Friday, December 28, 2012

new drawings for a birthday gal

I made it back to Los Angeles late last night early this morning, so please excuse any excessive lack of writing skills today - I'm sort of running on fumes here. We had a positively fantastic holiday in Portland, full of family and food and wine and love and adventures (more on all of the above at a later date), but now it's back to the craziness that built up at work while I was gone.
But, before I dive fully back in to the world of greeting cards and pre-press work for our new release (!) a shoutout in illustration form to my absolute favorite drawer-of-pretty-ladies, Emma Trithart, who is celebrating her birthday in style over in the twin cities tonight. Happy birthday, miss! I colored a lady-illo in your honor. I also prepped a photo-post of us together through the years, but then I got a style-evolution headache (the culprit, most likely: my college Ugg phase. BELIEVE IT) so I put that one in the vault. Thank me later.

Monday, December 24, 2012

think warm / be cold

Scones in the oven, The Boss on the turntable, gifts under the weirdly S-shaped tree...PDXmas is in full swing. We even have a break from the rain today, the northwest version of a Christmas miracle. Hope your own version of the holidays is going swimmingly! I'll be back fully on the grid in the New Year, but for now, I'll treat you all to a few random illos that got to a 'finished' point during my self-imposed experiments with Illustrator and Photoshop. Merry merry, happy happy, deck the halls, have an extra glass of wine.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

fancy fingertips

After much resistance to the idea of paying someone else to paint my nails, I finally caved and went for my first gel manicure. It was fantastic, and I treated myself to another last weekend. There's something I love about the ritual of doing my own nails (and figuring out my own simple versions of nail art), but there's something I love more about this perfectly executed fingertip beauty, sans right hand mistakes and second day chipping. Plus, the salon Sarah (my patron saint of fancy lady things) took me to had a pile of trashy magazines, so the gossip shaped hole in my heart was filled. Anyhow. I've been drawing and scanning a bunch of new stuff for work lately, and I did a quick color on a sketchy nail idea page that managed to get inked this week. You kids enjoy - I'm leaving on a jet plane for PDXmas! xoxo

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

a moment

It's taken me a moment to get back on the horse here, and I'm still not sure how to do it. The events in Newtown on Friday were devastating, and have cast such a weird, eerie light over my excitement about the holidays and the cozy feeling I hold onto so tightly this time of year. It seems wrong to me somehow to just get up and go again, to shake off the gravity without a second thought, even on a tiny blog about nothing in particular. So, here is a moment, even a few days after the fact, just for me to get it down on internet paper, as it were. There are no right words for this, but these are my few. Tell your people you love them.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

silence in joshua tree

Over the weekend, for the third (!) time this year, we took a little run out to the desert for some hard-earned R&R. The desert in winter is bizarre place - a toasty sun-soaked day that fades early and fast into a chilly, quiet night. On Saturday, all of us piled into one car and drove from Palm Springs out to the Joshua Tree National Park, in search of natural wonders and wide open spaces. We entered the park and set down our useless phones (no service for miles) and picked a spot on the paper map provided by the park ranger. We parked and wandered through sprawling rocky landscapes with boulders as high as buildings, splitting up as we picked our way through the maze of barely marked paths, watching carefully for tarantulas scurrying out of crevasses. It was quiet, breathtaking. Dusk found us at a breezy scenic overlook, taking in a valley of smog and haze that swallowed the Salton Sea, barely visible almost 30 miles away. Lucky enough to be driving back through the park at sunset, we were treated to a technicolor display of deep purple and pinks in one direction, cool blue and yellows in the other. It was a great day.

Friday, December 7, 2012

sketch gallery

For your Friday afternoon viewing pleasure, a few lady-portrait outtakes from the last few weeks of sketchbook drawing. I'm off to Palm Springs for the a short getaway to enjoy the desert and, inevitably, some flamin' mac. Here's to a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

crank it up

my poster, titled "Smog Cutters"
Recently, I was invited to make a poster for Artcrank, that art-show darling of Twin Cities bike culture that I never managed to participate in while actually inhabiting Minneapolis. Luckily, this year marks the first Artcrank in the city of angels, and they're coming in with a bang. The opening reception is this Saturday at Orange 20 bikes. There will be beer, snacks, and plenty of bicycle and poster loving people, so if you're in the area, stop by! Due to a previously scheduled Palm Springs getaway, I won't be at the party, but certainly plan to pop over next week. The show is bound to be full of super-sweet work by Angeleno designers including my pals Greg, Dylan, Sarah, and Evan - and posters are only for sale during the show, which runs through December 17th. All posters are in editions of 30, and priced at $40 apiece. Get em while they're hot, as they say.

Monday, December 3, 2012

friends for eternity

Behold, the source of the music that has been running through my head nonstop since we ventured out to the Cinefamily during our post-Thanksgiving weekend festival of fun: The Miami Connection.
Scott heard about this gem from Malcolm, uber-fan of The Room and general authority of Cult Crap Cinema. Legend (er, mostly this CNN article) has it this amazingly awesome rat-king of eighties film cheese was made in 1987, universally hated on, and fell into obscurity. Fast forward twenty years to 2009, when Drafthouse found it on eBay, bought it for $50, and gave it the distribution that drunk twentysomethings America has been waiting for!
The Miami Connection is impossible to review, hard to explain, but so, so easy to love. Here's the premise: a ragtag band (literally - check out these tunes) of taekwondo practicing UCF students go nose-to-nose with the seedy underbelly of Miami's cocaine trade - which seems to be made up of ninjas and bikers. Come for the awkward dialogue and adorably horrific acting, stay for the grossest beach makeout scene this side of...well, I'm not sure what, because I just googled "gross beach makeout scenes" and lost a good hour of my life. I recommend taking in a viewing if you can - nothing like experiencing the magic with some fellow citizens - but since they're limited, you can also get a download of the movie (and a poster that looks like an oversized eighties VHS cover) for $6 here. You're welcome.

