anddd i'm back! (with updates, part 1!)

hey guys! sorry to have been MIA for an entire month. the past few weeks have been really crazy with the end of yet another semester at school, my birthday (!), and SO much traveling between philly, baltimore, dc, nyc, and upstate ny. on top of all of that, when i moved into my new apartment in the city at the beginning of june, i didn't have internet for a whole week.

needless to say, i'm a bit behind on what everyone has been doing. i can't wait to catch up on what you've all been up to lately, and i'm really excited to share what i've been up to!

here's part 1: my-super-sweaty-super-hot-one-day-trip-to-dc-in-a-car-that-insists-on-pumping-out-heat-24/7-on-a-104-degree-day.

despite the scorching hot weather that day, an emergency trip to radio shack for a lost memory card replacement, and a $100 parking ticket (AGHHH), dave and i had a lot of fun on our day trip.

our first stop was the national zoo!

while at the zoo, of course we had to check out the pandas!
one of the pandas, mei xiang, was closed off so she could have a stress-free pregnancy
no matter, though! we stopped to chat with this lil cutie on our way out from the panda exhibit
we also saw one red panda, who insisted on being too cool to look at the camera
we also saw zebras...
a very tired ape...
an orangutan cozied up in her snuggie while chatting with her buddy on the right...
a very ferocious lion who roared for about 10 minutes straight...
a tiger snoozing in the shade...
a camera-shy groundhog (who knew the national zoo had groundhogs?)...
an alligator (crocodile?)...
and a VERY chill iguana.
then it was off to the national museum of national history!

dinosaurs and ice-age behemoths are awesome, but we all know the real "gem" of the nmnh ;]
the hope diamond!!! this was about as close as i could get to trying it on
we also checked out the washington monument...
the world war II memorial...
various washington dc ducks...

and the lincoln memorial.
all in all, a very fun day. my favorite part of our day trip, hands down, was when dave surprised me with this little fella when we were walking out of the gift shop at the zoo.
his name is ralphie, he loves singing classic show tunes and disney songs, and he's keeping me company while i work in nyc and dave does research in baltimore.

update part 2 (which isn't nearly as image-heavy) is coming soon!


interview with devon sioui!

spring's happiness is downright infectious.

kind of like the happiness i feel when i look at devon sioui's bright, vivid paintings. her use of color is amazing.

and thanks to devon, who granted me a short interview to share with you all!

1. When and how did you start painting?

I actually can't recall a time when I didn't feel inclined to paint. For most of my life, however, I felt very frustrated with it because while I knew I loved painting and creating art, I felt I could never fully portray what I wanted, I just knew I had an urge to do it. I've always had a really strong sense of colour and while I always loved drawing and did a lot of it growing up, it never satisfied me I think because I was striving for something tangible, realistic. That was never something I was good at, but I wanted to be - I just didn't have the patience. I am such a casual painter. I need my stuff set up and have minimal clean up otherwise I'll lose my motivation to do it. This may have been a reason that I gave up the paintbrush and picked up a knife and began experimenting with different textures and colours leading to my feeling I'd finally found my niche.

2. Where do you find inspiration for your paintings?

I am inspired by lots of things every day. For me, less inspiring are the things I can see and touch but more thoughts and feelings and reactions. I am inspired by improvised music. There is something so beautiful to me about the spontaneity, the originality of it, knowing it can never be created again.  A recorded moment.  I like to think of my work sometimes as "Improvised Paintings". I don't like to think too much about them and the only thing I am striving for is a flow.  I'd be lying if I said that when I approach a blank canvas, that I have any sort of visual idea in mind. I feel most inspired when I find myself fully immersed in what's in front of me. If I am listening to music, I will be greatly influenced in what my ears are hearing, but if there is silence, I am still listening to the painting come to life; hearing its dialogue. 
 Jackson Pollack said it best, "I have no fear of making changes, destroying the image, etc., because the painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through. It is only when I lose contact with the painting that the result is a mess." (1956)

3. What is your favorite painting of yours to date?

This may sound silly, but I find it so difficult to choose as I am so ridiculously attached to each one. Each one is a story, a piece of me.  Parting with them is like saying goodbye to a lover. 
 "Big Painting" (2009) will always have a special place in my heart as I felt it was the first time I really allowed myself to just let go. It was also the first time I'd ever used a painting knife (though I did use a paintbrush too) and I felt I discovered a huge part of what it is I liked to do whilst creating that. 
 "Things I Should Have Said (To My Father)" (2010) is another notable, as I remember it felt so easy. I was painting it on my porch in the sunshine last Spring and everything about creating it felt so joyous. Also, it was a gift for my dad and he always cries when I give him artwork. So there's that. 
"Colour of Guill" (2011) is a very recent one and I like it because it was kind of a fluke. I was ridding my pallet of excess paint on an already-painted canvas and the fluorescent pink just burst out - it seemed so intentional. I barely touched it after that. 

4. What is your favorite painting by another artist? 

I could never pick one. If I even tried to list a few I wouldn't be able to stop. And then I would read this later and kick myself.  Lets just say: Paintings That You Can Hear.

5. Do you have any last advice or words of wisdom for aspiring artists? 

Stop thinking. 

if you love devon's work (and who wouldn't?), you can find her on flickrtumblrtwitter, and/or her blog.

readers, which of her paintings do you find yourself most drawn to?


the new moleskine travel collection

the new travel collection.

