review

What’s in my Reader: April 2012

by tatiana on April 15, 2012

Because I have a blog, or am constantly sending/tweeting or posting blog links to Facebook & Twitter, people tend to ask me for blog recommendations — I guess I’ve become a blog-reading expert, if that’s even a thing. I’m a graphic designer & communications person at a credit union, so at the end of the day when I’ve had my fill of jpegs and have seen the words “Traditional IRA” one too many times, the blogs I tend to enjoy the most are food, craft and fashion blogs. However, because I’m kind of a nerd and genuinely do love what I do, I enjoy reading about money, design and marketing, especially when it’s done in a way that’s fun and relate-able.

So without further adieu, here are my favorite blogs RIGHT NOW (and most recent additions to my Google Reader, categories included). I hope you like them as much as I do!

Cherry Heart: A mummy who loves to knit, sew, crochet and bake
Category: Crafts
Favorite Post: Sunday’s Child

This Martha Stewart-esque blog simultaneously makes me happy and pisses me off (in a good way?). It makes me happy because Sandra does a wonderful job documenting her process with whatever project she’s currently working on with beautiful photos and has a writing voice that keeps me reading — and being a person who loves just simply looking at pictures of yarn, this blog is total craft porn. This blog pisses me off because I’m totally jealous of how much crocheting she gets done. I’m sure she’s working on multiple projects at a time, but in the world of the internet and blogs, this woman is on fire. She is super talented and I’m a big fan of her work.

The Billfold: Everything about money you were too polite to ask
Category: Finance
Favorite Post: Middle Class Snack Kids

This fabulous blog was launched 2 weeks ago and it has easily become a ‘must read’ in my Reader. Mike Dang (a good friend and fellow UCI Alumnus) and Logan Sachon have created a safe space to talk about money… and how bad some of us are at it. From sharing where their last $100 was spent to helping the rest of us figure out how to start saving for retirement (in a fun way!), this is a great place for any money n00b (or non-n00b like me, sort of) to learn something new, or just realize that other people our age are still trying to figure this “stuff” out too.

Lists of Note
Category: People
Favorite Post: The Anti-Flirt Club

This blog is pretty easy to explain: they post lists. All kinds of lists made by all kinds of people, organizations or businesses. Most of them are old, which makes them even more fun to read. It’s a pretty fantastic site.

The KISSmetrics Marketing Blog
Category: Marketing
Favorite Post: What Startups Can Learn From Pinterest

This is a blog I stumbled upon in one of those LinkedIn spammy-but-not-so-spammy emails. KISSmetrics is in the web analytics business and have built some software that you can buy — but if you don’t want to buy anything and just enjoy reading/learning about metrics (like I do), check out their blog. KISSmetrics is a great example of a company who is an expert in their field and has no qualms about ‘giving away’ their knowledge for free. I appreciate that.

The Road Forks
Category: Travel
Favorite Post: Budget Japanese Cuisine

My relationship with this blog was quite serendipitous. I’m traveling to Japan at the end of this month (more on that in a future post) and while doing research, I did a Google search for “do I really need a Japan Rail pass?” (yes, I actually use search terms like that), and it directed me to this blog. Luckily this site, unlike a lot of other sites about Americans in Japan, was not ugly. It was also super informative and fun to read. This couple has embarked on a world tour full of food, adventure and really great photos (so the rest of us could live vicariously through them). What more could you want from a travel blog?

What are some of your favorite blogs? Please do share!

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2011: My Year in Review

by tatiana on January 22, 2012

Each year that passes brings bigger and more exciting things, as it should, right? 2011 was probably one of the best years yet. Although there were the inevitable moments of hardship, disappointment and mistakes, life wouldn’t be LIFE without those bumps that force us to become stronger, wiser people. Can I get an amen? Anyway, here’s a breakdown of my year.

January: The Month I went Pro-Bono

I joined Taproot and worked as the graphic designer on a brochure project for the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay. We worked on this project for just around 6 months, and it was the best experience I’ve had working in a pro-bono capacity. My team was fabulous and I can’t wait to work on another project with Taproot.

February: First Trip Abroad

I traveled to London with one of my favorite people, Brianna, to visit another one of my favorite people, Kendra. The trip was so so great; I miss London so much. Such a beautiful city. [click to continue…]

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Viktor & Rolf vs. Bath & Body Works

by tatiana on December 30, 2010

Over at Casa Jimenez, my family decided that since my sister will be getting married in 2011, we should cut back on spending at Christmas. There are 6 people in my family, so things can get a little pricey. We decided that it would be best to pull names from a hat this year.

Then, I think we all independently decided to STILL buy things for the other family members whose names we did not pull, by calling it a “stocking stuffer”. So I bought a bunch of cool stuff from Japantown (my new favorite SF neighborhood) for my mom and sisters and got my Dad a Starbucks gift card… because, really, what is my Dad gonna do with a Hello Kitty change purse, or cute facial tissues? Anyway, my mom, being the straightforward woman she is, just sent me an email asking me what I wanted from “SantaMom.” I made a pretty comprehensive list which included things I will not buy myself, one item in particular being:

Flowerbomb by Viktor and Rolf, which retails for around $125 at Walgreens

So, because my Mom is totally awesome and my bargain shopping guru, she did not buy me Flowerbomb but INSTEAD bought me this bad boy:

Black Amethyst by Bath & Body Works, retails around $15

When I pulled it out of my stocking, I was like… what is this? But then I smelled it… and to my surprise it smelled ALOT like Flowerbomb. How did she do it? “How did you do this!?” I asked my Mom. And she responded “I just picked the fragrance at Bath & Body Works that smelled the stuffiest.” Despite the slight jab at my preference in fragrance, she did a really great job. We laughed, I sprayed the Black Amethyst and shook my head in half amazement, half embarrassment. It was a pretty great Christmas.

