M50 ART GALLERY: Cao Yingbin

So as many of you know, I’m not feeling well. I took a half day from work today and took a long nap, after which, I was going crazy from being inside. So I went for a walk… in the rain. For better or worse, I ended up at M50. If you want to know something about contemporary art in Shanghai, “M50” is the place to come. This is where I go to find all of the new and wonderful tags in town. But this is also a space for inspiration. And y’all know, I’m all about some inspiration. I’ve been here once before, and I remember seeing this piece of art, it was totally bizarre and something that you could stare at for a good long while. It’s the piece of artwork that everyone looks at whether they want to or not. It’s humorous, it’s interesting, and it’s pretty simplistic when you get right down to it.

  • Artist: Cao Yingbin
  • Medium: Acrylic on Canvas in addition to several mixed media works
  • What the Deal?: Satirical/Comedic art
  • Note: These images may not be acceptable for all audiences
I absolutely love this painting. It has to be one of my favorites at M50. And everyone in this gallery stops to look at it – again, whether they want to or not. Which gallery, you might ask? It was around the corner and through the woods and up the stairs at the OFOTO Gallery. Side Note: My absolute dream job – art collector. And this would be added to my esteemed collection. This painting title is: Everyday Life
Here are two details of the painting. Interested? Of course you are. My best friend and I have this theory — never leave something behind that you think you might regret not having. Well, today I asked how much this little winner would be… I was informed that each painting could be sold separately (but let’s be honest… these two are a pair and should stay together) and for these 30 x 40 cm (each) pieces of art — they will run you an estimated 20,000 RMB. Which is approximately $3,076 USD. YIKES!!!! Now I’m sure you could bargain… but still… that’s pricey for my pocket book. But hey, Cao Yingbin, when I’ve made my fortune… maybe we can talk.
Today I am thankful for: it being hump day. At least we’re onto thursday tomorrow! And then the weekend will be here.

Pulaski, TN: The Woods End Farm

That’s right friends, I was at my happy place this past weekend. After unloading the moving truck, we decided we get a few hours of sleep — enjoy Mother’s Day with our mothers — and then head up to Tennessee. It was my first time to be up there while things are growing. Woods End Farm is a cattle farm so we just go up there and see the cows and family, but all of the neighboring farms are growing things like wheat… and other stuff. It was all so pretty.

We camped out while we were there. The weather has gotten warmer, but it’s still nice and cool at night — cool enough that we could have a fire. What I didn’t know about camping in May — is that there are SO MANY BUGS. Yep, some how that just didn’t compute for me. Needless to say… we were finding ticks everywhere. We may have pulled 15 each from our bodies -GROSS. So now, we have a new rule: No Camping out After March 15th

Unbeknownst to me, there is actually a good sized Amish community about 30-45 minutes away from Woods End Farm. This is one of the Amish homes and barn that we saw. There is something really beautiful about them. They have rules about not being photographed so I tried to only take pictures of their structures. While they attempt to blend in and lead simplified lives — I think they really stand out. I loved their blue shirts that they wore. It is such a foreign way of living that I am completely enamored by how they do it on a day to day basis. We  even saw them working their fields with their horses and plows. Children looking as young as 5 were out with a team of 3 horses –I don’t think I knew how to tie my shoes at 5 much less work the fields with a team of horses.

I know what you are thinking… what a beautiful house — No-no, No-no — this is their stables. Wowza’s. This is one of the Woods End Farm neighbors. What I love about this property, is that everything is pushed away from the roadway. You can’t see any of this from the roadway and everything is tucked away. You have to be an insider like myself to find these finds. We saw them as we were doing some trail riding on horses through their property. Everyone there was so nice! And you would expect an air of pretension but everyone was completely down to earth. I love this neighborhood. Must. Move. There. Soon.

Another little gem on their property is the Folly. It overlooks the surrounding hills and it is so beautiful. At the center of the structure there is a place to have a fire or maybe even a BBQ. This has definitely been added to my wishlist. Love, Love, Love.


