Thursday, January 31, 2013


Lately I've been getting frequent calls from random states (ie Florida, Tennessee, Virgina). I usually don't answer but sometimes they leave messages. Often times the messages are recorded messages which I delete but recently they've been actual people leaving messages that concerned me.

One of the callers came at least twice a week claiming to be from a debt collection agency trying to pursue collecting a debt from me (904-733-3033). The other was a person claiming to be from my mobile service provider trying to collect on charges that hadn't been paid yet (888-315-0912). The hubby Googled the numbers and it turned out that other people had posted similar stories saying they were both scams.

What was most disturbing to me was that someone had called my mother-in-law regarding the debt collection trying to get information from her. Luckily, she is a very smart woman and ignored the call. After that little incident I warned my folks about such calls too. The other scam is scary too because I think a lot of people might not question a unpaid charge and go along with the scam.

I think this goes without saying but if you get a call from a random number from a weird state then I would recommend to always ignore the number. If you repeatedly get a call from them and they leave messages that seem concerning then I would Google the number and see who owns that number or if other people have had strange experiences too. The next step would be to block these numbers if they become a nuisance. 

Be careful! Scammers are working everyday!

Friday, January 25, 2013

kimchi pasta

 Mmmm, kimchi pasta. It's a creamy, rich, slightly spicy sauce tossed with al dente fettuccine. It's essentially an Alfredo sauce mixed with kimchi so using store-bought Alfredo sauce is definitely an option. However, if you have the ingredients and the time I think making it from scratch is more yummy and it will help control the salt content (store-bought always tastes salty to me). The base Alfredo sauce is adapted from ATK. The recipe is very versatile and can be adjusted with any number of ingredients like a can of clams for a seafood touch. I think adding a handful of baby spinach to the pasta would be good too. And, of course, you could add more or less kimchi if you like. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

diy love

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I'm already thinking about the weekend....

Recently my sweet hubby came up with the great idea to rearrange some furniture and the results were wonderful but the huge wall that was once covered with the TV became bare. I thought I'd add a little seasonal flare with a Valentine's installation.

I used twisted brown paper that was used as packing material and tacked it on the wall. Sidebar: what is the deal with the overkill of packing material these days? The only part I had to be careful with was twisting gingerly on the perforated parts of the paper because it had a tendency to tear.

Next, I painted some sheets of paper green and cut them out for the leaves. Lastly, I made a few 2-finger pompoms for flowers out of baker's twine using Creature Comforts' method, here.

Friday, January 18, 2013

for my mom

Happy birthday to my mom! Today she turns 63 years old. We can't celebrate together because we live in different states but in her honor I'm listening to Les Misérables (the original London cast) today. She has a love for music and particularly for singing. When I was little my parents took me to my first musical, Les Mis, and when the 10th anniversary concert aired in the 1990's on PBS my mom and I were glued to the TV. I haven't seen the motion picture version but I think I'd rather watch this concert instead. There can only be one Jean Valjean and his name is Colm Wilkinson.

Sidebar: Can you recognize the Japanese Jean Valjean at the end of the concert?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

pattern quiz

If you're looking for a Thursday distraction then try taking this quiz on patterns and see how many you can name in 4 minutes! I only knew 19 out of 25 patterns.

Friday, January 11, 2013

art lessons on life : erasing

So last November I started apprenticing for a beautiful woman who has been teaching fine art to kids and teenagers for the past 30 years. During my interview she was not impressed with my fine art skills (mainly because I have none) but she felt that I had potential to learn and liked me personally well enough to take me on in spite of my short comings. I always wanted to improve my fine art techniques (things like drawing, painting, etc.) because it really is the basic foundation of graphic design or anything artistic for that matter so the perk of getting private art lessons seemed like such a dream come true. However, I quickly remembered that wanting and accomplishing something are two very different things.

