25 August 2014

The Handletterer: Get Away

Good morning people of the interwebs. Hope August is treating you well and if not, that's okay! 'Cause it's almost gone! What? You didn't notice? Neither did I. She's a sneaky one, that August. (note to self: name future daughter August, make sure she's sneaky)

I doodled this little phrase after reviewing my plans for August. I spent about four days in the mountains the other week for a church retreat. It was a nice change of scenery. I thought it'd be gross and mucky since there'd been a couple forest fires around our area but I was pleasantly surprised to see blue skies and breathe fresh mountain air. 

Aside from the literal change of scenery, I felt like the retreat was a good get away from the daily routine. Yes, I was away from traffic, fast food chains, and overcrowded shopping plazas, but I was also away from the distractions of work deadlines, house chores, and social media. It was nice to get away and sort out my thoughts, as little as they may be. I'm just really terrible at slowing down. I'm also really easily distracted. So even a small road trip does  wonders. 

This weekend the Mister and I are heading to Monterey, CA to celebrate our first visit there one year ago (or you know, an anniversary of sorts). I'm looking forward to the beach breeze, the coastal town atmosphere, and more space to think. 

Hope you guys have the chance to get away before summer's out. Ciao!

07 August 2014

The Chronicler: Documenting the Everyday

I like documenting things. I like taking photos. I also like pretty papers and cute stickers. When I found a way of combining all these things, I dove in head first into the game of crafty memory-keeping.

Currently, I'm working on an album to document everyday life. I used to do this on my blog complete with photos and commentary but I realized my daily happenings proved to be uninteresting to most people. Plus, instagram killed the blog. So now I document my day-to-day activities in paper format. It's like a tactile #tbt (throw-back Thursday) for me. 

I did this in 2013 and I'm continuing 2014 in a similar way. I've shared some pages from my 2013 album in the past but I think stopped because something important happened halfway through the year. I finished the 2013 album earlier this year and didn't start 2014 until way later. My neuroticism took over and I spent way too much time organizing photos, browsing the internet for inspiration, and buying supplies. Meanwhile, life was happening. I had a pile of memories and a stack of empty albums. I thought about stopping altogether. 

Fortunately for me, frustration is a good motivator (as is The Mister). Eventually I sat down and got to work. After completing my first page of 2014 I realized why I started doing this in the first place. I just wanted to document things. Using photos. With pretty papers and cute stickers. 

I use a memory-keeping system called Project Life by Becky Higgins. It's simple and fully customizable to fit one's lifestyle. You can find my 2013 Project Life posts here.

28 July 2014

The Baker: Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

The backstory to why I like baking and how I got started is not exciting enough to share with the internet. What's important here is, that it's summer. That means two things: 1) berries galore! and 2) it is way too hot in our little kitchen to be baking in this 106-degree weather. But I do what I want. And I wanted to bake. And I had a boatload of blueberries in our fridge that needed to be consumed before they turned icky.

I found this recipe from Foodnetwork but made some timing/temperature modifications while baking (as is normal since not all ovens are created equal). Also, I think my pan was 8" instead of 9" so I had to experiment with the temperature and oven rack position in order to fully cook the center of the cake without burning the top crumblies. Because let's face it, we're all in this for the crumblies. 

Now for your viewing pleasure (and because another one of my many hobbies is watercolors), here is the illustrated recipe (click to embiggen):

I'm still working on writing in straight lines so stay tuned for that milestone. 

Full disclosure: the cake was good, but I messed up my measurements so here's the lesson: read the entire recipe before even starting and make sure you have all the necessary ingredients and equipment. Also, I named the cake differently than the original recipe it but that doesn't really matter, does it? If you end up making the cake, let me know your secrets to success. Thanks :)

21 July 2014

Just Move Forward

Oh heyyyyyy. About that. Well, we're here now, so let's just move forward.

I want to say life is fantastic but I don't want to overhype anything. Everything's been pretty regular. Except for the everyday epiphany that I have no idea what to do with my life and a constant fear of wasting my "prime years". Woah. Too personal, too fast? Just use a trite but somewhat true phrase that pretty much covers everything? Be vague but honest? "I'm still figuring things out."

During my figuring sessions, I remembered something a friend and I simultaneously yet separately concluded in our college years: We have too many hobbies. We dabbled in anything we found entertaining: from animation to spoken word to custom shoe design to bread making. I think he then decided to focus on a couple hobbies and hone his skills to turn it into a career. I, on the other hand, just kept prancing around. I never got "really good" at anything. I kept pursuing the stable career path I set on pre-college because I was so deep into that hole it didn't make sense for me to climb out and start digging another one. If you think this story is going to turn into a "but I worked hard and now I'm doing what I love and loving what I do and making enough to support my small family" kind of post, spoiler alert: I'm still figuring things out.

I thought I wanted to work towards turning my artsy and crafty skills into an income-producing full-time gig, but I just couldn't see it happening. Not now, at least. So while I'm hurting my brain trying to grow at my day job, I'm still prancing around after hours. You bet I'm tired. But am I enjoying life? I'd like to think so.

All this to say that I'd like to share my hobbies with you. There's a bunch. And I feel like the list is growing so I need a way to articulate and organize my interests (hence, the blog). Not interested? Thanks for listening so far. Interested? Until next time, friend!

04 March 2014

A Full Heart

1. My car - it's not like top of the line or anything. It's pretty much economical. But with some company and a little caffeine, I can go most anywhere.

2. Bacon donuts - If there was a donut shop in town that sold bacon donuts, I'm pretty sure my life would become very unhealthy. But kudos to whoever thought them up.

3. Reunions and unions - Don't you love those kinds of friends who even if you haven't seen them in a while it's so easy to reconnect and pick up where you left off? Maybe I'm at that age where you just don't have time to be awkward. Or maybe my friends are just that awesome. Hey there, I'm talkin' about you. What I'm saying is... The Mister and I traveled to Los Angeles for a night to celebrate a friend's wedding. I caught up with people I did not expect to be there and it was simply heart-warming. I don't know how else to describe it, but my heart still feels full from the weekend. Maybe I just needed a break from routine of work-dinner-television-sleep. I know some people can live off of that social-diet, but I require healthy servings of chillaxing and meaningful conversations. Thank you, lovely people, for a refreshing weekend. I'll see you soon.