Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Craft(y) Project: Mamegoma

Ok, so unless you live in the glittering metropolis of San Francisco or the scummier and more dangerous but still extremely sparkly L.A., where holographic flake stickers and imported Hello Kitty candy rain from the skies, Mamegoma merch is really freaking hard to find. 

Carl loves Mamegoma, and I thought, "it's just a blob with a cute face, I'll make him a plush for Christmas". :D

Am I going to provide you with a pattern? No! Haha. I never sew and I pretty much just did this, so I'm sure all of you super crafty blog-browsing creatives can figure it out just as easily. I want to sell them online, but I'm going to try to figure out of some kind of copyright infringement is involved first.


Aww! I fixed the uneven bit in his muzzle. The felt and black cotton fabric are recycled.


This fabric is called "ultra cuddle". I got it at Joann. It was half off the original price, and then I asked for a discount and got half off *again* because there were dirty spots where someone had stepped on it. I got two yards for $6.50. ◕ω◕


Finally, I took a picture of it on my head for scale. I love this as much as the Totoro plush I made a while back. I'll post that next time!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Weekend (12.18 - 12.19): That Old World Feel

I had a day so fabulous that it's gotten me back into posting. I've updated the deco box post, so check it out. It'll also be nice to finally post the Halloween costumes I put together - and look! Only two months late. That's nearly timely. :D 

 
If you're wondering, the shirt is Old Navy but was thrifted, the vest is Classiques Entier and was thrifted, I got the pants on clearance from Alloy, the belt is vintage, and the jacket was a gift from my mom. It's from Target and has a super cute layered lace tail in the back. I was trying to look like a male model, lol. No one reads this anyway, it's fine >_>


I won't lie, I think I was subconsciously inspired by/trying to channel Norman Reedus. Man he was pretty in the 90's.
Anyway, back to the story at hand. My mom decided some time ago that she should splurge and take us to get manicures - part of my Christmas present. Instead of an angry Vietnamese guy who half-asses the polish while telling me why Chinese is so much better to learn than Japanese, I got a very nice Polish woman, as did my mom. They were thorough, careful and took their time, and my conversation with one of them about my tragically soft and fragile nails (which I assume is the only known consequence of my long term vegetarianism) led to the suggestion of the use of a new type of nail polish. It's a gel polish that lasts as long as 3 weeks. It stays for so long that you can eventually see the blank spot as your nails grow from your cuticles outward, and the polish stays in place.

Let me tell you, it's amazing. I've done some extremely ill-advised things and have even felt my nails bending, which they just do, and nary a chip to report three days later. My nails are silver and my mom's are a dark maroon. Hers haven't chipped or gotten damaged yet, either, despite a couple of 8-hour stints in the after-Christmas fracas at Border's. It's an extra $35, but if you're going to do your nails the fancy way anyhow, you'd might as well make sure they last. So far I give it two perfectly painted thumbs up.

After that refreshing experience, I took my mom to lunch at Le Chalet. It's easily the most unique restaurant in Glendale, the Never-Ending Cookie Cutter Suburb. I've been going since before their grand opening and it's been delicious every time. They imported their head chef and rather a lot of the other things there as well, including much of their wine and cheese. It's a crêpe and fondue restaurant with an alcohol selection and live music (which I've never seen, but the stage looks like a cave somewhere in the Swiss Alps or possibly a piece of the Matterhorn ride), as well as a impressive French affinity for showmanship. Order something expensive and you'll see what I mean. But wait - I'm allergic to wheat, you remind yourself. Well, I'm pretty sure there are more eggs (and air) than wheat in crêpes; there's practically nothing to them. They've only bothered me once or twice, so I eat them.


I got the Bergère savory crêpe, which is filled with homemade ratatouille and melted mozzarella, and topped with a circular wedge of roasted goat cheese. The onions in the ratatouille are abundant but very large and easy for me to pick out (that allergy is probably twice as inconvenient as the wheat, fyi). It's a great vegetarian dish. My mom got the chicken dijon crêpe, which was also delicious. Both came with small green salads and we also ordered a side of sweet potato fries, and split the Grand Marnier crêpe for dessert. Originally it was drizzled with melted bittersweet chocolate in addition to the candied orange rind, whipped cream, almond slivers and small scoop of vanilla ice cream, but now you have to request it. This cost as much as lunch and a dessert anywhere else but was twice as tasty and unique. The people preparing the food there are physically incapable, I believe, of making anything that tastes bad. I hate goat cheese, and I ate the goat cheese. The food is that good. They absolutely deserve 5 stars, hearts, horseshoes, clovers and blue moons.

