Friday, May 28, 2010

~ Feature Friday: Studio827KC ~

Oh wow! Thank you for everyone's wonderful comments from last week's Feature Friday for Allie's Minis! There were 22 comments and over 100 page views! I was super excited that so many people liked Allie's Minis. It was hard for me to pick from such a big pool of cute shops. After much internal debate, I have decided to show you these cute little letterpress cards and pocket journals from Studio827KC by Laura.

There's something about letterpress items that's so simple and elegant. I love this sweet "For You" flat note card. It'll be perfect for including it with a simple gift and make it feel like a bigger gift.

This foldover love notecard so cute too! Look at the little bird and the bird cage on the back. It's like saying "Love freed me". I also like how the bird cage looks like it's swinging to the side, like the bird just flew out of it and pushed it back with it's strong legs and energy from love. Ok, maybe I am reading too much into this....

Laura also makes these cute little pocket journals. I love the brown and turquoise sakuras on the cover. It's very modern. Carrying this around will inspire me to jot down all my creative thoughts for sure.

I peeked at her sold items and saw this. It's so pretty and yellow!!!! She didn't relist it though. I wonder if all her journals are one of a kind.

I checked out Laura's blog and it looks like she's a great photographer too! Look at the colors of this picture! The sky is so beautiful in the water!

I also love the perspective in this picture. I wonder if she will start selling these in her Etsy shop either as prints or as cards.

Studio827KC is a pretty new shop and I see a lot of potential! She's having a Memorial Day Sale. Free Shipping through Monday May 31, just enter the code MDS10 in your note when making your purchase. I hope you like her shop as much as I do. Don't forget to click on the pictures to get to the listings or her shop. And of course, don't forget to comment here to show her your love! Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

~ Sweet and Tangy Chicken from Take Me Out ~

Today, my friend took me to get "wings" at a little place in Pilsen of Chicago called Take Me Out. He said it's the exact same recipe as the famous hot wings of the Great Seas on Lawrence. From what I read on Yelp, it sounds like Take Me Out is owned by the daughter of the Great Seas owners. So, the recipe should be the same.

These yummy wings are called Hotties. There are different kinds and I got the Buffalo Hotties with purple rice. I love purple rice because it tastes just as good as regular rice and it's good for you! The wings were yummy! It's sweet, sticky and spicy. The wings are plump and juicy, not like some wings place that overfry the wings. I ordered it to be "spicy" but it wasn't too bad. It was a decent burn.

This is the healthy hotties. It's basically the sweet and spicy sauce stir fried with chunks of chicken breasts and broccoli. It was really good!!! It's all about the sauce and the sauce was so good with the rice! I ate all the rice and left a few pieces of wings for my brother.

The decor of the place is simple and modern. It looks like a small fast food joint and that's what it is. It's like a modern take of a Chinese chop suey take out joint.

If your tongue is burning from the hotties, head over to Tienda Mini-Mart across the little street for some Italian ice or ice cream.

I don't care for Italian ice, but my friend loves it. He got the strawberry lemonade flavor. There's a little sign there that says to try it with chili powder. Really?? The nice owner said that a lot of people ask for it. Let me know if you try it. What's the big deal?

So, this is the first of a few food posts from my Chicago trip. Are you excited? I gained 2 lbs over 1 weekend here. Too much food!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

~ Momo's New Friend Chloe ~

A couple weeks ago, Momo's new friend came to visit. Her name is Chloe and she's about 1/3 of Momo's size. She's like a mini version of Momo's ex-girlfriend Bailey.

She is actually pretty calm for a puppy, calm enough for me to take a few nice pictures.

Then, it was time to play outside. Doesn't she have great posture?

Momo is a wuss though. Chloe just kept chasing him and he kept running away.

Poor Momo! I thought he could stand his ground. Maybe he's just being nice.

I had to save Momo a few times during the visit. But after a while, Chloe got tired too. She looks relaxed doesn't she? Don't be fooled though. She was about to pounce on Momo! It's always fun to have visitors for Momo. Can't wait to take him to Chicago to see his cousins again this year!

