Jan 27, 2014

Hello 2014: Reflection and Goals

Hello everyone! Since the last time I posted, I have gone through a lot of life changes. In a nutshell, the two last years have been crazy! I had so many job changes, moved to a new apartment, travelled, and a lot of other things that I'm excited to share. Before I eventually get to all of those, there is one thing that I wanted to talk about: What is the most important thing in your life?

credit: Carrie Loves

Over the past two years, without a doubt, the most important thing in my life was my job. I'm a hard worker. In fact, at my last job, I was a rockstar! I always take pride in any job that I do, especially if I do it well. The problem was that I was so focused on work, it was the only thing that I did. Graphics and Art is a very competitive and sometimes dispensable field. So its common for artists to do what it takes to keep your job. There were many times when I found myself without a job and aggressively looking. So when I finally land a gig, its all I would focus on because I never knew how long it would last.

There is no right or wrong answer here. At the time, my job was the most important thing to me since its what I worked so hard for. Eventually, being buried under all the work, I became lost. I put everything aside. My family, my boyfriend, my friends, my hobbies, my health… it got really bad. Hence the absence from my blog and a lot of other things that made me so happy.

I felt like a crappy person saying things like, "Sorry Mom I can't help, I have to stay extra late at work today". In the end I wonder, was staying at work late really that important? I didn't even get paid for the extra time I stayed there. I probably should've been there for my Mom instead. :(

Now that life has settled down a bit, I want to make up for lost time and get back into things that made me happy.

I missed…
taking pictures.
having a little Etsy shop.
sharing cute stuff.

So here is a list of stuff I hope to accomplish this year. Are you ready?

Goals in 2014

Read 25 Books: If you want to see what I'm currently reading, check me out on Goodreads.

Get fit: I want to complete an at-home fitness program like POP Pilates for Beginners.

Go vegetarian for a week: The key to my heart is a cheeseburger, but I am up for a challenge! To be honest, this one scares me!

Make French Macarons: A disaster waiting to happen! But wouldn't it be nice to have French Macarons whenever I wanted?!

Make a better effort in contacting and hanging out with friends / Possibly make new friends: No more corporate Sarah! Friends are important too!

Have more of an internet presence: I am pretty active on Twitter and Flickr, but I would like to make more blog posts. Hello blog!

Fill up a sketchbook: I've never been able to do this within a year! Challenge accepted!

Be a badass bass guitarist: Yes and yes!

I think that's a pretty respectable list! I know we're well into January already, but its never too late to start something. I'd really like to know if you have a goals list too :) Let's be awesome together!

Thanks for sticking around my blog! I'm looking forward to sharing more adventures!



Feb 28, 2012

Its a perfect day for SCIENCE! DIY Body Butter

I'm still having trouble with Winter skin so I decided to make my own body butter! It was time for... SCIENCE!

It took me a while to get to this point because I had to finish a bunch of other products first. It would have been wasteful to chuck them and start over. I've been using high-end moisturizers and drugstore products and it didn't seem to matter how much money I spent, none of them gave me the results I wanted. Every Winter I still had dry, yucky, scaly, and sometimes crackly-bleeding skin. No thanks.

The most improvement I've seen was when I started using pure shea butter that I found on Amazon. I liked the results but I wasn't entirely happy. It left me feeling super greasy and smelling like an ash tray.

So... back to the drawing board and looking for alternatives.

I came across a video on how to combine other natural ingredients to make lotion. It looked super easy and there were only three ingredients. I figured it was worth a try! Pictured on Top: Coconut oil, Left: Raw cocoa butter, Bottom: Pure shea butter

I like all of those things! I also like knowing what's in my lotion and that I can pronounce the ingredients. After all, the skin is the largest organ on the human body and the first line of defense against bacteria and germs. It would make sense to keep it free from harmful chemicals.

The ingredients are expensive at first, but ounce for ounce you'll be getting your money's worth and also getting a high quality, natural product. In total I spent about $25 for all of these ingredients. The containers weigh about a pound each. Its not unusual to pay $25 for a single ounce of product at certain high-end department stores.

