June 28, 2011

Misadventures in Job Hunting

I went to a job interview today. And it totally wasn't what I was expecting. Granted it was for a wholesale company, which I already had the expectations that it was going to be boring, tedious, and formulaic (essentially a desk job, laying out catalog pages). After the interview, I only found two of those things to be true: tedious & formulaic. The people who work there were cool and they liked me. But the work they do and the work they wanted me to do were totally what I wasn't expecting. It was a perfect example of their website not reflecting the products they make (which can't be found anywhere on their website). Bad branding? Their website looks very...well...wholesale company like. Very corporate looking. Very bland. But most of the products they make cater to kids in the 7–11 age range. (But my 11yr old self probably wouldn't buy what they're selling. And I used to like loud accessories!) I love how nowhere in the job description does it say "you'll be designing products for kids." And it obviously shows in their work and the end products. They really should try looking for someone who knows how to design for kids. But building them a website was also part of the job descriptions. And at no point did we talk about that being one of my duties.

The interview was with their art director who is completely self-taught. And the interview was only about 15 minutes. They really liked me but wanted to know if I can do illustration work too. And they'd have to take a look at that before they give me an answer. I agreed to send some work over but in my head I was thinking..."If you want me to do illustration work too, you're going to have to pay me more."They were really nice people, but I can't see myself working there. This is what was playing in my head as I walked out of that office.

Maybe I'm being a little too harsh. Or not harsh enough. Maybe I'm being a little too romantic or idealistic about my job options. But I like to stick to my principles. I ranked that job as being almost at the same level as working retail. I'm finding it hard to get myself to work on products I can't stand behind. I'd be essentially doing the same thing I'm doing for CROWDED TEETH there. Which is just product design and point-of-sale displays. But I love CROWDED TEETH, and it's definitely an experience I can enjoy. Whereas with the wholesale stuff, I'm constantly asking myself..."Who actually buys this stuff?!" (The only logical thing would be to use that stuff as party favors.) I guess I'm holding out a little for that on-campus job. At least my expectations of that job actually match reality.

June 26, 2011

Farmers' Market Grub

Waking up early has been such a challenge since the semester ended. And today I was finally able to wake up early enough to make it over to the Alhambra Farmers' Market. Alhambra's Farmers' Market is fairly small but I can always rely on it to provide me with an awesome brunch. Well what I really mean is, I love going there just to get pupusas. If you've never had or heard of a pupusa, it's this El Salvadorean dish that's kinda like a flattened grilled pancake version of a tamale. It looks like a thick pancake made of masa but it's filled with pork, beans, and cheese. Then it's topped with curtido, which is a vinegar-based cabbage slaw, and some salsa.

The pupusas are made on the premises by the folks from Pupusa Y Mas. And if you eat them while they're still hot, they're oh so gooey. 

After devouring the pupusas, I had to head over to the Paradise Cookies truck which parks themselves at the market every week. Their cookies are so perfect. They're crunchy around the outside but gooey & soft in the inside. I love their peanut butter chocolate cookies (chocolate cookie with peanut butter chips). And unlike other gourmet/specialty food trucks (that are trendy right now), they're local to the San Gabriel Valley (they usually only stay in the Alhambra/South Pas area) and support other Alhambra business (i.e. Fosselman's). They serve up Fosselman's ice cream and they also make ice cream sandwiches with it. 

Mocha Almond Fudge ice cream with Peanut Butter Chocolate cookies

And anyone who knows me knows that I can't talk about ice cream without talking about Fosselman's. I went to high school in Alhambra and it was very common for girls from my school to get a summer job at Fosselman's. They're a little family owned place that's been in business for 91 years. And they've consistently been voted best ice cream in LA. Their ice cream is made with 60% butter fat and handmade using fresh ingredients. I mostly love they're fresh fruit ice creams. They have seasonal flavors that are just as seasonal as the fruit they're made with. My personal favs are the Peach ice cream and the Blueberry. The Peach ice cream is available now until (roughly) the end of August. So go get some! You won't regret it! But also don't blame me if you start craving it at all hours of the day.

Claw Machine Skills

I've never been good at those stupic claw machines but tonight I struck gold! I was in Little Tokyo tonight checking out the Ham Ba Ga show over at Q Pop. Afterwards, I headed over to Mikawaya in the Japanese Village plaza to get some mochi. What I love about Mikawaya is that they make mochi from their gelato...appropriately named mochilato. Today, they had creme brulee flavored mochi and it was AMAZING! So naturally, I had to head over to the Sanrio store across the way. I checked out what was in the claw machine today and it was Apple and Strawberry Hello Kitty! So I just had to give it a try. $1 and one try later...I scored this sweet Apple Hello Kitty. I was pretty stoked.

