Thursday, 23 February 2017

Birthday Girl!

Hello friends, I have to go to work soon today, but I am feeling very excited for this weekend - why? Because my birthday is coming up on Saturday! I will be turning 29!

So I just wanted to share with you, an excited chibi version of myself:

And if you also have a birthday this month or in March, welcome to the sweet birthday club, sweet Pisces friend! Let me know in comments here and I'll send you a free coloring sheet to enjoy!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Lucky Cat Fortune

Today is another Review Wednesday! They are always fun because there's always something new to try out! And February 22's is a small maneki-neko statue; that is, a Lucky Cat.

You've probably seen these little cuties before in Asian-themed restaurants. They come in a range of sizes and colors, and - if you're observant - you've seen them with their paws raised on different sides, but often moving back & forth. Why is that?


The left paw raised is meant to attract new customers to places such as restaurants, bars and even geisha houses. The right paw raised (as you see in the video above) is for attracting wealth and good fortune, which is why Rob & I put this out when we do scratch and win lottery tickets.

**Please note, these tickets are only do be done by those who are the age of majority in your region; in most of the world it's between 18 and 21 years old. I don't condone minors gambling.

She came with a booklet when we bought her at Chapters/Indigo

Ours summons purity and happiness. **This is just for fun and not a cult belief.

What are those things she's holding?

In Japanese culture, it's common for objects to hold stories with meaning. Each of the items on the cat (neko) either invites wealth, banishes evil/illness or brings some other form of good luck.

The Coin - this large gold coin with Japanese on it, is the Koban coin from the Edo period. It has a very high value (said to be worth ten million ryou).

The Bib (the green chest) - this is often a symbol of warding off poor health. During the Edo period, it was traditional for families of recovered children to visit a Buddhist shrine and place the bib on the Jizo Bosatsu statue, a Buddhist shrine, to say thanks for the health they prayed for.

The Collar - having a cat in 17th-century Japan was a sign of wealth in itself because they were very high-priced. So women with cats liked to show off wealth by giving them collars colored from a deep red flower called hichirimen.

The Bell (on the collar) - this was very practical; because cats were of high value and no owner wanted them stolen, the bell was to help them keep track of the precious felines so they didn't lose them.

How did the legend start?

So how did the concept of a 'lucky cat' come to be in Japan?

The most popular story comes from 17th-century Japan, when an old and poverty-stricken priest had a cat named Tama, in a temple in Tokyo, Japan. They didn't have much food, and when the cat ate the last bit of food they had, the angry priest kicked the cat out into the wilderness to fend for herself.

Around that time, a wealthy samurai came to rest for the night not too far off from the temple, for it was a rainy night. While he rested under the tree, he took notice of the beautiful cat Tama and could swear she was beckoning to him to come to the temple.  So he followed his instinct and went to follow the cat, and not long after he left his spot under the tree, lightening struck it!

He realized he nearly lost his life and truly felt that Tama, the 'lucky cat', had saved it! He was so grateful to the old priest for this, that he donated a great deal of his own wealth to the temple. And when the samurai passed away at an old age, his people had created a statue to honor the cat that saved his life as a young man. And then it became part of pop culture.

Image result for stars divider

So in honor of the Maneki-Neko legend, today's #Kawaii365 project is a digitally-drawn lucky coin.

Have a lucky day!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Inspiration Comes in Many Forms

Hello, konbanwa (good evening).

I wanted to quickly post for you guys before bed - some days, even after awesome months of inspiration from the Noah Scaling book 'Unstuck', I have a little trouble getting motivated. It's part of life, and I do have an upcoming appointment to discuss mental wellness. Being mentally healthy is a fundamental part of our overall well- being and there's no shame in seeking professional help 😳 don't let people tell you otherwise.

So I admit, sometimes I try too hard to be creative, which has the opposite effect. And today luckily, I happened to notice we have a cute Hello Kitty in a onesie, and a clay moustache I had made back in November. So, rather than 'make' something new, why not just put these 2 cute elements together?

Have a great night everyone! Xoxo

Making Up For Lost Time

Konnichiwa (hello) my sweet friends! 🍓

Yesterday evening, I was wanting to post the very first 'Retro Kawaii' debate (based off of our 'Are They Kawaii?' weekly posts), and as you know, there have been a lot of personal things going on - from personal family stuff, to medical/health issues, so I am doing what I can for you sweeties :)

I appreciate you all more than you know - it's because of you guys that this blog has over 11,000 views in just over half a year! I want to make sure you stay happy & smiling ^_^

So I call these 2 that we will review, 'Retro Kawaii' because they date back to the 1980s (even before I was born, and I'm turning 29 soon). We are reviewing 2 this time around, because I was going to post one last week but life gets crazy sometimes.