In the midst of emotional and physical struggles to move from "wanting" to "accomplishing" I've been reminded that art and life share common lessons that benefit the artist if time is taken to reflect and make the connection. I am just beginning my journey in the world of fine art but in some ways I feel like it is also helping a truer form of myself to come to life as well. As I learn some of these lessons I wanted to share them on this blog as a way to journal this time of growth but also to share them with others. I would like to specify that when I say "learn" I do not mean to say that I am any sort of authority on anything nor that I have mastered anything in art or life.

One lesson that I've learned from my mentor is the importance of erasing. While nothing can be created without making a mark on paper there is also value in knowing when and what to erase. In art, sometimes the touch of an erase can benefit a piece more than adding another mark with a pencil. This sort of editing can be small but other times it is necessary to count your losses and start again. Anyone can pick up an eraser and know how to use it but what needs to be developed is an eye, a sensitivity, to see what needs to be removed and what is profitable to remain. Of course, the step that could prevent erasing is to not the mistake to begin with but that is another lesson in of itself.

This sort of reminds me of those Special K commercials: "What will you gain when you lose?" It is certainly an advertising strategy but on the other hand there could be some truth behind the idea. For me personally, I've realized that one of the things that I need to erase in my life are negative thoughts about myself. As humans, we are always our own worst critic and I honestly do believe that there is a time and place for critique but there is also a difference between self-critique and self-contempt. I think learning the art of erasing the negative can allow me to dream bigger, have more clarity, and be a better me. But like all valuable things it's easier said than done but I think it's definitely worth the try.

Friday, January 4, 2013

bare escentuals

I've been using bareMinerals for several years and I'm a club member which means that I automatically get shipments of foundation sent to me in the mail. I've known for about a year that I could opt to receive mascara in lieu of one of the products, which was awesome because the shipments often came before I could finish the makeup, but I recently discovered that there even more products available for shipment options. These other items can be easily swapped to customize each shipment so you can try different things. The easiest way to do this is online so you can read up on each product and what it does to make the best decision for you. Here's how (follow the blue arrows):

**note: This is obviously for customers who regularly receive club shipments in the mail. If you want to be a club member you can sign up online too.

1. Find out your customer number. If you still have your last shipment then it should be on the packing slip otherwise you can call Customer Service, 1-866-214-0702, and ask them for your customer number.

2. Go to and click on the upper right corner, "My Account."

3. Near the bottom of the page you'll find a "Club and Auto Delivery Program Members" area, click "Sign In." (This is also where you can sign up to be a club member)

4. Set up your online account using your Customer Number and creating a password. 

5. Once you're logged in click on "Edit Product/Shade" and browse all the options available to you. One of the items will always have to be a foundation but the other two items can be changed every shipment so this is a great way to try other products. Changing your shipment options should be done at least 2 weeks before your next shipment otherwise it won't update in time. My personal favorite is their Flawless Definition Mascara. It's the only mascara that doesn't clump for me.

I hope this is helpful for other club members out there!

Thursday, January 3, 2013


I thought I'd officially introduce you to our little Yorkie, Eemoy, who we inherited from Mark's parents in October last year. No, they didn't die but they felt that their increasing travel schedule made it difficult to be good caretakers for Eemoy and asked us to lovingly look after him instead. He flew over to IL as carry-on luggage with a family friend and has been with us since. He's turning 11 years old next month and certainly lives the life of a 77 year old grandpa - sleeping, eating, sleeping, personal breaks, sleeping. He is a toothless (because of a gum infection) stroke survivor and that's why his tongue hangs out on his left side most of the time. Haha he makes the funniest faces.

Gif made with

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

happy new year!

So, last year I did a year-in-review MadLib type exercise that was inspired from an entry on Frank Chimero's blog and it went a little something like this:
I like ____________________.
I love ____________________.
I want ___________________.
I was ____________________.
I am _____________________.
I will ____________________.
I think ___________________.
I know ___________________.
What did 2012 look like for you? Whether it was forgettable or unforgettable I hope that 2013 will be the best year to date for you and me.
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