June 23, 2011

Little Tiger Invades Mountain Village

Remembering ReadyMade

I just heard the news yesterday from my friends at Poketo that ReadyMade is closing shop. They made the announcement last week but the news has been slowly spreading amongst the DIY community. It was a big shocker to all of us, but the thought of it wasn't a complete surprise. Like many publications, they struggled to stay alive in this digital age where blogs/digital periodicals reign supreme. I felt a great sadness when I heard the news because I felt that ReadyMade played an important role in the making me the designer/creator/maker that I am today.

I remember when I first heard of ReadyMade, I was in high school and wanted to launch my own apparel company with my bff, Nisa. We had this brilliant idea to create our own polo shirt brand to sit amongst the ranks of Lacoste, LeTigre, Penguin, etc. That's what we wore back then: Lacoste or LeTigre polo shirts that we got off eBay with a Member's Only jacket, boot cut jeans, and a pair of Chucks (but only the ones made in the USA. aka pre-Nike acquisition). We thought that the whole silkscreened t-shirt company run out of one of our garages thing would be the more typical and expected thing to do. Which was why we didn't want to do that. Yeah, we thought we were too cool. But we would never openly admit it. Although we never took that jump into apparel, ReadyMade inspired us  that we could really make/build anything.

The first time I saw ReadyMade's website it was only made up of maybe 2 or 3 pages. They had an online store where you can buy one issue, 5 issues, a subscription, or various DIY kits. I even remember when Poketo made wallets out of ReadyMade. This was back when some of their first wallets were made of scantrons and measuring tape. One of the first projects I ever made shortly after discovering ReadyMade was a wallet made of old magazines and packing tape. I admired Poketo's wallets, but I was young & broke. It was very similar to this project which can be found on ReadyMade's website today. I called it the "I'm not a slut." wallet. I had used pages from a crappy teen magazine that I had lying around from junior high. I tore out a page with an article about teen body image and that was the headline. Looking back on it now, I only had those magazines to fit in with the rest of the girls. But moving on to high school, I had ditched those bitches and found a group of friends who shared my interests (the kind of girls who read Giant Robot and Juxtapoz). That wallet came out pretty cheesy. And I never used it as a wallet. At least not in public.

What I loved the most about ReadyMade was that it showed you how to do everything from something as simple as stenciling a rodeo cowboy onto a pillow to building a printing press with a hydraulic press. No project ever seemed too outrageous. And the best part was that they listed what exactly what you would need, what skills you would need, difficulty level, time it would take, and approximately how much it would cost you. Everything I ever needed to know before jumping into a project!

I love you ReadyMade! Thanks for making us want to build things! And not because they were things we needed, but because they were just really cool things to make!

Andrew Byrom on Business Cards

June 22, 2011

Hobo Cat

Sebastian thinks he's a bum. He loves the cheapest (and by cheap, I mean free) toys.

Favorite Toy: Q-tips
Favorite Place to Sleep: On a pile of unorganized stuff and (on occasion) plastic Target bag

It's not like he doesn't have a bed. He has a nice comfy black plush bed that matches with the majority of decor in my room. He just recently decided to stop sleeping in it.

June 20, 2011

Epic Eating

Today, my friend Carolyn joined us for a Sunday Food Adventure. The day started off with a trip to Galco's Soda Pop Stop. Galco's was once an Old World grocery store but to soda junkies, it's home. They have many familiar and not-so-familiar sodas. They even claim to have over 400 sodas. The once produce section of the market was also converted into a nostalgic candy corner. If you've never been, it's definitely a must if you LOVE soda. I decided to be good today and not get the 6 pack of Original formula Dr. Pepper. But I did get one of my favs: Cheerwine. If you like Dr. Pepper and/or Black Cherry soda, you'll love Cheerwine! And you don't even have to go all the way to Galco's to get it. I've seen it at most BevMos.

After Galco's, we headed over to Melrose  and wandered around peeping in & out of the various thrift shops and boutiques. We stopped by Japan LA to check out the Kittens & Ice Cream show. And I just had to get this one-of-a-kind kitten ice cream necklace by Axelhoney. She made quite a few for the show and they all sold out the night of the opening, but she recently dropped off a few more. I'm super happy I was able to snag one! They're just way too cute!

