Saturday, March 30, 2019

my top five: web resources

Does "web resources" make me sound like someone who hasn't learned any new internet terms since 1996? Probably. But I'm not sure what else to call it! I've wanted to do a post like this for years (I actually have more than 5 items for the list so I'm going to have to do a part 2 soon!) rounding up some of my favorite go-to websites. Maybe everyone has already heard of them, but if not hopefully something on this list will help lighten your load or make life a little easier for you :)

1. Convert Case - You can paste text into this site and convert it into lowercase, uppercase, sentence case, etc. It's perfect if you accidentally left caps lock on while you were typing, or if you're doing graphic design work and want to test out text in all caps and lower case without having to re-type whatever you were working on. I use it constantly. Especially for custom buttons where I copy customer text from Shopify, and convert it into all caps before pasting it in Photoshop. That way I know for certain the text will be *exactly* the same as the customer entered it and there's no room for me to mistype it :)

2. RhymeZone - I do use this to find rhymes, but they also have homophones, similar sounding words, synonyms, phrases that contain the word you searched for, etc. There are just so many awesome uses for this. It's perfect if you like to write poems or if you've just written the word one time too many and need to say picture show, film, motion picture, or flick instead.

3. If This Then That - This is a website that generates recipes for internet behavior. For example, IF I post on my blog, THEN I trigger an automatic post to Pinterest. Or IF I log a movie on my letterboxd account, THEN I trigger an automatic tweet about that movie. It's a great way to be able to automate some of your social media if you want to share across platforms without having to manually post everywhere. I have recipes set up to share my blog posts to Pinterest and Facebook, as well as a cool one that downloads every photo I post to my Instagram onto my Dropbox account for backup!

4. Shoptagr - This website lets you bookmark items on websites and get notified when they drop in price, or come back in stock. It also can alert you when an item you like is running low in stock so you can snatch it up before it sells out. I tend to use this for items where my size is sold out. That way I don't need to stalk the page, refreshing and waiting to see if it's ever restocked. If it comes back, I'll get an alert. I also use it for pricey items that I 100% can never afford at full price.

5. Difference Checker - This website detects the difference between two pieces of text. This is great if you sometimes go back and forth with edits. I most often use it to detect changes in contract text on the rare occasions that I have to draw up a contract with someone. A lot of times someone will slip something in that I would never have noticed if I didn't have this website to compare for me. I like to think I'm eagle-eyed but I'm not *that* eagle-eyed.

I will definitely do a part 2 of this post because I am too neurotic about breaking my "top 5" format but I have a few more that I really need to share, lol :)

Friday, March 29, 2019

video: the x-files tag!

I feel like three weeks in a row means... I'm a vlogger now??

Yes, that's right, three videos in three weeks! And I feel like each one has been a bit of an improvement in my ability to talk to the camera. I even came up with a fun idea for a series (!!) that I'm hoping I'll have finished for next week's video post!

I had SO MUCH FUN with this video because it's about my favorite tv show, The X-Files. I found two tags that people on youtube had created and combined them into one list (I typed out the questions below in case you want to make your own video, too!) Don't forget if you like my video to hop over to my channel so you can like and subscribe! :)

1. When did you start liking The X-Files?
2. Are you a Mulder or a Scully?
3. Do you ship Mulder and Scully? Why or why not?
4. What are your favorite types of episodes - the myth arcs or the stand alones?
5. What is your favorite episode?
6. What is your least favorite episode?
7. Who is your favorite guest star?
8. Original series or reboot?
9. Favorite season?
10. What fan theories do you think should be canon?
11. Scariest monster?
12. What did you think of the movies?

Thursday, March 28, 2019

taking chances

I wish I was more comfortable taking chances. I take them constantly, but I wish I felt confident or at least a little less stomach-churning-anxious about them. I don't even mean big chances. I mean all the little ones you take every day. Emailing someone and being unsure of their reply. Trying a new food. Taking scissors to your bangs for an impromptu trim. It all stirs up my anxieties and makes me uneasy.