They have a super cheap $6 lunch special going right now, check out their website (though it may take a minute to load): 

So after all this extravagance, I had to drop my mom off at work and I stopped by the Arrowhead Savers (though it took me like 20 minutes to get there riding the frenzied last minute Christmas shopper tidal wave) and took my time browsing. I found some real treasures this time.



First, this Whitman's Salmagundi tin. I love Art Nouveau and this caught my eye immediately. I looked it up online, and I'm pretty sure the only Salmagundi (the name of this woman, painted by Mucha, and also fun to say) tin that doesn't say "Salmagundi" at the bottom is the one from 1924. I paid 99 cents for it. It's not worth much and mine is in shitty shape, but I don't care. This is treasure.


Second, I found this set of Arimi Japan bowls. The flounder and squid were so goofy, I had to bring them home. I paid $1.48 for both.


I also found these bizarre antique silver hors d'oeuvre picks. Look at the creepy little goat men on the sides! They remind me of Satan. :/ I wish I knew where these were from and could see who once used them. I paid $3.99 and after 40 minutes of polishing and washing I think it was worth it. I'm not going to sell them (Edit [2/2015]: I totally ended up selling them when I left the States.).


Last but certainly not least, I found this exquisite Boden skirt. Based on the current retail prices of their embroidered skirts, I'd guess this was originally $68 - $78. I got it half off for $3.50. It's wool but is lined, has its tags and is in like new condition. It also looks like Roma, Ro-ma-mania and makes me feel Eastern or Central European.
Speaking of Eastern and Central Europeans, I've decided to take on a Romanian minor and see how it goes. It's easy to understand, will be fun, is more obscure and therefore more marketable in terms of translating than Spanish and Japanese, and it could really bolster my GPA. I intend to do the 5-week study abroad session to Romania (and 5 other countries) next summer, so I'm pretty stoked. I have a feeling Professor Orlich, who I pretty much consider to be my mentor, will make good on her promise to get me a job at the University of Bucharest if I decide I want one. :3

Monday, December 20, 2010

I Spy Unpacking



Wondering where I've been? Well, I've been unpacking! Wondering why it's taking me so long? Well, wonder no more. It's like a little version of those I Spy books! 
1. Find Donald 2. Find the Eiffel Tower 3. Find Molly (this one's tricky!)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Craft(y) Project: Deco Boxes

I've really been slacking in making interesting posts (like with that long lost TBM concert review I'm finally giving up on), so I'm going to post a few simple projects. 

These boxes can be found at just about any craft store and they come in unlimited shapes and sizes. Also good for this are random unwanted tins - of which we all have a couple from last Christmas I'm sure - though their texture makes adhering things more difficult. I hope this gives someone a simple idea for a holiday or birthday gift; handmade gifts are always the best remembered and most appreciated. They're usually the cheapest, too! Sort of like you can use and mix up random bits and pieces in your fridge with a base of pasta or rice, so too can you rid yourself of crafting clutter, bits and baubles using containers as a base.







I made little sea creatures and affixed other leftover pieces of his Halloween costume. I even found a perfectly to scale treasure chest to add at the 99 Cent Store. 

Consequently, I also found a Jim Henson Storyteller VHS there for 60 cents. Watching it while making this helped a lot, lol.


The boxes that Christmas cards come in are perfect to use for this. They're already half-decorated, sturdy, and you know the person you're giving it to already likes the design, because they picked the cards. Don't ever throw a pretty box away, make it into a cheap (or free) but unique and cherished gift!

Containers are probably the best category of items to deco because they're largely stationary, easy to display and their moving or functional parts are easy to avoid.

