The Way to a Woman’s Heart is Through the Stomach

…And keeping a moderately full wallet sure helps, too!

I moved in with my boyfriend 4 months ago, and it’s only now that I’m starting to feel like this is “home”.  I had my stuff, we redecorated and refurnished…but what I really needed to stop feeling out of my element was to have control over food.  Sounds weird, doesn’t it?  But I grew up on the southern edge of Chinatown and that means I was accustomed to cheap yet fresh food.  If I ate out in Chinatown, a meal was $5.50.  If I bought produce for me and my uncle, $7 would last us two weeks.  Meanwhile, I know coworkers would talk about how joining a CSA (local farms produce sharing) was cheap at $20 a week.  I could barely fathom what they used to pay before joining a CSA, the thought horrified me.  So that means my grocery bills for me and my uncle were roughly $150 a month – we probably only got outside food on weekends, and remember again that Chinatown food is still a third of the price of an American restaurant.

There’s an app you can get for Macs called “iBank” – it’s basically the same as Quicken but with a better UI, in my opinion.  My credit card statements get imported every month, and I hand-input the cash-transactions I make.  It creates these awesome pie graph charts for me to see how my spending is going.  I haven’t figured out how to truly balance it with my income, since I refuse to link it to my actual bank account.  Security reasons, personal preference.  I started doing this in July and it was SUCH a shocker….I didn’t realize that after moving in with my boyfriend, we were spending so much more on food!!!

July Food Bill (Groceries + Dining Out) – $307.27

I have NEVER spent that much on food in one month…in my life.  While freaking out, I talked to some friends and coworkers, and it seems that the “300s” is what they consider a good range for food per month.  And keep in mind, my boyfriend sometimes pays for stuff and we usually go dutch, so our collective food bill is surely even worse.  I immediately became homesick….being near Chinatown at home, our bills were $150-200 max…this was not something I was used to seeing.

So I set out to lower my food costs.

There is a lot of strategy that goes in to saving money on food, so rule #1 is absolutely the most important. Continue reading

[COMIC] Jazzy Adventures #001

That’s a temp name. I’m terrible at naming things!  And those of you who know me on Facebook have already seen this, but here’s my first comic strip.  Or 1-page short story.

This is a true story.  The events depicted in this comic took place in Brooklyn in 2014 (1 week ago).  At the request of the artist, there won’t be many people in each panel, because it’s hard to draw.    Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.

More to come :)  Probably in color, too.

Life Update: I’m Back!

One of my latest drawings on tumblr (

And it feels great!  A lot has happened since the last time I posted.  I tried writing a few posts on my phone, but the WordPress App is pretty screwed.  It LOVES to crash and delete posts, or never upload them, so I guess I’ll have to backtrack with another “Life Update”.

May Was A Monumental Month.

Remember how I could go on and on about the sucky roommate my boyfriend had?  Well DING DONG, THE WITCH IS DEAD!!!!  Okay, not dead – but GONE, along with her filthy, neglected cats and the clutter she’d been hoarding!!  Elle moved out with her boyfriend.  The other roommate also moved out with her boyfriend.  And…then I moved in with my boyfriend!  That’s right…I left my childhood home.  It feels weird, man.  I still refer to his place as..well…HIS place, not as my/our home.  I’ve slowly been shuttling things over.  Other than my computer, there’s really just my clothes to contend with, and it’s been a good opportunity to toss some stuff that I’ve had since middle school…and didn’t even wear back then because it was too ugly!

We live in a railroad apartment, so The Office is connected to Small Bedroom #1 (technically mine), which is connected to Small Bedroom #2.  It’s nice that we have this whole section of the house to us now, and that means I don’t have to walk OUT in to the lobby to go to the bathroom anymore.  YES.  Small Bedroom #1 got a fresh coat of paint, and went from icky pale yellow (reminiscent of cigarette smoke) to a grey-blue known to Benjamin Moore as “November Sky”.  What’s neat is, if you stand outside and look in to the room, it looks grey.  When you step inside and you’re surrounded by it, it looks blue :O  Lighting is mystical like that.  So I got some stuff from the IKEA STOLMEN system and now my stuff is in a walk in closet!!!  It’s so cool that I can say that!!!  A walk in closet…in New York City!  I share it with my boyfriend, of course.  I’ll have a picture once we really finish; some of the top shelving is not yet assembled.

