? I mean, come on. They just invoke an elegance that we don’t see enough of anymore and I think both men and women should embrace these little ceramic pieces of stylish formality.

Oh, and how hot is this ceramic pocket square? HELLO.

These are crafted in the medieval town of Marcostica by traditional ceramicists. Click here to see more products and purchase online.

Matte black bow tie, you will be mine.

ParaNorma / ParaNorman

S’up, kids. July 4th has come and gone. Summer heat is raging on but retailers are slowly starting to phase out Summer merch in exchange for Autumnal/Halloween merch. I don’t mind because, as some of you may know, Halloween prep is well underway in my neck of the woods. I feel it is my duty to get you all in the mood as well, so let’s talk about a couple of fun, spooky things, shall we?

The Lady ParaNorma is a short film that actually came out in 2011, flying way under the radar with only a limited number of showings at a few film festivals. The only taste we’ve gotten are the handful of teasers on youtube.  It’s beautifully animated and it happens to be narrated by none other than Peter Murphy. He also lends his voice to the project’s score, providing a vocal soundscape that is described as “a beautiful, monstrous, sonic ribbon”. Click here to view a short clip of his raw vocals being cut in the editing room. Definitely chill-inducing (and how lucky is that editor?!?) For now, my search for a full length version of this film continues…

And then there’s ParaNorman. A full length feature film, due out on August 17, 2012, about a boy who has the ability to communicate with the dead but really it’s a zombie movie for kids. I personally love a good dose of kid-friendly horror. It’s from the directors of Coraline so you’ll recognize the same stop-motion animation techniques, which are pretty amazing.

One of the most interesting things about ParaNorman is the viral marketing campaign: “For the release of ParaNorman, some amazing artists have created a set of limited edition posters. The posters are up on walls all across the US, and they’re waiting for you to find them. If you do spot one in the wild, take a picture of it and tag it #WEIRDWINS.”

Posters are stacked on top of each other with removable sticky dots so you can just pull your copy away from the stack.

I must say, this “take-home art” approach is pretty genius, especially since the artwork is so frame-worthy and, well, who doesn’t love a good treasure hunt?? Below are a couple of my favorite versions:

So great. This reminds of the severely underrated Monster House. Did any of you see that? If you haven’t, YA SHOULD. It’s a good way to whet your appetite until ParaNorman comes out.  ;)

-D

P.S. If you’re ever wondered how stop motion characters are constructed, check out this fun time-lapse video of Norman being “born”.

Summer Cocktails

Hey you guyyyyyyyys,
Hope you’re all staying cool out there. Nasty weather, or as I like to call it, “shweddy ball weather” hasn’t reached L.A. just yet, but I know some of you out there are enduring some pretty intense heatwaves and humidity. I dedicate this post to those of you wearing an extra layer of deodorant. Yeah, you with the chaffed inner-thighs and unfortunate tan lines. Also you with the “bat wings”. Oh, and you with the backs of your legs stuck to the pleather seats of a car, restaurant booth, etc. This post is for all a YOUS.

3 refreshing Summer cocktails, courtesy of Modcloth Blog, that’ll give you the perfect excuse to impress your friends with your muddling skills:


Aaaaaand if you’re looking for something rich and decadent, try this chocolate beer shake, courtesy of Chow.com:

Its been in the mid-high 70’s here but I’m already dreading the oppressive 100 degree temps that are sure to make their way into town during July and August. This weekend I’ll be sitting poolside with friends, preferably with one of these cocktails in hand.

Happy Summer!
-D

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