We are going to start with the original Strawberry Shortcake - yes, we know there's a modern version of her for today's little girls, which is outstanding because she's one of the longest-running pop culture characters! Let's see the original version:

Image result for strawberry shortcake originalImage result for strawberry shortcake original

So the question for you: Is she technically 'kawaii'?

Okay so she wasn't invented in Japan, so the Japanese word かわいい (kawaii) wasn't intended to apply. She first appeared on greeting cards in 1979 and was met with immediate fandom, which led to dolls being made not long after. Many fans of 'cute' collect dolls. From there, she got television specials! So the creator Muriel Fahrion hit something right when she designed the cute girl.

Some aspects of her that could count as 'kawaii' are: The larger head/smaller body (like a chibi drawing), the roundness and lack of sharp points, the use of pink, with polka dots which are always in style, the addition of cute pets and cute friends, and the tying in of fruit - strawberries and most fruit is definitely kawaii! 🍓🍓 I say yes!

Here is a photo my mum took of my very first birthday cake. It's significant because now, 28 years later, my birthday is coming up this Saturday, February 25:

And now, we will look at some of my very good friend Sabrina's favorite characters: Little Twin Stars!

These adorable pastel siblings are even older than the 80s - they are even older than my husband - this brother (Kiki) and sister (Lala) debuted in 1975. That's just after Hello Kitty came out the previous year; both are created by Sanrio.

Image result for little twin stars

They came out on Christmas Eve (December 24) and are designed to be angelic. There is speculation they stand for Christmas Angels. Like Strawberry Shortcake, they never really lost popularity in our modern culture ^_^

This one is a much easier debate, because A) they were created in Japan and B) Sanrio definitely stands for Kawaii characters! I just think it's cool that they're immortalized chibi children and 42 years old [late this year].

I really love the creator's use of pastel colors; it gives them a very dreamy and ethereal look...

Image result for little twin starsImage result for little twin stars 

Thank you for reading this lovely-cute blog post! Now I have to go get ready for a doctor's appointment! Have the best day ever! xoxo

Monday, 20 February 2017

A Disney Theory About Rapunzel and Frozen

Let's talk about a popular Disney theory, which makes a lot of sense.

Firstly, we'll discuss the movie Tangled (2010) about Rapunzel, who is technically royalty (the lost princess). An evil woman stole her from the kingdom so she could use her magic hair to keep herself young forever. The movie shows the King & Queen a few times, and there is a resemblance between Rapunzel's mother and the Queen/mother of the 2 girls in Frozen (2013).

Image result for elsa's motherImage result for elsa's mother

The first image is of Rapunzel's mother, who is silent throughout the film (but her facial expressions speak volumes!). The second image is of Elsa's & Anna's mother - though the 2 women have vaguely different features and eye colors (green, and blue) - there is a lot of 'Disney universe' speculation that these 2 beautiful queens are in fact, sisters.

Why are they in different parts of Europe? That is, how did they end up in different kingdoms, where they need a ship to go see each other? The popular speculation is that their own parents wanted to make good with nearby kingdoms (maybe for economic or peace-keeping reasons), and so each daughter was betrothed to said kings.

Image result for elsa's parentsImage result for rapunzel's parents

So they both have brown hair, big eyes, gentle expressions and fair skin - but what other evidence do we have that these 2 queens are sisters?

We can tell that both the kingdom in Frozen and in Tangled are inspired by Eastern and Northern European places, primarily Germany and Norway. So they're close enough that it's just a ship ride away, and it appears that the king & queen in Frozen may have been on their way to see the wedding of Rapunzel and Eugene (formerly known as 'Flynn'). Sadly their ship capsized and they never made it there. Which is why you don't see them in the wedding guests here:

So then, that would mean that, Anna + Elsa, are cousins with Rapunzel! Yes, there is more evidence of that than similar mothers!

Elsa was born with a magical winter power to manipulate moisture into cold snow & ice. And Rapunzel was born with magical hair that could heal people (even after her hair was chopped off by Eugene, she could still heal with her tears). So the 2 cousins have common ground there.

And Rapunzel has a lot in common with Anna too - they both felt trapped most of their life. They were both lonely, and despite that, still very upbeat, fun, and warm-hearted. They even have similar songs when they get their dream come true:

Image result for Anna first time in foreverImage result for Rapunzel leaves the tower

"For the first time in like, forever"

By a fluke, they both went on an adventure for something close to their heart (for Anna it was her sister, and for Rapunzel it was a lifelong dream) with a cute guy - who later became their significant other :)

So if you still don't believe this theory (even with all the evidence pointing to Disney writers' and artists' creativity), then look at this:

Image result for Rapunzel in Frozen Image captured from 'Frozen' (2013)

So that is why, for today's #Kawaii365 project, this blog is featuring a digital illustration of the 2 happy cousins excitedly greeting each other (while Elsa chills out with Olaf somewhere).

