Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dear Photograph


"The idea behind Dear Photograph is simple: hold up a photo from the past in front of the place where it was originally shot, then take a picture of the picture, adding a dedication about what the photograph means to you. The results, however, are astounding. By turns nostalgic, charming, and poignant, Dear Photograph is a stunning visual compilation that evokes childhood memories, laments difficult losses, and above all, celebrates the universal nature of love."

Dear Photograph has become one of my favorite websites. I visit often, and it makes me cry almost every time I browse through the posted photos. There's just something so special about each one.

I think it's a beautiful idea and the very first time I saw the website, I immediately wanted to be in my parents' basement, going through boxes of pictures and running all over town to recreate my own Dear Photographs.

That being said, I was so surprised and very, very touched when my dad created and submitted his own Dear Photograph.
(I was a big blubbery mess when I first saw it!)


The caption reads, "My little girl... Forever and always."

This is now one of my most treasured photographs.
It brings a tear to my eye every time I see it.

Memories mean so much.
Never let them slip away.

Thank you, dad.
This is one of the many, many reasons why I love you!

---------------------------------------------

Have you submitted anything to Dear Photograph??
I'd love to see your submissions!!

xo,
Amanda

Monday, March 26, 2012

Giveaway Winner!


I just won a $100 gift certificate to Emerging Thoughts through the Skunkboy Creatures blog! I'm so excited! I was just drooling over their dresses the other day, and now I get to have one!!

Yayyyy!
Happy (early) Birthday to me!

More exclamation points!!!!

Hope you're having an equally fabulous Monday!

xo,
Amanda

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pretty iPhone Cases

I told myself that when I finally got the new iPhone, I'd splurge and buy one of these pretty cases that I found on Society6 a while ago.
But, now that I finally have the phone, it's much harder than I thought it would be! I love so many of the designs posted there, and it's impossible to choose just one.
I only made it to page 100 or so, and they have over 500 pages, so I think I still have some searching to do before I go ahead and purchase one.

But in the mean time, here are some of my favorites:










What do you think??

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I Met Jonathan Safran Foer!

It's true! I did! I really, really did!

Jonathan Safran Foer & Nathan Englander

He came to speak at Sixth&I which is a synagogue in DC with Nathan Englander to discuss their book, The New American Haggadah. (Well, it's not really their book, but, you know what I mean.)

I had knots in my stomach all day about possibly meeting him. I wasn't sure if they would do a book signing or not since it was a special event about a special book in a special place, but I got an email while at work saying they were indeed holding a book signing after the discussion.
I read that line a few times because it just wasn't really sinking in. That definitely meant I'd be meeting him. I had to run downstairs and tell my boss about it because I needed to not only tell someone how excited I was, but I also needed to be reassured that I wouldn't faint in front of him or start crying... Or both.
Just before I left the house last night, I was pacing and freaking out a bit, and Kendal said, "He's just a person!" which I think helped a little bit and I found myself repeating that out loud all the way to the event.

I know, I sound like a very sad, obsessed 12 year old, but I just adore him so much. I can't help it. And I'm already so bad at talking to people and meeting strangers, so meeting him just wasn't even fathomable.
My friend Shaun met him in San Francisco a few years ago when he spoke at Google and my heart was doing cartwheels when he got a book signed for me, and mentioned to Jonathan how much I love him. I couldn't believe it! I was so happy, even then, and I wasn't even the one who met him!

Anyway, more about the event...

Jonathan's mother is actually the director of the synagogue, so she went up to the microphone first, not only to welcome and thank everyone for coming, but also to talk about how proud she is of Jonathan and to speak about how very honored she was to welcome her son to be the guest speaker at the synagogue.
That must be very weird, but also so heartwarming. His whole family was there it seemed; they all had reserved seats near the front. Andrew got there a bit earlier than I did (because my brain was on omgomgomg-mode so I got off at the wrong Metro stop, grrr) and saved us an excellent spot close to the stage. I was so happy!

The discussion was great and finally getting to see him speak in person after watching countless interviews online was incredible. He's so smart. I could listen to him talk all day...

After it was over, everyone got in line for the signing. I was actually keeping my cool a lot better than I thought I would. The line was inching closer and closer and when it was my turn, I simply said hi and asked if I could get a picture. I was completely normal, and I have Andrew to vouch for that. I didn't even throw up or cry or anything.

It was funny because it was obvious that I only wanted a picture with Jonathan since I don't even remember looking at or talking to Nathan, but when I walked around to the other side of their chairs, Nathan started to lean in and pose for a picture, assuming I would be standing between them, but I walked right by him and stood on the left side of Jonathan and then noticed he was posing so I felt bad and quickly moved to the middle. They both caught it and laughed and Jonathan sort of pushed Nathan and said, "just move a liiiiittle bit further that way," trying to move him out of the picture, haha. That's why they're laughing in the photo and unfortunately have their eyes closed!

Oh well, I'm still so happy with it. I of course regret not telling Jonathan all about how much I love him and his books and how I wanted to bring all of them but didn't want to be that person, etc.
I also planned to mention how he met Shaun at Google to see if he remembered him and the book he got signed for me, but I just couldn't find the words.
Book signings are a bit awkward and impersonal since they're kind of like an assembly line and people just want to keep it all moving quickly. Plus, you're sort of in shock so it makes it difficult to let your mind think anything at all, but next time I will definitely be more prepared and make sure I let him know how much his writing means to me!

I love how supportive Andrew was/is. After we left, he said "Ahh, you met him! How does it feel???" Which is the exact reaction I was hoping for. He's the best. Life is good and I'm happy happy happy!

