Sunday, January 31, 2016

news of a cheerful variety

January is (finally) coming to a close, and I'm happy to say that things are, at last, beginning to look up. 

I'm on my way to completing this round of commissions, as well as preparing for a few upcoming freelance gigs. I'm glad I devoted much of my free time this month to getting back into painting and traditional work, as the some of the work I'll be doing on the side for extra cash will involve such methods. I have a gig coming up, and as it's still in the planning stage I can't quite go into depth just yet, but to summarize it in its simplest terms: I'll be illustrating a fashion line's spring/summer collection sometime next month.

Now, saying I'll be partaking in those gigs on the side also implies one thing: the job hunt looks like it's reaching its conclusion. I've mentioned a cute gift shop in a nearby neighborhood I've expressed interest in a few entries ago and, well, after speaking with the manager, my training starts next week! 

I've got loads to learn, obviously, although I'm especially excited for managing the store's social media. This place is about as photogenic and Instagram-worthy as it gets. 

More on that soon!

Another nice life update: I finally got to spend some time with my friend Elle and her boyfriend again yesterday -- it feels like it's been ages since I've had a social outing. As is customary with seeing her, we got some bubble tea (pictured above), and I had Malaysian food for the first time! 

I've also been knee-deep in YouTube makeup videos -- or shoulder-deep, really, it's gotten to the point where I've got to watch the KathleenLights channel on a daily basis -- and I'm trying out new things. I've got approximately zero skills when it comes to eyeshadow, yet will browse the cutest palettes for hours on end, and add them to my cart, only to remove them. I've had the Sonia Kashuk matte eyeshadow palette for a few years now, although I primarily use it for eyebrows and as a rare substitute for liquid eyeliner. (The pigmentation is wonderful.) I have a Maybelline nudes palette I'm playing around with, too, before I get onto anything too fancy...or Too Faced.

Lipstick is definitely something I'm more comfortable with, however, and I finally decided to try out Colourpop's Ultra Matte Liquid Lipsticks. After watching hours of swatch videos, I've decided to purchase the shade Bumble. It's a lovely color to start with, as I'm unfamiliar with the matte liquid lipstick formula -- and, yeah, okay, the cute bee name obviously pulled me in.

The color is slightly more cool-toned and dustier than it looks in the tube and in these photos, but everything you've heard about the long-lasting, kiss-proof, ultra matte formula is definitely true. This doesn't come off, ever. Just make sure to exfoliate and let some lip balm sink in first, though, because when it's something this matte, it's especially drying. I've got my eyes on Avenue next.

Anyway, as things are to get busier in the next few weeks/months, I suspect they will get better, too. I'm seeing Mitski in concert next month, and I also bought tickets to The Last Shadow Puppets show in April! Finally! I never thought I'd get to see them live, ever. I might have mourned my bank account for a minute after purchasing the tickets, but only for a minute. I've already started thinking of outfits for both, although -- as it usually ends up happening with my concert attire -- I will likely just pick something else at the last minute. 

Speaking of attire, at the moment I'm ridiculously tempted to purchase the perfect replica of that 1970 Bella Freud sweater which, let's be real, I will probably end up doing.

(Look, alright, when the day comes that I can justify throwing away $500 on a sweater, chances are I'll still scout a cheaper lookalike.)

The orange/red version I recently drew Alexa in would be perfect for a Valentine's Day outfit, even though I'll likely be working that weekend, and the nature of being in a long-distance relationship basically limits outfit sharing with an equally stylish boyfriend to an exchange of pictures. To any of you who are fortunate enough to be within the same city or state as your partner: I really fucking hope you're having the time of your life, and that there are cute plans brewing for the upcoming Hallmark holiday, because being miles and miles apart is the absolute worst

My birthday's in May, but I'm 100% open to anyone gifting me with a flight ticket any time of year.

And on that note, I'm out! Will write soon.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

a painting for sj walton

I've admired my friend Jo's paintings for years, and always found myself in awe whenever she'd post photos of her works in progress. If you follow me on Tumblr, you're probably familiar with her work, as I can never resist reblogging them the instant I come across them on my dashboard.

