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Archive for February, 2009

February is a dangerous month. At least part of the month consists of clouds and rain, it houses Valentine’s day (which can bring terror to even those in happy relationships), and it’s always too short which means you can’t get everything that was planned for the month done. For me February seems exceptionally dangerous as of late due to recently developed allergies and a tendency to fall into the glums when the weather gets cloudy.

Even though today was cloudy, the weather was behaving itself in typical Southern California fashion and I decided that being cooped up within these four walls was a lousy way to spend a Sunday. Besides, I felt the need for a reminder about why I love California so much and why I felt the need to move back, other then the whole needing to complete grad school, wanting to be closer to my family, and wanting to advance my career reasons. In an attempt to be creative and take a relaxing break from myself I decided to venture down Pacific Coast Highway with my camera.

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The sight of the beach made me take a deep breathe while the smell of the ocean made my tense neck muscles unclench just a little bit. To me, this is home. Being able to drive to the beach, take in the beautiful scenery, walk down the shore with the water at my feet (not that today would be a good day to do that).

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I didn’t stray too far from my fullerton apartment, and I wasn’t gone for more then a few hours but I returned to my apartment with a renewed sense of who I was and the dreams that I am following.

I am a strong, intelligent, focused woman who is getting her Masters in Advertising in order to be better prepared to work in the creative world of the entertainment industry. I am determined to do well in my classes, have fun at my current job, take the best pictures possible, and strive for a professional position in the entertainment industry.

I am a California girl… and I invite you to take this creative journey with me.

(For more pictures from my drive please see my flickr.)

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I have some last minute ideas for your Valentine if you are still looking to create an extra special card! The other day I had a “card party” with two of my good friends and we made a bunch of cards. These are the ones I made to give you inspiration. The stamps I used were from Stamp It Up! and the cards were precut and came with envelopes in a collection of pinks and browns. I also used some Valentine’s ribbon from Marshal’s. All in all these cards took approximately 2 hours, but that included the design process.

Valentine 1

This card uses three colors of paper, six stamps and three stamp pads.

Valentine 2

This card used three colors of paper, two different stamps, two colors of ink and a small piece of ribbon.

Valentine 3

This simple card used three colors of paper, three stamps and two ink colors. A great idea for an simple, elegant card.

Valentine 4

This is one of my favorite cards. I used three different heart stamps, three colors of paper, three ink pads, and a small strip of ribbon. It was made especially for my friend Charleen who is very interested in card making and scrapbooking.

I hope you enjoy my card designs. Have a great Valentine’s Day!

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Thank you Ariel and  Elyssa for the GREAT ideas for Alterna-Flowers!

My favorites were:

  • A window garden for someone who is into gardening.
  • Making Button Flowers.
  • A donation to your special someones favorite charity.
  • A special writing pen for someone who loves to write. (You can even go as far as to make it into a faux bouquet if you like.)

I hope you guys like this additional ideas from some of my friends. I apologize for the short post but tomorrow – another date idea! And maybe even some pictures of the Valentine’s Day cards and baked goods my best friend and I are making tomorrow!

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To continue our series on Valentine’s Day I propose to you this date scenario which includes intellectual conversation, striking scenery and undeniable romance. (For location sake I’m using Southern California as my local but this date can easily be adapted for your own nearby metropolitan city.)

Is your Valentine interested in art, music, literature and other activities that provide stimulating conversation? Give your special someone a day of culture they will remember for a lifetime by following these steps.

Cultural Date

1. Instead of showing up with flowers bring your Valentine a small volume of love poetry. This is a touching gesture and you get bonus points if it is the person’s favorite poet.

2. Surprise your date, but make sure she is prepared for the day. Let her know what she should wear (comfortable clothes, but nice if you are going out later) and camera or camcorder (to document the day). If any additional special equipment is needed either insure that you can provide it or let your date know beforehand.

3. Act One. This is where you show an interest in your date, and prove you have been listening to what they have talked about over your many (or not so many) conversations. Art museums (I recommend the Getty in L.A.- admission is free, just pay for parking), botanical gardens (bring sturdy walking shoes), and historical libraries (the UCLA library is beautiful) are all wonderful places to take a date that is interested in culture. You are not only pleasing them but showing that what their interests are important to you.