All this to say.. I took a chance this month that I was so nervous about I almost threw up the day I did it. I feel like most people are going to stop reading when I say this but... I started a Patreon. Please stay for a second! I think the word "patreon" scares everyone off. But you don't have to support it, I just want to talk about what that experience has been like for me.

I honestly, truly, 100% did not expect to have one single patron. I'm not entirely sure why, but I have a very low opinion of my online self worth, and I don't really think anyone genuinely likes me or my work. I do get some sales in my shop here and there, and I do still get some blog traffic, but my brain always tricks me into thinking that I'm kind of washed up as a blogger and artist, and no one cares. Or that because my shop has been declining and my blog traffic has decreased, that has somehow erased *all* sales and *all* traffic, which isn't true. Anyway. I went into the Patreon assured that nobody would support it. But then some people did! By some magic miracle I have 26 patrons. I am flabbergasted.

If you are one of those 26 people who has thrown support my way this month, you literally have no idea, NO IDEA, what you have done for me. Although the patreon was really meant to help prop up my waning income, it's done more for my mental well being than I could put into words. I feel so supported and even though I'm not a hugger I just want to wrap all of you up in a big snuggly bear hug!! To know that there are people out there who like my work and want to support it and help me to keep doing what I'm doing... I just don't have the words. Thank you.

To anyone who is thinking about taking a chance like this - just do it. Even if it makes you want to throw up from anxiety. If I didn't take a chance and put myself out there, I'd never have known the warmth of support that I feel now. I think that I've taken less and less chances ever since my career started sliding because I get more and more afraid of what I assume will be certain failure. But maybe that's when we NEED to take more chances.

If you made it this far, thank you for reading. Like I said, you absolutely do not need to support my patreon. If you are reading this blog, I appreciate that so much! Views and IG likes and Twitter retweets, everything is a form of support. But, if you *do* want to support my patreon, you can click here. I've been sharing time lapses of my drawings, my one-second-a-day videos, sneak peeks at new products, a video of my trip to DC with my family, free printable art prints, and more. Plus all $5+ pledges will get a hand-written thank you note and a free sticker! I send out all pledge rewards on the first of each month so if you sign up after April 1st, the next mailing date will be May. Just saying ;)

shirt - forever 21 | skirt - asos | sweater - old navy

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

wishlist wednesday

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Style Idol - Mitzi Gaynor

Monday, March 25, 2019

happy... thursday?

When I was a kid me and my parents used to exchange letters every day (I'd leave one for them when I went to bed and I'd wake up to find a note waiting for me in the morning) and I just started scanning them. I'm making a hard drive filled with family photos and mementos for our safe deposit box just to be on the safe side - with so many stories of websites wiping out cloud storage, websites, photos, etc. I just want to make sure that somewhere I have all of my important photos and documents stored safely.

Anyway! I've been scanning the letters, and it has me feeling so nostalgic - even more so than normal, I should say - for so many things. A lot of them are unattainable now, like, say, reliving my childhood, lol. But some things can still be recaptured, like the act of exchanging notes to begin with. Last week I snuck a note under my parents' bedroom door while they were sleeping that said "Do you want to exchange letters?" With a box for each of them to check YES or NO. They both checked yes (obviously!) and now we have rekindled an old family tradition! If you have anyone in your life who might be open to doing this, I highly recommend it. Now I'm ending my days by sitting down with a pen and paper and writing something fun to people I love, smiling at the thought of them seeing it in the morning. And each day when I wake up there's a note waiting for me, the perfect way to start my day! Last night I left a silly little poem for my parents and I liked it so much I thought I'd share it with you, too --

Oh no! It's Monday
You know what that means
Good luck and good moods
In small smithereens

But today we'll outsmart it
And stay one step ahead
Instead of a Monday,
Let's have a Thursday instead!

shoes - bait footwear | brooch - vintage

Friday, March 22, 2019

video: what's in my emergency travel kit

I just posted a new video on my youtube channel! This one is all about what I pack in my emergency travel kit. It's a little pouch that holds everything I could possibly need (but often forget to pack) on vacation! Hopefully you'll get some ideas for making your own travel kit, too! :)

If you like the video please consider subscribing to my channel right here.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

on brand

I didn't realize until I started typing up this post that I'm wearing my blog/website colors! lol! Orange and pink has slowly been taking over my bedroom too (well, mostly pink with some orange thrown in for good measure) I think it might be my favorite color combination at the moment.