For example, try deco-ing: 
♫ Trinket and Jewelry Boxes ♥ Powdered Makeup Containers 
♥ Birthday Gift Boxes and Bags ♫ Contact Lens Cases 
♫ Old Christmas Tins ♥ Small Craft Supply Containers

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Gluten-Free Review: Whole Foods Goodies

Over the summer, I tried a small assortment of tasty-looking gluten free items after being invariably sucked into Whole Foods by its delicious gravitational pull. I hadn't posted them yet because of technological complications, but now, here they are!

Gluten Free Double Chocolate Suicide Cake


This cake tastes like it's made of pure chocolate chips - probably because it is. It's so insanely chocolatey that I would consider 3 modest bites the serving size. I had to peck at it like a bird for weeks. I don't eat a whole lot of chocolate and sweets but I do of course like them about as much as the next person, and... whew! Attempting to eat this is like some kind of sick, delicious melt-in-your-mouth workout. They offer one twice this size - I think this one is 3" or 4" in diametre - for a steep price, but trust me, you're just going to need this one. If you're feeding multiple people, buy one of these for every 3 or 4 guests. I think it was $3.95. Well, well worth it.
Sesame Red Bean Dango


I was charmed by these little rice flour pillows of joy, an unexpected treat nestled in the refrigerated section amid prepared tofu and vegetable rice bowls destined for an office microwave somewhere. Unfortunately, they were hollow, promising much but delivering little. They sort of reminded me of doing papier mache with a balloon. At least twice their current quantity of red bean filling content is required. For $1.95, though, I was quite satisfied; they were filling despite their skimpiness.

Udi's Gluten Free Whole Grain Bread


In a small standing freezer stuffed with gluten-free and other specialty breads, I found this, the best gluten free bread I've tried so far. I only found out about my wheat allergy a couple of years ago, but let me tell you, I've tried a lot of things, and most of them were awful. Cookies like wet sand flavoured with vanilla extract that almost choked my friends to death, et cetera. This is not bread. It's not pillowy and chewy and light and delicious, but it's getting pretty close. For $5 or $6 per loaf (though at least in this case the pieces aren't dwarfed by a Kraft cheese slice) it costs what the others do, but is much better. I'll post a picture of it as a grilled cheese sandwich later, since I made one earlier tonight but forgot. :/ It makes excellent grilled cheese if you cook it low and slow. It comes out kind of cracker-y, but not like a cracker. It's perfect for dipping in creamy tomato soup.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Recipe: Vodka Icee


Ok, so this is more of a, "I realised I haven't been posting much in the wake of preparing to move (I wish someone had come to my sale, good grief) but I threw some stuff in a blender tonight instead of finishing a sakubun so I think I'll continue procrastinating and share it with you" deal than a real recipe.

I'm also sitting at my computer desk in the middle of my living room like a foot away from my TV typing this. It's really convenient, I like it. When I have my own place I think I'll move my furniture to random rooms now and again just to provoke thought or throw people for a loop. It's too bad the cords shut in the magnetic door would give away a TV or computer in the fridge.

Stay tuned for a review of the New York issue of V magazine and a review of the Birthday Massacre concert I went to last month and thought I made a post about but actually didn't. :D

To serve two: Put about 3 cups of ice, Pomegramate Smirnoff and Ikea Lingonberry Concentrate to taste, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 Wild Cherry Icee Freeze cup in the blender until frothy. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lizard

These baby lizards are so cute and easy to catch. He just chilled out in my hand for a while so I admired how neat his scales and colouration are close-up. Zoom in and see for yourself!
"Hurrrr."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Giftage

So I've recently received some fabulous early birthday presents from a couple of lovely friends that I want everyone to see, and in other news, everyone should now be able to comment on my posts. Hopefully I don't get any spam or flames or flaming spam.. which may or may not be a Hawaiian dish or covered in rhinestones.


I've gotten to see Alexandra twice this summer (possibly a new record).


