28 November, 2017

On Being Anxious

Recently I finally decided to finish my little comic/journal about my anxious episode and change. Actually, I was moping around that day since an event I was part of did not go the way I had envisioned. I was gonna do nothing all day but half way through I just powered through lining the comic. I had started working on it a year and half ago, and in that bout of blues, powered through it in two days. 

When I feel sad about my state of art, I feel it's ok to pause a little and take time to be sad. It always gives way for me to foster some kuyashii feelings. I get up and want to get better. 

At least that's how my creative circle goes!!

I posted the little comic on issuu. If you make an account you can download the PDF :)




Last week was quite a busy week! I received my Travel and Work permit from USCIS, in time for my work interview that was lined up two days after! So.. now, a week later, I'm going to start working! I'm so excited. It's not animation, but it's definitely something I love. And I'm glad I'll be surrounded by really lovely people whom I am eager to learn from. I am looking forward to grow on this job!




Else, it was a nice Thanksgiving, getting together with some friends. I made Banana Bread cake with Strawberry Glaze. The Glaze was a nightmare, but seems like it became good as it dried... Miracle!

Karen and I made a trip to the beach as well as a wonderful sushi experience at one of our -now- favourite sushi places here in California.


I'm still trying to see what schedule work best for the blog! I think it will be important for me to set up some blog themes lined up. I know nobody reads these really but I'm gonna try to be consistent and then share as things stabilize!


19 November, 2017

On EDC!


I need to get back in the habit of writing on blogs again!!! Let's try again to make this happen! 

Lately I've been thinking about making an art material post - actually before I stopped posting I had planned to make a materials post. Right now I'll just post about my EDC (every day carry). Art post will be a little more complicated. Since I've last posted things have changed a little mainly due to the addition of my Traveler's Notebook~ In my EDC, this is my basic carry (my bare bone carry is just TN, sketchbook and pen).



BASIC EDC

watercolour tin (24 half pan or this small one)
global arts travelogue handbook sketchbook
traveler's notebook regular brown
kuretake waterbrush
fountain pen (default LAMY SAFARI)

I try to carry all these most times, and generally I'll have a pen case with me holding my fountain pens as well as a OHTO Minimo pencil, which does come in handy more than i realize! As for handbags, I use a variety of Kiplings, though I am eyeing a The Superior Labor one ...


watercolour tin

I love love love using a tin palette for watercolour! The one in this photo is one I made with a mini postcard tin and some empty half pans + magnets. Recently I came across ppl who have used smaller tins! It's suuuper cute! I might consider it if I'm really strapped for room. I generally will bring my 24 half pan tin when I plan on colouring, I like having the small one as a light casual carry. I use Holbein watercolour tubes. The paints are very vibrant and the pigments are abundant; but because they are generally opaque like, I'm considering switching to Daniel Smith down the line (plus now they make smaller tubes!)

sketchbook

I don't know how many years it has been since I've settled on this sketchbook, but it's been LONG time. Travelogue Handbook is the best... It's just the best for me in terms of how I work. Actually when I started buying them, they were cheaper than they are now... but it's still worth it!! The paper takes a good beating and seriously takes washes well. The pages then buckle up but they also settle down flat after a while, it's really amazing. I LOVE it. It also feels casual enough to just write in it as well.

traveler's notebook

I fell into this TN hell in around January and started to look for cheaper alternatives. Because I was really into bullet journal, I thought this would be a great system to integrate into. So for many months I had tried some Fauxdoris - just to see if I could make this work. (Un)fortunately, it did! I loved the system! In july I finally bit the bullet and bought an official TN when Fiddy came to visit... and our books have been brothers since. I'm still working out which inserts to put in but currently I have 1. Baum-kuchen wallet insert 2. blank notebook for bujo 3. Traveler's Factory Canvas Insert. The latter I got at the Traveler's Caravan x Ace Hotel vent that I absolutely loved!! 


waterbrush

I actually much prefer using an actual brush nowadays, but still nothing beats the convenience of a waterbrush and a rag cloth. I have almost all of KURETAKE's line of waterbrushes, my usual carry is Medium round or the Flat. I think with Flat you can do almost anything, so I just carry that.

fountain pen

One of my personal hells. For drawing I always carry a Lamy Safari inked with De Atrementis Document Ink Black - and sometimes another Lamy Safari with same ink but different colour. I like the De Atrementis Document Ink a lot - they dry fast and I love the assorted colours. Currently, I'm also testing out using my TWSBI ECO for my drawing pen, as the steel nib is very stiff and I like that stiffness for drawing. I also often carry a Pilot Parallel Pen when I go urbansketching - I feel like it keeps me nice and loose.