Today I am thankful for: a productive day at home and some awesome BBQ

CHINA Countdown: 3 days, 17 hours, and 27 minutes

Listening to: Matt Nathanson- Detroit Waves

Venice, Italy: La Biennale di Venezia

I am a lover of art. And one of my favorite galleries to enjoy art is at the Biennale in Venice. The gallery is quite expansive. Part of it is located in The Arsenal; an abandoned shipyard of sorts and an amazing place to find abandoned buildings where there is some really impressive art. There is also a garden portion where there are buildings from an old world expo highlighting different countries and their contemporary architecture form around the world. This post focuses mostly on the art found in the old Arsenal. Unfortunately, I was so immersed by the art that I forgot to take pictures of the artist’s name and title. Please inform me if you know the title name and artist of these separate works. They were all so amazing!

This work, I had to show first. It was my absolute favorite out of the entire gallery. And it was literally breathtaking. This work was set up in a large room with low lights and and each of these components were made up of reflective strands that collectively made these incredible large forms. Some of the strands passed through the other forms making it so that when you moved the form would take a different shape. It was amazing. I could have sat in there for hours.

I would love to be an art collector… it’s slowly in the works; however, graduate school isn’t helping.


Today I am thankful that: in 61 days I will be finished with my graduate education.

These pictures were taken in Venice, Italy at The Arsenal art gallery in the Fall of 2009 while I studying abroad in Italy.




Food Team: The Smoking Pig

Woohoo! So my buddy Mitchell told me about this awesome BBQ place on the way to Anderson. So last weekend my boyfriend and I decided that we would try it out and it was–HANDS DOWN–Awesome! So I took a few pics and decided that Food Team would have to come here! So… Food Team had its first official semester meeting last night.

  • The Place: The Smokin’ Pig
  • The Food: Awesome BBQ
  • The Location: 6630 U.S. 76 North (Anderson Highway)
  • The Hours: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday
  • The Digits: 864.787.7827 or 864.646.5150

We decided to go on a Friday night at 7:00 p.m. right after the Opening Baseball Game of the Season (good call Food Team Cap’n). Needless to say there was a line out the door. There are a mixture of people there: families, old guys, and, of course, college kids. In the two rooms dedicated for seating (none of which can be saved or reserved before you order) our group of 14 were had a difficult time finding a picnic table (oh yes, picnic table) that would fit all of us. Unfortunately we had to split up. But for a while we were rolling 5 deep on each side. Now onto the food!

Above is a pic of my dish: Chop Pork plate with two sides — fried okra and their famous (as deemed by me) ‘Nana Puddin’. And then my boyfriend got the Chop Pork sandwich with a side of okra. It was delightful. The pork was moist and full of flavor. The rolls are made fresh and then slathered with butter. I saw them coming out of the oven last night.

Now something that South Carolinian’s will appreciate, they have all of the Carolina sauces. The have the Mustard based (Low Country), the Vinegar based (Midlands), and the Sweet Based (Upstate). I tried them all. I really liked the sweet and then I mixed it with the vinegar and then I still really enjoyed the mustard. Yummmmm…

Now, let’s take another look at this beautiful Banana Pudding. DELICIOUS. I seriously wanted to lick this little Styrofoam bowl but then thought  better of it.  You can also take a to-go order with you. I love that stuff!

I think it goes without saying that I really enjoyed this place and I cleaned my plate thoroughly 🙂 I forgot to mention, there sweet tea is great too, I must’ve been too overwhelmed by the yummy food in front of me.

My friendly food team (+/- a few).


Today I am thankful for: 12 hours of sleep after an all-nighter AND for a beautiful 70+ degree day that allowed me to go hiking!

Guest Post

My best friend asked me to be a guest writer on her blog; this blog. I thought for a while about what I would like to share with the world and I kept coming back to the only exciting thing I have ever done: Travel. As everyone who knows us understands, Allison and I come as a pair. I am the photographer who shoots people and she is the one who captures the landscape. I think it is probably because she is more artistic than me and because I like people more than she does. Additionally, I have been missing being near water recently. This is my attempt to introduce you to my favorite places in the world near water, in no particular order, without showing you any people (this is Allison’s blog after all).

First there is Venice. It is a beautiful city where my best friend took me on a gondola ride. Surely this means we will be friends forever.

Cinq Terra is another beautiful town in Italy. Allison and I went their separately but we both came back knowing that it is a place where we would like to spend our summers when we have made our millions.

Lake Geneva in Switzerland is another one of my favorite places. It is so quiet out on the water and there are these huge mountains looming in the background. The natives don’t appear to notice the mountains anymore, but they are truly breathtaking.