After a whole lot of window shopping, we decided that it was time to stuff our faces. So we decided to take a trip to Pink's. Honestly, if you're from LA, Pink's isn't even a big deal. But because Carolyn was with us, we figured "why not?!"
And then at this point we were trying to figure out what to do to kill some time before heading out to Glendora for Donut Man. Because obviously, we were way too full to head straight there after this meal. So we went to Old Town Pasadena. But it ended being a total bust because silly us forgot that it was Sunday and most places closed really early. (at some point, I checked my phone to make sure Donut Man was open but Google told me it was closed. we were totally bummed out and I was like WTF?! they're supposed to be 24hours.)

So New Plan: Bigfoot Lodge
And it being Sunday meant BINGO NIGHT! Had a few drinks and played bingo. We nearly won a few times but never did. Then we decided to double check again to see if Donut Man was open because we were really looking forward to it. We ended up calling them and we probably sounded really weird and crazy but they were indeed OPEN! So we drove our asses to Glendora STAT!

When we got there, the line wasn't looking bad at all. 
And of course, we bought more than we can eat so we would have them throughout the week.
So the grand total was: 5 strawberry donuts, 3 blueberry cream puffs, and 2 tigertails. Not bad at all compared to our usual damage.
And the best part? We totally beat the late night rush.

June 19, 2011

Ridiculous Skills

Dana Tanamachi is a graphic designer most known for her hand lettering skills with chalk. Just the amount of precision and depth she's able to create in her typography using a simple and low-tech medium, such as chalk, just blows my mind.

If you've never seen Dana work it, I suggest you take a gander.

Ace Hotel Room 1021 from Dana Tanamachi on Vimeo.

June 18, 2011

Lazy Saturday

Today has mostly been a day of lounging. Sebastian spent the whole day sleeping or basking in the sun.

I, on the otherhand, spent my time playing with Vignette. I remember when I used to carry a camera with me everywhere and document everything. And now with cell phone cameras and various apps, it's so much easier. Yet, it's something I don't do anymore. So I've been trying to get back into that habit.

Basic Space

The Newest Thing I Can't Live Without

For being unemployed, I have quite a busy summer ahead of me. Between launching a new jewelry line, looking for work, and working on my portfolio. It's getting much harder to keep track of things. I never thought I'd see the days when I would actually need to make a To-Do list. In the past, every time I made a list for myself I ended up failing to look at them. Or even worse, I acknowledge their existence but simply ignore what's written on them. Also, with the new trend of everyone having a smartphone, it makes it easier to always have the list on you. But for me I always find that I remember things easier when they're written than when they're typed. So I keep these Desk-Its from Poketo at my desk.
The awesome thing about Desk-Its is that they're pre-printed with the days of the week Monday–Sunday with lines for your list of things to do. and next to each item is a box to check things off when you're done. It's also conveniently almost the same size as your keyboard so it can also double as a wrist rest for when you're typing. Or if you want, you can just tear off the sheet and stick it anywhere you want like to the bottom of your computer monitor or your fridge. 
But one thing is for sure. It has made my list of things I cannot live without.

June 3, 2011

Minimal is the New Excess

Everyone who knows me knows about my obsession with white. For some, white is just a phase. A trend. A fad. But for me, white is a state of mind. A way of living. Some find it odd when I say this but, I love white because there's something very offensive about it. The thought of something being piercingly stark white against a dark background. Or being an opposition to color by lacking pigment/hue. When mixed with colors, it tones them down. And with enough of it, it can soften even the loudest colors into a pastel(there's nothing threatening about Easter eggs). But it says something different then, say, a neon yellow. White is like a silent rebellion. It gets your attention without having to yell. Hell, it gets your attention without having to mutter a word. It has a grace about it. Even when it's challenging you to keep it clean. It can cause so much frustration by just being itself. When you don't want to touch it out of fear of getting it dirty, it dares you to touch it. It taunts and teases you. I don't buy into the belief that white symbolizes innocence and purity. White is smart, cunning, and manipulative. If anything, it uses its pure image to outsmart us all.

I own quite a lot of white items. My nature response to every product is, "Does it come in white?"

And my latest white object of desire is this little timepiece from Uniform Wares.
I don't see my love for white objects as being any sort of style. I'm just in love with the simplicity and adaptability. When you walk away from bold/obnoxious/trendy colors, you realize how much you don't need them in your life. White is the ultimate chameleon. Without having to take on another color. It goes with everything. And rarely ever clashes.