How to Make a Tinder Photo Prop for an Engagement Party

Two weeks ago, Vanessa and I were tasked with planning a surprise engagement party. And by tasked, I mean: It was our idea and we love throwing parties, so throwing a party for two people we love, to celebrate their love to each other, was a no brainer. 

Fun fact about the couple of the hour, Marley and Rachael: They met on Tinder. Who knew that was possible?!

I knew I wanted to incorporate Tinder into the party, but I wasn't sure how ---- did we really want to cut into a cake with their tinder profiles on it? (No).

Then I spotted this hanging polaroid prop and the Tinder frame was born. Step one was buying a piece of foam board that was almost as tall as I am (60" x 40" to be exact). Foam boards are inexpensive, but VERY HARD TO WALK AROUND WITH. Also, it turns out that when you carry a giant object, it invites strangers to shout guesses as to what you could be making. (This is probably my fault for taking it on public transportation.)

Step two was cutting out the hole in the middle of the foam board. This is much easier if you own a ruler, level and measuring tape. Since I own neither (because I am not a functional adult), we made do with straight edge objects that I DO own: books! The top of frame is the length of Jude the Obscurewhile the sides are the width of the same book. The bottom of the frame is 2.5 copies of Strong Is the New Sexy, aka Snookie's upcoming memoir. (LOL).

The most stressful part was writing the letters. (Although I'm probably biased because I made Vanessa use the blade cutter). My handwriting is... okay. Sticker letters or cut out letters could work here if you're a stickler for details. 

We had a very serious debate about which Tinder interface to use (LOL), ultimately deciding to go with the classic. I traced two large plates and one small bowl to make the circles. (Note: I would not recommend this unless you don't care about your dishes. My dishes now have a cheerful black Sharpie border around the rim, but that might bother some people).

I briefly contemplated drawing and coloring the heart, "i," and "X," but then realized I would be high from Sharpie smells in about five seconds. Instead, I cut them out of construction paper, outlined the edges, and glued them on.

 The last step was adding wedding bells (more construction paper + glue) and getting to posing. Eeyore was my first volunteer, although he's not exactly wedding material. (Sorry, Eeyore, but it's true.)

Luckily, we only had to wait one day to take this show on the road. Vanessa sneakily walked this over to the party house with a sheet covering it. She made it to the party in one piece, and a very happy SURPRISE! and many rounds of wine and cake later, we made the guests of honor pose with it.

YAY TRUE LOVE! 

(PS check out Karl the Fog rolling up to the party, even though he was definitely NOT invited).

Success! Next stop: the wedding, where guests can join in the photo fun too.

Congratulations, Marley and Rachael! <3 <3 <3

Introducing #100DaysofBookGifs for #100DaysofMaking

Fact: I am an overachiever and I like structure, so the idea of a creative challenge and being two weeks behind is weirdly appealing to me. I'll be posting these on my Insta and with the hashtag #100Daysofbookgifs, with weekly roundups on here. Of course, I'm starting with authors + books that I love very much:

Lauren Morrill's MEANT TO BE:

And Thomas Hardy's FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD (Not as good as Tess of D'Ubervilles, but I'll fan girl for Thomas Hardy all day, every day). 

Hot Off the Presses: A Tabloid Zine

I find celebrity gossip weirdly thrilling + revealing about people. In college, I wrote a very long, mostly researched paper on how society uses celebrities to establish and reinforce morals + acceptable behaviors. (I also wrote two papers on J.Lo, but that's besides the point). 

So when I signed up for a zine workshop at SCRAP, I knew I'd be collaging some scandalous headlines. There were three other people in my workshop class, including an eight-year-old girl whose zine was obviously the best (the history of Narwals, a prelude to her next zine, Narvals vs. Zombie Unicorns).

It turns out all you need to make zines is time, access to a photocopier, and like $35 cash if you want to table at a big festival. Seriously, I've wandered the aisles of Brooklyn + NYC Zine Fest and felt not cool enough to sit behind a table, and (like most things) that was all in my head.

SF Zine Fest is in August, and knowing that I could volunteer or table makes me feel very happy to have something to look forward to --- like this big, sometimes smelly city is actually starting to feel like home. It helps that I bought a bike today and took a celebratory ride to the beach. Watch out --- these zines are hitting the road (as soon as I recover from my sunburn!).

