The Magic of Hello Kitty Con 2014!

hkpurse

Oh my gosh, friends! So it’s been a month already and I AM STILL REELING from the magic that was Hello Kitty Con. If you would have told me growing up that I would get to go to something this amazing, I would never had believed you. I’m telling you, it was magic! And the best part – this all happened in Los Angeles, at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA to be exact.

harajukugirls

First of all, there were so many girls cosplaying it up in Harajuku Hello-Kitty inspired styles. I was absolutely in love with all of them. This kind of Japanese fashion is a huge influence on me and my own personal style. I see so many pieces in their outfits that I would totally incorporate into a more “Jen-style” outfit for sure – like those red polka dot tights or the adorable sailor style buttons on their pinafores or all the bows! It’s all so classically cute & kawaii!

hkink

I don’t know if you heard about this, but during the convention, tattoo artists were giving away free Hello Kitty tattoos! They had a whole little studio set up. I unfortunately didn’t end up getting one but the designs they were doing were adorable. If you went and got one of them, I would love to see it!

hellokittycagedress

So there was an entire exhibit dedicated to Hello Kitty designer fashion called Lovely Kitty Wonder: A Hello Kitty Fashion Installation. Stephiee Nguyen of JapanLA curated the exhibit and it featured twelve different designer’s Hello Kitty inspired pieces. It was BREATHTAKINGLY AWESOME. This cage dress by Linda Friesen is my absolute favorite but there were SO MANY amazing pieces. I wish I could show them all to you. I could probably write a post on just this but you know, I’ll save you from me gushing over every picture. Unlike what I’m doing now…..

hellokittyshow

I don’t know if you saw my video on Instagram but I also got to see a sneak peek of the Supercute Friendship Festival that’s is touring around the country in the Spring and Summer of 2015. The festival will feature a bunch of different Sanrio characters (I later saw Badtz Maru performing too!) and I really hope I can make it to the LA stop. If the sneak peek is anything to go by, it’s going to be adorable and well, supercute. ;)

yukoyamaguchi

Ok, friends. If you’re a fan of Hello Kitty, you will probably know who this amazing woman is. Yuko Yamaguchi was present every day of Hello Kitty Con signing autographs and drawing personalized portraits. She has been Hello Kitty’s head designer since 1980. That’s only six years after Hello Kitty was originally introduced to the world – meaning Yuko has essentially been the one behind the kitty (I refuse to call her a girl, because CATS!) that we all know and love. Getting to hang out with her (even if just for a few minutes) and have her draw this picture of Hello Kitty and Tiny Chum gave me ALL OF THE FEELS. Yuko is a legend!

hellokittyfoodtruck

You may have already heard about this but the first ever U.S. Hello Kitty Cafe is opening in Orange County next year! I obviously cannot wait to go. But in the meantime, I got to preview some of the goodies they will be serving in the cafe from this happy adorable Hello Kitty Cafe food truck. Like seriously, how amazing would it be to roll up to an event somewhere in LA (or ok, the OC) and see this parked outside? I don’t now what I would do!

hkcoinpurse

So there was a vintage shop full of real vintage Hello Kitty merchandise for sale. It was like your own personal live Ebay full of Sanrio stuff from the 70s-90s. I saw so many toys, wallets, and accessories that either I had as a kid or my older cousins did. It was super neat. Also, that photo you’re looking at above? It’s one of the original Sanrio Hello Kitty coin purses released in 1975, just a year after she was created. It was in a room all on its own inside a glass case. It was like a one-item Hello Kitty museum! The coin purse was on loan from Sanrio Headquarters in Japan and had never been in the U.S. before. Such an amazing piece of Hello Kitty history.

yoshikihkthemesong

My night ended shortly after getting to see Yoshiki perform Hello Kitty’s theme song, “Hello Hello” for the first time ever. You can see a video of the performance here. I’d love to hear what you think of her official theme song! The song is a cute and dreamy pop with a little EDM thrown in for good measure song. You have to listen to it to see what I mean.

hellokittyconbus

Thank you SO MUCH for letting me tell you all about the magic that was Hello Kitty Con! I had such an amazing time and had great company too (Hi Xenia!) which made the night just magical. Oh, and if you didn’t see it yet, I posted a fatshion post about what I wore the night of if you want to get in on that goodness too.

