Posted July 25, 2014
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     Posted July 25, 2014
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Twins1

I’ve been home for almost two weeks and I miss these two so much.

Matthew and Ava are my two (almost three!) year old twin cousins, and are pretty much the cutest kids in the entire world. Matthew is a smartypants—he’s obsessed with trains and uses words like “derailed” and “locomotive” on a regular basis. He once laughed at me for getting Thomas mixed up with Gordon. (I’m sorry.) He also picks up words and sentences like nobody’s business. He actually quotes TV shows now! Crazy.

Ava’s a lot quieter, but she’s much more adventurous than her brother. While Matthew sits on the bench when they ride carousels, Ava’s already on her own horse. She loves swimming and jumps into the water without hesitation. (As long as someone’s there to catch her, of course!) She also loves “organizing” things—stacking and sorting whatever’s lying around. When I visited last year, I left my suitcase open while taking a break from unpacking. Suddenly all the jars and canned goods I had were all lined up on the couch. That’s Ava’s handiwork!

I can’t believe these two aren’t really babies anymore. They’re growing up so fast, and I hate that I live so far away from them. Take me back to California, please. :(

Twins2

     Posted July 18, 2014
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     Posted July 18, 2014
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I got to visit New York for the first time just a little over a year ago. It was a very last minute thing; after graduation, I was supposed to visit my aunt in Florida and then fly out to California to see my cousins. I’d been planning the trip for about a year but for some reason held off on booking my ticket until the very end. While I was on the airline website trying to piece together my itinerary, I ended up with something that went from Manila to Tokyo to New York as a point of entry, with a final connecting flight to Tampa.

We spent Christmas in Florida a few months before, so I knew more or less what a flight to the east coast would be like. The difference was that a few months ago, my point of entry was Detroit. This time, it was New York. New York. If I went with that booking, it meant that the first time I would get to step foot on that city was during a two hour layover. I didn’t want that. It was New York—I had to go. Visiting that city had been a dream of mine for years, and I couldn’t possibly fly all that way just to fly out two hours later.

I tinkered around with my booking a bit more and found out that if I took that same exact route, but with New York as a stop instead of just a layover, it would cost exactly the same. Take note: this all happened five days before I was scheduled to leave. Changing my itinerary obviously wasn’t easy, and securing that ticket was a big hassle, but things thankfully went my way. I got to go to New York, and it was everything I imagined it would be. I fell so in love with that city and promised myself I would come back soon. At the time, I didn’t know that soon meant exactly a year later.

     Posted June 24, 2014
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     Posted June 24, 2014
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It’s 2:15 in the morning in Burbank, and I’m recovering from one of the most insane weekends of my life. I have Go To Warped Tour literally written on my bucket list, and living halfway across the world, I wasn’t sure if it was ever going to happen.

The night before, I got dropped off at my friend Nissy’s house because she lived closer to the venue. “I can’t believe you’re actually here,” she told me. Earlier this year, I was playing around with the idea of flying out to California to catch Warped. She probably didn’t think I was serious about it, and I don’t think I was either—but I ended up doing it anyway. We spent the night packing our bags and drafting up a schedule. The plan was to be up by 5 in the morning and be out by 6:30—which did happen, but we ended up missing the bus by five minutes. That worked out for us later on, though.

Warped gives you the option to skip the line by donating either three canned goods, a used cellphone, or $5. After giving our donations, we were about make our way to the skip-the-line-line. (It was really just a priority lane.) In the distance, I saw a couple of signs promoting The Maine’s set time for the day and I just naturally started gravitating towards it. It was Garrett, Pat, and Kennedy from the band, and Halvo, formerly of A Rocket To The Moon, who was helping them out this summer. I was slightly freaking out on the inside because I was at the venue for literally ten minutes and I already got to talk to my favorite band. They were selling a Warped-exclusive version of their latest album for just $5 so I bought a copy.

KennyPatGarrettHalvo

We took our place in the line and started drafting our schedule for the day. Bands play at different times for each stop of the tour and you only find out who plays when once you get inside.

After a bit of waiting in line, we were finally let in the venue. The first thing we did was buy the $2 map and schedule for the day because it was much easier than spending quite a bit of time jotting down set times in front of the giant inflatable schedule. As we were about to enter the merch tent area, Nissy pointed out someone in the crowd—it was Nick Santino.

     Posted June 8, 2014
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     Posted June 8, 2014
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We The Kings live in Manila

We The Kings live in Manila

At shows lately, my friends and I always ask each other if we’re getting too old for this. I used to live for getting VIP tickets and getting to the front of the barricade, and lining up at least five hours before doors open was the only way to go. These days I’m happy standing at the back. (It sounds so much better there, too.)

Kids at shows look so young now, and I tend to feel out of place. But when the lights go down and the music starts playing, I remember why this is my favorite thing in the entire world. Live music will always bring me the best kind of high.

     Posted June 2, 2014
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     Posted June 2, 2014
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I distinctly remember my attempts to teach myself Illustrator. When I was in high school, I installed it on my hand-me-down desktop and tried to play around with it. It looked like Photoshop, so I figured it would be simple enough—it wasn’t. A few hours later, all I wanted to do was punch my screen and ended up uninstalling the program out of frustration. A few days later, I tried again and the same thing happened. That cycle went on about three more times until I finally got it.

I know the frustration of learning this program all too well, so here’s a basic rundown and a few tips and tricks to help get you going.

THE BASICS

Illustrator creates vectors, not pixels. This is the main difference between Photoshop and Illustrator. You can scale your designs as big as you want without the quality deteriorating. File sizes are also much smaller, so it’s a better program to work with on bigger projects.

There are two different arrows. The black arrow, or the Selection Tool (A), selects objects as a whole. The white arrow, or the Direct Selection Tool (V), selects points.

arrows

The pen tool is your friend. In her Skillshare class, Jessica Hische said, “The pen tool is the most powerful tool in the world. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s the Large Hadron Collider.” Designers will probably agree. The pen tool is the heart and soul of Illustrator, but it takes a long time to master.

Click here for a more comprehensive guide on how to use it, but here are some tips:

  • Start with as little points as possible and keep adding more when you’re smoothing things out.
  • Curves won’t come out perfect when you put either too little or too many points.
  • Get your points down first and correct them later.
  • Try to get your handlebars to have equal lengths. This means they’re sharing the workload.
  • The only way to get better with the pen tool is to practice, practice, practice! Keep tracing photos with curves until you’re comfortable with it.

Always have the pathfinder open. It gives you several options to merge, subtract, and divide objects.

pathfinder

Build your illustrations with shapes. If you can’t draw to save your life (like me), use the different shape tools to start off your illustrations. Move or delete points to turn them into something else.

shapes