While I had my camera out, I thought I would try some artistic photography. This looks like something I would have to draw for a still life class. I like it, but the wall is supposed to be a much brighter blue. I don't know what happened. Again, I want a Nikon! :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

~ Instant Ice Cream with Liquid Nitrogen at iCream Cafe ~

One thing I love about my friends is that they take me out to eat whenever I am in Chicago. They know some great places to eat. Maybe that's why I gained 2 lbs since I arrived a few days ago. It was really hot yesterday and they brought me to this special ice cream place called iCream Cafe in Wicker Park.

What's so special? Well, they make the ice cream/frozen yogurt on the spot. Like from liquid to yummy ice cold creamy goodness after you order. They use these machines and liquid nitrogen to quickly freeze the ice cream right there for you! They can make ice cream, yogurt and pudding, all with low fat options. You get to pick the flavor and toppings. You can even pick the color except for the chocolate flavor. It's very fun!

I got raspberry and hazenut with oreo crumbs. And yes, I asked them to make it yellow. Unfortunately, there was no raspberry taste at all. It wasn't bad. It was just bland. And it melted really quickly too.

My friend got a mixture that was recommended on the wall. They have some good suggestions on the wall that you can pick from if designing your own ice cream is too much for you. Please excuse the horrible picture. I was having a hard time not shaking the camera for some reason.

Overall, the ice cream was ok. It's very cool to watch them make it. The line was not very long, but it took a good amount of time for them to make everyone's ice cream. I do like how it's very close to the park so it was easy to just walk over there and hang out. Perfect activity for a nice summer day. Here's a random picture taken a couple doors down from iCream. It's kind of candid. I like it :) My friend is a good photographer and he gave me some good tips. I am officialy addicted to photography. I want a Nikon. :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

~ A Study of Crystal Product Photography ~

I haven't had a lot of time to make new jewelry lately, with the wedding planning and everything else that life threw at me lately. But, I have still been selling a little bit. Mostly, it's the most popular items in my shop, the Swarovski crystal star necklaces and stud earrings.

I don't know if it's because I have been staring at these pictures for so long, but I am starting to dislike them. So, I started trying out some new stuff. I got a cute jewelry display from Hong Kong and I was hoping it would give it a more Goddess feel since I name the necklaces after Greek goddesses. But, it makes the necklace look so small. I like macro shots more.

So, I spent a lot of time trying out all kinds of different props and backgrounds. This is about half of the pictures I took. I see a lot of beautiful crystal jewelry displayed on pebbles, rocks and rustic picture frames so I wanted something different.

I put them into groups and I will about them as groups. First, my default background is pure white. I have seen many awesome crystals shops with pure white backgrounds. Though, one thing I noticed is that they usually have very bright pieces. This necklace in particular is very light. It makes the pictures look washed out. 1d is the simplest but my favorite. But, it practically looks the same as the one I am using for the listing now.

So, I tried some black props with white backgrounds. I think it looks better. There's more contrasts in the pictures and I think that makes them more interesting. 2a and 2f are a pen gift box. 2b and 2d are wire jewelry displays I got in Hong Kong. 2c is a tie and 2e is a cell phone holder.

Next is a gray background. I have seen some great gray backgrounds on Etsy. I think it's also better than pure white. I am not sure I like the compositions of these though.

I tried all sorts of background paper. 3a, 3d, and 3e were taken with a photo book. 3b was the Final Fantasy XIII limited edition game guide. 3c and 3f are just papers. I thought 3f would go with my Happy Cloud theme, but I don't think it's working.

So, on to props. I tried something big and something small. I am not sure I like any of these.

I think these are too busy too.

I think one problem I have is that I haven't been able to label my style. Is it romantic? Rustic charm? Modern? Fun? Bold? I think if I can narrow down the style, it'll be easier to work out what props I need and how I want my pictures to be. But out of all those pictures, here are my 3 favorites: This is simple and modern.

Simple gray with a touch of romance?

I like the contrast in this picture. The crystal looks as sparkly as real life!