So! Did you go? Wasn’t it magic? If you didn’t get a chance to go, what would you have loved to see? ♥

Join the Family Dinner Project Movement

This post represents a compensated editorial partnership with The Family Dinner Project. All storytelling and opinions are, of course, my own.

familydinnerproject

Friends, with all the consumerism and shopping going on now, it’s important to remember to give back to our communities too. That’s why I wanted to tell you about The Family Dinner Project. The Family Dinner Project’s mission is to inspire families to enjoy food, fun, and conversation together. It need not be fancy; the point, in fact, is to return to a simpler and more meaningful way of being. This simplicity is particularly poignant given the different ways that we all define families and our communities. For me, there are huge overlaps between my family and my community so the ideas behind this project mean a lot to me as a chicana woman.jenandmomflowers

When it comes to giving back to my community, my mom is one of my biggest inspirations. As a child, she worked full-time and always came home to cook dinner for my whole family. She always did her best to provide nutritional and balanced meals and as a family, we made it a point to eat together. I saw how selfless she was for the four of us. Even though I’m not a mother, I can appreciate how much time and effort and energy she put into caring for us and feeding us, especially given how much she worked during the week. I have so much gratitude for her. But her love and service doesn’t stop there.

Today, my mom also volunteers for a local church. Every week, she goes with my neighbor to help out with their clothing drives that offer free clothing to people who need it. And once a month, the church group hosts a dinner where they prepare and serve warm food to the poor. After my dad died a few years ago, I would always encourage her to take up a hobby or find some way to get out and be social. I believe she truly found an activity that soothes her soul and those of others.

momandjen

Every morning, my mom takes walks to a local park for exercise. When she does this, she does little things like bringing nuts to leave for the squirrels she sees and saying hello or chatting with the neighbors she sees along the way. Recently, my mom noticed that a homeless woman was living in the park. It took my mom less than a day to begin to bring her food as well. So far, my mom and some other neighbors have brought this woman warm and non-perishable food, toiletries, a sleeping bag and more. This small simple act of giving is a big deal to me because I know my mom doesn’t have a lot of money to spare. While she is a different less-disadvantaged kind of poor, seeing her give to someone who has it much tougher than her has a deep resonance with me. I am full of gratitude for having grown up with a mother that is such a selfless woman.

FDP-infographic-3-givingtips

This season (and all year really), The Family Dinner Project is encouraging you to get together with your family and to celebrate each other, food and giving forward. The Family Dinner Project is honoring Giving Tuesday (December 2) and the holiday season in general by inspiring dinner-oriented acts of giving. The infographic above gives you concrete but simple ideas for how you can take part in the movement and honor Giving Tuesday. Here are seven more:

  1. Cook (or buy) a meal for a neighbor or someone in need
  2. Invite someone for family dinner
  3. Collect and donate food items to a food pantry
  4. Help deliver meals via a community organization
  5. Cook a meal together at home where everyone has a job (this is a gift to the one that usually does all of the cooking)
  6. Give the gift of meaningful conversation (check out the conversation starters here)
  7. Talk about giving during family dinner and show us what you decide to give this season

Between December 2-16, join the movement to kick off #familydinnerforward, an initiative (and fun contest!) to inspire families to give – within the family to one another and/or to those outside the family.

#familydinnerforward-contest

You and your family can join the movement by sharing photos of your dinner-oriented acts of giving via Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #FamilyDinnerForward. You can share as many photos as you like and all photos tagged on Twitter or Instagram with #familydinnerforward between December 2-16 will be entered to win prizes from Lenox! Two winners will be drawn at random and will receive four 4-piece plate settings of the Lenox Entertain 365 pattern of their choice (estimated value of $344-400 depending on pattern chosen)! US entrants only.

I know I’ll be entering multiple times, not only for the prize but to participate in the movement. My mom and I are also working together to make sure her homeless friend has a warm dinner on Thanksgiving.

How will your family be participating in The Family Dinner Project this season? I would love to hear your creative giving ideas!