There’s a lot more left to do.  Paint the bedroom, paint the living room (having trouble picking colors…).  My damn coffee table came in this morning, after 2 weeks of waiting, and it was damaged in delivery (-___- ).  Gotta wait another 2 weeks for a replacement.  Gotta organize all the cabinets and under the sink areas.  Gotta get crafty :P   Crafty Project #1, by the way, was a complete failure!  I tried cutting drawer dividers out of the ample cardboard we have here….it looked terrible and doesn’t stay up.  I ended up just buying some….for like $30…..but it looks great, and it’s DONE.

Oh yeah, and there’s a new roommate!  Annie’s pretty cool.  She’s really in to board games, Blizzard’s Hearthstone game, and hanging out with her boyfriend.  They’re chill, and they’re neat, so I like’m so far.

Went Rafting & Camping For A Week In The Grand Canyon.

The bucket list trip I never knew I had on my bucket list!!  I’ve mentioned this before – my boyfriend’s parents like to treat their kids/kids-in-law to a vacation on their 30th birthday.  They took their older son and his wife to St. John’s in the Caribbean, and stayed for a week in a villa by the water.  It sounded really fancy, with outdoor bathtubs, great views, a staircase down to the turquoise water, and their own chef…!  They offered the same trip to my boyfriend, but neither of us wanted to lay around and drink all day, with butlers waiting on us.  So his parents took us to the Grand Canyon!!!  I have TONS of pictures and will fill out another post solely about this trip, because it was truly amazing and deserves at least that!  It was life changing, it was beautiful, it was relaxing yet active, I gained a tan and 10lb because of all the good food…and I think it really is something everyone should do before they die.

…And I’m Getting Back In To Drawing.

Lady Knight

I finally took the plunge and bought a Cintiq 22HD!  It’s amazing and, aside from my Kindle, one of my most favorite purchases ever.  Although it’s hard to draw after work when you put in overtime, it’s let me draw and paint a lot more than I have in a long, long time.  I’ve put a lot more stuff in my tumblr page, which I’ve been using more and more lately too.  And pretty soon I’ll have some comic strips to put up :)  It’s always been a thing I wanted to do, just to get more drawing practice on stuff I don’t normally like to draw.  If you look at my tumblr, it’s all characters…no backgrounds! I hate backgrounds!!  But you do need that for a comic, to ground stuff and set the mood.  I’ve wanted to do this for years, but never just went for it.  The other week, I was chatting with Elle’s boyfriend and he had the same dream. That made me wonder, what was I waiting for? This guy has “paralyzed” himself from starting because he wants to have perfect drawing skills before beginning.  I say, the comic will make you perfect, in time.   So I started my first one tonight!  Hopefully I’ll finish it soon and you’ll see it here tomorrow.  There’s no overarching story, but it’s all kind of “diary-esque”; little snippets of my life that I thought were worth drawing for hours and hours.

This probably sounds really ridiculous – it sounds ridiculous when I say it out loud – but one of the big things that held me back from starting a life-inspired comic (like everyone else on the internet) is self consciousness.  It would require that I draw myself….and that sent my brain for a spin.  Do I draw myself as an animal?  Do I bother drawing my face?  Do I draw what I think I look like, even if it’s guaranteed to be a 300% beautified and idealized version?  Wouldn’t that show how vain I really am, deep down, despite not wanting to admit it?  But now my mindset is, drawing practice is first and foremost.  And drawing in a timely manner. So I’m just gonna do what I do, vainness be damned.

How I Beat Molluscum Contagiosum

Most people have never heard of this virus, unless you’ve been infected.  And once you are, it can be nerve-wrackingly awful, as it deprives you of precious self-esteem and even your sex life.  There’s a lot of articles on blogs out there about how people dealt with this, and a lot of forum posts (on spammy, ad-riddled sites).  I’d like to tell my story of how I got it and dealt with it.

There WILL be pictures, way at the bottom of this article, way after the jump.  It’s technically SFW (safe for work) but there will be close ups of molluscum.  I took some pictures myself to keep track of how they looked and where they were, for my own knowledge.  Which was great because I did forget where one of them was at a certain point, because it had healed and disappeared.

Now let’s start this off with…. Continue reading

Life Update

A frozen sheet of water in Prospect Park....back in February, I think.

A frozen sheet of water in Prospect Park….back in February, I think.

It’s been a hectic year, so I thought a catch up post was in order!

I lost my job in January.  Technically, I hadn’t worked since end of December, but the parent company decided they didn’t want to keep our studio open anymore.  So my “usual spot” was gone, “effective immediately”.  After the slow January I had, things went in to overdrive. I worked every one of those 28 days of February, and a good portion of March. It could’ve been the entire March, but I was starting to go crazy…this past weekend was the first two consecutive days I had off in a long time! So I’m looking forward to taking things easy and catching up on a lot of life stuff that I haven’t been able to do. Like…MY TAXES!!