Image result for cute dividers

And in other news my friends:

Yesterday I was feeling tummy-sick from a rich egg sandwich that I ate. In fact, I didn't even think it would be possible to sleep, so I went and got some Gravol chewable ginger lozenges from our bathroom, and a small glass of water. Sometimes when your body is at a higher level of nausea, it feels difficult to chew on something (foreign objects in the mouth may send you over the edge). So I did something helpful: I dissolved a lozenge in a glass of water and then slowly sipped it, and it helped!

You want the type that are pictured above; they come in a pack of 20 chewable lozenges, made with natural ginger to soothe an upset digestive tract. They're good because they're naturally-sourced and don't cause 'drug side effects'. I've been using these for years and they work! It's awesome that they can be easily dissolved in water and then sipped, so you can feel better faster.

Have an awesome day everyone! xoxo

Sunday, 19 February 2017

About Feeling Nauseated

Hello everyone, this will be a quick post for tonight.

I don't feel right letting one of the 365 days [of this project] go by without sharing the #kawaii365 project:

I drew this one on our tablet with a paint program. So it felt cool trying something new (contributes to creativity).

However because we had rich egg sandwiches at Tim Horton's for brunch, my stomach and throat feel like they're doing summersaults. So now I need to continue resting and taking anti-nausea medication. BTW, I still love Timmy's! I just have trouble digesting sometimes.

Lots of love to you all! 🐼

Saturday, 18 February 2017

How To Go Viral

Well, maybe... with the right audience.

Hello friends! I just recently posted a project on my Instagram (like, really recently!) and I was blown away by the response it received!

I've been posting on Instagram for about a year & a half now, and most of my posts were boring pictures of our day-to-life (like houseplants, our kitchen, etc.) so if they got likes it all, they were few & far between. I was such a newb, I wasn't thinking of using hashtags yet (or tagging relevant friends).

After viewing and liking many other similar posts, I started to see a pattern - they used a variety of hashtags; not just 2 or 3. We're talking 9-12 hashtags, and though some see it as spammy and annoying, it seems to be how to get more eyes on something a lot faster!

And it's not just using lots of tags - it's using the most relevant ones. When I began this Kawaii365 daily project, I often only used the tag #Kawaii365 (you're welcome to use it for your own cute ideas as well, as long as it relates back to this project). The only issue was, I basically created it, so it wasn't widely known and people didn't click it really. It took me about 4 months to realize that little hiccup, and so I slowly started incorporating the more popular #Kawaii and also ones relevant to what I may be making at the time: #Kawaiifashion and #Kawaiifood are good ones.

And then I took it a step further. I asked myself: What other tags are relevant to the Kawaii culture? (which is huge online. I hope you're listening if you're in this community yourself). So I began an internet search - sites like Twitter, Instagram and even facebook (and others) had included tags like #Cute #charming #Harajuku and even character ones like #Sanrio #HelloKitty and the like. That means for months, I was missing an entire audience out there. So I had to get on it - I had to begin using more relevant tags, and more than 3 at a time.

So are you wondering about the recent project? It's February 18's Kawaii365 project, which (if you haven't already guessed) was another one inspired by Noah Scalin's 'Unstuck' book, specifically the Roll the Dice project - I got stuck with purple, bright & right. So for 'purple' I used a purple fabric marker for the eyes and mouth, and for bright I used a white piece of candy, and for right, well, you know the rest. You're very smart :)

And now for the part where I was blown away! So I posted it as I usually do, only this time I branched out a little with the tags, including words like #face and #funny which I don't normally do. And I think it was using more tags (which are still relevant to this image) was what caused the sudden surge of likes and follows, all in just a couple of minutes! I couldn't believe my eyes, so I ran to show my husband in the other room. I even got a spammer comment (2x), and they usually only target the popular posts :)

Image result for cute dividers

Now for the other part of [potentially] going viral. Something else I always did as a newb, was that I'd only share to Instagram, even though there is an option to sync it up with other social media, such as Twitter and Facebook. I only had a small handful of followers, and I thought sharing to just them made a difference - it didn't really. Then I synced up and began sharing to other SM sites, and because the hashtags were still included, they worked the same way there too. More eyes on the projects when relevant tags were used, and popular ones people search for anyways. I am telling you all of this because I want very much for you to succeed as a Kawaii fashion or beauty guru, toy creator, artist, writer, or singer!

And it doesn't stop there. Remember earlier here when I mentioned that you can tag relevant friends too? You can! Now don't overdo it, we're not spammers. We respect our friends and their reputations - however if you have networks (like other kawaii fashion gurus) in your list of people you follow, tag them and their followers will find you! Then you can start building a wider network ^_^

Now go and have your most kawaii-some time on the internet!