I did a thing! : How I hand-painted my leather backpack.

Small weekend projects are great. I made a soft goal to try to do at least one small creative task a week and this particular project was a quick and easy one to tackle.

I started googling instructions on how to paint leather at 11:30pm on a Friday and then finished at 2am, so only about 2.5 hours worth of work (if not less). This fun project is super simple, straight forward, and I was able to get caught up on all my podcasts while I worked. This was also possible because I had all the materials on hand already with the exception of the matte varnish to seal in the design and protect it from cracks and scratches. I picked that up the following day at my local craft store.

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Step One: Determine: design, color, size, placement and lightly mark the guidelines on backpack. I used a yellow and white milky pen because they were nice and opaque against the red leather, but I could wipe it off after with a damp paper towel and it didn’t stain or leave traces.
Step Two: Print out design on paper, cut to shape, trace and transfer design onto backpack with the milky pen.
Step Three: Paint design with acrylic in very thin layers. Start with lightest color first, and build up layers as you go. I simply used the cheap bottles of craft acrylic from the craft store. These worked out better because they are fairly watered down which allows you to build up really thin layers. If you use acrylic that is too thick you might run the risk of the paint cracking and chipping later.
Step Four: After paint is completely dry, wipe off guidelines with damp rag. Now only the painted design is left.
Step Five: Paint over design area with a few light layers of matte varnish. Let cure.

Wear it out and enjoy!

Packaging Inspo: Warby Parker X Leith Clark


It’s so hard not to be in love with all things Warby Parker when their packaging is this beautiful. That lush burgundy velvet case and gorgeous purple and pink swan cleaning cloth is to die for. These are my second pair of Leith Clark glasses from Warby. In a row! It was just my luck that I thought it was time I transitioned out of my Warby x Leith vintage inspires Valda frames and go for some wire rims when I wandered into my local Warby to just take a peek. Newly stocked, not even available on the website yet, I spotted these and grabbed them off of the shelf immediately without a moment’s hesitation. So glad I did so too because they are sold out everywhere. But you can still purchase the sunglasses version here: Warby Parker x Leith Clark in Wildling

On the back of the card:

” In celebration of the collaboration, we are making a donation to Girl Up, an organization special to both Leith and Warby Parker. The United Nations Foundation’s campaign teachers leadership skills to girls across the globe.”

Life Things

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We got married! We had a small ceremony with 10 people and a week following that we had a separate party at a bubble tea cafe with 50 of our closest friends. It was immense fun! As far as weddings go, it was a relatively small affair, but the weeks leading up to it was stressful and I’m glad we can both just lay back and veg out now. Sort of.

Holiday Gift Guide 2018

Margaux Perfect Fit Measuring Kit - $15

As someone with really really small (but also really really wide) feet, it’s extreeeeemely difficult (if not impossible) to find shoes that fit. Imagine my excitement when I did some deep internet digging and found Margaux had a “made-to-measure” service. For $15 dollars you can order a measuring kit that comes equipped with special foot ruler, measuring tape, Margaux-branded pencil and notebook, along with a couple of swatches of their most popular fabric colors. You create an account on their website, enter in your measurements and shop for ballet flats available under the “Made-to-measure” category. They’ll customize the flats based on the measurements you enter, and if you’re not completely satisfied with the fit, they’ll work with you to make the adjustments. The $15 for the measuring kit goes towards the final cost of the shoes you purchase. Margaux NYC flats aren’t cheap, but in my mind, to finally own a pair of shoes tailored to my measurements is worth the $150+ dollars. This service is unfortunately only limited to a handful of designs and colors, and I have yet to finalize an order of an actual pair yet, but I’m hopeful for the end result. If you know someone that has difficulty buying shoes, or even someone who’s really into ballet flats, the Margaux Measuring Kit makes for a pretty rad gift. It’s more thoughtful than a gift-card and allows the gift receiver a level of personalization.

Margaux NYC

Cricut Explorer Air 2 - $196

I’m really late to the Cricut bandwagon because for the longest time I had this assumption that it was only good for scrapbooking. Turns out, it’s a pretty versatile cutting machine that can be used for more than just Thank-You cards. It’s been one of my most favorite and most used/ purchase of 2018. The Cricut Explorer Air 2 has the ability to cut, paper, cardstock, adhesives, vinyl, light plastics. I’ve been using the crap out of it to prototype die-cut and kiss-cut stickers. The example projects that they advertise on the marketing site aren’t really to my style, and to me don’t help show the full potential of its’ use cases, but if you’re creative with how you utilize it, the Cricut can be a pretty powerful tool.
It’s currently on sale on Amazon.

