a bit of burned love for valentine’s day

Back when I was still in New York, I attended a cousin’s wedding and they gave out these little candles as wedding favors. Pretty standard little tealights. I like candles. Yay. When I got home, I lit the candle, because that’s what you do with candles. Huh. It charred the back of the L♥VE. Kind of menacing looking, no?

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I suppose I could extrapolate some sort of deeper meaning out of this, like how this means that my love life is doomed to go up in flames blah blah blah or whatever, but I won’t. Because I don’t believe in ‘signs’. This just means that the person who designed this tealight did not think things through very well.

So … Happy Valentine’s Day! May your day be less blackened.

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white valentine’s day

Today is White Valentine’s Day! Uh … what? Since coming to China, I’ve discovered a whole host of new holidays, and my holiday calendar is positively chock full with all the US, Jewish, Christian, Chinese, and nonsense holidays (like Pi Day, which is also today!). Last Saturday was Women’s Day, which I had written off as yet another crazy Chinese holiday, but turns out it’s International Women’s Day. Er … apparently the United States didn’t get that ‘international’ memo.

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White Valentine’s Day (otherwise known as White Day) is yet another manufactured holiday to push sales, but it’s pretty localized around  Japan … and for good reason. It’s celebrated on March 14th, one month after Valentine’s Day, as a reverse Valentine’s Day. And there’s the rub. In the West, Valentine’s Day is celebrated with boys giving girls chocolate. In Japan, where White Day originated, girls give boys chocolate on Valentine’s Day and the reverse occurs on White Day, making their White Day the equivalent of everyone else’s Valentine’s Day. Confusing, right?

So what does that mean for China? Well here, where there’s always a random holiday around the corner and other cultures’ holidays are gleefully appropriated (for marketing purposes, of course), it looks like the guys are supposed to shill out for both Valentine’s Day and White Valentine’s Day. Huh. That sucks. But it hasn’t really taken ahold, so there’s no pressure on the gents. Even Valentine’s Day isn’t that big of a deal, which was a letdown … I miss those day after Valentine’s Day deals on chocolate!

what’s in a name?

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet

– William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (II.2.47-48)

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I’ve been working at an art gallery here in Shanghai for the past few months, and in that time I have been [job untitled], curatorial assistant, art director, and now curator. My friends on LinkedIn and Facebook are probably as confused as I am. Well, my main responsibility is organizing the exhibitions – coming up with exhibition themes, writing press releases, and deciding on titles. And you know what? Titles are hard! It’s nerve-wracking to try encapsulating a whole idea (of someone else’s work) in a few words. Thank goodness there are nifty sites like this generator to help.

Because I’ve switched from architecture to the art field, I’m discovering a whole different way of looking at and talking about the world. I still consider myself an architect in many ways, but I’m trying to learn the lingo, this so-called International Art English (of which there was a big hulabaloo about), referred to elsewhere as artspeak or “The Joke That Forgot It Was Funny.” Oh gosh. Architects are known for having their own jargon and sometimes talking in a pompous holier-than-thou manner (quoting Foucault with wild abandon for instance), but in general are much more down to earth because they have real things to deal with, like gravity.

But art? Well that’s a whole different ballgame. Oy. I barely followed the Foucault crap. Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy Lantern Festival! The picture is of roses from the Queens Botanical Garden when I went last summer with my grandmother. You know, back when times were simple and a rose was just a rose ….

almost valentine’s

Tuesday is Valentine’s Day and I really don’t care. I like holidays and especially holidays that involve chocolate, but I’m not a big fan of the heart shapes everywhere or the red. I’ve never really liked the color red. But … Bjarke Ingels (BIG Architects) has this installation in Times Square, so I went down to see it. Eh. Since the structure uses LED lights, it was probably more impressive at night. Anyway, it was a nice little trek away from my part of the city so that was fun. And I can’t wait until I get me some chocolate!

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happy (fill-in-the-blank)

This weekend was just chock full of holidays, wasn’t it? To everyone out there: Happy Valentine’s Day, Happy Chinese New Year, Happy Flag Day (to the Canadians), and Happy President’s Day (to the Americans)! Oh … and an early Happy Mardi Gras!

There wasn’t much celebrating on my part because evidently my professors didn’t get the memo. I had a break between my classes this morning, so I went home and took a little nap. When I woke, this is the sight that greeted me and I realized: Wow, I am kinda girly. I also realized that naps during the day are amazing!

It’s a bit chilly here (by which I mean it’s in the 30s), but my bed is right next to a window that gets southern sunlight, so I was all warm and snuggly. These are the things that make me happy.

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

giftness: m&ms in glass

Have I mentioned that I’m a poor college student? Well, I am. I’m also incredibly fond of holidays, gift-giving, and collecting things. I especially like glass, so I hate throwing away glass bottles. Since the nearest recycling center is a decent drive away I figured I’d reuse them like the good eco-friendly person I am (well, I try).

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I thoroughly cleaned some clear bottles, filled them with M&Ms, topped them off with some pink fabric, white ribbon, and red knotted cord … and voila. Cheap, easy, and universal – because who can say no to chocolate? I wanted to find the red, white, and pink M&Ms, but the store I went to didn’t have any. It was probably for the best since a few of my friends are being decidedly anti-Valentine’s Day this year.

I don’t see why people gripe so much about it. Is it a commercial holiday? Yes. Do I care? No. Why? Because whenever there’s a chance for people to show how much they appreciate each other (and consume chocolate), it’s all good in my book.

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

creative space: pink + red

I absolutely adore holidays. ADORE. That being said, this Sunday is a double-whammy of Valentine’s Day and the Chinese New Year. Thank goodness the colors coordinate!

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I had planned to go all out on gifts for Friday, but I’ve decided against it. Instead, I’m just making little no-frills things. Nothing’s been put together, but I have red satin cord and pieces of pink fabric ready.

Using some online tutorials, I figured out how to make the lucky and button knots. I was going to buy oranges also (for the Chinese New Year) but they’re too darn expensive because of the frost in Florida. Oh well, I’ll just have to do without.

Now I just have to wait for my glass bottles to finish drying and I can fill ’em with M&Ms. Yep, that’s my grand plan: M&Ms. All my friends are college students – I doubt they’d mind.

Ah, and I almost forgot again! Linking up to kootoyoo for creative spaces!

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]