Posted on December 14, 2013
I sincerely apologize for the long delay in posting on my blog as well as making candy videos! 😦 Fall and summer are always the busiest seasons for me. I exhibit at several shows, work on an increased number of freelance projects as well as teach. I feel fortunate to be able to survive in a career path that I love! With that said onto our Japanese candy review! 🙂
A Japanese online candy company, Oyatsu Cafe, contacted me to see if I was interested in receiving some of their candy in exchange for making review videos. Obviously, I said, “Heck Yes!”. I go out hunting for bizarre Japanese candy finds all the time specifically for review, so this was the perfect match! I was able to go onto their website and pick out some candy that I was interested in and they sent it to me directly from Japan. I chose to focus on picking DIY candy kits, such as Popin’ Cookin’, since I find these the most fascinating to review.
The first candy I will be reviewing is Choco Neri by Kracie.
Choco Neri is a DIY chocolate candy making kit. The end result is a sticky chocolate mixed with large puffed rice. The package contains three packets, a large mixing container, a measuring scoop for water, and two wooden craft sticks.
You mix all three packets with a scoopful of water which forms a gooey mass of chocolate and puffed rice.
Surprisingly, this tasted good! Choco Neri is one of the best Kracie DIY products I have tried in terms of taste. The chocolate has a smooth, sticky consistency and has a very distinct milk chocolate flavor. The soft texture of the chocolate pairs well with the crunchy texture of the puffed rice. The chocolate also has slight underlying notes of citrus which creates a more full-bodied flavor. I definitely recommend Choco Neri and give this two thumbs up! If you are interested in this product, you can find this at Oyatsu Cafe online:
I you would check out my video review on Choco Neri, check it out below!
I hope you enjoyed this review and stay tuned for more bizarre Japanese candy reviews!
Posted on August 10, 2013
I would first like to extend a big thank you to three people who helped me so much during Comic-Con: Pat, Starr and especially Shane! There is so much that goes into exhibiting at a show from set-up, to actual selling, and break-down. Comic-Con spans for 5 days, therefore having a little extra help makes my job so much easier! I would also like to thank everyone that came out to support my work! Many of you have come back to visit my booth year after year, and I sincerely appreciate your business. Your support helps me to continue making new work and to do what I love!
Because I had a little help, I had an opportunity to wander the exhibit hall for a bit! Of course, I had to purchase a few things! The Small Press area is my favorite! You see a variety of independent artists approaching the art of comic making in such creative ways! I encourage everyone to support local art.
I picked up a couple of comics from Toshwerks which is a small company based here in San Diego. I was first drawn to the Peaburt comic.
I love how the comic comes so cleverly packaged in a peanut bag sleeve! The comic itself is beautifully illustrated in watercolor.
My next purchase from Toshwerks was Broken Buttons.
Broken Buttons offers a unique approach to the comic book format. The author combined photography with traditional illustration. The layout of the comic is similar to a family photo album, where actual photographs are attached to each page. I really enjoyed the creativity of this comic and I look forward to picking up the sequel to this story.
The next thing I purchased in Small Press were corgi stickers and postcards!
I love corgis, so I immediately fell in love with Boudika’s illustrations! Growing up I used to have a Pembroke Welsh Corgi named, Hobbes and he always had such a cheery disposition. The illustrator captured the corgi’s charm perfectly!
My fellow exhibitor, Tae Young Choi, gave me a present of an original acrylic painting of a tree! I love the painting! In exchange, I gave him one of my hamster tote bags that he could give to his daughter. He is such an amazing illustrator! He currently works for Blizzard as a video game concept artist.
I came across Drawn and Quarterly, which is a company based in Montreal that publishes independent comics. They gave me a great deal on the two comics I purchased and in addition they threw in a screen-printed tote bag!
The first comic that caught my attention at their booth was Big Questions.
I just finished reading this comic about a week ago and I am very happy that I bought this! The book is well-written and very thought provoking. The book questions the idea of reality and how everyone will interpret the same event or experience in their own way. That interpretation can be so vastly different from another person’s. That person’s perspective becomes their own reality.
Not only is Big Questions an excellent story, the illustration work equally matches in quality. The illustration is incredibly detailed and each page is well-composed. The author, Anders Nilson, spent over a decade writing and rendering this nearly 600 page graphic novel! This was definitely my favorite purchase at Comic-Con and I cannot recommend this book enough!
The second book I purchased from Drawn and Quarterly was Susceptible by Genevieve Castree.
Susceptible, like Big Questions, is philosophical in its approach. I just barely started to read the first few pages. I will definitely write a review about this book in a future blog post.
Next, I purchased a print from an exhibitor across the way, Helen Yoon.
I love the soft, pastel colors and the little foxes nestled in their den! It’s a gorgeous illustration made by this recent graduate from Art Center.
The next two pieces were also from a fellow exhibitor across the way. The artist was Brett Bean and I purchased a print as well as an original work of art. Brett Bean works as a freelance character designer in Pasadena.
If you look at the print closely, the wolf has a subtle Celtic pattern on his coat. I love this hidden detail as well as the pool blue color scheme.
The second piece from Brett was an original painting/ink drawing.
I bought this as a present for Shane for helping me out so much during the show. I love the whimsical quality of this piece. Brett created this painting by taking a sponge soaked in brown ink and then haphazardly dabbing it across paper. He then went back in with pen and ink and created fantastical creatures. Shane loves to draw patterns and odd animals, so I thought this would be something that he would enjoy!
My last purchase would be my second favorite! I purchased a tote bag from Awkward Animal.
