Category Archives: My Favorite Things

My Favorite Things – In Anticipation of Easter (A High Carb Post)

My mom, and my husband and I went to the West Side Market in Cleveland yesterday to purchase ingredients for our Easter dinner.  The market is one of my favorite places to visit whenever I’m in Northeast Ohio and I’ve written about it before on my blog here.  Yesterday’s shopping list was actually short – just 4 ingredients – but that didn’t stop us from walking every aisle and taking time out to enjoy a Frank’s Bratwurst sandwich.

And although we already gave each other Easter baskets (sometimes you just gotta start celebrating early), I’ve decided that I’m getting all of these goodies next year!

Cute Easter Bunny cakes

pastries and cakes

artisan loaves of bread

Frosted Easter eggs

Greek pastries2

Cherry strudel and other cakes

Challah bread

Greek pastries


Easter bunny cakes

Hippity hop…

(Or, should I say oink oink?)


Filed under Influences, My Favorite Things, photography

My Favorite Things – A Solitary Stroll Through the Conservatory Gardens on a Spring Evening

Earlier this evening I walked across the park to the Conservatory Gardens.

Conservatory garden


The light was clean and clear and the air was cool.  The gardens are just beginning to bloom, and the annual plantings are little more than promising rows of green shoots.  Even so, there were enough miniature wild flowers, blooming bushes and blossoming trees to keep me and my camera occupied.

This is what I saw:


green Lenten rose


yellow and white daffodils


Yellow Finch


furry twigs


yellow clusters of flowers against a blue sky


snow drops


pink magnolia blossom




pink blossom


pink tulip


pink Lenten rose


white magnolia blossom


Filed under Influences, My Favorite Things, New York, photography

My Favorite Things – Spring Flowers in Washington, D.C.

I’m spending a few days now in Washington, DC….not working, just getting some much needed rest and being “the wife” as my husband slaves away conducting performances at Kennedy Center.  (In case you’re in town, here is the schedule for the New York City Ballet performances.)

Even though the sky was gray today, the temperatures were warm and the rain held off.  Which gave me the perfect opportunity to take these shots…

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(for Meh-meh)


Filed under Influences, My Favorite Things, photography

My Favorite Things – Vintage Vanity Fair Magazine Covers

A few years ago my husband gave me a box of 100 Vintage Vanity Fair Postcards.  The collection is wonderful, and I’ve sent many of my favorites already to family and friends.  Although the boxed set contains quite a variety of artistic styles, my favorites are the less painterly, more geometric and playful illustrations.  I envy these compositions for their sophisticated simplicity.   Looking at these images always makes me happy – and inspires me to find the magical formula for my own art.

Here are my favorites:

Vanity Fair postcard

Vanity Fair postcard 4

Vanity Fair postcard 3

Vanity Fair postcard 2


Filed under art, illustration, My Favorite Things

My Favorite Things – Beauty Products That Really Work

I’m basically no-fuss when it comes to my beauty routine…which translates to minimal makeup and a pixie hair style.  So I try to find the best products to help me accomplish getting beautiful quickly yet effectively.  Here are my favs which I’ve grouped into Skin Care, Makeup and Hair.


My skin products

For cleansing my face - Clarisonic Aria Skin Care Brush with Gentle Hydro Cleanser

For evening out my complexion – L’Oreal Youth Code Serum

For moisturizing – Alba Even Advanced Sea Lipids Daily Cream

For sunscreen – LaRoche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid SPF 45


makeup I use

For my cheeks – Hourglass Aura Sheer Cheek Stain in Flush

For my eyelids – Two Faced Anti-Crease Eye Shadow Primer

For my eyes – Sephora Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner in Black with Glitter

For my lashes – Mabelline Full ‘N Soft Washable Mascara in Black

For my lips – Clinique Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Color Balm in Broadest Berry

To set the overall look (and for extra sun protection) -Éminence Organic Sun Defense Mineral Powder in Translucent, SPF 30


Fructis Hair Wax picture

No hair dryer for me, just – Fructis Pure Clean Finishing Paste


Here’s the BEFORE picture (note the glasses, lack of makeup and bed head hair):

joana before with frame

And the AFTER photo:



Filed under art, drawing, Influences, Josephine, marker and ink illustration, My Favorite Things, New work

My Favorite Things – Sweet Treats (and a Decaf Latte)

I took the following pictures at Eric Kayser’s newly opened Maison Kayser bakery and cafe at Columbus Circle.  After all, deciding what to choose is half the fun!

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(I had the Adagio chocolate torte with Passion Fruit Preserves…it was decadent and delicious!)

And I’m already looking forward to what I’ll have next time…


Filed under My Favorite Things, New York, photography

My Favorite Things – Celebrating the Art of Dance

As a freelance violist, I feel very fortunate that so much of my work takes place with the New York City Ballet.  NYCB dancers are at the top of their profession. They work gruelingly long hours,  give their bodies over to their art, and dedicate their souls to their craft.  When I’m playing in the pit, I can usually only catch a glimpse now and then of the bodies onstage.  The current installation in the Koch Theatre lobby by renowned Parisian street artist JR gives us more of an eyeful!

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To learn more about this installation project, take a look here.


Filed under art, My Favorite Things, New York, photography, support the arts

My Favorite Things – New York City in the Snow

New York is a different city in the snow.  The sounds are muffled, traffic slows to a crawl, and neon signs take on a new alluring softness.  Last night as I trudged to work at Lincoln Center in the biting cold and swirling snow, this is what I saw:

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Filed under Influences, My Favorite Things, New York, photography

My Favorite Things – Having the Time to “Play” at My Drafting Table

Although I went back to teaching today (I’m fortunate to be blessed with great students!), I still had the better part of the day to play work on my illustrations.  My goal was to experiment with India ink and my nib pen for the illustration outline.  I was also going for more freedom in my coloring approach.  In the pencil sketch (which I worked on yesterday) I focused on elongating the figure even more than I usually do since I wanted to emphasize her grace and bring out the overall glamour in the composition.

What a luxury to be able to experiment and even REDO an illustration – in this case, the version below is my 2nd attempt…

Valentine Rose final

I’m fired up to do more illustrations using the techniques above, but first I’ll be turning my attention to finishing a 5-illustration custom project.

See you back here soon!


Filed under art, drawing, marker and ink illustration, materials, motivation, My Favorite Things, New work, techniques, Tool Box

My Favorite Things – Holiday (Window) Shopping Along 5th Avenue

There is something magical about walking along the shops of 5th Avenue at Christmas-time.  Do it at dusk, and the baubles and gems you’ll see won’t just be IN the shops…

Here’s what I saw on a recent evening excursion on 5th Avenue.

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Filed under Influences, My Favorite Things, New York, photography