Billie Razor Subscription - $9

I’m not an avid shaver, so I refuse to spend $9+ on one single fancy razor that I maybe use twice a month, but I also don’t want to have to keep a $3 bag of cheapo Bic razors that are only good for one time use. Billie is a subscription box where they send you 4 new razor heads based on a frequency that you set: monthly, every 2 months, or every 3 months. The cost averages out to about just a little bit over $2 a razor. That’s much more affordable than the fancy Venus blades, and also with 5 blades per head, thats a much better shave than what any of the disposable Bic razors can offer. Plus, the aloe shave soap that’s encased around it is real nice 👌. It also comes with a magnetic holder to mount it to the wall so it’s not sitting in a pile of rust in your tub. But if I’m honest, their adorable branding and colors are what caught my eye. I got mine in Periwinkle.

Trtl Travel Pillow +

Traditional travel pillows frustrate me because they’re often made of that styrofoam bead material that just move out of the way when weight is applied to it. So not very useful imo. Trtl is different in that its like a cross between a scarf and a neck-brace. Dials on the outside of the neck pads can be turned to adjust for comfort and different neck heights. You effectively wedge it in between your shoulders and your jaw/ chin area to give you a something to rest your head on while you catch some Zs. When I sleep I have this habit of pulling the covers up to cover my chin and mouth area because I feel more secure and less exposed that way. Trtl allows me to do that with the excess scarf-like material. I can even pull it up past my nose if I wanted to. I backed this on Kickstarter back in October and just received the product last week. Super excited. Unfortunately, I won’t be traveling for the holidays so I won’t be able to take it out for a spin. But the next time I do, I’ll be sure to do an update and write a review. The Kickstarter is finished but you can still back it on Indiegogo. Can’t wait that long? Opt for the normal Trtl Travel Pillow available for immediate purchase on their website.

What's on my Shelf? Peelander Z


Picked up this adorable LP this past Saturday from Peelander Z.

For Kinokuniya Austin's grand opening they invited local Japanese Punk Band Peelander Z to perform outside in front of the store.

When Chris and I first started dating we watched their documentary on Netflix together. It was bizzare, fun, fascinating, bittersweet, depressing. All of those things.

Local Austonians will know Peelander Yellow as the guy that does all the cool illustrations for Austin eateries like ThaiKun and East Side King. We met him for the first time last year at Staple! and purchased a painting from him at his table. It sits happily on my shelf next to my James Jean print.

The Staple! convention is coming up again in a few weeks. Maybe we'll see him again. 

Stardust Stickers

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One of my go to comfort movies I like to play in the background when I work is Stardust. It's based off Neil Gaiman's book which I have purchased, but haven't yet read. It's a beautiful movie with an A-list cast but doesn't suck in a way that most A-list cast movies do like Valentine's Day, Golden Compass or even Gigli. Egh. 

I had the idea to make merch based on all the movies I love because they have been such a source of visual inspiration for me and wanted to pay homage to them. For Stardust specifically, I wanted to make a sticker pack or kiss cut sticker sheets. 

I also wanted to try out a new illustration style. Natalie Andrewson is an illustrator I have admired for a really long time. Her Harry Potter movie posters were just 👌👌👌 and her sketchy looseness and use of crazy rich and trippy colors was something I wanted to see if I could emulate.

I'm finding I'm still too precious and rigid with my line work and my colors are still dull in comparison, but for the most part I'm pretty pleased with the initial results. I'm impressed with how quickly I could work in this style and have it yield a level of finish that is pretty close to what I have envisioned in my head. 

Work in progress. A++. Will keep at it. 


I make it a thing of mine to get a new colored laptop cover to mark all the new chapters and jobs in my life. It was yellow for the real estate startup that I co-founded with my business partner a few years back, a blue sticker for a fin-tech startup that I worked at briefly, and most recently, a lilac cover at an ad agency. 

After this most recent stint as an art director in an outdated-ad agency, I decided to take an indefinite hiatus from full-time employment. So many things about that situation just wasn't working for me and I felt that I really needed a break. Because my laptop was company-issued, I had to turn it in and purchase a new one. I'm going to be spending the next few months searching for creative inspiration and experimenting. I will be available for freelance work, but primarily, I hope to do some hard-core soul searching during this time. Red seemed a fitting color for death, rebirth, renewed energy. All the things that I really need at the moment.


Pantone Color Book

I'm super late to the color train, but I purchased my first Pantone Color book this week!

I've been having some issues getting color accuracy from pin manufacturers and decided I need to get a set for my own peace of mind. 

It's so beautiful.



Hand-modeling by Chris Chang.


What's on My Shelf? Wild by Emily Hughes


Wild by Emily Hughes published by Flying Eye Books

Description from Amazon:
In this beautiful picture book by Hawaiian artist Emily Hughes, we meet a little girl who has known nothing but nature from birth—she was taught to talk by birds, to eat by bears, and to play by foxes. She is unashamedly, irrefutably, irrepressibly wild. That is, until she is snared by some very strange animals that look oddly like her, but they don't talk right, eat right, or play correctly. She's puzzled by their behavior and their insistence on living in these strange concrete structures: there's no green here, no animals, no trees, no rivers. Now she lives in the comfort of civilization. But will civilization get comfortable with her?

