Thursday, August 12, 2010

Has Anyone Noticed

That my counter says 'Natural Antidepressents?'

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Holy cow, that was a break, right? Yeah, I know. I have excuses, I mean, um, reasons, though. Starting at the end of June, through last weekend, I've been up to my eyeballs in life. I mean, it just got all over the place. You know how that is: Kung Fu practice every day, working two jobs, trying to keep Falcon and Finch and Bright New Things going... did I mention Kung Fu every day? Yep. But things are winding down - after IKC next weekend, I'll be back to Kuing Fu only 4 days a week, plus all the other crap.

In other news.... life continues to strike an unexpected balance. My worries and fears still maintain, but sudden happiness has distracted me. I had reached kind of a plateau in the last couple of years with martial arts: I taught more than I could practice, and our advanced practices had fallen by the way side. Kung Fu was becoming more stress than pleasure. My recent training experiences, however, have helped me break through this wall, and that feels AWESOME. I'm learning things again, pushing myself, improving as a fighter and performer. And I've developed some amazing personal friendships through all of this Kung Fu. All of these experiences have reminded me about what I really LIKE about me. I'm not my upside down mortgage or my inability to land a teaching job at a good university. I AM that bright tension between the muscles of my hand and my sword, that moment of connection when I block or strike. And I am full of love and friendship for the people in my life.

I feel like I've got my second wind.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Touch the Water

Listen, I know I've been silent over here for a while - it's been a busy month, with it's ups and downs, mostly ups though, thank you very much. I'm getting back in the swing of things however, so listen up.

We all know about the oil spill in the Gulf. I can't even watch news footage of it, I find it so terribly upsetting. SO I'm going to participate in this, and I think you should too:

Here's the original post from Hannah at Divining Women. This Saturday I'm going to send some positive energy to the Earth and I hope you will join me.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

I'm in training. Yay.

When ever life throws me a fast ball (curve ball? I don't really 'get' baseball metaphor) I find myself embracing kung fu ever deeper. All of the trouble, irritations and pain of daily life only serve to further deepen my connection to the one thing that brings me pleasure, release and confidence. In the end it will just be me, some cats, and about 105 Quyen, or forms, I'm sure. Right now I know about 15, in case you were wondering.

So, IKC, the big martial arts tournament in Long Beach grows ever closer and I've decided to shake off my current bout of setbacks and really concentrate on my form. From today I have almost exactly 3 months. I've worked in walking/jogging 4 days a week, plus extra practices on Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun. Although, in all honesty, some of these practices are less intense than others. A rigorous teaching schedule makes it hard to get the most out of the in class sessions. I need to step up my game plan and get more of a hardcore training in 3 x a week or more. I've been trying to work in a lot of sparring and self defense drills, as well as full speed form practices until I can't breathe any more. That's like, 2.

I don't have too many stats to memorize, but I weigh in at 120.5 lbs right now, and get pretty out of breath after doing about 2 thirds of the Rose Form. One of my shoulders has been bothering me a lot, as does one of my knees. I will keep you updated, sports fans, on the amazing differences my training schedule will bring. I tend to drop weight fast when I want to, but I do find it challenging to maintain stamina. It feels like the first time I take a nap, I'm right back to where I started from.

I want to bring home another 1st place trophy this year. That's the goal of all of this self torture. Well, trophies, and to further strength the bond between body, mind and chi. After all, if I don't have Kung Fu, I ain't got nuthin'. Oh, also, I will soon be writing about the philosophical and historical aspects of Kung Fu. Stay tuned for that bit of wit and genius.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Mermaid Art Giveaway at eWitch

A friend of mine from eWitch is giving away some of her lovely fantasy themed digital art. Visit the blog post for a chance to win your choice of mermaid or merman (rowr) print!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Hans Christian Anderson, I love you so

the little mermaid
Originally uploaded by hkapeman
Was I a nerd because I read too many books? Or did I read too many books because I was, inherently, a nerd? Who cares. The point is, of all the gifts I received as a child; the dolls, the ponies, real and plastic, the clothes and rubber bracelets, my favorites always were, and will remain, books. There was a lot of upheaval in my early life, and many books I cherished, like an illustrated Beatrix Potter book, and a soiled, tattered copy of Lyle, Lyle Crocodile got left behind. One book I've managed to keep near, however, is a gorgeously illustrated collection of Hans Christian Anderson stories, given to me by my father in 1988. I remember him, and my step mother at the time, reading to us from this book before my brother and I went to bed. Is it weird that my parents still read me bed time stories once in a while when I was 12? Possibly, but reading for pleasure has been linked with success as adults, so whatever.

