Monthly Archives: July 2014

Picnics and barbecues

I love summer! The sunlight, hanging out at the pool… and the food! This past weekend I indulged in a bit of outdoor meal goodness.

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This picnic consisted of some lettuce tacos, sweat breads and plums. Not your typical picnic fair but who cares! It was delicious and I got some bento making out of my system.

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Then the boyfriend really wanted to do some grilling… who am I to argue? Good food + fresh air + good friends = a might fine summer’s evening!

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Dinner consisted of sliders, hot dogs, grilled zucchini and corn… But the star of the show was the grilled pineaple with frozen coconut milk and a banana rum sauce. OMIGOD.

So go outside and get some air! Hope your summer days are sunny 🙂

Easy gift idea: Daily surprises in a bundle of letters

Here’s an idea that’s sure to put a smile on someone’s face!

My boyfriend is out of town on business this week, and a couple of days ago I thought up a fun little project to surprise him with: a bundle of envelopes, tied together with ribbon, with a little surprise for him for each day that he’s gone. This was so easy to do, and it just feels good to be spontaneous and do a little something special for someone you care!

You could do something similar in a variety of ways. In each envelope I have a different little message, along with a small sketch of something we’re both a fan of. Example: the first day is a drawing of his favorite Pokemon! (yes we’re nerds :)) I won’t divulge the rest in case he reads this before coming home, but you get the idea. Simple letters, small gifts – anything you’d like to prepare will work. This can be as simple and sweet or as grand and ornate as you want it to be.

You can also do this for a variety of occasions. In my case, it’s for a significant other while he’s out of town, but you could do this for a family member or a friend. Maybe it’s in the days leading up to their birthday or a holiday. Maybe you give it a theme. You could give it to them in person or hide it somewhere as a surprise. The possibilities are endless!

I love thinking of fun, easy ways to be creative and brighten someone’s day! Let me know if you have any ideas – I’m sure I’ll be revisiting this topic in the future.

Adorable party decor: elephant origami!

This past week at the office we planned a surprise baby shower for one of my coworkers! It was actually my first baby shower – I guess I’m at that age now 🙂

The theme of the party was elephants so I though I’d try my hand at helping out a little with the decor and make origami! This paper crafting has been a big interest of mine for as long as I can remember, and I really enjoy making them for special occasions or even just for fun. This is not the first and most definitely will not be the last time I make some for a themed party, they’re always a hit!

If anyone would like to try their hand at this craft, here’s the video that I used, by Leyla Torres. I would not necessarily recommend this for total beginners, but she does a wonderful job explaining every step!

Here’s a tip if you want to get started but don’t have square origami paper. You can fold a normal sheet of computer paper like I did below and cut off the excess – once you unfold the triangular portion you’ll have a square! Probably not totally perfect but it gets the job done.

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I wanted to make five elephants for the party – it may not sound like much but it took me over three hours! I managed to save a bit of time by doing all five at once – step 1 for each sheet, step 2 for each sheet, and so on.2014-07-23 20.26.40

This way they all evolve together instead of me trying to re-figure out the same final product over and over.

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Now we’re getting somewhere!

Here’s the final product 🙂

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And here they are with the rest of the decorations! The cookies and cake were so adorable 🙂

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We had a great time, and the mother-to-be took the paper elephants home with her so they can double as an extra gift! Happy crafting~

A new project…

While this is not my blogging debut, it has most certainly been a while. The last time I wrote a blog post was almost three years ago – and it was on Blogger! Finally deciding to try something new and see how I like it on this platform. I’m excited! 🙂

*begin long-winded post of where I’ve come from and where I’m going!*

In case you’re interested to know where I come from and aren’t already familiar, my main internet project for several hears had (has?) been CultureQuirk. It started as a blog back in 2010 (it’s actually still up here!), with my main theme being foreign cultures and foreign language. The thing I spent the most time on in particular is Japanese language study – Japanese lessons along with general language study tips by yours truly. A little over a year later, I then launched my Youtube channel, also named CultureQuirk, as an extension of my blog. For a good while I made weekly videos (again, mostly about Japanese language and culture), eventually making more videos than blog posts. I really enjoyed it – and a part of me misses it a lot!

I started having a much harder time staying motivated to continue Youtube once I was out of college. Work was part of it. I enjoy my career, but after a long day at work, going home and forcing myself to film in the evenings was a struggle, and the tedious task of editing video was even worse. I’d also gotten a new computer between college and work life, and I really disliked the video editing software that came with it (nor did I ever decide to invest in new, better software).

These are just little details and excuses of course! The bottom line is that I got caught up in life and just didn’t feel like continuing the blogging/vlogging the way I did in college (nor did I continue studying Japanese as fervently, I’ve just maintained my current level of fluency). In a good way – I love my life, and when I’m not busy and stressed, I have a lot of fun! I did continue vlogging for a while on my side channel, and for a month last January I challenged myself to see if I could make weekly videos again. I did it, and I enjoyed it, I thought I could maybe maintain biweekly videos or something… and then I got a new role at work and got swept up in life again.

I do think there’s a strong chance I’ll make a comeback to CultureQuirk someday. I enjoyed making videos, and I especially enjoyed hearing feedback from people. It made me so happy when I felt like I was helping someone! I’m really sorry if anyone out there feels like I’ve let them down by not continuing Youtube recently. I appreciate all of the support I’ve gotten during that project! Don’t give up on your studies, there are so many great resources out there and you can do it!!

So what am I planning with this new site?

I’m just planning on having fun 🙂 This is meant to be a creative outlet for me where I can talk about life and what I’m up to, as well as show off some of my personal projects – themed crafts, bento making, productivity, art projects, gaming… and anything else I get inspired by! While my old blog was very text heavy with all the lessons, this new one should have way more pictures and be a lot more fun. Japanese study is still a part of my life, so I’ll probably bring back some old topics as well. While this is sort of a creative journal for me though, I’m planning on offering tips and ideas that anyone could use in their own life: tips on making homemade surprises for someone special, on how to throw a themed party (nerdy themes ahead!), ideas for organization, how to be more productive through gamification…the list goes on. So I’m hoping to have some helpful content on this site too!

This blog is definitely a work in progress but I can’t wait to get started!! Thank you guys so much for supporting me thus far and I welcome anyone to join me on this new journey!