September 30, 2009

Zen & The Importance of Living

I have been noticing somewhat of a trend over my past blog posts and, as I love to do in my design work, I began dissecting the trend to see where the roots of it came from. Patterns aren't created out of the blue, they are small pieces that work together to form a larger structure which then creates repetition. The pattern I have been noticing in my thoughts and posts is an Asian inspired theme. From fortune cookies to sushi to woodblock printing, I realized there must be something else driving me to these sources other than sheer coincidence.

When I stopped to think about it, I realized that Zen, a western way of thinking, has been very influential in my recent life and all these things I am attracted to, whether it be yoga, sushi or just serenity, come directly from these ideas. I recently read two books that helped clarify my thoughts and I would highly recommend them. The Way of Zen, while not as entertaining as other books, really helped me to see where Zen came from and it's underlying principles.

Even more influential though was The Importance of Living. By no means does this book try to convert you to a foreign religion, surprisingly, it really has nothing to do with religion at all. It helped me to visualize the world in a different way and really stressed the importance of the small things in life. Sometimes we need to take a step back and remind ourselves of the beautiful world around us and everything we should be grateful for.

September 29, 2009

Hipcooks: How to Make Sushi

Last night, Sebastian and I attended the 'Turning Japanese' Hipcooks Sushi cooking class in downtown LA. Since we have been making sushi at home about 3 times a week, we thought maybe we better get a few professional techniques and tips from the pros.

It turned out to be a fun night filled with saki, mochi and plenty of sushi! Our teacher was energetic and passionate and truly stressed the point that sushi making is an experimental process and does not need to follow rigid guidelines.

After watching a few demos, we took on the task ourselves. My favorite part was adding fresh mango to my rolls. The sweetness definitely added a lot and was something I had never tried before.

I was pretty impressed with my dishes when I was finished and they tasted just as good as they looked (which is always a good sign!) Overall the night was a lot of fun and we learned a few tricks of the trade a long the way.

September 28, 2009


This week, I finally completed our outside gazebo with these great chairs I found at a nearby garage sale. This lovely table had been left outside for about a year and since all the varnish and finish were chipping off, we decided to sand it all down, creating a beautifully worn piece.

The only problem was that we never had chairs to match the table. While these chairs aren't sanded down, they are small, simple and perfect in their own way. The wood color matches exactly and four for $20 was not a bad deal at all. We will be enjoying our outside gazebo much more now!

September 25, 2009

The Perfect Gift

A simple box says a lot. After unwrapping a present you know you are either happy or sad without even seeing the gift! What is written on the box gives it away from the beginning. Branding has become more important than ever and without a good look, the product is not as appealing.

Bvlgari brands itself as a high end luxury brand and their design shows it. Simple, bold, established colors and typography give the brand its expensive, luring appeal.

Tiffany & Co. is probably one of the most notably branded companies. Even their 'Tiffany Blue' color is trademarked. The name itself could be missing and anyone would still know what was inside this box.

Links of London also took a traditional approach. The simplicity is key but what really helps them succeed is their choice of colors. What seems like an obvious decision is really a distinct choice on their behalf. The creamy tan with the black scream tradition which include values such as trust, knowledge and experience. With values such as these instilled in the branding, the product is already more valuable. Its practically magic!

September 24, 2009

Woodblock Prints

Woodblock prints have always attracted me and I'm so excited to own my first one. I found this beauty in Paris at a shop across the passage from where I worked. There were many to choose from but I settled on this one because as I glanced at it, images of crafty projects flooded my mind.

As a graphic designer, I spend a lot of my time on the computer so anything that gets me crafting with my own hands is great by me. I obviously need a bit more practice with block printing because my first attempt was only half of a success.

The process is the best part though and I look forward to more trial and errors and hopefully some beautiful finished projects in the near future.

September 23, 2009

Fortune Cookies

I love the concept of fortune cookies because they are always true. I don't mean that in the sense that they are magical and somehow they can predict your exact future, in my opinion, they don't predict anything at all. Instead, they are a powerful tool of positive reinforcement that any one can apply to their own life. What I really love about them is that they always make you think of the things in your life that maybe aren't doing so great and give you hope and reassurance for the future.

I was sure this one was made for me when I opened it! I had been feeling overwhelmed with things lately and of course my sensitivity was kicking in to the max but after reading my 'fortune' I started to think about the positive aspects of my sensitivity, maybe its not such a bad thing after all.

The last two fortunes I geared towards my design work and business. It's an exciting yet very scary time to start a business and like everything else, there are always the highs and the lows. But reading that 'many possibilities are open to me' allowed me to view things as possibilities for success and took me places I might not have gone without it.

I'm hoping this one can apply to an e-mail as well, I don't receive much important mail these days. None the less, I'm still waiting for the letter of importance to be dropped into my inbox, but who knows, maybe it already has.

September 22, 2009

Trendy Tuesdays : Tarnished SIlver

I have been noticing a trend within my decorative kitchen items lately; tarnished silver objects seem to have sprung up all around me. I didn't purchase any of these items but have unconsciously collected them all over the past few years.

I'm assuming these items were once nicely polished but I am much more mesmerized by their tarnished qualities. Most of these objects were passed down to me from my great grandma who I have always felt a very strong connection to.

I use this pitcher as a vase but it's almost unfair to the flowers! No matter how beautiful they are their vase is still more charming :)

Another gift passed down from my great gram, a beautifully engraved toothpick holder. I doubt you could find something like this made today because we just don't put as much effort and emphasis into the small things any more.

This great teapot was a gift from my mother after her travels to Morocco. The sides are hand etched and every section is welded together by hand. This teapot alone makes me want to visit Morocco myself!