Friday, November 30, 2012

recent reads

I finally got a chance to take in the long awaited NW, by Zadie Smith. Smith wrote both White Teeth (when she was 25!) and On Beauty, two of my favorite contemporary novels, and after hearing this review on Fresh Air recently, I was....concerned. Particularly because my attempts to get the The Autograph Man have been pretty dismal - to the tune of ten pages or so. My adulthood and general busy-ness has made slugging through a novel just because I feel like I should seem very unappealing. As in, it never gets done.
ZS goes to some pretty experimental, Jonathan Safran Foer-esque places with her writing in NW, especially in the opening section, which initially put me off a bit. The book follows four characters - Leah, Keisha, Felix and Nathan - who are linked (some more closely than others) by their childhood in Caldwell, a subsidized housing project in NW London.  It bears mentioning that much of this book is probably far more awesome if you're familiar with the city - Caldwell itself is fictional, but the other towns, neighborhoods, etc are the real thing. As in most of her other books, the characters are widely varied and often mixed in their race, upbringing and faith, and yet they all come together, largely due to their geography. After the first section (from Leah's POV) Smith sort of settles in to a still unusual but infinitely more readable writing style. Thank god.
It's a bit difficult to explain how these four characters interact without revealing some late plot points. I've yet to find a decent review that attempts to do so. I went into reading NW with no knowledge at all, and it made the experience very, very odd. It wasn't until the prose sort of realigned into a semblance of normality that I was able to hang on to what what happening. There was a lot of flipping back and forth through pages as my brain sluggishly put together the overlapping pieces of  narrative, and I'm not sure whether a) I've gotten stupider, b) Smith meant it to happen that way, or c) she just missed the mark in terms of clarity. Obviously the shift in style was intentional, but was it necessary? When I came to the last page, I felt like I needed to re-read the whole book with the foundation of the character map that had finally come together in my brain. I respect Smith highly, and am tempted to just trust the fact that she is infinitely smarter than I, and this was a carefully constructed rollercoaster of discombobulation, but perhaps that's letting her off the hook.
So, let's just say NW is a ride. It's definitely stuck in my head. I recommend it highly - just be ready to focus, and try to stamp out your desire to know everything right away (and make it through that first segment - maybe it won't rub others the wrong way, but it damn near made me a quitter). The story sort of swirls and builds to a conclusion, one that isn't even near as artful as White Teeth, but is still maintains its own brand of conceptual, ambiguous genius. And for the love of everything holy, call me up so I have somebody to break this whole thing down with.
(left image copyright New York Magazine, right from Amazon)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Now that I've finally put a few stressful super exciting, very large projects to rest, I've got some fun things to share. First up is the Girls: Fact or Fiction show at Light Grey Art Lab. A few months ago, Emma alerted me to submit my idea for the show. I was faced with a terrible choice - which fictional heroine to choose? After many late nights and manic text message sessions (my favorite nixed lady was Carmela Soprano, courtesy of Scott) I finally settled on a tribute to that angsty, curly haired first lady of late nineties prime time WB soaps: Felicity Porter. See above for a portrait of the haircut heard round the television universe. For what it's worth, I'm pro short-hair Felicity (although her prolonged, mullet-laden grow-out stage is a cautionary tale for the ages), and Team Ben. Obviously.
If you happen to be in Minneapolis on December 7th, go see the show! It promises to be a festival of illustrated ladies. You can also order the accompanying book, if you're in to that sort of thing. I'll be back in LA, rewatching Felicity episodes and feeling nostalgic.

Monday, November 26, 2012

thank bank

This Thanksgiving was a good one, with an abundance of friends and food - not to mention so much wine that we've got liquid leftovers for months. Scott and I were in charge of booze and baking (our specialties) and we also brought the out-of-towner fun with the addition of our friend Bree, who is quickly becoming a turkey day mainstay on loan from Phildelphia. We spent the day eating and drinking between long-distance family videochats, and ended the festivities with the traditional viewing of Home Alone and an extra piece of pie (Kissell even busted out the air mattress for the ultimate in comfort). Needless to say, I am thankful for the 5% stretchy fabric content of my jeans...and all that other gushy stuff.

Monday, November 19, 2012

(pop) kulture klub

(images are my own crappy screengrabs, you're welcome)
Life lately has been a bit hectic, as expected this time of year. Something about the holidays really puts that anxious air of excitement into my blood, regardless of what's going on, but in addition, I'm working against (with?) a few big deadlines at work and getting little-kid antsy about the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities. Amidst all this work and play, I've got a weird backdrop of culture filtering into my brain from various sources.
Reality Bites has made it's way into a grotesque number of conversations lately, mostly thanks to the fact that Lisa Loeb's Stay (aka my top Karaoke pick, and therefore a regularly bar-chat topic) plays over the credits. I re-watched RB the other day for the first time since graduating college, and it was heartbreaking, pathetic, and so, so, real, all at the same time. It also contains a scene that's sure to inspire early-20s nostalgia for even the most stone-hearted - this will make you want to call your best friend and drive in a car with the windows down.
And, finally, almost a year after I jumped in to my noble quest to watch Dawson's Creek from start to finish (thank you, Netflix Instant), I've done it, for better or worse. Let's be real here. The first season was groundbreaking. The second through fourth seasons were best served to a half-asleep, wine-swigging audience (see: reasons it took me 11 months to watch this show). The fifth season, with the addition of Kim Kelly / Busy Phillips as Audrey, increased watchability tenfold. By the end of the sixth season, I found myself shedding actual tears over a teen prime time nineties soap, so. Disclaimer: this outpouring of emotion was greatly aided by the fact that the original Paula Cole song reappeared in the credits for the last two episodes. Thank god. At any rate, DC does a great job of conjuring up my own late high school memories, which was...sort of enjoyable. It's television candy corn: not particularly good, and certainly has zero nutritional value, but every once in a while it just really hits the spot. And, if you actually have seen this show, and had any doubt about my feelings: Pacey and Joey forever.

Monday, November 12, 2012

november adventures in baking

Crisp, cool weather arrived abruptly in Los Angeles over the weekend. It was a long-awaited but welcome cozy surprise, although it did make it pretty hard to crawl out from under the blanket cocoon on Saturday morning. Naturally, my first instinct was to bake, and not just anything - something that would fill our apartment with that smell of fall and anticipation of the coming Thanksgiving holiday (next week?!). After a Very Serious discussion with Scott of our baked good preference - him: muffins, me: cookies - I settled on these scones, with a recipe adapted from one I found on the King Arthur Flour website. They turned out pretty amazing, if I do say so myself. This was my first foray into the scone world, and after my breakfast this morning of a warmed scone and espresso, it certainly won't be my last.

you'll need...
2 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar (I used my unprocessed cane sugar, rather than regular white)
1 T baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter
2 large eggs
2/3 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling - just plain old pumpkin)
extra sugar and cinnamon, plus about 2 T of milk for coating
optional, based on allergies and preference for health v. deliciousness
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup finely chopped candied ginger (Trader Joe's has a really good option)
1 cup cinnamon chips

-Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the butter (I chopped it up a bit to make it easier, since I mix everything by hand) and incorporate until crumbly. Stir in optional nuts, ginger and cinnamon chips. Separately, whisk pumpkin and eggs together thoroughly. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until the mixture holds together.
-Flour a large baking sheet (you can also just line it with parchment, if you really have your shit together and have that sort of thing lying around the house) and scoop the dough onto the pan. Divide it in half, and shape into a circle. Pat down until the circle is about 3/4 to an inch thick. note: this will make a dozen reasonably sized scones - leave it as one or divide in thirds for larger or smaller if you like.
-Coat the outside of each circle with a little milk, and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon sugar. Slice each circle into 6 pieces, pizza-style, and pull each little wedge out until there is about a half inch of breathing room for each.
-Chill the pan with the uncooked scones in the freezer for about a half hour while you preheat the oven to 425 F, then bake the scones for about 25 minutes, or until the edges look baked through, not doughy (you can also do the old toothpick cake trick-if it comes out clean, you're good to go). The edges will be golden brown. Best warm, great room temp as well. Store in an airtight container - you can also freeze these if desired.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