Anderson wrote some of the most cherished stories of contemporary childhood, though you may not recognize some of the original endings. "The Little Mermaid," for instance, ends with heart break and tragedy, not Ariel and the Prince dancing off into happily ever after. Anderson also wrote classics like "The Ugly Duckling," "The Snow Queen," and "The Princess and The Pea." And there are lesser known gems, like "The Tinder Box," and "The Elder Tree Mother," both of which I loved as a child. Anderson told a world that was both beautiful and sad, and often rife with danger, where love and loss both triumphed. His characters are fragile and flawed, but find reserves of personal strength, courage, and faith.

In honor of his birthday, which was today, 205 years ago, please explore the work of this wonderful tale teller:

And if you are already a fan, check out The Annotated Hans Christian Anderson edited and with notes by Maria Tatar, noted folklore scholar. It's loaded with intriguing and insightful commentary:

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I have my heart set...

On the Studio at the Glenferness Estate. I have been in love with this cottage for years, ever since I found it while planning my first Scotland trip. I've never been in the position to go - it's out of the way. Waaaaay out of the way. It's situated right on the lip of the River Findhorn, long famous for it's wild and rich beauty. It was built in the late 1800's an artists' retreat, and retreat I will. I promise you this, dear reader, by midsummer next year, I will be spending a week there if I have to go hungry all year to do it. I will bring half a dozen cameras, a suitcase full of film, and a picture of my beloved cats. Otherwise, I'm not sure you could get me to come home.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I got presents and it wasn't even my birthday!

Remember a few weeks (months?) ago, when I said I wanted to trade some art with people? Katie at Lemon Jitters was the only person to take me up on it. In the words of my Sifu - "I don't blame you." I know we all have stuff goin' on. Anyhow. It took us both foreeeeevvvveeerrrr to mail out our respective packages. It was totally worth the wait, however. Let me show you what nifty treasures I received.

First of all, Katie is awesome at sending packages. She had personalized it with some of her babushka gift tags and pretty ribbon and it really amped up the pleasure and excitement of getting something in the mail. What I found inside, however, was a treasure trove. She sent a mini poster that she designed - it reads "Don't listen to your Mom. Scratch your itchies." A sentiment I can get behind, my dears. Here it is tucked inside the little memo board my kung fu students gave me for my birthday last year.

She also sent me some nifty tags she made from an old book. I don't know yet what I'm going to do with them. I thought they would make pretty tags on party favors, if I ever have another party. Which looks doubtful at the moment. Or maybe I'll send them on birthday presents to friends this year. Or maybe I'll save them as props for different photo projects....

Finally, the best part: Katie included a jewel from her shop, Lemon Jitters. It may not be something that I have mentioned before in the blogosphere, but I love jewels. Really. All of the women in my family go a little crazy for pretty, unique, jewelry. My mother swears that it's the secret to a successful marriage, and my step dad knows better than to come home from any over seas location with out a pack full of exotic treasures from afar.

The piece Katie sent is a faceted carnelian briolette on a wire wrapped brass finding and chain. I'm in love. I've barely taken it off. The carnelian is so deeply and richly colored and when the light hits it, the stone seems to glow! Lovely. And she sent it in her typical packaging, with her logo stamped card and a little dandelion puff bag. So cute. It's really made me feel like I need to do better with my own packaging for Bright New Things and Falcon and Finch.

Needless to say, I'm a fan of this girl! Thank you so much for sharing with me Katie! Also, sorry that the photos for this story ain't the best - the light in my kitchen was at it's gross point, but I really wanted to capture everything as I discovered it!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Where have I been?

