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self

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announcing…

… a print exhibition of work by yours truly. Uhhh yeah, you read that right. I can barely believe it! I’m so excited to be doing this and even more excited to share it with all of you! A little while ago, I was asked by Cameron Adams (of Atlanta Street Fashion) if I would show my floral patterns alongside his fashion photography. Long story short, it was a 100% yes from me and now, here we are. If you live in Atlanta, then I best be seeing your butt at the opening reception. Join us at Octane in Grant Park on Friday, October 3rd from 7pm – 11pm!

Kwan_Roses

On my days off I’ve been trying super duper hard to really push myself and make work regardless of how tired I was. I was able to finish juuust enough patterns for the show and I (almost) love every single piece. I hope you do too. All of this is the reason why I haven’t been able to blog as much, but it’s so worth it. I’ll be selling prints of each piece at the show for a special price and I hope you’ll grace me with your presence. If you do go, please don’t hesitate to come say hi!

the days are melting away

August is almost over and I can hardly believe it. We are well past half-done with 2014 and I feel like there’s still so much to do. And so much to sort out. Since I’ve embarked on this working full-time journey, it’s been difficult to get in all the local adventures I’ve become so accustomed to enjoying. When I’m not at work I’ve got just enough time to relax and recharge – and maybe paint and cook a bit – before I have to get right back into the thick of it. So I’m gonna go ahead and cheat by stealing pics from my instagram to share with you all the little things I’m loving lately. It’s these little things that keep me going. The little moments of everyday comfort, wonder, and beauty.

fpoutfit

This has been by far my favorite outfit of the past two weeks. I don’t typically buy, let alone wear, so much Free People, but this over sized tee and this stretchy pair of pants fits me just so. I wore it to work on a Sunday and it couldn’t have been better; so casual yet confident, almost as if #iwokeuplikedis. I highly recommend you go into your nearest FP and try on both of these things. I’d be surprised if you didn’t want them in your closet immediately.

inprogresspattern

I gotta hand it to myself. Though I’m often dead tired on my off hours, I’m still managing to get some good pattern painting in there. The main driving force behind it is a surprise I will be revealing very very soon! I’m doing my best to get a variety of organic motifs for a cohesive colorful collection. Stay tuned to see why..

octanelatte

Yes, guilty, another picture with coffee in hand. Working a lot means consuming a lot more caffeine. It’s just too difficult not to have this everyday indulgence. I’m an addict. At least every now and then I can manage to get a really nice cup, like this one from Octane Grant Park.

highlandrow

Okay, I lied. I do still manage to have my fair share of fun and discovery. I can’t help it! It’s just part of who I am. It’s just more difficult to capture everything the way I used to, hence the insta-overshare. This awesome Danish wooden salad bowl set (you can’t tell by this picture, but it’s pretty big) was one of many things I loved on a recent browse through Highland Row Antiques. The shop is a secondhand staple in Atlanta and their booths are always being refreshed by the vendors so it’s the perfect place to wander and lust over random objects I don’t need in my life.

Welp, that’s all I got for ya now. Hope it’s enough to keep you entertained and maybe a little inspired? I promise, exciting updates are coming soon. Just hold onto the edge of your seat. I know I am!

a personal and genuine journey

If you’re new to reading this blog, welcome. If you’re not, then you know why this exists and where this (might) be going. Every few weeks, months, or whatever, I am compelled to re-explain the impulse behind my writing and sharing in this space. It may seem repetitive or self-indulgent, but it’s absolutely necessary for me to keep these thoughts alive in order to preserve the definition of tide & bloom: a personal and genuine journey. My journey.

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me as a freshman in college.

Do you remember the good ole days of blogging? Livejournal, xanga, whatever your poison might have been, there was a time when you were able to pour your heart out to the internet without fear of retribution or consequence. You weren’t worrying about what your prospective employers were looking at, you weren’t scared that your family would judge you, and everything was raw and real. Looking back on what I used to put out there as a teenager, I’m embarrassed but also really proud of how much I was willing to feel, and how willing I was to really go there. As silly, ridiculous, and melodramatic as my writing was, it was definitely authentic to who I was at the time.