 Smiling's actually out this year. Matching coral/salmon shirts are in. But not the genetically modified salmon. And the salmon can't be smiling, either.
She brought me this pleasantly large statement-making Katrina necklace from her trip to Guadalajara.
And Carl got me these glorious Betsey crab earrings and ring! They were half off (suffer, major retailers, suffer!) and I was going to re-max-out my credit card for them as my love of crustaceans is undying, but he went ahead and got them so he wouldn't forget my birthday. I love Carl. The end.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Absolut Awesomeness

Well holy shit, Chiho Aoshima designed limited edition collectible Absolut Vodka pitchers earlier this summer and I just now found out about it. Sometimes I search eBay for various superflat artists to see if anyone's selling a print or book I can afford, and this time I got a real surprise. I Googled and ended up on NotCot checking out their extremely thorough article and wondering why I don't visit that site more often.


God. So awesome. That wonky city work of hers has been my wallpaper forever.
Vodka and superflat. Please enlarge these and appreciate this most holy union. I think I'm in heaven.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Weekend (8.21 - 8.22): Mill Ave and Shopping

Awesome ring holder I found on sale at Urban Outfitters plus awesome soon-to-be-hair-accessory bird from Goodwill is...
... way better than the creepy overloaded hand ring holder my ex-boyfriend's grandmother gave me.
This nice Clown School-educated balloon man had never made a lobster before, so I set the task to him.

The finished product was this adorable, legless Zoidberg-esque creation. D'aww.
What a badass.





The Street
This place is a trendy Korean boba, smoothie, shaved ice, juice and milk tea bar that also serves other tasty miscellany on Southern and Dobson.
(obligatory dramatic pose)
This is one of those places that lets everyone write and draw on the walls, but instead of just the bathroom or hallway, it's the whole restaurant.
We like cephalopods.
I was massively entertained by the fact that this robot doodle shirt I got him for $2 at Goodwill allowed him to blend in with the walls like a chameleon or rebel guerilla in the forest.
Whale plus Helper


We got the "mini" (it must weigh a pound) size Diamond Ice, a summer specialty, for $4.50 (guy with the Justin Beiber haircut not included). It was red bean, mochi, cantaloupe, honeydew, pineapple, mango, strawberries, creamy stuff and a cherry over creamy shaved ice. They also charge $3.50 for Thai tea, so we stuck with our original plan before happening upon this little gem and got it from Szechuan Express in the same plaza for $1.50.

Finally, my weekend also included a successful trip to 99 Cents Only that procured these wheat-free items, mini roses and Wall-E socks. Satisfaction.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Craft(y) Project: Makeshift Earring Holder



This is more of a re-purposing than a craft, hence the "crafty" title. 

Recalling a story of long-lost sand toys from my childhood, Chuck brought me this whale from the dollar store and said, "If you don't sift sand with it, you could put things in it." I decided right away to use it to organise my stud earrings.

Friday, August 13, 2010

(a)Musings: Ponyo Ponyo, Little Fishy in the Sea

Everyone likes tuna occasionally, right? I'm totally fine with that, this isn't going to be a rant about how you shouldn't eat it because you're destroying the natural balance of the ocean. Rather, it's going to be a rant about how you should demand that your seafood is labeled properly lest you contribute to said destruction.

Just the other day, my mom went to Costco for a few essentials. She commented on how Costco has always had the best tuna, as she was opening a couple of cans to make herself some tuna salad. She tilted the can and showed me.

"Oh, wow" I said, "it looks like a perfect circle was cookie-cut right out of the tuna."

"Yep!" she replied, satisfied as always with her purchase.

She says that StarKist brand, in sharp contrast to Costco's tuna, is always a bunch of pathetic little watery dark meat pieces as opposed to solid all-white meat fillet. There's no comparison. StarKist, if anyone remembers, was involved in a scandal in the 80's that had to do with selling tainted tuna unfit for human consumption in Canada. Because it's probably the most recogniseable brand of tuna as well, environmental agencies had also been after them for ages, trying to educate the public about dolphins and nets and "Dolphin-Safe" labeling and what have you. Considering all of this, one has to assume that for at least the last ten years or so, StarKist has been operating under more stringent regulations and watchful eyes than other mass suppliers of this delicate commodity, which could explain the lesser quality of their tuna. Maybe it's not as good because they're no longer catching fish they're not supposed to, right?

"Where was it caught?" I asked automatically.

