Long time coming

I've finally added a few new art pieces to the gallery.  I don't know why it takes me so long to update... =___=...  I'm surprised everyday by just being able to post regularly on Instagram.  It must be the convenience of my phone... which is permanently attached to my hand.

Years of Dreams || Rain or Shine || Dame de Chat

Years of Dreams || Rain or Shine || Dame de Chat

I'm also doing some research into selling some originals and prints... The internet is a wonderful and overwhelming place to get lost in.  

Etsy, storenvy, Society6, redbubble... o___O  Choices!  My ultimate weakness!!  

WHWW: Thursday Edition!

So. . .  I'm a little late . . . This week's Wednesday post is on Thursday. . . :P  

Sketch outfit of the day.  Don't mind the other doodle.  That's just my soul...  

Sketch outfit of the day.  Don't mind the other doodle.  That's just my soul...  

My OOTD (that's outfit of the day...).  Except I'm not cool enough to be a fashion blogger... So you get a derpy sketch instead.  

I am in need of so much sleep right now.  Good night moon!

I love food...

This post is brought to you by the letter R.  Because it's full of random rambling and ridiculousness.  

If you happen to see my instagram feed...  Well, let's just say that "feed" is an appropriate term.  

One of my goals for 2013 was to cook more, and I'm carrying that over to 2014!  I've been on a "food that looks like other food" kick lately.  And I've been pleasantly surprised by the results.  

roasted broccoli + smoked salmon mashed potatoes + faux scallops

roasted broccoli + smoked salmon mashed potatoes + faux scallops

Pinterest is seriously the greatest invention and my biggest weakness.  It's probably the first and last thing I look at in a day.  And by the sheer number of pins I've dedicated to my food boards, you can obviously see where my priorities lie.  Hahaha...  

pan-seared salmon + lemon & garlic spaghetti squash with shrimp and sausage

pan-seared salmon + lemon & garlic spaghetti squash with shrimp and sausage

I will most likely not be creating each recipe that I have pinned (there's close to 800 combined), but it's a lot of fun to try new recipes and taste new things.  

WHWW: Real talk... Real quick...

Disclaimer:  (If you didn't already know...)  I am by no means a professional blogger...  So this will be a quickie post... And probably a bit ramble-y...  

I've been a little down and out lately.  And it's been really hard to keep up a positive attitude when it feels like you've been thrown in the deep end and you've been treading water for years...  I understand this is rather depressing, especially right after such a feel-good vibe in the previous post.  But bear with me...  

I try to remind myself that I need to take action.  I need to take responsibility.  But... in all honestly... I'm scared.  Things are changing.  And I'm not sure yet if it's good or bad.  I've always thought my "go with the flow" attitude has been valuable.  And while it has its up sides, I now see that it's also made me comfortable.  Too comfortable, perhaps...  And that's led me to become impassive.  

I've lost my enthusiasm... I've become complacent, ornery, and generally just cross.

And I really can't afford to be that way any more.  There is still so much more in life that I should be grateful for.  There are lots of people that I care about, (& I hope care about me).  I am very blessed to be alive in a great time, and to be afforded a lot of things that I probably take for granted.  

WIth that said, I've been trying (extra extra) hard to keep my head up and be inspired by all these great things around me.  I've even compiled a pretty good collection on PINTEREST.  I seriously am dangerously addicted to this site.  Someone send help...  

One of my recent PINs is from design.work.life (which is a wonderful blog!)  And they highlighted a short post by Seth Godin (another wonderful source of inspiration and go get'em posts!)

The post reads:

"But what if I fail?" 

You will.

The answer to the what if question is, you will.

A better question might be, "after I fail, what then?"

Well, if you've chosen well, after you fail you will be one step closer to succeeding, you will be wiser and stronger and you almost certainly will be more respected by all of those that are afraid to try.

So... What then??

WHWW: Fresh New Start!

It's the first official When? Huh? What? Wednesday! post of 2014!!  As is customary at the beginning of the year, it's a time for reflection, and self-growth, and resolutions for a better life in the coming year.  Tabula rasa - the clean slate lets one feel a sense of starting over and starting fresh.  