Awkward Animal is a recent business that was created by the popular YouTube sensation, Wong Fu Productions. The Wong Fu trio is primarily known for creating short films online, however, they recently launched their Awkward Animal business that debuted last year at Comic-Con. They sell stuffed animals, prints, tote bags and t-shirts that they designed themselves. I was lucky enough to meet one of Wong Fu’s members, Ted, as he happened to be walking down my aisle.
He stopped by my booth and we had a conversation about jewelry making! His mother actually makes jewelry through the lost-wax casting method as well.
I made it a point, later on to stop by their booth and picked up this tote bag.
Not only is the bag cute, but it is well-designed with nice details!
The above image is the back of the bag. All the graphics are traditionally screen-printed. I love the colors and cute graphics!
The interior of the bag is lined with a pretty pink polka dot pattern. It has few pockets and a zippered pouch inside.
I only noticed much later that the bag has a surprise compartment! It has a hidden zippered pocket! What a nice detail! The zippers on the bag are all cast with the company logo.
The surprise side pocket is even lined with the same polka dot interior lining. Great job Awkward Animal!
I hope you enjoyed reading about all of the fun things I picked up at Comic-Con! Seeing great work definitely inspires me and I hope you feel inspired too! If you would like to watch the video review, click on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLX_Un0imKM
Posted on August 8, 2013
I cannot believe it! Another year of Comic-Con has flown by again! This was my fourth year exhibiting at Comic-Con International and it continues to be a better experience each and every year! This has definitely been my best year yet!
There were many, many late nights spent in preparation for Comic-Con. I was building additional components for my display as well as new pieces for the Adorable Mayhem collection. Time flies so quickly when you are racing to beat the clock to finish in time! Fortunately, all my hard work paid off in the end. Here is just a small sampling of new pieces that I created for Comic-Con:
I designed and created new jewelry and felt animals for the show. This was by far and away the busiest Comic-Con in my history of exhibiting at Comic-Con! As pieces would sell out on that particular day, I would later go home and fabricate more pieces of jewelry. Though it was a little crazy, I certainly wholeheartedly welcomed this “inconvenience”. 🙂
Of all the shows I attend, Comic-Con is infinitely the most exciting! As I hopped off the trolley each day, I would weave through the seemingly endless sea of people, so many of which are elaborately dressed in costume. Some costumes are so intricate that you know the wearer must have been painstakingly working on their outfit a year in advance!
Fortunately, I had a little bit of time to wander the exhibit hall thanks to Shane and Pat who so generously donated their time to help me at the show! I was able to take a few pictures of some awesome costumes and displays.
This was just a little taste of what I experienced at Comic-Con! I also had the opportunity to make some purchases from fellow artists! I will be writing another blog post shortly about my Comic-Con haul! There are way too many awesome temptations that I very badly wanted to take home with me!
Posted on May 7, 2013
My best friend Keyanna is a nurse and she very generously invited me while I was in town to a nurse appreciation dinner at this tres chic restaurant called “Harvest” in Cambridge, Massachussetts. I very rarely go to restaurants this fancy, so this was definitely a treat! Keyanna is the best! 🙂
We first started off with the seafood medley appetizer which included a nice variety of seafood: crab legs and claws, raw oysters, shrimp, and ceviche. The accompaniments were: tartar sauce, cocktail sauce and a light vinegar dressing. My favorites were the raw oysters ( so flavorful) and the ceviche. The ceviche was made with whitefish and salmon and had a nice, tart lime flavor. By the way, this meal was entirely complimentary from the restaurant as a thank you to the nurses for their help during the recent Boston tragedy. This included any appetizer, entree, dessert and beverage of our choice! I extend a very big thank you to Harvest restaurant for their generosity! They win extra points in my book!
Now, onto the main course! Below you will see some of the entree options below. As you can see, this is definitely more of a “special occasion” type of restaurant.
Keyanna and I both ordered the Painted Hills Farm Beef Tenderloin. Within the past six months I have tried to cut beef out of my diet, however, seeing as this was an opportunity to eat something very special I decided to splurge! Wow, was it worth it!
This was absolutely delicious! This came with smoked carrots, asparagus and an herb au jus. The meat was so tender you practically didn’t need to chew it! The meat was of excellent quality! The herb jus was very flavorful with hint of tomato flavor thrown in there.
Now come the desserts! Here is the dessert menu.
We decided upon the Milk Chocolate Creme Brulee and the Taza Chocolate Cremeux.
Both of these desserts were excellent! My favorite was the chocolate creme brûlée. Wow! This blew me away! Absolutely delicious! The custard was perfectly creamy with a nice chocolate flavor. Of course, the caramelized sugar crust is always a nice contrast to the smooth creme brûlée. The cookie…oh my goodness…the cookie was incredible! Imagine this cookie as being pimped out shortbread! This cookie was vanilla butter cookie, but wonderfully soft and chewy. Toffee bits were also scattered throughout the cookie. The texture was perfect and the flavor was spot on! The cookie paired with the creme brulee made for a magic combination!
Next was the chocolate cremeux. This dessert consisted of a complex mixture of flavors and textures. The cremeux itself reminded me of chocolate cheesecake. However, the interior was filled with a surprise salted caramel! The combination of the bittersweet chocolate with the salted caramel worked well together. To really experience this dessert, one needs to put all of the components together: the vanilla mascarpone cream, the chocolate granola, the salted caramel and the chocolate cremeux. The contrast of textures and flavors made this creative dessert sing!
I definitely recommend this restaurant if you want to go somewhere really special to celebrate!
Posted on April 11, 2013
I had this hot pink acrylic plastic laying around for years. I fell in love with the color and picked it up immediately when I saw it at the plastic store. Finally, I was inspired to create a modern piece of jewelry that had a modern, punk-rock aesthetic. This is a sterling double finger ring that I fabricated with shaped acrylic spikes. The rings have chains connecting them with additional silver spikes dangling below.