Artist Feature: Stasia Holl

Ever since I revamped my blog layout, I've gotten tons of emails inquiring about the artist of my blog header. I wish I looked that sweet in real life, but for now, I'm content that cartoon-me is pretty darn gorgeous. The genius behind the cuteness is Stasia Holl, a college student from San Antonio, Texas, who is, simply put, adorable beyond words. I found out about her via her fashion blog a long while back, and I was so happy to find someone who shared my love of pretty anime, soft colors, and quirky fashion. (Stasia, I hope you go back to blogging your cute outfits again!) I am thrilled to the gills to get to feature her and her lovely art here in the blog, so please, read on and get ready to fill your eyes with cuteness galore!  
Laura: What inspired you to draw? 
StasiaIt's a cliche but I've literally been drawing since I was able to preform the task of marking on paper, so it's hard to pinpoint what exactly inspired me to draw. But I remember looking at illustrations and comics while growing up and basically deciding I wanted to be able to do something equally beautiful, and just constantly drawing (I'd even get in trouble at school) in order to get better. Plus, I loved being able to make comics about my friends and me for us to laugh at, and to this day I think creating fun for other people is one of my biggest inspirations. :D

Laura: I love that your art is sweet without being cloying & has a somewhat hard edge. How do you describe your aesthetic, and is there a certain point you'd like to send across your audience? 
StasiaI think you said it pretty well, that I'm trying to exhibit sweetness juxtaposed with some sort of contrasting edge. Inner demons are a theme I focus on a lot, just because it's something I think about a lot, and those become my favorite pieces since it seems a lot of people relate to them which is the greatest thing for me. I think I bounce back and forth from sweet and demonic a lot, and I try to keep my comics really raw, in contrast, since they're generally simple depictions of that inner struggle and that aesthetic bouncing.

Laura: You're obviously uber creative. What other mediums do you work with and how else do you express your creativity? 
StasiaWell, I have dabbled in a lot of mediums because I feel that it helps expand my way of looking at my primary method of making art. But I think after my drawings, I take my textile work most seriously. I love embroidery and designing plushies, though I haven't had much time to do either these past couple semesters which is actually been a real bummer for me. I used to sell plushies (technically I still do) on etsy when I was on break from school and I hope to steadily get back into that this summer. I love how plush goods spread joy and comfort in such a tangible manner which is more soothing than producing illustrations  in a way. I also recently got into print photography and have wanted to develop and at-home darkroom but again, school just eats up that free time.
Laura: How do you see yourself and your art in 5, 10, 20 years from now? 
Stasia: It's really hard for me to visualize myself in any amount of years. I'm hoping to have more physical work, like zines and this one book I have planned, and maybe start attending conventions, so that might cover the 5-10 years, but 20 years is so difficult to imagine! Mostly since I can't imagine myself at 41 drawing comics of myself getting blind drunk and vomiting, or drawing bleeding demon girls cussing unnecessarily. Maybe I'll have kids by then so I'll be drawing kids books. But most importantly I hope I just have enough time and money to continue trying new mediums all the time! 

Favorite milkshake flavor? Chocolate Banana!! The best discovery I have ever made.
Favorite Sailor Scout? Sailor Pluto. I thought she was the most beautiful and smart, as a kid. And I mean, seriously, she like guards all of time, how difficult of a job is that?! I also just really love her hair.
Winter? or Summer? Winter. I love sweaters and long skirts and boots, and in San Antonio you can't really wear those in the summer (or spring or fall, really) no matter how bad you want to.
Favorite Candy? I'm a chocolate gal, but respecting the technical distinction my favorite candy is Chewy Spree.
Ultimate Guilty Pleasure?  Watching girly Anime, for sure, if I'm defining guilty as "thing I consistently do when I should be studying instead."
If you want to find out more about Stasia and her art, please check out her site or follow her tumblr

Alaska made me who I am

It's only been a little over a week since I left, but I am really missing Alaska. Being home with my family in the house that I lived in all throughout high school felt soothing. Yet going back also made me realize, even more, how much I've changed. I don't find the mall a place of solace anymore, nor do I find consuming rice at every meal a necessity. Apart from the topical changes, I've am definitely now more comfortable with the idea of living outside of how society dictates one should live-- that happiness and success are subjective and always at reach. But Alaska will always feel like a kind of home to me. How can I not love the landscape-- soaring mountains, bouquets of trees, and the snow that envelopes it all?