(image courtesy of Justin Hunt)
Last weekend, in the spirit of the idea that the best laid plans are made over margaritas, Scott and I headed to our friend Justin's place (he of the amazing VHS hearth) to watch Space Jam. It doesn't get much better than flamin' mac and cheese with a side of Michael Jordan. The best part of the night was not, however, the rediscovery of MJ's off the charts acting skills. Midway through the evening, Justin brought out the aptly titled Book of Questions, an old-school composition notebook filled with questionnaires, a sort of extended interview diary that puts every journal I've had to shame. The conversation that stemmed from flipping through the pages felt like how I imagine a very private, wine-laden dinner party with Terry Gross would unfold. It's weird how a list of questions immediately makes a person feel....important. Secrets were spilled, emotions ran high, and q-tips featured prominently in the discussion.
So, naturally, I was delighted to find that J has scanned the entire notebook and put it on the internet. You can download it here - not a typed out version, but the real, honest-to-god handwritten pages, complete with spelling corrections, various versions of handwriting, and paper thin enough to see a ghost-preview of the following page. Check it out (and if you want to have haunting nightmares for weeks, don't forget to peruse the Morgue photos while you're at it).

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

spooky / scary

I thought for a while about what I'd post today - my blog feed, facebook, and reliable news sources are all flooded with reminders to vote, and for whom / what. We voted by mail weeks ago, and I feel solid in my choices. But there's so much I can't control. I have a lot of anxiety wrapped up in what's going on in Minnesota, though there's nothing I can do aside from encouraging my midwestern friends to vote no x 2. I have a similar amount of headspace panic with regards to the presidential race, but I did my part, and am trying to breath deeply and remind myself of that. Mostly, I just want everyone to take the extra few minutes and vote. It's important, even if you don't believe what I do.
So much for just posting a little diversion about my end-of-October shenanigans. Too bad, you get a double feature! Please see the photos above for documentation of Scott's Johnny Knoxville (sadly, no evidence exists of my failed attempt at Bam Margera, or my hastily assembled Sabrina the Teenage Witch), some spooky cocktails, an abandoned dum dum, and my "this stuff was just around the house" Gwen Stefani impression. Halloween was weird this year, but at least I got my candy corn fix.

Friday, November 2, 2012

friday throwback

My family has a lot of photos. My twin brother and I are well documented throughout the years, everything from the obligatory baby cuteness, sports team pictures and prom pics to recent snaps, taken when we come back to visit. They still fill our childhood home, in frames on the mantle, stored in folders on the computer, hard copies and old negatives filling organized boxes in my mom's closet. But you've got to dig a bit deeper to find pictures of my parents. Part of it was the time, obviously - no online archives of every event stashed in weird corners of the internet - but my mom in particular has very few photos of herself. Recently, she found this photo, taken around her 19th birthday, and I asked her to scan it and send it over, complete with her handwritten description from the back of the picture. I'm fascinated by my mother at this time in her life - clearly my mom, but so obviously a different person entirely, more than fifteen years before I was born.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

tomorrow never dies

A lovely surprise waited for us in the mailbox on Saturday afternoon - our very own copies of the one and only Tomorrow magazine, in all its oversized, fantastically printed glory. It really is a beautiful tome, a collection of articles I can't wait to read surrounded by intensely awesome design, illustration, and photography, each page just soaked with cool stuff. Though I got a pretty good glimpse of at last weekend's release party, it was so much better in the light of day (sans open-bar goggles). A full seven pages are dedicated to Scott's dreamy sun photographs - my favorite is the full bleed you see above, but you can see them all documented on his website. Those photos (a few of which hang at full size in our apartment) come from his series Walking on Water, one of my personal favorites.
I was also pleased with the layout Dylan and Greg came up with for the "Crowdsourced Poetics" piece, which I illustrated (see above). I'm looking forward to sitting down with a latte and a free afternoon this weekend (fingers crossed) to take a nice slow read through the full magazine. In the meantime, Tomorrow will hang out in its place of honor on our bookshelf - a reminder of the seriously sweet compilation of journalism and design that some of our best friends made happen.
UPDATE: The website is live, so you can online-experience the full mag. Check it out!

Monday, October 29, 2012

dude and chick + crow and canary

Our little company has an announcement to make - we're now officially represented by the amazing ladies at Crow and Canary in California, Oregon, Washington, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, and D.C!
John and I definitely took our sweet time to bring on sales representation - until now, we've done all that on our own. I'm glad, looking back on it, that we took to the time to build relationships with shops ourselves. We sell to about 200 stores throughout the US, Canada and abroad, and I can still tell you the name of every store's buyer off the top of my head. It's important to us that we keep the intimate feel of Dude and Chick throughout every aspect of the company - after all, we both quite literally have our hands on each card sold (if you need proof of that, just ask me about the progress I've made through my Netflix queue on my dreaded beloved Card Folding days). But we've finally hit the point where I'm scrambling to maintain the sales side of things, in addition to illustrating, design, and handing shipping, accounting, etc.
C&C is the first rep group that approached us patiently and kindly, with a genuine love for our products and a proposition to work together as an extension of Dude and Chick. We're in good company: just take a look at the other lines they represent!
So, here's to the lift of something new and exciting to carry us through the crazy holiday season and into 2013...hopefully with a little more time to get out the new designs and projects we've got cookin' at DNC HQ.

