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Away for tiny bit

21 Jun

I’ll be heading to my parents’ place for a few days, so any orders received in the Etsy store will be shipped out on Monday the 27th!

Hope you are all having a wonderful summer, so far! I’m excited to be riding the train up and down California!

Review of our Red Delicious line

3 Jun

Check out Etsy user LoveJewelryByJ’s review and upcoming giveaway of our Red Delicious apple line here: lovejewelrybyj.blogspot.com !
You can also find a special 15% off coupon code good on everything in our Etsy store there!

Thanks so much for the lovely review, Janelle!

Coworking is the new library

1 Jun

Apartment Therapy’s Unplggd.com ran a short story on coworking today, which is a lot like working in a library, except with better lighting and rent. Coming from a studio background that prvileges communal working (if not always collaborative), it’s easy to see the draw of these setups. In undergrad, I heard about a few schoolmates who had signed up for a membership to a workspace that they described as “library like,” where they could always find an empty seat and silence. At the time, content with my tiny desk space in a cavernous studio, it seemed a bit opulent and unnecessary, although secretly I envied the image of polished mahogany tables and leather wingback chairs.

Currently, a few of my friends who have just finished their masters degrees are in the process of putting together their job hunting portfolios and will often make the trek across the city (sometimes with an up to 40 minute commute from Santa Monica to Glendale) to work together in the hopes that companionship will force them to focus. With the allure of mindless web crawling and television, it’s easy to lose track of time when there’s not a definite deadline looming. The presence of someone else who can look over at any time and disapprove of your Facebooking will often guilt you in to working, at least in my experience of furtive message checking. Or at least that’s what it felt like.

It’s not all about guilt, though. In a lot of ways, working with a friend is helpful in the same way that watching a movie while you’re working does, keeping you focused and at your desk, instead of wandering around aimlessly, looking for snacks. Going to the bathroom. Taking phone calls. But it can’t be a new, interesting movie and it must be an old, familiar, mostly quiet friend. Someone or something that you’ve seen over and over again and that you need only to half-listen to. Someone that you can have tiny spurts of commentary with to keep awake, but not feel as if  you need to have an entire conversation with. This past year, I would alternate between working in my room at home and studio, switching environments whenever one began to feel too oppressive. The studio environment is a nerve wracking one, especially at GSD. It’s a bit like a pressure cooker, and from time to time, people explode and break down and it gets to the point that all that nervous, bitter energy is too much to take in and remain sane. It’s not healthy to be constantly there, and sometimes, it’s nice to put on your pajamas and curl up like a shrimp in front of your computer. Sometimes, rather than being an evil temptress, the proximity of BED is a reassuring reward and knowing that I won’t have to trudge through the icy streets at 3am is pure heaven. But working at home gets lonely real fast. Days go by and even though I live with 3 others, everyone is doing their own thing and it’s hard to drum up the energy or interest to talk to them. After three days of shrimpness, I invariably return to studio and find that I’m much more productive and alert. And on and on, and so and so. The cycle continues. Studio, home, studio, home. Sometimes, I’ll venture out with trusty MacMuffin Pro(mo) in search of new scenery. But it’s always the same three bears story: too cold, too hot, no internet.

So, the idea and business model of coworking is quite an interesting one, with its fancy digs and sometimes free coffee, and although I’m much too cheap to rent out a space, I too am supposed to be working on my portfolio this summer, so perhaps I may drop by one of them for a day visit. I’d like to apply to the Masters of Architecture II program at my school this winter (I’m currently a Masters of Landscape Architecture candidate…I hate that, like it’s an award…) and once summer ends, I won’t have any time at all to work on it, so I need to get it done pronto.

But it’s summer, and I still have a lot of lazing around to catch up on in addition to making rings and promoting the store. (GO GO GO!) During the day, when Michael is at work, I tend to just roam around the house, drifting from one room to the next, picking up a book, lying on the couch, contemplating taking a shower. At some point, I go outside and water the carrots and sweet potatoes. One gallon, two gallons. I force myself to write a blog entry. I look out the window. Look at a few Etsy Team posts and struggle to say something coherent and smart sounding. Sometimes, it doesn’t work out so well. Inactivity doesn’t become me, and when faced with unstructured SUMMER (!!!) I float away, untethered. SO many possibilities! SO much to do!

And then I end up doing nothing but reading another Haruki Murakami book that Michael has lying around (Norwegian Wood is great, After Dark less so) or looking for snacks in the kitchen drawer I’ve commandeered.

Seaweed. Yum.

Dwight Eschliman’s 37 or so Ingredients of a Twinkie, deconstructed

31 May

Dwight Eschliman’s 37 or so Ingredients (of a Twinkie) has been making the rounds on the blogosphere, but it’s completely gorgeous and I think you should definitely see it.

Dwight Eschliman's Riboflavin

Riboflavin

Dwight Eschliman's Red 40

Red 40

Eschliman is a talented guy, whose work has been featured in commercial venues such as Apple product and store ads, Dwell Magazine, Audi promos, etc.

