Friday Faves: Studio Ghibli Films

One of the studios that continues to be a huge inspiration for me is Studio Ghibli. The animation and storytelling are so beautifully done that I can watch the movies over and over and still feel like I haven't caught every detail. Since I recently rewatched one of the movies on this list I thought I should put together a favorite's list of Studio Ghibli films, enjoy!

5. Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke was my very first exposure to Studio Ghibli. It was an intense ride but I'll never forget the incredible story and just how beautiful all of the sequences were. The story it told was definitely the most violent but also really thought provoking. Highlighting how as man continued to evolve he did not always take into account how his actions affected those around him, including the earth and all of its creatures. 

4. Spirited Away

As someone who used to move around quite a bit, I felt that I could truly relate to the main character Chihiro who felt like she was at the whim of others and unable to make her own mark. But she also remembered those who were truly important to her. It is at times that we tend to forget those who've helped us along the way but in the fleeting moments when we remember it's something to treasure. 

3. Whisper of the Heart

I remember coming across this when I worked at Blockbuster and not really knowing what it was about. Soon I fell in love with the story being able to relate to the main character, , who wanted nothing more than to pour her heart into a story that she created. Knowing that nothing is perfect the first go around and that the journey to reaching your dreams feels even better when you have a companion to be your rock along the way. 

2. Porco Rosso

The greatest man to fight fascism was Porco Rosso. I'll admit that the first go around of watching this movie I didn't truly "get" it. But I slowly grew to love Porco Rosso and all of his shenanigans, though I still have a lot of questions about how he became a pig and what exactly happened at the end. Nonetheless I still find things that excite me in the movie and that I've missed previously.

1. Kiki's Delivery Service

This movie is forever my number one favorite Ghibli film of all time. As a creative and just someone who normally feels lost in a world that tries to pigeonhole her I can really related to Kiki's struggle with who she is. Not only that but who she is meant to be and where her life is heading. It is a roller coaster of emotions that continues to strike a cord with me no matter how many times I watch it. For those of you that feel lost who want to find some inspiration then this is the movie for you. 

I hope you enjoyed my list. Of course there are many amazing films from Studio Ghibli that it is truly difficult to narrow it down to just a top five but I'd love to know what are some of your favorite Studio Ghibli movies? Is there one that you tend to rewatch time and again and always feels like its a new experience all over again?  

♡ Mana

I Love Barbie

Why yes, that is a picture of good ol' Barbie. You see, Barbie is a kick ass gal with a pretty rad online presence. But Barbie is a doll! Barbie isn't real! That might be true but the Barbie brand are seriously killing it lately. You see when I was younger I didn't have Barbie movies, I had Disney (which I obviously love) and I had Harry Potter, but for the time that I worked at Blockbuster I fell head over heels in love with Barbie. And not really the dolls but the movies. 

Part of that love might have to do with the "girl power" message and also promoting love and respect to those around you. But there is just something about those movies that just speaks to me and now Barbie has upped her game but vlogging. Yep, thats right, Barbie has a vlog! I've been watching it for some time now as I find the level of detail and accuracy it has with regards to how you see some content creators making vlogs to be on point. Not only that but every episode Barbie has a new hair do, objects can be placed into or moved around in her room, and she even does makeup tutorials and challenges. In her videos, she will either talk about something she is going through or she will bring friends or siblings along for a fun challenge but no matter what the theme of the video is always the same: Be true to yourself. 

One particular video always gets to me, it's where she talks a bit about mental illness in a way that anyone of any age can understand. Check it out and let me know what you think and remember: Positive Attitude Changes Everything.

♡ Mana

Project: Stitch the Pokedex

One of the big things that I've been trying to do for myself within the last few months is to get back into some of my relaxing hobbies: Drawing, Reading, and Crafts. When it comes to crafts the one thing I really love the most is cross stitching. My mother introduced me to it when I was younger and when I got older and realized "Oh wait, pixel characters like game sprites are totally good for something like this!" I was hooked!

Because I tend to start and stop a lot of creative endeavors I decided that I needed to give myself a goal to work towards. So to keep motivated to continue cross stitching I decided to give myself a little project that I've called "Stitch the Pokedex". It's not really original, I know plenty of people who stitch Pokemon, but I wanted to try and stitch them in order by the National Dex and starting on the original 151.

Though I made a slight edit in that I would add in any mega evolutions as I worked my way through the pokedex. While I wasn't able to get as many Pokemon done by the end of 2016 as I'd like, I did start only start in November prior to Sun and Moon coming out, I'm excited to continue as it's been very therapeutic. 

Since I am stitching these on plastic canvas and backing them with felt to protect the thread in the back of the project I decided to purchase charm straps and split rings to make them into charms for the DS. While I would LOVE to keep them for myself I, realistically, have no space for them (thank you tiny apartment). Though I haven't really decided what I will do with them once I'm done I'm excited and determined to finish the first 151 by the end of the year, here is my current progress.