Friday, October 26, 2012

recent reads

all photos from Goodreads
My recent reading selections have been all over the map, thanks to my strategy of placing holds on a bunch of books all at once. I thought I was pretty clever until they all started rolling in within a few days of one another, six months after the fact...I've done a lot of reading lately. And I'm still under the gun. Luckily, my sources for recommendations have been spot on, so allow me to pass along the best of the best from the last couple of months.
Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn - One of those blow-your-mind can't-read-it-fast-enough treasures. GG tells the roundabout, twisty tale of the disappearance of Amy Dunne, who vanishes on her fifth wedding anniversary. The chapters alternate between Amy's diary entries, which sketch in the early days of her marriage, and her husband Nick's point of view, during the ongoing investigation (he's a prime suspect). I first heard about GG on Morning Edition (listen here) and I was sold. Block out a few days of your life to be sucked in, it's a tome.
Seating Arrangements, by Maggie Shipstead - This slice of life novel about a shotgun wedding is set on a small, exclusive island in New England. Winn van Meter, the family patriarch, serves as a guide through the hectic, drunken weekend that ensues - illicit sex, rooftop romps, and a combustible whale are just a few of the highlights. BigBang Studio described the writing as Cheeveresque, and I completely agree.
Broken Harbor, by Tana French - French has long been a favorite, ever since I read Into the Woods. BH didn't disappoint, although it was similarly disturbing. Mike Kennedy is your classic detective - hard with a soft spot, tough talking and cocky. Naturally, he has a tragic past tied closely to the location of his latest case: Broken Harbor, which was developed into faux-fancy homes since abandoned, thanks to the recession. In one of those homes, a family is slaughtered, the wife in critical condition in intensive care. If you can fall  into a groove with the Irish slang, French blends the story of the Spain family mystery and Kennedy's own tragedy so they become expertly entangled.
Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter - This story begins in the early 60s, on a remote Italian town, and crawls all the way through to present day Hollywood, including stopovers on the set of Cleopatra, the depths of Scotland, and the woods of Idaho. It's a grand one, to be sure. There's lots of sex, and love, and name dropping (Dick and Liz, anyone?) and I appreciated the weaving of the fictional Italian innkeeper, the long lost siren of the silver screen, the modern disinterested producer's assistant, etc. Despite that, in this particular group of books, Beautiful Ruins felt a bit flat (love that cover font, though).
Dare Me, by Megan Abbott - Is there anything more ripe for scandal than high school cheerleading? This book is angsty, dark, sexy, and baaaad. It's got levels - levels of glittery, sinister, backstabbing mean girls of all ages brandishing pom poms, flasks of Smirnoff, and major chips on their angular, food-deprived shoulders. It gets inside your head, recycling every anxiety and fear associated with those thick-as-thieves girl relationships that spat your self esteem and secrets all over the locker room walls. It's almost too much to take, but it's so, so good (think sriracha slathered on macaroni and cheese).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

home alone / braided bliss

(photos are my own, aside from the shot of me in the top left, taken by the lovely Erin Dollar)
Scott left on Wednesday evening for a trip out to Minnesota, and I have to say, I was anxious about it. It's weird to think that though I spend most of my time alone during the week at my home studio, over the years that we've lived together, I've never slept alone in our apartment. Of course, once I locked the deadbolt and checked the corners, I remembered that feeling of having a full evening to myself - that Home Alone moment, where I get the itch to drink a bottle of red wine with a mountainous ice cream sundae for dinner while watching trashy TV and blasting my most guilty pleasure lady-music. Ahem.
But unfortunately thankfully, I had plenty of business to keep me occupied. The Braids by Brislin fundraiser went swimmingly - I was on hand as the braider for walkins, while Ali took her scheduled appointments, which were booked solid. Afterwards, we celebrated with some much deserved eating and drinking, then it was off to the Tomorrow launch party, which was epic in a way only that particular crowd can manage. I took it all in and partied my little heart out, and it was great, but I sure am glad to have my guy back in town.  
p.s. Speaking of Home Alone, do yourself a favor and get lost in here for a little bit. Our pre-holiday viewing HA and HA2 is just around the corner...

Friday, October 19, 2012

braids by brislin

If you follow me on Instagram, you've no doubt noticed that I enjoy a good braid, whether on my own hair or others. Well, if you're in the LA area tomorrow, you can get in on the fun!
As the entire blogosphere has informed us (thank goodness for good publicity), Alison is having a braid bar fundraiser on Saturday, showcasing her plait talent to scare up some cash to pay for an unfortunate ovarian-cyst removal bill. She'll be braiding the entire cute-lady population of Los Angeles at Myrtle in Echo Park from 2pm to 7pm, and I'll be there to assist in the festivities (sporting a beaut of a braid by Miss Brislin herself). Show up, get pretty, be merry - it's for an awesome cause, and there will be rum chai!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

chilaquiles = breakfast nachos

Over the weekend, a rare thing happened - I winged it on a recipe, with success. Generally speaking, I count on my mother (she of the endless supply of delicious healthy recipes) for cooking advice. I've made leaps and bounds over the last year or so in the kitchen department, but I usually stick to a pretty lean arsenal of standbys. But on Saturday, I really wanted chilaquiles, and we happened to have some chips and a variety of salsas left over, so...
What follows is a simple, shortcut filled recipe that is delicious, completely from my brain based on exhaustive chilaquile tasting around LA, and not at all meant to be traditional. You may hate it, especially if you dislike cheese, chips, and guac (in which case, you're insane, and probably very lean). Enjoy!
To serve 2 hungry people or 3 petite eaters, you'll need - 
1 tsp oil
2 ounces tortilla strips, broken up into roughly bite sized pieces
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup salsa (I had chunky, pico de gallo type salsa lying around, but this would probably taste even better with a more traditional mexican salsa roja)
2 tablespoons queso salsa (optional - thanks to a late night snack session, we also had this laying around - it's certainly not vital to the recipe, but it did add a nice trashy kick)
grated cheese
1/2 avocado
1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped
red onion, finely chopped
lime juice
In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the tortilla chips and toss lightly (keep them moving or they'll burn). After about a minute, move the chips around the side of the skillet, leaving space in the middle for your eggs. Scramble up those eggs in the middle of the pan until firm, then toss the whole mess together, adding the salsa and queso to the pile. Over low heat, let that all cook together for about a minute (just enough to heat through) while you prep a little bowl of simple guacamole as follows: mash the avocado roughly with the garlic, salt and lime juice to taste. Add red onion (about a tablespoon, unless you really like onion and want all the guac to yourself - then just go nuts). Serve immediately, with guacamole and grated cheese as garnish.

Monday, October 8, 2012

pincurl tutorial

Gurls/Curls from Bryan Isaacs on Vimeo.

Well, here it is. At long last - the little pincurl tutorial Emma and I put together, complete with suave video extras by the talented and patient Bryan Isaacs. GET READY TO BE CURLY.

you'll need...
straight bobby pins (I like to have 2 full cards - you'll use a lot of pins)
setting lotion / styling cream (I've heard good things about this stuff, but I usually just use a dab of this)
hairspray (cheap is fine. I like this)
large silk or cotton scarf / bandana

1) Begin at least 12 hours before you want curls - preferably 24. Resign yourself to the fact that you will be wearing a headscarf around town / to work / in the comfort of your own home for the day. Trust me, you look awesome.

2) Wash your hair thoroughly, using only shampoo, no conditioner. If you have time, let it air dry about 75%, if not, just use a blowdryer. You don't need it bone-dry (it's easier to set slightly damp) but the set will be tight enough that it won't have the opportunity to dry much more.
3) Work a nickel size portion of your setting lotion through your hair. Part your lovely locks down the middle. I like to set in quadrants (especially if I'm working on my own head) and tie off the rest in a pony.