Interlaken, Switzerland is known for its extreme sports. While I was there were went canyoning, which if you don’t know what it is you should click here. Another really great part of Interlaken is the series of lakes which you can boat through.

To complete this top five is Bempton Cliffs. These cliffs are in England and are a fixture in my childhood memories. I cannot count the number of times that I have walked along them and each time they become more and more beautiful.


Today I am thankful for: a little time to breathe.


The Farm: Tennessee

Have you ever fallen in love with a place as soon as you stepped foot on it’s warm, inviting earth. I have and did this weekend. Meet my new happy place. Happy Place… meet my Blog (my other happy place).

My boyfriend’s aunt and uncle are fortunate enough to own this little piece of heaven. We went camping on their land this past weekend during my fall break. And a break it was. Getting away from it all reminded me of how very important it is to keep life in perspective. To live for the moment. Life won’t be over if the floor plans aren’t finished, even if the completed mechanical systems are due Friday, and then an entire project finished in about 20 something days… I just need to be reminded sometimes that life is bigger than all those small things. And one day… I might even be fortunate enough to have my own piece of heaven like the picture above. My heart is there.

The Night Sky

You know that scene in the new Pride and Prejudice when Elisabeth meets Mr. Darcy in the field? My Mr. Darcy met me in the field. It was wonderful.

yes, please...


I was on my early morning walk, enjoying my surroundings when I stumbled upon these 2 lovely cows. They looked like 2 old women gossiping early in the morning getting their exercise. They were very curious about me. I named them. The one on the left is Ester and the one on the right is Ruth. I think that they are lovely.

Have an adventure and find your happy place.


Food Team : Dozo

Food Team had its first gathering not too long ago. On a suggestion from a friend at work, he told us about an article that came up about this awesome sushi restaurant that can be found in Easley, SC. I really think that these pictures can do all of the talking… basically – IT. WAS. THE. BEST. SUSHI. I. HAVE. EVER. HAD.

If you live close by — it’s a must stop. And if you don’t — it’s one of the best reasons to come to SC. I mean that.

The Specials

Lobster Roll

NY Roll and the Will Roll

Beauty Shot

Dozo – Sushi & Hibachi

6606 Calhoun Memorial Hwy
Easley, SC 29640-3684

(864) 855-6666

Discovering Sloss Furnace

Birmingham, AL : Sloss Furnace

So when we went to Sloss Furnace for the Smokin’ the Stokes BBQ Festival we had to explore everything — especially the stuff that was roped off.

The Stacks


Photo’s are compliments of NR and edited by AC.

Montreat, NC

Montreat, NC

I was told that when you go to Montreat you have to take a very stereotypical picture from inside of the car looking at the entrance…. so here ya go! Montreat is this really cool community just outside of Asheville. Montreat is best known for the Montreat Conference Center and Montreat College as well as its association with the presbyterian church. Well, we weren’t there for any of that — we were there for the hiking! We decided that we would hike Graybeard. See map below.

Graybeard Trail in Blue

If you decide to do this trail bring lots of water and know that you are going to be hiking for 7.5 miles… uphill — both ways 🙂 Hiking Poles are probably a good idea as well. It’s really an amazing trail. Parts of Montreat are said to be classified as Rainforest. I believe it; when you first enter the trail you can feel the cool humidity and it smells damp in a refreshing way — odd, I know. Along the trail, you follow a creek almost the whole way up to the top and you could see rock sculptures and places to sit and picnic. The water tasted AMAZING. Here are some pics from the trip.

Along the Trail

My Favorite.

Get Tagged Asheville

Everyone knows Asheville as a laid back Mountain Community full of hippies and art, right? But have you thought of it as a community of high graffiti art? Now, I’m no one in particular to be discussing the evolution of what is high and low art, although I have taken several classes on it. I will say though, I know good art from bad art. I like art that has emotion, intellect, skill, and creativity. I like art that is thought provoking and brings a little something new to the table. I also love it when you see something you didn’t quite expect or predict. I found that in Asheville, its walls have been tagged by some amazing artists.

W. Walnut St. near the Mellow Mushroom



Downtown Asheville : next to the coolest art gallery



Detail. A little something unexpected.

The Little Prince


Located in Traveler's Rest, SC on the street in "Downtown"

Photographs provided by NR and AC.