Today, I signed up to be in April's Middle Market! It's going to be the first time I'll be selling my wares in a booth, and I am both excited and kinda scared. My brain is brimming over with ideas on displays and more items to make before the day, and I'm hoping that I sprout an extra pair of hands before that. If any of you have sold at shows before, I would be so appreciative of any tips and suggestions!

the things we do

faux fur coat: thrifted
dress: Charlotte Russe
socks: Steve Madden
suede flatforms: Urban Outfitters
purse: Laura Ashley
crochet collar: ebay
crochet hair flower: my shop
I am slightly upset because I finished reading A Discovery of Witches yesterday, and I was looking forward to my morning walk to the library to check out the second book in the series, then snow happened. And my library closed for the day because of the inclement weather. BOO HISS. I woke up to eight inches of snow and some pretty scary winds which means I'm gonna stay indoors today where it's cozy and a fresh cup of tea is readily available.

Do you like my flower clippie? A few weeks ago, I went through my craft supplies and found a ton of yarn. I thought I'd make a few flowers for myself, but then the flowers kept on multiplying. That and I can't not  be busy. I'm always doing something or else I'd be extremely bored. 

These photos are actually from a while back when it was looking almost like spring here in the Midwest, and then Mother Nature decided to mess with our brains. Despite the cold, however, I remain true to my knee highs and dresses because they're a pretty darn comfortable combination. It may not be ideal for trudging in the snow and ice, but hey, the things we do to look cute. 

life lately

It's probably not a real thing, but it seems that I got jet lag from being in the land of the midnight sun for a few weeks. I haven't been able to sleep until almost 3 in the morning for the past few nights, so my days have been fueled with pots and pots of tea. Spidey is a pretty good bearer of caffeinated goodness. 
A lot of you have asked for posts about how I run my store and about working from home. I have zero training in business or anything that involves running a business, so I'm learning right as I go along. One thing I've started to do is plan 2-week projects.My first project is a collection of vintage inspired print bows set for April. Here's a preview of some of the beautiful fabric I was super lucky to acquire. Some of them are repurposed vintage pieces!
Resin fingers. I'm a pretty lucky gal to be married to such a creative guy. My husband made casts of his finger so he can make them into candle molds! Future Finger candles! Isn't that the cleverest idea ever?
I found the cutest containers ever at my local dollar store. Emily suggested I make mini terrariums, and Marie thinks I should store candies in them, but I think I'm gonna use them to store some loose leaf tea. I'm planning on buying more soon...
Mail! I love getting surprises from my postlady. If you wanna be penpals, email me!
In my effort to be more organized, I bought some corkboard squares, mounted them on my wall and made little hand drawn ribbon banners. See the whole project on Instagram :) 
I found this book while rifling through my old things back in the AK. At that point I had run out of stuff to read and was unfit to venture out, so I snagged it. I've been reading it since then. Have you read it? I stopped at chapter 7 because I couldn't handle the pretension. I just picked it up again last night, and it's kinda awfully addictive.
Gandalf! I don't think I've told you about the newest member of our wee family yet. Well, here he is! Meet Gandalf the Grey! Isn't he darling? I missed him so much, so I've been spending a lot of time with him lately. Most of the time, he just naps away until I offer him a hammie croissant or sliver of fruit. Then the heavy petting begins.  
Hey, Spring. Are you there yet? I've taken to yarn crafts again, and as a result: tons of crocheted roses. I was planning on making just a few for my hair, but now I have a TON. So they're up in the shop! And, if you're still looking for a cute Easter present, I'm having a sale until tomorrow where everything is 20% off with the code HELLOSPRING .

Enjoy your weekend!

A little spring in my step! : An eShakti review

dress: c/o eShakti
rose cardigan: GAP
wedges: Forever 21
purse: vintage
pearls: present from my mom
It's no secret that I love eShakti. I love their prints,their aesthetic, their mission, and the fact that they cater to any size. I always get compliments when I don their unique pieces such as this cape, this birdie top, and this bodycon dress. But I think my favorite eShakti piece is now this gorgeous dress they graciously sent me from their new spring line
This is the first time ever that I've used their custom styling option, and I am glad that I did. I don't think I can ever go back to buying dresses from the rack after this, especially non-stretchy ones. This dress fits me like a glove! Apart from the measurements, I requested that the length of the dress be shortened to fit my minute stature. You know what the best thing is? POCKETS. I can store my secrets in this dress! 
I'm so excited to wear this darling during warmer weather so I can show off its cute cap sleeves. But for now, it'll have to stay under a cozy cardigan and my furry coat, in which I felt so very Martha Wayne but with Joker hair. It must be the pearls. 
If you haven't yet, do check out eShakti's spring collection! They offer a bevy of gorgeous vintage-inspired dresses, skirts, and tops that you can customize to fit your style and size! 