Oreo Cookie Ball Holiday Lights Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #OREOCookieBalls #CollectiveBias
oreocookieballholidaylights

Hi friends! Today I’m sharing a super easy and cute holiday recipe with you – Oreo Cookie Ball holiday lights! Around the holidays, I’m always on the lookout for sweet treats that go easy on the oven, especially since it’s usually being used for the main course. The classic Oreo Cookie Balls recipe fits the job nicely and they are super easy to customize to fit whatever your holiday needs are!

oreoballs

I grew up baking around the holidays. When I was a teenager, I would bake a mean chocolate chip cookie in a HUGE batch and give them in cute cookie tins to my uncles for Christmas. I would also hang out with one of my older cousins on Christmas Eve and we would make dozens of frosted sugar cookies for our big Christmas family get-together. Truth be told, she always did the bulk of the work because I was always too fascinated watching how the cookies went from blobs of dough to magical snowflakes and stockings and other fun shapes. Today, she makes these cookies with her daughter (my god-daughter) and I love thinking about how she passed down the tradition from me (to another younger cousin) to her daughter. Whenever I think of holiday baking or Christmas treats, I think of our happy memories making cookies (and our annual “inappropriate” Christmas Eve movie but that’s another story entirely, hah!).

oreoinstore

In preparation for these delicious treats, I headed over to Walmart to gather all of my ingredients. They have a good selection of Oreo cookies available on the cookie aisle so I had a hard time choosing what flavor to go with. I settled on Mint Oreos just because I thought it would pair well with the white chocolate I was going to be using. The classic recipe is amazing because it only uses three ingredients – the Oreo cookies, cream cheese, and the baking chocolate. I ended up getting a few other optional ingredients to make these but I’ll tell you more about them in the recipe below.

oreoballsclose

Oreo Cookie Ball Holidays Lights Recipe

Prep time: 1 hour
Chill time: 1 hour
Total time: 2 hours

Makes: 48 Oreo cookie balls

oreoingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 36 Oreo cookies, finely crushed
  • 4 bars (4 oz. each) semi-sweet (or white) baking chocolate, melted

Optional ingredients:

  • Oil-based candy coloring
  • Edible pearl shimmer dust

Directions:

  1. Mix cream cheese and cookie crumbs until well-blended.
  2. Shape into 48 1-inch light-shaped balls. Freeze 10 mins.
  3. Color each bar of melted chocolate a different color. I used about half of a container of coloring for each bar and mixed it in once melted.
  4. Dip your light-shaped balls into the melted chocolate (I did 12 of each color) and place in a  single layer on a shallow wax paper lined pan.
  5. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
  6. Brush on edible shimmer dust for effect.
  7. Share and enjoy!

Notes:

  • Make sure you use oil-based candy coloring. Regular or gel-based food coloring will thicken your chocolate and make it unusable.
  • If your chocolate is still on the thick side, you can add small amounts of vegetable oil or shortening (ideal) to it to help it pour better.

oreoballsdiag

I added those notes for you because I learned the hard way! I originally bought regular food coloring, being a chocolate-coloring newbie and ended up ruining my first batch of red. After some research, I realized that I needed to get oil-based candy coloring so I ran out and found it in the cake decorating/candy-making aisle. So when you’re at Walmart be sure to stop there before you leave if you will be coloring your white chocolate. You’ll thank me later. ;)

Also if you need to add oil or shortening, opt for shortening first. It’s consistency mimics the binding of the melted chocolate better. And a little may go a long way. If you add too much, you run the risk of your chocolate sliding ride off of your Oreo cookie balls.

oreoballshori

Thank you for following along. These came out deliciously decadent and the mint Oreo cookies and white chocolate were the perfect pairing. There are so many more recipe variations at the Oreo site so check it out and get inspired!

Have you made Oreo cookie balls before? What holiday shapes or colors would you choose? 

Holiday Pet Gift Ideas

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SimplyHealthy #CollectiveBias

samsclubpetgifts

We celebrate Christmas here at the House of Cats and every year, I go out to buy our pets gifts to open on Christmas Day. I have different rituals for the cats and the dogs but I always save the dogs for last – this is partly because it’s slightly warmer outside by this time but also because it gets me outside to have a special moment after the early morning hustle and bustle with them on a special day. This year, I started shopping a little early and stopped by Sam’s Club to look at their pet gifts – I wasn’t disappointed!

betterlivingapp

While I was at Sam’s Club, I downloaded their free iPhone and iPad app for their Healthy Living Made Simple Magazine to see if they had any ideas on how to keep my dogs safe and happy when it comes to holiday gifts. One thing they pointed out in their Nov/Dec Issue that I loved was to only wrap toys, not treats. I normally wrap everything, including treats, and then just help them open it but with their wonderful noses, they sometimes get to the treats before I do. Making sure they don’t eat the wrapping paper too makes a lot of sense. Thanks Healthy Living Made Simple!

