Making Meals Better Always: Frank’s Red Hot 

Making Meals Better Always: Frank’s Red Hot 

My breakfast this morning 😄

All of my foodies that love hot sauce can agree! 

If you don’t like Frank’s, which hot sauce do you prefer? 

Not a fan of spice at all? 

That’s alright, more for me!

Toodaloo. Have a great day all! 

N. Oliva 

xoxo

Why do we compare?

Why do we compare?

 

screenshot_2017-02-02-21-43-55-1

Why were women taught to compare themselves

To diminish themselves

To think, wow she’s so pretty

I don’t think look like her, therefore: I’m ugly

Instead of: wow, she’s pretty. But hey, so am I.

Every facial and bodily characteristic is sitting in a sea of beauty. Some finding this sea, more beautiful than that one. But they all exist and mean something to someone.

N. Oliva

Xoxo

Keeping it Real

Keeping it Real

image

Going along with my post from yesterday:
[ https://thegaffblog.com/04/14/16/the-fakeness-is-real/ ]

I wanted to practice what I preach and share my OOTD, which includes my favorite t-shirt.

I can’t lie and say I haven’t struggled with finding myself and just accepting myself for everything that I am. When I saw this shirt from Studio Mucci [bystudiomucci.com] (I bought it last year), it struck a chord in me.

I don’t have to figure out who I am. I create who I am. People see who you are by every move you make. Every word you say, or don’t say. I realized then and there I would focus on myself and making myself happy and forget about what everyone else thinks. Which is honestly where the problem lied. I knew who I was all along. I was simply hesitant to be myself.

Hope you enjoy my OOTD (styled this with some jeans to go to work).

What’s your OOTD? Or do you have an experience to share?
Show some love by liking, sharing and comment about your experience.

Lastly:
Be yourself. Don’t hesitate. Do.
And #KeepitReal

Love,
Nicole

The Fakeness is Real

The Fakeness is Real

How do you react when you feel disrespected?

Is it instantaneous for you? Not so much for me.

I tend to hold certain feelings back to not cause conflict. I don’t like conflict, but I also do not like feeling bad or bottling up bad feelings.

Recently I’ve gotten better at brushing things off.

The inspiration for this post however, was my breaking point.

Why are people sooooo fake?

One thing is for sure. Most people should not say everything they think and feel because a lot of feelings would get hurt. However, a lot of problems could be avoided if people were honest.

What does it even mean to be honest anymore? Are people honest? I honestly can’t say yes.

Everyone is full of the sickest shit and I’m sick of it.

For the protection of the person who inspired this I will not share details.

If you don’t like something, have the guts to say so.

If you agree with this post. Please: Comment, Like, Share. Would love to read about your experiences as well. Vent my loves. Vent!

#KeepitRealKeep it Real written on desert road

Art Tuesday – Art is Much Less Important than Life, But What a Poor Life Without it. How Have You Benefited from Art?

Art Tuesday – Art is Much Less Important than Life, But What a Poor Life Without it. How Have You Benefited from Art?

I have a poster in my room that reads:

Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it. Robert Motherwell.


Quote by Robert Motherwell (on the left) Copyright MOMA or Museum of Modern Art. From their Abstract Expressionist New York Exhibit Oct 3,2010 - April 25, 2011; (On the right) Pablo Picasso's
I have always believed that art is an important piece of the puzzle of life. Without art, I would not be complete. (Two of many posters/images on my wall)                                                                            Quote by Robert Motherwell (on the left) Copyright MoMA or Museum of Modern Art. From their Abstract Expressionist New York Exhibit Oct 3,2010 – April 25, 2011; (On the right) Pablo Picasso’s “Girl Before a Mirror” Also, purchased at the MoMA.

Art has been a major influence in my life in a lot of ways. Not simply visual art either. Artists (visual and musical), paintings, music, film (also directors and screenplay writers), animation, writers like Maya Angelou (bless her soul and her beautiful poetry), even some clothing designers (You go Diane Von Furstenberg!), have all inspired me in some way. Even to start writing this blog.

When I look at the walls in my room, it’s easy to see how art has been an inspiration to me, even though recently I have hit a bit of a wall with my creativity. I’ve always been willing to try new things when it comes to art, as far as exploration and discovery go (in one’s art that is). But it seems whenever people tell me that they do not like some of my work, I take it too harshly. Should I or shouldn’t I? Nevertheless, I still draw and paint to my heart’s desire.

(In order clockwise from the top left) Robert Motherwell's quote again; Also Picasso's
An extended view of the pictures on my wall   (In order clockwise from the top left) Robert Motherwell’s quote again; Also Picasso’s “Girl Before A Mirror,” Andy Warhol’s “Chocolate Bunny which says: “I never met an animal I didn’t like;” Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” in a hardcover copy; Warhol’s Flowers in Red; Warhol’s Pop  Art Print – Shoes which says: “It takes a lot of work to figure out how to look so good.” (**All Artworks showed in this image except Angelou’s bought from the MoMA. All rights reserved to original owners**) **Image by Nicole Oliva**

Until recently, I was not too good with words. Creating visual art was my sole escape. Keyword was. I still enjoy drawing and painting, reading, writing, going to museums whenever I can. However, life has caught up with me and has become more serious. I especially struggled after I was rejected from a film program I yearned to be a part of ever since I fell in love with film: the ultimate visual art in my opinion, because it encompasses all aspects of visual art, but also utilizes music and dialogue (in modern cinema of course).

