July 31, 2012

Weekend Renegade Roundup

On Sunday, I headed over to the LA State Historic Park for the 4th Annual Renegade Craft Fair. Despite the sunny SoCal heat, I was on a mission to shop. Luckily, Front Porch Pops was there to keep us cool with their delicious popsicles. I had the melon mint and Kevin got the creamy chocolate chip. Sorry I couldn't get any pics of them, the heat was melting them quick and it quickly got messy.

My friend Janet also came along with us. We've been working on a side project together that might turn into a webcomic or plushes or both? in the future. One of the first booths we checked out belonged to the lovely Jenny Smith. Her plushes definitely had us dying of cuteness and she also happened to be featured in the current issue of Stuffed. We couldn't decide with one was our favorite, but it was between the raccoon or cat for me.

Kevin walked a little bit ahead of us and it just so happened that across the way was our friend Joey Chou's booth. He had some new prints like the Strawberry Fields Forever piece he did for Gallery Nucleus' Beatles Tribute Show as well as the Small World-themed works he did for Disney. But my personal faves are his Yuki 7 prints.

Then I was off to visit a couple of my favorite ladies…and of course, they were sharing a booth together. I first said "Hi!" to Faheema of Unicorn Crafts. She makes super cute shrinky dinks jewelry that she illustrates herself.

And as usual, Faheema shared a booth with Genevieve of Le Petit Elefant. Genevieve has seriously grown in popularity over this past year. It was difficult just trying to pry her away from fans for a sec just to say "Hi!" and give her a hug. And it's easy to see why…her illustrations are so adorable and relatable!

I came across some awesome jewelry from Upper Metal Class. I took a glance and took photos and walked away really fast before I got my wallet into some serious trouble. They combined two things I can't resist: geometric shapes & shiny metal objects.

Then I stopped by JanieXY because I just had to see what kind of crazy booth she built this time. We caught up with each other and talked shop for a bit. And then she encouraged me to apply for Renegade SF. Way to bring on the pressure!

One of the most unique vendors I've seen in a really long time was Kitty Baby Love. All their products are totally cat-centric. Cat Bowling Set?! Why Not! Although I'd be very sad about burn those Kitty Egg Candles…

And then I saw their Kitty Egg Crayons. I love all the color! And the display was just perfect. I wish they had been around when my nieces were kids so I could've gotten them these. They're way cooler than a pack of Crayolas.

And last, but definitely not least, I finally got to meet Lindsay of Em & Sprout/Sick for Cute/Kid Pirate (R.I.P.)! Linds and I have been internet gal pals for 4 years now (at least!), and we were both super stoked to finally meet each in person. This was also her first time vending at Renegade! Can you guess which shirt I had to get from her?


This was definitely one of the funnest trips to Renegade I've ever had. Mostly because when Renegade first came to LA, I hardly knew any of the vendors and I was generally unimpressed with the setup. But things have certainly changed and it's much more fun now than it was at the beginning. Over the years, going to craft fairs have become less about shopping and more about just chillin' with friends.

July 28, 2012

Weekly Want: Suede Sidewalk Skimmers in Crystal Blue

For the past 5 years, flats have been my footwear of choice. But the number one problem I have with them is how easily I wear them down. Most of the time, I don't think it's a quality issue…I just think I walk a lot. I'm always hesitant to spend more than $50 on a pair of flats because I know how quickly they'll wear down. But that doesn't mean I can't admire them from a distance. I'm still on my bold color kick and being that I can't resist anything from Madewell, these sidewalk skimmers do the trick. They're just perfect shade of cobalt blue! And they're made of suede too!

Available at Madewell for $98

July 21, 2012

In Love with Minifanfan

Last night I stopped by Q Pop to check out the Black & White Show that currently up. The last time I was there, I saw a ring by illustrator Minifanfan that I kinda regret not getting. But this time, I saw this tote that I just couldn't resist.

Minifanfan is a Malaysian Chinese illustrator living in Kuala Lumpur. Her work is playful & fun, and at times they seem a bit childish and non-sensical. But there's a sweet simplicity to her work. She uses a lot of bright, vibrant colors and patterns in a very flat way. You can see all the strokes of her marker in her work. Sometimes it even looks (intentionally) poorly colored in, but it gives her work a nice innocence to them.