My current painting spree was preceded by an approximate six year absence, at some point during which I first came across Jo's artwork and photography. I really owe it to her and her beautiful paintings for inspiring me to get back into traditional work. Seeing them just made me want to pick up my brushes again and test my hand at a style I've never quite practiced, as well as play around with colors I hardly reach for. After completing a few paintings to warm me up to the medium again, it only felt right to proceed with this one. 

The above watercolor and gouache painting (on an acrylic canvas -- I haven't used a canvas since high school) was inspired by her style, and I'll be sending it to her soon. It was an absolute delight to create, and I can't wait for her to receive it!

I've lost count of how many times I've showed my friends Jo's portfolio. I'm looking forward to displaying prints of her work around the apartment one day, and not only that -- I'm considering getting a tattoo channelling her moleskine designs at some point. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

alexa chung / bella freud

One of my favorite ladies I've yet to meet and one of my favorite garments I've yet to own (or try on, even). I can't stop looking at clothes and watching Alexa interviews lately -- something about watching them before fashion-related job interviews helps -- so I figured I'd warm up with this drawing before getting to other things.

Anyway, I've got one more painting to finish, two commissions to work on, and two pieces whose linework I need to work on (I'm not sure yet whether I'll be coloring them with watercolor or colored pencils). Definitely trying to make the most out of this creative energy.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

princess mononoke painting

Today's the fourth day I've worked on the Princess Mononoke painting from my last post, and I finished it this morning.

You can view a larger resolution here.

I have a couple of more paintings I'm working on, and I just opened commissions today, so I'm hoping to keep the creative mood around for a while.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

in a studio ghibli mood

Stress has more or less been my only company since the start of 2016. No, really -- it feels like since it's been ages since I've let myself step out, have a nice day, and treat myself to something. I suppose that could come after I've secured a job somewhere. 

Amidst all the resumes and cover letters and attempts to keep my space tidy, I've been looking for ways to keep myself happily busy while waiting for responses. I've been swarming with creative drive lately, although it's been difficult stepping into my usual mediums, like digital drawings and short stories.

When times get tough, Ghibli films always help me feel better. They've been working their magic since I was a kid and renting movies at Blockbuster was still a thing. Anyway, I was going to rewatch Princess Mononoke for quite possibly the billionth time as it's my top Ghibli film, but instead I decided to look up images of its handpainted backgrounds, and bring out some art tools I haven't used regularly since late high school: watercolors and gouache paint!

The following are progress images. A separate update with the complete piece will follow. I don't have much experience with backgrounds -- figures are my preference, which my portfolio makes blatantly obvious -- but after this, who knows? I might just start giving that a try, too. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

life as a 20-something: caffeine, craigslist, and a cat collecting game because your landlord doesn't allow cats (and you can't afford one yet)

This is just a short (ish) life update, as I'm finding myself far too comfortable in the warmth of my bed to step out into the cold to check on the bees. (I checked yesterday, no sign of them yet -- then again, it's been raining the past several days, so they're probably seeking shelter elsewhere. Could said shelter be cuter than the bee house I put out for them? No way!)

Anyway, here's a breakdown of what's going on, which I hope will explain the post title I had way too much fun putting together:

  • It's been over a year or so since I've had some Earl Grey in the kitchen, and a friend of mine recommended that I try Twining's Lady Grey (pictured above). It's delicious enough for me to have already gone through six mugs even though I only bought the box last night, but light enough for me to not feel concerned, or leave me violently shaking after said six mugs.

  • Caffeine is a daily necessity for me, but especially lately, as the job hunt continues. I heard back from a few employers, and had an interesting interview yesterday. I mean that in a good way, as I generally enjoyed talking about writing in fashion, and discussing my favorite things about it -- but "good" as in "I got hired" good? Nah, not yet, unfortunately. I'm hoping to work for this adorable gift and luxury store in West Portal (which is where I got my mug of succulents from!), so I'm waiting on that opportunity, as well as several others. I can't remember the last time I relaxed and didn't think about resumes.

  • Just several months ago I was spending nearly every hour browsing and refreshing Craigslist when I was looking for an apartment. I definitely got lucky with this one. Will I get lucky there and find the right job for me? I sure hope so, and it better be soon, because I almost considered responding to a gig requesting that someone message this guy's OkCupid matches for him.

