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