Things you need:
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup raw cocoa butter
2 heaping Tablespoons of shea butter
A pot
A glass or ceramic jar with a lid (I cleaned out an old jam jar. Hooray for recycling!)

Combine all the oils and butters in a jar. Doesn't this look like a neat science experiment? I'm playing with the states of matter! 

Tip: For the cocoa butter, its better to chop up the pieces into smaller bits. I left them in large chunks and they took forever to melt!

Next, heat up some water. It doesn't have to be boiling, just hot. Then place the jar inside the pot like so. You can stir occasionally. This should take about 20 minutes or less.

When its melted it will look like this. And it smells just like chocolate! And who doesn't like chocolate?

This is another angle of my jar still in the liquid state. After it gets to room temperature, you can stick it into the refrigerator for about an hour until it turns solid. It makes about a cup of body butter. Scoop a bit and smooth around your hands or wherever!

I've been using it for about a month and I love it so much! I call it my "Science lotion". I don't think I can ever go back to buying commercial products now that I know how to make my own. The blend of coconut oil, cocoa butter, and shea butter is amazing. It smells awesome and melts into my skin and doesn't leave me feeling greasy.

If you're going to make your own, make sure you test a little on your skin first. I know that it would've worked for me because I've used all of these products before, just not together as the same lotion. Its really gentle, I'm pretty sure it can work for everyone.

Here's the video I mentioned on how I learned how to make body butter:

This is Natasha of Radiance Central (her website is really cool too and worth checking out! Its about living a positive life). She uses a dehydrator to make the lotion, but I didn't have one. I found it easy enough to make it on the stove with stuff I had. There are lots of other recipes on how to make your own body butter if you search for it, but I found that this was the easiest for me.

Do any of you have DIY beauty remedies? I'd like to know. After this experiment, I found that its really easy plus its cheaper too. I probably have ingredients to make a year's supply of body butter!

Feb 3, 2012

My Monster Trophy

Hi All!

I have been on an amazing roller coaster ride since the start of the year. My post about 2011 in review was kind of a downer because I was living in an unhappy place in my life. I made a difficult decision to leave my job. I had a bunch of things in the works but nothing definite lined up. I took two weeks to recover from a very exhausting year when I got an exciting phone call! I had gotten a job offer from an interview that I attended a few monthsago! It all happened so quickly. The next thing I knew, they put me on a plane to California for a week of training. Then I was sent back home to work in their NYC office! I finished my first few weeks and I really like it so far!

I have worked so hard and it has taken me years to finally find a job that I could be satisfied with. I bought myself a Monster High doll as a trophy to celebrate! I really wanted one because I think they are amazing toys, and also because its a nod to the industry that I'm in: The Fashion World!

I don't know any other toys that are as fashionable as Monster High! Voila! This is Frankie Stein. Isn't she amazing? I haven't really seen the TV show, but I love the toys. I've never seen anything like them. Frankie looks like an alien with her green skin. I love it!

This is what she looked like in the box. I was pretty impressed with the packaging. They had a lot of fancy things going on. There were a lot of shiny parts printed on it called "Spot UV". The slant on the front of box hides the stand and other things, like fasteners, that should be hidden. I'm mentioning this fancy-packaging-talk because that's what I do for my job. I manage packaging for fashion and apparel. Its not a creative position, but I still like it. I've worked as a packaging artist before, but its different being on the management side. I'm learning a lot of new things about packaging that I didn't know before.

I'm also meeting a lot of cool people and learning about business and the fashion world. Its new to me and a little intimidating at times. I feel a lot like the girl from the show "Ugly Betty". Just like the character, I'm weird and awkward. I stick out like a sore thumb with my shabby clothes when I'm around the fashion people. But hey, I am who I am and I still get the job done. Appearances be damned! Ok, I take that back...