  • Last night's Elementary episode was terrible. I feel like I've said enough about it. If you follow me on Twitter, then you already know what I have to say about it. If you've followed me on Twitter since around season two, you know how much I disliked 2x23: "Art in the Blood", and therefore know how I managed to dislike this one even more. The AV Club's review of "Miss Taken" pretty much explains why I'd rather forget this episode happened.

  • I've gotten around 5000 words done on my personal essay on race, and my lived experiences of racism as a Filipina-American woman. Due to its nature, I don't expect to whip this one out with ease and leisure -- it's not easy to talk about in the least, but I know I absolutely need to for the sake of my well-being. Topics include Asian representation in the media, the strange dissonance in identity of being "too Asian" or "not Asian enough", and how it has played into my personal relationships. I will be hosting it here when it's complete.

  • And, last but not least, I (finally) caved and started playing Neko Atsume last night. Perfect for someone like me who absolutely adores cats but can't afford or live with one at the moment. It's definitely playing to my convenience -- since I'm too lazy to step out in the cold and check on the bees in the backyard, well, all I have to do is open the app and check for the cats!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

some apartment love

What with final exams several weeks ago, the holidays, and now the frantic job hunt, I've really been neglecting tending to my tiny apartment. My friend Elle was visiting today, so I  figured it was a good opportunity to get back to keeping it bright and stylish. If there's one thing that helps to put me at peace during times of stress -- yes, even the stress that accompanies the constant refreshing and emailing regarding job searches -- it's a lovely, organized workspace. 

Picked up some cute wooden boxes from the eternally convenient (and cute! and cheap!) selection at Daiso for my desk and my succulents. Daiso is one of those stores where, upon entering, I will have a strict list of three or so household items I need -- but more likely than not I will end up leaving with a few additional items. No room for buyer's remose, though. There's no better place to go to add some charm to the home without breaking the bank.

I also stopped by the plant nursery to pick up some purple flowers for the bee house. 


Friday, January 1, 2016

happy new year!

Happy New Year! Due to my lack of holiday decoriations (and, let's be real, holiday spirit in general this time around), the New Year festivity will somehow have to be visually expressed through the above photos: an adorable box of cookies from my landlord, and a train selfie from a while ago. Bear with me!

Here's hoping that 2016 brings you wellness, success, and the unlikelihood of bugs creeping into your home this winter. I'm certainly hoping for the first two, because unfortunately that last wish has already failed me, as there happened to be a spider in my bathroom.

I've been having a very quiet New Year, and not entirely without its stress: spent both the eve and holiday alone in my tiny apartment, cleaning, job hunting around the clock, doing some errands here or there. Still, it wasn't without its redeeming qualities. I now have an excuse to buy a new, cute desk calendar (I've been browsing Etsy). When I wasn't sending out one resume after the other, I was replaying my favorite video game of all time, and enjoying the comforts of Elementary season one episodes with my boyfriend. Oh! And trying to brush up on some beginner's guides to inviting and hosting bees in the garden, because...

...My friend Alex got me a lovely house for bees as a Christmas gift! Maybe 2016 will finally be the year where I go from finding bees cute to finding them cute enough to want to try raising them in an urban backyard:

I checked this morning: no bees yet, but then again, it's probably too soon to expect any. I'm planning to set a nice, small pot of purple flowers nearby sometime soon. (Bees loving the color purple is probably one of the cutest things about them, ever. That, and festooning.)

Anyway, New Year's stuff aside, I've got a couple of ideas that I think I could get a really good use out of, in regards to this specific platform. The usual lifestyle stuff, of course, since it is a personal blog, but there's something about this medium that leave Tumblr read-more text posts in the dust. Bee updates? Yes. Insights on the creative projects I'm really eager to kickstart this year? Definitely. All those personal essays and reflections (and even poetry!) on race and relationships that I've been dying to put down somewhere, anywhere, for the sake of my well-being, and in hopes that it might help someone reading it? Hell yeah!

2016 might be off to a stressful, strained start, but I've got a good feeling about it. If 2015 was the year of firsts and first steps, 2016 will hopefully be the year of plot progression and security.