Rainy Aesthetic: What is a “thing”

On this chilly Monday afternoon, I look outside my window and am reaping my reward of wishing for cooler stereotypical fall weather. When the weather gets cooler I feel more inclined to go hiking, since I get to wear beanies and pretend to be in an REI or North Face ad. You know what I’m talking about- the ones where the ridiculously good looking people are hiking in like 200 dollar (at least) outfits, no dirt, no sweat, and carrying what looks like either a delightful picnic for the top of Machu Pichu or survival gear? That was a hell of a run on sentence, but you get the aesthetic I’m talking about.

I started collecting pins and patches for my backpack when I was a junior in college and went on my European Vacation. I used to pick up patches and stuff when I was little, and by “me” I mean my parents. I still have the green patch covered bag. So when I decided to go abroad I decided to re-ignite that habit. To this day I don’t know why I stopped collecting for that weird adolescent/teenage period of time. I must have thought I was either too cool, or wanted a souvenir other than a pin. (dumb.)

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There it is! My trusty bag and camera. Photo taken like your stereotypical instagramer. (btw my instagram user name is m.e.rose12)

Honestly, like not to sound too metaphorical and deep, but on this quiet Monday afternoon I kinda asked myself while posting pictures for this post, “Why are these pins so important to you?” which led me to the thought, “What is the nature of a thing?”

Ultimately, I think the “nature” of a thing is the emphasis and intention a person gives it. I enjoy collecting pins and patches because it gives me a sense of accomplishment to see them building up on my bag. I enjoy looking for them in souvenir shops, and am looking forward to when this bag is so covered, I have to find a new one to keep adding patches to. (fyi, I already know which bag I am using next.) For me these little kitchy things don’t necessarily “make” the trip worth having. More like, I feel that they are inspiration and motivation to myself to continue exploring my life and what it has to offer.

I dunno. They’re also cute.

Fogged goggles

 

Sometimes I just take pictures for inspiration, and this is one of those times. I like taking a look at texture and a general “mood” of a place and time. For me, these pictures have a kinda dusty, nostalgic quality to them that are sort of reminiscent of soft, slow summer afternoons.

I took some of these images while I was out in the midwest visiting family- they are an outdoorsy, grounded group of people who enjoy family and good food. Like, I enjoy visiting the midwest for nostalgia’s sake, but I don’t think I would like to live there permanently. It’s like the nostalgia would go stale and would would rot to an absent minded melancholy.

On a lighter note, though, sometimes during those dog days of summer I get this urge to can and do house/kitchen DIYs. I’ve only canned once, and I made this strawberry lemonade marmalade that tasted AMAZING on scones and toast.

When I’m bored, I take a look at my inspiration pictures. They help create a mood for a lazy afternoon.

What I want to try to make is an orange raspberry cake I found online at foodnetwork.com… when I make it I’ll write a post about it to let you know how it went!

Ingredients
Cake:
Butter, for greasing the pans
Flour, for dusting
1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix (recommended: Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe)
1 large orange, zested, about 1/4 cup
1 1/3 cups no pulp orange juice
3 egg whites
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Frosting:
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup creme fraiche
1 pound powdered sugar
1/4 cup raspberry jam
Water, as needed
1/4 cup raspberry jam
1 (6-ounce) container fresh raspberries
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Directions
Watch how to make this recipe.
For the cake: Arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour the bottom and sides of 2 nonstick, 8-inch round, baking pans. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the cake mix and orange zest. Mix for 20 seconds at low speed until the zest is incorporated. Add the orange juice, egg whites, and vegetable oil. Blend at low speed for 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula, as needed. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake until golden and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 to 32 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely, about 1 hour.
For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and creme fraiche at high speed until smooth, about 10 seconds. With the machine running at medium-low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar until incorporated. Add the raspberry jam and increase the speed to high. Beat until the frosting is smooth and spreadable, adding water, 1 teaspoon at a time, if needed.
To assemble the cake: Arrange 1 cake layer, flat side up, on a cake stand. Using a spatula, spread a thin layer of frosting on top leaving a 1/2-inch border. Spread 1/4 cup of raspberry jam on top of the frosting. Arrange the other cake layer on top. Using a spatula, frost the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with fresh raspberries. Cut the cake into wedges with a slightly wet knife and serve.
Store the cake in a plastic container in the refrigerator. Allow the refrigerated cake to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

cake recipe!

 

Apple Orchards

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It’s almost that time of year again for apple picking! I took these photos when I was out in the Shenandoah Valley at an Orchard called Hartland Orchard. I’ve gone there a couple of times and I’ve never been disappointed. It’s not QUITE apple season here, but I’m excited to take a day trip out here again to pick some produce!

The Shenandoah Valley is gorgeous in the fall. Most of the time I drag my friend up here with me, and she is stuck keeping me company as I take a bunch of pictures. She’s a good sport about it though and teases me about it all the time. Since I like to do landscapes and florals she sometimes points at weeds and is like, “hey Meg. You gonna need a pic of this?”

Which I inevitably do.

Roses…why the romance?

 

Right! So roses. A quick study in pink. I would agree. Roses are pretty dang spectacular. But you gotta ask yourself… out of ALL the flowers EVER, why are roses so heavily coveted as a romantic flower? Sure, you gave your girlfriends roses in school on valentines day to make up for the absence thereof, but still- they heavily exude this kind of power over people and society. But why?

