Entries in the way life is (54)

Wednesday
Sep122012

Around the World in a Lifetime: RI, Dragon*Con, and my beautiful NYC!

OH HELLO MY FRIENDS. I feel like I haven't had a chance to sit down, especially since the weather is gorgeous again (read: not the blazing daystar that IS BRIGHT AND BURNS ME) and I've been beelining straight for the Prospect Park loop when I'm done with work for the day.  I've been to a few trips lately and seen some lovely things in my own fair city and I'm excited to share ALL THE THINGS with you! <3

I’ve never actually been to Rhode Island before. To be frank, I could really think of a reason one goes to Rhode Island, however, this year my lovely friend Caitiy invited me for a weekend at her beach house in Narragansett (which is the name of the town that I must google every time because that is a lot of consonants and stuff, right?!)

So, I know you’re thinking--Katie, you don’t like ANYTHING about the beach. The sun, the sand, being outside....nature in general...these are all things that I am infamous for staying the hell away from as much as possible. HOWEVER. I do have a slight vitamin D deficiency, so I needed some sun in the very smallest of doses, I like going places I have never been before, and I only get to see Caity (who is from Boston) once or twice a year.  So. ONWARD I TRAILBLAZED.

We went to a farmyard /touristy giftshop wonderland-like place called The Umbrella Factory. LOOK AT ALL THIS NATURE, GUYS.

AND WILDLIFE. HOLY MOLY.

Okay, I don’t know if you guys have ever been face to face with an emu before, but I was shown a picture of one and was very excited to meet one because they sort of look like Lorax trees but alive, and who wouldn’t love that? Instead I found out that they are six feet tall and terrifying and makes a noise that sounds like someone knocking on the gates of hell, and he makes that noise WITHOUT OPENING HIS MOUTH/BEAK CONTRAPTION OH GOD WHAT IS THIS.  It’s like a dinosaur, but not the friendly ones that I think up in my imagination, like one of those scary ones that take off your arm in Jurassic Park.  

Anyway, while I recover, here are some photos of the beach area (not ON the beach just....around it):

But mostly, I just did this:

Which is the biggest reason I wanted to go to the beach anyway--catch up on some reading and RELAX FOR LIKE A MINUTE.  I have more photos of my Narragansett trip up on my flickr, but MOVING ON, WE HAVE A LOT TO TALK ABOUT BECAUSE IT’S TIME FOR THE ANNUAL

DRAGON*CON CON RE-CAP.

As you all well know, in previous years, I get a little too excited when I see my old Atlanta pals and we end up staying out all night, rolling into the con at around 9 o’clock at night, and just drinking ourselves into oblivion but OH HO HO that is in the past because I actually made it to the con and waited in line for panels!

Or maybe it was just one panel. I found out that The Guild was going to have their entire cast present at the con for one panel on Friday, and LO AND BEHOLD, I WENT TO MY FIRST PANEL AT DRAGON*CON.

The cast was incredibly patient and nice and funny, because you know at Q&As people can...BE A LITTLE EXTRA, as my friends and I say cordially.

Anyway, the rest of the time was spent running around the artist alley, drinking (OLD HABITS DIE HARD) and taking four billion pictures, so, here are some of my favorites--as always, you can see the rest up at my flickr.

(NEW PERSONAL HERO = THIS WONDER WOMAN)

(THE DISNEY PRINCESS MEN WERE BACK TROLOLOL)

(SOURCE OF MY CHILDHOOD NIGHTMARES, NO LIES)

(NUMBER ONE BEST THING EVER OF MY LIFE OH GOD YES)

Back in my lovely city, as you know, we have just passed the 11th anniversary of probably one of the most horrific days of my generation, and I won’t say anything more about it here because I really, really get upset about it and the feelings that the day conjures up whilst living in it are, with lack of better words to describe it, intense and overwhelming.  I love this city so, so much, and every day I find something new and interesting to do or see or eat.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has an exhibit on the rooftop by a sculptor Tomas Saraceno called Cloud City, and I was lucky enough to see it / walk around it / experience it on a beautiful day in Manhattan!

The structure is huge, and I wish I would have known that you had to make a timed reservation to get all up in tharrrr because I would have done so in a heartbeat! Still, it was a thrill just to BEHOLD THIS BEAST in person and to see the amazing view! I have a few more photos of it in my flickr as well.

(Eek! There's me!)