That pretty much sums up my EDC!! I hope to cover more art materials next time.. For now, have some photos~

jotting down baking ideas in my TN

Ace Hotel, quick sketch on rooftop

a beautiful stack of TNs from people and staff at Ace Hotel event

   





17 December, 2016

On Holidays

Well it's been  a nice relaxing and fun week for me. Though I quit my job on saturday, I couldn't catch up on the blog last week because I was rushing a whole bunch of deadlines for merchandise planned for the new year! Very excited for some of these merch :D I want to have more focus on stationery items. 

Karen came back for the holidays to her family and I. It's been awesome to be together in real life rather than skype and chat apps. We had a lot of fun just chilling, and going around the city!
Anyway, today I am having dinner at Karen's mom's home and we are making traditional taiwanese dishes! Karen and I have prepared Turnip Cake 蘿蔔糕 and BaWan 肉回. This morning I made some AiYu 愛玉冰 to compliment the food afterwards. I realized that AiYu is really good for Taiwanese food, cuz we eat a lot of heaty foods. AiYu is made from the seeds of Ficus pumila. They are these tiny dusty looking seeds you put in a cheese cloth baggy and soak in water. You massage the bag to release all the gelatin from the seeds into the water.

It has a light fresh taste, it is eaten with lime juice and sugar water! It's really refreshing - not really something for winter, but hey, it's yummy!

Short post today :D I should get some laundry done and pack a bit!





04 December, 2016

On Rainy Days

I can't say that I've had many many remarkable rainy days in my life, but it almost feels like I've had a downpour this week. It started Tuesday night... as I was going home from a long day at work. I left work with my cellphone in the red and my bladder full thinking that I will be heading straight home so I can just wait it off till I get home. How very wrong I was.

As I was driving, ten minutes onto the highway, my car began to sink and power down. I steered the car onto the shoulder of the highway and turned off the ignition. I really had hoped that I could restart it after a few moments but no. I quickly messaged Karen to let her know I was in a mud hole and proceeded to call CAA. After pressing five or so options I'm put through to a helper only to learn that it was illegal for the company to operate on the highway so I would have to get the city to tow my car to an accessible point where the CAA could get me. There were also parts of that conversation that were very confusing because the person was french and didn't seem fluent in english. This is the curse of Québec. I then called the city and waited for the tow to arrive. While waiting I made a quick call to CAA again to ask how long would the wait be when I get to an accessible area; they told me approximately 60mins. I'm sorry but 60mins wait is WAY too long, especially how I was still 40mins away from home. So the city tow came, and before I could really decide on what I was going to do, my phone dies. This made my choosing much easier I can't call the CAA anymore, so I will just get towed all the way back to my little suburb neighborhood.

Arriving at the garage on the tow was actually somewhat interesting, and amusing. I try not to worry so much when this kind of thing happen, and just take it as is. After leaving the car at the garage, I asked the tow if they could just drop me a block or two down on their way. Luckily my garage was not too far from the strip mall, and I didn't live too far from the strip mall either. And at the strip mall I could finally use the bathroom and charge my phone a little. I was sure Karen was worrying so I tried to message her as soon as my phone had some juice. I pulled a cookie out of my bag and ate it as if it was rationed for times like these. After reassuring my boo, I walked home and just took it easy.

