Self-Portrait Made Out of Q-tips

I’m currently in the process of applying to a digital design program, and as part of the lengthy application, I had to make a self-portrait. Not just any self-portrait, though. I had to make a self-portrait without using any standard art supplies. No painting, drawing, photography, clay, pastels, or any of that allowed!


I’ve only ever done a self-portrait ONCE and that was pencil when I was 15. It’s been 13 years, in case you were wondering. In fact, until two weeks ago, I absolutely loathed the idea of self-portraits. (Those are for narcissists and lazy artists who can’t think of a good subject!)

I figured if I was going to do this, I might as well do something unique. I’ve admired portraits out of screws, QR codes, and crayons. Except that all those would have been more expensive and large scale than I was willing to deal with for this application. Plus, they’d all been done before.

So finally, I settled on… Q-tips! I chose to dye them with food products I consume to keep with the theme of avoiding art supplies and also to give it an extra personal touch.



photo(21) What it took:
Over 2500 q-tips
Chocolate, chai concentrate, cinnamon, ginger, sangria, strawberries, tomato soup, and apple juice
Floral foam
Clear packing tape to hold the foam in place
40 hours
Lots of patience

Art Basel Survival Kit

Six 12+ hour days of openings, parties, and work will exhaust you beyond words. Cameras going off everywhere, free champagne, and no time to eat properly? That’s a recipe to look like a mess or get sick. Here are my secret weapons in a fool-proof survival kit.

  1. La Roche-Posay Antihelios Sunscreen for the Miami son
  2. Simple Wipes because you know you’ll be way too tired to wash your makeup off
  3. Claritin or any other antihistamine to depuff
  4. Tazo Refresh tea to soothe the hangovers
  5. Alligator clips for pin curls for easy hair styling while you sleep, sip coffee, work, etc.
  6. Ellnett Very Volume Hairspray to fight the Miami humidity
  7. Dry Shampoo because you know you’ll be way too lazy to wash your hair after that secret party you went to last night
  8. MAC Liquidlast for eyes that won’t smudge
  9. Mac Prolongwear which never comes off… ever!
  10. Laura Mercier Undercover because under-eye circles are not cute
  11. Fashion tape to prevent nip slips and all other manner of catastrophe
  12. Blister stick to help your feet survive the running in heels
  13. Burt’s Bees Spot Treatment for the inevitable blemish you’ll get

Got a secret weapon? What’s your party-girl survival secret?

30 Days of Thanksgiving – Day 22: Holidays

In the month of November, I’m meditating on my gratitude for something different each day.

Thanksgiving already?! It’s simultaneously exciting and frightening that it’s already turkey day. It’s a sort of halfway point between the start of what I consider “the holidays.”

And, really, Is there a better time of year than the holidays? Pffft. No! (If you said yes, you should probably leave this post now.) For me, October through the new year is a magical time. It’s full of creativity, family, friends, and traditions. If I’m lucky, it starts to cool down. This is the time of year where my entire family turns into a band of psychotic elves. You know those people who put up Christmas decorations on November 1st? Ya, we’re those people and absolutely proud of it.

I’m thankful to have such a strong holiday tradition. For years, we’ve put up several trees and bedecked the house with wreaths, nutrcrackers, and oversized Christmas balls. I love it. I’m grateful that when I was a kid, my parents would rent a cherry picker to string lights up on the palm trees. I love that for a few years we had a real15 ft fir; one year it was so big that I was able to actually walk into the tree.

I’m thankful for well-wrapped presents with hand tied bows, tinsel, gingerbread cookies, Santa hats; my favorite Christmas movies like Elf, The Polar Express, and The Grinch; gatherings with family and friends; Noche Buena filled with lechon, congris, countless cousins, and piña colada; a month and a half of holiday songs; and the excitement I had as a kid waiting to hear reindeer on the roof and that I can now watch my own kid do the same.

As for today, Thanksgiving, I’m thankful that I have my family and friends to spend it with. My belly is full, and I’m off to decorate a tree.


30 Days of Thanksgiving – Day 21: Tech

In the month of November, I’m meditating on my gratitude for something different each day.

Sometimes I take for granted how amazing the innovations around me are. Eva and I asked some friends to send video clips of themselves saying a phrase in different languages. We received 30 video clips from around the world shot on webcams, iPhones, and digital cameras, sometimes within minutes of asking. Within a hours, with no video editing experience, we were able to throw those clips together and even add some accompanying music courtesy of creative commons licensing. A few years ago that would have never been possible, at least not with such efficiency.

Let me break it down: You can turn your phone around, record a video, and beam it across the world. It’s like the Jetsons! How marvelous! (For real, marvel at it people.)

This website is built on wordpress, which is open-source software. My car can talk to me and I to it. I can stream any music I want on my phone, anywhere in the world without interruption, courtesy of Spotify. I work without an office with my laptop or smartphone; and because of social media and code libraries available on the web, I have a job.

There is so much awesome stuff being built to make our lives easier. It’s unreal.

I’m unbelievably blessed to have access to all these technologies. So, today I thank all the engineers, developers, designers, dreamers, and anyone who makes their work possible, because without them, you wouldn’t even be reading this.

30 Days of Thanksgiving – Day 17: Family

In the month of November, I’m meditating on my gratitude for something different each day.

I’m thankful for my wild and hilarious sisters; for my crafty, creative, and awesomely geeky (yay!) nephew; my fantastically witty niece; my parents, who of course will get their individual posts, but deserve a mention here, too; my aunt who played countless hours of te cojo (like Cuban hide and seek) with me as a kid; for my abuela who always was sure to have arroz con pollo waiting for me; for my countless cousins, young and old, who make every gathering memorable; and for the family members that I have lost, for whom I am thankful to have had a chance to know.

Today, I’m thankful for family.

30 Days of Thanksgiving – Day 16: Medicine

In the month of November, I’m meditating on my gratitude for something different each day.

I woke up this morning with chills and aches, promptly crawling back into bed after dropping Aidan off at school. I figure this is the perfect opportunity to be thankful for medicine. I don’t just mean pharmaceuticals, but the entire field of medicine.

Without medicine, my abuela would have passed a few weeks ago, albeit at the ripe old age of 102. Instead, she just celebrated her 103rd birthday. My mother, who just turned 70 a few days before my abuela, would not be here either.

While our healthcare system is often expensive and imperfect, I know that we’re still blessed to have access to the quality of care and treatments. I hope that reform will make it even more accessible. In the meantime, I’m thankful that my son has all his vaccines and that he doesn’t have to worry about smallpox or polio. I’m thankful that what might be lethal in another part of the world, like infection or diarrhea, is usually treated with a trip to the doctor or pharmacy. I can’t fathom losing someone I love to something that seems so simple to me. The hope, of course, is that some day no one else will be able to fathom it either.