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Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Cream to my Coffee, The Sugar to my Tea.

You'll get why the title is like that in a few. Honestly, this Spring Break has been one of the best ones in my opinion. Yes, I am stuck at home, but that doesn't mean that I'm miserable! In fact, I'm really, really happy. I started off break with two of my best friends, Tiffanie and Lauren. I know all of you see I hang out with Tiffanie a lot, but the fact that Lauren came with us (finally!) made this day even better. 

We've been so busy lately we haven't had the chance to sit down and have a decent catch up/meal with each other. I think that's the great thing about solid friendships, you can go several weeks without speaking and when you do see each other, it's as if nothing changed! 

As per usual, we started the day off with food. Heavenly food, if I do say so myself. We went down to the District and ate at Settebello. I've only ever eaten here once but I won't ever forget how great this place is. I suggested this place and since Tiff and Lauren haven't eaten here, they agreed. We like new things!

The quote about how good food gets better with great company is true. These two have stuck by me through thick and thin, they're practically family already. Hell, they eat at my place often!
Balsamic vinegar and oil for the focaccia bread we ordered.
We ordered the Genovese Pizza, which had Basil, Pesto, Prosciutto, and Mozzarella cheese. Heaven. It's heaven. Please do try it if you do end up coming here! 

Freshly made Focaccia bread. I think we all mutually agreed that Settebello will be our new eating spot for the next few months. The pizza still lingers in my dreams. 

After eating, we decided to run some errands together to fill up some of the time. We took a trip down to Target and looked around for some things. Tiff ended up buying herself a copy of The Fault in Our Stars after reading mine.  Who's excited for the movie? I know I am. 

I know I'm not the only person that does this, but my decision to buy something is based around it's packaging. The cleaner it is and the more modern, I'm more inclined to buy it. That's why I am in LOVE with Target's Kid Made Modern line of art supplies. As an advocate for art, I can't stress how important it is to introduce art to growing children. Art has helped me in so many ways and I can only hope it does the same to kids everywhere else. 

See what I mean about the packaging? Clean, modern, and appealing. I've actually been eyeing the set of stretched canvases. $15 for a pack of canvases in several sizes? What a steal.

The first time I was introduced to Kid Made Modern, I wasn't a kid anymore. At first I was completely shocked at how much progress Target has reached when it came to selling art supplies to kids. Back then, all I had was Crayola, or worse, Rose Art. Now with the introduction of Kid Made Modern, I'm sure there are more child artists out there! 

For party needs, my family's go-to is Spritz. Spritz offers a bunch of quirky decorations like paper straws, streamers, and whatnot. 

After Target, we finally decided to go to the one place we've been wanting to go to for the longest time. Driving all the way across town, we went to Serenade for some coffee. It was my first time going there and it was such a breath of fresh air. I loved the ambience and the set up of the entire place.  Serenade is a Korean coffee shop that oozes that coffee culture vibe. Though it is my first time, I can see myself coming back in days to come. 

Various coffee beans from around the world. The smell is just so intoxicating!

Their decor is nothing short of amazing. I think my ideal home would have exposed brick walls such as this and modern light fixtures. 10 points to Serenade for wonderful interior design!

The chalkboard menu and overall feel of the place reminded me a whole lot of The First Shop of Coffee Prince. One of my all time favorite Korean dramas. The fact that they had some acoustic Korean music playing in the background added to that as well. 

 Even the hallway leading to the restrooms are decorated! 

Another 10 points added for their industrial ceiling. Tiffanie knew that I was gonna add that into my blog, hehe. 

Tiffanie ordered a Green Tea Frappe while Lauren and I both ordered a Cafe Latte. The latte art is amazing! What stood out to me the most was the fact that the coffee was perfect. It wasn't too sweet nor was it completely bitter. It was just right, and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

"LOOK CANDID!" Tiffanie turns into a Mexican Farmer. 

Here's to more days like these, and here's to friendship! Thanks for reading, and I hope the rest of your week is amazing. 

In other news, I got my license!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Workspace

I promised this post, so here we go! Every artist has their own special place where they do their magic, be it in their home or elsewhere. If I were the one completely in charge, then I would've bought myself a studio somewhere in the arts district, but then again, that's just wishful thinking. 

For some reason, I'm never satisfied with how my desk is. I don't remember the amount of times I've rearranged how it, but somehow it always falls the same in every single way. Thank god for Pinterest. I don't have one myself, but I do love browsing through people's boards based on desk arrangements.

Having a corner desk, it's really nice being able to work and draw, and basically create utilizing natural sunlight. My desk lamp on the far left is perfect when it gets dark. It's small, but the light is real strong. On the right are my babies, my COPIC markers and watercolours. I think I'd save these first if my house was on fire. Towards the center are a bunch of little doo-dads that I find appealing. 

I've got some tags on my wall as well, from my favorite brands and from tags that I just find really cool. There's an instant film also on there of my desk, hehe. 

Notes from two my closest friends. If I'm in a bad place mentally I just look up and read them, they give me an extra boost to start creating again! 