The next morning I woke up at 7am and decided to call the garage just to let them know my car was at their shop. The mechanic picked up and asked me why the tow person didn't deposit my car keys. (Because I didn't know and I hadn't taken off my house keys yet...). He urged me to get to the shop as soon as possible because my dead car was blocking the front entrance to his garage. I then rip out of bed and slap on clothes, I look horrendous as I speed walk/jog to the bus stop. At 7h13, I get on the bus, arrive at 7h24 at the garage, drop my keys, talk with the mechanic. I make my way back on to the bus taking me home, and was home by 7h46. Pretty amazing. I made breakfast, and did some stuff, and got a call from the garage around 10h30. He told me my battery died because my belt had a crack, plus the alternator died. On the plus side it was the original battery and it lasted pretty much 10 years... Anyway, the whole of it costed around 550$ (on top of that the towing was 200$). Of course the repairs had to be done, but after I hung up the phone I teared up from the shock of it, and turned to Karen who was an angel and comforted me right away by telling me a story that was even worse than mine.

Honestly, right now, I don't feel bad about the car, because I feel safe in it, but even the money.. It's okay. I saved up for this kind of emergency. Its got nothing on me. It was just the unfortunate circumstance it had to present itself when I'm about to move away and would ideally save that money (laughs). It's a little ironic how I posted about saving money and this happens.

On a lighter note, I did some christmas shopping with Carey on the Wednesday while my car was in the garage. We also ate at this Korean restaurant and ordered way too much food unintentionally... Yes despite the unforseen dent in my wallet by my car, I was still able to enjoy myself because I have learned to save for these circumstances.

Foods from this week!!

Learned to make patterned rice rolls. With some left over tofu fish cake I made :>
Jukebox burger bar! They have a poutine burger I'll have to try when Karen comes back.

The feast between Carey and I... It was hella good and great price too...


27 November, 2016

On Meaningful Spending...

Like many of my friends, I LOVE a good session of retail therapy. My vices are consistently the same suspects: food, stationery, and art supplies. I believe I'm generally a reasonable spender. My rule of thumb is to usually sit on a purchase for at least a day before buying it. However, now that I'm moving, and quitting my job, I really really have to make my money count. How do I cut down to the necessities of spending but still maintain a balance of happiness? - this is my new years resolution.

I spent a lot of time inside this week, under the weather


As usual I turn to Google for guidance, and found some steps to follow.

Define your values
The most important things in my life is health, friends, and art.

For me health includes food spendings and the occasional self-maintenance sessions. I've noticed that sometimes to save money I buy vegetables on sale that I don't necessarily eat. It then rots in my fridge and I have to throw it out. In retrospect, letting food spoil is not spending money wisely. So instead of saving on that 75¢, I'm gonna spend it towards something I will eat and finish. (Regretfully I believe there are some vegetables currently suffering right now). Sometimes spending more on something you'll use and love is better than saving money and suffering(?).
I'm a big fan of prevention over intervention, so if something is wrong with my body, I will spend money on that massage for a tune up, I will spend that money to get some acupuncture done (*bias*). I realized that this is not just about money but spending the time as well. Back in spring when I found myself in very stressful situation, I realized it was important to spend that time to find my way back to better emotional health. Sometimes, it is not money but time that I am too frugal about.

Spending time with friends is invaluable. Having a chat over a meal or little café session is such a good therapy itself. 


LiLi likes to ride things: shopping cart included.

Art has been a major money suck for me... Not that it's a bad thing, but I can definitely be a little more critical about it. For controlling art supplies and stationery addiction, what really helped me was to start a bet with Karen: if I spend money on any of items on that category within the designated period of time, I have to give her 20$ (exception being if I run out of a certain item *dry laughs*). That's really helped me cut down on my spendings in this category... Two years ago, I would not walk out of an art store without having spent 60-100$. That's a problem. Now if I can control my fountain pen and stationery addiction, that would be great...


To be fair more than half the picture on the left are gifts. And the OHTO minimo mechanical pencil was my rare moment of impulse buy... it is too adorable... I'm a sucker for cute stationery.

Aside from buying supplies that I can use, I also spend money on artist merchandise as well. Most of my purchases are well loved, but something I didn't end up enjoying as much is purchasing clothing. This is due to my extreme pickiness on the quality of the print - nothing on the images themselves. So I think it's something I will stop doing next year.

