Monday, February 28, 2011

Infographics for the Perfect Drinks

Brazilian illustrator Fabio Rex created these vibrant infographics on how to make the perfect cocktails. I can't say I know Portuguese, but I can think of worse ways to learn vocabulary in a new language. If I ever get to have a bar area in my home, I'd totally frame these and hang up them up because Practical + Pretty = Win! (via Datavisualization.ch)

Images: datavisualization.ch

Etsy Meet-Up: Drawing Lab with Carla Sonheim

Tonight I'm heading over to an Etsy meet-up in Brooklyn for a tutorial with Carla Sonheim, artist and author of "Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun." The lesson hopes to shake us out of our fear of drawing and will start with a 15-minute workshop where we'll do a "series of non-threatening exercises" like one-line drawings and wrong-handed portraits. Afterward, it's all about colors, experimenting with multi-layered techniques and just having fun with it all.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

And the Academy Award Goes to...

Me! Just kidding. Is anyone actually watching this thing though? I saw four of those in the running for the Best Picture award and it's so hard to even make a prediction! Who do you think will take Oscar home? (P.S. He's a lot heavier than I expected. What a fatty!)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Happy Weekend!


The weekend is already half over, but I thought I'd pop in and wish you a wonderful one anyway. Yesterday, my friend/coworker The Bantu Girl and I walked from Times Square to Grand Central Terminal and made a few stops along the way: to see this "Read" sculpture in front of the Mid-Manhattan Library, hang out with a certain Oscar you all know and then visit a sweet boutique in Grand Central Terminal before parting ways.

Then I met up with A. for an unexpected date night. He invited me to Union Square for dinner and then we headed over to Max Brenner for Urban S'mores complete with tabletop fire, vials and tiny dishes filled with liquid chocolate, banana slices, peanut butter and raspberry sauce. The whole place was just perfect for a fun evening together.

I haven't been reading for fun much lately, but this trailer for "Room" has intrigued me.
Williams-Sonoma Message-in-a-Cookie Cutters. ( via The Secret Life of B)
Free paper toys to download.
For those who have a hard time sticking with one calendar design for an entire year: join this curious Calendar of the Month Club. (via Paper Crave)
Disney princesses as snarky hipsters and a judgmental ostrich bookseller.
A sweet V-day-themed engagement shoot and a cozy winter one, too.
One kite dress three ways. P.S. I cannot get over her hair! Love.
Take a photo with an actual Oscar statuette for free at Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall through tomorrow 7 AM - 7 PM. Here's mine! (And check out The Bantu Girl.)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sometimes It Just Seems Impossible

Me: Don't say it's gross.
Him: Then don't hurt yourself.
Me: But I can't stop, A.
Him: Yes, you can.
Me: No, I can't.
Him: Yes, you can. You have to.

That night he left me in a dream because I still hadn't controlled it. And I'm scared that one day it'll come true because right now keeping these nails so super short is doing little to keep my determined hands from doing what they wish.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Adele, "21"

Adele's sophomore album dropped today and I can't wait to get my hands on it so I can play it incessantly. I just hope I fall in love with this one as much as I did with the soulful "19." In fact, I'm going to take a nice hot shower and then listen to that CD as I wind down for the night because it's just been one of those days: too long, too much work, too little time, too meh. Below, her video for "Rolling in the Deep" off the new album.



And her performance of "Someone Like You" at this month's Brit Awards just gave me goosebumps (and I admit, almost made me a bit sad). Now if awards shows only showcased performers with this kind of raw talent, I'd be more inclined to watch and just sit there completely mesmerized.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lighting Cupcakes on Fire (On Purpose)

Remember these fun chocolate cupcakes with flaming strawberries I told you about? I finally gave a version of them a shot (of liquor)! You should have seen my happy dance when we managed to get three of these babies going in the dark. Now I want to know what else I can set on fire in the kitchen...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Happy Friday!

Yay another long weekend is upon us! Even better is the warm temperatures we've been having in NYC (we're hitting 60 66 F today). It won't last because more snow is supposedly on the way, but believe that I'm going to take full advantage of this spring tease. Who knows? I might even dare to bust out my jacket.