*eShakti is offering you 20% off your order valid now until April 10, 2013! Just use the code TBOWD during checkout! 

I went to Alaska to eat, it seems

I apologize in advance for making you hungry as you read this post or for making you wait for the myriad of pictures to load. But as I was ill for the bulk of my trip, all of my outdoorsy plans were unfulfilled, and I spent a lot of the time either at home noshing on treats my parents brought home from their trip to the Philippines or hanging out with my siblings and friends, while sharing a meal, of course. And, to prove that I did just that, I took a bajillion photos. Because if there aren't any photos, it didn't happen, right?
Ridiculous amounts of snackage. These photos don't even show everything my parents took home with them, you can see some close up shots on my facebook page and don't forget to like it as well :) I couldn't get enough of those Choco Crunchies, which are like digestives but with less biscuit and more chocolate, and I basically inhaled a bag each of dried mangoes and cassava chips, plus a handful of polvoron, which are compacted sweet bites of milk, sugar, nut flour, and love. This durian candy, however, is not the stuff of love. 
For those of you who have never had durian, keep it that way. I mistakenly ate a bite once, a long time ago, and I don't wish to repeat that ever again. Durian has the texture of warm butter, the taste of concentrated garlic, and the smell of sweaty armpits. In candy form, the weird texture and smell are eliminated, but the taste remains, which subsequently evokes the butter and armpit combo with every bite. 
I have a lifelong love affair with SPAM. Say what you will about luncheon meat, but grilled and soaked in a mixture of oyster sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar, then sandwiched between rectangles of sushi rice wrapped with crunchy, toasted seaweed, SPAM is delicious. My brother and his friend made piles of musubi for snacking, and I washed mine down with a cold can of coconut juice... with coconut meat of course! 
I also got to enjoy a little bit of my mom's home cooking, which I so totally missed. She made kare kare, which is an oxtail stew with a peanut based sauce (for which I took allergy medicine) and some kalbi, a korean dish of grilled marinated short ribs. 
Because we didn't want to bother with cooking too much, though, we spent many a meal trying out different restaurants in Anchorage. One of my favorites was Yak and Yeti which offers Himalayan fare. 
I had a rice bowl of pork vindaloo and oh so freaking delicious yam tikka masala
and my brother got a rice bowl with pork vindaloo and palak paneer
I also tried Hula Hands, a  Hawaiian restaurant, and had some pretty amazing ahi poke. OH MY GOSH, POKE, I could eat that all day long.  
Every combo meal came with a gigantic side of Kalua pork, which is slow-cooked pork flavored with Hawaiian sea salt, and macaroni salad. 
One of my sisters is obsessed with gravy. Thus, this gravy bowl. 
The poke of life. A huge thing I miss about Alaska is how delicious the seafood is there. I can't stomach the seafood I get from grocery stores in the Midwest, even if they proclaim them to be "high quality" or "authentic." It just can't compare. 

Thank you, all for your sweet wishes! I am feeling much better and I actually finished balancing accounts today. That is a chore, I tell you. I also started responding to emails and opening packages/letters, which you don't realize can become a chore if you let it pile up. Makes me wish I was back in the AK vacationing and stuffing my face with poke. 

always thrifting, always crafting

cardigan: thrifted
floral peplum top: dots
skirt: Forever 21
boots: Target
purple tights: TJ Maxx
Lady Isobel bunny pin: the shop of worldly delights
I'm back from my trip to Alaska, and though I had a grand time with my family, I'm extremely happy to be back with B, my kitties, and my hammie! I was sick for almost the whole entire time I was on vacation, and the red eye flight back home was really uncomfortable that I didn't get a wink of sleep, so I plopped right into bed as soon as I walked in the door. 

These pictures are from before I got super sick. My siblings and I love to nosh, so we had lunch at a wonderful, little bistro in Downtown Anchorage called Crush. I also went thrfting with my sister, and we scored some major deals from a thrift store called Turn a Leaf in Wasilla, and no, I didn't see Sarah Palin or Russia. 
Turn a Leaf has a special sale on Wednesdays where all adult clothing is only $1, so I paid a grand total of $9 for all these sweaters, cardigans, books, and a lovely purse. I done good, methinks. I actually ended up leaving the tribal print sweater back up north since it was way too bulky to fit in my suitcase, and I had already spent $40 shipping other things back to Illinois. Regrets, regrets.  
I hope you're enjoying your weekend! I still have a slight cough and headache, but I'm definitely on the mend. I opened up my shop again today, and I'm working on getting photos of some new hair accessories I made while on vacation. I know, I know, I can't stop crafting!