I love the combination of peachy corals, muted green-yellow and a tiny naked girl with wild hair! I relate very much. 


Packaging Inspo: Tea π


I picked up two bottles of these from my local Ranch 99 Supermarket because the illustrations on the labels caught my eye. Sew sew kewt. It took me awhile but I settled on the two flavors Peach Oolong and Lychee and Rose tea.

I think this is a new brand? The name confuses me but I'm thinking it's suppose to mean "Tea Clique" or "Team Tea"? The official website shows more available flavors as well as an endorsement from Big Bang's which, I mean, is always extra points in my book.

Photo from:  Nongfu Spring

Photo from: Nongfu Spring

Some light Googling reveals that each flavor was done by different illustrators all commissioned by an English design agency Horse Studio.



Marijke Buurlage : Lychee + Rose Tea
She has a great case study of this project on her Wacom profile.

April Stationery Splurge

There's a list item in my Google Keep titled: THINGS TO NOT BUY ANYMORE BECAUSE YOU HAVE A PROBLEM with SKETCHBOOKS or NOTEBOOKS marked in all caps. But as you can see here, a simple list isn't enough to keep me away from a good sale - or cute things in general. If March was the month of art supplies, April is all about stationery. 


March Splurge

I suspect this will be a part one to the March Haul as I have a bit of a shopping problem. There will definitely be more fun things to share later this month, but the end of March couldn't come soon enough and I really wanted to share my new kit.


1. Delphonics Pencil Pouch - Furry Little Peach featured this in her Japan Haul video and I decided I had to have one too. I purchased one in the same color but in a smaller size. It holds my sketchbook, watercolors, a few pens and still manages to fit in my smaller day to day bag without adding too much bulk. This allows me to carry my kit everywhere to remind me to get me into the habit of sketching more. No excuses now.

2. Pentel Clic Eraser - Not really a new purchase for March, but this post is mainly just the contents of the pencil pouch so I thought I'd include it in the photo. As with all types of retractable erasers, these tend to be a bit fussy and can get all wobbly if you apply too much pressure. However, when you're short on space and on the go, these are great to toss in your travel kit.

3. Staedtler Mars Technico Lead Holder - At the moment I have a piece of 6B lead in it. Normally I would just opt for a no-fuss BIC #2 Mechanical Pencil because I don't want to deal with carrying around a lead sharpener, but I'm trying to train myself to be able to sketch with fatter lead thicknesses as it wears down with use. 

4. Watercolor Notebook - I'll do more a separate sketch book post at a later time, but I'm super happy with the solution I ended up with as I was having trouble finding a watercolor notebook that suited my needs.

5. Windsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Pan Set - I had previously purchased this watercolor set but the brush that came with it was too fine and delicate for the type of quick sketching I wanted to do. I ended up buying another pan set, but this time I wanted the provided aquabrush. Overall, I'm still trying to learn how to use the medium of watercolor all together, and the flow of the aqaubrush is a little hard to control, but it's great when you feel the need to do some quick paintings and you don't want to deal with loose brushes and cleaning out a water dish.

6. Kaweco Perkeo Fountain Pen - I found this video of PearFleur and totally bought into the ideal that I needed a fountain pen. Naturally, I picked the cutest and stubbiest one I could find in the two colors I love best.  

7. Kaweco Skyline Sport Fountain Pen - See above.

8. Uniball Signo Broad in White - These are great for adding in highlights and details ontop of the watercolor. It ink is really opaque and the ball glides real smooth. 

9. "I'm a Unicorn" a Little Golden Book by Joey Chou -  I'm constantly on the hunt for picture books with great illustrations and could not pass up this Joey Chou Golden book. I'll definitely do a post of my Children's book collection in the coming weeks.  


"Quick! The sun's out!"

My hope is that after some of the larger renovation projects around the condo is finished I can find a good spot that allows for a photo station. A spot where I can have a small backdrop with consistent lighting to shoot small products. But in the meantime, sun, paper, a bad phone camera and lots of photoshopping will do. 

And yes, my Christmas tree is still up. Don't judge me. It'll probably just stay up forever.

Packaging Design, Products, Retail Therapy


Candles make everything better. I'm in love with my order of Otherland candles. The packaging, logo lettering and illustrations, the scents, and everything is just 👌👌👌👌👌.


Shown here is Canopy, Kindling and Daybed. Daybed is probably my favorite of the three being the lighter and more floral one. They burn a lot slower than any of the Anthropologie candles I've purchased in the past so I imagine they last longer as well. So far, really loving it. 

$89 for the pack or individually for $36 each. #treatyoself with some retail therapy or gift a friend: www.otherland.com. The adorable website is an added bonus.