4) Begin your pinning anywhere on your head - I like to start on the top, in the middle next to the part, and work out from there. Grab about a 1/2 inch square section of hair. Make it slightly smaller, about a 1/4 inch square, for super-tight curls. Pull the hair away from your head. Starting at the very end, wrap it around your forefinger, but not too tightly, since you'll need to slide it off. (If you're having trouble picturing this, place the strand on hair on top on your finger, hold the very end with your thumb, and trace a circle with your pointer.) When your finger reaches your scalp, you'll have a big ring of twisted hair around it.

5) Gently pull the ring of hair off your finger, and pin it in place with a single bobby pin (thicker and/or longer hair will need two pins, crossed into an X). Try to keep the end of the hair tucked into the pin.
6) Continue until your full head is pinned. If you have bangs, particularly it they are short or thick, consider leaving them straight - very short hair set in curls get wild quick. Like, 80s prom hair wild.

7) At this point, you now have a decent idea of how you'd look with a matted buzz cut. Mist your entire head with a lot of hairspray. Don't be shy.
8) Next, you'll tie your headscarf. (If you're a video person, check out this adorable, detailed video for good instructions - you can skip to 1:12.)

Fold your scarf in half so it makes a triangle. Lean your head forward, resting the folded edge of the scarf against the nape of your neck with the point falling toward your face. Tie the ends of the scarf together over the point, right where your forehead meets your hairline (you're trying to keep all your pin curls under this scarf cover, so they're protected). Continue tying the ends, tucking the point of the scarf back into the knot, so you've got a little flat bun of scarf in the front, like the flower on Blossom's hat. Secure the scarf to your head with a few pins.
9) Carry on your merry way for 12-24 hours.
10) When you're ready for curls, untie the scarf and begin to remove the pins, one curl at a time - I usually go from the bottom up. Pay attention to how these look when unpinned - you may want to gentle separate some of the tangly, rope like twists. You can always go back when your full head is free and pull a few pieces apart for more volume. For a more fro-like look, separate every curl. This will make your hair nice and frizzy. If you're looking for softer curls, you can gently brush or pick your hair - you'll get some knots, but you'll end up with a very old-hollywood wave. At the end, I like to stick my fingers in right next to my scalp and wiggle to get a little lift at the root.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

boot brain

...because for some reason fall just makes me want to buy things. All of the things, but boots in particular. So, in order to take a break from casting lusty sideways glances at the real deal, I drew them. (Madewell on the left, ASOS on the right)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

autumn in los angeles

 We're still adjusting to the subtlety of seasons here, even after a full revolution. Summer comes late and stays later, well into the months that my brain has me craving a new pair of boots and a pumpkin spiced espresso. The nights are cooler now, anyway, despite the record breaking heat when the sun is out. But even after a weekend full of patio lounging and a sweaty exploration of Marina del Rey, I still get a buzz of that cozy autumn feel when the mercury dips below seventy.
Above, snippets of the weekend, clockwise from upper left...
-Scott in his Sunday best
-still life with Corona garnishes
-secret windows
-hair experiments
-house sign of my dreams

Thursday, September 27, 2012

the sun will come out TOMORROW

TOMORROW is finally on the way!
A recap: back in June, a few of my very close friends (and their very close friends) lost their jobs at a magazine called GOOD (the bitter jokes are just too easy) in a Friday afternoon post-lauch-party bloodbath. In the midst of considering their options as writers/editors/print designers in this anti-paper world, the eight of them banded together and formulated a plan to create the magazine they always wanted to make - a one issue (for now) opus titled, naturally, TOMORROW. The great eight (yeah, I just made that up, you're welcome) funded the whole thing with an amazingly responsive Kickstarter.
The issue went to print on Monday, and I'm proud to be a part of it - both Scott and I have work included. Buy a copy! It promises to be a collector's item full of awesome writing, design, photography, and illustration. If nothing else, it serves as a reminder that something amazing can come out of something that feels like the end of the world (betcher bottom dollar).

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I can see clearly now

Recently, I made the unfortunate discovery that I'm on my last pair of contacts. And, naturally, this was only clue that I was due for ye olde eye exam(e). So now, armed with an updated prescription and instructions from my doc to wear glasses more and lenses less, I headed over to Warby Parker, where I found my last pair of frames (for only $100). Yesterday I received my freebie try-on pairs, pictured above on my weirdly sleepy looking face. I'll ask which frames you like best, but really, I've already decided...
a) Pierce in oakwood brown
b) Clyde in striped chesnut
c) Marshall in striped sassafras
d) Bensen in olivewood

Friday, September 21, 2012

weekend with the boys

Trevor landed in our living room on Thursday, his first time in Los Angeles, and we had a fantastic time picking up where we all left off. You know those rare friendship where one person is close to both halves of a couple? That's what we've got with Burks, and I'm thankful for it. The weekend was packed full of worktime at home (what a treat to have another illustrator in the studio for once!) and playtime in the form of a trip to the beach with my three favorite Hawaiian-shirt clad dudes. We spent the day floating on the abnormally placid waves at Hermosa, enjoying hot weather and cold version of perfection. It was a nice respite from reality before one of my busiest weeks in recent memory.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

fresh stock

It's that time again! When I received my box of new stock from the Dude last week, I actually sort of...clapped my hands with glee. Seriously, like a small child with a new puppy. We didn't get together a holiday release last year, so even though it's later than it should be in stationery-land (where Christmas prep starts in May) I'm glad we made it, and I'm excited about our everyday release as well. I mean, who doesn't want a card with cuts of meat on it that was designed and illustrated by two long-time vegetarians?
Anyhow, more fun Dude and Chick related announcements coming soon...stay tuned.
Old Farts / 083
Choice Cuts / 084
Squid 'n Whale / 085
Peace on Earth / 090
Xmas Tree / 091
Makin' a List / 092

Friday, September 14, 2012

sketch gallery

 I try to draw a lot, just to exercise the muscles. But recently, due to some super-secret extra-fun projects at work, I've been on drawing overdrive. For me, that means full sketchbook pages of warm ups that range from unfinished doodles to carefully executed line drawings - whatever feels good. And usually, what feels good is drawing ladies. Ladies with lots of hair, and teeth. Above is a little gallery collection of the weirdest/coolest faces that didn't make the cut.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

flea market finds

In case you haven't heard, it's been downright toasty here in Los Angeles. And so, like the silly creatures we are, Scott and I gathered a small group for a trip to the once-a-month Rose Bowl Flea in Pasadena, thinking the crowds might stay away. Of course, it was swamped as ever. The only difference was the speed of browsing - patrons (us included) oozed like sweaty zombies through the sticky, humid heat, dizzy with the effort of walking and reaching out for $5 cups of lemonade like they flowed from a desert water fountain. At any rate, Megan found a tray, we all threw up our hands at the end of an unsuccessful search for the perfect bar cart, and Scott and I documented a bunch of weird stuff on our cameras (above). Enjoy.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