(The view from the rooftop!)

I have a TON of posts queued up to share with you guys, and I can’t wait to start blogging regularly again! Until next time!


Thursday
Jan122012

Ups and Downs, and Joony Joon

Hello, and happy 2012 everyone! 2011 was a crazy year--I moved to NYC, started a new job (twice!), and basically threw my life into a rollercoaster of emotions in between it all. It's been a hell of a ride so far, and I've got my hands flailing in the air waiting for more adventure around the corner!

So as to not dwell on the negative, here are some things I was really proud of that I did in 2011!

 

- I moved to NYC with the best roommate ever--my dog, Joon!

My vow of over five years finally was finally true--I moved back to NYC, and it was an amazing homecoming!! It's been the best to be surrounded by all my old friends.  It's almost unreal to me that I'm back again, even now! Our apartment home in Brooklyn is getting cozier every minute!

 

- My kitchen skills leveled up!

Finally, I can make something now besides grilled cheese and fried eggs! And all without a standard size oven.  :3   Over the year, I've also amassed a healthy collection of spices, baking goods, and kitchen appliances (thanks for the food processor, mom!!!) that have really helped me have more confidence in the kitchen.  Pinterest has also been a really great way for me to find recipies (friend me on Pinterest, if you have one!! :D)  I even cooked an entire Thanksgiving meal for the first time, and it was delicious!

 

- My shelves are full of books I've read this year!

If I had to be honest, I would say that before this year, I hadn't read a novel in almost three or four years! D: All my downtime was usually spent drawing or playing videogames. However! Now with all the time that I spend on the train for my commute, I've read through almost fifty books in 2011! It's a hobby that I haven't attended to in awhile, and it's been really nice to start reading again. My brother was kind enough to gift me a Nook tablet (!!!) for Christmas this year, and now I have even more access to all the books I'd ever want to read (this is not a ad for Nook, ah heh heh heh!).  I have a goodreads account, if anyone wants to see what I've read and am reading at any point in time! Friend me there if you're a goodreads member!

 

- Oh, BabyGap!

In August I began working for BabyGap as a graphics artist, and it's been the best, most challenging, and most rewarding work I've ever had. I feel so incredibly fortunate to be getting paid to draw adorable things! I love learning about the ins and outs and ups (and downs!) of the apparel industry, and I have met some wonderful people along the way.  Every day isn't easy peasy, but I know that I learn something new almost every day, and it's been and interesting journey into the "corporate" working world, as an artist. The above photo is the view from my building at lunchtime! :3

 

- I started running, and preparing for a 10K!

This was the big one, and it's changed my life in pretty much every way possible. Like I mentioned in a previous blog, this wasn't really to lose weight or be skinny or anything like that, but it was a way for me to deal with depression and learning how to focus my energy into something really positive, as cheesy as that sounds. I feel better and stronger and more confident with every mile I run!  So many people probably thought I couldn't do it--and to be truthful, I was a little hesitant as first--but I'm happy to prove them wrong! Everyday I wake up feeling a little stronger and happier.

Which is good because, as of now, a little over two weeks into the new year, 2012 has been quite a doozy.

There were some...ahem...interesting comments made about my recent appearance change over the holidays ("You actually have a face shape now!!" and "You look SO much better than you did before!" were the winners, i think).  I was ready for these remarks, but wasn't so thrilled to hear them, either.

Also, my boss at work had a good friend who passed away over the break very suddenly, and he was my age, and it's at these moments I realize how much things just don't make sense. 

The kicker is that the health of my little love Joon is starting to be compromised. She had some bloodwork done last week that shows very high signs of coritzol in her blood. Combined with her recent behavior of drinking water like a desert storm is approaching and peeing all over my apartment like it's suddenly the outdoors, my vet and I are fairly convinced that she has Cushings Disease, which is common, especially in older dogs.  We've arranged to get her tested for it, and if she does have it, she will be on medication to control the insane amounts of cortizol her adrenal glands are producing.  She may also have to have a biopsy to see if the adrenal glands are going haywire because of a pituitary tumor.

Also, her heart murmur has gotten more severe, and there is a lot of stress on her heart for some reason, of which she will also have to have an echocardiogram to see what exactly is causing her heart to beat so irregularly. It's possible for some reason that her heart is working much harder than it should, which could lead easily to heart faliure.