September 21, 2009

Finds of the Week

Today I thought I would feature some of my favorite yard sale finds of the week. I'm loving living in Silverlake because the weekends are never disappointing when it comes to finding great bargains!

We stumbled upon this huge sale right near our house. With every gadget you could imagine, my favorite part was the extensive racks of real vintage clothes.

I was a huge fan of this great yellow and black printed robe dress but seeing that it was a size 10, I didn't even think a little alteration would do the trick so I had to let it go.

The yard sale lady had three pairs of these shoes all in different colors. Straight from a Parisian shoemaker, I had to let these go as well because I have already overstuffed my shoe closet.

This framed picture came complete with tears and age spots but that just added to it's vintage charm. With a great new frame, this pic could work perfectly to spice up a washroom.
Overall, we found some great finds ( I also walked away with a Cream Ralph Lauren 100% Cashmere sweater for $2!) Can't wait for next weekend


September 18, 2009

Trash to Treasure

Along with thrift shopping and garage sales, I also love turning trash into treasure. I found this poor old chair on the curb waiting to be picked up by the trash man. Seeing a lot of potential in it, I decided to haul it half a mile back to my place.

This chair had obviously seen better days! With only one side arm left and a torn/dusty seat cushion, it looked less than appealing.

With a few tools, a new coat of paint and some funky fabric, I transformed this old chair into a fun, modern piece.

It's a great feeling to find a new use for something that has become useless to someone else. I can't wait for my next trash to treasure adventure!


September 17, 2009

## Collage ##

I have always been interested in the interaction between photography and illustration. It gives the reality of the image a surreal quality and allows you to look at it in a different light.

This is one of those projects I have packed away for a rainy day but have yet to dig it out. These are mock up collages that I hope to transfer to canvas some day (soon).

The images really have no relation except for the numerical numbers they each feature. I have found that in my work, I enjoy bringing together unexpected objects to create relationships.
The color of the patterns contrasted with the black and white photography creates a great eye catching piece. This would make a great DIY project for anyone interested in photography and painting.

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September 16, 2009

'Cupcake Logo Designer'

Since I'm in the marketing stage of my new design studio, I'm pleasantly surprised to see my name (and face!) pop up in unexpected places. Because I have worked with a few cupcake and bakery shops, my logos were featured on the cupcake blog:

I was very amused at my title, 'Cupcake Logo Designer', which lately has been suiting me well. I love working with small companies, especially specialty shops like bakeries who put as much passion into their food as I put into my designs.

These are just a few examples of some of my logos but I was very proud that they were featured on one of the most well known cupcake blogs.. and surprisingly, its a huge fad!

I even received an honorable mention with my very own pic. Thanks everyone at for featuring me and my work!


September 15, 2009

CMYK: Data Mapping

I finally made it over to the bookstore yesterday in order to check out my piece featured in CMYK Magazine this month!

The design piece is a data mapping of 7 days of my life. Mapping my schedule, money spent, texts sent, places I visited, amount of sleep, music I listened to and outfits I wore. So really, anyone can learn a lot about my personal life if they spent some time looking through it, good thing it is printed in such small scale :)

The piece was designed as a 24 x 36 in. poster that folds up into a small book to view each section individually. I am very excited to be featured in CMYK because it is one of my favorite design magazines and I use it as an inspirational source for my own work.


September 14, 2009

Antoine + Manuel

I discovered these great artists in Paris after spending hours roaming through Les Arts Decoratifs. I stopped in the museum store after and found these great printed postcards and was instantly enthralled.

Not knowing anything about these artists before hand, I checked out their work online and they have a very inspiring body of work. Mostly graphic design, they work in such an abstract form that it almost crosses the line into fine art.

This piece is my favorite because it is so ambiguous. It reminds me of the ink blot tests but has so much depth that it engages the viewer even further.

A lot of the time their work includes these bazaar characters, combining different body parts from different species or just coming up with their own characters like the rain drop man below.

Their experimentation with design is both beautiful and contemporary. The images are playful and fun but the overall level of their work is definitely very sophisticated.

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September 11, 2009


I've had a bit of a one track mind lately due to my recent family addition. This is my new French Bulldog, Frankie. He is 9 weeks old and is as cute as they come!Anyone who knows me, knows I have been borderline obsessed with Frenchies for years now. They combine all the qualities I love about bulldogs (over weight , odd looking, squished face) with their own quirky personality and huge ears, and yes of course, he's black & white!

Im not a huge fan of dressing up dogs and definitely wont be investing in a wardrobe for Frankie but this shirt was a gift form his new daddy (my boyfriend, Sebastian). He insisted that Frankie be brought up as a USC Trojan, this was his one and only request.

Little Frankie has brought so much joy into my life in the 2 days he's been here. I can't imagine how much fun we will have in the years to come.

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September 10, 2009

Henri de Toulouse Lautrec

Over the summer I was thrilled to see an exhibit featuring my favorite artist in the entire world: Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. The show was a combination of his original works and posters created by some of the greatest designers of our time, celebrating Toulouse- Lautrec's work and life. Some of the designers included: Philippe Apeloig, Michael Bierut, Heinz Edelmann, Milton Glaser, J. Abbott Miller, and many many more.

Their modern renditions of Lautrec's work felt very contemporary but definitely stayed true to Henri's unique style.

To me, Lautrec is pretty much the first graphic designer, combining image and type into informative posters. He created a bridge between the distinctly different areas of advertising and fine arts. He is most known for his work commissioned by the Moulin Rouge in Paris but it was great to see his less known, personal paintings, as well.

I think every design lover would appreciate his work and being the pioneer of graphic design, his work is truly inspirational to me.