I caught a cold or something last weekend that I'm trying to get over, but I'm going to attempt to record another video this afternoon anyway. I'll probably sound terrible with a stuffy nose and sore throat but I have this pattern of getting sick *every single time* I've decided to start recording videos on a regular basis, and I'm determined to power through it this time. I suspect my body might just be THAT anxious about being on camera that it's sabotaging my plans, but I'm not going to let it win this time. (Sidenote - does anyone else talk about their body like it's a separate entity? Maybe I should save that for another blog post or video, ha!)

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

wishlist wednesday

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Style Idol - Francoise Hardy

Monday, March 18, 2019

I'm Irish but don't kiss me

Growing up, me and my brother always thought we were mostly Irish and Russian. It wasn't until my mom got really into genealogy and tracing our family tree several years ago that things started shifting.. now it seems like we're mostly British and Welsh on my mom's side, with an ever dwindling percentage of Irish (still almost entirely Russian on my dad's side, although Eastern European ancestry is way harder to trace online than Western.)

I grew up with certain traditions --colcannon and Irish soda bread every year on March 17, I got my first claddagh ring when I was like 10, my aunt made a pilgrimage to our ancestral home of County Cork, my brother has the Irish flag tattooed on his arm! -- and even though I'm not quite as Irish as I originally thought, I can't let those traditions go. I feel unlucky if I take off my claddagh (I wear one as a necklace now instead of a ring) for even a second. My mom still quotes Irish sayings that were passed down from her father. And I'm still celebrating the heck out of St. Patrick's Day each year! :)

shirt - threadless | skirt - topshop

Saturday, March 16, 2019

my top five: books I've read recently

1. So Here's the Thing by Alyssa Mastromonaco - This is Alyssa Mastromonaco's follow up book to "Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?" which was one of my favorite reads in 2017. She's brilliant and hilarious and for someone who was a Deputy Chief of Staff in the Obama White House she is incredibly relatable. As someone who suffers from a bowel disorder, her anecdotes about her struggles with IBS are at once painful to read about (because, BEEN THERE!) and reassuring. It's weirdly comforting when you know that other people suffer the same problems that you have and manage to lead a productive, awesome life in spite of it. She is literally one of the most awesome people on this planet and I highly recommend both of her books (plus every appearance she makes on podcasts, plus her twitter, plus her book events. Anything and everything Alyssa.)

Sidenote: She's also a very dedicated cat lady. I went to her book event last Tuesday which happened to coincide with Arrietty's birthday. When I was having my book signed I shared that excessive Crazy Cat Lady factoid with her. Her reaction was "F*ck yes!!" She made the book out to me and Arrietty and wrote "happy bday!" and told me that she makes cupcakes for her own cats on their birthdays! *dies* I was so excited to meet her and she exceeded my expectations.  I think I awkwardly said "I love you" when I left but I REALLY DO LOVE HER.

2. Saved on Sunday, Dead on Monday by Andy Ross - This is a short mystery novella filled with intrigue and nods to classic television, set in the world of a pimento cheese spread empire. This was a super quick read but I enjoyed it so much that I've been pestering the author on twitter to try to get him to write a sequel!

3. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James - One of my favorite genres of fiction is "people stranded in space" and this is probably tied with The Martian as my favorite in the genre. It's about a young girl who is the last surviving member of a space mission. This is the very definition of a page-turner. I couldn't put it down! I also loved that it was science fiction set in a realistic world. When I read space fiction I don't actually like when there's too much world-building, so this was right up my alley.