I love how it always seems like her characters are just going about their business…as if the oddness of their behavior is just how they do things. They're just nonchalant about everything. Like these three characters below, reading the same "How to Become a Monster" book.

Minifanfan is definitely one of my new favorite illustrators…now I'm just waiting for her Etsy store to come back from vacation mode because I need more of her work in my life!

July 19, 2012

Party Time with Poketo

Last month when I stopped by the new Poketo store, Angie and Ted invited me to their friends & family grand opening party. And last night was the night. So many great people were there. Before even stepping into the store, Kev and I ran into our friend Adam who's working on some great projects over at Cartoon Network (but he can't tell us about them yet). Then we went inside and ran into our good friend Andy/Busc who we haven't seen in ages. We had a chance to catch up and talked about his new job over at 72andSunny.

I felt like everywhere I turned I was running into someone I know. I was pleasantly surprised to run into my internet gal pal Francesca Ramos who's currently working on her BFA in Graphic Design at CalArts. It just so happens that her friend Lily is currently interning for Poketo. Two months ago, they both drove all the way out to Long Beach to see my senior show so I was happy to see them again. When I finally regrouped with Kev, I found him talking to Patrick Hruby and we hung out with him most of the time.

They had this one really great red balloon in the middle of the room that was the most perfectly round balloon I've ever seen in my life.

I didn't expect them to be serving up as much alcohol as they did…they were serving up some delicious Hudson Whiskey and Art in the Age spirits.

Of course, what would be a Poketo party without the guys of Handsome Coffee Roasters. But we were pretty bummed that we got there a little late and missed out of some delicious pie from The Pie Hole.

And at some point in the night, I ended up double-fisting a latte and boxed water. No shame…no shame at all.

I had my hands full most of the time so I didn't get to take that many photos, but it definitely felt great to be in good company. It hit me right when Kozyndan walked in that although I'm at a transitional period in my career, I know I'm heading in a good direction. I became interested in Poketo and Kozyndan's work around the same time during my freshmen year of college (2004 – 2005) and they really inspired me to do the work that I do. I never thought I'd ever be at a party for Poketo with Kozyndan.

Somehow while I was there I missed a few of my favorite peeps from the interwebs/blog/instagram world. Specifically: Dabito, Satsuki Shibuya, and Sonja Rasula. I didn't know they were there until I saw their tweets and instagrams after the fact. Other notable peeps who were there: GARY BASEMAN, John Pham, Bobby & Kyle from The Fox is Black and LA, I'm Yours, Bri from DesignLoveFest, Kate Miss…the list is ridiculous.

On the way out, Angie gave me this wonderful parting gift from the Poketo x Target collaboration Part Two/2012 that's due in stores soon. Angie and Ted really are some of the nicest and coolest people I know and I'm so happy for them that their dream of having a brick-and-mortar store finally came true!

July 16, 2012

Eight Years Later…

Back in the Fall of 2004, I started my freshman year of college. Both of my best friends went away to Northern California; one to SF State, and the other to Berkeley. We used to spend lots of time on Livejournal…these were the days before Twitter, and Facebook barely existed. We were never much for talking on the phone and when we did talk, it was mostly on the weekends. But we spent a lot of our time in between classes chatting on AIM. I remember one day my friend Nisa came back from class and told me about how she got handed some random flyer on the way back to her dorm. It was of the photocopied on neon paper variety. Sure, it was like every other random flyer you get handed but for some reason there was something about it that made her want to Google the band that was on the flyer. And as soon as she did, she sent me this video:

This was the video that made us fall in love with Bloc Party. We played "Little Thoughts" to death and we got our hands on all the singles we could from their EPs. But I think we mostly rejoiced in believing we were on to something that no one else knew about just yet. Then about 3 months later (March 2005), we saw them at the Glass House just a month after the release their first album, Silent Alarm. I remember picking up a shirt that read "God Bless Bloc Party" that was printed on an American Apparel tee. To this day, that night is still one of the best/favorite concerts of my life.