Originally uploaded by brightnewthings
Really. I've been terrible. I've barely blogged, attended my various team functions, blahdy blahdy, all the other stuff I do regularly. And I'm sorry about that. But I have a good excuse:

I've been on a staycation! Really, I'm house sitting, but I like to look at the bright side of things. It's a gorgeous house in the SFV, not too far from my condo, so I can check on the cats every day, but it really is like another world. Maxine has a gorgeous garden, a hot tub, and a water heater that ACTUALLY works. Between the hot showers and the hot tub, my skin will be pruny for weeks. This photo, Pods, is a TTV I took at Sunrise in the garden a few days ago. It's been amazing. Sunlight, cool breezes, a clean kitchen - I may as well be in Greece.

And like a real vacation, I am stuck with the vagaries of limited computer access. Max has a pc, but I'm pretty sure she purchased it in 1997. It's slow, archaic, and doesn't like the internet all the much. That's ok, though. Having limited net use has freed up a lot of my time for hot tubbing, book reading, and napping. I can't complain.

Max also has a puppy - a mountainous Newfoundland dog who follows me around and puts her enormous head in my lap all the time. I adore her.

But all good things come to an end. Today is my last day of vacation. Tonight I will be back in my messy, cramped condo, with lots of meetings to catch up on, items to list, negatives to scan, and so on.

Oh, and if you really do feel like you've been missing out on my blogging, I have managed to maintain my Wednesday posts at eWitch. Enjoy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pagans of Etsy Team Spring Sale

Pagan Team is having our first Spring Sale! Search etsy for the tag paganspringsale for a plethora of Spring themed items - art, oils, celtic and fae themed stuff, it's a pretty long list. At brightnewthings, I'm offering free shipping on all sale tagged items. I haven't had a chance to do Falconandfinch yet, but there will be discounts on tagged items - check back tomorrow. Some of my favorite things from other people's shops:

This Quartz Crystal Egg, from Rainadelmagick is SOOOOOO nifty. And during the sale, it's got free shipping and a free gift!

The Ivy and Vines DreamCatcher from HowlingCaterpillars is a pretty way to protect your dreams, and is currently 25% off.

And I love the pretty cherry blossom pattern of this Tarot Bag from EarthRitesBags. On sale for 20% off!

I hope you will visit all of these stores and share a little Spring Time with all of us!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

I heart "I heart Falling"

I have a super huge girl crush on my friend Erynn. Not only is she a talented studio artist, aerialist and performer, but she is also amazingly crafty. She recently started an etsy shop for her super comfy and colorful hand knitted neckware, called I heart falling.

I recently had the pleasure of photographing some of her products for her shop opening, and I wanted to share a few of my faves from our shoot with you. We had a great time, and I got see all of her stock up close. I was so impressed with how much care and attention she puts into her designs, and the neck warmers are so very versatile!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Running out the door

To nanny a squeelly little two year old, so I don't have time for a proper blog post. But I just read this lovely post from Lynn at Tea For Joy, and I loved it, so I thought I would share. I love apple crates!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's my Etsyversary!

I love Coney Island
Originally uploaded by brightnewthings
Yep, I almost missed it! BNT has been a photo sellin' entity for one year and two weeks. I'm not exactly a house hold name yet, but feedback has been good, and the sales I've made have been from people who seem to really enjoy my work. I suppose you have to, if you are gonna put it on your wall, right? And I appreciate deeply every single person who has purchased a print, hearted my shop, or dropped me a convo to tell me how much they like my work. Nothing makes me happier than when my work touches someone.

To celebrate: from now until March 11th, buy any print in my shop and receive free shipping (refunded through Paypal after you have completed checkout and payment.)

And a very special thank you to all of my friends who have featured me in blogs or treasuries or by word of mouth and helped me land each and every one of those sales. You guys are the raddest.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Early Taste of Springtime. At least, in my house.