What would your DIY glitter garland say?
Talk about sweet packaging.
A lonely gnome's life in NYC. (via Swissmiss)
I now have a crush on all of Rob Ryan's goodies.
Goodness! And I thought my handwriting was pretty okay. (Here's more stellar calligraphy.)
Get your daily dose of compliments. (via Polli, a cute blog I just discovered!)
What kind of Cupid would you need?
Yup, pretty sure this is how Anthropologie comes up with their stuff.
Imagine living in a house full of shelves. I like the different elevations, but it's really just too much.
The "Students for Free Culture Conference 2011" is in NYC on Saturday. Anyone attending?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thrush

I loved the last line in Gabriel Bisset-Smith's short film below because even though it's now been three years, which feels somewhere in between "so long ago" and "just the other day," I still wonder how you can go from sharing everything with someone to becoming just a name alongside a text message. Time and distance, what a lethal combo. (via Boing, Boing)

Thrush from Gabriel Bisset-Smith on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Uplifting Dreams

It's another short and artsy post right after the last one, but when I came across Maia Flore's "Sleep Elevation" photo collection, I just couldn't resist. What I wouldn't give for soaring dreams like these! (via A Beautiful Mess)

Images: maiaflore.com

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"The Roses" on Park Ave

A few weeks ago, A. and I took a stroll along Park Ave. to check out artist Paul Kasmin's blooming installation "The Roses." Thirty-eight pink and red rose sculptures as tall as 25 feet were placed along the avenue's mall between 57th and 67th streets complete with larger-than-life ladybugs, ants, beetles and bees. In addition, 20 rose petals are scattered about to create sitting areas once the temps go above freezing levels, I presume.

They felt a wee bit out of place with all the surrounding snow, most of which has melted by now, but it was so nice to see such cheery colors amidst the dreary white and gray.

"The Roses" will be on view through May 31, 2011 just in time for the real blossoms to dress the city once again.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

So Many Valentine's Day Goodies

We're actually not doing much again. Last year, I invited him over for dinner a couple days before and he surprised me with tulips. Then we spent V-day walking around SoHo and going into random shops while I was still fighting "I was dumped on Valentine's Day" thoughts (not no more!). This time we're just attending a writing group meeting with friends after work followed by wine, chocolates and perhaps a little game of Spin-the-Bottle. And that's totally fine with me (yes, even the part where we might kiss other people). We had such a wonderful day yesterday and so many before that one, that tomorrow really will be "just another day."

*Gag* huh?

We're not exchanging gifts or anything, but if I could, I'd buy/make/cook all these sweet things below (well maybe all except for the anti-Valentine):

Cloud 9 handmade valentine.
British romantic poetry letterpress note card set.
Valentine's greeting kites. (via Bloesem Kids)
Choco bowls of love.
Exponential love note.
Je t'aime coffee cup wrappers. (via How About Orange)
Origami heart valentines.
Crappy Suckentine's Day card. (Hey, I've been there.)
Sweetheart tea.
DIY valentine luminaries, cupid's arrow cupcakes and treat bag toppers.
Chocolate cupcakes with flaming strawberries. (I've been dying to make these!)
Do you go together like nerds and glasses, mustaches and creeps or Bob Ross and happy little trees?

Now, I have to go get ready for this evening. Mom's been sweet enough to invite us, the sis and her bf over for a Valentine's Day dinner! So tell me, what do you guys have planned for your "just another day?"

Image: aestheticoutburst.blogspot.com

Friday, February 11, 2011

Popbar's MiniPops

You all remember how much I loved Popbar last summer? Well I was recently invited to learn about (and taste!) their newest addition to their yummy collection: miniPops, smaller versions of their popular handcrafted gelato-on-a-stick that's great for catering weddings, birthdays or just drowning your anti-Valentine's Day woes in a sea of popsicles (though I must say, eating two dozen of these little delights is not such a bad way to go).

MiniPops are packaged in a cooler that keeps them frozen for up to two hours - if they last that long - and must be ordered at least two days in advance and at a minimum of 25 pops (for $60). With all the flavors and "poppings" to choose from, they're completely customizable so hey, why not choose a color combo to coordinate with your big event? The only cool service I'd add is a service station complete with a professional "popologist" so guests could order any popbar creation they'd like. Sweet idea, no?