I know this is a lot of "ifs" and "coulds" and "maybes" but I've been fortunate enough that Joon has been relatively healthy in the five years we've been family, and so all this has really thrown me into upset mode. I have a three day weekend, and I've spent the entire time next to her, taking her out to go to the bathroom every 3-4 hours, regulating her water supply, monitoring her eating (the doctor says she's also a little underweight, and is carrying all her weight in her belly--another sign of Cushings), and giving her as much love and attention as possible.

Joon is about eleven years old, and I know in my brain that she is an elderly lady, but a small part of me just had this idea that we were going to be together forever, until the end of time! It is such a nice thought, no!? Every person who has had a pet, especially a dog, especially a dog as loyal and honest and kind and thoughtful and brave as Joon should know what I'm talking about. To see the results from her bloodwork and urinanalysis and listening to her heart murmur with my own ears was basically the first time I was faced with the reality that Joon isn't going to live forever. I've been trying to get through this blogpost for about an hour now with little luck because I'm in tears just writing about this, but I figured I would be honest with what's going on with me and why it may be hard for while to blog with things like this on my mind.

But, I'll know more in the coming weeks once all these tests on Joon are completed, and we'll have a clearer picture where to go further as far as medications and things are concerned. I'm doing some fun freelance side projects that I'm excited to share! Thanks for all your patience and for sticking with me--just looking back on the past year has lifted my spirits a little. It seems like so long ago, but things have changed so much, for the better, and maybe 2012 is off to a rocky start, but there's no where to go but up.

 

 

Saturday
Nov262011

Friendsgiving 2011!

First I'd like to just give a big "thank you" for the tremendous response to my last post--the outpouring of support on this blog, on my facebook page, on tumblr, and wherever the hell else I am on the internet has been really overwhelming and downright touching. I have heard from people who I haven't even spoken to in years and years who have stopped to give me encouragement. It really, truly means a lot to me, and I'm glad that I could inspire some conversation about something that means a lot to me and is a big part of my life. So, THANK YOU to you guys!!

As part of my routine to get healthy and ready for my 10K in May, I've cut out a lot of eating out and drinking at bars and have been cooking at home nearly every day, which is also something that I have been wanting to improve. Two birds, one stone? I think so!! :D So, when I found out that I would have to be here for Thanksgiving this year and away from my family, I decided to cook a Thanksgiving meal for myself as well as my friends who would also be away from their families for the holiday. Friendsgiving!

Because it was my first Thanksgiving where I made something besides mimosas, I went a little crazy with the photos. But, here is a little look at my friendsgiving!!

I started cooking the night before. I was making six or seven dishes and I wanted to at least make sure I would be able to get the food out on the table and hot at relatively the same time. I pre-chopped most of my vegetables, I made the white cheddar mashed potatoes early, and I prepped the mini-meatloaves. My kitchen is not the biggest, but it's just the right size for someone like me. My oven doesn't work (the pilot light just...doesn't light D: ) and my stove has only two working burners. So, basically, my meal has to be made with the toaster oven, the two burners, and the microwave.

Here are the little mini-meatloaves that my good friend Cymon (old neighbor from Atlanta!!) advised I should cook in the crock pot. BEST IDEA EVER.

COOKING INJURY. I still am not even really sure how this happened, but I was draining out the water I used to boil the potatoes and I think the end of the spatula was warm from the stove, and it flipped up for some reason and hit me in the arm. It looks like just a dent in my arm, sort of like when you sleep with the blankets all bunched up and they press into your skin...only now it's a big boo-boo. Well, thank god this was the only accident of the experience. >.<

A lot of the recipes I used were meant for tables of 10-12 people, something that I accounted for when making them for my tiny Thanksgiving--just too late. Here I am making waaaaaaayyyyy too much sausage and cornbread stuffing. >.<

 

The star of my Friendsgiving meal--my little Black & Decker toaster oven!! Not only does it cook these delicious bacon cheesy puffs (a family appetizer tradition!), it also keeps the food I've already made warm when I place it on top of the oven. TWO BIRDS. ONE DELICIOUS STONE.

 

THE SPREAD. OMG. I CAN'T BELIEVE I MADE ALL OF THIS AND DIDN'T EXPLODE THE KITCHEN.  So, here are all the individual dishes I made and the blogs/sites where I pulled the recipes!!