Moleskine Bags in Hyper Stop Motion from Moleskine ® on Vimeo

what do you think of this video? is it brilliant or is it brilliant?

pencil vs. camera

pencil vs. camera is a series by ben heine. he drew every single sketch, took every single photo, and edited every single piece.

brilliant. absolutely brilliant!

which one of these is your favorite?


interview with rachel brown!

remember when i blogged about rachel brown a few weeks ago? i compared her to a "caramel cupcake with a cardamom vanilla buttercream frosting, topped with bits of candied ginger and a light dusting of cinnamon...sweet with a little kick."

well she was so kind as to answer a few questions for me to share with you all!

how did you get started with writing and performing your own music?

I used to write all sorts of wacky songs when I was younger, but started taking it seriously at 18, when I graduated high school and took a gap year to travel before starting college. I bought a guitar and started teaching myself how to play while writing songs. I was very secretive about it until the end of sophomore year of college when I performed for the first time publicly. After that, I started playing open mics regularly to work out nerves and then began booking my own shows.

who are your biggest influences?

I find I'm influenced by different songs and artists here and there - sometimes I'll hear a clever lyric that will inspire me to push my writing further, or a melody or groove that really hits me. Musicians and lyricists I admire include Bob Marley, Jack Johnson, Smokey Robinson...

what song do your friends and fans like to hear the most? 

I find that different people connect with different songs depending on their personal experiences. People have come up to me after shows and told me that certain songs describe exactly what they have been through or are going through right now. It floors me every time someone tells me they relate to my songs in that way. For a songwriter, it's an incredible thing to hear.

how would you say your music has changed from the time you started playing to now?

The more I write, the more I learn - about how to express myself, about the way I structure songs, about the music I want to share. In the beginning, I was just writing what came to mind, what felt good. I still do that, but now I try to take more risks and push myself a bit more.

what do you like to do when you're not playing music?

I've always been interested in making things - whether it's music, painting, writing, etcetera. I majored in filmmaking in college, so that's certainly another passion of mine. 

if rachel sounds like the kind of girl you would want to grab a box of macarons and explore the city with (and doesn't she just?), then find her on twitter, facebook, youtube, itunes, or her website.

she's also playing a show tomorrow night in brooklyn at the cameo gallery for dope. if you're in the neighborhood, go check her out!

Cameo Gallery @ the Lovin’ Cup
April 26th, 2011 @ 9pm
93 North 6th Street
Brooklyn, NY (Williamsburg)

thanks for the interview rachel :]


the wedding of a century

yesterday marked the 55th anniversary of grace kelly and prince rainier III's wedding, often called the "wedding of the century." what better time to show some rare and previously unpublished photos of the couple!

and don't think i forgot about the next "wedding of the century" ;]

in the latest news about kate and william's upcoming nuptials, sophie cranston of libĂ©lula has been rumored to be kate's wedding dress designer. the dress design is still tightly under wraps, and that's a good thing. i want to be surprised when i finally see pictures of kate at the altar!

le sigh. spring and love is in the air!


a touch of whimsy -- homes with slides!

homes with secret doors.

nothing could get better than that, right?

well, maybe not. how about homes...with slides??

the older half of the house i grew up in had an extensive laundry chute system that connected to several bedroom drop locations and even one in the hallway. i would fantasize about popping open the 1 ft. x 1 ft. chute doors and shimmying in myself, sliding down in complete darkness (picking up the occasional lost sock) and surprising my mother in the laundry room.

but, of course, before i ever got up the nerve, i grew too large to fit into the chute.

but now, seeing these inspirational homes with slides, i can still fulfill my childhood dream of having a slide in my house!

via dornob

via gizmodo

readers, what about you? what's one childhood architecture fantasy that you're dying to live out in your home?


what i'm listening to right now

going to spend a lovely weekend with my boyfriend who has come up to visit me :]. even on rainy days like today, hearing this song in the morning always puts me in a good mood. reminds me to take a step back, slow down, and enjoy myself every once in a while.

also, the music video is really really cool! stop motion is always a win in my book. especially if it also incorporates superheroes.

if you're curious on how they executed the music video and where their inspiration for it came from, check out motionographer's interview with shynola's chris harding (shynola is the group that created the video for coldplay)

they were sitting, they were sitting in the strawberry swing
every moment was so precious

they were sitting, they were talking in the strawberry swing
everybody was for fighting
wouldn't wanna waste a thing

cold, cold water, bring me round
now my feet won't touch the ground
cold, cold water, what'd ya say?

it's such, it's such a perfect day
it's such a perfect day

i remember we were walking up to strawberry swing
i can't wait 'til the morning
wouldn't wanna change a thing
people moving all the time
inside a perfectly straight line
don't you wanna just curve away?
when it's such, when it's such a perfect day
it's such a perfect day

now the sky could be blue, i don't mind
without you it's a waste of time

now the sky could be blue, i don't mind
without you it's a waste of time

now the sky could be blue, could be grey
without you I'm just miles away

now the sky could be blue, i don't mind
without you it's a waste of time


secret rooms to hide and relive your childhood in

growing up, i loved to hide in the closet under the basement stairs. the room itself was only about 2 feet tall and 5 feet wide, getting shorter and shorter as the staircase above got closer and closer to the ground. even as a child, i had to duck to walk in. the door had no handle and you could only open it by pulling your fingernails along one of the grooves in the wood panelling that camouflaged the door.

i brought some of my favorite dolls and toys to play with into that secret room, and i loved eating snacks where my mother wouldn't catch me spoiling my dinner. it was my #1 hiding spot for playing hide-and-seek with newbies in my house ;]

i especially love this secret room hidden behind an armoire. makes me think i'm about to discover narnia :]

via tumblr

readers, did you have a favorite secret spot that was all your own growing up?

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