Various notebooks and moleskines. I've got two large watercolour moleskines that have yet to be filled, and two smaller ones for drawing as well. The other ones I use for note taking and whatnot. 

Thanks for reading! Also, if you're an artist, what does your workspace look like?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Around the house.

I think it's a bit funny that when you get used to your surroundings, you don't really notice the special niches they have. The small things that you're so used to, the small things that make home, home. It's been quite a relaxing few days so I'm dedicating the next couple posts as a creative release. 

I went around my house to appreciate it a little bit more. Camera in hand, I snapped away at the small things that distinguishes my house from the others. 

First thing up on this list is the sole area in my kitchen that keeps me from shutting down in the morning and the area that keeps my drive from faltering during those late night creative bursts. Such as right now, I'm currently writing this out at 10:30. 

Our little tea and espresso corner. The Nespresso isn't pictured because it's a bit boring compared to everything else. I am completely in love with our mirrored tea tray, it matches the reflective surface of our tea pot! My mom's a bit of a tea addict so she goes all out when it comes to buying tea. My dad on the other hand is pretty picky with his coffee. It's kind of that stereotypical parent thing. Dad does coffee, Mom does tea. I'm a bit of both, but I do prefer coffee moreover tea some days. I'm not too fond of espressos though, I find them a bit too strong! 

Tray: Zara Home Engraved Tray 
 Tea pot: TWG 
I know this may sound absurd but, sugar, depending on what kind it is, totally affects the flavor of your tea or coffee. My personal favorite for coffee is on the far left. These raw sugar crystals don't overly sweeten my coffee, it gives it that right amount of bittersweet. The pebble looking sugar crystals in the middle is my choice for tea. Why? Because they look cool. And because I really like how I can gauge the sweetness by the size of each rock. 

Another thing I'm in love with is this brand new kettle my mom got for her birthday. It's so freakishly large, but at the same time really adorable. 

I thought it was porcelain at first but I guess it's metal? Quite sturdy I might say. 

The little knob reminds me of a rose. 

This was given to my mom as a present by one of her dear friends, and I think she picked it up from Nordstrom? Rumor has it the Kardashians have this same kind of kettle on their stove as well.. 
I understand calling a flower cut, but a plant? I don't think I've ever called any shrub adorable, that is until I was introduced to Topiaries! For the longest time I didn't know what these circular plants were called and after figuring out it's name the cute factor just doubled. 

For the longest time I thought these plants were fake because they were so green. It wasn't until as of recent when my mom told me to spritz them with some water. 

My uncle who used to work for Pepsi gave us this rad cooler. For parties, we put drinks in here but on a day to day basis dried mangoes and crackers are stored here, hehe. 

One of my favorite things about my home. This centerpiece we have for our coffee table. White is such an inviting colour and pairing it with accents of gold and black make it all the more alluring. 

When we first got this Kenneth Cobonpue miniature chair, I thought it was a cellphone holder, but it's just a scale model of the actual chairs he has. It's called Yoda! 

My mom's small collection of coffee table books. 

Fu Dogs that I spray painted white. A while back they were this dingy bronze/yellow colour. White gives them a modern twist. 

A new addition to the centerpiece! My older sis recently gave my mom this Fornasetti candle. I love the design of it. 

The Verveine candle hasn't been lit, but I heard it smells heavenly. 

Some Chanel books and a pineapple candle. 

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for my posts regarding my art, workspace, and materials. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Bibliophile. Bibliophilia.

 1. a person who collects or has a great love of books. 

Sounds about right. If you ask any of my friends, I'm pretty sure they'll tell you that I'm a bibliophile. I love books, and you should too. Ever since I was little, I loved burying myself in my novels and stories; I'd put myself in the character's place and imagine myself going on vast adventures. Fighting off dragons, warding off demons, and even casting a spell or two, my childhood was thronged with countless stories. What I lacked in athletics, I made up for in my academics. 

Every chance I get I'd go to my local bookstore and peruse through various sections. Be it art, fashion, culinary, and even romance, I normally never leave the bookstore empty handed. These past two months, I finished some books that have been sitting on my bookshelf, just waiting for it's pages to be turned. 

 The majority of the books I've read were ones that I've started but I haven't finished yet. 
Steal Like An Artist. Damn Good Advice. Eleanor & Park. Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children. Tokyo on Foot. Occasions.

The first one on this list is Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. This was a fairly quick read, but it's one of those books that changed my perspective on the art world. As a growing artist, this book helped me sort out the majority of my ideas and realize that by "stealing" I only make myself look better by enhancing my style. The back of the book reads as follows:
1. Steal Like an Artist 
2. Don't wait until you know who you are to get started. 
3. Write the book you want to read. 
4. Use your hands. 
5. Side projects and hobbies are important.
6. THE SECRET: Do good work and share it with people. 
7. Geography is no longer our master. 
8. Be Nice. (The World is a Small Town). 
9. Be Boring. (it's the only way to get work done.)
10. Creativity is Subtraction. 

The biggest thing I got out of this book was to never lose myself in my art. I do suggest reading it. Regardless or not if you're an artist, it puts into perspective about creativity and how at the same time is beneficial and detrimental. 