samsclub

My family members (and extended family members too!) have been long-time Sam’s Club shoppers – especially since we have one in my hometown. One of us is there at least once a week getting necessities (and sometimes little extras too). On their pet aisle, not only do they have standards like dry and canned pet food, but they also have fun items like these toys or pet beds that I knew would make perfect gifts for the dogs. They also have a good selection of treats and necessities like flea medications too. You can get just about everything you need for your dogs at Sam’s Club – and that doesn’t even count all the things you can get for the human side of your family while you’re there too!

chicsy

Speaking of the dogs, last week you met Big Boy but now I want to introduce you to Chico. He’s a 6-year-old terrier mix (emphasis on the mix obviously) and he’s the cutest most rambunctious pooch ever! Our family got him a few months before we got Big Boy and I think that solidified his alpha dog stance even though Big Boy is about four times his size. Dogs are funny like that. Isn’t he a ham, though?

chicotoys

So Christmas came a little early for Chico this year. Ok, who am I kidding? They will be getting more treats and gifts the day of but STILL. One of the cool things about buying gifts at Sam’s Club in bulk is that I can give them one or two and then save the rest until Christmas Day. Because my dogs are spoiled like that.

chicotugowar

When it comes to toys, Chico’s favorites are any pull toys that he can play tug-o-war with. He’s not into balls or stuffed animals like Big Boy is. If he can’t easily bite a toy, Chico isn’t into it! My favorite thing in the world is when he brings his toy to your feet and just looks at you. If you ignore him, he will begin to whine until that builds steadily to a piercingly loud bark. My Chicsy means business!

babychico

He’s a bonus photo of Chico when he was a puppy. See – his love of pull toys goes WAY back. I used to play tug-o-war for hours with him as a puppy and I get in as much time as I can today. Our new pull toy from Sam’s Club will make that way easier!

chicosams

Thank you for letting me introduce you to Chico and some of our Holiday 2014 pet gift plans! He is obviously as excited about Christmas this year as I am and with good reason! If you’re looking for a place to get some great pet gifts for all of your pets (and your friends pets too?), check out Sam’s Club. Their magazine, Healthy Living Made Simple has some great ideas on how to keep your pets safe once you have those gifts!

How do you celebrate the holidays with your pets? I’d love to hear all about your holiday pet traditions! ♥

Fatshion: Hello Kitty Con!

hellokittyconfatshion

Oh my gosh, friends! I am so happy and grateful that I got to attend Hello Kitty Con! My love for Hello Kitty and Sanrio runs deep! I will tell you more about the whole experience soon but I wanted to share with you what I wore to the event. Speaking of, I ran into Xenia from Raised by Culture, who you already know I ADORE, but what I didn’t know was that she also takes rad outfit photos – full credit goes to that babe for making me look like such a babe in these!

hellokittycondetail

I knew I wanted to go bright and poppy for the event so I chose my new favorite vintage skirt and a heart-print crop top I’ve had for a while. I layered it over another top that I love because of the cute ruffle along the neckline. I like how the ruffle just peeks out over the crop top. I love how they all look together – I’m always on the lookout for new ways to wear the crop top and this is a new favorite.

hkcondetail

I paired everything with some simple but cute rose bracelets from Ettika Jewelry that I bought from Little Black Bag before they re-branded to Pose. And I’m wearing my favorite white eyelet purse from Just Fab that I received during last year’s Lifestyle Bloggers National Conference. I love how the white pops against the bright colors of my outfit.

hkconfatshion

I’m also sporting some amazingly adorable glasses I received from Firmoo. Stay tuned for a more in-depth post about how rad they are!

Outfit Details
Glasses: c/o Firmoo
Black ruffle top: Target
Heart-print crop top: Forever 21
Kelly green pencil skirt: Vintage, thrifted
Bracelets: Ettika via Little Black Bag
White eyelet purse: c/o Just Fab (remixed: one)
Black wedges: thrifted

I felt super cute that night and was surrounded by super cute people all squeeing over the magic that is Hello Kitty!

How in love are you with the Sanrio universe? Who’s your favorite character?