Have you ever met anyone you really admire?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Etsy Interviews V.3 // Kate from CinnamonInk


I haven't done an Etsy interview in quite some time!
I am definitely due for one, so I recently interviewed Kate from CinnamonInk.

I stumbled upon her blog a while ago and thought her art was SO cute. Even though I don't have children of my own, I really love these images and the encouraging message each one sends. I think it's important to constantly remind your children how capable they are and that they can do anything they set their minds to.
I know I will definitely have images like this in my nursery some day.
(If I ever decide to have children of my own, that is. Yikes! Scary thought.)

Haha, anyway, Kate is sweet as pie and I hope you'll love her images as much as I do. :)

Thanks, Kate!

--------------------------------------------------------


1. What is your first memory associated with art? :
I remember being read to from these really neat, old storybooks that my mom read when she was a child. They have the most beautiful illustrations of gum drop trees and the original Winnie-the-Pooh. I've borrowed them from my mom and have looked through them for inspiration in my own art.


2. What inspires you? :
I've come to learn that if you're really looking you can get inspiration anywhere! I'm most inspired by children at play, my nieces and nephews, the kids I teach, classic illustration and new illustration. Colors are huge, they set the tone for any art piece.


3. What is your all-time favorite print that you've created? :
How do you pick your favorite child?! Ha, but seriously I love them all! I guess we'll see what I end up hanging in my future children's nurseries...



4. Has Etsy & design become your full-time job? If not, would you like it to be? :
Etsy is currently not my full time job. My day job is in an elementary school working with special education kids, then I spend my summers focused fully on the shop and vacationing. It's been a great set up, but I would love to some day throw all my energy into my shops and design. There aren't enough hours in the day!


5. Any advice for others trying be successful on Etsy? :
The best advice I got when I started is to create what you love and it will show in your work! It seems simple, but it's helped me be true to myself and not swept up in trends.


6. Have any personal or business goals for 2012? :
Create, create, create! Good things come when you're always creating. My husband and I will be moving across the country this summer, so I guess making that happen while keeping all the balls in the air is my main goal.


7. Have a fun fact or anything else you'd like to share about yourself or your shop? :
I customize prints so feel free to message me with requests!


You can find CinnamonInk on Etsy here.
Follow Kate's blog here.
&
Like her on Facebook here.

xo,
Amanda

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What Birds Do When We Aren't Looking

I love Marc Johns. His drawings are so simple & unique.
I really love this little mini series he did about birds and thought I'd share. :)







xo,
Amanda

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Easy Peasy Vegan Chocolate Cake

I like sweets more than normal food. It's bad. Andrew says I have the diet of an Oompa Loompa and my roommates always joke about how often I crave cookies. I can't help it! My teeth will probably fall out or rot way before they should, but it will be so worth it.

That being said, I made a chocolate cake the other night, and it was completely vegan! I want to show you how simple it is to make delicious vegan sweets that will surely please everyone, so here's another step-by-step recipe. Enjoy!


This is all you need for the cake. (Plus water.)
Certain cake mixes are already vegan, you just have to read the ingredients. Since dark chocolate is made with real cocoa and not milk, Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix is Vegan until you add the eggs yourself. This mix calls for three large eggs, but that's where this lovely box of Egg Replacer comes in handy!


I followed the directions on the box which told me to add the water and oil to the cake mix.
Separately, I prepared the Egg Replacer.


1 egg = 1 1/2 tsp dry Egg Replacer plus 2 tbsp warm water.
So for this cake, I used 4 1/2 tsp dry Egg Replacer and 6 tbsp warm water.


After the Egg Replacer was mixed thoroughly, I added it to the cake mix.



I popped it in the oven and let it bake for a little over 30 minutes.

While it was in there, I made Vegan frosting!
Oooo-ahhhh.


I had a recipe for vegan chocolate frosting from this book. I got it on Amazon not too long ago but I don't really use it all that often. This frosting is suuuuper good though, so I'm excited to try out some more recipes very soon.

2 ounces bitter or semi-sweet chocolate
(If you're ounce-challenged like I am, 2 ounces = 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup margarine, softened
(I use Earth Balance for all of my vegan cooking. You can find it at most grocery stores.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/3 to 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons milk
(I used vanilla soy milk, but I'm sure original or lite will also work just fine.)


In a large bowl, cream together chocolate and margarine.


Mix in powdered sugar and vanilla until mixture is a little crumbly.
(I used a strainer to sift the powdered sugar into the bowl I placed below it.)


It may feel like it will never come together, but don't give up on it!


It's very messy... :)

Add just enough milk to make frosting smooth to desired consistency.


Yummmm.


And that's that.
Don't forget to let the cake cool completely before frosting it!

This cake was a huge hit in my house. Everyone loved it. I really enjoy baking for people; it brings me so much joy. Is that cheesy?? Oh well, it's true! The main reason I love vegan baking is because I find it interesting and I like the challenge. I love surprising people who automatically assume vegan desserts can't be delicious just because they're vegan. That word scares people for some reason...
Anyway, I also like being able to feed Kendal. I'd feel terrible making non-vegan desserts all the time that she couldn't have, haha.

Let me know if you try this recipe or if you have something similar you'd like me to try.
I'd love some requests!

Happy Pi day, by the way. ;)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Etsy Map of Sales

I thought it would be fun to make a map of all of the places I've sent packages over the past four or so years just for Etsy orders. I've had a little under 400 sales since I opened my shop, and I hope that number continues to grow as my shop grows. (I have big plans this summer!)



We shall see! Anywho, I think the map turned out pretty cool. Yay, maps!. :)

xo,
Amanda

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson rules.



Love, love love.


I can't wait to see Moonrise Kingdom.

I really want to have a Wes Anderson marathon...
Who's with me?

xo,
Amanda