Friday, October 4, 2019

Summer Recap and Positive Changes

Per usual, I haven't blogged in a while. Things have been pleasantly busy, but also very focused on studying for my upcoming Professional Engineering license. I am hoping these hours of studying end up paying off! My kitties have become so used to studying with me. See below :)

Always giving me stern professor look - in cat form!

This last couple months, I've also started being more focused on health/fitness. I completed a very strict 28-day keto diet challenge, and joined a salad club at work with some of my coworkers. The weight loss has been a nice perk, but the stress relief and balance while studying has been the ultimate reward. It's also gotten me to spend more time in my kitchen and learn to cook - something I've been woefully bad at for years!

Salad club mason jars - prepared the night before my assigned day of the week! Sometimes they're pretty :)
While I didn't craft or do much by way of creativity, I did get some gardening done this summer. Lots of beans and I became the heirloom tomato queen for a few months - ended up being perfect for salad club preparation.
Tomatoes and green (and yellow) beans for days! 
In other big changes - my vendor partner, Blind Cat Vintage, left Found on Fremont to strictly sell online, so the space and all its abundance changed. We have future plans in the mix, so it's not goodbye for good as a duo, but for now I've switched managing the vending space solo.

I was finally able to put some larger pieces in with my newfound space.
I think the most significant change to my life over the summer is that I left the clean water bureau and transferred back to the sewer bureau. Very early on I realized it wasn't a great fit and I'm so grateful that my former bureau welcomed me back with new opportunities - good people and strides towards efficiency are so important in a workplace. I'm working within the design group - no longer a construction manager officially (though, I'm still finishing some projects for my former bureau), but I'm so excited that I'm learning new skills as an engineer. Being well rounded is something I think will benefit my career long term. This past summer, I've been managing the construction on Mt. Tabor Reservoirs historical preservation, which has been a unique project to manage and one I'm lucky enough to finish while transferring bureaus. I love being able to say I have a part in such a well known Portland landmark! Summer site visits here have been fantastic.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Italy, Parades, and NSBE

Since getting out of college, one of my favorite ways to 'treat myself' is to travel. As a kid, I didn't get to travel much, in exception of the coast. It still kind of wows me every time I step off the plane and am in a different place - and I love bringing pieces of my journey back to my family (aka - I'm a souvenir fiend). I love international travel, but I also love that there are so many cities in the States that I've yet to visit. Every year I take a mini vacation on my birthday - Toronto, San Francisco, New York, and Maui have been my last four birthdays. I'm still figuring out where I'll go this November... 

Last month, I was so lucky to be invited on a ladies trip to Italy - where I visited Venice and Florence. Most of my trips are solo, so it was a nice change to have a group of ladies to meander with. I did eventually detour to Vienna, Austria on my own to see one of my oldest friends, who now lives there with her new hubby. Again, I'm always so tickled to be in new places - seeing, eating, and enjoying new things / experiences. Gondolas, pasta, wine, and way too much shopping. We also visited Burano and Murano, islands outside of Venice and they were my favorite part of the trip, because they were so picturesque. 
Magical Burano - the painted buildings and whimsical lace making in this town were like a fairy tale. 
Typical "street view" in Venice - our streets ain't got nothing on this.
Upon getting back from Italy, I had one of the busiest months in a while. I joined the Good in the Hood (GITH) Planning committee a few months ago, so this June was my first GITH event. As the Parade Co-Chair, I was responsible for parade planning. I've been in a few parades as I was formerly a Rose Festival Princess, but planning a parade is a whole different animal. Everything that I planned in various maps, layouts, and spreadsheets to organize over 60 organizations (and what ended up being 1200 participants in the parade) was different in action - something as an construction engineer I should have known - I mean, how many times have designs had to change when it was completely different on site? Anyway, GITH was the biggest volunteer gigs I've ever been a part of - all of the hours were well worth it, and it was wonderful to give back to the neighborhood I grew up in. I'm already looking forward to next year going off without a hitch.

Click here to check out some photos from our parade that KOIN 6 captured.

I have also had the pleasure of bringing back the Portland Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) with a small group of Intel engineers. We had our first kickoff event at a black owned business last weekend, and had a huge turnout. As someone who is usually the only woman, and only person of color in my line of work, it was refreshing to be around so much 'black excellence.' I've learned that it is SO important and necessary to create spaces for yourself where you can be inspired, motivated, and have a sense of community. Portland's NSBE has big plans and I'm excited live by our motto, "to increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community."

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Cosplay Craftin' - Project InuYasha

It has been such a busy last few months. I'm currently in the Brussels airport where I get to enjoy a five hour layover on my way to Vienna... at least the wifi is strong! Figured I'd share the "craft" project I focused on last month.

I went to Sakura-Con for the first time last month, which is Seattle's anime con! All of my middle/high school years, I watched anime and read a lot of manga, so it's a bit nostalgic even though I'm not up on the recent world of anime/manga. Since it was a nostalgic comicon for me, I decided to go with my all time favorite character - Inuyasha by Rumiko Takahashi, which was the very first manga I read too. A lovable, but grumpy dog demon from feudal Japan!

