Maybe the perfect gifts for book lovers can be aesthetic. After all, every reader needs a cozy reading room.
For those of us that do not live in hurricane territory, it's difficult to imagine the devastation that is currently going on in Houston, TX. We see the photos of the elderly, stranded up to the chest in water. (They've been rescued, by the way!) We read heartbreaking stories from families who have lost their homes, their cars, and feared for their lives. We see the pleas for donations and prayers and compassion, but when you're on the outside, it's hard to know how exactly you can help.
I've never been to Houston and while I want to help, my voice is not the one that should be speaking here. I asked my lovely friend and current Houston resident, Koryn, to write whatever was on her heart. (I love Koryn and her beautiful little family a lot and am so thankful that they are safe.)
I wanted to donate to a relief fund but wasn't sure where to even begin finding legitimate ones. I've compiled a list of reputable charities, pulled from various articles, facebook posts from those in the storm, and suggestions from Koryn. I would love for this to be a live document, so if I have missed anything, please let me know and I'll add it.
Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has established this Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund for victims that have been affected by the recent floods.
Hurrican Harvey LGBTQ+ Disaster Fund: Houston's Montrose Center - a prominent LGBTQ+ counseling and community center - is managing this campaign to aid LGBTQ+ community members that have been displaced by the storm. They are very close to their $250,000 fundraising goal. Let's help push them over!
Harvey - Money for the People: A live document listing additional fundraising groups compiled by Houstonian Selina Pishori. This list will be continuously updated moving forward.
Houston Food Bank: Through the Houston Food Bank site, you can donate money, donate food and supplies, and volunteer to help distribute to those who have been displaced. They've included a list of their most needed items.
Houston Food Not Bombs: Food Not Bombs provides vegetarian and vegan meals for those in need. They're a fantastic anti-violence organization that's been in business since 1994 with no government funding. They need volunteers to help prepare food and pick up donations.
Houston Furniture Bank: We currently don't have an accurate number on how many families have lost their homes and been displaced. Through Houston Furniture Bank, you can organize a furniture drive, donate whatever pieces you can spare, and donate to help these families get back on their feet.
Texas Diaper Bank: Through this page, you can donate money and supplies so that they can provide emergency diaper kits for displaced families.
South Texas Blood and Tissue Center: As of this moment, this blood drive center is full-up on donors (good job, guys!) but keep an eye on the site. They should be taking appointments again soon.
Houston SPCA: The Houston SPCA has set up an Animal Emergency Response hotline as well as a donation page. It also provides Disaster Preparation lists, detailing how to keep your animal pals safe. This facebook group, Austin Pets Alive!, is also collecting donations to aid rescue efforts for stranded companions.
Resource Guide for those in Houston: Another live document, this compilation of links includes (but is not limited to): accurate weather updates, evacuation information, emergency numbers, shelter information, road closures, accessible food, legal counsel, and resources for infants, disabled folks, and mental health needs.
As per usual, for anyone interested, here is a list of knowledge I found in the rubble. Because I am one of the people who had a full-on nightmare of a year, I'm going to try and keep this to the good parts that came from the bad. I think positivity is going to be really important in the year to come.
As we all know, this election cycle has been unavoidable and exhausting. For all of us, there has been at least one talking point that hits deeply. Without getting into the political nitty gritty of it all, I want to talk about some of what's been brought up for me. This is bound to be long, but bear with me.
If you follow me on social media, you might've seen some of my recent character portraits. Over the past few weeks I've made custom vector illustrations of people as their favorite pop culture characters such as Rey, Ms. Marvel, Arya Stark, and Liz Lemon. I've had so much fun creating these that I thought I'd share a little about the process that goes into making each portrait and explain how you can get your own!
For those that haven't seen, here are the most recent pieces straight from my Instagram feed.
When you watch your favorite movies or TV shows, do you ever wish you could get in on the action? Does vying for a seat on the Iron Throne seem more appealing than vying for a seat on the train? Or do you think "Millennium Falcon pilot" has a better ring to it than "owner of a 2005 Camry?"
My custom vector illustrations are like digital cosplay - you pick the character, the outfit, the pose, and I make it a digital reality. Afterwards, you can get your picture printed out so you can hang it over the mantle, or you can make it your profile picture on social media. I give you all of the requisite files, so you can use your portrait however you want.
When you need a boost of confidence or you just want to escape reality for a while, you can look at the picture of you as a badass Jedi, a proud Khaleesi or the newest Ghost Buster. No matter what fandom you pledge allegiance to, I can make you the hero you were always meant to be. It's cosplay you don't have to get dressed for!
How Your Custom Illustration Comes to Life
Once you submit your photos and answer a few easy questions, I immediately get to work on making your vision come to life. Using the provided reference photos, I can put together a pose and expression that combines your personality with the essence of your favorite character.
Each portrait represents about 15 hours of work. After matching character poses and facial angles with those of the photos you've provided, I create a hybrid between you and your fictional counterpart. I do my best to leave crucial details like hairstyles, scars, jewelry, and armor intact while ensuring that the character is still clearly you.
With those elements finalized, it's time to add color and shading. This is where your portrait really comes together - action poses take on their heroic tone, facial expressions show their emotions and textures become almost tangible. For intricate pieces like chain-mail armor, I'll even create custom Illustrator brushes to preserve as much detail as possible.
How to Become Your Favorite Character
Ready to transform into your favorite character from a TV series, movie, anime, or book? Just click this link to head over to Fiverr and make a request!
As is expected post an extensive surgery, I've had a lot of people asking how I'm holding up.
My lovely friend, Jay, and I took an adventure through Cambridgeside back in March. I - being more stressed out than I've ever been whilst preparing for my move/the end of school/the impending surgery - completely forgot that I had even taken these pictures. (Sorry, Jay.)
There's nothing better than shooting a beautiful person in a beautiful city with some beautiful weather. We can pretend that the wind WASN'T going a million miles an hour this whole time, even though it almost blew both me and my camera into the ocean. We can also pretend that I can swim.
Between school and freelance illustration work, I don't have a ton of time for photography anymore (even though it'll always be my first love in the art world). However, this week, I got to dive into a really fun project with some of my favorite people in Boston.
Boston Tattoo Company - my former workplace and current frequent hangout spot - asked me to shoot some portraits of their artists. All of these guys are SO talented, on top of being unfairly photogenic. I've linked each photo to their respective instagrams, so show their profiles some love.