I'm embracing the fashion community with open ears and open eyes because it can only help with a huge fashion project that I've been working on over the past couple of months. I'm in a different time in my life. I want to figure out my personal style and wardrobe that is relevant to who I am now. I know that appearances are important. I'd like to put more value in my appearance because when you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good its a huge confidence booster! This amazing new job can help me with a lot of my goals on so many levels. I'm really excited about it and whatever comes my way this year!

Jan 5, 2012

Maybe I secretly like cats

Its not a secret that me and cats don't get along. For years I have been at war with The Cats ever since They have infiltrated my backyard, leaving paths of destruction and poo in my garden, and also fornicating in the bushes. I also recently discovered that I'm mildly allergic to cats now! When I'm around one for too long, my mouth and tongue get puffy. That said, its been hard to warm up to any cats I've encountered.

I recently met what some have named a Miracle Kitten. She's a miracle in many ways! I am pleased to introduce you to Wiley Kit Kat, or Kit Kat for short.

Kit Kat was rescued about a month ago. She was probably wandering around for weeks and eventually got trapped in the garage where she was found, emaciated. We suspect that she was a runaway pet and not a stray simply because this tiny cutie just has such good manners. Believe me, I've met many strays and they don't have any manners at all!

Sean and Nat tried their best to find her original owners by posting Lost Notices at the vet's office, online, also in and around neighboring towns. In the meantime, they've been taking her to the vet and nursing her back to health. I'm happy to report that Kit Kat was cleared of any serious conditions with the vet and all she has to do is gain her weight back.  Eat, eat, eat! I'm sure she's ok with that job!

After the valiant efforts from my friends, they still weren't able to find her owners. And with all the care and attention they've given her, they got attached. Kit Kat now lives with my friend, Sean. She hasn't been there for very long and has already taken over the house!

We call her a miracle for surviving her terrible ordeal since Winter is starting to hit us hard. She also is somehow not triggering anyone's allergies (including mine!). And lastly, I've never heard of a cat that doesn't shed. Sean has a dark brown couch and there wasn't a trace of cat hair on it! Who knows if this is just a kitten thing, but heck, none of us are complaining!

She's a proper cat and sits like a lady. She liked me the first time she met me. Sean and Nat say that she's a social cat, but doesn't trust just anyone she meets. The best part about this cat is, you can make a fort out of pillows and right away she'll sit inside her "kingdom". I like that she poses for photos. Look how she neatly folds in her paws and tail! Awww!

So maybe... just maybe I'm warming up to them.

Dec 31, 2011

2011 in Photos

The year 2011 went by quickly! I look back at it as another transition year as I figure things out. I had so many projects that I wanted to do, but they were put on the back-burner because at the start of the year I was offered a full-time job! I spent most of the year working and saving money. Even though I was busy, I did have a few highlights that I'm excited to share with you:

I submitted my book to the Sketchbook Project 2011

I went on an annual Ski/Snowboarding Trip with really good friends!

I wasn't able to wear my Halloween costume for Halloween, so I wore it on the slopes instead! 
It was a big hit!

After reading Kitchen Princess, I was inspired and baked a lot of stuff!

Aug 25, 2011

Fan Art Free Week #4

Today FAFW is celebrating two milestones that happened this week! I've been waking up a little early to lift weights in addition to my exercise routine. This is a big deal because I hate exercising, but lifting weights is necessary for a strong body and healthy bones! The second milestone is that my hair grew a little bit and now I can put it into a tiny ponytail! Pictured on the right is an accurate depiction of me. ha!

The image on the left is the outfit that I wore yesterday. A solid black button-down dress with a skinny belt, striped thigh-high socks, plaid hat, and sneakers. I wish I wore different shoes, but I don't have better options since I walk a lot. I'm not a person who suffers for fashion anymore.

Tomorrow is the last day of FAFW for me!

Aug 24, 2011

Fan Art Free Week #3

Good morning! Its time for another FAFW! I'm halfway through this project and its been really fun so far! Its not too late to join! Originality is always welcome, in fact, its encouraged!

I'm not sure what this is about. I think I just needed to find a reason to draw a giraffe. I'll be back tomorrow!