Springtime in the San Fernando Valley can be elusive. I like to describe our weather like this: on a normal year, we have 6 months of hellishly hot weather, followed by three months of smoky, hellishly hot weather (thank you, wildfires,) followed by a month of extremely windy, hellishly hot weather, followed by a month and a half of overcast, surprisingly chilly days. If it's an El Nino year, make that a month and a half of flash floods. Spring, then, is a dreamy blink of an eye that lasts as long as it takes the blooms of the Jacaranda to appear and then drop in a rain of purple flowers.

I love Springtime and always try to prolong it's visit here by trying to grow things year round in my kitchen garden window. Most of the year is a failure for everything except basil, my aloe, and a few other things that seem to thrive in the heat. This year, that included a little pot of bell peppers I grew from seed. I don't know if it was the pot, or the soil, or the seeds, but none of them got bigger than a golf ball.

The El Nino rains also brought my usually brown and dry back patio to life: lavendar, nasturtium and Oxalis Shamrocks are growing like weeds. Which two of them are. But still. Nothing is blooming yet, it's still too early. At Imbolc I brought in some clippings to Spring the joint up a bit.

What a change it made to my mood, to be surrounded by lovely green things. Happy Springtime to you, whenever it gets there!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Step one

The first step of my plan to take over the world is complete: I am on the cover of Viet Star Magazine. Twice.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Now we know why my seeds don't sprout

cici inna pot
Originally uploaded by brightnewthings
Most mysteries of the universe are caused by cats.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Lets Trade!

Originally uploaded by brightnewthings
I'm sick of looking at my own art. Lets trade. You send me stuff that you made. Whatever you want, as long as you made it yourself. A little piece of art from your world. And I'll send you something that I made. A random print or notecard or created thing or some other bit of stuffy-stuff. Who's down? Leave me a comment or message me through the blogger communication system, and we can work out the details.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Lynelle: The Interview

My dirty little secret. Or one of them, anyway. I get fashion magazines. I don't read them. I mostly rip out the photos that inspire me for whatever reason - techniques, colors, mise en scene, make up or fashion choices, whatever. It's true. Ask anyone who has had to live with me and my tidal wave of unorganized, disembodied magazine photo shoot pics. Those things are slippery in the dark on cheap pergo flooring, did you know that?

Anyways. I don't read them. Except for those cheezy little celebrity interviews. Not the in depth ones with accompanying photos of the celebrity in their humble abodes, or playing with their purebred whatever terriers, or posing nonchalantly in front of the collection of awards show statuettes. No, the little one pagers, where a series of questions are listed and a series of short answers given. They almost always include one question about cosmetics. I love those interviews. I guess because it seems so sort of whimsical and ridiculous, to try to fit anything pithy in that one page. Also, I think they have a sort of ritualistic feel, like call and response songs. I can't really explain it, yet, but I'm working on it. I was reading one today and I was thinking, "They really only work if you are a celebrity; I mean who cares what's in my purse, right??" But then I realized, who cares what's in my purse? Why YOU do, of course! So here it is, what you've been waiting for -

On My Mind, with Lynelle Miliate

Who are you itching to work with? Anyone who will pay me to do something. Really.
Beauty Essentials? Well, since I haven't had hot water in 6 months and can only sneak in showers at people's houses about once a week right now.... Shampoo and conditioner in one. It saves time when you are washing in your hair in icy tap water. Also, any body lotion with a really strong scent. I'm using a variety of Bath and Body Works ones in dessert flavors right now. Moisturizer with sunblock, because I take care of my skin.

Recent Splurge? I don't splurge. At least not on things that cost money. But I do try to enjoy little things more. This morning I ate breakfast at the kitchen sink, which sounds lame, except the light in there is really beautiful at dawn, so I ate in silence and enjoyed the moment.

Fashion Faves? I like t-shirts with nerdy sayings that no one really gets, except other nerds. Like "Si, se habla Old Norse." I'd like more. I want one that references thac0, and maybe one in 1337. And also, booty shorts.

Necessary extravagance? Food that's not ramen, which is what I would live on, but I'm totally afraid of getting scurvy. So I break it up with fruits and veggies when the budget will allow. I'm a fan of the Fresh N' Easy clearance food aisle.