4. The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes - I was trying not to make this list too Obama-memoir heavy, but looking over my 2019 reads so far, it really is mostly comprised of books by Obama staffers. I just love reading about behind the scenes and being transported back to an era that I honestly didn't appreciate enough while I was living in it. The World As It Is is the most policy-heavy memoir I've read thus far, but it was completely engrossing. I usually have this weird mental block when it comes to understanding foreign policy (specifically Middle East policy, it just seems so complicated to me) but Rhodes explained everything in such an accessible way that I suddenly found myself regaling my family with anecdotes about lifting the Cuban embargo over dinner. Rhodes book was also the first one that I've read that shows President Obama being frustrated sometimes, or moody. I am guilty of idolizing him and in a way it's almost a relief to know that he's only human.

5. Come As You Are by Walker Gibson - It's been a long time since I read a book of poetry, but when I stumbled upon this one at the Princeton Library book sale I couldn't resist. Most of the poems are fun and light, about subjects like outer space or Monte Carlo casinos. But there was one poem (actually it's the last verse of a longer poem) that really grabbed me and I've been a little obsessed with it ever since I read it. I memorized it and keep reciting it to myself to make sure it's still being properly stored in my mind.

Some people feel alone and lonely
To think this world's perhaps the only
Possible place where mankind clings --
They yearn for more unworldly things,
But if in all the universe
We're quite alone we could do worse
Than claim our own miraculous birth
On this elysian planet, Earth,
Where woods are green and warm and wet
With trumpet vine and violet:
The dew shines on the grass at dawn,
A rabbit bounds across the lawn,
And we can thank that lucky star
That makes this heaven where we are."

ps. I don't usually post reviews on goodreads, but if you just want to see what I'm reading, I do keep a running list of current reads/books I've completed on my account, here.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Video: Disney tag!

I'm going to try really hard to get some more videos up on my youtube channel this year. I feel like I'm closer to feeling comfortable in front of the camera. It helps that I'm very excited about the topic of this video, which is DISNEY! I decided to do a tag that I found on one of my favorite youtubers' channels. I embedded my video below but if you like it be sure to hop over to my channel to like and subscribe! :)

If you want to do this tag too, here are the questions:

1. A scene in any Disney movie that you wish you could experience.
2. An unforgettable experience/moment you've had at the parks.
3. What non-Disney song(s) reminds you of Disney and/or the parks?
4. When was the first time you went to a Disney park?
5. If you could choose any Disney character to be your best friend, who would you choose?
6. Who are your favorite Disney princesses (or heroines)?
7. Name a scene or moment in a Disney movie that never fails to make you cry.
8. What is the first Disney movie you remember seeing?
9. What is your favorite Disney movie?
10. Who is your favorite Disney villain?
11. What is your least favorite Disney movie?
12. What is your favorite Disney song?
13. What Disney character has your personality or has your dream personality?
14. If you could change any scene in a Disney movie, what would it be and why?
15. If you had to get stuck on a ride in any Disney park for more than 30 minutes, what would you want it to be?

Thursday, March 14, 2019

happy pi day!

It's one of my favorite days of the year - Pi Day! I'm going to celebrate by playing Yippi! and trying to make a vegan version of apple pie (I haven't attempted dairy-free crust yet so I hope it works out!) I'm also wearing one of my cutie pi pins, of course, and some items from Retrolicious' math themed line! They asked me to model some of the designs for their website and (as of the time I'm writing this -- it might change by the time I hit publish --) my images are on the homepage! That might make this my favorite Pi Day ever! :D

Also be sure to check out my mom's recipe for apple pie and my Pi Day playlist!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

wishlist wednesday

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Monday, March 11, 2019

black and white and mint all over

One month from today I'll be in Disney World! I can't even put into words how much I'm looking forward to this trip. I feel like the past 18 months have just been one thing after another and I haven't had a *real* vacation since me and my mom went to Paris in 2017. I just want to totally disconnect from the world and immerse myself in Disney delights. I had to cancel my summer trip to France ($$ problems, what else) so this is probably going to be my last holiday for a while and I want to savor the heck out of it. I want to try to take more video footage this time so I can watch it when I get home and relive the vacation. Photos just don't have that same "take me back!" immersive feeling that home movies do, you know?