Art is my escape from reality because art does not force you to have an impression or experience you do not wish to have. Certainly, artists have intentions for their work when they create them. But experiencing art encompasses everything you have ever seen. Depending on your point of view, you will see something different from how I do. Also, creating art is a unique experience in itself as well. People have tried to describe the process of creating art. But it is not the same for everyone.

Pablo Picasso's
Pablo Picasso’s “Girl Before a Mirror” **Image taken by Nicole Oliva. Artwork purchased from the MoMA or Museum of Modern Art in NYC.**

To me, “Girl Before a Mirror,” connects with my insecure side. When I look into it, I see myself looking into the mirror and think about how I pick apart myself and my flaws. But it is fair to say that this was not even close to what Pablo Picasso was thinking while creating this piece. Or while deciding on which colors to use, the shape of the woman’s breasts and hips, etc. He may have simply been fascinated with a woman’s habit of peering into a mirror. Picasso had more than a few women in his life. In the past, when I read about Picasso’s life and accomplishments I was fascinated about how he lived. He and the people he lived amongst revolutionized cubism during their own lifetime. Imagine doing that during your time alive? One could only hope to accomplish as much or even half of what Picasso did during his own lifetime. To be so successful, that your grandchildren do not have to work. If you do not believe me, google his grandchildren. He probably made most of his wealth after he died, and sure, he had his flaws, but can you say you are perfect?

** Original Artworks Created by and Image by Nicole Oliva** (Top left) Self-portrait 2013;  (Top right) A Still Life 2013; (Bottom right) Two Hands 2013 (Blown up version of the image on the bottom left) All original  works shown here were created for a drawing class.
Drawings by yours truly   **Original Artworks Created by Nicole Oliva and Image by Nicole Oliva** (Top left) Self-portrait 2013; (Top right) A Still Life 2013; (Bottom right) Two Hands 2013 (Blown up version of the image on the bottom left) All original works that are shown here were created for a drawing class.

Does Art Imitate Life or Does Life Imitate Art?


I do not think I could give a definite answer to that question but in my opinion, my art reflects my life. Sure, I have tried to redo some Picasso pieces. So in that literal way, I replicated art and was influenced by it. But I have always been an observer. Not necessarily a follower. Following this line of thought, some people may entirely imitate art, but the ones who revolutionize, their art imitates life. Not the other way around.

I believe all great art imitates life. Even abstract art. Abstract art in itself is a complex puzzle not meant to be solved. Just like life. Why are we here? I do not have an answer to that question either. Are we here to live and then die? What should be we do while on this Earth? What if we all have a purpose that is meant to be fulfilled? Have I fulfilled that purpose yet?

More pictures on my wall lol. Pictures of Lady Gaga **Image by Nicole Oliva** Original images taken from a magazine. Copyright goes to original owners or photographers.
More pictures on my wall lol. Pictures of Lady Gaga **Image by Nicole Oliva** Original images taken from a magazine. Copyright goes to original owners or photographers.

If you read through older posts on the Gaff Blog, you’ll see one post that mentions Lady Gaga, who is another great influence in my life. Say what you will about her. But her music, whether she was high while writing it or even making the beats certainly imitates her life. From Bad Kids to So Happy I Could Die, to Monster, if you dig deep into her lyrics, you can see the real her. Even Poker Face is apparently about her hiding a bisexual fantasy from her lover. The rawness of her music is what always attracted me to her as an artist. Also, her love of playing piano always inspires me to bring an aspect of what I love into my future work and career. Although her taste for leather repulsed me during my vegetarian phase, I accepted her for her flaws. Some may think she has more than others. But again, we’re all imperfect. Artists may simply be  more attuned to accepting their flaws.

To end this post, I will say that art has continued to be an immensely beneficial aspect of my life. If art has not benefitted you in any way, I suggest checking again. On your walls, on your clothes, maybe some place that I wouldn’t even think of. But find what makes you happy and pursue that, whatever way you can.

Last image from my wall.       Quote by Diane Von Furstenberg
Last image from my wall.      Quote by Diane Von Furstenberg. “Be yourself and enjoy it! Live healthy and love your body! Your confidence is your real beauty.” **Image by Nicole Oliva**

For more information on Robert Motherwell and his artwork, visit http://artsy.net/artist/robert-motherwell

Heavenly Honey Battered Half Chicken with the Most Average Crispy Shrimp – Dallas BBQ – 23rd Street & 8th Avenue, NY, NY

Heavenly Honey Battered Half Chicken with the Most Average Crispy Shrimp – Dallas BBQ – 23rd Street & 8th Avenue, NY, NY

As promised, kingwich and I made a visit to Dallas BBQ. I had the pleasure of being there for their recently launched drink: the Funny Bunny Royale. I do not eat barbecue very often, but when I do I expect it to be tasty and filling and Dallas BBQ filled that quota.

