Monday, November 25, 2013
I was going to share some happy news with you today, but I hope you'll forgive me if that waits until tomorrow. Yesterday, I learned that an uncle of mine passed away in the Dominican Republic and since then all I've been able to think about is my grieving father and how fleeting life is. My heart is just heavy right now at the thought of having lost such a loving person and all those questions and feelings of sadness and anger that come with death.
I wish I spent more time with him as an adult since he was always so caring and kind when we'd visit as children, but I'm thankful for having seen him one last time during our trip there this summer. I'm so thankful that after nine years apart I got to hug him and kiss him and let him know that I loved him so very much. I only wish that weren't the last time I got to tell him so.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
One of the coolest things about being part of the handmade/creative community are the connections that you develop with other makers. I've mentioned the Oh My! Handmade Goodness community here before and how I've enjoyed participating in their Thursday Twitter chats to talk with others about growing our small businesses. It's been such a useful resource not only for biz tips and advice, but also just relating with others about the ups and downs of striking out on your own. So I joined the OMHG forums a couple months ago and have since found such a supportive group of cheerleaders and teachers in there.
Collaborations are a natural by-product of being surrounded by talented creators and so we're thrilled to announce our latest: a 2014 letterpress calendar centered around the theme of community. We've been at this for months so we're over the moon that our launch day is finally here! We've each designed one month out of the year based on what we felt "community" meant to us (naturally I took my birthday month, January).
Once our designs started pouring in I was just blown away by how good these people are! Seriously, I have much to learn when it comes to graphic design and playing with software rather than paper and paint. Then our artists' blurbs started coming and I realized how human we all are. As an outsider looking in, sometimes it can feel like these names and brands have it all figured out, that everyone's lives are just neatly trotting along this path that allows them to create so freely and passionately. At least that's how I felt before I joined the cool kids, but upon reading the stories behind each design you'll discover that we all have our hopes and struggles made better with the help of others.
To see and learn more about our designs and order your copy, visit ohmyhandmade.com.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
It's been two months since I've been back from Burning Man and do you know I still get cravings for that festival? And I probably will until I set foot on Black Rock City again. I could be strolling along the street at night and as soon as a cyclist rides past me with a blinking light on his helmet it's like *whoosh* and the memories come rushing back. Today I get to relive those days once again as Latina magazine has published one of my favorite photos for its final page on the December/January issue, which hit newsstands today.
It's funny that with all the articles I've had published, I'm rushing out to buy multiple copies of this issue. But it's my picture...all big! Plus, A. got a photo credit in a national magazine so he's pretty happy about that.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
When I was a child, my dad bought me a map of the world. It was giant and I'd spread it open like a carpet to lay on it. I don't think I understood then how vast the world truly was as I'd search the U.S. states and tried to memorize their capitals. In fact, it wasn't until our road trip around the country last year and then standing in Black Rock Desert this summer that my mind finally started to grasp the immensity of this planet. How one person is to explore all she wants to see is still beyond me, but a girl can continue to search and dream as her slight obsession with maps and travel slowly grows.
It's in that same wanderlust spirit that my heart skipped a beat when 1Canoe2 Letterpress announced their super limited-edition handpainted globes featuring their custom artwork on five unique pieces. I'm so in love with these you don't even know. The ladies of 1Canoe2 will be auctioning off one globe a week starting November 11 and hosting a giveaway for a free globe until Nov. 8 at noon (that's tomorrow!). Visit their Facebook page for a chance to nab one for your own.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
One of the things I was going to miss out on if I left to Cameroon was A.'s birthday, but I decided to go anyway because, you know, "it's Africa." Still, I wanted to make sure I fulfilled my loving girlfriend duties before I left and that I set up some surprises for him while I was away.
For over a year, A. had been wanting us to have dinner at Tori Shin, a popular Japanese yakitori restaurant by his apartment, but we just never pulled the trigger when it came to treating ourselves to a fancy meal. Plus, it's so full during dinner time that it's not a place that you can just drop into on a whim; reservations are the way to go. But like A. mentioned, you know it's a good spot when the tables are filled by Japanese men in suits so I booked us a table for the Friday night before I went away, got dressed up, left our phones at home, and walked on over to the restaurant for my first taste of yakitori. A., who's been raving about his dining experience in Tokyo for the past three years, was excited about what was to come.
I didn't know much about what to expect, but the night was just incredible. He and I spent the next couple of hours just being fed a stream of skewered meats - mostly chicken - and vegetables grilled to perfection and sipping plum wine. While you can order set entreés from the menu, part of the delight of yakitori restaurants is that you can choose to be surprised, which we did with the Chef's Omakase menu ($55 per person). The chef cooks up whatever he wants - a selection of fresh meat and produce with a few surprises - and you just decide to go along for the ride. It's not for picky eaters (though you can tell your waiter what you absolutely won't eat like, say, organs), but it makes for such an awesome dining experience.
You'd think 10 tiny plates couldn't fill you up, but by the time they wrapped up dinner with chicken and eggs over rice, soup, and then green tea sorbet for dessert, we just could not handle any more food and walked home happy and dizzy from our impending food coma.
As for A.'s other surprises, I had a box of his favorite cookies from Levain Bakery delivered on his birthday as well as a copy of Tumblr blogger Brandon Stanton's beautiful photography book Humans of New York, a New York Times best seller that happened to be released on A.'s day. We both enjoy following Stanton's work on Facebook every day and never cease to marvel at a) how many stories are lurking within all these strangers around us and b) how Stanton gets them to share something so intimate with someone they've never met. One of my favorite quotes was given by the woman below who said, "When I was 20, I made a plan to get a good job and be secure. Now I'm 35, and I need a plan to be happy."
Images: handi-eats.blogspot.com and facebook.com
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
It's been over a month since I posted here last and my hiatus seems to have whooshed in and out so suddenly. I've been so busy these days, October feels like it never even happened. That's probably because for most of that month I was preparing for, experiencing, and then recuperating from a press trip to Cameroon. My social media followers already got little tidbits from my first trip to Africa, but I never got a chance to mention it on here. To be honest, the 12-day trip was a bit of a nightmare for reasons which I'll expand on in a future post, but let's just say I was so very glad to be home.
The recovery period has dragged on a bit in the last weeks I've been back because of the crazy jet lag, A.'s mom came to visit with us days after my arrival, and I fell ill with the flu during that time. *womp, womp* We still managed to have a lovely time taking her out to eat around the Upper East Side: Spanish tapas at El Porrón, Thai food at The Nuaa, and The Meatball Shop's newest (and biggest) location at 1462 Second Ave. I'm sure we sent her back home a few pounds heavier, but she wasn't complaining.
I'm still not at a hundred percent just yet, but I've no time to waste; the Etsy NY team's Holiday Handmade Cavalcade is next month and I'm working on some new products for the season. (Take a peek at the beginnings of Porcupine Hugs' 2014 calendar here.) In addition, I'm working on the business' wholesale marketing campaign (check out the first catalog!) and just finished an awesome collaboration with several members of the Oh My! Handmade Goodness crew that we just can't wait to reveal next week.
So yup, busy busy on my end, but I've been relishing lists, schedules, and routines as they're so necessary to my sanity these days. I still need to slowly ease back into my social life, but I'm on such a "do it do it do it" kick these days because I want so much for good and fruitful things to keep flowing my way and the only way the world will know what we're capable of is by continuing to create and outdo.
Did I mention that it feels so good to be back?