I just have to finish stitching on backing to the Mega Charizards and cutting them out to add on the final touches of the slip rings and charm straps. Then it's on to Squirttle! Fun fact: I am not using a proper color chart to make these, I'm eyeballing the colors to see what works best. 

♡ Mana

Looking back at 2016

It's New Years Eve which means that it is a day of reflecting on how one's year went. I'm going to take this moment to give some personal reflection to the year I've had and will be attempting to avoid lumping in general things that happened in the US / the world this year. 

In 2016 I:

  • Was brought on as a Full-Time employee at work --yay for no longer being a contractor! My first year pushed me quite a bit and this year was definitely no exception but I'm excited to continue pushing myself more in the new year.

  • Renewed my Passport! This was for a work related trip but it's inspired me to really make use of it over the next few years.

  • Traveled to two different countries! As I mentioned above I renewed my passport for a work related trip that took me to Galway, Ireland and Cologne, Germany. Both trips were short but eye opening and I hope to travel to those locations again for a longer stay next time.

  • Had a variety of hair colors this year including: Green, Silver, Magenta, Mermaid Blue, Purple, Periwinkle + Aquamarine Ombre, and then back to purple which leads me to...

  • Went back to purple FOR-EV-ER. I have a tendency to change my hair color on a whim and while I really enjoyed playing around with different colors I've found that purple is just my go-to color (also clearly my hair loves it because that picture was taken at week 6 and my hair is just as vibrant as ever :D

  • Started cross stitching again. I've remembered just how therapeutic cross stitching can be and it has allowed me to spend more time being creative and less time on the computer.

  • Started a personal cross stitching challenge: Stitch the Pokedex! I wanted to really push myself to follow through on a personal project and so far I am doing well and I'm even starting to work on turning these into charms.

  • Invested in myself. This was a hard one for me to do because I normally put my wants and needs on the backburner but I'm really happy that I this year I decided to take the leap and invest in me. I purchased many things this year to really help me in my goal to be more creative in 2017.

My biggest regret in 2016 was:

  • Not drawing more. I've let myself become scared to work on art pieces for fear of "ruining" them. I've also let myself spend too much time comparing myself to other artists and trying to do things the way they do instead of doing things my way.

My  instagram  "Best Nine" for 2016

My instagram "Best Nine" for 2016

I didn't really set aside New Years Resolutions last year...if I did they are lost in the void but for 2017 I would like to:

  • Create more art pieces! I really want to push myself to create more art and to just let myself get lost in the creative process. I also really want to become more skilled with traditional media and to stop being afraid of messing up a piece.

  • Complete one art piece a month to have 12 art pieces in total by end of year using ONLY traditional media.

  • Stop comparing myself to others. I am not you, I am me and that is okay.

  • Save $3k. While I did invest in myself this past year with upgrades to really fuel my creative work in 2017 I want to take this new year to actually save (I've already started doing that by using Digit and it's working out wonderfully so far!)

  • Open my online shop. I've spent that last few years making every kind of excuse to not sell my work and to not create original pieces. This new year that stops. This new year I open my shop and I start creating pieces I enjoy and that I hope will resonate with someone.

  • Workout more. Exercise just didn't happen this year and I definitely can feel that my body is just not happy with me. I want to take the time to push myself to be healthier, though I know that will be a slow journey for me (thanks migraines) but its time I took care of the only body I have.

  • Complete the first 151 (including any mega evolutions) pokemon cross stitches by Dec 31, 2017.

  • Read at least 25 books by Dec 31, 2017. I purchased a LOT of books this year but I didn't take any moments to really read them so I have a big backlog to get through.

  • Make and post at least 52 videos (1 a week) on my youtube channel. I've really neglected my youtube channel but I have plenty of things I want to make for it but I just need to actually take the time to do it.

  • Go out more. I don't mean trips to Disneyland, I mean actually exploring the area where I live. Get out of the house. Hang out with friends I haven't seen or talked to in a while.

  • Spend less time on social media. I'd love to get that time back to focus in on projects that will provide me with fulfillment rather than getting sucked into the void of social media.

  • Write and post at least 52 blogs (1 a week) by Dec 31, 2017.

2016 has been one hell of a year personally, professionally, and also world wide. 

I want to do better for myself and others in 2017 because it's going to be one hell of a year.

♡ Mana

Blogmas Day 9 - Celebrate Other Creators


Oi, I 've failed a bit here on Blogmas >.< 

Work got a little hectic and I've come home tired quite a bit lately. I decided that for today's blog I would highlight some awesome creators who are participating in Vlogmas this year. Everyone time Vlogmas, VEDA, or Vlogtober come around I just have to watch my favourite (and some new) faces to see what they get up to.

I hope you enjoy and if so please subscribe to their channels for more awesome content. 






I hope that you enjoyed these creators as much as I do! See you tomorrow :) 

♡ Mana