So, ah heh heh heh, I sorta burnt the shit out of the top of this Blue Cheese Green Bean Casserole...but we still ate it anyway! I totaly recommend Closet Cooking--all his recipes are simple and taste amazing, with nice straight-forward instruction and food photography. 

Honey-Glazed Carrots from one of my idols Martha Stewart! Oh, Martha, how I love you and the fact that you went to jail and you're still being totally badass with your french bulldogs and telling me I have to wrap my Christmas presents using chiffon bows and lace doilies. <3 Anyway, these carrots were SUUUUPER easy to make, and gobbled up immediately.

Also from Martha--Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing. Holy moly. Like I mentioned before, I have a whole other batch of this to make. I CANNOT WAIT.

As it was my mission to basically put cheese and bacon into everything I made this year, here comes Martha's Creamed Spinach with Bacon to save the day!! Ah, I love Thanksgiving--taking perfectly healthy vegetables and making them as unhealthy as possible. 'TIS THE SEASON!!

 

Closet Cooking again gave me the recipe for these White Cheddar and Garlic Mashed Potatoes! Super cheesy and creamy, and I could make them the day before and they still tasted amazing!

My good friend May pointed me the way to this recipe for Low-Fat Mini-Meatloaves. Because Joon was a shelter dog, they are unsure about her birthday but they think it was somewhere in the realm of November 2000.  So, I celebrate Joon's birthday on Thanksgiving, because I am so thankful to have her in my life! <3 Joon loves meatloaf, and instead of a turkey this year (because...that would be a stretch in my toaster oven!) I made these little guys, and cooked them in the crockpot. THEY WERE INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS.  Joon agrees.

Prior to Thanksgiving, I won a contest from Kaitpops--and won a dozen delicious cake pops for my Thanksgiving centerpiece!!  AREN'T THEY THE CUTEST.  The insides were oreo truffle, and they were TO DIE.

...my Thanksgiving guests thought so too. XD

Anyway, that's it for now! Did you all have a great Thanksgiving!? I hope so!

 

 

Monday
Jul042011

Californialand, I have returned!!

 

I have time traveled to and from California for a too-short four day excursion to the west coast!  Anime Expo and AM2 were in LA and Anaheim respectively, and I didn't have an artist alley table, and I didn't have any dealers room responsbilities, so basically I just did whatever the hell I wanted, which is what I wanted out of my little vaction!  I saw many, many friends, and took too few photos, and spent probably way too much money, but had the time of my life.  WHICH WAS THE POINT!

Something my friend Annie pointed out to me was that the reason we really love this convention is that there really is a different vibe on the west coast, and the dealer's rooms have completely different vendors so it was all so new in comparison to the same old vendors we've seen at east coast conventions.  There are also totally different artists in the alley whose work I've never seen before.  I picked up...lots of things. XD I'll save my loot for a separate post, but here are some photos of friends, adventure, and costumes that I took over the weekend!

I found a Transformer outside the Museum of Modern Art, which was within walking distance from our hotel in downtown LA.

Also within walking distance was the Disney Concert Hall!  My traveling companion Annie informed me that all the Disney soundtracks are recorded here--it's why all the music has that same sort of feeling and sound.  THE SOUNDS OF WHIMSY IN THIS BEAUTIFUL STRUCTURE.  I thought it was really amazing that even though it was concepted in the 90's it's still extremely modern in its design.

This weekend's big event was the Hatsune Miku concert at the Nokia Theatre.  I'm still not 100% sure, but I know that Hatsune Miku is the character you see on the Corolla there (Toyota was the big time sponsor for the event), who came about with a program called Vocaloid.  She is a "digital Idol"; her concert was a virtual experience, totally synthesized and involving lots of computers and backup dancers.  She is really big in Japan and there were tons of Japanese tourists over here for her concert, which sold out within a couple of days!  I didn't get to go, but I saw about 400 billion Miku cosplayers and my desire to buy a Toyota Corolla was amped up over the weekend.  This girl was one of two "official" Miku cosplayers.

My childhood branching into adulthood love of Gundam mecha has blossomed into pure fangirl hysteria upon seeing this Gundam in person.  I wanted to hug it, but then the guy that was responsible for this display would have probably shot me, so I refrained, and instead made some ridiculous pose. I am only showing this photo because of the Gundam, please excuse my display of intense geekery. It was all so overwhelming.