One major thing of note: I’m moving in with my boyfriend in May! One of his roommates is leaving – moving in with her own boyfriend – which means the two of us will have three connecting rooms to ourselves. These are small rooms for sure, but it’ll be nice not to need to exit the apartment to get to the bathroom.

I drew a not-to-scale floor plan below, so you can see what I mean.

Floor plan to boyfriend's apartment.  Made it really quick in Illustrator so the sizing is a bit off...I think you get the general idea!

Floor plan to boyfriend’s apartment. Made it really quick in Illustrator so the sizing is a bit off…I think you get the general idea!

So we’ll have the Office, Bedroom 1, and soon, Bedroom 2.  The lazy roommate is in Bedroom 3.  The living room needs serious reorganizing, and the kitchen is much narrower than it looks…once you consider the counters and cabinets.

Continue reading

Quick Sketch: Woman in Leather Armor

Photoshop, Intuos 5, 30 minutes.

Photoshop, Intuos 5, 30 minutes.

I purposefully wanted her to be on the androgynous side, but I think it’s a little TOO androgynous :P  Did a quick sketch in Photoshop while trying to figure out a leather armor outfit.  It’s not quite there yet.  But figured I should share the results so the world knows I’m not slacking off here!

Would You Ever Go To A Cuddle Party?

Today, I learned that “Cuddle Parties” exist.  And I also learned that I’m totally late to the game because, according to their official website, they’ve been around for 11 years!  I couldn’t write an un-biased summary of it so here’s the blurb from their site:

You can come to a Cuddle Party to meet new people, to enjoy amazing conversations, to touch, to be touched, to have fun, to practice asking for what you want, to practice saying “no” to what you don’t want — all in a setting structured to be a safe place for exploration and enjoyment. Shucks, you can even come to a Cuddle Party just to cuddle!

Cuddle Party is not a sexual event! It’s not a hook-up or dating scene. It’s common to make new friends, and occasionally people have met dating partners, but mostly it’s about friendship and learning nurturing touch.

I dove in to the internet rabbit hole and set out to read the experiences of people who’ve been to an actual Cuddle Party; one good resource was this Reddit AMA of a Cuddle Party Attendee, with over 800 comments.

Continue reading

The Robot Slave is Misbehaving!

The red couch was filled to capacity; me on my boyfriend’s lap, my boyfriend sitting on one cushion.  The dog taking up the rest of the space.  Suddenly…

Beep beep!

BOYFRIEND: “Oh, I think your butt just activated Voice Control on my phone.”

We took it out and stared at his phone.  The screen glowed blue, and a white line throbbed and oscillated as we talked over it.

BOYFRIEND:  “I didn’t think this was even activated, this is creepy…”

iPhone: “Dialing, Lisa xxxxxx”


iPhone ended the call.

BOYFRIEND: “God, what a nightmare. We are NOT calling my ex-girlfriend from college…!!!!”

I laughed at him for about 5 full minutes, which is just enough time to make an already embarrassing situation even more embarrassing. :)

Sketch: Grisly Old Man

Photoshop + Intuos tablet, as usual.  Click to make it bigger.

Do you ever get the urge to draw a grisly old man?  To trace the wrinkles on his face, and the darkness on his skin?  The mood struck me today.  It’s been a long while since the last time I drew and this felt really good.  He’s actually one of the slave abusers from Django Unchained, though I forget his name.  I’m pretty happy with how this turned out, especially since my warm-up figure drawing before the portrait were absolutely awful.  I felt like I was drawing with my foot!  Clearly, I’m out of practice.

WPC: “Window”

Window atop the arches in the Old City Hall station, NYC.  Canon Rebel T2i, 24mm lens.

Window atop the arches in the Old City Hall station, NYC. Canon Rebel T2i, 24mm lens. Click for Hi-Res.

Built at the turn of the 20th Century, the Old City Hall Station was designed by the same architects who assembled the beautiful Grand Central Station…and it shows.  I’ve been waiting my whole life to tour this station, and have peeked at it through the dark windows of the 6 train during its turn-around.  Finally got my chance at the end of 2013 to visit the station in person, with my sister.  Even more exciting, Guillermo del Toro’s book, The Strain, has a scene here.  They’re going to film the movie soon, and I have no idea whether they will actually come to that station or not.  But the mood and its vintage dereliction would be perfect for a vampire story.

Part of that black stuff you see on the window is from WWII, when all windows had to be blacked out.

More of my photos at the Old City Hall Station can be found in my Flickr Set.

To see more entries for this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Windows, click here.