For me, personally, it's a time to get inspired and to kickstart a few new ideas (as well as a few dusty old ones that may have gotten left behind).  I follow a lot of artists...  Sometimes I think too many...  But having a visceral connection to a piece of art brings me an inexplicable amount of joy.  Sure, there's that initial instinct of self-deprecating "I'm not good enough...", but I've been trying to push that aside in favor of "What is it about this that grabs me?  And how can I replicate that feeling in my own work?"  

One of those artists is elfandiary, who is an illustrator based in Indonesia.    I follow his instagram and have watched his daily draw time lapse videos several times.  His style is clean, concise lines and precise, decisive shapes.  The tools he uses are not ones in my wheelhouse (usually copics and pens), so there's definitely a cool factor there.  But I think what I love the most is the organic lines that are so reminiscent of Art Nouveau without being an outright copy of that time period.  And overall, his work's got that ethereal quality, and an understated elegance.  

My hope is to work towards that similar aesthetic and practice as much as I can to reach my goals this year!  Of course, it just wouldn't do to post this without some sketches.  You can see the influence here, I hope... But I like to think my work has a flavor of its own too. 

obsessed with braids and flowy hair

obsessed with braids and flowy hair

WHWW: The most wonderful time of the year

I am at my happiest when I am making things.  Whether it's art, food, or crafts!  I just love the feeling of accomplishment and gratification of finishing a project whether it's big or small.  

art + food + crafts

art + food + crafts

Every year, I try to make holiday cards and this year was no different.  I got a little bit more hands-on and put my new Skillshare calligraphy to good use.  (w00t) I'm a long way from being pro, but it was a lot of fun creating these cards and I hope the recipients enjoy them even for a little bit.  

Enter this ridiculously staged and strategic photo of my weapons of mass creation

Ridiculously staged and terribly strategic photo of things...

Ridiculously staged and terribly strategic photo of things...

I come from a big family, but it's been a really long time since I've been able to celebrate with everyone in the same vicinity, let alone in the same country.  My best memories are spent celebrating with people I love.  

I cannot even believe that Christmas is a week away.  This year has flown by.  2013 had its ups and downs… But I just can't help but hope for bigger and better things in the year to come. 

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season.  Whatever you celebrate, may it be wonderfully happy, filled with laughter, joy and people you care about.  

xo // grace

WHWW: Way Back Wednesday

Took a little break last week in order to enjoy the few days off from work.  Celebrated Thanksgiving by recovering from being sick, making chocolate mousse, and eating exorbitant amounts of food with people I love.  :)

This week's WHWW post is dedicated to Way Back Wednesday... Way back when I was a sketching/drawing machine and actually made good with filling up my books in a timely manner.  Here's a few more polished sketches... And a mini rocker-dude-guy!    

Way Back Wednesday - when I drew things on a regular basis.  

Way Back Wednesday - when I drew things on a regular basis.  

And... Here's a few more from a few days ago.  What can I say...  I love drawing the feminine figure.  Stylistically, not much has changed.  But I'm not entirely sure if that's a good or bad thing?  


girls girls girls

girls girls girls

Vacation Post: Paris Edition [pt 4]

And now to pick up where I left off... 

pâtisserie Sadaharu Aoki & Starbucks

pâtisserie Sadaharu Aoki & Starbucks

The following day led us to Sadaharu Aoki.   We visited the boutique on rue de Vaugirard and it was magical.   Pictured from top left: Bamboo which was a green tea flavor, and Matcha Azuki - Green tea and red bean with a petit macaron on top!  Both extremely decadent yet amazingly light. 

And obviously, some macarons!  I'm actually not fully on board the super macaron-hype train, but these were quite amazing.  (Blasphemy, I know…)  The few that I've tried here at home had been wayyyyy too sweet for my tastes, but these were perfect, delicately flavored, and melted in your mouth.  Flavors from top to bottom: chocolat, matcha, sesame, citron, yuzu, framboise, cassis, coffee.  The macaron itself was crisp on the outside and nice and chewy inside.  The fillings were creamy but not overwhelming.  

The 2 coffees pictured are from Starbucks.  That's right…  We went to Starbucks.  But these were actual macchiatos and not the Americanized version - just espresso with a splash of milk.  Tiny and delicious.  