Apparently, at Anime Expo, there are MANY WONDERFUL TALL THINGS to stand next to for photo opportunities.  I read (and wept at) all of Full Metal Alchemist, and I'm hoping to see the films and new series soon!  I haven't really watched anime in awhile, but I still read comics like a fiend, and this was one of them!

I don't know what most of these costumes are from, but I really liked how they looked or were presented. I understand the time and effort it takes to concept and craft these things, and I think it's amazing what people are capable of when they only have a few screenshots of pages to draw from.  Enjoy!

I have some more pictures of AX on my flickr page! 

Also, I was able to see some friends of mine that I only get to see at conventions that I've met through doing artist alley or the dealer's room, and we had a rare opportunity at AM2 to see pretty much everybody.  We took a ton of pictures that were taken out of our lack of sleep hysteria, and I won't bore you with all of them, but they do mean a lot to me, so here's a couple that I really liked:

Among all my friends I saw this weekend, we are from: California, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Maryland, and Michigan!  So, for all of us to be able to see each other in one place was something short of a miracle.  I definitely don't go to conventions like I used to, but the driving force behind why I do is always to see my friends that I don't get to see otherwise! 

Mushy mush time is over! I'm compiling a post of all the cool swag I picked up at AX--I hope to share it all with you, as well as some awesome artists I met over the weekend as well!

Wednesday
Jun292011

Pride 2011!!

After the news that the Marriage Equality bill had been passed in the state of New York, I knew that the Pride parade a mere 2 days afterward was going to be something epic to behold.  I wasn't disappointed!  It was a day full of happiness, and gratitude, and fun, and pride.  And dancing to Robyn.

I'm packing for my next adventure in L.A. tomorrow, but I wanted to share these amazing photos with you!  I picked my favorites to show you here, but you can always head on over to my flickr page to see all of them!

WARNING: RUNNING COMMENTARY AHEAD.

These little kids were so cute, and so happy to be in the pride parade.  HOORAY, YOUTHFUL KNOWLEDGE!

WERQ IT, LADIES.

I went to the Pride parade with my friend May, who is pretty ripped--she runs marathons, does warrior dashes, takes dance classes, etc.  She could probably kill me with her pinky.  However, I believe she does all these things with 50% strength and 50% pure, unadulterated enthusiasm.  Her reactions to everything in the parade was priceless.  She had somehow climbed up a LAMP POST and shouted to these fine bootcamp gentlemen doing pushups, "YOU GUYS HAVE THE HOTTEST BODIES THAT I HAVE EVER SEEN!!!!"

It was a fine moment.

If I haven't mentioned it before: I LOVE FEATHERS.  Oh, how I wish this unfortunate man's head wasn't blocking THAT FABULOUS  MAN'S GET-UP.

It does! This man was marching with his gay moms!

I love this guy!! Not only is he A-OK with his granddaughter being gay, he also was smart enough to enjoy marching in the sun in his air conditioned vehicle.  U R SMRT, SIR.

More tulle than my Bjork costume from 2009!! 

Deserves a medal for 1) the mascot rainbow effect and 2) getting by with absolutely no peripheral vision.  ALSO: FEATHERS!!!  <3 <3 <3

I was very happy to see many churches and religious groups of all denominations marching in the parade to show their support for the gay community.  Think of all the fabulous, incredible weddings there will be, now that we are all-inclusive!!

OH JAMAICA, I LOVE YOU!!!

....HAPPY EASTER!?!?!!!!

It's as if all the things I love are all colliding together in a beautiful gay sandwich.

Oh, my goodness, this girl was SO, SO FUNNY!!!  I love her Lez-brarian sign!!

We love her, too!!!

Have I mentioned how much I loved Jamaica?  Oh, man.  WERQQQQQQQ.

Hey there, hot gay bloggers!!

There were even adorable dogs in the parade!  Yay, gay dogs!!!

I don't want to get too political or anything, but I am a firm believer that we are put on this earth to seek out connections with others--some are acquaintances, some are friendships, and some very special, very rare and wonderful times, we find that crazy thing "love." Love is everywhere, in every shape and form.  I know that there are many people in this world who don't share this view, but hopefully the recent bill that has passed in the Senate in New York is just another baby step towards acceptance of love in all forms.  Like I said, think of all THE AMAZING WEDDINGS THAT WILL BE HAPPENING IN NEW YORK NOW.  I hope I get invited to some of them!!!

Well, I'm off to LA tomorrow, and I have to finish packing!  Happy Pride, everybody!