I think I am going to try for a more neutral gray background from now on. I love the white for my supplies because they have more solid colors. But, my jewelry needs more personality in the pictures and more contrast to bring out the colors of the crystals. I also need some props so that the necklace is not just lying flat on the ground. Should I succumb to the masses and just do rocks or wooden frames? Or should I try for something more unique for branding purposes. What do you think? Which picture is your favorite?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

~ All Natura Lemon and Sugar Face Scrub ~

Kandee is a talented, wonderful make-up artist who always have beautiful words of encouragement and wisdom for her readers. I love all her make-up tutorials videos, but I never really tried her tricks because I just don't even put on make-up that much. But, she recently put up a video about a simple lemon and sugar face scrub that even a beauty simpleton like me can follow.

One reason that I believe Kandee about this simple regimen is that her skin looks awesome! She used the scrub in the video. Her face was naked and look how beautiful it is! She is absolutely radiant! Here's a still picture of her from her blog post.

So, I tried it. I am not going to show a picture of my naked face because it's just not as pretty. Maybe, if I do it a few more times. But, here's my lemon and sugar. I forgot that she said to dilute it if you have sensitive skin. I didn't dilute the lemon juice and it stung just a little bit. Next time, I am going to dilute it. But my face did feel very good after using the scrub. It just felt very fresh. I am definitely going to try it again! Let me know how you like it if you try it.

Kandee also has other wonderful videos and tutorials like how to get rid of undereye circles and how to shape your eye brows. She makes everything looks so easy and explains it so well. Be sure to subscribed to her blog to learn more!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

~ Feature Friday: Allie's Minis ~

This week has been pretty crazy and haven't been able to blog! I had a deadline for work, had to prepare for a trip and found a new addiction. I'll post about the new addiction later. Let's get back into the groove with this week's Friday Feature! This week, I found another cute little miniature shop, Allie's Minis! Allie is a second grade teacher and a miniature food artist from Chicago. You all know how much I love Chicago :)

Everything you see in Allie's Minis is handmade by Allie using polymer clay. She has dollhouse minis like cakes and other kinds of food. Look how cute these cakes are!!! I love them!

Everything is so detailed. Look at the slices of bananas, strawberries and kiwis on this fruit tart. I think the bananas look very real!

She has other food items too like this yummy Turkey Dinner. I love how she gives you size reference with coins and do it so inconspicuously. Most of the time, I think coins make pictures look tacky, but she does it so well! You hardly notice the coin there.

Of course she has my favorite sushi too! Just imagine rolling the polymer clay into little balls for the masago! This takes a lot of patience.

She also makes charms and earrings. I know you want these cute slices of carrot cake on your ears!

She has 9 items in her sales section right now. These are a great deal! Get them before they are gone!

Allie has a wonderful blog too! Don't forget to follow her if you want to keep up with her miniature food making adventures. I hope you like her shop as much as I do. Don't forget to click on the pictures to get to the listings or her shop. And of course, don't forget to comment here to show her your love!

~ Do you want to be featured? Leave a comment here and I will take a look at your shop. I will pick one to be featured every Friday! ~

Saturday, May 15, 2010

~ Clean up Oil Spills with Fur and Hair ~

I was reading blogs and came across an article about the oil spill from blueberryshoes. She said, "400 wildlife species are threatened by the spill. Whales, tuna, and shrimp; dozens of species of birds; land animals such as the gray fox and white-tailed deer; and amphibians such as the alligator and the snapping turtle. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune)". That's a lot! You may think there's nothing you can do since you are no where close to the spill and you don't have extra money lying around. But, there's an easy and cheap way to help! All you need is hair or fur! As you can see, I have plenty of both.

Well, with an impending wedding, I am not going to cut my hair any time soon. But it is summer so Momo needs a haircut anyway. Look at all that fur that came off Momo. I think that's enough to make one mat.

This is a little shorter than I like him to be, and yes, I know it's not very even. I am not a professional groomer after all.

So, what to do with the fur? Send it to Matter of Trust! All you have to do is sign up (link here) and mail in all the extra fur and hair you have. They prefer it to be clean though. Don't just sweep your floor and send them the strands of hair along with dust and dirt. They also prefer donations from groups instead of individuals to minimize processing overheads. See how happy Momo is? That's 'cause he will be saving other animals from the oil spills!

I am planning on mailing out the fur next week. If any of you want to trim your furbaby for this cause, I can do it for you. Keep in mind that it won't be a professional groom. But, it will grow out in a week or so, good or bad. If you are a groomer or a stylist, please join this great cause!!!
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