louie, louie you're gonna die

Things that happened yesterday during/after work:
- Heard about Louis CK's multiple secret-until-the-day-of shows at the Improv.
-Tried to buy tickets, failed.
-Heard about Louis CK's extra-secret, late night set at the Comedy Store.
-Tried to buy tickets, failed.
-Saw tweet re: extra tickets.
-Biked at breakneck, Premium Rush style pace across town to Comedy Store.
-Realized I had no cash, sprinted to ATM.
-Dripped sweat on the dude's clipboard as I obtained the last two tickets. Seriously.
-Accepted praise and undying love from boyfriend.
-Waited in line for an hour and a half. Eventually shown to our seats, about six feet from the stage, dead center.
-Laughed my ass off at brand new Louis material.
(end scene; add to file of best/weirdest nights. See also: photo shoot followed by karaoke in Hollywood with James Deen of adult-film fame.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

on listening

Recently, I got the once-a-year (if history gives an accurate indication) treat of having brunch with Celeste and Rob, who were down from San Francisco for the long weekend. Though I don't know them well, they are kind and easy to talk to - we lounged at Square One for a full two hours, chatting about everything from healthcare to the current design scene in California, on the north and south coast. However, one topic of conversation came up that seems to be appearing often amongst my working friends: what to listen to while creating.
Rob, like Scott, is a music guy. Meaning: he knows what to listen to, and when to listen to it. Scott can pick an album out of thin air and know that is precisely what he wants to hear, and when that's finished, he has another selection at the ready. Music, for him, is an active listening experience. It doesn't require all his concentration, but it's certainly an option to occupy the part of his brain unencumbered by photo editing.
On the other hand, Celeste and I spend our days in podcast-land. This is not to say I don't enjoy music, because I definitely do. It's just exhausting. When I'm writing, whether it be a blog post or emails, I need music or silence - I can't have a voice chatting away at me. But it's difficult to figure out what I want. An album ends, and I find myself in silence, or on continuous repeat just to avoid the task of thinking about it. I find most success in shuffle, or a radio option on Spotify, or most likely, stalking one of my friends who puts together awesome playlists (I'm looking at you, lady). This frustrates me, because it serves as a reminder that I've never been a person who defines myself by my musical loves. I wish I was that person. Sometimes it feels like I'm alone in my teenaged memories of authors that define periods of my life, rather than the Smashing Pumpkins or Nirvana.
On the contrary, podcasts are an easy pick for me and my habit of multitasking. While drawing, or working on pre-press, or managing shipping/inventory/etc, diverting a bit of my mind on another person's words helps me focus on the task at hand, because the rest of my mind doesn't wander quite so much. Plus, what better time to absorb some information about current events, overhear conversations between comedians, learn about something ridiculous, or listen to a book I've been meaning to read?
This has got to be a combination of my general affinity for conversation, and my childhood summers spent on factory-style creative projects with a soundtrack of the Cedar Mill Community Library's selection of audio books. At any rate, to end this ramble that's only proving my love of not-so-necessary conversation, here's a list of my current podcast rotation, in descending order according my rabid excitement when a new show is released.

This American Life
Savage Lovecast
Fresh Air
Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me
Filmweek on AirTalk
The Moth
Professor Blastoff
Throwing Shade
Stuff You Missed in History ClassStuff You Should Know
WTF with Marc Maron

Monday, September 3, 2012

rabbit, rabbit

 September already. At the risk of sounding much older than my 26 years....where does the time go? I glanced at my phone on Saturday, and the date stared back at me, completely unexpected. Maybe it's the super-subtle seasons of southern California, maybe it's the fact that John and I have been working like mad on some sizable Dude and Chick projects, but months seem to be sliding by at an alarming rate. I've got that well-worn back to school feeling this week, that Labor Day haze of dread mixed with excitement, despite the fact that it's been a few years since I was packing up my books for the first day of classes.
 It's been a lovely weekend, full of almost-empty mall trips - note to future self: everyone in LA leaves town for the holiday, and it is glorious - walks through the neighborhood, birthday karaoke, and wine-infused picnics with new friends. Today, as I gently ease myself back into the workweek (thank goodness for beginning-of-the-week-holidays), I'm convincing myself, somewhat successfully, that I'm ready for this new month. There's nothing better than the sense that something awesome is on the horizon.
above: one of the many epic murals tucked away in Los Feliz

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

desert dreams

I never expected to be a person who loves the desert. Growing up in the Northwest, I've always loved the ocean, the forest, all things lush and dewy - desert expanses felt dry and dead. But apparently, my brain is now prepared. The drive out to Cathedral city is fascinating, all painted hills fading into the sky, the temperature slowly creeping up to a blistering 110, ending with thousands of windmills that look like tiny toys and emerge as futuristic beasts spinning in the hot breeze. The color of everything seems bleached out like a sun damaged photo, which makes it all the better when the sun sets and the landscape goes lavender and pink.
Of course, my new found affinity may have a bit to do with the fact that our desert trips have always included a beautiful Airbnb rental with central air and a pool, with little on the agenda aside from lounging, eating, and reapplying SPF...
above, snippets from our weekend away (left to right, top to bottom)
1) view from the pool
2) Scott in his vacation best
3) glass in the fire pit
4) pool shot of yours truly
5) sunset in pastel
6) mona, our ever-present canine companion
7) remnants from the great guac-off of 2012
8) return of the flamin' mac, plated for 8
9) entryway peepin'

Friday, August 24, 2012

recent reads

I've been reading quite a bit lately, what with all the traveling, but Blood, Bones & Butter deserves its own posting (despite the lack of my beloved oxford comma). The lovely cover design caught my eye on Megan's shelf a couple of weeks ago, and she immediately forced it upon me, promising I would not be disappointed. Obviously, she was right.
BB&B tells the winding tale of Gabrielle Hamilton's path to becoming a chef, restaurant owner, wife, and mother. Her life has all the classically awesome elements of a best-selling memoir - insane parents, a wild childhood, lapsed lesbianism, an affinity for shoplifting, and of course, multiple brushes with the law. Her story is disjointed, with ample time spent on her early years, and a mad rush through her twenties. Throughout the book, years are compacted and single events stretched out into whines like an abused accordion. But somehow, it works. Hamilton is somehow easy to relate to, despite often making decisions (even in her adult life) that I could never imagine. She sweeps you in to loving what she loves, craving her food and lifestyle, and does it with a refreshingly realistic view regarding the obnoxious foodie trend that she's inadvertently become a part of. But the most honest, difficult part of BB&B (for this reader, anyway) was recognizing Hamilton's discomfort with the identity foisted upon her: female chef. She writes about her difficulty relating to women who want to celebrate their lady-ness in the kitchen, to preach girl power and the triumph of women, and struggles with how to boil down her philosophy so that the question of  how to be wife/mother/business owner/chef is no longer answered with a cheery cliche, but is examined and really felt and earned through, well, blood, bones, and butter. And she never figures it out. Hamilton lays out her memoir with answers, but not The Answers, and I love that. Read it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