Now Bloc Party is about to release their fourth album, appropriately titled Four with the first single "Octopus"Although their sound has changed over the years, I feel like they somehow seem to always align with the changes in my life. It's been about two months since I've graduated from college and I feel like Four has come at a good time.

There are many elements of this video that bring back memories of "Little Thoughts"; From the bright colors to the punchiness, it's like they've come full circle. I love everything about this video. And it's full of the energy and bravado that the first album had but with more confidence. With this album due out next month, I have really high hopes for it and I can't wait to hear what else they've been working on.

July 9, 2012

Beatlemania Comes to Nucleus

On Saturday, All Together Now: A Tribute to the Beatles opened at Gallery Nucleus to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles. The festivities included some Beatles-themed desserts, a yellow submarine cut-out photo op, and a Beatles cover band. And if you were lucky enough to be there at the right time, you might have spotted Sir Ian McKellen. The show took up both the main gallery and the small atrium gallery on the second floor. Over 50 artists contributed pieces interpreting some of their favorite songs (the most popular being Lucy and the Sky with Diamonds) while others relived Beatlemania. Here's a brief glimpse at some of my favorite pieces and the illustrious life of the fab four.
I love seeing evolution charts and timelines. Andy Ristaino shows us the joy of Beatles wardrobe changes.

This next piece by Stephen Silver depicts just how I would have imagined Beatlemania in Japan.

I've alway been a fan of Scott C. but I especially love this super elongated shoeless piece. And if you love Scott C. too, prints of  of this piece are available so you can have this hanging in your home for an affordable $30.

And of course you can't have 60s Mod without Shag. He did this awesome purple number and there's silkscreened limited edition prints available for pre-order.

So if you're a Beatles fan, this is a fun show to check out. It's up now until July 29th.

July 3, 2012

Happy Birthday America!

I know this song really has nothing to do with Independence Day but when I was growing up, this song reminded me of quintessential American life even though I didn't really know what it was about back then. Being the first generation American in my family, there was always a huge culture clash in our household. I wanted the "American dream "(minus the 2.5 kids), but my parents wanted me to live the "Vietnamese way of life" although I strongly disagreed with them. In a weird way, this song was always a reminder of how different I was from my parents.

I finally saw The Graduate later on when I was older and the visuals were exactly how I imagined it: skinny ties, tailored clothes, nice cars, nice architecture…Southern California in the 60s. For being a child of the 80s, my style pulls a lot of inspiration from the 60s. I just love all things mid-century modern, especially California architecture from that period. Every time I see a young Dustin Hoffman, I think to myself "I'd date a guy like that."

July 1, 2012

Sandwich Weekend

On Friday, I went to Daily Dose for the first time for lunch with Nisa. I got The Butcher which is Sopressata (salami), house pickle, midnight moon goat cheese on a baguette with some grain mustard. The Sopressata was really thinly sliced and practically melted in my mouth. I love a good salami!

Then on Saturday, I met up with the lovely Beverly E. We went to Honey Badger Cafe, mostly because it's cheap but also because it's consistently good for the price. When they first opened they had serious issues with their service, but they have since hired better staff (and also the help of those table buzzers that some Asian restaurants employ) to provide better service.

I ordered my usual, the Cuban Roast Pork sandwich with a side of potato salad. All their sandwiches come with a side of potato chips but you can choose to upgrade to one of their "premium sides" for an extra $0.95.

Then when Sunday rolled around, I was still in a sandwich mood. I was heading over to Old Town Pasadena but couldn't think of where to eat. I'm not a fan of most of the sandwich choices in the area, but I decided to give Euro Pane a try. I have been to their first/original location in the past and their sandwiches were mediocre. I usually just go there for French macarons. But this time we went to the second/newer location across from Paseo Colorado since I've only had their macarons but never their food. I was pleasantly surprised by their better menu and overall better look & feel. I had a hard time choosing between a Croque Monsieur, French Toast, or Eggs Benedict, but I eventually decided on the Croque Monsieur.

I love Croque Monsieurs! But this isn't a normal Croque Monsieur…it's with BACON! (Instead of the usual ham). I'm usually not a fan of bacon, but I'll have it every once in a while. And after this experience, I would definitely say I like it better with bacon. But if you want an amazing (but normal) Croque Monsieur, head over to Abricott.