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I know, I know. A promise ring is an idea that is as dated as a hope chest, but much like the hope chest, some people still invest in them… and LuShae sells them. So eat your heart out, kids!

For those of us who just want a place online to find a myriad of jewelry styles to peruse while half watching the Real House Wives of Beverly Hills, there’s Jewelry by LuShae. Her pieces are actually really amazing. I’m not gonna lie, some of the pieces look a little 1987, but who knows, the late 80s are back in style, maybe. The dated styles aside, there are also some amazing pieces… like the Matte Squares Ring which I actually fell in love with and now own. Ain’t it pretty?

The shopping experience on www.jewelryartdesigns.com was absolutely pleasant and flawless as far as ordering goes. I instantly received a confirmation email with my order number, then an email when the ring shipped, THEN when it arrived, the ring was in a chic, sturdy ring box, perfect if the ring is a gift… it’s all ready to go! My only critique about the site is the fact that it looks like it was made using a template of some sort. They don’t have a logo, and their URL doesn’t match their business name. For those 3 reasons, the site made me feel weary that it’s a legitimate business, but it is, and hopefully they will make improvements soon that really reflect their customer service, because it is stellar.

I’ve been trying to stop wearing so many cameo-inspired rings, and also so much silver, so this ring makes for a nice change. It’s eye-catching yet not obnoxious (like a lot of my rings). It’s a classy piece that brings some modernity to my jewelry box. Jewelry by LuShae is a great place to find jewelry for women of any age.

* This is a sponsored post. My views/opinions about this product are 100% genuine. But remember, this post is based on my opinion, not facts based on science.

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Wanted: Panama Hats*

by tatiana on September 20, 2010

As I’ve been referring to in my past few posts, this weekend I was in So Cal visiting my family. The summer season that I’ve so desperately been craving was in full effect on Sunday at the Long Beach Antique Market… this was an outdoor market. Looking around I saw a lot of floppy hats and I decided that I need one, and the sunburn I now have agrees with this. I think if I had been wearing the hat above, my sunburn could have been avoided… and these hats are just really cute.


This hat, the Panama Belmont, would be perfect for those nights when my hair won’t cooperate, but a beanie would be inappropriate. A dressier sort of hat, has kind of a pop-star feel but could still be dressed down with a sun dress and flip flops. Also, HEY! blocking the harmful sun from scorching my poor forehead.

These hats are 100% authentic and made in Ecuador. If you’d like to learn more or peruse the different styles, visit the Panama Hats website http://www.1001panamahats.com/.

* This is a sponsored post. My views/opinions about this product are 100% genuine. But remember, this post is based on my opinion, not facts based on science.

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Chelsea’s Room: A Case Study

by tatiana on December 24, 2009

IMG_0704

Name: Chelsea
Age: 17 (in 3 days)
Inspirations: Lady Gaga, Makeup, Horror Films, Marc Jacobs, the Twilight saga [click to continue…]

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Foto Fun with iPhone Apps: TiltShift Generator

by tatiana on December 16, 2009

Seattle
Stacy, Siddiq and Marissa, taken in Seattle, Nov 2009. Edited with TiltShift Generator

A while back a friend of mine told me about the wonders of the Toy Camera application for the iPhone. I bought it immediately (only $1.99!). This app basically lets you edit your photos without uploading them to the computer and prettying them up in Photoshop. You can add vintage color effects and change the saturation. Is Toy Camera a replacement for my beloved Photoshop? No way. But it’s a fun little tool to impress your friends and/or lovers.

tiltshift-controls
above: TiltShift Generator in action

The new app that I discovered today that I really like is TiltShift Generator (aka Fake DSLR), brought to us by the creators of  Toy Camera (Art & Mobile). Only 99 cents, this application allows you to change the contrast and brightness as well as the saturation of your photos, and add either a radial or linear blur. Kinda neat. Kinda fun. I think I got my money’s worth.

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The Best Film of 2008 According to Me.

by tatiana on January 2, 2009

This last year was full of amazing films. From the emotional and inspiring Milk to the action packed and well acted Dark Knight, to the most original vampire film I’ve ever seen Let the Right One In, to the beautifully illustrated Wall-E.  But the film that I believe ranked far superior to all of these was Slumdog Millionaire directed by Danny Boyle (who also directed Trainspotting and 28 Days Later).

Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire is the heart-wrenching story of Jamal, a street kid who finds himself on India’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire? The story is told through a series of flashbacks. Jamal’s history is slowly unraveled with each question he is asked on the show. Slumdog Millionaire is a story of friendship, survival and love. The actors were excellent, especially the child actors. I agree with my roommate Kendra in how this year really showcased a lot of child actor talent with films like this and Let the Right One In. The cinematography and editing in this film also get a two thumbs up. You could really feel Boyle’s directorial style with quick edits and an overall feeling of chaos and lack of control. It was a dark film with the story of Jamal and Latika serving as the lightsource. I really loved this film and recommend it.

So, voila! Congratulations Slumdog Millionaire! Best film of 2008 according to me.

Runners up:

2. Milk
3. Let the Right One In
4. The Dark Knight
5. Wall-E

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