Lo and behold, Costco puts no information whatsoever about where its tuna comes from on its cans. One has to assume that a big company doesn't give consumers information because there are simply things that they don't want them to know. So, people should demand the information. Maybe it doesn't seem like a big deal, but what else aren't they telling you? Maybe you don't care now, but you will one day when you're buying products for your newborn son or young daughter. 

I don't always support Greenpeace. The way I see it, if you act like an extremist psycho who lives in a tree and subsists entirely on raw organic vegan trail mix and doesn't shower, people definitely aren't going to listen to whatever you have to say. Occasionally, though, they're right on target. I mean, I happened to go to their site and find this just days after I was thinking about this tuna business: Send a Letter to Costco's CEO

Go ahead, sign it. Orange roughy and Chilean sea bass, as I'm sure you can guess, are threatened species that should simply not be consumed. I went ahead and added a paragraph about tuna to my letter, lol.






What's that? You were expecting something about Ponyo? Well, like all of the other Hayao Miyazaki Ghibli movies, it has a strong environmental message; I'd say the strongest since Princess Mononoke. So if you like Ponyo and the ocean, send the letter to Costco's CEO. And here's a really surprised-looking tuna some guy caught. Silly cartoon fish post title correlation complete.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Things I'm All About This Summer

Ok, so obviously I've finally decided to get a blog.

However, blogging is not one of the things I'm all about this summer, so don't get confused.

Bloggers have always seemed so pretentious to me, especially as time has gone on and a whole new generation of technology buffs and wannabe fashionistas has grown up with the Internet at its infantile and entitled fingertips. Around ten years ago I recognised that I would need to learn basic HTML coding, how to create and design websites, get a blog and learn how to use Photoshop, but I refused to do any of these things because they weren't relevant to my immediate interests; midi songs and oversized scanned images on Sailormoon Geocities sites and trying to figure out what it meant to be punk rock were. I don't do things because I feel pressured, I do them because I feel like it.

Onto the topic at hand!


1. Comfortable High Waisted Shorts.



If you're all about the 80's and 90's like me, these are a fun yet grown-up and sophisticated essential. Flattering to both curvy and thin body types, they're an immense improvement to trite and trashy teeny weeny denim shorts with 1/4" inseams. Clearance for $7.99 from Victoria's Secret.





2. Frozen Yogurt.

In the North Phoenix/Glendale/Peoria area, my 
allegiance belongs to juju berri. There was an 
article about them in the New Times last year.  
My favourite is Green Tea with mochi.
I'm so happy that this California trend caught on here a few years ago. It's delicious and affordable, unlike most of the shining fashionable glory that trickles down here from said shining fashionable glorious state. 


In Tempe, my allegiance belongs to Yogurtland. They somehow managed to capture the essence of Nilla Wafers, Rootbeer Floats and more in frozen dairy form! Their summer Lemonade Passion Fruit Tart flavour is refreshingly seasonal, too. Try every single one of them. I did. Forget Mojo and whatever other overpriced shit downtown Tempe can throw at you and become a loyal follower.


3. Failing JPN302 in Summer School.


Self-explanatory.

4. Nicktoons Summertime Primetime. 



Avatar: The Last Airbender (though we could all do without the "extras", thanks), Invader Zim and Dragon Ball Z Kai is the best programming block this channel has ever come up with. Hold off on calling me a nerd until you do a Google search and find out how many Gir tattoos there are out there or until you get a good look at the above image and spit whatever you're drinking all over your monitor and keyboard.

5. Looking Like Lady Gaga.

Lady Gaga has given me even more excuses to take risks and more new ways to combine existing elements of my wardrobe. Hat: Vintage (Etsy.com), Handmade Dress: Urban Outfitters (the grey and bright blue are now on clearance for $14.99, get one!) Mickey Mouse Sunglasses: Sunglass Warehouse Necklace Earrings: Handmade Teacup & Saucer: $1 at Savers Eyes: Sephora feather eyelashes Lips: L'Oreal Le Grand Kohl pencil and Mac lipstick in Cyber.

The above outfit won me these awesome Heartbeats at Josh's Lady Gaga Concert Pre-Party! Thank you!

6. My Upcoming Super Cute Moving Sale!

I'm selling clothes (some vintage!), makeup, furniture, and tons of other items because we have to move next month.