Happy I bought? Those caramels - don't you read my blog? Sheesh!

Favorite work out? Kung Fu, from 2 to 5 times a week. I'm working on getting long staves of wood broken on my arms and legs. It's one of the many iron body kungs.

Jonesing for? The Unagi at Musashis, it's been over 6 months since I've tasted it. And cream puffs. Good ones, from a French or Russian bakery. Really fresh, ripe fruit.

Hooked on? Dollhouse, but those mother effers over at FOX are cancelling it, like the cancel ANY and EVERY show I develop any sort of connection with. And, by the way, ever notice how the really awesome shows that get cancelled always have really empowered women? This happens to me every season and I'm about to really lose my interest in TV. Bastards.

Driving? Nope.

In my bag? Ha, you were waiting for it, weren't you???
Here it is, the short list:
A journal.
a date book.
6 pens, 2 of which are sharpies and 2 of which are archival safe. The other two are neon jellies.
the little vintage metal card holder that keeps my credit cards safe.
7 dollars in singles, held together with a paper clip.
lotion that smells like hot chocolate.
3 different lip glosses, all in an almost identical shade of pink? Why? I can't explain it, I'm pretty sure I buy other colors but they all turn into pink in my bag.
2 tampons, because it's better to be safe than sorry.
Moisturizer with sunblock, because I take care of my skin.

Now you have a very personal and profound look into my inner workings. I don't share this info with everyone, just the 9 of you who actively read my blog.
Namaste, or whatever.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

My seal of approval: Have It Confections

As I'm sure you've guessed, I don't buy stuff. Not that I don't want to, I just ain't got no money, honey! I mean, I have a wish list a mile long, but I don't indulge. So everyone on my Christmas list this year got things I baked myself: Grandma Mary's haystacks, cranberry brownies and even some fancy vinegars that I put up with herbs from my garden.

I did, however, make one small purchase this Christmas, and it was sooooo tasty that it has my everlasting seal of approval. See, I don't make caramels. I tried, once, and it was such a huge sad mess that I swore it off forever. So when I wanted to get some for a family member who doesn't like chocolate, I went to Have It Confections. What hooked me were the photos. I know (for a fact) that good product photography comes cheap these days, so I shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but what can I say? When the photos made me salivate, I knew they were the right ones!

I got an order of the uncut Fleur de Sel Caramels. Why uncut? I told myself it was because the lack of individual wrappers was better for the environment. The truth? Because I knew we were just going to pass them around, taking big bites. Was I wrong? Nope. Individual wrappers just get in the way. And soooo tasty! Rich, sweet, and the sea salt (that's what fleur de sel is, for my cro magnon friends) makes such a bright counterpoint, it's like a tiny spark on the tongue. Delish. And a soft, not overly sticky texture, which is a selling point for me. I hate having stuff stuck in my teeth for days.

Fleur De Sel is kind of classic as a flavor choice. I thought it was a good starting off point to dive into the world of tasty, gourmet caramels. The control group for any further flavored caramel experimentation, as it were. However, they also make spiced vanilla caramels, caramels flavored with tea, pecan pie caramels, organic ginger bread caramels (the ones I am currently lusting after the most) and several other intriguing flavors. Plus marshmallows! And this gorgeous, French Hazelnut Nougat made with organic hazelnuts (and do I really care that they are organic? Did I really care about the environmental impact of the wrappers? Maybe not.) Egad! I do believe that Have It Confections may have sprung, fully formed and stocked, from some secret dessert fantasy I was having recently.
I'm telling you all this because it may be that you have some dire caramel emergency on your hands, and this little review will be helpful. Valentines Day is around the corner, people! Sweets for the sweet don't get better than a pound of excellent caramels. They also have a "confection of the month club!!" Just the thought of it makes me overheat with giddy desire!

One caveat: Because of the small batches and hands on quality of the product, it can take up to two weeks to fill your order. Although I will say that they filled my order in about a week, which was lovely because it takes me for ever to make up my mind about a purchase and I was almost too late for Christmas. Sheepish. So get those orders in, all of you who hunger for yumminess!