Sunday, February 21, 2016

3 Makeup Tutorials to Try in 2016

One item that did not make it to my New Year's Resolutions list but is still very much a goal of mine, is to get back into enjoying makeup! I can probably count the number of times I wore a full face of makeup last year on one hand, which is such a shame because I have so much makeup & I love to apply it. I don't know why I didn't delve into makeup more last year... I probably got lazy, and to be honest I wasn't really feeling myself ~appearance-wise~ so I guess I didn't want to. I figured I would put together a short list of tutorials I would like to try out in 2016.

I usually think grey/black when I think "smokey eye" but a nice, warm brown-red smokey eye sounds amazing. I love the way the glowy cheeks & subtle lip balance out the eye makeup. This is a must-try for me.

This dark lip paired with cool, silvery eyes is such a nice combination. I definitely have to attempt to pull this off before spring rolls around!

I love the idea of blue/green eyeshadow and this seems like such a polished & classy way to do it! This is tagged as a NYE look but I think it can easily work year-round. The bright blue would be nice in summer as well.

I'm excited to try these out :)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Changing my Etsy Logo & Discovering my Illustration Style

Hey everyone! I mentioned a while back that I was going to talk more about my foray into small businesshood (haha). At the end of January I decided my Etsy shop needed a little makeover. I thought my designs were getting kind of stale and could use a revamp. Also, I was adamant that, in the new year, I would try my best to tackle Illustrator and develop an illustration style that could be carried out with all my designs.

The first order of business was to revamp my shop logo. My previous logo (similar to the logo I use on this blog) was near and dear to my heart because I painted the watercolor overlay myself. Like, painted painted with a brush and watercolor paints. I feel like traditional forms of art like painting and hand scripting are falling by the wayside, so I was always proud of incorporating that element into my logo. That said, it was time for a change. I opted for a similar watercolor-inspired style, and chose one color - a beautiful, bright coral. What I like about having one color in a logo is that it's super malleable. I now change the color of my logo based on the sticker sheet so that everything matches. It's a simple adjustment but it makes everything look cohesive.

Then I decided to close my shop for a couple days to create 10+ brand new sticker sheets. This was kind of nerve-wrecking at first, because I wasn't sure I could afford to close the shop at all, let alone for more than one day. I put out an announcement on Instagram saying I intended to close my shop & that all items in the "SALE" section would be discontinued. What happened then shocked me... I received TONS of orders scooping up the last of the sale items, and made about $200 in a day - a record for me. It was really effective, to say the least.

So I closed the shop and got to work. The first thing I wanted to do was design a full page of colorful breakfast stickers. I knew I wanted to work on this first because breakfast foods are overall really "illustrateable" meaning that they're colorful and easy to make into little clipart elements. My strategy was to get the outline for each item down in Illustrator, and then import the design into Photoshop where I would add the color and lay out the sticker sheet. This breakfast theme is one of my absolute favorites - I love the bright colors and how well everything works with my new logo.

Once I got the ball rolling with the breakfast stickers, I designed more than 10 new sheets. I worked super long days trying to get everything set up for the shop reopening, and overall I accomplished what I set out to achieve: a fresh, new shop look with hand-illustrated stickers in a unique style.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

3 Weeks Vegan... WHY?

I'm writing this blog post in part to figure out how I can better explain why I decided to go vegan to my friends and family. Especially since, once you full-on say "yeah, I'm vegan" it somehow seems irreversible. But there's no way around it... You can't have a slice of cake at your friend's birthday. You don't order your usual cheese pizza. There are questions.

Avocado Alfredo spaghetti.. So good!
I decided to go vegan based on timing, circumstance, and belief. For one, I'm firmly against anthropocentrism. I don't believe that humans, as a species, are meant to be at the center of the universe. I believe that we share this Earth and environment with animals. I think as soon as humans start to get too egocentric, we start to neglect our surroundings and let nature & the world around us falter. So on a purely moral basis, how can I logically choose to support the animal agriculture industry, an industry that is dangerously excessive, hostile, and abusive towards animals? I love my dog to bits, so how can I deny that same compassion to animals being unnecessarily slaughtered for food? But this idea is not new to me. I've always thought veganism was the right thing to do. It's the timing that made me choose to take the leap.

I can't realistically say transitioning into veganism is for everyone in any circumstance. I'm fortunate to be in a situation where I'm no longer in school & work from home, meaning I can spend time meal planning and cooking really hearty and wholesome animal-free recipes. I feel like this can't be overlooked. There are nutrients that your body is accustomed to getting from animal products (B12, iron, protein, etc) so you need to ensure that your meals can fulfill these needs. Without the proper planning and care, it would be easy to fall ill by not eating enough and not eating the right things.

I'm not vegan for health reasons. Yes, the health benefits are a perk, but ultimately I feel like I can't treat this as a diet like I might've in the past. Focusing on the "activism" side to veganism is what will ultimately make it last.

So far I think I made the right choice. I'm constantly tuning into documentaries and research supporting veganism, and every video I watch/article I read leaves eating meat & dairy far in the past. The only thing that has been a bit of a struggle is eating out (something I looove to do). I went to my favorite Italian restaurant the other day and was only able to have a salad. I thought I would be able to have a pizza without cheese but unfortunately they add yogurt to their pizza dough to keep it moist (bummer). Also, the waiters and chef weren't really keen to accommodate my needs even though I was extra polite and clear. That said, giving up my favorite restaurant is a compromise that I'm willing to make.

The major upside is that I've been very into cooking new meals and getting creative in the kitchen. I've been eating some really good stuff: lentil stew, polenta, homemade veggie burgers, stir frys, Asian noodle dishes, incredible stuffed "ricotta" pasta shells - you name it. This brownie recipe is the best I've ever used, vegan or not.

Perfecting my stir fry skills!

Now I know this kind of looks like pet food but trust me when I say this is the best dish I've cooked so far. Lentils, carrots, bell pepper and kale in the most delicious peanut sauce. SO GOOD
All in all, it's going to take some more getting used to, and my family & friends are going to have to adapt as well. But if they care about me & my life choices, they will come to support me.