Look through your spendings
I've tried many ways to track my spendings. I've tried writing it down, excel sheets, mobile apps and all that. The one thing that's working for me right now is Kanahei's Account Book App. It is SO CUTE. That's what got me into using this mobile app. I'm actually pretty horrendous at using the phone apps for tracking anything, I'm a big writer over digital typing. I think writing down my spendings just hurts a little too much for me to engage in it haha... I know a lot of people use more comprehensive apps, but the account book is enough for me.

I'm also a big fan of getting my money's worth. Something that has justified my spendings on Kipling bags and UNIQLO clothing. Though recently, this year, I've spent a considerable amount of money on one of my vices: Kipling handbags... current price hike has pushed me to resolve to break up with Kipling. It is too expensive and the advantages of it has not risen with the price. So goodbye my love... goodbye...
Reversely, I have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of clothes at UNIQLO for the price it comes at. After I've KonMari'd my room this year, about half of my clothing is UNIQLO - there are days where I'm only wearing that brand. Super fan of it now!

Make adjustments (go get it energized)

Little lessons to keep in mind:
  • It's okay to spend a little more on one thing that you will like over spending a little on something you'll like less...
  • Quality over quantity is important; give it up if it's no longer worth it (bye kipling..)
  • Don't forget the importance of spending time over money for self and friends
  • Continue to sit on purchases for a day or so before spending the money
  • Tracking money is important to help keep making adjustments!
 I'm super excited to try this out after I make the Christmas purchases! :D

Look at these Christmas worthy candied apple treats...

19 November, 2016

On Food

Lighter post today ^^ Something happened recently that made me decide to up my cooking game! I always want to be good at cooking. I don't cook unhealthy food but I can definitely learn more healthy options.
tumeric potatoes and egg breakfast burrito 
egg, turkey, cilantro pesto lunch burrito
I have a lot of fun making it look nice too. It's just another hobby besides drawing. Food is a little like interactive art no? Making good pretty food and then partaking in it. It's also just really fun to cook with friends and eat together. I love doing that though I haven't cooked with friends in a while.
inarizushi, garlic ginger sweet potato & wonton miso soup

satsuma-age and spinach salad
I enjoy all sorts of cuisine and all sorts of food. This year I've been working on opening up my palette to a few different foods. It's pretty difficult to want to eat all sorts of things but being unable because of my dislike to certain ingredients. My main problems were cilantro, ginger, parsley, celery, bell peppers. I am proud to say that cilantro and gingers are now conquered and have made such a huge difference in my eating!! Celery is still no go, but bell peppers are okay roasted.
gouda cheese with cassis jelly, cilantro pesto and green grapes

ribbon carrot, fennel and radish salad

Anyway, excited to keep trying new things. Food is great, makes people happy! I hope 2017 will be filled with more recipes and good food times!!

12 November, 2016

On LGBTQ+

It's hard to gather thoughts about this week into an organized fashion. Mainly a lot of disappointment and frustration towards what happened in the elections. On top of that, there are some personal news that added extra stress to the week. I wanted to just formulate into words some feelings about being ... me.

I never felt the need to come out to the internet, but if I had to come out officially, it would be now.

I was born into extremely conservative parents. Not only are they Asian, they are also religious to the point. Now, they may argue that they share love for all people - but c'mon, they're religious asian parents. Get real. My parents ironically were not helicopter in grades but in values and behaviour. I can't tell which is the lesser evil: helicopter grades or helicopter moral and behaviour? One can argue they're all bad either way. They are ignorant and very much in denial of life outside their religious circle; about how average normal people are like. Basically they stick within their circle and everything outside is evil. When one of my sibling decided to stop going to church, it was a preview to the apocalypse to them; they were depressed for months on end. When the sibling decided to move in with their significant other, they wanted the sibling to get married before doing so. Insert confusion [here].

So that's my parents. Now me.

I am the eldest of three, I grew up in a bubble. This bubble was well padded with religion. I didn't know life outside my religious bubble. Imagine me becoming attracted to girls in my late teens. It was hella weird. To be honest, I thought I was just admiring girls in a .. very infatuated way. I did date guys in my teens but it was nothing serious. A few years down the line, I actually started dating a girl - which didn't last long (see: lasted too long). And even then, I fought with myself: I was breaking the rules. It took me a long time to accept myself. I made the right choice to not tell my parents, and took my time to come to the facts. I know that my parents would never accept this.