Saturday, March 9, 2019

my top five: ways I treat myself

This has been a week (I never believed in astrology until I saw that Mercury is in retrograde and I was like, at least maybe there's a *reason* this week was so crummy!) and I thought I'd share some of the ways I treat myself when I need a pick-me-up!

1. Laying in bed and reading when I should be doing something else. Sometimes I just really need to get out of my head and relax and nothing does that for me as well as reading (especially Obama era White House staff memoirs) Bonus points if I'm also drinking a cup of maple tea.

2. Getting my nails done. I don't actually enjoy the act of getting a manicure (I'm so painfully introverted and not very touchy-feely so having someone sit in silence with me while they touch my hands is actually super uncomfortable for me) but I LOVE having a fresh manicure. I used to have the worst hangnails and cuticles but ever since I started getting my nails done that issue has gone away. Plus I love tapping the nails on hard surfaces and making clicking sounds.

3. Sumo oranges. If you haven't tried these oranges... actually don't, because they are so addictive that you'll probably end up like me and blow your whole grocery budget on like five overpriced oranges. They're so sweet, easy to peel, seedless, and not pulpy. I honestly reduced my dinner portions and have tried stretching one can of beans out into four meals just so I can work sumo oranges into my budget more often. They are SO good!

4. McDonald's unsweetened iced tea. It's the same price-point and same feeling as indulging in a giant coke without all the sugar. I get some caffeine, I get a giant cup filled with ice cubes that I can sip on to get me through a nice chunk of my day, and I feel like I treated myself but really all I did was spend $1 on flavored water. It's such a simple and cheap way to feel indulgent.

5. Trying on clothes and dancing with my headphones in. I usually do this one super late at night, like 2am, if I had a bad day. I'll put on a dress that I know I look good in, and then hop around my bedroom dancing like nobody's watching (because nobody's watching.) Pretty much the only thing in the world that cheers me up this much is my cat. Otherwise, dancing alone tops the charts!

Friday, March 8, 2019

ribbons and bows

The hair bow is back! I used to love wearing my hair this way like (I was going to say a couple years ago and then I realized it's more like SEVERAL years ago??? Time is going too fast!!) six or seven years ago. It's the style I wore in my old license picture and I'm pretty sure it's the style I'm going to wear when I get it renewed in November. Yay for extensions and for having kind-of-long hair so I can do things like this with it again!!

It's so funny though, when I was editing this photo I had a flashback to a comment I got in 2011 that stuck in my head all these years. It said "for the love of god can you get another hair bow? another color? some variety? repetition is a form of torture." Obviously I got way too many comments like that one (usually much worse) and it's why this has sadly been a comment-free blog since 2014. That comment never actually got under my skin the way a lot of comments did, but I just remember being so bewildered by this person who was clearly so tormented by my hair accessories?! Like, just stop reading my blog then? lol! Anyway. I'm sure that reader left a long time ago (probably after they left that last exasperated comment) but I almost feel a defiant pride in bringing back the hair bow. Torturous repetition, be damned.

dress - modcloth (old) | sweater - amazon
shoes - bait footwear | brooch - stoic & pariah

Thursday, March 7, 2019

recipe: my favorite snack

Earlier this year I got a free trial for one of those subscription snack boxes and I really loved it, but there was no way I could actually afford to keep getting it delivered. So I decided to come up with my own snack mix to have on hand whenever I get the munchies! Each week I just mix up a batch and store it in a tupperware container.

I don't know if this can even really be called a "recipe" since the instructions are so simple. I just take one bag of glazed walnuts (if you like the taste of plain walnuts definitely go that route since they're healthier!), one bag of dried cranberries, and one bar of dark chocolate broken up into small chunks. If you're looking for healthy dark chocolate, the higher the percentage of chocolate, the better. I got this one because it was on sale, but my favorite is the Theo 70% dark chocolate/sea salt bar.

I love this combination so much that I have to put a portion into a small bowl to snack on rather than dipping my hand into the container, or else I get "where did that whole bag of doritos go?!" syndrome. It disappears before I even realize it! It's just so good!