4. Act Two, better known as dinner. Now dinner can be handled in multiple ways. Many museums have restaurants in or nearby, however these can be pricey because they know they have a fairly captive audience. One recommendation is to pack a picnic lunch. Both Whole Foods and Fresh & Easy have a multitude of prepared items to make this an easy (and healthier) compromise to dinner out. Whatever you decide, make sure you know your date’s likes, dislikes, and any allergies. A Valentine’s Day date should not include a trip to the hospital.

5. Act Three. End on a romantic note. By this time it should be dark and many of our cultural experiences will have closed for the evening. That does not mean your date has to be over. Top it off with something especially romantic. I suggest stargazing (Griffith Observatory), a night walk on the beach, or taking in the local music scene. All of these are things that allow you to spend time together and enjoy each others company.

6. After Party (optional). This is where you find a special little place for dessert. Most people enjoy dessert a bit after dinner, and by waiting till the end of the evening you are leaving the best for last. I suggest something unique and original such as Bossa Nova (in Hollywood) or Beachfire (in San Clemente). Both offer excellent finishing touches to a wonderfully romantic date.

Wherever your date leads you, I wish you happiness and romance.

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Marina Rey asked me to provide alternatives for people who did not like flowers on Valentine’s Day. So instead of another date idea I will provide you will a few examples of alternatives to give instead of the traditional flowers that sell in large bulk on this holiday.

1. Origami flowers. Origami Instructions has tons of different designs. By making it yourself not only are you saving money but you are showing your valentine that you think they are worth the special effort.

2. Chocolate roses. These are available at many stores for Valentine’s Day and most people can not resist chocolate.

3. Does your valentine have a favorite romantic comedy? Surprise them by showing up at their door with something that reminds them of their favorite timeless romance. (Example: A bouquet of sharpened pencils from You’ve Got Mail.)

4. A dried flower bouquet. This may take longer to locate but it would be a special reminder of you that will never fade away.

5. Write a love poem. Not only are you being creative but you are giving the one you love something that comes directly from your heart.

6. Make a CD mix of love songs. Or an playlist for their MP3 player. A bonus if you can load it onto their player for Valentine’s Day (or put it in their car so it starts playing when they turn it on) without them knowing it. Make sure to leave a note on the player or wheel to let them know someone was thinking of them!

I hope these alternative ideas to flowers spark your creativity and desire to make something special for the special one in your life.

Do you have any great ideas for altern-flowers? Leave them in the comments! I’ll post the best ones in a blog later this week.

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For both men and women Valentine’s Day is either looked forward to or hated. This may be due to a specific relationship status (or lack thereof) or a distaste for the commercialism. Contrary to popular belief, there are many ways to make this a day to remember.

In these current economical times Valentine’s Day can be that much more of a challenge, but looked at creatively can provide a meaningful and timeless experience.

I will use the next few days leading up to Valentine’s to share some creatively inexpensive (but romantic) date ideas for you and your Valentine.

First Date

If you are celebrating your first date on Valentine’s Day, congratulations! Of course you are looking to make a great first expression, but can your wallet afford it? This is what I recommend to make sure your first expression is memorable and touching.

1. Flowers are a nice touch. Every girl loves getting flowers. But if the dozen long stemmed roses aren’t in your budget (or is your style) try a single bloom of her favorite flower. Your date will be touched at the thought you put into choosing it, especially if the choice of flower is unique.

2. Go to a local downtown area and enjoy the sites. People watch, talk and just enjoy each others’ company. Dinner and a movie may be the classic date but it is hard to learn anything about someone at the movies, all the attention is taken up by the big screen and people shush you if you try to talk.

3. Don’t be afraid to share. Most nicer restaurants have large appetizer menus (The Cheesecake Factory) for example. If you and your date are like me, they can’t handle dinner AND dessert, and isn’t dessert the best part? By sharing one or two small plates you can enjoy a variety of items and save room for the best part of the evening.

4. If there are any cafes with live music enjoy a cup of coffee and the scene. Music can bring people together, and if you keep your conversation somewhat quiet people won’t give you dirty looks like they would for talking over a movie.

5. Share a larger dessert. If the date has made it to dessert that means the two of you are getting along great! Celebrate with dessert for two. If you are in Southern California I recommend the Frati Gelato Cafe in downtown Fullerton. Melt Gelato also has cafes in select areas across the United States.

Wherever your first date leads you, I wish you luck!

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To start this blog off right, and to inspire creativity, I will start with some of the pictures I recently took in San Clemente, CA. These are my favorites but the rest can be found here. They were all taken with a Nikon D70 SLR camera and edited with Photoshop. I love taking scenery and beach pictures and hope you enjoy them.

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