A little while after, I fell in love with the most amazing girl. Literally the best person in my life: patient with my shortcomings, chill, loving and kind. The healthiest relationship I've ever had the chance to cultivate and strive for. We're not the perfect couple, but I love her like crazy. It was then I fully came to terms that it was okay; it was okay for me to be me. Being loved by this person and being accepted by this person so completely helped me to accept me.

I came out to the atheist sibling, and they were quite enthusiastic to have a lesbian sister (much as if I was a brand). The sibling told me that my parents would understand just as they've come to accept my their way of life. I don't think they understand how much heavier of news my orientation would be compared to the heterosexual relationship they are pursuing. This is a completely different level of transgression; a sin so severe that had civilizations of Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed. Needless to say, I quickly discarded that suggestion. In fact, I'm dead set on never telling them: it would cause too much grief on both parties.

Choosing not to come out is a heavy choice. It's hiding who you are, it's being unable to tell another person who you are. You are not able to do this because you sense the danger of judgment or discrimination. There are people I absolutely love at church, but when they address same gender relationships it makes me realize that there will be people who won't love me anymore when they know the real me. This is a very somber realization. I don't blame them if they would stop loving me; we fear the unknown, and most of them have no idea about homosexual individuals (let alone the rest of the acronym).

It is so freeing... to be able to be who you are. To be surrounded by an environment who accept you for who you are or just treat your being as normal. I was elated to be able to move to the states with my girlfriend. I get to live my own life, choose my own path, pursue my dreams.


I can be me.


Then the elections happened.


The dreams I have are now shrouded in uncertainty. Not only am I homosexual, I am Asian, I am female.



It is crucial to give people the freedom to be. Creating a safe, loving, open-minded space is an imperative to the well being of our society. I have felt the cage, I have felt the freedom. No matter what happens, I hope I will always remember this, and to be able be an example of love, empathy and open-mindedness. I know I have a long long way to go (oh boy!); but I have to keep trying.

Never give up on love.

07 November, 2016

In the Cat's Corner



Got these done during the summer when I took a class (which was lackluster). I think this outing was the highlight of the class. This dance studio is called Cat's Corner - a swing studio. It was so awesome!




05 November, 2016

On Fountain Pen Week

Anyhow, it was a fun busy week! Things are getting into motion so I hope to try to blog about it and record the events. Though to be honest, I do more than enough recording so I don't know why I need to lay my life out even more.  I'll try to schedule posts and make sure there are contents to post about. This blog is probably going to be everywhere...

I was really excited for Fountain Pen Day this week! I just like looking at everyone's pens to be honest. I don't know what it is about them that's so enchanting. Maybe because it's such a personal experience for everyone. Also because I'm a stationery geek. For some reason I can't believe I only got into fountain pens in February. There will probably be some stationery posts later on :3

Speaking of stationery, I've been throwing out a ton of things since June. I've discovered Kondou Marie's cleaning method. So I have been getting rid of my surplus and things that I haven't been using like crazy. Thankfully my friend Carey is open to receive all my stuff (including a giant box of zines I had to shed). Practising KonMari method has really helped me to descern what I like and be more careful of my purchases. Like many artists I've.... had a art supply/startionery buying problem. The addiction is coming along...thanks to Karen.

The main reason why I'm going through KonMari and weight shedding is because I'll be moving down to California to be with Karen in January!!! We are so excited!!! We signed our apartment papers recently and we have a place together now! I'm so excited to finally make the move down for the next chapter of my (and our) life. I'm finally taking step to make the transition into the animation industry. I will be working hard to try to make this as smooth as possible! But seriously excited to hang with people too haha


Oh I'm bringing my dog with me too!


Food blurb: This week Carey and I went to lunch, and found that we had room for dessert. We spontaneously went to get BingSoo (shaved ice). I was pleasantly surprised that it was the fluff shaved ice which I have yet to try. It was amazing!!!! Can't wait to go again!