Since I tried the mango popSorbetto the last time I was there, I went straight for a mini strawberry one. Delicious and so fresh. It never feels like you're sucking on a piece of ice, but rather a softly frozen fruit. Mind you it was incredibly cold outside, but that didn't stop me from trying a creamy banana popGelatto dipped in dark chocolate, drizzled in white and then sprinkled with almonds. Gianduia chocolate is the store's best-seller, but after I took a bite from another girl's spicy pumpkin pop covered in milk chocolate and hazelnuts, I instantly discovered a new (and newly released) favorite. Forget pumpkin pie, I want this after every Thanksgiving meal!

Now for those who can't bear the thought of eating ice cream in the winter (I used to be one of those people until I saw and tasted the light), I suggest you go for a cup of their Caramel Hot Chocolate on a Stick. The hot-and-cold combo and chocolate ice cream swirls were rich and satisfying on that chilly evening. I was getting a childish kick out of dunking the ice cream cube into the foamy milk and then popping it right into my mouth until it cooled.

Julio, our sweet popologist, handed us bar after bar, dipping and topping our gelatos with such care, while we prodded Daniel, the store's co-owner, for tips on any secret upcoming flavors. "We won't tell," we promised, but without luck. Well we might have to wait until spring for that news, but there are plenty of other fresh and fruity flavors to keep my taste buds busy until the next reveal.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Maintaining the Public Persona

Things have been wonderful as of late, that sort of satisfying close-your-eyes-sit-back-and-sigh it's so good. And as much as I wish I could keep up with my life and chronicle it all online, it's becoming increasingly difficult, tiring and frankly unnecessary. See, the more I have going on outside this cyber world, the less time I have to divulge every detail. And the less energy I spend online, the more I feel like actually doing things. It's a vicious cycle and I'm learning to love every minute of it.

Late last year, A. decided to back away from his online commitments like blogging, tweeting and Facebooking incessantly. Crazy talk, if you asked me, but he wanted to stop living his life online and refocus his energy on things with more impact. I won't say if he's been entirely successful or not, but I have noticed that since then he doesn't stress about updating his blog every other day. He doesn't worry about the number of followers he has and when he does write a post, it's because he feels he has something worth saying. So I've also been allowing myself to let some things go without guilt. The Internet will not fall apart if I leave for a bit to tend to my real life.

Many times I do wish I could run and share the fun, the trying and the seemingly crazy things I've been up to over the last couple of months, but a part of me likes keeping those bits to myself, untouched nor criticized by those who just wouldn't understand. It's almost like a double life between this public me that I've always been and another I'm just starting to become and until I feel comfortable merging the two for everyone, I'll only show that latter persona within certain circles. Some might see it as being two-faced, but I disagree. I'm geniune no matter who I'm with. I just believe that certain people make you feel comfortable enough to reveal extra things you're too shy to share with anyone else. And that's okay. In some ways, that makes it all the more special.

Cryptic I know, but such is my life right now: confusing, intriguing, full of missteps and layers all slightly unbinding itself from societal expectations. All I know is I like where I am at this moment.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy Friday!

I know Puxatawhatshisface didn't see his shadow so Spring is supposedly on it's way soon, but that's a bit hard to buy at the moment (who made groundhogs the boss of warm weather anyway?). There's more snow on the way and the freezing temps are not melting the ice we already have to trudge through. At least I finally got some snow boots so I don't have to waddle around the streets like a little penguin. You did good, Pumas, but now it's time for some invincibility ish. I shall avoid lake-sized puddles no more!