I hope that to some degree, this is true of my current blog as well. I began writing here as a desire to have a genuine documentation of creative, emotional, and professional growth. That means that sometimes I’m super inspired and rarin’ to go, blogging three times a week…and sometimes I’m really down on myself and don’t know what to do or write about. I do my best to paint a picture of depth, illustrating who I really am, what actually matters to me, and what thoughts influence my direction. 

guest post at the not-so-southern belle

I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have this outlet to explore my thoughts and creative journey. It still stuns me to this day that people even take note of what I post (I’m still a bit shy IRL about it). Today, I’m guest posting over at The Not-So-Southern Belle; I wrote a piece about my love affair for Atlanta, which is obvi a central theme in my life. Be sure to check it out here!

tide & bloom

creative makers: audrey of tiny buffalo

I’ll never forget the first time I had a Tiny Buffalo cookie. My boyfriend brought it to me at the first Root City Market and I was immeeeediately hooked. The baker, Audrey caught my reaction and proceeded to hand me more cookies because of the ridiculous happy face I was making. Right there and then I knew that I’d have to keep an eye on this girl to hold onto this deliciousness in my life. Her granola, her scones, her hand pies… everything I’ve ever tried from Audrey’s kitchen is like a little piece of home and heaven. And of course, Audrey is as humble as the day is long – the epitome of a joyful baker, making it her business to put yummy in your tummy and a smile on your face.

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When you were little, what did you want to be when you grow up?

A gymnast. Which is hilarious because I am super clumsy and awkward! Then I discovered coffee shops and was hooked.

Where does the name “Tiny Buffalo” come from?

Tiny speaks to portion size – I studied nutrition in college and think that little indulgences can be part of a healthy lifestyle. Buffalo represents nature – being active/outside. It also represents the ingredients; I use local when possible, eggs and dairy from animals not treated with hormones, etc. But honestly… it’s just fun to say!

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What is your goal as a creative entrepreneur?

Not to have to get a real job 🙂

Does baking run in the family? How did you begin to start making all these delicious things?

I definitely remember baking with my mom – we’ve made the same Christmas treats every year since I was two. I had an Easy Bake Oven and loved sampling batter off the beaters (still do). But I think we bake/talk about baking more since I started TB. And my dad has never complained about being a taste tester 🙂 They are my super fans.

What inspires you?

Chocolate milk and naps! 

confession time

After spending the day pouring over websites and blogs about “how to sell your art” or “how to become an artist”, I feel very… uneasy. And really, I guess that was everyone’s point; becoming an artist is just not easy. There’s no formula for becoming successful and so you have to figure out what is going to work for you. Selling artwork, patterns, creativity in any form is always going to be difficult. I never said that I believed otherwise; there are just some days where I feel more confident than others. So I feel the need to fess up to the truth, the ever steady truth… that I just don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know what I will be doing. I don’t know how to get to where I want to be. This is ultimately what sums up my journey-into-adulthood experience. How’s yours going?

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I haven’t been posting as much personal introspection on this blog as I used to especially because so many people in my life actually take the time to read it now (bffs, family, and coworkers alike). But I’m taking a risk here in order to stay genuine and let it all hang out in hopes that everyone – particularly those also my age – will understand that this is just a part of what it takes to get there. You know. There. Wherever there is, that place when all the pieces will start magically falling into place. Who knows when there will actually present itself. 

guest post: not so southern belle

Everyone’s journey to building a strong and healthy self-image is a unique one. Figuring out how to project that self-image is even more difficult; style is not just clothing or accessory, it is self-expression. Self declaration. We all go through times of confusion, struggle, and enlightenment, in order to figure all of that out. Today I’m excited to turn over the mic to my friend Victoria of The Not-So-Southern Belle, as she shares her own personal journey to a sense of style. She’s a saucy lil’ lady whose talent is as evident as her beauty and I’m so happy to have her words gracing these pages. So with no further ado…

When Christina so graciously asked me to contribute to Tide and Bloom, I was extremely flattered and said yes without hesitation. Then, I immediately went into a panic thinking what the hell am I going to write about? I’m no fashion/creative/lifestyle authority. But here’s the thing: I don’t have to be. I guess you could say I have my own sense of style, and I own it. That’s all that really matters, right?

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I could sit here and say I’ve always had body confidence, that I’ve always known what works for me, that I’m just naturally stylish—but it would all be total bullshit. As the always-sort-of-chubby-yet-cute-girl growing up, I went through a lot of phases. Freshman and sophomore year of high school I wore a lot of t-shirts. My mother used to beg me not to buy yet another “stupid [insert Hollister, Abercrombie, etc.] t-shirt.” Something clicked junior year and I decided to expand beyond my comfort zone. Well, sort of. I have this very distinct memory of the first time I was really proud of any outfit I put together. I used to actually spend a lot of time doing my hair (now, I’m lucky if I even wash it more than twice a week), and I’d just figured out the whole ponytail-with-a pouf thing. I paired it with a red Viva La Bam (oh, the days I actually used to watch MTV) t-shirt, a mini-skirt and these killer white, sporty heels. Yes, I wore heels to high school; quite often, actually.

not-so-southern-belle  victoria-4

Now, it may not have been the most stylish thing to wear, but I loved that outfit and it showed. I got so many compliments that day. After that, I started having more fun just wearing whatever the hell I wanted. I think that’s the biggest thing: confidence.

french landmarks

Before this commission, it had been a long looong time since I had made drawings or paintings from reference material. I knew I could do it, but I was secretly a bit intimidated and even doubtful of my skills. As I got started sketching, it was like my eyes came back to life. I guess after a whole adolescence of drawing and doodling, your hands just don’t forget. I’m so grateful to have been given the opportunity to be reminded that I can do this.