Polidor Restaurant | Salmon with Basil Oil | Bouef Bourguignon

Polidor Restaurant | Salmon with Basil Oil | Bouef Bourguignon

Dinner that night was at Polidor Restaurant. (http://www.polidor.com/) This was probably the most "French" Restaurant we went to.  It's been around since 1845, and the food is simple, rustic, and honest.  It's odd to describe food as "honest" but I think it depicts the simplicity of it.  No fusion, no super-fancy ingredients, no micro-greens in sight.  Just delicious made-from-scratch food.  I had the salmon with basil, and the hubs had his favorite bouef bourguignon (beef stew).  And I'm going to sound like a broken record here - everything was delicious!  We also shared an appetizer of foie gras - which was more of a terrine and served cold.  (not pictured)

Travel tip: Cash only!  We almost had to wash the dishes (not really…) but we just had enough for our two dishes, the appetizer and a bottle of wine. 

Comptoir du Louvre | Le Stube

Comptoir du Louvre | Le Stube

Safe to say the coffee addiction was cemented in Paris.  We hit up the Louvre the next day and got a little pick-me-up in the form of this tiny espresso at the museum's cafe Comptoir du Louvre.   

The museum itself was astoundingly huge and breathtaking.  Suffice it to say that we did not get to see even one third of the collections.  Paris is a must-return destination if only for this reason.

In any case, we didn't want to wander too much more after all the walking we did, so we wandered a few streets over to Le Stube to get some sandwiches to go.  Not sure if it was because we didn't speak French, but when we first got there, the restaurant was full and we decided to get some food to go instead.  But another couple came in after us and got seated after a table freed up.  Eh… Not the best impression, but the savory foods were pretty delicious.  We also got a slice of their lemon torte and German chocolate cake.   Both were satisfactory, but not anything to write home about.

Cafe Loustic | Pain de Sucre

Cafe Loustic | Pain de Sucre

Our last full day in Paris was probably the most relaxed.  (And that doesn't exactly say much, because we didn't do anything strenuous except for walking around… :P)  We visited Notre Dame and took some leisurely strolls around the parks.  When hunger finally hit, we ended up at Loustic.  It's a quaint and cute little cafe that serves brunch-y & breakfast-y foods and coffee.  Pictured: Roast beef bagel, and vegetarian quiche.  Our cappuccinos were also quite nice.  They do seem to speak English here, so that's a plus.  It's a fairly small venue, but the food and prices were decent and the ambiance is definitely nice and relaxed.  

The patisserie of the day was Pain de Sucre.  Be warned that when googling this, you should add the word "patisserie"… Otherwise, you might be linked to a swimwear website.  Different kind of pastries, if you know what I mean…  Anyway!  My feeble iPhone pictures obviously can't do this justice.  Paris pastries just can't be beat.  Pain de Sucre is no exception.  

Pictured clockwise from top left:

Jules - almond shortbread, hazelnut praline, tonka bean pastry cream and cark chocolate ganache

Frivolité - almond shortbread with Madagascar vanilla cream (OMG delicious)

Velours Noir - flour less cocoa biscuit, crisp dark chocolate, 85% chocolate moussse, and dark chocolate ganache

Mint Eclair - couldn't find a description for this on the website, but it's pretty self-explanatory.  The pâte à choux was actually a bit savory, which was a great contrast to the vanilla cream, and the mint crust thing on top was amazing!

For more drool-worthy pics check out their catalog (http://www.patisseriepaindesucre.com/catalogue.pdf)


WHWW: Sketch! #ArtistWorkout

I saw an instagram post by Bobby Chiu with the hashtag #ArtistWorkout where he challenges himself to draw something he wants to improve on.  I admire his work immensely and I think he already has a great style, but it made me stop and think - we should ALWAYS be striving to learn more, do better, and work hard to improve what we don't know.  

I'm out of practice with drawing in general... But even more out of practice at drawing dudes.  I find drawing the feminine figure a lot easier.  My style just leans towards the organic and curvilinear forms of the fairer sex.  

But here's to challenging yourself to be better!