Gif Summary: Andrew Smith's Grasshopper Jungle

Fact: There is not enough time to write about the books I love, AND I love gifs. So I decided to make a book gif for each of my new reads, starting with Andrew Smith's Grasshopper Jungle. It was CRAZY! I can't imagine ever writing a book like this, and I feel lucky to have gotten a tiny glimpse at how someone else's brain works. Here's my gif summary of the book.

Does this make you want to check it out? You can find more info here or here.

Boo! A Halloween Recap and Being Scared.

Well, what can I say? 51 days ago, I packed up and shipped eight years worth of belongings and said so long to the people, industry, and city that I love so much. Approximately 12 hours later, I started a new job! ....without an apartment, bed, or even a phone capable of navigating San Francisco's streets. It was a rough start, but it turns out all you need to move are patient, kind friends waiting for you on the other side. All of this is a long way of explaining why I am writing a belated Halloween post in January. 

Photo courtesy of Priscilla Cheng

In some ways, the timing of my move was fortuitous. I co-opted my Halloween party into a surprise-I-am-moving party, so there was no need to go around making appointments with friends to deliver some somber news. (Fact: it is very difficult to deliver sad news when dressed up as Ariana Grande.) 

I like my party decorations + activities to be as interactive as possible. In the spirit of Halloween, I wanted my friends to share all the serious and silly things that scared them. Thus, the Boo Wall was born.

I cut out 30+ ghosts out of construction paper and my friend Shifra artfully designed their eyewear and makeup. As people got in the spirit (read: drunker), some ghosts turned a bit... x-rated and went on the move.

Photo courtesy of Khalid Ahmed

51 days ago, what scared me the most was starting over. Now that I've already gone and done that, all that's left to conquer are my other fears, ones that now seem tiny in comparison to a cross-country move. That means writing more, being more honest and more patient, and exploring my new city, until it's not so new to me anymore. Here's to being less of a scaredy cat in 2015.

7 Days of Inspiration: New Kittens, Bison, and bell hooks!

The past seven days have been incredibly inspiring and exciting for a variety of reasons. First up: new foster kittens! I picked these guys up on Sunday, and as usual, they came with crazy names: Kylah, Kyzen, and Kylene. The momma cat (Kaydee--seriously, who comes up with these names?) is hanging with me too, though she's about 10 pounds away from being photogenic. We're working on it.

These kittens are terrified of humans, especially the kind wielding medication and eye drops. They've challenged me to come up with creative ways to lure them out from under the couch, and as a result, I've tested every long, non pointy object in my apartment, finally settling with the giant Cheshire Cat novelty pen that I got from Disney World ten years ago. (Because of course. Why is life so on the nose sometimes?)

Next up: bell hooks and Gloria Steinem in conversation at The New School. A million thank you's to Vanessa for showing me the RSVP for this free (!) event, which was truly incredible. When I read bell hooks's Ain't I A Woman for book club, I really appreciated how she made feminist theory and history accessible to her reader, without losing any of the emotional poignancy. In person, I found her (and Gloria!) to be the same way. They made some incredible comments about the state of feminism and challenged the audience to continue fighting on behalf of women everywhere.

I left feeling rejuvenated and excited about the next generation of feminists, which will also include Willow Smith--she was sitting four feet away from me with her mom (and fellow Baltimoron), Jada Pinkett Smith. They are both even more beautiful in real life, and I'm pretty sure my mouth dropped open when I saw them walk into the auditorium. 

Finallya new book + bison jack-o-lantern. This week, I've been reading Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd, which is everything I want in a novel: a feisty, headstrong lady who turns down men right and left, all while asserting her right to flirt and run her own damn farm. Thomas Hardy's Tess of d'Urbervilles is one of my favorite novels ever, so I know things are about to get real tragic--I can't wait. Anyway, in FFTMC, farmer Gabriel Oaks wakes up in the middle of the night to find that his dumb sheep dog led 200 pregnant sheep over a cliff, where they plummeted to their death. I couldn't get those sheep out of my mind, so when my co-worker invited me to carve pumpkins, I dedicated my pumpkin to them. Unfortunately, my sheep carving got a little top heavy, so I gave him horns and voila! he's now a bison. 

When I light it, I remember how lucky I am to not depend on sheep for my livelihood. Instead, I'll just live vicariously through Thomas Hardy and the Herdwick Shepherd twitter account. If you aren't following them yet, what are you waiting for?