But his personal stuff is by far, the most interesting, especially the works that examines everyday objects in deconstructed multiples, an example of which is his treatment of the Twinkie, Campbell’s beef stew and legos. It’s manic organization, at its best.

Dwight Eschliman's Beef Stew breakdown deconstructed ingredients

Beef stew

All images copyright of Dwight Eschliman, no infringement intended, just pure adulation.

A feast on both your houses!

31 May

For Memorial Day, Michael, our bestie Mark and I had a tiny impromptu barbecue!

Pina coladas

Pina coladas! For a more smooth and creamy taste, add a touch of vanilla ice cream

Menfolks minding the grill

Tiny grill! ❤

Michael inherited this super cute little grill from our friends Fan and Mike when they left for Beijing last year. Now that it’s summer, I’ve been looking for excuses to fire it up. And by that, I mean coerce poor Michael into lighting it and then fanning the coals and breathing in lighter fluid. Grilling FTW!

Shrimp on the barbie! Outdoor grilling on Memorial day!

Before

MEAT! Glorious meat! Outdoor grilling on Memorial day!

After

One day, we will have a lovely gas grill that Michael can putter around with, but for now, this one is enough for our tiny gatherings.

On the menu: grilled parsley shrimp, best ever barbecue chicken wings & thighs, sage sausage rice stuffing and happy happy veggie kabobs (marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, garlic, pineapple juice and worcestershire sauce). The shrimp was especially easy and flavorful–the simple olive oil and parsley marinade really allows the shrimps’ flavor to come through and convince you that this is a healthy dish. I think I’ll be full for at least two days…

Shrimp skewers

Shrimpses!

Memorial day barbecue table setting

Feastings

Boys

Mark and Michael

Hope you all had a great Memorial Day! Servicemen FTW!

Slotherday

30 May

Or, Slumberday, which is precisely what the latter part of today was for us, after a day at the Geffen Contemporary for “Art in the Streets” and then Daikokuya for the most perfect bowl of ramen in the US, if not worldwide (sorry, Japan).

Art in the Streets @ MOCA Geffen Contemporary

Art in the Streets @ MOCA Geffen Contemporary

Judging by the long line of people waiting to get in, the show has been a great success. We waited outside for about 45 minutes to buy tickets, but having a MOCA membership or buying one at the doors gets you in immediately. Although the boyfriend complained a lot about the trendiness of  ‘street art’ (i.e. the lines today or at any Shepherd Fairey show vs. say, the lack of lines to the previous Suprasensorial:  Experiments in Light, Color and Space exhibit or even the Murakami one, for that matter), there’s something to be said for MOCA’s ploy to increase visitorship by pandering to trends in the art world in contrast to LACMA’s  upcoming Tim Burton show, which privileges film and media production.

Chronology of spray cans

Street art theme park

Admittedly, I only have a passing interest in street art. However, I LOVED the installation Street, a collaboration by a small cadre of graffiti artists such as Todd James and Barry McGee. Not so much for its commentary on street art culture, but simply for the sheer tackiness and theme park-ness of it all. It’s hilarious, really. There’s animatronic taggers, bike repair shops, flophouses, urinals and even a ‘church’ whose deities of choice are Tecates and a jukebox. Sucker for corny amusement parks? That’s me! I read somewhere (probably on Yelp!) that it was supposed to be a depiction of a Brazilian favela. Whatever, it’s a good time, and I’m sure the artists had plenty of fun dumpster diving for all the used styrofoam plates and beer cans.

Best parts? The signs. I can relate.

The standout piece was this installation by Swoon, although the people and dogs up top are a bit frightening. The intricacy of the paper cutouts are mind blowing, and as usual, I’m a huge sucker for papercraft and lacy shadows.

Cutouts

The verdict? See it, just to see it, but don’t expect all that much. A lot of it is repetitive and a huge disappointment (hello, Banksy!), but that’s unavoidable since much of the power of street art lies in its unexpected and startling presence. Expect a lot of photographs of early graffiti and don’t be too sad if you miss the ones on Gordon Matta-Clark’s wall space (huge letdown).

Less disappointing was our dinner at Daikokuya afterwards. IT NEVER FAILS. There’s been some talk (ahem, Yelp) about Ippudo in New York being better, but only if you like your ramen like you like your Korean girls…shallow, expensive, overly made up and hanging out in clubs. Sure, the noodles may be slightly better at Ippudo, but let’s face it–the broth is the heart of ramen. And although the Yakuza-lite cooks at Daikokuya have been fattening up their menu with different varieties of their famous soup (such as kichi-men, a more sour version of their pork soup), I can’t personally vouch for any of them as it’s always the regular one that I’m drawn to time after time. There is no soy sauce, miso or salt broth here, and unless you’re allergic to pork (spiritually or otherwise), there’s little that you’ll miss. It’s that good.