work / play

My week in the twin cities was an absolute blur of work, beautiful weather, and play. John and I don't get to spend much face time together these days, and a week of being in the same studio always reminds me why he's one of my best guys, even through the long days and occasional frustration of running a business together. Thanks to Chance, my ever-fantastic host, I had a bicycle to get around, and I took full advantage, pedaling my way from St. Paul to Minneapolis every day on the weekend, drifting through my old routes on the greenway in the mild sun. It's always a bit odd to be in Minnesota, because it really hasn't been that long since we moved. A week out there feels like just the right amount of time to step into the best parts of our life in the midwest - beer on porches, bike rides around the lakes, and late night escapades with good friends.
a few photographic highlights
1. Maguire and my other business half (aka The Dude), in a rare appearance in front of the lens
2. awesome type on the way into Ben and Bill's place
3. Emma and Kelly on a Saturday that goes down in the books as one of my best
4. sky and sailboats on a Sunday bike ride with Ben
5. signed the guestbook pre-performance at VFW karaoke
6. attention, LA: please up your Bloody Mary game to the new standard
7. Mama Grover during breakfast at the Uptowner
8. lily pads and roses spotted at Lake of the Isles with Kelly

Thursday, August 16, 2012


photo by the amazing Ben Innes
I'm about to head out the door to LAX - it's time, yet again, to head over to MSP for a meeting of the Dude and Chick minds. Since Scott and I moved last June, I've been midwest-bound every few months so John and I can hang out in the same studio for a week or so. It means a lot to me that we've been able to make a long-distance relationship work, and though it took a bit of adjustment, DNC life has hummed along pretty smoothly. The biggest change has been how I feel about travel. In the past, when I've been headed to the airport, it's meant vacation. I'd save up books, treat myself to a trashy mag on the plane, and enjoy the journey. Now, I'm hitting the sunny skies so regularly that flying feel like a chore, and I return home from a week of work in need of some serious R&R. Don't get me wrong - I love my setup - but it's made me rethink the idea of travel vs. vacations. The staycation isn't exactly a new idea in these recession ridden times, but I've finally come around to it. When I get back to California, Scott and I are headed out to the desert with a few friends for the weekend, and even though we'll only be a couple of hours outside the city,  I can't wait for that feeling of vacation.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

tunes for the heat

It finally feels like summer around these parts - heavy, dry heat has settled over Los Angeles, and doesn't let up throughout the night. We've been pulling out all the old Minneapolis tricks, sleeping with our trusty box fan aimed directly at us, waking up each morning already sweaty. I've felt lucky for the last few months, because I'm well aware that even this mini heat wave is nothing compared to what the rest of the US has been hit with, but what can I say? Los Angeles has spoiled us.
Thankfully, our friend Feng (aka sloslylove) just came out with another album, and it's been our soundtrack for the rising mercury. Sloslylove's particular brand of genius has become a staple since we moved out to California -  something about the smooth, mellow beats feels very west-coast.
Check it out above, or buy an awesome cassette tape for only $6 on his website. Then bust out a popsicle and absorb the magic - these tracks are hot in every sense.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

volume for safekeeping

Though I received my treasured iPad for Christmas (Scott's definitely a savvy gift-giver), it has lived mostly in the safety of our apartment, since I've been dragging my feet, trying to find the perfect case. It's harder than you think to find something simple and well constructed that fits both our taste.
Anyhow, after nearly eight months of lazily promising to order something with no follow through, we finally pounced on a sale priced volume for iPad, by our buddy Scott Nedrelow, an artist based in good old Minneapolis. And, of course, we love it. The case is bound by Campbell-Logan, a twin cities bindery well known to artists in the area, and the craftsmanship is beautiful and sturdy. The material is buckram - the same stuff used to bind periodicals at libraries - and it's durable and lightly water resistant. The iPad fits snugly into the interior plastic shell, and sits fully camouflaged on our bookshelf. It's the new millenium's equivalent of one of those old school safes made out of a book block (or, you know, cutting out the pages of a book to store your gun, I guess).
(bottom photo courtesy of scott nedrelow)

Monday, August 6, 2012

new site

We had a quiet but productive weekend, with a lengthy photoshoot for Dude and Chick on Saturday and a website update for my personal work on Sunday afternoon. John and I are working hard to make a new DNC site happen, and it was satisfying to just have small web-related task that could be finished up in a few hours (although Scott did the heavy lifting for me, writing the code). Take a look! I haven't updated in a few years, so I'm happy to have some of my just-for-fun side projects out in the world.

Friday, August 3, 2012

jurassic techology and general mindbending

 Last weekend, Ben and I found time for a little excursion to the Museum of Jurassic Technology. He was pretty excited about visiting, thanks to a recommendation from his sister, and I was game, though skeptical of the Culver City locale - driving, as previously mentioned, is not my favorite thing.
After an awkward half-conversation with the twenty-something manning the front desk, we wandered around the small, dimly lit maze of exhibits. Creepy music filtered through hallways and we squinted to read the tiny placards, Ben with a quiet smile. My initial confusion gave way to fascination after Ben whispered that the museum was created as a sort of homage to the art of museums - a sort of postmodern look at why we study what we do, lending a sense of truth to fabrication, and a feeling of fraud to what's real. That went a long way towards explaining the entire room dedicated to the "Garden of Eden on Wheels," a study of Los Angeles trailer parks, and the gallery holding only oil portraits of canine cosmonauts. Multiple displays were marked as down for repair - one was just a gaping hole in the wall, wires visible, explained only as "out for refurbishment." However, it also meant that I second-guessed almost every reality (that man just waltzed out an emergency exit! is this really a bathroom? that musty smell must be manufactured).
Our overwhelming favorite was "Tell the Bees," which presented a number of home remedies, old wives' tales, and superstitions, illustrated graphically in dramatically lit glass boxes. We finally happened upon the stairs that led up to the tea room, where we were served hot tea in glasses, and wandered out to the dreamy rooftop, enclosed with netting that kept in the exotic birds but still allowed the cool breeze to filter through.
Eventually, I was able to relax into a headspace where I could appreciate that I didn't need to know what was fact vs fiction. And I suppose that's the point - a thesis that must strict fear into the hearts of many a footnote lover, and certainly a few of my less creative-minded elementary school teachers. Here is a traditionally presented fountain of knowledge, from whence it came we will never know.
the entryway sign
view in the tea room
a birdcage in the rooftop menagerie
mice on toast and mouse pie in "Tell the Bees"
oddities in the hallways
the best / most accurate guest book comment
the scientific music player Ben purchased at the gift shop

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

if it makes you happy

As previously mentioned, Ben and Kelly came to town last weekend, and the visit did not disappoint. These two have been sorely missed since the move, as they were our next door neighbors in the last Minneapolis apartment we lived in. Scott and I spent many cold winter nights in the BK basement home, listening to records, solving crossword puzzles, attempting to beat Wii Mario (and Jeopardy (?)) and consuming mass quantities of Grain Belt Premium. I make it a point to see a lot of them when I'm back in Minnesota for work, but this is the first time we've had them on our turf. We took them on a three day tour of Our Favorite Things, including breakfast at Square One, a day at the beach, karaoke (of course), and a Sunday evening picnic in Griffith Park, followed by a buzzy walk home and a beautiful smog-fueled sunset. There's something about Ben's gentlemanly sincerity and quirky sense of humor combined with Kelly's no-nonsense version of ladylike punk that gels with us perfectly, and it felt good to pick up where we left off for a few days.