Christina Kwan / tide & bloom

Unfortunately my photo editing skills still leave something to be desired, so these pictures don’t do my handiwork as much justice as I’d like. Hopefully you can still at least get a sense of how they might look in front of you; they are lighter and more delicate in real life, which is true of all my drawings and thus always presents problems in translating to digital form.

Christina Kwan / tide & bloomChristina Kwan / tide & bloom

Regardless, I’m pretty happy about the end result. The whole process helped me learn more about how to create work within my new living context; you’d be surprised by how much of this I did sitting in my own bed! These drawings were built layer by layer, very slowly, and I had to figure out the point at which I could stop painting and feel like I had accomplished a finished product. With a firm deadline, I was finally able to do this and what’s more thrilling to me than anything is that there is someone out there honoring me by hanging my work in their home (hopefully I can have pictures of that soon). I’m so grateful to have found this support in a time of uncertainty in my life and my work. I’m hoping it only grows from here.

whatever will be, will be

Tide & Bloom officially became one year old last week. One whole year. I honestly hadn’t even thought about what that meant until WordPress sent me the “congratulations, your blog is 1!” notification. In some ways, I’m kind of happy that I didn’t notice or anticipate it creeping up. It shows how comfortable I am with what this is, how it exists, and the purpose it serves. I do not write as a business and I do not plan on how I’m going to be inspired. I can’t say I’ve accomplished everything I’ve wanted since I began this site, but I can say that it’s given me a great deal of joy and pride. It’s not very often that things like that come along in your life, particularly for someone like me.

This journal has been a catalyst for internal growth and a way of reconnecting with what I want for myself in this life. Through trial and error and lots of contemplation, I feel closer than I’ve ever been to figuring out the formula. Yeah, that formula. That mystical holy grail that all us twenty-somethings are desperate for that’ll usher us into full-term adulthood with grace and contentment. One year ago, I had no idea what that would look like or whether or not I had the strength or patience to craft it. Today, I feel like I can breathe easier knowing that great things are worth waiting for and I’m on a path towards finding them.

So, like any other blogger might do, I give you a list of the posts I’m most proud of from the past year. Sure it may be cliche, but I think these deserve a second look since they all were such important moments, all key to making this blog what it is today.

/ preserving your significance
/ parish foods and goods
/ ALL of my Creative Masters and Creative Makers interviews. Can’t pick between them!
/ good italian, pure and simple
/ dear me
/ tips for creating a gallery wall
/ still looking to the wonder

And I also look to the future of course, and set a small list of goals for the second year of Tide & Bloom:

/ more amazing interviews with people near and far who are worth admiration
/ less pinterest and tumblr, more insights into my drawing and sketching
/ lady crush style posts featuring the many inspiring women in my life
/ a recipe post or two? eeeeek
/ if i can manage to get people to let me, more home tours. real homes – full of love and life, not perfectly styled
/ guest posts on food, style, and culture

But I’d also like to hear what you think. Which posts have resonated with you the most? What would you like to see more of?

because you’re mine, mine, mine

seawoman

Have you ever had a moment, where a song’s lyrics, the melody, the timing, leaves you breathless? And maybe on any other given day you just like it or even love it. But on this particular day it brings tears to your eyes. Today (this was written last week so technically, last week) that song was “Cicadas and Gulls” by Feist. It’s always been one of my favorites from Metals, but for some reason today… it feels like a strong wave rushing over me. Quiet as it is overwhelming, it leaves me trembling in awe, floating away in some weird mix of disappointment and desire.

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Feist has always been my musical muse and surprisingly I’ve yet to write about her or her music on here. Perhaps because I’ve identified with her for so long that it just sort of feels like part of my spirit. I’ve heard every track, poured over most of her poetry, and am never able to find something that doesn’t sound like a reflection of myself. I’m not sure what it is. She just… gets me.

Is there an artist, singer, actress, or muse that does that for you? I’d love to hear why and how.

[ image via ]