The decor is a throwback to 1920’s Japan and the service is fast, once you’re actually seated. At peak hours (lunch and dinnertime, although it’s usually busy well into the night if it’s a weekend), the wait for a table can be up to 2 hours. It’s a testimony to the deliciousness of the ramen that people will actually wait that long, but try to get there well before dinnertime and your wait will be significantly reduced. Otherwise, a stroll around the Little Tokyo Village across the street will help kill time until tasty, tasty ramen is yours. I recommend the ramen combination bowl, which includes a small shredded cabbage salad and your choice of small chicken teriyaki, fried rice, oyakudon (chicken-egg bowl), or shredded pork bowl. All are good, but I always get the chicken teriyaki bowl because it’s so much better than anything you can find elsewhere as the chicken is slightly battered. The salad…is nothing short of spectacular. It has the most flavorful, mayonnaise-based dressing, studded with small carrot flecks. Get this, even if you don’t get a combination bowl, for it’s only $1 (last I checked).

Daikokuya forever!

Oh, and sloths!

SoCal, so awesome.

25 May

Well dear friends. It’s been a while. It’s been well over a year since I’ve updated this blog, and some big things and some small things have happened since then. I’ve grown, Orderly Civilians has not grown so much, but it’s been quite the year nonetheless.

As I write this, I’m sitting on the really cute picnic table that the boyfriend picked up and refurbished in the gorgeous Southern Californian outdoors. It feels so decadent to be sitting here, enjoying the sunshine and iced green tea after month upon month of rainsleetsnow and down coats and yaktrax"" and unyielding deadlines and Adobe CS5. It still feels like I need to do something, be somewhere, turn in something and I keep having dreams that I’m still in school and my project is due in two days. Needless to say, I’m having trouble adjusting to summer vacation. Not that that’s a bad thing at all.

Well, let’s back up a bit. Last August, I packed up my whole life into 12 boxes and left everything and everyone I held dear and moved clear across the country to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in order to study Landscape Architecture at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard. In a lot of ways, Boston is very similar to Los Angeles, but smaller and more brick-y. More lush. Less barren. And there are small things that are different, such as the omnipresence of ginger ale and sparkling water, the proliferation of Zipcars and food delivery and that there is always a hard cider or fruity beer option at the bar (Good things). And then there are the bad things: the cold, the lack of decent, moderately priced food that is not either Indian or Thai, driving, cancelled flights… It’s a grab bag of good vs. bad, but all things considered, the move hasn’t been all that horrible and I’m getting the hang of East Coast living.

Butttttt….it’s summer vacation now! And unlike all of my über on-top-of-things, super ambitious schoolmates who are travelling the world on summer internships with such-and-such amazing firm, I’m opting to spend what could very well be my last summer vacation growing my fledgling business, updating my portfolio and picking carrots from our garden.

To that end, I’ve also just set up a Facebook page for Orderly Civilians.

Now on to the lazing around…

ChairmanMHow

OMG GUYZ!

4 Mar

Our Green Apple ring is featured on Etsy’s front page

RIGHT NOW!

Gosh.

I don’t even know what to say.

Just, flabbergasted.

❤ you too, Etsy.

LOTS.

Lightning strikes…back?

3 Mar

I have it on very good authority that one of our lovely Globe Rings made it to Etsy’s front page yesterday! I woke up to a flurry of orders (okay, just two for the two that were listed) and quite a number of inquiries about the future of the series.

AMAZING.

I can’t get over it at all. It can be so hard to start up a tiny little company. Some never even get that first sale. So to have a representative of both our signature pieces chosen for Etsy’s front page is nothing short of astounding and we are so, so blessed and grateful. Not to be forgotten are the lovely Etsyians who have hand picked our pieces for their treasuries, displaying them amongst some of the best and brightest in the handmade world. There’s nothing like the thrill of getting that little convo that says “Out of thousands, I like YOU the best!” (at least that is what I read…)

Four, almost five months later and 33 sales, already. That may fall somewhat short of the hundreds of sales some have made, but it’s amazing in its own right and honestly, each one is thrilling and

JUST

LIKE

CHRISTMAS!

I’m convince that there is little better in the world than that feeling you get when an order is all boxed up, wrapped in brown paper, labeled, and ready for the postman to pick up. It’s a tingling sort of happiness, warm and fuzzy in the heart. As if all is right in the world and in a few days, someone will open their mailbox, and there it will be. Well, perhaps the excitement of receiving a package in the mail is just about as exciting as sending one, even if it’s one you knew was coming and which you paid for.

In any case, thank you, from every corner of the tiny little one-room production line that is Orderly Civilians.

We’re glad you’re here with us.

ChairmanMHow

Going global

28 Feb

Hello, 2010!

(Yes, we are a bit late, but you know what they say about late and never…)

Things have calmed down quite a bit after the rush of the holidays and we are pleased to trot out some new wares this year!

Introducing the Globe Ring series in glitter and figure varieties (please excuse the ghetto blu-tac…one day, museum gel…) :

Glitter and SnowGlobes!

Fool's Gold Ring - Available soon!

We also are now offering Apple Necklaces! Available in Mythic and Red Delicious, but requests are accepted as well!

Thanks to the always lovely Fan for allowing us use of her neck

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