Inspiring quotes + art mash-up.
I've never been amazed by a locksmith shop 'til now.
These tiny necklace planters are adorable, but would you actually wear one?
I'm pretty sure I want to live in this house (that view!) and sleep in this bed.
Free compliments anyone? And share the warm fuzzies while you're at it.
Infographic on laziness in the workplace. (P.S. I immediately caught a typo. Can you?)
Forget regular flashcards. I'm raising my child on the Periodic Table of Elements. B is for Boron!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Timbuk2 Custom Eula Tote

Well I'm very happy to report that I've finally found my messenger bag and ditched my annoying purse. That sad hobo sack kept slipping off my shoulder and became a black hole whenever I needed to find something in it (I can't tell you how many times I've had to practically dump the whole thing onto some store counter in search of money/cards/ID/what have you). So after searching high and low for a bag that was sleek, comfortable and big enough to hold my papers and laptop (if need be), but not too giant for my small stature, I went for the Timbuk2 Custom Eula Tote. I'd already done some research on the brand for work and after A. suggested that I get one for myself, I kept seeing their messenger bags eeeverywhere.

For starters, the size fell right within the range I needed: my 11" iBook fits comfortably and the bag holds letter-sized papers, magazines and notebooks with room to spare. As with most Timbuk2 bags, you can customize this one by choosing what colors, fabrics and extra accessories you'd like for your new baby. I went with a simple black fabric-backed tarpaulin outer with a contrasting white liner. Both are waterproof (perfect for the current conditions around here), but you can also choose from basic, lightweight and patterned fabrics. As for my white interior, well, I was just tired of throwing my things into a dark abyss.

The organization of this bag is fantastic. It has more pockets and pouches than I know what to do with (for the record: 14 > my needs). I even opted for the extra nylon pocket that gets sewn along the back so I'm set. I just need to stop stuffing more crap in all those little extra spaces!

Now as practical as the messenger sounds, there are some downfalls to it. For starters, there are no outer pockets, which would be great because its second negative point goes to its LOUD Velcro closure. Buckles would've been nicer, quicker and better for opening the bag without alerting the entire hemisphere, but eh, I'm looking at it as a pickpocket deterrent. But despite these details, the bag seems to work very well for me (Timbuk2's are known for great customer service and durability).

Oh, and something should be said for their humor. The San Francisco-based company delighted me with their random snark from the order summary e-mail ("We suggest that you actually read it and like it because this is what you are getting and the Lucky One's address below is where we are going to send it. If you must be That Person, we can TRY our best to make changes or cancel your order.) to the reusable bag I received with a San Fran bike map printed on one side ("Make it into a bike seat cover, or a really small blanket or turn it into a smaller bag; whatever you do, stop kicking mother nature in the nads and don't throw this bag away!). The cherry on top? Discovering that the little tag inside says "quality $#!t since 1989."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thing-a-Day 1: NYIGF, Goals and Creative Pursuits

The 2011 Thing-a-Day madness kicked off today and I started it off by heading to the New York International Gift Fair in the morning. My former greeting card design teacher was showing again this year and was sweet enough to put a few of us on her list. So I spent some time at her Wanart booth learning about her latest designs, updating her on my progress and just getting a peek at the NYIGF from the exhibitor's perspective.

See, I've attended a couple times before, but as a press member so it was interesting to experience it from the other side. Well let me tell you it was intimidating! Before, I'd stroll around the overwhelming convention center and marvel at all the beautiful products. I'd leave dizzy, ideas and inspiration swirling through my head. This time, I flew by too quickly, barely glancing at all the talent on display. Why? I was scared that the other exhibitors would see my own exhibitor badge and shun me, thinking I was snooping around to steal ideas. I did make mental notes of a few companies and can't wait to look them up in the NYIGF directory to see what great things they make.

Fueled by the dream of someday having my own booth at the show, I emailed a couple of my card classmates to see how they were doing and hopefully meet up to get the motivation flowing again. So far Meetup.com has failed in producing a group that meets my needs for open craft nights (so perhaps I should create my own?) and Etsy's are only once a month. Luckily, one girl e-mailed right away. Cynthia attended the fair last weekend and, like me, was both excited and overwhelmed by the exhibitors and we've made plans to meet up in two weeks. Time to get to those designs!

My goals for this month of Thing-a-Daying are to continue building my card collection, find some sort of creative community and pepper my paper business goals with other artsy/writerly pursuits:

inspiration collection * photography * travel guides/posts * baking * reading * sewing * DIY posts * artist dates * origami * karaoke * and being completely messy.

And to end out the day the way I'd started it, I popped into a popular card shop and bought a couple just for me...all in the name of research.

Images: papyrus.com and papyrus.com