Before even choosing our entrees, kingwich and I tasted the “Dallas BBQ sauce” to see what it would be like. The best explanation of the taste would be to compare it to a smoky flavored ketchup. So instead of getting barbecue chicken, I went ahead and got Honey Battered Chicken and Crispy Shrimp with french fries and corn bread. What could be better?

chicken and shrimp dallasbbq
Honey Battered Half Chicken and Shrimp with Cornbread and French Fries (Tartar Sauce to the right)

One thing I typically do not like to do is get my hands dirty, and you might think it’s strange that someone like me would go to any barbecue spot. Yet, I still love barbecue. The Honey Battered Chicken was not only sweet and syrupy (in a good way) but so tender that someone as fidgety about dirty fingers as myself, could eat it with a fork. Also, the french fries were crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside – just how I like it.

My dislikes were the shrimp and the cornbread. And don’t get me wrong, they were not bad. But they did not have any oomph to them. They were just there. Maybe the honey batter overwhelmed my taste buds, maybe not. I could have gotten the same crispy shrimp anywhere else and I could have made the same cornbread (probably better).

The 100 percent winner of the night had to be the Funny Bunny Royale:

Dallas bbq 4
Funny Bunny Royale

Although, this was apparently supposed to be purple (source: https://www.facebook.com/dallasbbq) and mine is clearly on the pink side, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The Funny Bunny Royale is a purple/pink Long Island served with Moscato and a shot of rum. It is difficult to explain the taste of alcohol, but if I had to explain the taste in terms of how it made me feel, this drink had me wishing I could have one every night -and I am not a big drinker.

If you want a restaurant that is not serious or something new, go to Dallas BBQ. If you’re not a fan of their barbecue sauce, definitely try something battered in honey, or hurry to get their Funny Bunny Royale and share it with a friend or loved one.

You won’t regret it 😉

And don’t forget your wipes

dallas bbq wipes
Dallas BBQ Wipes
City Kitchen – Whitman’s – A Simple Cheese Steak for Everyone.

City Kitchen – Whitman’s – A Simple Cheese Steak for Everyone.

Hello everyone! My name is Ariel Martinez and before I begin my little review on a decent sandwich I had a couple of days ago, I’d like to let you guys (and gals!) know a little about myself. I’m a simple man. A man sort of behind in the times, a man who isn’t on any social media or even likes using his phone. Hell, the only reason I got rid of my old Galaxy 2 was because it was at a point in its life where no matter how much I tinkered with it, no matter how much I prayed to the heavens for just one more day of use… it was dead. Shucks. If we have any Parks and Recreation fans out there, I have been compared to Ron Swanson a bit too often. I hope that paints a picture of the person I am. Except that I don’t boast one of the most beautiful mustaches on the planet.

Just a beautiful mustache.

Very much like Ron Swanson, I am a big fan of American cuisine. Burgers, Ribs, Cheese steaks, Apple Pie, you name it. I’ve never had a salad and I intend to keep it that way. There’s a certain science to making the perfect burger, the perfect ribs which always leads me to try new places and certainly be open to try anything that ANYONE recommends me (seriously guys, any burger BBQ American cuisine locations you guys can recommend in the NYC area I will go to). A couple of days ago, I had the pleasure of going into City Kitchen in New York City. Nicole commented on the history of City Kitchen and what was in store there but the first thing I noticed while walking in was a bustling and maybe even a bit cramped center of great food. Its like the food court in your local mall but just replace teenagers with hipsters. A lot of hipsters. The particular establishment I decided to chow down on that day was Whitman’s.

Whitman’s is a burger joint whose main restaurant is located in the East Village. It makes the food we’re guilty of loving but using locally grown ingredients. If I can enjoy a burger and help local farmers, I have done my patriotic duty as an American. I decided to try their cheese steak which looked amazingly appetizing on their online menu. When I received mine it looked awesome! However there is one fatal flaw…. I had to put ketchup on it!

Whitman's
Visually pleasing.

Now that shouldn’t be! A cheese steak should carry the flavor all in it self without any extra sauces or condiments. The steak should be seasoned to the point where the cheese compliments the flavor of the steak. When I first took a bite, the cheese was the only thing I tasted. The cheese was fine, a very smooth buttery taste whose texture added to the overall smoothness of the steak. However, the main ingredient left my taste buds wanting a little more. The fries, a corner-stone to any sandwich, were very small. I wondered whose hands they were designed for. They were however, some of the best fries I have ever had. It was a roller coaster of flavors which started with a very crunchy outside followed by a very fluffy inside. It had a very enjoyable salty after taste which sat well in my mouth when I followed it up with another fry. I found myself eating the fries before I even took a single bite out of the sandwich, it was that good.

Whitman’s cheese steak is a fine sandwich for lunch on the fly but for more seasoned cheese steak veterans, it lacks the fantastic seasoning that other dedicated cheese steak places offer. But their fries are out of this world. Seriously just go there for fries alone. You won’t be disappointed.