Let’s research this, shall we? Let’s take a brief cruise through history to get a basic answer.

So, from what I gather, it is entirely possible that the rose originated from Asia around 70 million years ago. Through trade and general displacement of seed and flower, the rose made it’s way over Asia through central Asia and Europe. There is general disagreement in the scholastic world over how roses ended up in the Americas, but that discussion can wait for a different time. What interests me, and hopefully you, is the symbology of the rose and why it is a form of symbolic and metaphorical fixation within our current society.

Let’s start off with the obvious. The general form of the rose is incredibly reminiscent of the female form. Soft, petaled, tons of layers. In the Roman empire the rose was associated with the goddess Venus which was then adopted by the Christians to represent the Virgin Mary and was then eventually used in rosaries. In the Middle East, especially seen in Iran, roses became an internal part of geometric  gardens. In Europe, the rose became the national flower of England after it’s civil war. (The Wars of the Roses, circa 15 century.) When the flower made its way to the Americas, it interbred with the surrounding species and developed new variations. These have been adopted as many state’s flowers.

Ok that’s settled. But what about the color theory?

RedLove, Beauty, Courage and Respect, Romantic Love, Congratulations, “I Love You”, “Job Well Done”, Sincere Love, Respect, Courage & Passion Red (Dark)Unconscious beautyRed (Single)“I Love You”Deep BurgundyUnconscious BeautyWhitePurity, Innocence, Silence, Secrecy, Reverence, Humility, Youthfulness, “I am worthy of you”, Heavenly White (Bridal)Happy lovePinkAppreciation, “Thank you”, Grace, Perfect Happiness, Admiration, Gentleness, “Please Believe Me”Dark PinkAppreciation, Gratitude, “Thank You”Light PinkAdmiration, Sympathy, Gentleness, Grace, Gladness, Joy, SweetnessYellowJoy, Gladness, Friendship, Delight, Promise of a new beginning, Welcome Back, Remember Me,  Jealousy, “I care”Yellow with Red TipFriendship, Falling in LoveOrangeDesire, EnthusiasmRed and White Given together, these signify unityRed and YellowJovial and Happy FeelingsPeachAppreciation, Closing the deal, Let’s get together, Sincerity, GratitudePale PeachModestyCoralDesireLavenderLove at first sight, EnchantmentOrangeEnthusiasm, Desire, FascinationBlack *Death, FarewellBlue *The unattainable, the impossibleSingle – any colorSimplicity, GratitudeRed RosebudSymbolic of purity and lovelinessWhite RosebudSymbolic of girlhoodThorn-less Rose“Love at first sight”


Roses by the Numbers

  • A single rose of any color depicts utmost devotion
  • Two roses entwined together communicate “Marry me”
  • Six Roses signify a need to be loved or cherished
  • Eleven roses assure the recipient they are truly and deeply loved
  • Thirteen roses indicate a secret admirer 

I got this from rkdn.org, by the way.

My question, though, is how on earth did flowers somehow get their own language? Who made up that red roses are love and blue roses (not that I’ve actually ever seen one) means the unattainable? Lucky for you all, I found an answer.

It’s all thanks to the Middle Ages and those Victorians. As a brief recap of the Victorian era. We got Queen Victoria whose reign lasted from 1837-1901. This era is in direct response to the Enlightenment period, which was all about reason and fact. So the Victorian era swoops in and we got romance. We got industrial revolution. We got deforestation of countryside and mass influx into cities. Essentially back in the ye olde day of the Middle Ages, people attributed different “magical” qualities to herbs and plants which they in turn used for medicine. It kind of snowballed from there so giving certain plants became equivalent to trying to project a certain emotion or feeling. So when the Victorian Era rolled around, Queen Victoria thought that it was of upmost importance that gentlemen knew the, “language of flowers,” or to know what different flowers and plants represent.

For a more complete look at what different plants meant in the Middle Ages, check out this link.

So, in a SUPER condesned form that covers centuries of history, religion, social and political movement and academic ideologies; roses were a religious symbol from the Roman Empire espousing the beauty of the Goddess Venus which was then adopted over the globe as symbols of power and beauty. Coupled with the Middle Ages pattern of attributing meaning and purpose to plants, the Victorians cemented the importance of the, “language of flowers,” among the upper class which has permeated time and social custom to this day.

And THAT, my friends, is why you give red roses to your Valentine.

These are the links I used to form my analysis- take a look!

Illinois.edu

Rose.org

http://www.rkdn.org/roses/colors.asp

http://www.victorianbazaar.com/meanings.html

Black And White

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I know color is my forte, but I am experimenting with black and white. I’d like to create more depth in my photos, and I am constantly working on it. Well, ok, not “constantly,” but I’m working on it I promise. My problem is getting the lighting right and finding the right textures so it’s as if the photo is tactile. I know black and white is good stuff, but gosh darn it all I’ve got a problem with getting it right.

I took the top two images when I went on a European Vacation with my friend the summer after my junior year of college. Specifically these came from London, which I promise will have it’s own photographic journey post. I took a lot of pictures, so it’ll take a while for me to upload them all and to tell you all about my experiences. The bottom picture is from a Gari Melcher’s Home and Studio at Belmont where I did (one of my) internship at. Again, another story for a different time.

My main focus for this post is simply showing and posting some of my black and white artwork and hopefully getting some feedback! Let me know what you all think!