What can I say about Eleanor & Park? I loved the fact that I could completely relate to this story in some aspect. Eleanor & Park weaves the tale of Eleanor Douglas and Park Sheridan, two misfits who live in 1986 Omaha, Nebraska. The book switches perspectives constantly so it was refreshing to see both character's stories fold out instead of seeing it through one view. I could relate to this book on a certain level, with Park being Asian-American and being really into comic books. 

Much praise goes to Rainbow Rowell for writing such raw and endearing characters. The issues faced in this book cover racial tensions, child abuse, and social exclusion, but how she presents these issues gives them much respect. Eleanor's struggles were completely realistic and as were Park's. 

This book is a quirky teen romance, but that shouldn't dissuade you from not reading it. The book is teeming with many 80s references, from music to comic books, to what teenagers did back in that time period. I actually started this book way back in December and finished it shortly after, but sometime in February I picked it up again and started it over, this time to absorb more of the symbolism and more of it's deeper meaning. 

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children falls into three categories: Nostalgic terror, Suspense, and Dark thoughts. Ransom Riggs, who has a pretty awesome name, did a fantastic job in creating an adventure that's really, one big giant metaphor. That metaphor, is up to you to figure out. 

I picked up this book a year ago and only now did I actually get to finish it! I backtracked a few chapters to refresh myself on what was going on. Miss Peregrine's follow the story of Jacob Portman, a 16 year old boy who flies to Wales after the murder of his grandfather by what he believes to be "imaginary creatures", to figure out more of his grandfather's past.

The entire story is told through various vernacular photography of rather peculiar children from the early 20th century along with the narrative. Through the usage of these photos, Jacob follows the clues hidden within them to figure out who or what exactly killed his grandfather. 

One of my newer favorites, Miss Peregrine's reminded me of the times in which I read the Harry Potter series, with the fact that the male protagonist is whisked away from mundane reality to a brand new world. The sequel, Hollow City came out recently, and I'm looking to get it within the next few weeks. 

The title is really self explanatory. Damn Good Advice in a nutshell is really Damn Good Advice! George Lois, one of the most celebrated graphic designers reveals all the trade secrets in this little novel of his. His advice regarding the art world and people's attitudes in and about it are completely refreshing. Completely, brutally, and honestly blunt, Lois lays down the do's-and-don'ts of working with clients and building a name for oneself. 

Many of his works are published in the book as well and I can really see why George Lois is such a celebrated designer. As an aspiring graphic designer myself, this along with Steal Like An Artist, not only gave me more insight into the workplace I want to be in, but also made me realize that I really do have potential and that, should never, ever be wasted. 

One of the most innovative travel journals I've ever read, Tokyo on Foot follows the real life adventures of Florent Chavouet, a French artist who moves to Tokyo for six months with his girl friend. The graphic memoir is a fresh look on how a foreigner, let alone an artistic foreigner would perceive a city as beautiful as Tokyo. 

Chavouet draws everything he sees, from the people, to the buildings, to even billboards across the city. This imaginative way of documenting his day to day activities put a brand new spin on the whole "journaling" movement. I only wish I had half Mr. Chavouet's talent. The fact that everything in the book is sketched on the spot and wonderfully coloured with coloured pencils, this book is sensory stimulation. 

I love the honesty Florent Chavouet has with what he sees. France and Japan are two very different cities, and two vastly different cultures so it was interesting to see his opinion about the food, where he lived, and how he was treated. My favorite tidbit is when Japanese cops had detained him because the bike he bought actually turned out to be stolen. Other tidbits of information he includes are his daily trips to convenience stores and how would never understand the appeal of red beans. 

Occasions by Kate Spade, the wonderful fashion designer, released this book quite a while back about how to throw the best gatherings and how to prepare for them. This is actually my mother's book and I can now see why my mother's parties are so well done. I'm a bit spoiled really. My mom's the hostess with the mostess and I can only wish to be just as great of a host as she is when I get older. 

Occasions is a guide on what and what not to do when throwing a party. The book offers many different pieces of advice on how to host a party, and how to be a guest. It covers many things as what to cook, what to decorate with, and who to invite. I think one of my favorite pieces of advice in this book are as follows. 

1. After accepting an invite, it is polite to send a bouquet of flowers in advance to show appreciation for the host/hostess, and to indicate that you are very well interested in going. 

2. If the hors d'oeuvres are still at the party when you arrive, then you aren't late. If however they are gone, then you are late. 

3. 15 minutes late, no questions asked. 30 minutes late, expect a raised eyebrow or two. 45 minutes late, you're fumbling at the goal line. 60 minutes late, consider yourself benched for the season and apologize profusely. 

I love Kate Spade's freshness when it comes to her writing. Not only do I find her clothing and designs completely adorable, but her technique in handing advice, along with the mini illustrations of food and other party related items throughout the novel upped my respect for her. To all those who are aspiring party hosts and to all those who may want to brush up their etiquette as party guests, do pick this book up. It is a must in becoming a fantastic host and a very dignified party guest. 

Here's to more books, and here's to more reading. Pick up a book!