I'm not very skilled with the sewing machine and this literal red robe took me HOURS, and I finally realized how helpful having a dress form is. I made this kimono top (hardest part was the armpits and slits in the top shoulders) without a pattern... so I learned that next time I'm going to seek out a pattern to give me reference.
Double layered cotton - kimono robe top! 
Outside of the sewing of the robe, I made the necklace with polymer clay, modified a layered wig with a cheap amazon wig, 12 extensions and some clip on bangs, and wore inch long press on claw nails! (And, picked up some ears / kids samurai sword / red harem pants to complete the look). Not as in depth as a lot of cosplay and comicon fanatics, but it was my first full costume. Got a lot of pictures taken of me and a lot of "SIT BOY!" references from the show, so I was happy! :) 

Below are a couple of shots of all three of my cosplays: Catwoman, Alana from Saga, and Inuyasha - all compiled by me with minimal sewing until Inuyasha. 

I call Catwoman my closet cosplay, because I had everything except the whip and cat mask in my closet already, so it was my perfect first cosplay. Little did I know, that day I would meet Stan Lee and I was wearing a DC cosplay... Shame. 

This was my second cosplay from my favorite recent graphic novel, Saga by Brian K. Vaughan. My first sewing project ever was the cape!

And, finally - Inuyasha :) I think I captured his signature guard pose pretty well!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Much Ado About Busy

I often offend more distant friends when I say I've been busy... I don't intend to leave a text unread for over two weeks or... a month. I've found that my most true friends are just as busy as me and no matter how much time has passed, our connection is the same. Once reunited, there's just so much more to talk about. I've also been lucky to have have a great circle of like minded women from work. The engineering field and all the amazing people who support the engineering group in the City have made my professional network a personal one as well. For the friends who make an effort to pester me, thank you for knowing who you're dealing with. I appreciate you. <3

2019 has been a BUSY year so far. I started a new job as a Construction Manager for drinking water, which was big change from working in sewer construction since I've been out of school. As someone who is incredibly process oriented, it's been difficult to adjust to the idea that 'there's a million ways to skin a cat - and  - there's a million ways to manage a project.'

I've also been getting a lot of publicity for work I did with my old bureau, which was showcased on NBC, Time for Kids, and my alma mater. As an introvert (trained/performing extrovert due to necessity), these commitments to talk for even an hour, often drain me. The way I self care is crafting alone with my fur kids, shopping a far out estate sale, or SLEEPING a lot... However, a personal goal of mine is to get more women and communities of color in science and engineering, which is why I often talk about my career in public settings. My newest project is working on a book, meant to be the WOC's version of Lean In - after finding out that there are practically no books on being a female minority working in STEM.

Outside of career outreach, 2019 has been keeping my weekends busy with volunteer work:
  • City African American Network (CAAN) - we put on some amazing public / city oriented events for Black History Month 
  • Good in the Hood Planning Committee - please help and sign up to volunteer for a shift this summer (June 21 - 23)
  • Judging Scholarship essays for the Al Forthan Scholarships by Volunteers for America
  • Continued work on STEM outreach / curriculum creation for kids.
And, I'm trying to reignite the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) in Oregon, which has got me networking at various events around the Portland/outer metro areas. 

This last month, I started a ceramics class with a good friend, and it has been amazing to learn a new medium. I am terrible at throwing pots, but I am having so much fun. Painted my first piece last week and am hoping it survives the kiln this week. Kudos to instagram pottery accounts for providing SO much inspiration. 

I'm still running two spaces at Found on Fremont - Blind Cat Vintage is still kicking and our cat themed shelf is routinely stocked. Come get your cat themed kitschy goodness at 4743 NE Fremont, Portland, OR. 


A quick craft/upcyle of vintage items that have been doing really well in the space have been my curating of vintage illustrations. I love framing 1960's illustrations from old books / collage materials. They are the perfect accent to the items in the shop. 

Notice that most of the illustrations I'm drawn to are cats... 

In order to clean out my art room, I've also started refurbishing furniture again and a few pieces are in the shop now. Latest project is my dining table - a mid century gem I drove an hour to McMinville to get. Pictures will be posted if it survives a minor staining, gloss varnish, and reupholstering. 

Not going to share more pieces, because I was a little obsessed with this cloth and it was used on way too many items...

I've also gotten really into beading / making jewelry again. I've even started buying strands of beads, which I never used to do. Usually just inherited beads my mom was tired of looking at. Brass tones and natural materials are still my jam though. I've ended up keeping most of my earrings for my personal collection too - which is a first! Fellow jewelry makers know that we often don't wear our craft! Jewelry is a fun instant satisfaction craft and doesn't take as much muscle as my furniture projects.

SO - this is probably the longest post I've done in a while and I still haven't covered the hours I've spent planning the next months ahead. Trips abroad, comicon, classes, and big exams are to be had and I'm both excited and tired already. :)