le cahier de kev

le cahier de kev

adventures fresh off the press

Hands On Appreciation

Thank goodness it's Friday!


During my downtime, I decided to take care of some errands.


I went to Barnes and Noble to buy a sketchbook for my designs.  They had a sale on diaries and sketchbooks so I grabbed one with Hokusai's Great Wave.  I love the water so I chose something that would help get the creative juices flowing rather than a plain black sketchbook (although I do have a plain black one with me that I bought back in 2005). haha




I'll be working on some figure drawings and designs for an idea for a piece on menswear and another on womenswear.


I also bought a book a week ago from Reader's Digest called Stealth Health.  When I glanced at it, it had a lot of good advice ranging from healthy cooking and exercise to family and relationships.




Apparently, this is for the Canadian version.  But after I reviewed it, the information can be translated to the American market.  The only differences are minor spelling changes and measurements such as using kilometers instead of miles or writing fibre instead of fiber.  I grew up in a European environment (as well as studying science) so the metric system has been ingrained in me.  It has a lot of great advice, and I wanted to make sure the health and nutrition information were correct before recommending it.  The one thing that was a big plus for me was that the information was in simple language.  It was an easy read and anyone regardless of background will be able to pick it up and understand what's being discussed.


It also touches upon mental health such as providing tips for handling stress, anxiety, or depression.  A lot of the advice is what you'd find in self help "Chicken Soup for the Soul" types of books, but it's indeed helpful.  With fast paced lives nowadays, many people don't get the chance to really do things to relax.  Even during free time (I can speak from my experience), work and other responsibilities orbit our minds (even when we don't consciously try to).  Playing with your pet, exercising, or talking it out with your significant other or good friend are a few things that can help alleviate the buildup of emotions.  I have applied a lot of what I learned from my counseling experience to my current work in journalism and public relations.  Similar to how you need to understand your clients' problems before helping them get through it during therapy, you need to understand the background of a news story or article before writing it. The same goes with fashion.  You have to understand changes in trends and the tastes of your audience in order to tailor the clothes to their needs.


In the end, who doesn't want someone to talk to?


But think of it this way.  How do you feel when you click or connect with someone, even for a brief moment?  Whether it's catching up with an old friend or just joking around with the cashier at the check out line, it makes you feel good when both of you can share stories.


Speaking of check out lines, I also stopped by Bed, Bath, and Beyond to get a few items.



There were so many great things that I had to control myself from redecorating the house!  I did pick up a few things such as a nonslip hanger for belts/scarves (since they keep falling down from my smooth hangers), a pizza cutter (can you believe that all of these years I've been killing myself trying to cut a pizza with a regular knife which ends up pulling off the cheese and toppings? haha well no more!), disinfectant, a small black storage bin, and Downy Unstopables (it's one "p" but I was tempted to type two!).  Now here's a story about the latter.




I was walking through one of the aisles and a scent instantly caught my attention.  I peeked around and found the source of the heavenly bliss (don't you just love adjectives?).  It was the fragrant smell of a fresh laundry breeze.  I saw that it came from the Downy Unstopables.  I read reviews that the blue one smelled better than the lavender one, and I agree.  The blue one was the one I smelled back during my vacation.  I read that it would make laundry smell good for a few weeks and when people did the laundry it would make the house smell wonderful.


I actually wanted to try something different and try to make the cabinets and closets have that fresh smell.  I read online that some people would put it in an old sock and toss it into the drawers and closets to freshen the smell of the clothes.  My friend gave me a small bag with my name on it and Prada cologne as a gift during Christmas.  What I decided to do was put a teaspoon of beads into that bag and put it in the closet.  I might also do a Febreeze type of spray and mix it with water in a spray bottle.




It was pretty soothing to walk down the aisles.  The associates were so nice and we'd all smile at each other when they'd ask if I needed any help.


I have a couple of readings to do.  There are a couple of articles in Pharmacy Today that I wanted to check out.  The latest issue contains continuing education for substance abuse in the pharmacy profession and other articles on sleep disorders and immunization.



I'm also going through Bina Abling's Fashion Sketchbook.  It's very comprehensive and I looked through several different types of illustration books, but decided to focus on this one before dealing with the more advanced one's like Anna Kiper's Fashion Illustration: Inspiration and Techniques.



I'm going to do a twist on men and women's formal wear, and I was inspired by a theme of romanticism that I found in some Japanese art.  When I have it all laid out, I'll share it with all of you!


After going through all of these books, it reminded me of the experiences that I read from Gail Simmons's book Talking With My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater.  When she approached the editor about food writing, he told her that performing the hands on work as a chef will allow her to understand culinary writing more.  She burned her hand on a pot, ran around, and juggled her duties preparing meals for the restaurants that she worked at.


When I did work in public health, I learned the theories and case studies, but it wasn't until I actually worked for programs such as the Genesis Health Project Network where I had to speak with investors/collaborators, work with populations, tailor information to suit individual needs (be it cultural, educational, or religious), and learn about the ins and outs of marketing and grant writing that I understood how complex and important it was to reach out to these communities.


The same went with fashion.  I collaborated with a designer on writing fashion advice, wrote trend pieces, and interviewed a new designer for a profile (which reminds me, I have to finish one on a model).  But I knew that the same principle applies.


As I started sketching out pieces, looked at different colors, and felt several types of fabrics (of which I'll end up cutting and sewing), I gained a newfound appreciation for the process (similar to my work in health and Gail Simmons's work in the culinary field).  I learned the ins and outs that could not be gained solely by reading.


But there was one common theme throughout all of these scenarios.


It's all hard work.


This also reminds me of a poster I saw before:



I knew that sitting down and twiddling my thumbs won't make articles appear or designs flash before my eyes.  I had to go into the "knitty gritty" and "burn my hands on the pot" like Gail Simmons.  But look at her now... she ended up becoming a judge on Top Chef and Special Events Coordinator for Food and Wine Magazine.


Yes it can be achieved, but it requires work.  It's actually fun though.  I get to collaborate with people from different fields, conduct interviews, and write.


Just some food for thought.  I do have a few music suggestions for my next entry and I'm anticipating Season 2 of The Mindy Project which will start in September.  Hopefully, it'll be as good as the first. 


Now I have to finish writing a card to a friend. :)

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