Monday, July 30, 2012

strange magic

I've always been a fan of Tavi and Rookie Mag - I remember when I discovered Style Rookie (and by "discovered" I mean "Emma alerted me to an internet phenom", as is standard) and spent a good chunk of my time paging through archives of this wunderkind's musings. Anyhow, my girl Kelly is an illustrator and designer for Rookie, and since her and Ben were in LA for a little visit over the weekend, we accompanied her to Prom Night - the closing party for the Strange Magic exhibition at Space 1520.
I went into this event not knowing what to expect, but in retrospect I'm not sure how I could have prepared myself. It was like a My Little Pony factory was invaded by Courtney Love. The work was a real-life version of Tavi's bedroom collections, a mashup of nineties grunge and sparkle, shades of pink and adolescent angst applied with a heavy hand. Likewise, the crowd was, as expected, mostly teen ladies, dolled up in their Tavi-inspired prom wear (read: semi-ironic tiaras and flower crowns paired with platform booties or Docs). They wore dresses like cotton candy, and floated around on their almost-too-high heels like deconstructed fairy princesses, snacking on pixie sticks and crunching over the rose petals, cigarette butts and mini-vodka bottles discarded by the bad girls. When the band started, they became a sea of bodies awkwardly bouncing, tossing aside uncomfortable footwear and lighting ricocheting off surrounding bodies moving to the music, one arm raised, iPhone in hand, to capture a shot of Bleached in action.
It was simultaneously nostalgic and uncomfortable. I remember being that age, dressing up and then spending the night slouched in my carefully selected outfit, but I was a world away from these girls. These girls were the cool kids, pretty girls flirting with punk, secure in a post-Freaks and Geeks landscape where they have become celebrated in the battle against the preppy Normals. And yet, within this crowd where so many on the outskirts came together to form a mass of homogenized originality, there were still the onlookers, coveting the hair, the outfits, or maybe just the confidence of those in the spotlight. We stayed in the middle of the throng, slightly out of place as the clear minority, age wise, and took in all the strange magic.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

wayback playback

I've always had a thing for revisiting the past. As anyone who knows me well can tell you, I love to return to my favorite books, movies, and albums. They remind me so clearly of specific times in my life, and those personal connections have a way of smoothing over the imperfections of, say, the subtleties of the tragically hip lifestyle in Garden State (which I saw my first month of college, and have watched (and cried through) at every major transition point of my life since), or the childish humor of Barbara Park's Almost Starring Skinnybones (which will never be eclipsed on my best-of-literature list).
This affection for nostalgia definitely comes from my mom - she who saves everything. I realized early on that little treasures stashed in the back of my closet would stay there, awaiting rediscovery on a boring summer afternoon. I'd be lying if I said this last visit to my parent's house was the first time I'd read through the stack of on-again, off-again diaries I kept from age seven to about fifteen. In fact, the cause for picking up a new diary was often reading through the old one. I remember feeling very strongly that I needed to create a new (more eloquent) version of myself for The Future to remember. I was never very disciplined with diary-keeping, but does it really matter? When I did write daily entries, they were just a play-by-play of the day's events. But the random times that my past self decided it was necessary to record some monumental event (mostly having to do with boys, or my ever-shifting Best Friend) the entries are long, excitedly scrawled explanations of episodes that were clearly weighing heavily on my adolescent mind.
And so, last week, I found myself sitting cross-legged on the floor inside my old closet, speed-reading through a tour of my younger self, just as I have so many times before, thinking how funny these entries were, how young I was. I realized that ten years from now, I may very well be clicking through this online diary of sorts, remembering specific events based on the details I decided to highlight here. Cue this film, consider mind blown.

1) age five, kindergarten portrait (pre-diary)
2) age nine / ten? (I probably wrote the pictured entry around when this was taken)
3) senior portrait, age seventeen

Monday, July 23, 2012


Happy Monday, internet! I'm diving in headfirst with a heavy dose of website exploration/development (we're gonna do it!), finishing up our newest card release (and by me, I mean John) and a load of beginning-of-the-week shipments. This is pretty much what's running through my head right now:

(found by Scott, via It's Nice That)

Friday, July 20, 2012

city of roses

After a week of homemade meals and relaxation, I'm back from my trip up to PDX to visit my lovely parents, pictured above. It was lovely, quiet, and perfect - even the weather held up nicely, despite my previous knack for bringing the rain. I spent a bit of time digging through my old room, and found some treasures to be shared soon, so look forward to a glimpse at past-Katie (yikes).
LA has welcomed me back into its smoggy arms with a couple of 90+ degree days, but I'm prepared. Bring it on, heat, I've got undies in the freezer and a website to build.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

neighborhood walks

Though my fair city of LA is known best for automobiles, I spend most of my time without a car. I get around town on my trusty bicycle, but I also run daily, and regularly take walks around Los Feliz to absorb the scenery and sunshine (ah, the wonders of working from home). I especially appreciate the weather after my seven year stint in Minneapolis. Los Angeles has so much exotic plantlife snuggled up to the concrete in little nooks within just a few miles of our apartment - I finally took the time to capture a bit of it on film (and by "film" I mean "my iPhone").

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

portland here / portland there

A few months ago, our dear friend Dave left us for the greener, smog-free pastures of Portland. Thankfully, since his work has an office in Los Angeles, he still comes to work/play every once in a while, so last weekend we pretended he never left. We hiked Runyon Canyon, where I learned the true meaning of "off leash area" (read: dog poop) and headed out to the coast for a day of sunning our pale bodies. We also made it out to the Smog Cutter for karaoke, as per usual, and thanks to Dave's photog skills I finally have evidence of Scott's epic Steven Tyler impression. We also managed to get our filthy car washed at one of the many coin op self wash stations in Echo Park. I felt like I was in Grease - watching my guy hose down our car while I tapped around in my heels and drank a diet Coke.
Tomorrow, I head out for a mini vacation to see my family in Portland, where I look forward to lots of home cooked deliciousness, hikes and cycling with my parents, and some old fashioned PDX good times.